Summer’s MVPs: Humanity has Declined and Natsuyuki Rendezvous

I’ve never seen anything quite like these two.

I guess I have to break my silence a bit even though I’m on hiatus, because I really can’t keep quiet anymore about these two series. I’ve never really seen anything like these two.

Let’s start with Humanity has Declined. It’s fucking Adventure Time except wittier and with more social commentaries. I’m amazed by the cynical and satirical nature of this show. Also half the time it doesn’t fucking make sense and is so random that I’m laughing my head of almost every minute.

The humor in Humanity has Declined is very dark. In episode 1 there was a bread that split itself into half and blood started spurting out of nowhere. DA FUQ? In episode 2, there were roaming headless chickens sending out processed goods made out of god knows what? There are weird fairies that can’t frown even though they are sad and reproduce when someone tells them a joke and had fun. That is so fucking depressing and like, is that how we’re gonna be in the far future when humanity HAS declined? Also our MC’s hair moves on its own. And there were rampaging fujoshis creating some sort of manga renaissance. Yes a printer is totally something humanity has forgotten but there’s still trucks. DA FUQ DA FUQ.

Now let’s go to Natsuyuki Rendezvous.

This show is so DEPRESSING. The set-up of the story is some weird boy trying to pick up an older chick who just happens to be a widow. Her late husband then appears in front of the weird boy, haunting him while the boy is trying to make his move. This could’ve turned into some weird funny sitcom but this show strikes hard. And by that I mean this show really hits all the chords of D-E-P-R-E-S-S-I-N-G.

These three characters just sucks the life out of each other. The widow will obviously be sad forever but the depressant really begins with the boy liking her and telling her that “hey let’s have an affair even though your husband’s dead.” and she beats herself up realizing that she’s fucking old and sad and that her chance of happiness is to take a dip into more depressing, ditch her husband and be with this weird kid.

Don’t get me started with the weird kid who’s only goal is to get into the widow’s pants. What’s so depressing about him is that 1) he has no fucking life and buys plants from the widow almost everyday just so he can depress us by how depressing his useless life is and 2) whenever he’s not trying to be depressing, which is scheming to get into the widow’s pants, his dead husband cockblocks him from the widow. AGAIN THAT’S FUCKING DEPRESSING. He’s already dead. . . how the fuck can he still cockblock.

Last but not the least is the fucking dead husband. HE’S DEAD ALREADY yet he still manages to suck the life out of the characters in this show. He even sucks the life out of himself (oh wait he’s dead) by just being there, realizing how his existence is absolutely useless. All he can do is cockblock some weird kid who’ll probably win in the long run because at least the kid can talk to the widow.

MY GOD THIS SHOW IS DEPRESSING. Again I’ve never seen anything like it. Even Anohana was never this depressing, and that got me into buckets of tears. Not that this show is sad. JUST DEPRESSING.

Okay I managed my rants but seriously if these two keep up pace, Summer Season wouldn’t be so bad. Plus there are other good shows too this season like Moyashimon, Rinne S2, TARI TARI, Kokoro Connect and Sword Art Online. But Humanity has Declined and Natsuyuki are fucking MVPs.

Advertisements

Saki-Achiga hen (TV END) – 82 points

Saki, instead of pushing through for the second season, decided on making some sort of spinoff side story about Nodoka’s pals in elementary, breaking their way through nationals. Let me go straight to the point: this spinoff is just nowhere near as fun as Saki was. The series isn’t done yet (3 more episodes to go) but so far all I can say is that while it’s been a really fun watch, I’d rather watch the Kiyosumi girls fight it out in the nationals. The first 6-8 episodes were all useless build-ups that go nowhere which really got frustrating.

The Achiga girls are as interesting as a plastic bag and Akado is a fucking terrible coach. Still they pulled it off really well towards the end as we finally witnessed the terror that is Miyanaga Teru. I swear, everything interesting about this series is the references to the original and the best characters are the ones not in Achiga. I was nowhere even rooting for Kuro in the Teru onslaught, nor was the creators since all the spotlight went to our brave hero, Toki from Senriyama. This series would be 10 times more interesting if it was Saki-Senriyama hen with Toki as our main lead. I swear, the way she fought towards the end, even to the point where she sacrificed herself so that other players will win, is amazing. Another notable character is “Subara”, who was a sacrificial pawn to the team, who really won my heart despite losing so badly in the Teru onslaught match. Maybe because she wasn’t all whiny-whiny like Kuro was.

Achiga-hen got the wrong main characters and wrong pacing, but they did get the focus correct. Maybe Studio Gokumi knew that the Achiga girls were boring as fuck and decided to rush everything so that we’d have 5 episodes of the ”good” bits. That’s some terrible storytelling but hey at least I didn’t get a bad aftertaste towards the end. Now air those 3 episodes already and announce season fucking 2!

Execution: 29/40 (Got everything wrong when it comes to storytelling but at least we got 5 really awesome episodes towards the end because of this.)

Engagement: 29/30 (Sports anime always gets me excited and Achiga is no exception despite all its faults. The last 5 episodes were full of adrenalin rush. )

Characters: 15.5/20 (Achiga girls are boring as fuck, Akado is a terrible coach but they do have amazing side characters which were pretty much the focus towards the end.)

Production: 8.5/10 (An upgrade from the original. Studio Gokumi got a lot of experience from A-Channel I guess.)

