Well, everything is on hold for the New Year, we’ve had some smatterings of the Winter season already so it’s time for our season review! As you’ll recall, this is where I assign each series its own individual award. Totally made up awards, though we’ll have some fun with it, right? Awards are only for series we covered, this time. Save the last, which will be obvious.
Autumn’s Winner: It’s had its ups and downs, but KILL la KILL is definitely the big breakout this season, and for good reason. It is just fun. While I have levied criticism at the show, it is all purely from a sense of sadness that the show could be more. But that doesn’t change the fact it is a fun, fun, silly, fun, emotional ride to the end of this train we’ve found ourselves on. It is a well crafted series, the music, the animation, the characters, and the dialogue are well above average. Most important? It doesn’t dick us around, not really, for all my protestations that they drop plot threads a little too neatly. It just takes the wind out of the sails of someone like me, who likes really involved storytelling. But just because it is short and to the point does not mean it isn’t sophisticated. Sophisticated doesn’t mean boring dialogue, it can be all about the boobs and explosions, so long as you craft it well. And KILL la KILL is crafted that well.
Autumn’s Biggest Trainwreck: BlazBlue wins this (remember them?). While I dropped the weeklies, I never abandoned the series. I merely felt that my voice was no longer contributing anything meaningful to the discussion, so I stopped. But I still find myself watching, because even though it was so poorly designed, there is a twisted, sick need to find out if I could EVER make sense of it all. So…in terms of bad series that I still wanted to see, if only to see if it stopped being bad, BlazBlue, Alter Memory wins.
Autumn’s Biggest Disappointment: Our biggest disappointment is also the absolute worst series we watched this season. A two-fer! Yes, Unbreakable Machine Doll. The problems were numerous here: Action sequences that overextended their budget, characters who were introduced and then forgotten, a premise that barely has anything to do with the show, and an eroge style art that, while not crippling in the early episodes, really wears us thin towards the end when the cast of characters has grown SO large, and not to mention the sisters who seem to be identical, just everything came together in the worst way. This series shoots for a season two, but I beseech you, don’t let those good production hours go to such a wasted vacuum of talent. Almost never did I get my hopes up after week 2, save a brief stint around Episode 9, but it came crashing down on us in a complete festival of mediocrity. While there were what I’d call four “bad” shows, Machine Doll was the only one where no one with talent seemed to be involved. Shockingly, not awarded to…
Autumn’s Biggest Turn Around: While they fumbled at the five yard line, Galilei Donna underwent the most amazing transformation this season. It turned from a melodramatic mess into something actually damn entertaining. You wouldn’t nominate for an award (except maybe this one), and I suppose the initial problems are apparent in an award I am giving out to a series because it had a string of episodes that shocked me with how not-bad they were. Still, those weeks gave me hope, they just couldn’t QUITE deliver the goods at the end. But at least I got the impression that they tried. Not so sure about that with…
Autumn’s Least Apologetic Hentai: Goddamnit, Strike the Blood…This series is the weirdest conundrum. They’re airing it on public channels, so they can’t actually show the raw nips, and the dramatic elements of action and political intrigue are -exceptional-, really, they are. If you took the scenes that did not involve some 15 year old taking off her clothes, you would have the next big action series. Which is why I am so confused why they keep pushing the half-nudity, badly written harem bullshit. It’s like…you are an artist. You paint. But you now want to try your hand at sculpting, so you make a little ceramic model that is disfigured and deformed. Then you pretty it up with your painting skills. Anyone who looks at it will say “Wow, those colors are really popping out at me, but why does your bust of Princess Di look like the hunchback of Notre Dame?” This is exactly the problem we have here. The action elements, despite having a genius simplicity and elegance, feel very much like an afterthought, an excuse to get to Kojo bedding every girl in the universe, because the focus of these episodes is on harem drama. It wouldn’t even be so bad if the harem drama was part of the plot. But it isn’t. It is a completely different show, side by side with this other show that happens to be about vampires. We once, way way back, had a scene that caused me to defend this show for some weeks longer than I should have. It was the implication that the Lion King organization orchestrated Yukina falling in love with Kojo for some nefarious plan. THAT is crushy, blushy, pervy drama I can get behind. But it was never mentioned again. It doesn’t matter. Just like the rest of this show that exists purely for the benefit of the pasty harem fans. It’s a shame to see such promise wasted on a show incapable of capitalizing on what it does well.
Autumn’s Most Baffling Series: But even though I can’t figure out why Vampires and Panties can’t get its act together, only one series honestly surprised me every five minutes of screentime. Outbreak Company was a roller coaster, and while I found its unwillingness to get deeper a constant source of frustration, it is still worth its salt so I will check it off as our second “win” this season. While light and fluffy, it had some serious, brain-busting moments that floored me, and that is always welcome, especially in a season this vapid. A show that made me think, it was a welcome distraction from the drivel I was forced to shovel through.
So, with a record this season of 2-4, you can see why I might want to hand out this next one:
Series I Wish We had Covered: You may expect me to put Log Horizon here, and while that is true, I do regret not replacing it for Machine Doll, if I could only pick one, it would Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio/Arpeggio of Blue Steel. This was a fantastic series all around, and while not perfect, I demand a season 2. DEMAND!