Again, I’m just trying to find shows that I’ll be covering for the rest of the summer. Also, tomorrow’s post will be late (if not delayed entirely), because I’ll be checking out an event at a nearby museum about a meat-shaped stone. Yeah… In any case, let’s get started.
Arslan Senki S2 Ep. 1
I didn’t finish blogging the first season, but I did finish it. The story’s okay. Nothing amazing. Your mileage may vary, but I never felt as though the show had any real themes to analyze. Neither the characters nor their relationships are really complex enough to sit down and examine on any close level. And the political twists and turns are really quite standard here. I’m literally just following the show to see what happens next. In any case, I really didn’t expect to see Andragoras free himself so easily and reclaim his throne. He has spent an entire season in chains — and I doubt he had much to eat — but he’s apparently still fit as hell. God, being an anime character must be sweet. You can give yourself muscles with nothing but a steady diet of determination and anger.
Cheer Danshi!! Ep. 1
Is it? I don’t want to shortchange cheerleaders, because I obviously can’t do what they do. But if I’m going to be honest, I can’t say cheerleaders have ever caught my attention at any level. Not in high school, not in college, and certainly not at the pro level. I’ve never seen cheerleaders actually impact the crowd or the players to any significant amount. When people show up to a sporting event, they’re already hyped up. They’ve come prepared to cheer. Maybe cheerleaders help organize and focus the crowd’s energy, but I can’t imagine an athlete ever saying, “Yeah, I was only giving 100%, but when I heard our cheerleading squad do one of their routines, it jacked me up to 110%!!” But again, that’s just my admittedly jaded impression. Maybe it’s different where I’m from, and cheerleading does matter in other places of the world. I’m willing to see different perspectives, so as a result, Cheer Danshi!! has my interest somewhat piqued. The story seems to have the impression that cheerleading can be a powerful thing: “Become a hero by supporting someone else.” I want to roll my eyes at that, but I also want to see if the anime can pull it off and convince me otherwise. Plus, I kinda want to see how Haru gets past the initial embarrassment of joining a male-only cheerleading team. And for the moment, Wataru is kinda amusing.
New Game! Ep. 1
So… Aoba gets hired right out of high school, and she doesn’t really know anything. She can’t program nor does she have any experience with 3-D modeling. But apparently, that’s okay, because her employer is more than happy to just let her sit there and learn necessary skills for the job on the fly. Alright. I wish I could do that in the real world. To make matters worse, her co-workers are all young and cute girls. There isn’t a single guy in their immediate vicinity. Alright. More power to women, I guess. At one point in the episode, the girls even whip out tea cups and munch on cookies in the middle of the office. Ugh. Yeah, there’s nothing to chew on here. I found Shirobako incredibly boring, but that show actually took its premise seriously. It could actually teach me a thing or two about what it takes to produce an anime. New Game!’s first episode, on the other hand, is literally just cute girls pretending to be professionals. Maybe the rest of the series will get a whole lot more technical, but I’m not going to get my hopes up. The episode has some stuff that can resonate with viewers, especially if you’ve ever been in the office environment. For example, Hifumi is extremely shy in person, but her online persona is completely different. With everyone using Hangouts nowadays, I’ve gotten to know my fair share of real life Hifumis. But this sort of thing isn’t enough to make New Game! remotely worth watching. Unless next week’s episode steps up its game significantly, I’ll pretty much ignore this show entirely.
Hm, it looks like I’m all caught up for now. Yeah, I skipped a few shows, but any longtime reader of Moe Sucks knows I wouldn’t touch an idol series with a 10-foot pole. I also skipped D.Gray-man, because I haven’t watched the first anime adaptation at all. And it had what? Over a hundred episodes? Yeah, that’s not going to happen. I guess I may as well wrap this post up with a few brief words about…
My Hero Academia
I personally don’t think superheroes are very compelling by themselves. You can’t really be a hero without a villain, there is no light without darkness, an action is only good if there’s a corresponding evil action, yadda yadda yadda. And for the majority of the first season, My Hero Academia lacks any sort of evil, much less a super one. It isn’t until the final four episodes (five if you include the last few seconds of episode nine) that we are finally introduced us to a group of foes aiming to murder All Might, i.e. the world’s Symbol of Peace, and only then did I truly start to enjoy the show. That isn’t to say that My Hero Academia is a bad anime or anything. It’s technically well-made, and there are some amusing fun moments. It’s just an incomplete one. The first season is basically just a very long prologue. Like with most shounen series, we haven’t even scratched the surface of the story.
