Another season has passed. Despite being a rather slow season and mostly lacking in shows I would consider worthy of serious superlatives, I was generally amused, entertained, and engaged by the stuff I ended up watching all the way to the end. As always, there were some up weeks and some down weeks, but on the whole I’m pretty happy with the way this season ended up. It certainly won’t go down as one of the best in anime history—but when you come away from a season with an episode of a bubble dropping on Lelei’s head, how can you really complain?
The season is ending, the thrillingly nice weather of autumn is starting to hit the Midwest with consistency, I’ve moved back over to MAL, and it’s time to talk about this week’s anime. A couple of my shows have already ended, with the rest of them set to conclude between now and Saturday—then we get a shockingly short break and the new season will be upon us. But let’s not think about that yet. We’re still in summer…at least if you live by seasonal anime…
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the closing lines of the oft-quoted, oft-anthologized, oft-ridiculed poem by Robert Frost:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— | I took the one less traveled by, | And that has made all the difference.
GATE, much like writers who choose to use “The Road Not Taken” as openings to their columns, takes the more-traveled road as a matter of course—yet, in doing so, it makes way for the discovery of a few rare mushrooms along the path and one big one with a bad smell that covers the whole forest. Now, I don’t mean to be coy here; I enjoyed GATE a whole heckuva lot. It’s a fascinating blend of things I found engaging and off-putting, likable and awful. At the end of the day, though, I’ll always give three cheers for a show that manages to succeed in spite of a fundamentally misguided base premise. There’s something awfully human about a show like that—even if you might not want to emulate it.
Okay, so if last week being down was the requisite condition for this week, I am so very okay with that—because these week was an absolute stunner. Three episodes of genuinely amazing romance, one triumphant episode of super heroes, one bleak and finely executed thriller, and a smattering of fun. This may sounds silly to some, but it’s weeks like these that make me feel I’m not wasting my life away watching a bunch of foreign cartoons. There’s beauty and meaning and goodness and truth in all of this.
As a counterpoint to last week’s gushing praise about watching only a handful of shows, and having them all be shows you like, this week’s anime seemed (especially early on) determined to remind me that the other side of this is that the week can seem kind of drab if a bunch of your shows decide to take an unfortunate week off all at the same time. Of course, it wasn’t everything that this happened to—it just seems like a lot more when you’ve only got eight show that you’re keeping up with.
Man, it sure is a good feeling when you get to the end of your anime week and not a single episode you watched let you down! Once again, it seems I’m experiencing the power of whittling down things to just what I’m really loving—and it’s exciting, fun, and refreshing. I swear I’m going to do this every season from here on out! And I know I said that after last season, but I mean it this time (spoilers: probably not ever going to happen because I’m too much of a sucker for shiny new things).
Yeah, that’s right—I’m back, and I’m going to make this all work, one way or another! Getting away from my normal routine for a solid 10 days and just doing something different than the regular grind was hugely beneficial, and I came up with some ideas about how I can keep things headed in a positive direction from here on out. So, yeah, let’s talk about some anime! The order they crop up in the post is most likely the order in which I caught up to them, so there’s a secret there about which shows I’ve heard the most good things about and became a high priority for me.