July 07, 2009

Shows I'll never watch: almost anything from KyoAni

Kyoto Animation burst into the attention of R1 otaku with the release of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu (released eventually in R1 as "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya"). KyoAni fanbois began to eagerly await later releases from them, and still do to this day.

But I'm not one of them. I bought the Haruhi DVDs when they were released, and there are parts of it which are pretty good. And parts which suck pretty badly.

Nothing else that KyoAni has released to date has been of the slightest interest to me. There have been the Key dating game adaptations: Kanon 2006, Air, and Clannad, and all their sequels and addenda. They're hanky shows. The goal is to hook the audience and wring as many tears out of them as possible. Not a kind of show that I like.

And they can be pretty manipulative, like taking a really, really cute little girl and giving her a fatal disease which, as Harlan Ellison once put it in a different context, "smites but does not wither."

There was Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu. Problem was, it emphasized the parts of Full Metal Panic which I liked the least. And anyway, I'm not really much of a fan of that franchise. I watched the first series once, and haven't had any urge to watch any of it again, or any of the successor series, like KyoAni's Second Raid.

There was Lucky Star. It was another huge hit for KyoAni, and it has given us iconic characters. But when it finally came out on DVD, I bought the first couple and tried to wade through it. And I gave up after about 4 episodes. I tried; I really tried. It just didn't work for me.

So there's Haruhi. But the series is running again this year, with new episodes mixed into the continuity between the old ones. They finally got to the first of the new episodes, and I watched it. And it didn't work for me. The magic is gone. It was just more of the same. On first viewing it was pretty much fun, but by the next day it started feeling really stale. Since then, more new episodes have come out, and I haven't felt any urge to watch them either.

KyoAni has produced a lot of shows which were very popular. It seems that the problem is just that they're not doing the kind of thing I like, and I don't expect that to change any time soon. So these days I'm always interested in new shows from J.C. Staff, and very interested in any show from Studio Fantasia. I'll even be curious about new shows from Gonzo. But announcement of a new show from KyoAni gets a yawn from me.

UPDATE: Oh, and there's K-On. Yet another show which was a big hit, but which doesn't even slightly interest me.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Never Watch at 04:43 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
Post contains 487 words, total size 3 kb.

1 I 90% agree with you.  Haven't watched the new Haruhi yet; I'm waiting for a few episodes to accumulate.  But I bounced off Lucky Star and Kanon and couldn't even face the other sad-girls-in-X shows.

With one exception: K-On!   It's wonderful.  Oh, it's not Great Anime, but it sure is a lot of fun.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 07, 2009 04:58 PM (PiXy!)

2 Ufotable is often good (2x2 Shippuden and Manabi). Too bad their capacity is 1 show in 2 seasons. GONZO is dead for me however. I will take a perverse pleasure from your inevitable disappointment with Saki's ending.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at July 07, 2009 05:06 PM (/ppBw)

3 I agree about the magic being gone.  Their art isn't even that good any more.  Production I.G. kicked their butts up and down the table with East of Eden. Shaft laid down the law with Natsu no Arashi.  And frankly, both were two of the best shows I've seen in a few seasons, for reasons that had nothing to do with art.

But KyoAni has other sins to answer for, such as making Endless Episode, er, Summer, a 3-parter.  I could see 2, though it struck me as a bit awkward.  But three?  Did all the time cut out of the new DBZ get inserted into Haruhi S2?

I just couldn't get into K-on, I wasn't going to put up with another tear-jerker after Kanon (one was enough, thank you) and Lucky Star was just too pointless, even if I did like Akina the bipolar idol.

Bleh. So whatever happened to that awful spinoff of the Tenchi franchise we were all panning, anyway?

Posted by: ubu at July 07, 2009 05:25 PM (rhU88)

4 It's like a entire "let's troll Wonderduck" post.

Posted by: Wonderduck at July 07, 2009 05:37 PM (eVY9y)

5 To everyone who disses my musicological moeblobs: Pppppppttttt!!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 07, 2009 05:40 PM (PiXy!)

