Enough positive posts. Enough praising of good shows. Let’s complain about this summer season thing. Things that annoy me which shouldn’t be annoying me.
It ain’t bad. It’s pleasant. It has some good gags at times. It’s the most watchable noitaminA series from this year that isn’t called Thermae Romae.
But that’s the problem. It’s pleasant. It’s nice. It’s perfectly comfortable, and that’s not something I can say about the first season. The first season had some good gross-out stuff with all of the weird fermented foods. It had some real conflict with Hasegawa’s engagement. It had Kei. This season? It has a tunnel. While I liked how that “mystery” ended in such an anticlimactic manner, there wasn’t enough build-up to make that letdown feel right. The “educational” parts of the show feel more like the sort of filmstrip stuff I dreaded when I started watching the first season. The microbe bits don’t have the same wit about them.
And yeah, the designs make all of this look like K-On in noitamniA drag. The new designs aren’t terrible, they just don’t feel right.
Ultimately, my feelings on the new season can be summed up with “Hey, that’s some Moyashimon!” My feelings on this series should be so succinctly.
Humanity Has Declined
The first episode was alright. It was saved by Suicide Grand Guignol Loaf.
The second episode was kinda brilliant, especially with its John Woo Chickens.
The third episode was a straight-forward parody/critique/celebration of fan culture.
The fourth episode was someone standing there and painstakingly describing how a manga is created.
Yeah, this show is getting at larger social critiques. Those first two episodes did a decent job of that, even if it was extremely heavy-handed and preachy. The next two episodes?
I’ll say this: I liked that new girl they introduced in the third episode. She has style. I like her enthusiasm and willingness to abuse her government position to make gay porn manga. I didn’t like how the series because yet another otaku humor show with this storyline.
I liked the world they developed in the first two episodes, and this yaoi manga club/sucked into a manga and we have to play by its rules story pretty much tossed all of that out in favor of self-aware, referential, meta-humor. That’s cool in say, Genshiken or something like that. The intent of such series is “let’s talk about what it’s like to be a fan.” The point of Humanity Has Declined seemed to be an all-purpose cultural satire, but making the second storyline be a critique on fandom derailed that. It felt like the writers thought the otaku audience wouldn’t remain interested in criticism of other parts of society and needed to focus their attention on something familiar.
And that’s what turned me off. Not only was it heavy-handed and simplistic in its criticism, it was about something all too familiar to the audience. It came off as lazy and unnecessary. I know it’s going for larger topics about fandom and publication and such, but the execution was lame.
It’s my favorite new show of the season. It’s funny. Almost as funny as Zetsubou-sensei. I like the characters. Almost as much as I like the ones from Zetsubou-sensei.
That’s the problem with this series. That “almost” bit. While I like it, what I’m really thinking is “Why can’t I be watching more Zetsubou-sensei?” The manga ended recently. From what it sounds like, there’s plenty of stuff for SHAFT to pull from for a new season. The ending sounds brilliant. I want one more season to wrap things up.
But SHAFT doesn’t seem too interested in that. They’re talking about making all of the Blankomonogatari books into anime, be there series or movies. They’re still basking in the glow of Madoka with their movies and whatnot. That stuff probably makes them a hell of a lot more money than Zetsubou, so I can’t fault them for focusing on it, but as a fan I don’t give a fuck about that when it shoves the one SHAFT series I like out of the way.
That makes Joshiraku feel like a pity fuck. It’s as if JC Staff is looking at us and saying “here you go, here’s something to make you feel better while SHAFT is off rolling around on a bed of 100,00 yen notes earned off of the tears of moe cartoon girls.”
But I’m still enjoying these series. Well, enjoying Joshiraku and Moyashimon at least. Humanity is on the hot seat, along with the only other new series I’ve kept up with: Muv Luv. But Updatedude explained why that one’s in trouble in his latest post.
So yeah, best show of the season is Polar Bear Cafe.