D.Gray-man Hallow – 04
It’s a funny sort of experience watching D.Gray-man Hallow after so many years away from the franchise. Every so often someone will pop up on-screen (like Road this week) or something will happen and a little bell goes off in my head: “Oh yeah – I remember that!” While I watched every episode of the first series I’m not enough of a die-hard to have committed all this to memory, as much as I enjoyed the first go-around.
That feeling is probably enough to keep me watching, though probably not enough to keep me blogging. We’re at the point of the season now where the bubbles are getting ready to pop, and it’s only the fact that the schedule lends the possibility of doing D.Gray-man in digest form that makes me hesitate to commit. That and the fact that are still times when that feeling of weightiness and foreboding that the first season was so good at shines through the rushed pacing and lack of exposition.
I do think this show is at its best when the Millennium Earl and his apostles are central to the plot, as they were this week. And my hope is that they will be for a while as we enter the Alma Arc, especially given that we only have one cour’s worth of material to look forward to. I’m pretty happy with Aoyama Yutaka’s take on the Earl role, too. Elements are in place, but right now they just don’t quite add up to enough.
Cheer Danshi!! – 04
Another bubble series is on the clock, and it’s probably in about the same boat as D.Gray-man, though for entirely different reasons. I like Cheer Danshi, but the problem is that what I like about it – its unpretentious, matter-of-fact realism and avoidance of manufactured drama – can sometimes make it a little dull.
In a certain sense (stay with me here) Cheer Danshi reminds me of a male cheerleading version of Shirobako. The sense here was that someone (in this case the novelist) really wanted to tell a story about something they were passionate about. They go into great detail, because if you’re that person the detail is both vital and interesting. They tell the story with tremendous affection, and fanciful elements creep in as a result of wanting to make it bright and inspiring. That’s all well and good, but unless you’re really passionate about the topic yourself, it can only take you so far as a viewer.
The funny thing is, I am really passionate about anime and the process of making it, and Shirobako still ended up being a mixed bag for me. There I think it was because it sugarcoated too much and lapsed into fantasy and CGDCT too often, but with Cheer Danshi it boils down more to simply not being all that interested in the minutiae of cheerleading. What it then comes down to, for me, is whether the character story is enough to keep me invested. Right now I’d say it’s enough to keep me watching but probably not to keep me blogging, but as with all bubble shows that survive this long, I reserve the right to change my mind in either direction…