Between mediocre anime and really great anime lies one’s comfort shows. These are shows that generally don’t aspire to much, but do their thing well. At the same time, there are also shows which fall short of their expected potential, but are still quite entertaining regardless. Here’s a list of 2008 shows that fall into either of those categories.
- Chäos;HEAd, B-: Chaos;Head presents the viewer with a situation that has a lot of potential to be interesting, but in the end relies on tired clichés to tie everything up. It remains consistently entertaining, but slowly goes from “honestly good” to “trashy good” as it progresses. But it’s always Super Special.
- Code Geass R2, B+: I never thought the first Code Geass was anything more than a silly show that depended entirely on crazy plot-twists and cliffhangers to keep its viewership, and the second season is more or less the same kind of deal. The main difference between this show and its predecessor is that the first series has slightly stronger writing. Both shows are silly, but series one certainly has more cohesion. We all know the reasons why R2’s writing suffers, so I won’t get on its case too much. It finds its way after a while, and ends very strongly.
- Hidamari Sketch x365, B+: I’m a big fan of Akiyuki Shinbo, but not every one of his works is pure solid gold. Some of them are silver. Hidamari Sketch isn’t generally the type of thing I enjoy, but Shinbo’s take on this kind of material is very interesting. I could go on and on about the visual aesthetic of this show, but I’ll save that for another time. x365 improves upon the original by tweaking the pacing, throwing in more fanservice, and having a noticeably larger budget. It is however the still the same sweet show at heart, and I enjoy it.
- Kanokon, B: Kanokon is really amazing in how it pushes the limits of what’s suitable to air on TV. The show depends on how steamy it is, and how well said steaminess is presented, to entertain. The animation is extremely well done for a fanservice show, and works in its favour a lot of the time. It does what it sets out to do very well, and nothing more. If I ever had a dead weekend, I’d re-watch the show on DVD.
- Koihime Musou, B: Koihime Musou is the very definition of disposable entertainment. Everything is well done enough to entertain you for the moment, but once it’s all done there’s no real incentive to watch it again. It has nice lolita characters, a suitable helping of fanservice, and a fairly entertaining cast.
- Kyou no 5 no 2 TV, B: Remakes always suffer from being compared to their originals, and the 5-2 TV series is no exception. While the show does lack the magic of the OVA series, it starts to find itself as it progresses. The material is a mixture of things reused from the OVA, along with pretty good original material. If one is able to just accept that this is a completely different show from the OVA, I think it’s pretty easy to like.
- Macross Frontier, B-: Macross Frontier has a serious identity crisis. It can’t decide between being fujoshi shit, moe-centric otaku antics, or a science fiction story. The series really suffers due to its lack of focus, and by the end you can see the writers struggling to clean up their mess of a show. It does entertain, though. The space battles are all cinema quality, and Ranka and crew’s antics are good, fluffy fun. I just wish it’d figure out what the hell it is.
- Minami-ke ~Okawari~, B-: I’m nicer to Okawari than other people are, but I still wonder why Doumo didn’t just continue their work on the series. Okawari tries to distinguish itself by being different from its processor, but it doesn’t really work. There are still good spots of entertainment around the show, but on the whole it falls short. It doesn’t help that the animation is really choppy at times. I love Asread’s work on Shuffle!, and Ga-Rei -zero- is quite good, but Okawari has clear budget issues. They seem to be getting their act together in season three, though.
- Sekirei, B: Sekirei falls into the same category as Koihime Musou. It sets out to do what it wants to do in an entertaining fashion, but there’s absolutely no reason to watch it again. The cast, fanservice, and its silly plot make the show a fun watch, but it’s not anything I’d recommend.
- Spicy Wolf, B-: I’m one of those people who just couldn’t really get into The Wolf and the Spices. It’s a case of a show having an interesting idea, but the idea in execution is quite boring. I’m slightly entertained by Lawrence and Horo’s discussions along with their journey, but not much else keeps my interest in this show. I may give season two a whirl since Brains Base is on production duty, but I doubt I’ll like it much more than season one.
- ToLoveRU, B: ToLoveRU is another fanservice show that sets out to do just what it’s clearly meant to do, and does it well. While about every episode of this show is completely and utterly retarded, the show’s aware of this and just steps up the stupidity even more. Unlike Kanokon, there’s no reason to really watch this show again. The animation is competent, but not enough to warrant a DVD rewatch.
- Toshokan Sensou, B: …or Library Wars, for those less Wapanese than I am. Toshokan Sensou suffers from a pretty muddy plot, but makes up for it in character interaction. The animation is what you expect out of Production IG, and has this cool comic book look about it with interesting line-weight variation on closeups and a flat colour scheme. Doesn’t have much rewatch value, though.
- World Destruction, B: World Destruction has a surprising amount of entertainment value for how horrible its premise is. However, the show is so forgettable that I can’t even write much about it! All I have to say is that there is an episode that features Shuuichi Ikeda and Toru Furuya as cute little teddybears that duke it out.
- Zero no Tsukaima III Princess no Rondo, B+: I have no idea what all the detractors of this series expect out of it, but Zero no Tsukaima to me is the ultimate comfort food anime. It provides me with some nicely drawn ladies to droll over, but what pushes it above your ToLoveRU fare is a cast that I’ve really come to love. Consistently great production values and entertaining writing also help. I think the franchise is at its best in season two, but season three provides more of the same, which is not a bad thing at all. I’m ready for season four already!
Next Time: BAND OF BROTHERS