Written by TheBigN
This season has brought out a lot of entertaining shows, and it makes me wonder if I’ll have enough time to see all that I want to see. When coupling this with the yearly ritual of next to no Internet access (and what is would probably only be 56K, so fun times) during the summertime, it makes for a massive backlog of things to take a look at when school goes back in action (however, things might work out better this time around). And that backlog will probably be increased further by a combination of things that I want to see this summer, such as Hidamari Sketch x365, and the increased difficulty of the second-year of medical school. But enough about what might be, and more about what is. Of the many series that I’m watching and planning to watch (hurry up with Library Wars subs, please), three have stood out early, hooking me in different ways.
I don’t have a definite favorite this season, but Kurenai might be on the list, based on what I enjoyed in episode 3. From around 14:14 to about 15:20 in that episode, Kurenai (the main male), Yuuno (an apparent admirer of said male) and Murasaki (the main female) have a three-way simultaneous chat, with much misunderstandings, quick clarifications, and at least one person feeling left or not as uninformed as the other participants. I was reminded of IRC conversations between three people, each trying to get their voices to be heard, and maybe one person out of the three acting as a go-between for the other two, but the process is tougher than it should be.
But what worked for me wasn’t the subject matter, as enjoyable as it was, but the flow of the conversation. The flow felt natural, not as in a “this is how all realistic conversations are like” tone (though many of them were like that), but the progression of the dialogue was great. If that doesn’t make sense to you, think of a comedy duo where what one says feeds into what the other says seamlessly. Not all exchanges are funny, but I feel that this flow pervades throughout most of Kurenai, and that it’s not regulated just to those talks. For the moment, the small, gradual uncovering of information and the interesting cast of characters and their multilayered interactions work well, and feed into each other well, save for the Inner Sanctuary intro in the first episode. It’s rare for me to see an anime that way, so it must be doing something special.
To go from laminar flow to a much more turbulent flow, we have Kyouran Kazoku Nikki, and I’d say that the Frenzy Family moniker works well here. I have a soft spot for madcap, fast comedy, and so far this show is connecting with me in a way that others haven’t. From just the show’s sorta hyper OP to setup of the show to the variety of personalities, appearances and actions of the makeshift Midarezaki family, the show exudes a focused unpredictability. When randomness is done for its own sake, the results may vary on the audience (like with fanservice lol), but I feel that KKN has executed that well, with the added benefit of using it to help define the characters and develop the situation. As an example, though Kyouka burns brightly like a certain Haruhi Suzumiya in terms of imposing her sometimes bizarre wants on others, for better or worse, we also see that she has things together more than we would expect her too.
Kyouran Kazoku Nikki hints at something much more serious than its silly surface, and we see that in the second episode as we get to know a little bit about the back stories of some of the members of the family. I’m mostly positive that we’ll get the message that even when thrown together, familial bonds are created that long-lasting and rewarding just from the setup. But this show could have the possibility of going more in depth about issues that affect our society today. I’m definitely just projecting my desires here and I’m not necessarily holding my breath on that, but based on how Yuuka was treated in episode 2, we might actually get to learn something worthwhile here if things are executed well. A little substance and valuable learning lessons sandwiched in between a heap of chaos isn’t a bad thing at all.
And for a different set of chaos, I turn to Kaiba, which is visually the most unique of any of the shows this season as far as I know. In this sense, I’m referring to the world that the main character and we as the audience are thrown into, a world different from ours with different standards and rules it seems, and my curiosity was piqued. I haven’t been this interested in the setting of an anime series since Dennou Coil, and even in that case, we get information on the world fairly quickly. Whereas with Kaiba, we start off knowing nothing about the world, and slowly learning as we go along. What instantly comes to mind in thinking of others shows like that is Haibane Renmei, though that’s much more “accessible” to the general anime-watching public. Owen has already explained a little bit of what can initially be seen in terms of how the world is run, so I won’t get too much into that.
Indeed, part of the charm of Kaiba’s world for me comes from the atypical design of the characters to how things are designed. Just being different can get things noticed, and the lack aesthetically pleasing elements get it both praise from some and avulsion from others. I myself enjoy the show’s appearance in terms of seeing how the medium of anime can expand as a whole, but that point is superficial and neither here nor there at the moment. What I’m mainly excited at could possibly not even happen, as it comes from what might be uncovered through the show. Even from the brief moment that Owen marks in his article, we get into issues of identity, existence, privacy, and what it means to live or have memories and I feel that as we learn more about Kaiba, some of these concepts will be touched upon.
It will be a fun ride this season. :3