Posted by KTravlos on 3 April 2018 with categories: Currently Watching:

For me a mediocre show is one that I can watch and enjoy, but which does not really break new ground in elements of animation, story, or cinematography, or does not “move” me. It does not if you will touch the “higher” emotions and faculties of who I am, but does leave me satisfied at having some fun. This season I followed three mediocre shows. These were B: The Beginning, Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, and Classicaloid Season 2.  Here I will give brief reviews. All these shows score a C on my grading system.

B: The Beginning

The fun part of the show

What it claims to be about: In a fictional contemporary setting , the archipelagic Kingdom of Cremona, there are periodic murder sprees by serial killers. A special force of the Royal Police, together with the genius detective Keith try to solve the secret behind the crimes. At the same time a winged avenger directly interferes in the solution of crimes, engaged in a running battle with secretive group with government ties.  It turns out that Keith and the winged avenger also share a tie, which is part of a wider triangle with Keith’s college friend, and the murder of his sister years ago.

Essentially B: The Beginning tries to tell a series that combines a supernatural  action show, with a police detective story.

What is it really about: Two separate stories badly tied together.  The police detective story is not that bad.  There are attempts at resolving the crimes, and wider mystery behind. They use some of the recent Sherlock series gimmicks to spice things up. In general the characters in the police detective ark, that is the unit of which Keith is part of, are interesting (especially Lily, Kaela, and Erik), have good chemistry, and work well as a group. The supernatural action story is a mess. A already convoluted plotline is made more convoluted for cheap twists. None of the characters in that part are really interesting, and their interactions are boring. Now it is true the action scenes are well done, but again you do not really get the point of why this is part of this anime. Do not get me wrong. The anime tries to tie the two stories together in the face of the big bad. It just does a terrible job at it. The big bad itself is not too bad, but trying to shoehorn the supernatural  into his modus operandi just ruined the potential. Now, there are series that do this well. Full Metal Alchemist is ultimately an action series tied to a  political conspiracy thriller. It works for me. But it did not work here.

Why you should watch it: The detective part of the story is good, and the characters in the investigation unit are great with good chemistry. Animation, music (especially the ending theme song) , character art, and art in general are very good.  It is good enough I am willing to give a sequel a try.

Why is it mediocre: The supernatural action plotline is substandard, with boring characters. The attempt to mesh the two together fails. The ultimate villain is a boring idiot.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

Did we tell you about Hakata’s great baseball?

What it claims to be about: A all-ensemble cast story in the vein of Durarara! and Baccano! Cool characters interacting in a city of crime and mystery! Cool action! Hakata is Cool! Lin, a cross-dressing assassin, teams up with Banba, a private detective, and his cute bunch of frenemies, including a genius hacker, a friendly torturer, a guy who gets paid to do revenge, and others, try to survive in the deadly, sunny, rather clean streets of Hakata,Japan. There is ramen!

What is it really about: An attempt to advertise the city of Hakata. Which is not that remarkable. By presenting it as a place were 1 in 10 people are professional killers. Come see our City! Don’t mind the body! Careful to not die. I have no idea why anybody thought this would be a good way to raise tourist interest about a city. Ah well, the show is not half bad. Essentially you have a bunch of people who are trying to be cool, and are self-conscious about it-so at least you get an answer about why some of the things they do are idiotic, doing cool stuff (at least in their eyes). Most of the cast does not get much development, and some of it really has no real purpose.  The problem here is this. The key to the success of a show like Baccano! was the chemistry of the characters. While not all were equally developed, the plot provide some common development that tied everyone together. Hakta fails at that. Some of the characters get good development (Lin, the hacker guy). Some of them have some good chemistry. But most of them are really just cardboards of “coolness”.  The action and stories are so-so, as the adversaries border on the ridiculous, and our heroes are just so “cool” that one never feels they are in danger. As a result this is not a show of tension. You can enjoy it as a mild entertainment with a nice beer, and then reminisce about how much more fun Baccano! was.

Why you should watch it: It is fun enough, and the some of the main characters interesting enough to provide some mild entertainment. You really want to know a bit about Hakata. The Opening song is not too bad. Animation is serviceable.

Why is it mediocre: Hakata is boring. Most of the characters are boring. The storylines are not really much to write about.  If the goal was to get me to read the light novels it failed miserably.

