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[In which I review] New anime, Spring 2001

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#12
Okay, now that we're safely into the second page, I'm going to explain the actual goal of this thread.

It's true that this started as an April Fools' Joke : "Bwahahah, let's do a joke review thread for completely the wrong season !" But then I started thinking : what if I actually did it seriously ? Why NOT do proper reviews for as many Spring 2001 anime series as possible ?

While I've been watching anime for nearly two decades (ah, Sailor Moon...), I'm a relative newcomer to "serious" fandom, and it's only been for the past two years or so that I've really been somewhat comprehensive in my watching. In contrast, 2001 is one of my "terra incognita" years, between my "casual TV surfing" period and my joining a college anime club. When I browsed through the series listings for that season, nearly nothing raised a flag. Aside from a couple of exceptions, I knew basically nothing about anything that aired in Spring 2001.

So, the question is : were any of those shows any good ? How does it compare with modern seasons ? Let's watch and see !

In case you're wondering, I do plan to start a proper "Spring 2011" review thread tomorrow-ish, when some shows have actually aired. Don't worry, I've got a huge buffer on this thread (I actually started preparing for it in late February), so I should be able to do both concurrently. *fingers crossed*

I actually have the DVDs of Angelic Layer. I picked them up on clearance at some point or other, and it actually is a pretty good show.
I don't doubt that : if it was airing today, I'd probably watch it. But then, I have much more relaxed standards for "current season weekly watch" than for archive marathon sessions (I'm watching goddarn Bakuman !).

That's the catch for this thread : I'll probably be more selective about "shows I want to watch more of" than I'd be for real. But when I'm saying I'm interested in, say, Digimon Tamers, I really mean it.

For the record, does Angelic Layer stray from the very predictable plot I outlined in my review ?

OP: Gah! I'd actually managed to scrub Run=Dim from my memory. Thanks alot.
I hope you weren't subjected to more than one episode : this show is truly painful to watch.

It's by complete chance that the first show I reviewed happened to be so dreadful that I doubt anything else will beat its terribleness. I mean, how could any show be worse than THAT ?
 

KoboldLord

Registered User
Validated User
#14
For the record, does Angelic Layer stray from the very predictable plot I outlined in my review ?
No, it pretty much proceeds lockstep with the sports anime formula, even with the thick coat of shoujo makeup. There's the crushing loss, two separate fights against cheaters, the works. The last episode is, as you predicted, a reunion battle with her mother, although I really did like the development of the mother as a character earlier in the series. There are two tournaments that run the span of the entire season, with the first one being the regional qualifiers for the second.

I'd recommend Angelic Layer as a gateway show for somebody who grew up watching and enjoying Cardcaptor Sakura and Sailor Moon, as their first sports competition show. Alternately, I'd also recommend Angelic Layer as a gateway show for anybody who obsessively watches sports competition like Initial D or Hikaru no Go, as their first foray into shoujo because the basic formula will already be familiar and they can use it for comfort while they confront all these scary girly motifs.

For somebody already familiar with both of these broad categories of animation, it's a perfectly decent and serviceable show but not really one that stands out from the crowd.
 

CynoT

Nuclear Energy Advocate
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Validated User
#15
By contrast, the period of 1995-2000-ish was the peak of my anime fandom. Back then I was pretty much the local anime guru, knowing almost everything about what's popular in anime fandom back then. Like how CLAMP got their name from a "mountain of potatoes", which sounds odd, until you hear the name Imonoyama and realize that the doujin circle meant "a clump of yams" -> "clump" -> CLAMP.

Anyway, CLAMP's MO is to take a genre and play all the expected tropes, but with one twist. So in that respect your prediction about Angelic Layer is correct, but you'll miss a surprise if you quit watching it.
 

MadMac

Registered User
Validated User
#16
I can think of much worse shows in the last *year*. Mitsudomoe, anyone?
Mitsudomoe is actually hilarious past the first two or three episodes, and I say that as someone who hated the show starting out.

I'll second Angelic Layer as being an unexpectedly decent but not inspired show. I watched maybe half of the series through Netflix before losing interest and bumping it off my que.

