Comments: Kuragehime, Fractale, K-ON!! and Katanagatari
One fine example of why noitaminA's 11 episode series scheduling sucks. This show was going along swimmingly until the producers realised they were running out of episodes. Rather than fall to pieces like the makers of Eden of the East, they just rammed the plot home like driving into a brick wall in the final episode. So many plot threads and relationship drama left dangling like nerves and blood vessels from a severed arm.... Otherwise, this series was a perfect fit for noitaminA's concentration on the josei demographic. Except with fujoshi, which means viewers who were vaguely normal tuned out as soon as they started being retardedly self-absorbed. The Shiki/Kuragehime combination was noitaminA's second-lowest rating season on record. Well, the lowest at the time, but that has since been eclisped by the following....
Another fine example of why noitaminA's 11 episode series scheduling sucks. This series took forever to get going, and by the time it did, it was over. That long lead-in would've been fine in Fractale had been 26 episodes long. But if Fractale had been 26 episodes long, it would've been Bounen no Xamdou Mark II, and I'm not sure we need that again. What's more, the characterisation makes almost no sense. It's like Yamakan, Azuma and Okada had this vague idea of where the characters should be in their personal stories, at a given time, and shoehorned that in wherever the plot required, regardless of whether that made any sense in reference to what had gone before it. But then, I should learn not to expect much from A1 Pictures. They've now given me, for the second year running, the series that has left me most disappointed and underwhelmed (last year was Senkou no Night Raid). You get the impression that Fractale was meant to be Anime no Chikara's fourth series, because it would've fitted right in, especially as it would have had at least two more episodes to flesh itself out. But hey, A1 did enough damage to AnC.... They probably thought it would be worth spreading the love to noitaminA with the most un-noitaminA series that Fuji has ever aired. Along with Wandering Son, they've managed to drive the ratings down to a third of those for Nodame Cantabile Finale, which aired at the same time last year. Good f.ucking job, people.
Having finally gotten round to actually watching the second season, it is easy to see just how thinly KyoAni managed to spread the threadbare concept over the space of 24 episodes (plus whatever extra episodes they have deigned to give us). Need we be reminded that the first two of HTT's three years of highschool was (mostly) covered in the first season. The first 12 episode season (plus whatever extras yadda yadda yadda....) This meant t h i n g s s t a r t e d t o g e t j u s t a l i t t l e d r a w n o u t. Which is fine, as long as they were covering the girls doing random zurückgeblieben slice of life shite. As soon as things started to get all maudlin and sadpanda, I started banging my head against the desk. That final concert episode is like 20 minutes of mindless self-congratulatory wank. Wank to the sound of cash registers as the BD's flew out the door. It got better after that, but the damage was done. No, K-ON does not give you blowjobs, like the batshite insane fanbois think, nor does it give you AIDS, like the haters want you to believe. This series is just utterly, inoffensively average. There just wasn't a lot else of value going about to challenge it, unfortunately.
Nisioisin, or however he wants to be described, is a hack. All of his light novels tend to be dialogue-driven blandfests, almost completely devoid of substance. For reference, see Bakemonogatari. Or better still, don't. Katanagatari is, thusly, a fairly shallow tale of two idiots with verbal diarrhea on a quest, with lots of useless support characters who don't last very long and an overly-dramatic, oddly thought out tragic end that could only be the result of someone making shi.t up as he goes along. However, the 50 minute episode a month production schedule (something that I can only think of one other series, Figure 17, using) certainly helped White Fox iron out a number of those issues, and allowed them to spend a little more time on the animation side.... Which is my saying that, if you're going to use modern animation methods, at least make things as heavily stylised as possible and instantly recognisable as not being any other show. Or, as I've seen someone else describe it, "a Shaft anime with actual animation". It's a pity Shaft didn't do the same with the other, aforementioned Nisioisin series. Or any of their series, to be precise. Except SZS and Hidamari. It worked there. Mostly. Ahem....