I missed the boat on Secret Santa this year, but that’s okay because I have Chii. I asked for three shows and ended up with five, but the original three were Kita e ~Diamond Dust Drops~, Kemono no Souja Erin, and Bokurano.
Kita e is okay so far, but I’ve only seen two episodes. It’s a mature romance with some great dialog, and is reflective of the kind of stuff that Studio DEEN and even Mashimo Kouichi of Bee Train do at their best. (Mashimo isn’t involved in the show, but it feels like he is somehow.) It’s along the lines of the show I watched last year for Secret Santa, Asatte no Houkou, and other shows of their kind: solidly written dramas that don’t hold my attention because “solidly written drama” doesn’t describe “shit Digitalboy likes.” I’d still like to finish it, though.
I dropped Kemono no Souja Erin after five episodes. I’m not into these grimdark artfag kids’ shows, sorry. This is the kind of show that you’ll totally love if you think anime is always on the decline and needs to be more artistic or whatever. I couldn’t get into it—it’s slow, kind of ugly, and I didn’t care about anything that happened.
I skipped Bokurano thanks to Schneider watching it at the same time as I was supposed to and being dissatisfied with the way it came out. It so happens Bokurano is one of my favorite manga, having read it this summer, and if I do watch the anime, I think it’d be best to do so at a time when the manga is far out of mind.
Having dropped Erin and Bokurano, I asked Chii for two replacement shows, and got Seto no Hanayome and Bastard!!
I’ve heard plenty of nice things about Seto no Hanayome, and I’m sure it’s okay, but after the first episode I didn’t feel the need to continue. The jokes got very repetitive even in the span of that episode, and the show has the kind of hyperactive humor that I’ve never been able to get into. Maybe I should get my little brother to check it out…
Anyway, that leaves us with the one Secret Santa show that I did finish, the six-episode OVA of Bastard!!
If you’re interested in reading or watching Bastard, Jason Thompson’s House of 1000 Manga entry on it is a great write-up.
To some length, I greatly enjoyed Bastard!!, but was also disappointed by it. The second and third episodes were a delightful romp of badasses and violence, all handled with tongue firmly in cheek where it belongs. Four and five, however, started to get muddled by weird plot jumps. Due apparently to problems in the OVA’s production, the episodes skip important chunks of the manga and leave a bunch of confusing plot holes. Episode five was entirely too dramatic, and not in the fun way like episode three. The show picked itself back up in episode six with awesome battles and a nice climax, but no ending, being as the manga was (and is) still running. There’d been plans at the time to make more OVA episodes, but those fell through, leaving us with just an extended manga preview.
Bastard has a lot of things I love: borderline-immortals who can regularly be destroyed and come back to keep fighting, a protagonist who’s unspeakably badass and arrogant, hot girls, and fucktons of violence. I would love to have more of it, but unfortunately the manga’s art and pacing just doesn’t work for me. It certainly makes me want to watch more 90s OVAs, though.
And that does it. Many thanks to Chii for the recommendations and for watching anything I recommend to her as well.