Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer First Impressions - Part 1

Quite a while since the last post due to a hefty plethora of “stuff” and a lackluster spring season. The new season of Mushishi, along with Ping Pong, were the only series I enjoyed thoroughly. Akuma no Riddle was trashy fun, brazen and taut in its absurd exploitation, only to deface its true colors with an atrociously buoyant ending. Knights of Sidonia initially garnered a positive response from me, but things progressed and all focus was lost on the elements that made it tick. Isshuukan Friends had to be the biggest disappointment. I gobbled up the first few episodes because of fantastic visual direction and how adorably endearing it was. But you can only be adorable for so long before that charm wears off.  Too much potential was left untouched. Too many opportunities, where the series could have brought meaningful character insight to the table, wasted. It was too reserved. Too fluffy. Too innocent. Fuck innocence. I wanted to see the series get its hands dirty.

But enough about that season. That’s old news. The spotlight’s on the summer season and what better series to kick off the first impressions than RAIL WARS! WOOT WOOT!

Man, this series is so dumb. Not the kind of dumb where its sheer ineptitude makes it tolerable, but the painful dumb that insults the intelligence. From all the initial hype, I heard a lot of yap that this was supposed to be audacious or whatever. But all I had to sit through was sloppy production values, dumb fan service, dumb pantie jokes, dumb breast jokes and dumb characters only characterized by previous archetypes seen in other anime. In the right hands, the set-up could be utilized for something cool like a Die-Hard action-esque thriller or maybe even a nice murder mystery, but nope, not these hands. This shit is just dumb.

Tokyo Ghoul though? This series is the amusing kind of dumb.
I laughed pretty hard when she hit the window.
Extravagant revolving shots of villains standing high upon architecture, constant close-ups of characters in agony and distant gloomy mid-level shots attempt to intensify heavy atmosphere when, really, they only extenuate things. (Plus, it really doesn’t help that the soundtrack ranges from generic orchestra shit to trash inspired by your first wait in an elevator).

 The series also does its best to instill sympathy into the viewer so we can “relate” to the wimpy main character and shit. Look, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it tries way too hard and, like the infamous Deadman Wonderland, carries the notion that the more our protagonist whines and cries, the more we should care. Uh, no. It’s too reliant on phony situational torment too. He’s in love with a hot girl. Too bad, she’s a demon. He’s hungry for a nice juicy hamburger. Too bad, now that he’s a demon too, human food taste like shit. Sorry. Not sorry. None of these problems the series jab at the audience are really hitting home. I burst out laughing, to be honest. So for now, I’ll be keeping up with the series for its unintentional camp factor.

Anyway, let’s get to two series that actually have something have value. The first one is Barakamon, a series that does what it does well, it’s just what it does well isn’t something that really interests me. I’ve just never been one for these fish-out-the-water set-ups where some guy/gal is thrown into an unfamiliar environment, eventually learning to adapt and appreciate what they once took for granted. I’ll give it another two episodes though. See where things turn before I officially drop it.
The relationship between the protagonist and the little girl is quite cute
Finally, Sabagebu. Best show so far. It’s like Stella C3-bu, but less cutesy. Problem with that series was that the characters were way too nice to each other. Here, the characters are narcissistic and kinda nasty towards one another. When the main girl initially refuses to join the school survival club, you think the series is going to walk down that overly trodden path where she softens up, has a change of mind and decides that joining the club wouldn’t be so bad. (Lame) But instead, the leader of the group drugs her and uses her unconscious body to turn in the form of approval. That’s funny. Later when the main girl has her first air soft match, she uses her downed teammate as a launchpad to take down her opponent. Also pretty funny. 

So yeah, I like these characters. They’re not entirely fresh and inventive personas, but they’re different enough from what we usually see from the genre to make this series a pretty interesting watch.
Cosplaying Jill Valentine. Win.

5 comments:

  1. I was actually eyeing on Tokyo Ghoul, but now I feel a little discouraged LOL. But I'll give it a shot so I could judge by myself. So far, I've only seen Aldnoah Zero and I think it has potential.

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