September 12, 2007

I didn't watch the whole thing

I'll sample just about any anime series that gets at least three stars on Netflix. Whether I'll keep watching after the first DVD is another matter. So I've sorted through the last several years of my Netflix history and made a list of some of the series that I believe paid off straight through to the end.

To start with, I'll mention a few of the exceptions: titles I didn't finish or did and still can't recommend, and why.

The Read or Die TV series, for example, started well but I thought it sagged toward the end and started repeating itself (repeat after me: hostage-takers don't have your best interests in mind!). Initial D does repeat the same storyline over and over, yet I didn't get bored (though I won't be watching season two of Initial D).

Ah! My Goddess (the condensed version) and the first season of Oh! My Goddess are excellent, but watching the second season, I find myself getting fed up with Belldandy and Keiichi. (Even in season one, the best of the later episodes feature Urd.) There comes a point at which the relationship has just got to move on.

Ditto: Ai Yori Aoshi. When the protagonist is actually a college student (and not even one of those pretend hentai college students), I expect him to act a bit more mature than a thirteen-year-old. Besides, the harem genre really gets old after a while.

Ditto: Ranma 1/2, a true classic. The brilliant first season is hard to match. As with many U.S. television series, the inability to resolve the primary relationship (Ranma/Akane) turns tedious, and they pile on extra characters to distract you. Still entertaining, but not after a fashion that drives you from disc to disc in the later seasons.

Midori Days, to compare, is an extremely welcome relief in this respect, actually featuring male protagonist who grows up over the span of the series.

Tenjho Tenge starts out well as another teen-exploitation action series--pretty much a copy of Ikki-Tousen--but then gets bogged down in an extended flashback that takes up the entire middle third of the series. I kind of lost track after that. I'd rather watch a show just about Bob and Chiaki.

Most anime series derived from manga stick pretty close to the original pacing. But such fidelity is also not always the best recourse. I prefer the first Hellsing series than the supposedly more faithful remake, which is too heavy on the splatter and too impatient with the plotting.

The anime version of My Zhime ("Mai Otome Hime") also improves enormously on the juvenile premise of the manga (which should be avoided at all costs).

I have a hard time explaining why I haven't finished watching some series. Conceptually, Full Metal Alchemist and Cowboy Bebop are two of the better science fiction series, but if I don't add the next disc to the queue, out-of-sight, out-of-mind. (Watching the "director's pick" DVD of Cowboy Bebop episodes probably didn't help.)

And despite the cult religion that is Evangelion, it wore me out after a while. I'm too old for all that angst, and mecha is always a hard sell for me. Sorry. I gave up on the original Full Metal Panic, but loved the dumb and dumber comic spin-off, Full Metal Panic FUMOFFU. There's no accounting for taste.

Part II: shows that made the cut.

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# posted by Blogger Damien Sullivan
9/16/2007 11:05 PM   
Heh. I stopped watching Full Metal Panic, but enjoyed Fumoffu, and FMP: the Second Raid wasn't bad; at any rate I saw it all. I've wondered if I should give the original series a second try.