Quickly moving forward we come across the shows that I didn’t mind but had some crucial flaws or lack of interesting concepts/moments to me. Whether it be the series just hashing out more of the same, or a devolution of what a series has already set crumbling its own standards. Easily some of these series are watchable and even enjoyable, but due to this season having more interesting choices I couldn’t quite give myself the ability to pass them into my top ten.
14. Arslan Senki: Fujin Ranbu
I did really enjoy the first season of Arslan Senki, and was ecstatic to hear it was getting a sequel. Though the sequel was only slated for a strange eight episode run, and that is where some of the problems with this season lie. The pacing is absolutely atrocious, where some events that would take at least a few episodes in regular series to develop, in the beginning they shove in multiple plot points in one episode trying to span both Arslan’s father, Silver Mask and Arslan himself. Yes there is time dedicated to three people in an eight episode series. Despite it being rushed, it also felt the need to introduce a lot of characters and even cement their reason as to why they exist sometimes with an entire episode dedicated to them (Silver Mask and his princess). Even though that one episode was the best one out of all of them, giving well needed duality to the conflict of the throne.
The content itself was more of an average adventure with Arslan, where Narsus does godlike strategy and it resolves nicely. Now with all of my misgivings with the show throughout its runtime I did enjoy myself and was willing to at the very least give it a pass, sadly there is one more crucial problem with this edition. Pacing, rushed characters, average to bland story arc, there is one more thing that made me have it down this far is just the icing on the cake. The animation was arguably the most sloppy I have seen from a modern day television series in a long time. Yes some sections were nicely done such as the most of the Silver Mask episode, yet more often than not it is easy to see how messed up some of the animation is. There is a distinct lack of detail in characters and actions that made me cause for concern, yet last season with a longer runtime to average out the budget they manage to have some greatly animated fight sequences where it is hard to say Fujin Ranbu has one. Why with a shorter runtime does the animation look worse than the previous season with three times the amount of episodes? It is just, to me, inexcusable.
13. Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu/ Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World-
Here we are again…Re:Zero and I. I have just as many problems with this half as I do with the first half yet I find myself now at odds end with the series. There are so many elements that shift the tone in a way that made everything take itself far too seriously to the point of hilarity in my opinion. The whale was a cool idea and the battle was fun, if they didn’t also try to shove in a character’s backstory throughout the entire battle. Seeing Subaru finally break down was actually one of my favourite parts as it shows how corruptible and flawed a hero he is, often swayed more by desire than sense if anything. It was nice to see him make stupid mistakes that didn’t feel like a misstep with the writing (well for the most part, he is far too over the top in some sequences unfortunately). There is also one episode in particular that did a good job in explaining the flaws of Subaru in a way to move forward and it was actually somewhat touching. Seeing the political game being played was a nice little layer added, yet I didn’t think its incorporation besides prolonging this checkpoint was needed to the extent it was used. Every time Re:Zero wasn’t using the witch’s cult I thought the series was alright, and still remained in the middle on it. The last checkpoint after the whale in its entirety felt more like padding and pulled out twists like it was Oprah asking for people to look under their chairs. You want a reason to pad on the series? LOOK UNDER YOUR CHAIR!
Everything I dislike about this half boils down to one character & his followers to be exact for me. Betelgeuse is arguably the most over the top villain and stupid idea the series had in order to create an episode that though it was hard to watch for its graphic nature at points, relied on a sense of torture porn to play with its audience. People loved this character and that left me baffled as I never thought the end goal villain of this checkpoint was going to be trying far too hard to be “spooooooooky”. I found most of the scenes that used Betelgeuse to be over the top and quite manipulative with its torture sequences that were quite cringe-worthy to their credit. The dramatic and dour melodrama it produced made me laugh as it at times felt like I was watching a very dark comedy, especially with Betelgeuse’s performance being more blase compared to other over the top villains. Just look at action films before the 2000s or even more modern horror films for better ones. I’m an emotionally resonant guy, I cry at more things than I want to say I do (Beautiful Mind still to this day) yet I found myself noticing too much how it wanted me to react and I just wasn’t going to bite. I’m not swayed by the overuse of torture, though I will admit the cringe is real, I found it more along the lines of Final Destination at its worst and Saw when it was meh. There was no good.
