It's a new season of anime, which means it's time I did an overview of a few shows picked at semi-random.
Arakawa Under the Bridge is, as near as I can tell, what happens when every single character in a show is insane. The lead female is delusional. She thinks she's from Venus. She lives under a bridge. The lead male is an apparently-normal guy born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His problem is that he can't owe anyone. When he thinks he does, he suffers an asthma attack. This becomes problematic when the former saves the life of the latter.
So that he can go on with his life, he begs her to choose some way that he can repay her. After going through a few options - all of which she rejects - she settles on the slightly cliche "love me". "Ah! My Goddess" jokes aside, the poor sap is none too thrilled with this. He almost immediately learns that this will entail his rich ass living under this bridge. First, he needs to meet the approval of the mayor - who happens to be a guy in a kappa suit.
Despite the insanity, Arakawa Under the Bridge is actually pretty funny and the art is solid. If they can keep up this level of writing, especially when the romance plot really starts to kick in, I think it'll be a good series. I can only assume that at some point the insanity of the lead couple will be milked for serious drama. I think it might even work. Bottom line: worth watching.
B Gata H Kei is a new twist on an old theme. We all know the shows that basically center on a guy's efforts to get laid that involve him falling back-assward into an actual romance. They're a dime a dozen, and most of them suck. Well, B Gata centers on a schoolgirl's efforts to get laid. Her putative goal is to have one hundred fuck-buddies. She fixates on one guy before the end of the first episode. Some predictable jokes ensue, including boner jokes and pretty much all the nervousness you would expect from awkward teenagers. The second episode involves a pool and bikinis, so they're clearly not wasting any time running through the stereotypes here.
I can't really say if B Gata H Kei will go anywhere. On some level, it could be taken as commentary on gender roles and such. At the same time, I'm pretty sure it doesn't actually take itself that seriously. It's vapid but entertaining. It could be a lot worse, even if the girl has all the subtlety of a hammer to the head. Bottom line: watch if you like a sex-obsessed heroine and lots of ecchi jokes eventually shading into actual romance.
Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou. Dear sweet root, what can I say? It's a very standard show about a guy with a Mysterious Birth, magical powers he doesn't understand, and women accumulating about him at an improbable rate. The writing is horrible and pretty much everything that occurs is incredibly predictable. I'm sorry I wasted the time it took to watch a single episode of this tripe. As near as I can tell, it was written with TVTropes and a dartboard. There are harem series that are good, but this isn't one of them.
Angel Beats! is kind of a weird one. A high school boy wakes up on the grounds of some school. It quickly turns out that he's dead, and this is the afterlife. He's confused as all hell, but quickly learns that he has no memories and cannot die. The latter he learns somewhat painfully, after being put through a great deal of pain and shedding a surprising amount of blood. He's been found and recruited by the anti-Angel faction at the high school, with Angel apparently being the enforcer of this world. Obeying Angel leads to you being erased - and maybe reborn - but the students don't want that. They want the life they have. So they fight against Angel, who is only slightly slowed by automatic weapons fire. Then they put on a concert and use the distraction to steal meal tickets from the random NPCs around.
Yes, that's right. They stage a concert to steal meal tickets from NPCs. Angel Beats! has a heavy comedy element to go with the action element and the RPG-esque elements. It's not at all clear what's going on, but it's fun to watch and there's clearly a great deal of thought put into making the world work. The art is consistently good, and Yuri's personal crusade against god is inspiring. Bottom line: it's weird, but clearly going somewhere with Jun Maeda behind the wheel.
WORKING!! (yes, capital letters and exclamation points) wastes no time establishing itself as a slice-of-life show centered on a cafe. The cafe is busy, with a cast of half a dozen notables established before the first plot point even shows up. At about two minutes in, two of the waitresses are tasked with finding new part-timers. Her efforts are hampered somewhat by the fact that despite being seventeen and in high school, she looks about twelve. A lead male is introduced, who finds her unbearably cute, and now she's snared her part-time help.
It rapidly turns out that there's a major disadvantage to being short enough to be mistaken for a pre-teen. Specifically, she can't reach shelves or lift basins of dirty dishes. I think it's fair to expect this to be milked for humor for some time to come. Pretty much all the major cast members have some significant quirk. The boss, for example, is incredibly touchy about her age. One of the waitresses carries a sword. Another is a particularly violent brand of androphobe.
I'm not sure where this series is going, and I'm not sure I care. It's entertaining enough that I find I really don't care where it's going. Bottom line: lots of fun in a slice-of-life sort of way.
A few notes on ongoing shows: Katanagatari has taught me that the frail older sister is far scarier than the scary lead male and Durarara has taught me that a head is not required to blush furiously.
Until next time, folks.