When it comes to shoujo, I tend to like those that take themselves a little less seriously even when dealing with serious subject matter (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun comes to mind). That doesn’t usually apply to Production I.G.’s shoujo adaptations, and Ao Haru Ride seems very much in that mold – based on the first two episodes, this plays as straight-up classic shoujo as it gets.
While my comment above the fold is mostly meant in jest, there’s a grain of truth to it too. Watching Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun do its thing on Monday and then watching Ao Haru Ride doing many of the same things except playing it straight on Tuesday, I’m in the mindset of wanting to laugh at a wedding or funeral – I know it’s disrespectful and I don’t want to to do it, but sometimes it’s hard to resist. It may be the influence of Nozaki-kun talking but this show just seems to take itself awfully seriously.
I’m going to give Ao Haru Ride at least one more week to try and reel me in, because I certainly don’t dislike it and there just isn’t much shoujo on TV these days. But neither one of the leads has captured my imagination as yet, and Futaba’s drama with her classmates had a very formulaic and somewhat manufactured quality to it. What I really need and haven’t been given yet is a compelling reason to care about what’s going on here, a spark of something distinctive or profound. Hopefully the series will kick into another gear and deliver it in-time.
Akame ga Kill – 02
It would be fair to say the second episode of Akame Ga Kill appealed to me a lot less than the first did, for a number of different reasons. In the first place it was a lot more conventional and cliched, starting with the introduction of the rest of the assassins at Night Raid. Mine, especially (interestingly pronounced in the English possessive fashion – that’s OK, you can have her) strikes me a deal-breaker if she’s featured in any major way – and she looks to be the focus of the next episode. In the second it simply do do as well at holding my interest – I was pretty bored by the time the last act was playing out, though the actual assassination scene with Ogre was very nicely executed (no pun intended), and the visuals in general were quite as stylish as we’ve come to expect from White Fox.
There was also a whiff of something that seemed off to me, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on it at the time of viewing. It was after the fact when I realized that AgK was written by the same man (Takahiro) as Majikoi that it struck me what it was. I think those of you that watched that series all the way through will understand what I mean, but there’s a certain worldview running through both properties that I find quite unappealing. I have no idea if it will assert itself as strongly here as it did in Majikoi, where by the end it made that show basically unwatchable for me, but I kind of doubt I’ll be around long enough to find out.
Incidental but not coincidental to this is the matter of Bulat’s introduction, which had a distasteful and mean-spirited odor to it. But then, pretty much every member of Night Raid as introduced was pretty much a walking cliche, and given what happened with Majikoi as that series progressed it’a hard to feel much optimism going forward here. I’d rather not have known about the connection, to be honest, because it certainly would have been easier to be open-minded about Akame ga Kill if I didn’t – but I can’t un-know what I know, and even without that added element I still didn’t find this episode all that appealing. I’ll give it another week, but this one is a long shot to make the cut.