Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Your Investment Portfolio: Liquidations from Spring 2011

Shows so bad that they require more
than a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card...
This season had shows with so much potential. For some, the potential was scouted and seen from the very beginning, as shows that were granted a half-year of episodes seem to have deserved it. For others, the potential came in the form of disaster, perhaps in the same way that we saw so much potential in the operations of Enron, New Coke, and the Exxon Valdez.

For every successful business, there is a certain ratio of businesses that have tanked. Show me Grave of the Fireflies, and I'll show you Happy Lesson. Show me Cowboy Bebop, and I'll show you the second season of Happy Lesson. Really, to make things simple, just show someone Happy Lesson. They'll get the concept of failure.

So here we go, folks. These shows have filed for Chapter 7. May they never return again.

(Reminder: all scores are out of 25. Like hell I'd give Battle Girls a 7 out of 10.)

Part 1: Spring's biggest gainers!
Part 2: Spring's biggest losers!
Part 3: Spring's incomplete deals!
Part 4: Spring's bankruptcies!
Part 5: Spring's best investments!

"You have gain."
This rating doesn't necessarily mean I have confidence in these shows being good or bad; it just means they've improved since the first episode.

"You have loss."
Again, some of the shows that have received this rating are not necessarily bad or going to get worse, but their initial scores just happened to be higher than they are now.

These shows are considered winners, even if they have lost some momentum since the first episode. Good chance they will continue to be good going into the next season(s).

The outlook for these shows do not appear as comforting as others, while those that have ended will likely not get a second thought.

"Open deal."
These shows haven't been seen enough for a decision to be made. Let's agree to deal with them later.

"You are bankrupt."
We've seen enough. These shows deserve to have their Midas Money stolen and their Financial District cards broken.

"You have control."
The best of the best. These shows have had me from Day 1 and will have me on Day 1 of the Summer 2011 season (if applicable).

Hen Zemi

Original Rating: 10 (out of 25)
Current Rating: 8
Last Episode Watched: 7

For a show all about studies regarding the twisted and perverted people in this world, Hen Zemi could have been a study on anime itself. In a medium so desperate for change and absurdity, the show could have established a new paradigm in the genre, but because of the stagnant nature of some shows, a reform so radical to the typical anime plotline makes it just as hard to swallow.

In the end, it simply became a collection of disturbances and disgusting actions.

Yes, anime and its fans are an assembly of perversions that could give researchers material for years, but urine in beer bottles, fetishes about being used as a food tray, and the use of ear canals as breeding grounds for fruit flies? Well, that's just sick. Yes, it's a bit of a colorful selection of college students, each with their own deviancy, but something tells me this series was an animated game of "Chicken" to see how far it could go before Governor Ishihara pulled the plug.

Battle Girls: Time Paradox
Original Rating: 8
Current Rating: 7
Last Episode Watched: 4

There was some promise upon watching the first episodes of Battle Girls: Time Paradox. Then I realized that I could be washing the dishes.

While part of me was hoping that another adaption of a pachislot theme into anime would create another "jump the shark" moment (see: Rio ~Rainbow Gate!~), reality dictated otherwise. Much like Dog Days (the show below this review), the "war" was substituted with "recreation", and that has to get under the skin of historians out there. Add to that an increasingly-whiny Hideyoshi, and I found my stopping point.

Aria the Scarlet Ammo
Original Rating: 5
Current Rating: 6
Last Episode Watched: 3

Oh, Internets. You all fell in love with Rie Kugimiya and Junji Majima so easily in Toradora!, and I am just as guilty as all of you. It wouldn't hurt to have them appear in another anime together, right? Well, we reap what we sow, as Aria the Scarlet Ammo isn't the type of show we wanted them to co-star in.

Frankly, seeing high-school students with guns and swords in anime is a vital pet peeve for me. Full Metal Panic! gave me a bit of the chills from the friction with my personal policies, and Gunslinger Girl irked me endlessly by lowering the average age of the assassins. Aria's introduction of a high-school just for weaponry and ballistics training really got my goat this season, and I couldn't stand watching it after the third episode. (Seriously, guys—quit using the traps they used in Speed already.)

