Monday, December 3, 2007

List o' the Weak: My top five least favorite anime

Number Five - Spiral

When I popped in the first disk of this series, I was excited, really excited. Here was a mystery, a real honest to goodness mystery, that wasn't going to get solved in one episode. It sucked me right in and I was on the edge of my seat for the first three disks. I knew it. This was going on my list of all time favorite anime. I haven't been this sucked into an anime for a long long time.

And then it just broke my heart. Much like that first date that never calls you back, it simply started showing filler episodes. And then more filler episodes. And what started with such a bang, just went out with a whimper and NEVER solved the mysteries that it proposed.

And now I'm stuck with six disks that I don't even want to give away because I don't want to inflict this series on anyone.

Number 4: Record of Lodoss War OVA

Yeah, so I already wrote an entire Why Not segment on this series. But a lot of it bears repeating. The pacing was bad. The characters were stiff and unbelievable. The plot was trite and predictable. And worst of all, it had Elves. Seriously, for a story based on a Dungeons and Dragons game, I could expect something more, something better than this.

Seriously. If Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman could write the Dragonlance Chronicles based on this game, then it is possible to come up with a good solid plot with believable characters.

Number Three - A.D. Police

So I picked up this series on the cheap a few years ago, and boy did I ever find out why. The two main characters are the stereotypical good cop/bad cop down to a T. Seriously, no show this bad should end their previews with the line "Things are going to get worse." It started to sound like a threat.
On top of that, the stories were just plain boring. There was little imagination put into it. There wasn't any really sense of the cyberpunk future that I've been promised from BGC. On top of that there were more of those changing into monster scenes that really made BGC Tokyo 2040 cheezy. Tonally it was a complete mess. Sometimes it was campy, sometimes it was serious. Basically, it was a nightmare.

(And now for the hate mail.)
The number two and number one slots here contain what are largely considered classics of anime. And yes, I think they deserve these spots.

Number Two - Nadia and the Secret of the Blue Water

When I first considered buying this series, I checked out the reviews on ANN. They usually read like, this is the beginning of the filler arc at X place. Granted it wasn't for every disk, so I thought maybe that there was a section that wasn't filler arc. I'd watched the first two disks and that second disk was really good. It had a bunch of action, really laid the tension on thick, I was excited. It was impossible that my good friends at GAINAX were going to then produce 25 episodes of filler. They hadn't really lead me astray before this.

But that's exactely what they did. For the next 25 episodes, it was one set of filler episodes after another set of filler episodes. I've already said that I don't think anime does well with an episodic format and this series did not prove me wrong. And by the time it did get around to finishing up its story, I'd long since stopped caring.

And my number one all time least favorite anime of all time:

Revolutionary Girl Utena

Yes, that darling of the critics. That favorite of the intelligensia. Oh, how I despise thee. The problem with this series isn't it's fundamentals though. The characters are good. The idea is pretty amazing. No, the problem with this series is all in the execution. Basically, no matter which way you cut it, it's a show that is designed for children.

Take for instance, the lack of overarching character development. Sure, occasionally they get some, but it never really sticks. Much like Cowboy Beebop, the characters simply repeat the same roles over and over again. They have to same reactions to the same stimulus. And while in Cowboy Beebop, it's cool because there's so much more going on, in Utena it's a weakness. Because in Beebop, the characters aren't the centerpiece for the show, the plot is. In Utena, the characters should be the core that holds everything together. And to do that, they have to change, but instead, they just go through the same steps, over and over and over again, like a waltz with a permanent coda.

And speaking of music - the synth rock soundtrack simply gets old as well. I realize that the series is on the older side, but a little variation in the themes would be nice. And the animation looping gets old too. How many times does she need to be walking up those stairs. Can we say stalling for time? Even the fight scenes are weak. Maybe I'm being to harsh, but for something that is hailed as a post-modern fairytale, I expected some meat, some real examination of the issue of gender. But all I got was a brain numbing, hackneyed, piece of trash.


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