In between watching RahXephon for the millionth time and watching The Witcher, I’ve been watching a bunch of anime that I’ve missed in the past 10 years.
One of the drawbacks of living with a bunch of streaming services available and with video games and a digital card game habit is that I missed out on a lot of anime. The other side of that is that I don’t really have any taste, so I’m willing to give a lot of stuff a try.
So I thought I would give some quick impressions about the stuff I’ve been watching.
Garo: The Animation
Earlier this year, I checked out Garo: Vanishing Line, and I really dug it. One of these days, I really want to do a post about the idiosyncrasies of how the Japanese see America, but that’s neither here nor there.
Anyway, I spotted Garo: The Animation (or Honō no Kokuin) on Hulu and I decided I would give it a chance. The plus is the show has the same collection of over the top characters now in a more medieval setting.
What I think sells me on this show is the hot-blooded passion all of the characters have. I once described Jo-Jo’s Bizarre Adventure as a good show that makes up for its faults by being enthusiastic. I would say the same thing about Garo. Everything is dialed up to 11 and the excitement drummed up by the music, the action and the characters outweighs the show’s weaknesses.
Its biggest problem is that there is not a lot beyond a super shiny surface. Even Vanishing Line felt like it had more complexity to its characters. The three main male leads feel fairly one-note.
That said, I’m probably going to keep watching it. Enthusiasm makes up for a lot of faults in my mind.
I like Goro Taniguchi as a director. Not just because he is responsible for one of my favorite shows, but because his shows feature believable characters who are both frustrating and sympathetic.
Mechanical Anime Reviews reviewed the show a while back, and I figured it was for me. The anime does a really good job of setting up its central question. What what would happen to you if, at 10 years old, you were told that you were going to be responsible for the lives of all of your friends?
If you view Daisuke Dojima through that lens, I think he’s a fascinating character. He starts off being seen as crazy and then he’s not crazy, but everyone sees him as annoying. Then other stuff happens. If you view this show as a Daisuke’s journey from a wannabe hero to an actual hero, it’s a good watch.
The problem is Daisuke is the only character with any sustained exploration. We get flashes from the other characters and a few interesting scenes, but most of them are comprised of one character trait. What’s worse is that those character traits are, in general, expressed by how they relate to Daisuke.
The world-building is the same way. We know just enough to tell the story they want to tell, but we don’t get any more.
Overall, the show just feels rushed. I would have liked maybe six more episodes of build-up, or at least a few more character moments. It was almost there, but it just fell a bit shy of really good.
The series ends in a place where it could be picked back up, and I’m hoping that we do get another story in this world.
I’m always up for a good crime drama. Sit me up with a Donnie Brasco, or Goodfellas or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and I’ll be happy.
91 Days scratches that itch for me.
I’m on episode 5 of the show and I’m definitely in for the long haul on this one. I like the main character and the fact that there is an underlying tension between him and the scion of the crime family. (I forget their names, and I’m don’t feel like looking them up.)
Strangely, I feel like this show does a good job of capturing what the rural northeast would look like. I know this is supposed to be 1920s America, but they’ve done a good job of keeping it out of any particular region, so the landscape isn’t off-putting.
I’m interested in seeing where this goes.
Parasyte: The Maxim
Sometimes there are series that I’ve heard about for a long time, but I’ve never watched — Tatami Galaxy, Princess Tutu and Patlabor. Parasyte: the Maxim is another of those shows for me.
So I’m a couple episodes in, and it’s OK.
I love all the creepy monstrosities and the anti-social nature of the hand monster (again another name I can’t remember.) Maybe it was built up too much for me, but I wanted something dark and interesting, but what I’m getting is a slightly edgier shounen show.
I know I shouldn’t expect Psycho Pass from this show, but I still want it.
We’ll see. I haven’t given up on it yet.
I suppose that is it for now. I am also going to throw out a plug for School Days, which I have been watching as part of #anitwitwatches on Twitter. If you haven’t checked the series out or even if you have and want to see a bunch of people post about it, I suggest doing a search for the hashtag.
So what do you think? What else should I be checking out? Does Parasyte get any better?
As always, thanks for reading.