Classicaloid Season 2

Mozart, Wagner, Beethoven. Luminaries of Classical European Music.

What it claims to be about:  The first season was a show pgsels liked, but the rest of the blog group did not care much about. Since it seemed to be absurdist comedy, and since I like that a bit (Cromartie High FOREVER!), I decided to give it a try. It was fun. The 2nd Season continued the same story. A bunch of artificial humans that have the personalities of great classical conductors live in the same house and interact. The addition of a new character based on Wanger, and his attempts to win acclamation provides the central theme for these seasons, as Bach’s machinations did in the first. All characters come to learn something important, and young Wagner grows up. Or something like that.

What is it really about: Absurdist Comedy in the service of getting you to learn or care more for some of the great composers of the classical European music era. The first and 2nd seasons do not change much in style. Most characters behave the same, and I must confess in the second seasons some of those characters became irritating (Mozart, Sosuke and Schubert mostly). The show is still fun but the Wagner sub-story felt a waste of time. Ultimately this is mindless fun, and sometimes it dragged.

Why you should watch it: It can still get you laughing hard. It did get me to look more into some of the composers. The music is good and sometimes the variations on classics are very interesting. Art is colorful and fun.

Why is it mediocre: No real growth makes many of the characters irritating this seasons. A pointless and boring central plotline.

 

9 Responses

  1. Avatar Evaluator says:

    I never got over Classicaloid S1 1st ep. But I’ll give it another try in the future. I felt it tried to walk in Gintama’s footsteps, which is a good thing.

    B the Beginning is one of those shows, which hurts you to see waste all its absurdly high production values on trying to look cool, mature and important, while accomplishing none of it. Just another myopic Dunning Kruger show that needs a giant mirror. The villain’s speeches were ridiculous and by the last episode headache-inducing (Morikawa Toshiyuki’s voice especially!). I can testify how marathoning this show gives you a massive headache.

    Random bits I actually liked:

    – Lily’s playful, active and quirky personality and down to earth yet sexy looks. I hate nosy busybody characters, but she almost feels like a real person. ++. I have felt like she jumped out of Taiho Shichau zo (You’re Under Arrest) and impersonated one of its leads (Natsumi Tsujimoto, https://myanimelist.net/character/3727/Natsumi_Tsujimoto/pictures).

    -Koshimizu Ami’s performance as the blonde police IT girl (when Keith wrote on the monitor with a marker pen, she screamed “Monitaaa, the monitaaa!!”). Sometimes her beautiful voice doesn’t fit her characters that well (Devilman Crybaby, recently), but here she shows how much she can bring out completely stereotypical and unimportant characters to life!

    – Yuna & Koku emotional embrace on the rooftop after their fight, where Yuna remembers their past and softly asks “Kokkuuuuuuu?”. Then that oh-so-evil guy pierces them both with a sword. Even though the flashbacks were too long and convenient, story retarded, characters annoying and flat, the scene still worked incredibly well thx to the music. When Koku transformed in hopeless screams, that really hammered in melodrama. All odds were against this scene working, yet it did. Ultimately, production values alone can save a single moment.

    – Keith’s oh-so-dramatic thriller hospital scene – the way the other guy keeps being creepy and nonsensically speaking Keith’s full name again and again is meme-worthy. “Keeeeeiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiithuuu!” Hi there. “Keith Flick!” *insert random rambling* “Keeeeeith FLICK!!!” *proceeds to kill himself*

    Still a trainwreck.

    • Avatar KTravlos says:

      Yes, the waste of the detective team was really a pity. Still it was a pretty show.

      • Avatar KTravlos says:

        Also yes. Both Lilly and Kaela were very sexy, without making them ridiculous. Also it was cool how self-assured Kaela was when she worked. I really liked the scene were she brings the blue-prints up. Both Keith and Erik are continuously asking for more information. I would probably had snapped at them. But Kaela was cool. I want more Kaela and Erik and Keith and Lilly and Boris and irrelevant guy with hair and Brandon. But it seems we will get more flying circus people in a potential sequel. Arrghhhh!

        I did like the Izanami (skateboard person) vs. Koku fight. I felt that they wasted the potential of that interaction.

