There aren’t many of us it seems, but I kind of like ēlDLIVE. It has a certain quirky old-school charm to it that appeals to me, but let’s be honest, it’s a bubble show through and through. And you know it’s a bad season when you can’t even find enough marginal series to do a digest post – but I’ve one-ep dropped most of the potential candidates. In fact, if I don’t blog ēlDLIVE I won’t have a single Sunday series, which is hardly a desirable situation given that it’s the day when I have the most time to actually write.
One trend I’m noticing this season is that shows which seem perfectly decent to me, like this one and Seiren, are getting absolutely brutal scores on aggregator review sites (so are Onihei and ACCA, but that’s another discussion). I don’t think these series are bad – I think the general disdain reflects a change in the anime audience. If you don’t check a specific box and you don’t have the right vibe, you’re dismissed – and like Seiren, ēlDLIVE feels like the product of another time (and not one all that long ago). I don’t say that with rose-colored glasses on – there are elements of this series which feel genuinely dated. But really, it’s nowhere near as bad as you’d think if you relied on MAL or Anime Planet.
No question about it, Amano-sensei brings a very old-school sensibility to the table. Mizusu is a problem, because at this point in the series she’s pretty much just an abusive snark machine without a lot of redeeming qualities. Some of those characters used to be played by Kugimiya Rie back when they were all the rage, but now she has the role of the cute familiar alien (call it Drew or Delugh, whichever you prefer). Drew is one of the stronger elements of the series for me – I like the way it interacts with Chuuta, and its role as a sort of voice of his subconscious. Of course having something say all your subconscious thoughts out loud (or worse, goad you into doing so) is hardly a recipe for happiness for a middle-schooler.
The alien stuff is OK so far, pretty boilerplate early 21st-Century comedy sci-fi material. I think the series works best when it’s inside Chuuta’s head as he tries to make sense of all the bizarre things happening to him. There’s an element of the sort of observation that Tsuritama did of the mental state of on-edge adolescent boys (nowhere near as sophisticated or successful, of course) whose propensity to drift out of the moment and into their own stream-of-consciousness gets them in trouble. Taken all together I think it makes ēlDLIVE a classic bubble show, as I said, but it’s not like the competition is intense so I’ll give it ample time to make its case.