2010: The Anime Year in Review

It seems almost a requirement now to bemoan the current state of anime as compared to the golden age of past (which for most people seems to be 5 to 15 years ago.) But it is easy to fool oneself about this. We tend to remember only a few great animes and forget the much larger number of really bad ones, and the even greater number of mediocre ones.

With that in mind, here’s what I think are the highlights and lowlights of the year. It won’t surprise me if some of these are cited nostalgically by future critics bemoaning the miserable state of anime in 2015.
Continue reading

Angel Beats Ends

Well THAT was controversial! Some people like it and some people really hate it. (All these links are full of spoilers of course.)

I don’t hate it. I still feel this was one of the best shows of the Spring season (but the competition isn’t fierce.) Still, I was originally hoping for something more, something on the level of the other anime adaptations of Jun Maeda stories that I have seen: Air, Kanon and Clannad. All of these were better executed and have far more emotional impact.

Angel Beats seems more like an intriguing first draft that COULD have been truly great with a rewrite and a demanding editor. This is the first time Jun Maeda has actually written an anime series. The other stories were written as visual novels, and adapted into anime by someone else. Writing VNs probably doesn’t teach you everything that you need to know about pacing and character development in a television series.

Steven claims that the ending is totally illogical. I don’t really see a problem.

Show ▼

All in all, an interesting story, even if the execution is flawed. If Kyoto Animation could remake (and greatly improve) Kanon four years after Toei’s original version, perhaps in another four years…?

Spring 2010 Anime Season–First Impressions

So far I see one show that looks really interesting and a few more that are innovative enough that they may be worth a look.

Angel Beats is far and away the most interesting of the new shows. I’ve already written two posts about it so I won’t bother to add more here.

Kaichou wa Maid-sama is a new twist on some old tropes. It’s a shoujo anime featuring a tsundere maid. Both tsundere and maids are overused in shounen anime and manga, but they are pretty rare in shoujo stories. Presumably girls don’t like to think of themselves as tsundere, and they certainly don’t fantasize about being maids.

The shoujo approach is working out rather well. The heroine, a tyrannical student council president who is forced by poverty to work part-time in a maid café, is sympathetic and fairly smart. Her nemesis is a good-looking boy who is too cool for words and seems to enjoy teasing her. The outcome is inevitable.
Continue reading

Angel Beats–Speculation

Whether or not you like Angel Beats, you’ve got to admit that it is pretty audacious to present an anime that looks like a cross between Haruhi Suzumiya and Haibane Renmei. With guns.

After only two episodes, everybody seems to be speculating about what is really going on and how it is going to end, so I’m going to put in my two cents. This is necessarily spoilerish, so it goes below the fold.
Continue reading

Angel Beats–First Impression

Angel Beats is a new anime series written by Jun Maeda, the writer who created Air, Kanon and Clannad. This one however is not being done by Kyoto Animation. It comes from an obscure studio called P.A. Works, which has previous mostly done in-between work for more established studios.

Fans of the earlier shows may well wish that Kyoto Animation were doing this one. The animation would certainly be better (though more moe-ified.) However if this were a Kyo-Ani production we would probably need to call it something like Haruhi Suzumiya Goes to Purgatory. (High School of the Dead might also be a good title, but that one’s already taken.)
Continue reading