Is Okabe, our main character, crazy? Or is someone really screwing with his time-traveling microwave? Or both?
Anime bloggers seem to really dig STEINS;GATE, and while I liked it much more than I thought I would, I’m not exactly ready to sing its praises. I’ve only watched episode one, but I plan to watch episode two – that’s a heck of a lot more than I could say about a lot of anime I’ve watched recently! It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but the main character managed to endear himself to me enough that I’m interested in his rantings and banana-torture.
• My Ordinary Life
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this show before, but I thought it was called Azumanga Daioh?
When I started reading the rave reviews around the Interwebz for My Ordinary Life, I got the impression that this was a “slice of life” comedy. Either my definition of “slice of life” is off, or everyone else’s is, because to me, this was just a series of semi-amusing gags. I was surprised to learn that this series isn’t based on a 4-koma comic strip, because it really had that short setup-punchline structure to it.
I like silly gag comedy when it is done well, and I even like absurdist humor. Hell, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is one of my favorite shows – but I didn’t like this at all. Only one of the jokes was funny enough for me to crack a smile, and it wasn’t even enough to sustain me for a whole episode, let alone any more episodes of this series. (I liked the guy who rode to school on a goat. That was cute. The rest? Meh.)
• Deadman Wonderland
Taking the private prison indudstry to the next level, anime-style.
I’ve been wanting to read the manga that Deadman Wonderland is based on, but can never seem to find the first volume at a discounted price. (Manga is an expensive habit!) So I eagerly awaited the animated version, and it did not disappoint. A lot happens to our main character, Ganta, in the first episode and I have the feeling that he is in for a wacky, violent ride.
The juxtaposition of the amusement park and violence seems to appeal to people in some base way, and the aesthetic works for this show. (See also: Zombieland) There are also your requisite anime elements such as the infantalized pixie girl, the mysterious and greasy guy with glasses, and the dominatrix with the F cup breasts (F cup? Do F cups exist? If so, that’s not what they would look like.).
I like the way that it set up a lot of questions, gave few answers, but managed not to thoroughly confuse the audience along the way. I’ll definitely be following this series for a while, and I’m interested to see if ventures into social/political criticism territory along the way.
• Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi
Am I obligated to watch this show just because it’s the only BL offering this season, amid a slate of misogynist loli crap?
Sekai Ichi is from the same mangaka that brought us Junjou Romantica, as if the weirdly angular character designs and proliferation of bunnies/teddie bears/flowers didn’t tip you off to that fact. This series centers on a hapless uke who enters the world of shoujo manga publishing, only to find out that the boy who had rejected him in high school is now his boss. (Imagine that.)
Despite the requisite sexual harassment by the love interest in the first episode, I’m kind of digging this show. (Hey, at least it wasn’t actual assault, like it was in Junjou!) We are treated to a behind-the-scenes view of shoujo manga production, which is the most interesting part of the series so far. I’m struck by the fact that the department consists of all men in the editing room, making the final decisions on the manuscripts that women and girls will read. The manga artists and assistants working for them are all women, shown to be slaving away creating the work and then submitting it for the men’s approval. It’s a little disheartening to think that this may be the way that shoujo manga is really produced – created by women, but edited entirely by men. It may also be that this is a BL show, and therefore needs to be stocked with pretty bishounen for the audience to drool over – and I’ll readily join them.
In any case, I’m up for more of this show despite the bland characters and predictable plot twists. In fact, I like the way the show winks knowingly at the audience while it offers up the very elements of shoujo manga it is exposing within the story. And I want to see more of the side characters! Bring on the more-interesting-than-the-main-guys side characters!