I completely lied to you. There’s no way I’m writing about 9 different shows in this post. Please expect just one more after this one, promise!
- Joukamachi no Dandelion
- Junjou Romantica 3
- Rokka no Yuusha
- Durarara!!x2 Ten
- Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei Herz!
Joukamachi no Dandelion
Though simple in concept and conventional in most parts, Joukamachi no Dandelion still pleased with its good hearted characters and clear direction. The Dandelion family is Royal, though you wouldn’t really expect it upon meeting any one of them in the normal, every day encounters. They look and act for the most part like normal citizens, except for those random powers of theirs! Unique to the royals are their individual abilities that range from gravity manipulation to teleportation. There are even weirder ones like the ability to communicate with objects and creatures other than humans, and self-duplication. Instead of the expected violent tussle for the crown, this family cares for one another and opts to hold an election. This combination of monarchy and democracy is odd and completely unrealistic in real life, but it works really well here for the story. Being the fantasy that it is, my belief is already suspended–the stretch to a democratic monarchy wasn’t all that difficult to include.
The episodes follow a predictable format that focuses on one or two of the siblings in their pursuit, or lack of it, for the public’s approval. There is a clear favorite in Akari, the middle child with a crippling fear of publicity and lovable twin tails. Her constant whining about the cameras placed around town and the family’s required appearances gets tiring fast, but I still can’t help but like her desire to help others. That fan club is gold! Each of the siblings share their parts of strengths and weaknesses, and I was surprised that even the youngest members received the time they did. The ending was not quite what I had predicted, but I wasn’t all together surprised after we received their parents’ back story. Rating: 0 dango
Junjou Romantica 3
I must admit that this Junjou Romantica sequel did not earn my full attention. I only felt prompted to watch it in the background as accompaniment to cooking, or proofing work. When I did try to focus, I found the interactions incredibly awkward, even creepy at times, and the plot meaningless. Very little of the emotions resonated with me, yet I clung on in hopes of a revival of the silly spirit I had experienced with the previous seasons. Watching this made me actually start to doubt myself–maybe the prequels weren’t actually that different, and it was just my own expectations that had changed. I can’t really tell without going back and re-experiencing them, and this addition did nothing to bring back my former affections.
The 2 or 3 relationships we witness are already in motion, with none of the single pining or uncertain dating. There are two previous seasons and a couple specials pre-dating this third season, but I had forgotten much of what had occurred in the past, so the jump directly into the dramas of already established relationships was a rough one. I would suggest sampling the first two series before attempting this third. Rating: 0 dango
Rokka no Yuusha
I nearly dropped this show after the first episode since I found it reminded me of other recently aired fantasies with shitty stories, shallow characters, and uninspired art and animation. Even after a few episodes, I wasn’t fully hooked–the bunny girl’s appearance had zero explanation or relevance, and the overall cast had flat personalities. Once our heroes made it to the temple, I became intrigued in the mystery of the extra hero/impostor. I figured the confusion would be cleared up in a few weeks, but the twists kept coming. The entire rest of the show was dedicated to clearing Adlet Myers’ nameand determining the seventh hero. A part of me was afraid we’d spend the episodes inside the temple, but I didn’t even suspect we’d never make it out the barrier and on to the land of the demons. Instead of a fantasy adventure, this was a full blown mystery thriller.
What worked so well for this series once the genre was clear was that I never knew who to blame. None of the heroes were very likable, not even the protagonist. The show did a great job of shifting my suspicion to whomever it wanted. As soon as I was almost certain, I would be proven wrong. Not even the ending was safe–after a seeming perfect answer, we were once again thrown to the start of all our theorizing. I really hope to get a sequel as they finally move into fresh hostile territory, since we now have both the reborn mystery and Flamie’s half-demon heritage in play. Rating: 1 dango
Somehow over the course of these seasons, Durarara!! went from trendy and clever to faded and predictable. I was never a fan to begin with–I begrudged its existence in place of a Baccano! continuation. A key set of characters saved the series from my complete disdain; however, time and old material stagnated what made many of them memorable. On top of previous liked characters losing place in my heart, the constant influx of new cast members made it almost overwhelming to remember the most frequent, much less all of them, for their personalities and factions. The depressing feeling I got was that the series didn’t even really care about the cast–they could almost be pure filler for the show’s love affair with Lady Tokyo and all her fickle desires.
The even more annoying rub is that this second part to a second season isn’t the last. Trilogies have extended from our movie theaters to our season anime. There are some shows suitable for this broken structure, but Durarara!! isn’t one of them. Airing parts of seasons: “Ten” “Shou,” “Ken,” just puts me in mind of a stammering speech uncertain and impractical. Rating: 0 dango
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei Herz!
The second part of the second season draws to a close, and instead of the conclusion I had desired, we have a third season on the horizon ready to slap the faces of our girls who have more than earned their rest. I’ve been a fan of Prisma Illya from its first episode, even preferring it many a time to the redone series FS/N which took itself much too seriously. The Tohsaka Rin of this magical girl rendition is pure gold, and Illya here lives a delightfully full life with friends and family surrounding her in ways she was never able to really experience in the main series.
In this continuation, we face the curious addition of another Servant card that should not exist. We’ve been with them through the collection of the rest, yet somehow a new one, much more powerful than any other, defies capture. I could anticipate its identity, so was disappointed being proven correct. Surprising was the almost chibi display of Gilgamesh–his good looks could almost pass as a romantic interest for Illya if not for his thorough corruption, or her eternal yuri pairings. Then there was Miyu’s big reveal as a traveler across parallel worlds. Again, I anticipated the truth given the many hints the series bashed us with over the previous episodes. Her parallels to Illya’s and Shirou’s lives in FS/N are almost a perfect melding of both misfortunes. We didn’t delve too deep into her past, but I’m certain the bulk of 3rei!! will focus on Miyu. Rating: 1 dango
- 0 dango – average and forgettable.
- 1 dango – very good in its category.
- 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
- 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.