I still need to see Wolfman…

As much as I complain about modern anime’s failure to impress me, I will admit there are a few series that have done me quite well. The first of these is the admittedly female oriented Clannad, which falls into a few of the cliches and stylistic choices which myself – and fewer than most but more than few – dislike these days, such as the moé thing. But what it manages to do is tell a solid love story, with a very touching (and often heartbreaking) delivery. And I’ll be the first to admit, as much as I love my action, gores, scares, and other manly stuff, I also love a good romance (not to mention bad ones, rah-rah-rahaha). And that’s what Clannad is. So if you can live through the goofy jokes, or do what I did and get into the mindset to even enjoy them, you might find something quite good.

So basically, what you got with Clannad is a not-so-manly story, with some modern anime style comedy that you need to really work to enjoy (although there are some great jokes at times), and some really good writing and story-telling which gives really emotional scenes when they are supposed to be, and really lighthearted scenes when necessary. I could live without some of the running jokes, but of all of the modern love anime, this gets number one on my list.

The other cartoon I’d like to discuss is Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. I’ll get this out of the way first: This show is exactly not Neon Genesis Evangelion. In TTGL, the biggest draw for me, is the awesome action and animation. It is an anime that knows it is a cartoon. For some reason, it seems most Japanese animation forgets this, but not Gurren Lagann. The animation moves, bounces (yes, sometimes in that sense, but don’t let that bother you, it is played as a parody), stretches with its actions, and is stylistically superb.
Something you might have noticed is that both of these are superbly popular, and that is why I write about them. Many people assume that if it is modern, and popular, and anime, it is garbage. Not always so, but yeah, most often it is true.

There are sometimes people at school who will assume Japanese animation is always weird, or always sucks, or is always pornographic. Well, it is sometimes those things, sometimes all those things at once, but what these buddies at school don’t realize is that I DON’T WATCH THAT SHIT. What I’m doing with this post is pointing out two series that some of the fiends that get me stereotyped as a weirdo might enjoy, but probably don’t really get, and if they do get it, they probably don’t like other good stuff. The nice thing about these two series is that the reason people like them is because they’re just good, and not for any other reason. At least, that is the fundamentals of it all. But you know what I don’t watch? Here’s an example, that highlights the contrast of well-made vs. well-sold

Haruhi Suzumiya – I watched the first season and read some of the “novels” before I realized how shitty it was, and started to find quality stuff. Taps into all of the cliches that the masses love so much, and tries to be witty, but in the end it just comes off as arbitrary. Although the soundtrack is okay (not the insert songs, I mean the jazz that plays in the background, or the song that plays at the start of the first episode).

The difference between playing the cliches as homages and smart commentaries -versus- playing the cliches as excuses to get fans to drool stupidly and getting people to fall in love with your series because it has those cliches in them, or in simpler terms, being smart -versus- being sell-out commercial – The noticeable and highly variable difference between Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Haruhi Suzumiya.

I’ll be rewatching Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann this summer, and will bring a proper impression of it. Hopefully this gives you an idea of a good modern anime, that proves that people still have some taste left, and also the difference between me and the assholes who eat up everything they’re given these days. I also hope it shows to ignore the fans and just enjoy what is enjoyable, regardless.

There will be more coverage on the topic of animation, and the stigma it is given, but wholeheartedly does not deserve. I’ll tell you why, in those posts.


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