Fall 2009 Anime Season–Second Thoughts

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By now I’ve had time to sample everything that looks interesting, and to write individual posts about some of them. Here’s a rundown of my current impressions.

Possibly worthwhile (depending on your tastes)

Kobato.. So far this is my favorite new series, cute and funny but with some dark undertones. The interplay between the impossibly sweet and optimistic heroine and her nasty, violent plush toy constantly cracks me up.

Aoi Bungaku. Dark, serious drama in a very high-quality production.

Kimi ni Todoke. Angst-haters beware! But if you like shoujo romance, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better example.

Inuyasha the Final Act
. This has improved since the frenetic first episode, but it is still very fast-paced. If you were a fan of the first series there is a good chance you will enjoy this. However if you are not familiar with the story of the first series the new series will make no sense, and you are better off skipping it.

Interesting, but not to my taste

Kuuchuu Buranko (Trapeze) A daring, innovative series with a distinctive visual style; the sort of thing I instinctively want to encourage. It sort of reminds me of those 5- or 10-second animated sequences that Terry Gilliam used to do for Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Now imagine them extended into a 25-minute episode. Yeah, it’s that bad.

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun. (A Certain Scientific Railgun) Sixten passionately argues that this is a great show, and much better than its predecessor (A Certain Magical Index). Much of what he says is true. It’s a great-looking series with some appealing characters. What makes it unwatchable for me is the character of Kuroko, who oddly enough seems to be a particular favorite with many of the fans.

Let’s try a thought experiment: suppose the sexes were reversed. Suppose Kuroko were a male homosexual who was constantly trying to seduce and/or rape his heterosexual roommate, even though said roommate had made his objections clear, and suppose the writers presented this as something that was very funny. I’m pretty sure that most of the people who are praising the series would run screaming for the exits.

When bad things happen to good anime

I am sorry to report that the Shugo Chara franchise seems to have been taken over by the Easter Corporation. Back when it started 2 years ago it was a cute, funny show for all ages. By the second year the story became buried under a mountain of filler. Now in it’s third year the show has morphed into Barney the Dinosaur.

Still watching

Cross Game, Kemono no Souja Erin, Mainichi Kaasan.