Saekano saves the season, sort of.

So, here we are in week 4. Out of the three shows I was watching, one, Assassination Classroom got delayed. Three others, Testament, Isuca, and KanColle have been dropped. That’s OK though, because I really like what’s left. Saekano finally got around to doing what they should have done a three weeks ago. They finally tried to win the audience over instead of playing games with us.

Episode 2 left me worried about where the show was going.  Spending an entire episode showing us how boring our main heroine was a bit of overkill.  If the series continued going over the top for the rest of the episodes, I was probably going to move on.  What Saekano has done instead, is make the statement that they are going to give you what you want, just not when or how you want it.  That’s actually kind of refreshing.  Expecting a throw away fan service OVA after the season is over?  Fine, but we are going to do it before the season and use it to introduce the main characters.  You want character development?  Here have an entire episode of dry dialogue.  You want some flavor in your harem protagonist? We will make him kind of annoying.  Want to fall for the girls in the harem?  You have to wait to episode 3 (4).  I feel kind of bad for those who jumped ship early, but the staff behind Saekano doesn’t.  They decided to build the story the way they wanted, and I have to say that, now that they’ve finished the long build up, I like the way they’ve done it.

The girls really shined in this episode.  Megumi is clever and far more interested in our MC than she shows.  This was hinted at in episode 1, when she was very aware of Tomoya, when he had never even noticed her before.  Her decision to enlist the help of her rivals was brilliant.  Eriri and Utaha were both good in this episode as well.  Breaking out of their tropes just enough to make them likeable.  Tomoya is still the weak link here, but I believe he is supposed to be.  He’s supposed to be a normal, but ambitious otaku.  We still haven’t seen why the girls like him.  I think that is deliberate.  Saekano has shown so far that it has a plan in mind, and even if I don’t always like how they are doing it, it’s worth sticking around to see where they are going

KanColle has finally left my watchlist.  I might come back to it if I gain some familiarity with the game.  I don’t get the in jokes, and I only made it halfway through episode 4 before I lost patience with it’s carnival atmosphere.  I said from the beginning that this was going to require a deft balancing act.  Instead the show seems to weave all over the place.  I don’t hate KanColle.  It was better than I expected at first, but I just don’t find the show particularly engaging.  The game has a big following in Japan, and it is clear that the show is not trying too hard to go outside that demographic.

I may watch more Death Parade, as the buzz is that the other episodes have had less of a sadistic feel.  I rarely give up on a show after one episode, so I feel that it deserves another shot.  Even if I don’t add it in.  Durarara!, Saekano, and eventually Assassination Classroom, are entertaining shows that don’t expect to be a waste of my time.  That will make getting to that awesome spring line up a lot easier.

 
EDIT: After looking around the web a bit, I’ve decided that Saekano will be my new litmus test for an anime reviewer.  People who are clever and open-minded enough to understand what is going on tend to have a favorable impression of the show (no one I’ve seen is claiming it’s awesome, just intriguing).  The pretentious anime fan who cannot get past their preconceived notions tends to hate or have dropped the show.  I’m sure there are exceptions, but so far reactions to the show seem to give an insight into how people approach watching anime.  The less “I hate this show, but I never watched it” or “I need to tell you what’s wrong with you for liking this show” attitudes I am exposed to, the better.

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