Dog Days
Original Rating: 6
Current Rating: 5.5
Last Episode Watched: 2

Admittedly, Dog Days was the one show that I couldn't watch past two episodes. Animating a war between cats and dogs is one thing, but animating a faux war between cats and dogs is another contest altogether. I'm sure that it could have gotten better had I watched more, but if I wanted to see pugilism without the blood and gore, I would have watched an episode of Takeshi's Castle.

Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi
(Bridge to the Starry Skies)
Original Rating: 5
Current Rating: 5.000000001
Last Episode Watched: 7

Just what is it that encourages companies to roll out animated versions of erotic visual novels? Is it a celebration for a game's success, a reward to the consumers for being good to their products? Is it an added bonus to appeal to those who didn't get their jollies from the game itself?

To be brief about it, it's hard to tell exactly what the point was for animating Bridge to the Starry Skies. The characters were colorful in hair color alone, their personalities as prefabricated and wooden as mannequins. The scenery was borrowed, not bolstered, by other games, as it was dreadfully similar to other visual-novel adaptions—hell, it was Yosuga no Sora without the obvious creepy brother/sister incest and with the implied creepy brother/little-brother incest. Worst of all, even if you didn't play the game, it was set in stone that the male lead would make out with the lead character, the abnormal ditz with the bottomless stomach.

The inexplicably sad thing is that it had actually improved since the first episode. Ugh.

Health & Phys Ed for 30-Year-Olds
Original Rating: 5
Current Rating: 4
Last Episode Watched: 4
Worst in Show (Animated Shorts)

I'd say that I watched four episodes of this series, but all the colored-chalk scribbles blocking out the naughty bits and the nonsense words bleeping out the sensitive subject matter, I probably only saw two. If the censors had any real say in the matter, they would have gone to the producers beforehand and given them a bit of advice:

"Yeah, you know that blow-up doll there? That's not getting past us, guys. Same goes for any vibrators you have on hand. All those words to describe the act of sexual intercourse and the anatomy of male and female genitalia have to go too. Really, if it were up to us, we'd just put this bad boy straight to video and call it a day."

I'd want to call this a victim of the stricter censorship laws, but I think we're all victims here...

The Qwaser of Stigmata II
Original Rating: 3
Current Rating: 2
Last Episode Watched: 3
Worst In Show (Multiple Seasons)
Worst of Spring 2011

I will say only one thing about this pathetic show. I cannot believe that the Japanese public are so starved for entertainment that they allow this show to last 36 episodes. I'll fill the rest of the review with my shopping list.

  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Diet Pepsi
  • Milk from the breast of a nubile maiden

Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai
(We, Without Wings)
Original Rating: 10
Current Rating: 4
Last Episode Watched: 7
Worst in Show (Single Season)

You know, I was totally prepared to give OreTsuba the credit it deserved for turning a cumbersome association of characters and a confusing plot swerve into a show that actually tried something unique. As hard as it was to fathom, the We, Without Wings title slowly made sense as I started to understand how Shûsuke, Hayato, and Takashi fit into the mix.

Then they had to have that "DJ Condor" guy change the channel to Skinemax.

Every time the show looked like it was heading in a sensical direction, it had to pull some sort of low-brow stunt to deflate all of its momentum. The introduction of an interesting villain to the show was coupled with a dimwitted picnic, a fake-as-plastic Fat Joe impostor, a food fight involving cakes and crossdressers, and a rock-rap fusion song about (and I quote) "D*cks! D*cks! D*cks! D*cks!" A serious conversation between characters? Hell no! A cavalry battle in the pool where the main heroines lose their tops? Of course!

The OreTsuba staff had the chance to cater to a wider audience. Instead, they gave all of their galge fans the erections they demanded.

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