Do I still enjoy this series? I can’t say that I enjoyed this second cour in its entirety as it was just trying too hard to be emotionally resonant and I just wasn’t biting. I found myself laughing and facepalming more times than I found myself enjoying the series and those were beginning to be fewer and fewer moments. Though to me I was losing what the point of the series was in the end, and thus couldn’t grab onto the story. Now don’t get me wrong, I think everyone should watch the series. It is quite the entertaining spectacle, and one can find enjoyment out of it. It just isn’t my thing in the slightest.
12. Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara
I have never truly been an avid fan of Souma from the get-go. The first season still teeters on the edge of mediocrity and almost bland battle shounen territory. The thing it does excel in is its interesting visual flair, often resulted in the foodgasms one sees on the screen after someone tastes food in this series most often. Each sequence will either be referential or be an over the top representation of the pure feeling of enjoyment the taster is experiencing. Often these moments revolve around ecchi, but in a way that is funny for the most part since it isn’t at times particularly sexually appealing. Well it could be, and of course to each their own, but to me it never came across as such. The appeal of Souma for the most part was how visually interesting it was, and at times the character interactions and comedy was nice. Nothing truly wowed me, but it was a pleasantly mediocre watch with no hype going into the second season.
Ni no Sara follows that tradition, but unfortunately focuses on its battle shounen style far too much in the beginning. I never felt a connection to many of the characters throughout the first season, except the growth within Megumi, and found myself more indifferent to the fights that were borderline dull in the grand scheme of things especially with character moments lacking and exposition filling most of the runtime. The introduction to the season was also quite rushed as it wanted to get to the tournament portion post-haste. The saving grace came at the end of the season bringing it arguably back to form with focusing in on honing each person’s individual craft and style. Particularly Souma’s, which is fun to see how he performs in the event called the Stagiaire. It actually focused on the characters and their journey to finding their own unique style and work method which I found far more fascinating than watching food battle after food battle. Souma came back in the end, but it wasn’t enough for it to crack my top ten.
I find myself disappointed in Orange for losing that special difference that it showed over most romances in anime, its presentation. Orange is kind of basic in plot and lacks a lot of progression despite how simplistic its premise is, and the way it prolongs itself is through the actions of Naho. To me this series boils down to one selfish people (Naho) getting saved by one tragic hero (Suwa). Naho is unlikeable in the sense that there is very little she can do by herself and almost guilt the others into helping her consistently, and only gets it right when the plot needs to hurry itself along. She needs the guidance of the letter, she needs the guidance of Suwa, she needs to buck up when the plot demands her to. I often wonder the chemistry between her and Kakeru as well. Kakeru is someone who has lost his mother and believes it to be his own fault. This causes suicidal depression and the rest is self-explanatory. Kakeru often puts on a mask around others and that is understandable due to the torment he feels inside, a swirling of emotions you just don’t want to express.
This is where my problem comes in as most times this relationship will be quite obvious in its outcomes. Naho tries to do something ineptly, then saved by someone else, then screws up the moment most times and Kakeru is left discouraged. That more often than not is the plotting of the events, and yes it is much nicer when we see the future segments and when Naho finally bucks up. This series is like a teeter-totter with one person putting their foot on the other end consistently bobbing you up and down. It may seem fun in the beginning, but it will quickly get annoying. I like this show with some of its elements, yet I found myself on that same teeter-totter consistently when watching most episodes. Oh and lastly, Suwa is Superman.
I have been quite sick this past week and while I want to push out more content such as character spotlights and the like my mind is a bit woozy and its hard to concentrate at times. Luckily I had some of these made beforehand and hopefully I’ll be all better come Thanksgiving Day (in Canada). Also I may have been a bit more negative this time around but sometimes I need to tap into that pessimistic side of being an optimistic pessimist. Hopefully me recovering soon means I can get back to making other different posts soon. Though that remains to be seen, I hope you all enjoyed the post and don’t forget to post your thoughts on the different series below! Have a great day!