Impressions: Air, Haruhi, Kurau and Innocent Venus

Yeah, so I’ve watched a lot of stuff lately, most of which I could do something longer on, but I thought I’d just run through my impressions on them.

Air (TV) – This is one of those shows where there was a lot that I liked and some stuff I didn’t. I didn’t have a horrible time with the fairly lacksidasical pacing. In fact, it reminded me a lot of James Blaylock’s In the Rainy Season, another story that combined a somewhat slow pace with somewhat bizarre happenings and had at least one girl in it (albeit in a different fashion.) Overall, I didn’t have a problem with the characters, but I didn’t fall in love with them either.

But what was up with the last couple of episodes? It just felt like they were trying to make up space. It left me wondering whether the rest of the story was picked up somewhere else, or if it was just going to leave me at that “Lady or the Tiger” moment. Overall, I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it. But it just left me feeling a bit empty.

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya – Yes, I finally watched this show. And I know I’m the last person on the planet to do so. But, I have to say, why does everyone have a problem with Kyon? Honestly, he was the saving grace of the show. I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much if it wasn’t for the dry rationalism (and the occasional perverted comment) that he brought. It provided a good counterpoint to all of the weird stuff that takes place.

Now I did watch the show in episodic order (versus broadcast order), so I don’t know how much that really affected my enjoyment. But I do have to say the Melancholy episodes were probably my favorite, most likely because they formed the longest arc of the show. But the lack of a real resolution to the fundamental question of why she chose Kyon does bug me. All of that said, I do think it’s a show that was worth the hype, but not necessarily the best show I’ve ever seen.

Kurau: Phantom Memory – I swear only BONES could have pulled this series off and made it as good as it was. But somehow they took a fairly simple superhero type character who’s getting chased by the government and turned it into a fairly complex psychological drama. Almost every part of this series was well planned and had excellent execution. So I do have to hand it to the director on this one.

All of that said, there’s a ceiling on how good this series could be, especially considering the tone they set at the beginning and the plot. And while Kurau surpassed my lowest expectations, it wasn’t earth-shattering either. Especially with the amount of times they shouted each other’s name. I mean you could have a “Kurau/Christmas” drinking game with this series.

Innocent Venus – And on a more mech side of things, I actually watched Innocent Venus. To be honest, it left me feeling a lot like I felt after watching Blue Submarine No. 6, which is to say it could have been a lot better with some more space. But, it does have one of the coolest betrayals I’ve seen in an anime in quite a while. It also has some good action scenes and some fun mechs (which actually remind me a bit of the mecha from Argentosoma.)

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6 Comments

  1. Wait…who dissed Kyon? Kyon was freakin’ awesome.

    You’re right about the last couple episodes of Air too. I really liked it before that. Ah well. Preferred Kanon’s characters anyway.

  2. I’m going to quote this post on my blog later in June; specifically the part about Haruhi choosing Kyon. Thank you for sparking an idea.

  3. Oh, I smell a storm brewing . . .

  4. Watching broadcast order is best IMO, as an experience.

    And uh, Kyon is easily the most popular character in Haruhi. If Kyon was a chick he’d have just as many figures and toys made.

  5. Kyon is the greatest character indeed. After all, Kyonko tops them all.

    Now that you are praising KURAU so much, I am seriously considering watching it. Same for Innocent Venus, by the way. The “betrayals” are fairly interesting (and I hope they don’t turn out Arina Tanemura-style. Ugh.)

  6. @Shiri – I’d read it on a couple of posts I’d seen about the series. I’m not sure specifically who, but I know I’ve seen it.

    @lolikit – I’m not sure if I should be scared… or pleased.

    @Michael – Maybe, not so sure on that.

    @omo – I didn’t really know that. I’d mostly seen stuff that’s been written lately about it. Mostly it kind of complained about Kyon. But, I can see. Probably I should have watched them in broadcast order, but I was feeling lazy and I didn’t want to look it up.

    @Sasa – the only thing I’d warn about Kurau is that it does get a little slow towards the middle, but it does manage to turn it around pretty quickly and in a good way. It’s definitely enjoyable.

    As far as Tanemura, I haven’t really read her stuff, but I can say that I did see the betrayal coming, but I didn’t see the resulting character shift. But it was still believable, so it didn’t bug me. I’d explain more but I don’t want to ruin it. If you can, I’d reccomend renting it. Or buying it on the cheap. It isn’t really worth MSRP on that one.


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