Manabi Killed My Parents

For some reason this guy fucking loves Manabi Straight. Yeah, it was an ok show, but loving it seems a tad extreme to me.

Manabi is like Haruhi without all the stuff that made Haruhi fucking great. To be honest, I would not have given the show a chance if wasn’t for UFOtable being behind its production and the production values. I guess the rori character designs would have drawn me in a little, but there are better shows with better roris.

Haruhi was already a good show when it first started. It initially presented itself as a well done slice of life show, however what reeled me in were the SF elements. (This isn’t to say I’m some kind of SF aficionado. I much prefer the Haruhi/Tokikake styled SF over the Heroic Age SF.) Much like Haruhi, I enjoy time travelers, espers, and aliens; and it was these touches really got me interested. Manabi is simply 12 episodes about some girls trying to throw a school festival together. There’s nothing really interesting there, especially considering I don’t care all that much about the characters (well there is Momo.) I suppose there are some SF elements to Manabi, but they really take a backseat the main events, which are quite mundane. This isn’t to say the show isn’t entertaining it, because it is. But it’s just trash entertainment, much like Nodame Cantabile.

Focusing on the characters for a moment, Manabi is much like Haruhi except for an optimist and not an insufferable bitch, while Mikan takes on Kyon’s role as narrator, except for less sarcastic and a bit more timid. I like Haruhi because she’s an insufferable bitch. That’s what makes her interesting. Manabi’s optimistic ambition is just boring to me. (Well, it was fun for one episode.) As far as narration goes, Mikan doesn’t do nearly as much as Kyon, so a comparison here probably isn’t fair. I do much prefer Kyon’s snarky attitude over Mikan’s somewhat boring blow by blow of the events. In general I like Haruhi because in a way, it has a bit of an edge, where Manabi on the whole is a bit too HAPPY LIFE.

In the end, the biggest thing that disappointed me about Manabi was exactly the reason why I watched it in the first place: UFOtable. I don’t have much experience with UFOtable outside of Futakoi Alternative and Coyote Ragtime Show, but I hear Dokkoida and 2×2 Shinobuden are quite wacky, so I expected Manabi to be somewhat offbeat and strange. The promotional videos shot my hopes up even further as they contained scenes of apocalyptic destruction. I was ready for something awesome, but was willing to wait about 3-6 episodes before the world-ending shenanigans begin. But by episode 12, nothing of the sort happened and I was left with an unwavering feeling of, “wow, that was quite safe and boring.” I guess I see UFOtable as a Gainax-like studio. Always doing something weird and strange. Manabi was far too normal for my tastes.

Futakoi Alternative is the best UFOtable show I’ve seen. I’ll come out and say that it’s not a perfect show. It’s uneven, yes, but the show can do fast paced action and slow introspective drama very well. It has a wacky unorthodox plot, a quirky cast, sexy production and UFOtable’s “heart.” As far as I’m concerned, that balances out any kind of pacing or flow issues. In a way, it’s those issues make the production a little endearing. Manabi’s perfection bothers me. I like perfection, but a certain kind of perfection. Manabi’s perfection is just dull.

I suppose I’m being unfair to the show. My expectations are what really killed it for me, but you can blame that partly on UFOtable. Considering the scenes depicted in the PVs and their previous works, who would expect anything different than what I expected? I would recommend this show to people though– to those wackos who hate all other UFOtable shows because they’re too weird :V

…I guess I should stop writing essays on why certain anime suck. I’m starting to sound like some jaded old man…

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