Just for the sake of comparison, after thirteen episodes, Goku and his buddies had only managed to defeat Raditz. I never watched Naruto, but it’s probably a safe assumption that it didn’t get much done in thirteen episodes either. So I can’t really hold it against My Hero Academia that its pacing simply matches up with like-minded series. Shounen anime of this sort are a whole different beast. When I was sixth grade, I remember enjoying episodes after episodes of Goku just running along some featureless snake pathway. Granted, I don’t go for that sort of thing anymore, but would it really be fair for me to judge My Hero Academia for doing the same thing? And like I said, the training episodes weren’t all bad. They had their cute moments like when Uraraka propelled herself into the air at the last second to touch the bomb. But without the bad guys, then all I’ve got are the good guys. And… well, I’m not a Midoriya fan just yet.
Every hero has to start somewhere, and since shounen series seem to have all the time in the world, we can literally start from zero. And for the majority of this first season, that’s what you get. A zero. Like most anime protagonists, shounen or otherwise, Midoriya has a good heart. No matter what I may say about him, he’s got that. He’s got determination. He’s an earnest kid who’s just trying to be a hero. Fair enough. But good lord, does he cry a lot. I think he pretty much cried in every single episode! And I get it, I get it… as the story develops, so will his character. He’ll slowly become more confident as he masters his “One for All” power. He’s already less of a crybaby by the end of this first season. Like with the whole villain thing, my opinion of Midoriya started to change a bit during the last few episodes. But that still left me with a good two-thirds of the season where I was constantly cringing at his pitiful tears.
Bakugo is one-dimensionally angry all the time. If Midoriya annoys me with his tears, then Bakugo equally gets on my nerves with his temper tantrums. Yeah, he isn’t supposed to be likable, but thus far, I have yet to see anything redeemable about the kid. He’s just an egotistical prick, so I don’t really understand Midoriya’s childish desire to be Bakugo’s friend. Uraraka is adorable, but at the moment, she’s only just that. There’s no depth or complexity to her character yet, and I’m not sure if there ever will. I would like to see at least one strong heroine emerge from the cast, but you never know with shounen anime. Iida hasn’t got much depth to him either. Plus, as the straight man archetype, his job is literally to be boring. I’m not even going to get into the rest of the students, since I wouldn’t have anything insightful to say about any of them either. But I mean, it’s a shounen. It’s not like Piccolo was a deep character or anything.
Truly, the only real character that intrigues me at the moment is All Might, and that’s because he’s a superhero fast approaching his twilight. We all have to retire someday, but what is it like to retire from being a superhero? There’s something about a hero’s impending mortality that fascinates me. Here’s a man who’s used to victory and success, but the years of fighting evil has slowly eaten away at his body. He’s a shell of his former self, only capable of using his powers for a few hours everyday. Hell, it might even be less than an hour now. And yet, we can’t allow a Symbol of Peace to die. He means too much to the people around him. Or does it mean too much to him? Plus, what will it be like for All Might to be normal again? Will he try to get married? Can he still get married? After years of being a hero, can he honestly reintegrate himself into society?
But at the end of the day, this is My Hero Academia, so the show doesn’t really delve too deeply into All Might’s psyche nor do I expect it to. As a result, the guy is pretty noble and virtuous. There isn’t a dark side to him that is perhaps desperate to cling to the limelight for just a little longer. There isn’t a dark side to him that is perhaps jealous of his students or even Midoriya’s burgeoning strength. There isn’t a dark to side to him that is perhaps falling into despair over his deteriorating body. The guy remains relatively upbeat and inspirational even in his human form. You can call All Might reckless for continually pushing his body to the limit in order to save people, but you can tell he isn’t doing it out of selfishness or anything. And y’know, it strikes me that most stories tend to chicken out at the last second when it comes to these vulnerable heroes.
Tiger & Bunny tried to portray the same sort of thing. The eponymous Tiger’s powers were waning, and he’s no longer idolized in the public eye. Plus, his daughter was getting increasingly frustrated with his inability to spend time with her. But at the end of the day, Tiger still kicked ass and saved the day. The Dark Knight Rises is very similar in that regard. Batman was supposed to be over-the-hill, and weakened after years of strenuous crime-fighting. He suffers a ignominious defeat at the hands of Bane, and then… then what? He literally trains himself back into tip-top shape, and saves the day. Granted, he hangs it all up by the end of the movie, but he still got to have his one shining moment of triumph. So what does this mean for All Might? I’m sure he’ll retire one day too, but not without one big, triumphant battle to send him off.
Hoo boy, I feel as though I just went on a tangent. But yeah, My Hero Academia is okay, I guess. And if I’m still blogging when the second season finally airs, I’ll probably watch it just to see what happens next. But it’s just like any other shounen, really. There’s nothing really special about it.