I generally only write here anymore when I really have something to say. Or when I have a silly project to participate in. This season’s equivalent of the KokoCo rapey scandal — with the bonus of opening up conversation about the shoujo genre as a whole — has already been covered just fine elsewhere. But I suppose maybe I do have something to say: Hey guys, I watched some anime over the summer.
Life as I know it will be ending sometime in the fall anime season, and that will include watching significantly less cartoons I’m sure. So a season that started light for me ended up building to a pretty decent watch-list, maybe because of the subconscious knowledge of what’s to come (reduced cartoon intake). Five shows might not be a ton for you, but for me that’s big, especially with the occasional Harlock episode or attempt to catch up on the (really lovely but under-appreciated, that is by me) Space Bros.
I wish I could say I found Tari Tari painfully interesting. It was exemplary of some of the things we’ve come to expect from PA Works anime: solid but mostly reusable character designs, good animation with splashes of weird CG, seemingly cinematic aspirations, and espousal of a good ol’ set of traditional, safe values. And this one came complete with cheesy overblown musical numbers. Wakana was an enjoyable character to start, but I think I fell off of really caring when she shifted a little too rapidly to the outgoing, funloving girl of the second half of the show. You could watch worse, but I dare anyone to want to see it again.
Eureka Seven AO
I’ll be happy to go down as one of Dai Sato’s biggests defenders, but it’s getting tough with this monster. The careful reveal of world-building details over time, which leaves the viewers in the dark for just long enough to keep them fascinated, worked really well in the original series. But I feel like things went on far too long with this one, to the point where now that we know how things work and it’s honestly kind of simple, I’m still skeptical that I have any idea what’s going on. The flash-forward in this most recent episode gave me echoes of the Nadesico movie, which for most people not named omo is a sore spot. But I’m still hoping for some of those fist-pumping, grin-inducing, transparently inspirational E7 moments in the finale. Final note: If you must know, I’m a Fleur fan.
If I said I was able to enjoy the show after my last post, then a lot of commenters would probably say “I told you so,” so let me say that I sort of have been able to enjoy it. The “mishandling of sexual assault” incident was the most problematic part but only one of a few clunky and contrived plot points. Perhaps in the larger scale of the KokoCo light novels, all these external factors (Yui’s history, Iori’s mom, etc) make sense when faced with the trials of Heartseed. But in the context of the anime we have a still largely unexplored dynamic between the group members (which relies on a love triangle, the easiest tool in the Hackneyed Anime Fix-it box to reach for) and a bunch of problems outside StuCS that are solved way too quickly. All in all, a creative premise that is a contrivance for interesting stories has managed to patch together some really typical and uninteresting stories.
Nakaimo aka Who Is “IMOUTO”
(SPOILERS) Alternately both a punching bag and a weekly source of anticipatory suspense, the enigma of IMOUTO fizzled thanks to last-quarter drama (so typical), a handsome and rich but ultimately impotent lead (go figure), and really, a mystery that was never that compelling to begin with. Either of the two main girls could have conceivably been IMOUTO, and the final episode’s acrobatics weren’t exactly what qualifies as a legimate “twist” — not to mention Miyabi was the best girl and now Shogo is left with a harem without its pigtailed heart.
Polar Bear Cafe
The legitimate best moment for me when checking out the Crunchyroll fall simulcast lineup was seeing that PBC will be continuing. Unfortunately there’s not a lot to say about it. The lack of character development or long-running story arcs in this cartoon make it pretty meaningless to dissect but also fun to watch, and that’s a big part of what contributes to its ability to run for a long time. I guess it all hinges on how many times you can hear “Pengin-san, Pengin-san!” “Nani, Panda-kun?”
The answer is lots.
- Polar Bear Cafe illustration by こたこ