Today I went back to check out one of the very first shows I covered for ANN, Shonen Hollywood. The show definitely held up; Shohari is almost uniquely pointed in its approach to the idol industry, and even though its aesthetics are pretty crap all around, the writing is good enough that it’s still definitely worth a watch. I’m glad writing for ANN has given me the chance to branch out and discover shows like this, that I may never have found on my own time.
No escaping it now, apparently. I’m stuck in idol hell, so I might as well document the whole process, to save future generations from this dire fate. This is a sprawling article, one that covers my experience at the Love Live! movie, my time spent with four separate idol anime, some thoughts on that whole Database, Database thing, and more besides. It’s a bit more of a personal reflection than the stuff I normally do, but I hope you enjoy it. This past year has definitely been quite a ride.
The preview guide has come to a close, and I covered every damn show except “that Warring States Thing That’s Apparently Just A Worse Sengoku Basara,” so we’ve got plenty to talk about. We get a lot of anime every season, and none of you guys are receiving hazard pay for suffering through the worst of it, so I’m very ready to run down what demands to be watched, what you could maybe watch I guess if you feel like it, and what should be handled with lead-lined gloves and disposed of in a properly licensed waste treatment facility. I wasn’t really expecting much of this season, but the opening episodes ended up offering a stellar first and second tier of shows – yeah, first episodes are often liars, but it’s still nice to start off on the right foot. This post here will give you brief rankings and descriptions of everything I muddled through this week, along with links to the ANN pages containing my longer thoughts. Let’s run them down!
The preview guide continues! I’m happy to say this season has completely surpassed my expectations so far, with all the shows I was looking forward to and more besides coming out swinging with strong first episodes. First episodes can certainly be deceiving, but given my preseason expectations were “well, at least some great shows are continuing from the fall,” I’m very pleased to see such an initially strong crop of episodes.
Here’s the link to the preview guide, where you can once again check out all my posts as they arrive. Today’s recommendations are Death Parade, The Idolmaster – Cinderella Girls, and especially The Rolling Girls. Death Parade pretty much fulfills all the macabre promise of Death Billiards with a trashy, beautifully articulated first episode, Cinderella Girls offers understated drama and humor in the KyoAni school, and The Rolling Girls feels like a breathless combination of Kyousogiga and Yozakura Quartet. You’ll find links to all my new reviews with scores below. Hope you find something you enjoy!
I am well aware of the fact that I am one of maybe seven people who watched this show. I am equally aware that I never would have watched it myself if I weren’t being literally paid to do so. Maybe Shounen Hollywood knew these things. Maybe it was aware it had no audience to impress, and thus no audience to disappoint. Maybe that’s why it decided to be one of the most secretly ambitious, balls-to-the-wall concept-happy productions of the year.
Holy shit, this show got a second season! Really wasn’t expecting that, but I guess it’s just another indication that whatever’s popular or recognized over here doesn’t mean a good goddamn for sales in Japan. Happy to hear about it, and happy to see the first season go out on a solid note. Until we meet again, ShoHari.
Incidentally, I don’t think there’ll be a Week in Review post this week, mainly because every single episode I’m watching/have watched is either already covered in a full episodic post or will be covered in the insane ANN preview guide. I’ll let you know what those posts start going up!
I don’t even know what to say in this intro, because nothing else this week comes close to Aldnoah’s lunacy. Everything else was fine, good shows are good, yada yada. Let’s get to the show.
Oh wait, also, I’m apparently gonna be one of ANN’s staff reviewers now in addition to my streaming work. Meaning I’ll be doing regular full-show reviews there, along with participating in their completely insane Preview Guide. Meaning I’ll be watching the first episodes of basically every goddamn full-length show coming out this season, and writing some sort of reflection on every single one of them. Meaning my hands are probably going to be bloody stumps by the end of next week.
So that’ll be fun! Something to look forward to. Anyway, Aldnoah fuckin’ Zero.
Shounen Hollywood continues to chug merrily along as the sleeper flop of the season. Would this show be more popular if its central cast were girls, instead? Probably? I guess its current incarnation just doesn’t really give anyone what they want – it’s too idol-indebted to appeal to people who’d like its cynical edge, but too melancholy and understated to appeal to standard idol/cute boy fans. It’s a shame! I’m really enjoying this show – it’s earnest without being blindly optimistic. It’s a nice thing.
No crazy shakeups to report this week – my lineup’s approaching the end with relative grace, and everything I’d hoped to be good or at least okay has been good or at least okay. This is disappointing! I miss being able to tell you guys something is absolutely awful and wretched and a wonderful thing to get really childishly disappointed about! Hopefully next season will fix this – I’m planning on checking out way too many shows, and have no idea what I’ll end up covering for ANN, so there’s a solid chance I’ll have something to be a big jerk about again. Until then, please accept these humble reflections on shows that are actually pretty good.
Incidentally, I haven’t gotten to this week’s Hunter x Hunter, but I’ll likely watch that later tonight and either add my comments or make an additional mini-post. Busy week!
Great episodes from both Barakamon and Shounen Hollywood this week. The two shows actually kind of play off each other, in a weird way – both are tackling questions of making a career out of art and performance, and both cushion those questions with strongly grounded slice of life. They’re a nice pair.