      • Avatar Evaluator says:

        Yeah Kaela was cool. Hah at irrelevant guy and flying circus people. I hate sequels to bad series I have finished.

        I agree the Izanami part had some potential, I was being constantly reminded of Zankyou no Terror. Five and Izanami were very similar in design, personality, motivation, backstory and she was also receiving some high budget cuts that were for naught…

  2. Avatar Bokusen says:

    Guess I’m the only one who really liked Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens, huh? It and CCS are the only series I really enjoyed last season.

    Yes, that bit about him liking Hakata during the last episode was cheesy, but overall Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens was what I wanted Durarara to be: An eccentric romp showcasing a Japanese town and the people who live there which doesn’t forget to be fun.

    I loved an early episode of Durarara where Celty writes a message at the end, but no other episodes lived up to that one & I ended up dropping the series for good at the conclusion of the sequel.
    Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is like the Durarara I never got, so I’m happy it exists.^-^

    • Avatar KTravlos says:

      I would not say I did not like it. And to be frank I should not had put the Durara! mention there since I did not watch it. But compared to Baccano! which I watched, I found it lacking. You are right that ultimately it was “An eccentric romp showcasing a Japanese town and the people who live there which doesn’t forget to be fun.”. I just found that it did not really get my pumped either for Hakata, or the majority of the cast. Again not a bad show. And an easy one to marathon. But simply mediocre.

      • Avatar Bokusen says:

        Ah, interesting…It’s possible that I rate it higher because the Antarctica series and Violet Evergarden were so disappointing to me, and with so much forced melodrama in those two series I’m apt to rate a series that just makes me have fun higher than I might have in another season. Still, it earns a solid B from me, and while Baccano is a technically more proficient series in every way, it wasn’t as fun to watch as Ramens was for me. Isaac and Miria were fun to watch, but they were also kind of dumb as rocks and I couldn’t really root for them. Most of the rest of the cast were sociopaths from what I remember, and while that’s good for shock value at first, it wore off and I actually was like “Not *another* darn sociopath scene!” during the ova.
        That said, likes and dislikes are subjective. It’s possible that the bad experience of watching Durarara soured me even more on Baccano.
        Looking forward to the next season!

  3. Avatar Vonter says:

    To me Mahoutsukai, was mediocre, in the sense that it was just ok. It had the elements and production values to be much more. But it lacked a better delivery, focus on the main plot and maybe having less episodes given the material didn’t feel well spent passing the midpoint.

    The second season of Overlord felt like an intermission season. The main character barely moves the plot forward, and most of it is establishing the world, the factions and developing the side characters that didn’t appeared as much in the first season.

    In here I’ve followed other middle of the road shows. Scum’s Wish had a great vibe of the darker aspects of romance and unrequited love. Yet it felt the story put the main characters to the side and I’ve forgot what happened by the end, since I feel it didn’t close strongly.

    Magical Girl Raising Project, is a soulless story that can be entertaining if watched with cynic lens. Characters barely develop and some develop just as they’re dying. The ending puts in a another perspective the meme of “Luigi wins by doing nothing.” Good premise but botched execution.

    I haven’t finished Kabaneri in the Iron Fortress, since despite liking it, the “main villain” sucked out all the immersion I had in the show. It almost felt like self sabotage, since they had something with the super zombies and monsters, but had to also check that conspiracy box from Attack on Titan. Which also put me off that show and manga.

    • Avatar Evaluator says:

      I have only seen few episodes of Mahoutsukai and I didn’t like it at all, unlike its 3ep OVA prequel (Hoshi Matsu Hito), although now that I think about it, that one was a little vacuous as well. I still recommend it for its depiction of alienation and terror of the unknown.

      Agree on Overlord. I think it does everything at least as well as S1, except the main characters are not there! I guess there’s gonna be S3 anyway, so this is better anyway. I’m enjoying weekly dose of Solution, Sebastian and lizzard sex.

      Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku was Precure on Valvrave. Nothing wrong with that, unless you know what you are watching (not Madoka). Sometimes these series do not understand it themselves (Cross Ange) and become a Legend Of Terrible, but those that do belong in Trainwreck Hall of Fame, which is a worthy title to be proud of. Id say Raising Project sits somewhere in the middle of the two, like Mayoiga.

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