6 Not deliberately so, Wonderduck, but I'm very aware that it's a controversial opinion.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 07, 2009 06:40 PM (+rSRq)

7 As long as Shinbo is working for Shaft, I'll perk up and pay attention to their releases too. I haven't watched Bakemonogatari yet, and early reports don't look too promising, but I'll at least give it a chance.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 07, 2009 06:41 PM (+rSRq)

8 I am not sure where SHAFT and Shinbo go in my book, so I didn't mention it in the previous comment as long as we gang-pile against KyotoAni. Hidamari was nice, but ruined by cheapness. ef made a big impression, but it's controversial for some things (is the payphone scene overlong?). Arashi never went past its source, too bad.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at July 07, 2009 07:00 PM (/ppBw)

9 The way the last episode ended, it looks like Endless Eight is a 4-parter.

As to why KyoAni has done it this way, couple reasons. They can show off by not reusing shots. Do something unexpected by the fanbase, cause who would really do 4 episodes when this type of story is normally done in 1 or 2. Try to create a sense of deja vu and dread in the audience like what was being felt by the characters. But most importantly There's just one huge problem with doing it this way: It's gets boring to watch very quickly. Groundhogs Day had this same problem, and that had Bill Murray to help it.

As for K-On, it felt like I watched the same episode 12 times. Catchy OP, but I've seen greater character development in a Joe Blow comic.

Posted by: John Smith at July 07, 2009 07:21 PM (sDvZi)

10 Pppppppttttt!!

Having said that, while there's not a lot of character development in K-On! (it's not that type of show), Mio and Yui at least start to mature and recognise their own capabilities.  Tsumugi less so, because in many ways she's already the most mature of the four; Ritsuko less so as well, because hey, she's the drummer.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 08, 2009 03:24 AM (PiXy!)

11 KyoAni is hit and miss for me.  I liked Kanon 2006 quite a bit.  The protagonist, Yuichi, was a really decent guy (loved his wicked sense of humor) and the stories were good.  The only problem I had with it was that the best storyline was the first one, and even though the others were pretty good, they couldn't measure up.  Clannad was pleasant enough, but Clannad After was unwatchable.
I'll usually check their stuff out, but I will abandon it without a look back if the first couple of episodes don't hook me.
Steven's rule about love comedies/harem comedies only being as good as their protagonist is "together" is a pretty reliable one.  I have what I call the "beer rule" -- Would I want to go and have a few beers with the guy? 
Speaking of which, I watched the first episode of Natsu no Arashi and fled screaming.  The kid was an obnoxious little dick and the story stank of "Doraemon ripoff."  Luckily, I learned the real first episode is #2, and once I watched that I enjoyed the rest.  Why they did that lame "first episode" is beyond me.
And Pixy, no picking on drummers.  We're not all like that. Although....
Q: What is a band?
A: A bunch of musicians...and a drummer.

Posted by: Toren at July 08, 2009 04:45 PM (T7Qzk)

12 Re: Natsu no Arashi: Hajime is all that.  He's 13 years old, and a bundle of hormones, as well as full of stupid ideas of what "macho" is.  There's one lame episode where his density approaches neutronium.   Remember the narration though -- it's not omnipresent, but this is the story as told by Hajime as an old man, and he's pretty clear that he was a dumbass back then, though he is a bit wistful.

Despite (or becauseof) that, the show works, and works well, even when it suddenly turns semi-dark in a couple of episodes.  YMMV, and some folks may have problems with the portrayal of the US here as a country that indiscriminately drops firebombs on cities.  (Which, as it happens, we did.)  

The last episode will play off the first, as well as being a ridiculous and absurd fanservice special. I mean come on... a serious discussion of time-travel paradoxes, while scantily-clad women are striking sexy poses?  What more could any science-fiction fan ask for?

Posted by: ubu at July 08, 2009 10:05 PM (IYpmD)

13 - Nodame had an awesome drummer.
- Arashi 01 ruled hard. If only the rest was like that.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at July 08, 2009 10:09 PM (/ppBw)

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