In spite of being short(er), this post is all over the place, so I ask that you please bear with me. This post is part of the Diary of an Anime Lived and my Finish or Fail series.
I’ll take you back to a time when Gonzo was a well-respected studio whose shows all got licensed by virtue of simply being made by them—the mythical year 2002. That’s when Gatekeepers 21 came out, although it was about a year and a half later that the show became one of the oldest fixtures of my on-hold list. I’d caught the tail end of the OVA on TechTV’s anime slot back when that existed and liked what I saw enough that I’d always intended to buy it on DVD. Of course, there were a *lot* of things back then that I’d intended to buy on DVD.
Gatekeepers is an interesting franchise, being one of those from the late 90s/early 2000s that few people seem to remember or care about even though it must’ve done pretty well at the time. In what looks like an attempt to launch a franchise all at once (going by the data I have), it was released as a Playstation RPG, a short manga, and a 26-episode anime by GONZO all at nearly the same time. A couple of years later there was a sequel OVA and novel that I can’t help but feel weren’t the result of the franchise being a success, but of people that worked on it wanting to do more with it.
This’ll be a short one, because Natsume Yuujinchou is delightfully iyashikei, and I feel like I couldn’t talk about it properly if I weren’t just being chill about it.
Looking pretty Ginko there, Natsume.
I’m happy about having watched Railgun, because I’m a huge fan of A Certain Magical Index. The franchise has been one of my biggest fandoms from the past 6 months or so, and it’s got a lot of great culture surrounding it. Albeit, while I did enjoy Index a lot, it’s always been true that the whole of the series is better than the sum of it’s parts, and it’s for the same reason that while I did enjoy Railgun, I didn’t necessarily ‘like’ it, as ghostlightning might say.
I knew exactly what I was gonna get from Durarara, and I got just that. Baccano is one of my top 5 anime and enough to have me riding Ryohgo Narita’s cock, so I was excited as hell about Durarara, and it delivered on what I wanted. It didn’t do it as well as Baccano did, but I can hardly blame it for that – Baccano is one of the most tightly written and superbly produced, directed, and acted series of all time. I didn’t expect that lightning to strike twice.
It’s very easy to (or perhaps impossible not to) get thrown by the first couple of episodes of Kyouran Kazoku Nikki. What first appears, through it’s zany and high-energy opening theme, fast-talking characters, and ridiculous premise to be a crazy slapstick comedy series is spliced with what comes across as very forced and overdone drama. After all, while a show about a man and a loli-tacular ‘god’ becoming parents to surrogate children including an innocent young girl, a gay teenage boy, a high-powered humanoid robot built for destruction, a lion, and a jellyfish might not seem like something you wouldn’t expect to have some messages about family togetherness and such, you probably wouldn’t expect it to start in the form of the young daughter being ruthlessly bullied at school and consistently getting the shit kicked out of her, especially by a sadistic older sister. A lot of people dropped this series in the first few episodes precisely because of that drama – I was somewhat included, though my inability to watch things as they air also had to do with it. Nonetheless, Kyouran Kazoku Nikki was one of a few ‘dropped’ shows that I added to my ‘finish or fail’ list to give them a second chance. And I was not disappointed.
All three of these were meant to have been done like a month to a month and a half ago in the order listed. In Index’s case, I had too much to say and ended up breaking it all into different posts, then never got around to a cumulative one. The other two I just didn’t have that much to say about. I really want to make sure that all the shows in this series get posts, though, so if nothing else, I’ll just knock out the whole trio real quick.
Starting with To Aru Majutsu no Index. I did not expect to enjoy this series nearly as much as I did because of the bad things I had heard about it from people, but of course, once again, I was reminded that people can eat a cocksicle. A lot of my enjoyment had to do with my addiction to this kind of light novel, as I detailed in this post as well as this one. I felt a level of realization in the Index universe, like the author has seriously big ideas for this series and all of the things that will happen, and has it all planned out (the fact that over 20 novels have been cranked out in under 6 years feels like proof of that.) Every arc adds onto what the last arc has built, so that the story always feels more fleshed out and interesting. This is one of the rare anime where I genuinely want to know what happens next.
(Even though I’m still working on Finish or Fail 11, I wanted to get The Big O out of the way first. The GITS SAC rant will continue later. )
This ‘Finish or Fail’ series has been very interesting for me so far, because it has given me the opportunity for the first time to drop shows that I actually enjoyed to some extent. Most of the shows that I’ve dropped in the past were cut within the first couple of episodes just because they weren’t my thing to begin with. The FoF series consists entirely of shows that I have actually wanted to finish for a long time and already know that I enjoy. The shows that have ‘failed’ so far all made it for 8-10 episodes, meaning that, for one reason or another, I actually did enjoy them, but just couldn’t reconcile the things I didn’t like enough to finish.
It’s cool, but it’s also quite sad to do this, because I will often be hit with the biggest disappointment from a series that I really wanted to enjoy. I had thought that Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro might become a favorite on it’s characters and premise and wacky art style, but the episodes that kept getting more boring drove me to stop watching the show. I had similar feelings about The Big O, and this has been the most extreme example to date. Actually, I was pretty damn sure that I was going to drop The Big O after episode 15, but I liked the show so much that I kept trucking through and finally found myself dropping it halfway through episode 20. I will detail to you just what the hell went wrong.