I didn't start keeping up with currently airing shows until about 2009, so I'm sure there are heaps of obscure unlicensed titles from this era I've never even heard of.

In case you're wondering, I do plan to start a proper "Spring 2011" review thread tomorrow-ish, when some shows have actually aired. Don't worry, I've got a huge buffer on this thread (I actually started preparing for it in late February), so I should be able to do both concurrently. *fingers crossed*
Looking forward to it! Aside from sequels, none of the Spring Shows have made an impression on me, hypewise, and I'm left with no idea what I want to watch.

I don't doubt that : if it was airing today, I'd probably watch it. But then, I have much more relaxed standards for "current season weekly watch" than for archive marathon sessions (I'm watching goddarn Bakuman !).
This is so true. There's a huge difference in bye-in between "Eh, I can spend 20 minutes a week watching this when I've got nothing better to do" and "Oh sure, I'll just marathon the entire series over a couple of days and hope it doesn't drive me crazy." Which goes a long ways towards explaining why you so many average shows get green-lit every season, really, since simulcast streaming is a lot closer to how these shows are expected to be consumed.
 

Old Toby

Least Known Dog on the Net
Validated User
#17
"clump of potatoes" works fine too. But CLAMP didn't just get the spelling wrong, they seem to have thought the word referred specifically to potatoes (or perhaps yams, mistranslated), not a general term for a group of closely packed things.

Old Toby
Least Known Dog on the Net
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#18
I can think of much worse shows in the last *year*. Mitsudomoe, anyone?
Hey, Mitsudomoe was AWESOME ! Although the subject matter and the art style won't appeal to everybody (and they probably made a mistake with piling on the "teacher is mistaken for a pedophile" jokes early on - the show's really about the triplets and their friends), it's got impeccable comedic timing and was by far the funniest 2010 anime I watched.

What amazed me with Run=Dim was the sheer incompetence and half-assedness of it. Cliché tsundere hijinks, seriously ?
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#19
I was planning on skipping Cosmic Baton Girl Comet-san, but I've finally found a source for it. I'll post it when it's done. Meanwhile...


Comic Party
(13 episodes)

What's it about ?

After an inspirational trip to Comiket, a group of high-school friends decides to start producing doujinshi.

Characters

Kazuki, our protagonist... although given how much he's yanked around during the first episode, that's being a bit charitable. At first he's sceptical about the whole comiket/doujinshi thing, but he does get taken in by the enthusiasm of those he meets there. Has an art background.

Mizuki, his cliché tsundere childhood friend. Absolutely hates Comiket, but given how she gets trampled over twice before being dragged offscreen for most of the episode, I give her some slack.

Taishi, their "friend" who dragged them to Comiket in the first place, and spearheads the doujinshi project. He's prone to Gratuitous English, loud speeches, and narration. Very, very annoying.

Inagawa is an already active doujinshi artist that Kazuki meets at Comiket. They quickly hit it off, and she's the main reason he starts enjoying it a bit. She's from Kansai (with the inevitable accent and paper fan), but thanks to the power of plot convenience she transfers into everyone else's high school at the end of the first episode.

There are a few other characters that look like they'll be recurring - a clumsy girl lugging packages around, and the head of Comiket security. Neither gets much development yet, though.

Production Values

Very, very cheap. The animation is subpar, and this really looks like a product of the 90s. The terrible background music doesn't help.

Overall Impression

Well, Genshiken this is not. This is broad comedy with barely a hint of subtlety (I do like the notion that the "elevator school" setting allows those people to screw around without care for their studies). It's quite hard to get attached to any of the caricatures calling themselves characters, as they spend most of their screentime screeching annoyingly.

There's a bizarre dream sequence before the opening credits where Kazuki finds himself in a typical school harem setup (without realizing it), with everyone mistaking him for the protagonist. While it did raise more of a smile than the rest of the episode combined, I fail to see what the point was.

Bottom line : it's not nearly as funny as it wants to be. Maybe it improves later on, but I don't care.

Spoiler: Show


Because Mizuki getting trampled over never gets old !
 
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