Amanchu! – 01
So you know that one guy who’s not that nuts about Aria? That’s me.
Comedy is a notoriously personal and hard to quantify genre, but I think true slice-of-life is right up there with it. Set aside the 80% or so of series that are called slice-of-life but actually aren’t, and with that remaining 20% the line between success and failure is extremely thin and hard to define. Why is it that for me, Yokohama Kaidanshi Kikou is an abject masterpiece and Amanchu! rather a bore? It’s not as easy to explain as a gap that wide should be, but one thing’s for sure – I sure as hell know that for me at least, it’s true.
I’ve learned over the years that Satou Junichi on his own is way too much for me to take, but when he’s adapting the results can sometimes be stellar (as with Ikoku Meiro no Croisee). Here, not only is he adapting Amano Kozue’s manga but he has the redoubtable Kasai Kenichi as a co-director. So even though I’m not a huge fan of Amano’s Aria, I did have some hopes for Amanchu!. But to be blunt, it didn’t work for me, to the point where it was a struggle to finish the episode.
Again, this genre is a hard one to break down in writing. I find with Satou’s work that there’s a self-serving quality, too strong a desire to be cooed over. Great slice-of-life should feel effortless, and Satou’s stuff (and to an extent Amano’s too) always strikes me as trying very hard to make you love it. There’s also just not much acidity here to cut the sweetness – like much of these guys’ work I find Amanchu! very one note. It’s just not for me – if it is for you, that’s great.
Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin – 01
There was a recent writing contest in Japan for aspiring light novelists. Of the “winning” 46 entries, 14 of them had “Alternate World” in the title. Not just in the plot, mind you – the title. The winning entry was called “The Chronicle of the Male Virgin Who Travels to the Alternate World Chiirem (cheat + harem) and Gains Healing Magic”.
I don’t think Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin is the most egregious case of light novel disease I’ve seen, by any means. But it’s still obvious from the first 10 seconds that this is a LN adaptation. One of the things I’m glad about this season is that there are only three LN adaptations on the schedule – may it be a trend and not an aberration. While there are always going to be exceptions, LNs as a whole have had a corrosive effect on anime and the less influence they have going forward, the better. Attention spans have gotten so short with LNs now that it’s not enough that the exposition has to be spoken aloud in unmissable fashion in the first episode – they have to tell you the whole premise in the title. And the premise is, roughly, the same every time. So is the male lead. And really, push comes to shove that’s the case with Alderamin.
Madhouse’s track record with light novel adaptations has not been stellar, and it’s kind of depressing that this is the only series the studio that gave us arguably the strongest repertoire over the last few years has produced over the last two seasons. This isn’t a straight-up slackfest like Mahou Sensou, but there’s no spark here – it’s all very generic. Thank goodness there are plenty of strong shows this summer, and so few LN adaptations. But it sure would be nice to see Madhouse get back in the game where they belong.
Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu – 01
This series turned out to be a three-minute short, which pretty much disqualifies it from being a serious blogging candidate. It’s too bad because it’s a premise with modestly interesting comic potential – a male high-schooler named Sakaguchi Ryou who’s into BL but not into 3-D guys. As you’d expect that makes the world a rather awkward and uncomfortable place for him at times – even Akihabara is not kind to those who don’t fit into one of its pre-established boxes. And there’s some funny stuff in the premiere, such as Ryou heading to Toranoana to buy some yaoi and having to deal with the judgmental stares and whispering of both the women in the relevant section of the store (they do indeed write “For Girls” on the signs and conspicuously border everything in pink) and the cashiers.
I could see Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu both being pretty funny and a commentary on tolerance and prejudice, but at three minutes there’s only so much it’s going to be able to accomplish. I’ll watch for now (hell, it’s only three minutes) but that’s about it.