2010 is comming to an end, my assignments for this semester are handed in, so it’s time to reactivate this blog with a series of posts about the year’s anime offerings. Starting with the series I’d rather forget. Why start things on such a low note, why not go for the five best series? The answer is simple – one of the best series of this year is still airing, and I don’t want to rank it until I’ve seen how it ends. In terms of bad series, I don’t think anything this season could compare with these five. Besides, I’m an optimist. This will probably turn into a summary of their few good points without me even realizing!
NOTE: I have not watched every series that aired this year, and there were some series that were so bad I didn’t make it past the first episode; this is a list of the series I decided to keep watching and soon wished I hadn’t.
5: Asobi ni Iku yo!
To be fair, this series was never going to be excellent. A weird mix of action, sci-fi, ecchi and romance, none of which really worked, and in the end all that it had going for it was the maids, the cute assistdroids, some catchy EDs and decent animation from AIC. That may seem like a lot of positives, but that’s why it’s only at number 5. The real problem was the lack of character development (even by 12 episode ecchi series standards), as too much time was spent on the weak plot. And seriously, if you’re going for real cat girls, they don’t need two sets of ears.
This ranks below Asobi because this series WAS meant to be excellent. From the creator of Higurashi, Ookami is a horror series involving a school boy who moves into a remote Japanese villiage – a villiage which holds strange festivals, and where people disappear mysteriously. How original! But despite a promising start (albeit very reminiscent of Higurashi), the pacing came to a grinding halt at the mid point, and the latter half served as a painfully slow build up to a disappointing ending. Decent music from FictionJunction, but this time even AIC’s animation was a bit dodgy.
3: Shukufuku no Campanella
Completing AIC’s terrible trio, Shukufuku no Campanella was boring as hell. It’s not generic, that would imply that it follows the same pattern as 100s of other series, which it doesn’t. With even less plot and structure than Asobi, blogging this series was about the only way I could derive any entertainment from it. The manzai-twins had their moments, and Nick is blatantly going in my harem, but the rest of them were just pretty character designs whose main purpose was to sell the uncensored DVD versions. Catchy OP though.
2: Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan
This rating may have been slightly higher if I was the target audience, as was the case for all the above series. But no, this is a series for fangirls. Myself, I could hardly tell the members of the bishonen reverse-harem apart. Why couldn’t they give them brightly coloured hair or something? Anyway, this fails firstly because it’s Studio DEEN so it’s never going to end (the sequel is airing now, I know), and secondly because it promised action and mystery, but delivered 5 second sword fights that repeatedly end in the bad guys running away. Repeatedly. Like, 4-5 times over 12 eps. LAME!
1: Dance in the Vampire Bund
And finally, the real disaster of the year. On par with White Album and Umineko, a series like Dance in the Vampire Bund should not have come from such an awesome studio as SHAFT (though I can’t fault the animation, I’ll give them that) or as awesome a director as Akiyuki Shinbo. The pacing was all over the place, the plot should have been interesting but wasn’t due to said pacing issues, and the characters bored the hell out of me. It was painful to watch, and a relief to finish. Watch Petit Cosette or SoulTaker instead, these shows prove the guy can do horror well.
Honourable mention: Senkou no Night Raid
A series about spies with super powers in 1930s Shanghai should have been interesting, but wasn’t. This is because latter episodes focused heavily on historic and political issues that I know nothing about, and found hard to follow. The fact that it had Mandarin/Japanese subs in places meant that fansubbers struggled to release it; the one group that persevered did so slowly and infrequently, which may have affected my enjoyment of the series even more. So while I rated it as low as series like Asobi and Ookami, I accept that the series itself may not be at fault, it just wasn’t for me.
It was only after I pasted in all the Anime-Planet links that I realized NONE of these series have synopses, with Hakuouki even lacking screenshots. Which is probably for the best, that way people are less likely to watch them!