Weekly Digest 01/21/17 – Seiren, Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujou Ou-hen

The bubble may tale a little longer than usual to pop this season.

Seiren – 03

I’m still fairly pleased with Seiren, though in all honesty it doesn’t give me all that much to work with as a writer.  What can I say, I just like it – there’s a blend of ecchi and innocence to it that the original Amagami SS had that works.  In fact this version rather seamlessly continues the narrative of the original, seems to me – I don’t see any dropoff in quality.  And there’s just not much out there in anime romcom these days that shoots for this particular vibe.

What I’m seeing in the reactions to Seiren is that viewers just don’t seem to respond to this sort of romance anymore.  They either want Shou to be decisive and dominate Tsuneki, or Tsuneki to completely abuse and humiliate him.  There’s no appetite for the middle ground these days – conditioning I guess – and my guess is if Amagami SS came out in 2017 it wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it was at the beginning of this decade.  In the big picture five or six years is less than a blink, but in anime terms it’s an eternity.

Me, I like the teasing-dancing around the obvious flirtation between Shou and Hikari.  Truth is girls often have a measure of power over guys in this age group, and Tsuneki is one of those girls that’s aware of it.  It could be argued that she’s mean-spirited in the way she teases him, and she certainly takes him for granted.  But on balance it’s not a bad deal for either of them.  Shou actually has a relationship with a girl, there’s some healthy adolescent titillation, and nobody really gets hurt.

The real question is whether there’s true romance developing here.  One of the frustrations with the omnibus format is that as soon as things get to the stage where a courtship becomes a couple, we’re yanked out of that reality and forced to start over.  Seems we’re likely running short on time with this pairing, and I admit we haven’t seen a ton of progression in actual romance terms – not even a bowl of ramen could fast-forward the eroticism that much this time.  Shou and Hikari right now are somewhere in-between childhood friends and potential lovers, and I’m assuming they only have one episode left to cross over from the one to the other.

 

Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujou Ou-hen – 03

I must confess I’m having a harder than expected time getting back into the swing of Ao no Exorcist. It’s tough to put my finger on just exactly why – and it’s always difficult when sequels are this far removed to tell whether it’s the material that’s changed, or me.  But in thinking back over the last couple of years there have been quite a few examples of this cycle repeating – Durarara, D.Gray-man, et al.  Everything happening on-screen seems fine, but I’m not feeling the magic.

If I were to analyze, things seem to be a bit stuck in neutral at the moment.  Rin struggling to control his flames.  Shiemi mired in self-doubt (and pity).  Bon pissed at everybody, Kitten being an annoying little cantaloupe. Haven’t we kind of seen all this before?  The details have changed and it’s been a long time, yeah, but it feels like all that is pretty much what was happening at the “true end” of the first season, before the anime-original arc started.

At this point I guess I’m ready for some hard-core action to kick in, because the character stuff is a bit too familiar.  Maybe the kid with the puppet will finally do something, or Yukio (who I’ve always found kind of annoying to be honest, but at the moment I sort of miss his presence) will come back and start screwing over his brother again.  There’s the foundation for some good stuff here, but right now nothing much seems to be happening either in terms of plot or character.  Weekends are a graveyard this season (which is highly unusual) so I’m under no pressure to make a quick decision on either of these series, but if I’m honest, I’ll be looking forward to the next episode of Seiren more than Ao no Exorcist.

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4 comments

  1. Z

    Okay, good I guess, I’m not the only one who is feeling lackluster about Ao no Exorcist. I mean, it seems unlikely I will drop it, because what else would I watch? But still, I’m just not feeling it like I did with the original series.

  2. H

    There are two things that are frustrating me about Blue Exorcist at the moment. One: I forgot that we would have to go back to a time when his group were ignoring him and treating him like an enemy. It already annoyed me immensely the first time around since it was obvious from the get-go that Rin was serious about wanting to defeat Satan so I never really saw the point of such extreme behavior towards him. Two: The pacing. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying the story, but the pacing just feels too slow at the moment. The accusatory arguments and self-doubting scenes feel a bit too drawn out so that the story isn’t advancing quickly enough for me. I’m anxious to get to more exciting stuff since there is definitely some action coming up in the immediate future. I’ve also been feeling a little lackluster about this show despite having looked forward to it and I think it’s mainly because there was simply too much time between seasons to keep the hype alive where the anime was concerned. The story in the manga has gone so much further past this point that I’m having a harder time getting past the elements that annoyed me to begin with. Still, I hope that they will continue adapting the manga after this arc is finished since there is a substantial amount of really awesome material yet to be done that I would love to see on screen.

  3. I actually didnt watch Blue Excorcist back in 2011 but only this weekend.. I usually avoid the comments of people because I don’t want to have them affect my viewing, but even I.. I realized after episode 17, something felt off and I wasn’t really sure of how it ended, I got the vibe from FMA where it stops making sense. Then I watched episode one of season 2 and I just didn’t get it and went and read comments. I knew I was right when someone mentioned the FMA brotherhood similarity and restart.

    MM but now it makes sense. I mean if you rewatch season 1 (and read the manga like I did – my first time reading manga really, but I just wanted to know how much was not part of the main story), the length it takes for them to understand him is ok, but what I don’t get is Yukio’s annoyance with Rin going a bit more, I feel like it wasn’t conveyed well. Also, there were things in the manga that were taken out that are really good to show Shiemei’s perception of Rin.

    That to say, watching Rin makes me sad slightly :/

  4. Another thing I like about Seiren (in addition to the ones you mentioned) is the character designs. You would be hard pressed to find better looking characters then the ones in this series this season.Last season the best looking characters were in Hibiki Euphonium.

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