None of the new anime feel that exciting. Aki and I actually had that problem the previous season with the new series that started then but it wasn’t such a big deal because hey, we had Tiger & Bunny! We still ended up watching some series against our better judgement and for shits and giggles. Now there’s nothing to distract us from the fact that the new stuff is pretty damn stale. All the series we had decided to check out for this season have started and we’ve seen at least one episode of each.
So what’s wrong, really?
It’s hard not to compare the Fall anime to Tiger & Bunny when we’ve practically lived and breathed it for six months, and still are. Both of us have become a lot more critical of the anime we watch after – and during – Tiger & Bunny. I was actually thinking of blogging a series this season, but nothing really gets me interested enough to put the same kinda passion into talking about it as we feel with T&B. In fact, the usual proceeding after watching something that is not T&B is that we go back to talking about T&B within minutes.
The biggest problem this season has is that everything even remotely interesting has defaulted back to the angsty-teenager-high-school-student-protagonist with a backing cast of teenage classmates regardless of genre. Anime is just a medium as any other, but most of the anime produced today hasn’t grown up with the audience and it gives this feeling of “haven’t I seen this before?” Take Guilty Crown for example. It is a pretty obvious mix of Macross (songbird chick), Persona (social linking gone bad) and it tilts heavily into Code Geass. Did I mention it has an angsty teenage protagonist? This is just the impression from the first episode, so it’s a bit too early to judge the entire series based on it. First impression still isn’t outstanding.
Of course, clichés and stereotypes are easy to handle and safe bets. Although I’ve been watching the generic stuff for years, it only took a few months with Tiger & Bunny to kill my interest for it. The older protagonists and a diverse cast where everyone is a personality and not just a stereotype makes T&B much more interesting to watch. In fact, we can talk for hours about how complex characters Kotetsu and Barnaby are. For example, it’s easy to miss many finer points of Kotetsu’s character development if you aren’t putting a little thought into it.
Note that I’m not saying that Tiger & Bunny is how anime should be, because I can acknowledge the fact that it wasn’t flawless and there were a lot of things that could have been done better – and not just QUALITY gym time. What the creators of T&B did was that they dared to take the risk, and dared to do things differently and that is what made it stand out. Both of us want to see more of this kind of risk taking – not just anime that tries to imitate Tiger & Bunny but that takes its own risks and turns them into success.
Didn’t I just say that we end up talking about Tiger & Bunny all the time? I was supposed to be blogging about the anime this season…
What does Sunrise do?
Since Tiger & Bunny is a Sunrise product, it’s only fair to check out what they’re doing this season, right? I watched Sacred Seven in its entirety on the previous season, just to see what they expected would be the better seller. When it started I said I’d watch it until the first BD sales were out, and it was only later when I realized I’d actually have to complete the series before that. I was pig-headed enough to hold out. Needless to say I wasn’t impressed, though S7 had its moments… most of them provided not by the series itself.
We’ve checked the new series from Sunrise this season and it’s kinda like S7 all over. Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere is so bad it’s not even funny, and although Phi Brain sounded good on paper it sunk into mediocrity and couldn’t even hold interest for more than one episode. Gundam AGE is just a glorified gunpla ad, clearly aimed to capture a new generation to buy the plastic. I doubt we can sit through it for many more episodes.
What are we watching?
As much as this post may sound like whining, we do enjoy watching anime. (The lack of good anime this season has just made us watch more live action stuff for a change.) We’re both big fans of Persona games and especially Persona 4, so we’re watching Persona 4 the Animation. It’s not super awesome, but it’s still fun. Mirai Nikki (don’t spoil, we haven’t read the manga!) and Ben-To are the surprises of the season, maybe because we had no expectations for them. We’re also watching Mawaru Penguin Drum from the previous season.
Bottom line: There’s no point to this other than none of this anime is Tiger & Bunny, and it can’t be helped. At least there are penguins.