Mangaka-san to Assistant-san is about as straightforward as it gets. This is ecchi and silly and makes no pretense at being anything else, though it does get a little more earnest at times than what we saw in the premiere.
This is half-length (with full-length OP and EDs) and based on a 4-panel manga from the same author as Doujin Work. Short format is probably for the best here, in hindsight – this series is like Seitokai Yakuindomo in that it’s basically a machine-gun of ecchi humor, and that series probably would have worked better for me if it hadn’t been full-length. Most of the humor is derived from the mangaka’s unapologetically ecchi nature and the way his female assistant and editor react to it, and probably the funniest thing in the premiere is Matsuoka Yoshitsugu’s balls-out performance as that mangaka, Aito Yuuki.
This one isn’t going to win any awards for enlightened approach to gender politics, the ZEXCS animation is – well, ZEXCS, and most of the comedy is decidedly on the dumb side. But it’s sort of fun, like the manga is, and at least for me I actually laugh when I’m supposed to a decent percentage of the time. I certainly won’t be blogging it but this is a show that makes for pretty respectable escapist entertainment.
Soul Eater Not! – 01
I didn’t have high expectations for Soul Eater Not! (which is why I didn’t include it in the preview) despite being a reasonably big fan of the original series. Or perhaps it might be just as truthful to say it’s because I’m a fan of Soul Eater.
When I first saw the announcement for this prequel/spinoff manga, my first thought was “Wow – it sounds like Ookubo-sensei is blatantly trying to cash in on some of the most banal trends in the industry.” Then I read some of the manga, and my reaction changed to “Wow – Ookubo-sensei really is blatantly trying to cash in on some of the most banal trends in the industry.” Still, I love Soul Eater and I love BONES so here I am. But things are what they are.
There’s no mistaking what Soul Eater Not! is – it’s a cute girls being cute series designed to milk the franchise for more cash by cutting straight to the Blu-ray market. It’s like seeing an old friend after a long absence, and they’ve become a twisted and deformed version of themselves – you recognize them, but it’s impossible to miss that something terrible has happened to them.
If this sort of show is your thing, I think you’ll find SEN! to be perfectly fine – Ookubo is not a hack by any means, and the production is adequate (though it’s singularly mediocre by BONES standards). Nevertheless I don’t personally feel this style plays to Ookubo’s strengths as a writer and the whole thing – the fanservice, the moe, the revealing pratfalls – feels every bit as calculated and pandering as it is. It may very well be that eventually this series proves that it has some reason to exist besides the most crass and cynical (I never found it in the manga before I bailed), but the occasional glimpse of a familiar face and the beloved setting aren’t enough to keep me around to find out. Ookubo-sensei has every right to sell out and make as much off his property as he can, and I have every right to choose not to follow along.
One final thing must be said, and that’s the original Soul Eater adaptation – with which BONES did a very good job – was left hanging, and that series really deserves a proper conclusion in anime form. But I think it’s a good bet that series wouldn’t sell as many discs as this one will, so I suppose the parties involved are simply making the smart financial decision.