Overall: 82/100

Mysterious Girlfriend X (END) – 94 points

I’ve proclaimed many times about my love for this series for the past 3 months. Rightfully so because of how mysteriously charming this series is. The plot is revolves mostly around Urabe and Tsubaki and their relationship. The drool exchanging (the main selling point of this series; I don’t know if it’s in a good way or a bad way) is very symbolic in their relationship as it also allows an exchange of emotions and feelings.

What’s surprising about this series is that it’s animated by Hoods, that studio dedicated on making outright anime porn disguised as TV Series (Breast Mutilation Anime, Breastfeeding Anime you name it!). I was damn surprised with how well produced this series is. It won’t win best animation or anything, but I really like the color palette they use (which really brings out the retro feel of this series) and the animation on facial expressions. The soundtrack is amazing, probably the best this year, and it really creates a tone that really only fits a series like this.

The layers of development between Urabe and Tsubaki really brought something new to the table. For once it showed us relationships don’t end with confessions and getting together, which is what most anime tend to do. It explored the difficulties of a relationship through the power of drool. The drool really brings out the feelings both characters have for each other. Another thing very noticeable in this series is how both Urabe and Tsubaki actually talk about what they’re feeling. Highschool romance anime rarely does this (the characters are always secretive with their intentions blablabla) so it’s a refreshing take on how to do romance properly.

I think this series really culminated its development in episode 12 wherein Urabe finally let Tsubaki hug her. That was just sweet. Urabe is a damn fine amazing character. She’s presented as this mysterious girl Tsubaki can’t understand half the time yet when you look closely, all her intentions and emotions are actually pretty normal for a girl. In Tsubaki’s eyes she’s some sort of alien yet when the series turns to her POV, it’s almost as if she’s normal. Almost . . .

This is another anime that will go down as a classic for me. I really enjoyed this series and it’s definitely going down as my favourite this year.

Execution: 36/40 (Directing is top notch, lot’s of symbolisms especially when it comes to drool)

Engagement: 30/30 (Pretty much my favourite anime of the season, faults and all)

Characters: 19/20 (13 episodes of pure development between Urabe and Tsubaki and their amazing refreshing relationship)

Production: 9/10 (Manages to create a tone only fitting for an anime like this. Godly Soundtrack)

Overall: 94/100

Sakamichi no Apollon (END) – 89 points

This was probably the most hyped up anime this season, and essentially the one that I was most looking forward to. Apollon is about high school friendship and love troubles set in the 1960s with a big healthy injection of jazz. The manga was a Shogakugan award winner (one of the most prestigious manga awards in Japan), the production studio is Tezuka Production (It’s TEZUKA, TEZUKA) with the legendary director Shinichiro Watanabe at helm. The main theme is jazz so they got themselves the most prolific anime composer of all time, Yoko Kanno. Also this aired in the noitaminA block, the block that dedicates themselves (or used to) to only airing good shit. Everything about this series sounded like a recipe for success but the big question was, “Will it deliver? “. Overhype really played in this series with people in the community proclaiming it to be “God’s gift to us” or “The savior of the noitaminA block”. Hey, when was the last time an anime was this hyped? HI THAR GUILTY CROWN. So with crazy expectations, did this series deliver?

YES. Yes it did.

One of the amazing things about this series is how well it’s executed. While it faltered a bit in the end, cramming 9 volumes into 12 episodes is no easy task. In fact, the entire last episode was Volume 9 itself. The last time an anime was able to pull off a dangerous task like this was Toradora (10LN volumes) and that had 25 episodes. It really shows how amazing the staff is for this series.

Also surprising was how well the characters were developed even with the rushed pacing. We got ourselves the OTP, Sentarou and Kaoru. Leaving all the gay undertones aside, the level of depth and detail to their friendship is really what stands out in this series more than anything else. We had love triangles and pentagons here and there but the aspect of friendship is essentially the one that was played at highest respect. This is really what sets Apollon apart from other romance anime.

You can’t talk about Apollon though with the jazz. I’ve never really seen anime be able to pull off instruments playing besides Haruhi and this is 10, no, 100 times better than that. It really feels like they’re playing. What’s disappointing though is the soundtrack itself. The soundtrack isn’t bad but it feels like Yoko Kanno just copypasta jazz classics in the soundtrack; the ones she made herself aren’t entirely memorable. Oh well, there’s always Aquarion EVOL for awesome Yoko Kanno music.

This would be an instant classic for me if it wasn’t for those last episodes. You can have so much legendary staff on your hands and you can shell out all the money you want, but time constraints will always be there. Curse you noitaminA for giving Apollon only 12 episodes (while Guilty Crown got 20+). This is like my gist with Anohana before, except worse. Apollon is amazing but it could have pulled off a much more amazing if it was given like 3-5 more episodes.

Negativity aside, Sakamichi Apollon is a very refined anime that’s absolutely amazingly executed. It tackles friendship in a level I rarely see in anime. It also has awesome drum solos. Yeah that’s enough to call Apollon an awesome anime.

Execution: 36/40 (Damn fine amazing considering time restraints and all)

Engagement: 26/30 (It’s so fast-paced yet I still managed to get attached on what was happening, especially on the first half of the series.)

Characters: 18/20 (Amazing cast. Sentarou and Kaoru are really the OTP)

Production: 9/10 (Amazing drum solos and all that jazzzzzzz)

Overall: 89/100