August 31, 2006

Good Anime To Avoid

Ex-lurker Madmike wanted to know what anime series would be good for a beginner. Fair question, and the rampaging hordes did a fine job of answering it.

This post, however, is NOT about what would shows be good for a neophyte otaku.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm the staff advisor for the Duck U. Anime Club. Between the club prez and m'self, we have to decide what series the club will watch that week/month/semester... and most of our club members are in the same boat as Madmike: interested, but inexperienced in the ways of anime.

So, instead of what would be GOOD for him (and the club) to watch, this post will cover some series that'd be smart to avoid like the plague for a while! After the jump, the (incomplete) list: Excel Saga. A remarkably funny series, full of sight gags, references, and high-energy humor that is widely considered to be an excellent show. The problem is that it makes fun of the entire spectrum of anime, and you really need to have knowledge of the 'artform' to get it. We showed three or four episodes of this one night at the Anime Club, and the only person laughing at most of the gags (though Excel's death 5 minutes into the first episode brought suprised chuckles) was me. Well worth watching... later.

Neon Genesis Evangelion. Constantly on the "best anime ever" list, and despite the flaws I think it deserves to be there. Evangelion's flaws, however, would be a dealbreaker for the newcomer. Our hero is an angst-ridden, whiny, petulant crybaby that dislikes just about everybody... and the feeling is mutual. Of course, very few people like anybody in Evangelion, and that makes it difficult to watch. The 'ruse within a plot within a scheme within a... oooh, look, something shiny!' storyline doesn't help either. One of the 'must see' animes... later.

Ghost in the Shell and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence. Absolutely stunning movies with legendary characters, a storyline apropos of the technological wonders of today and around the corner, and a worthy discussion of what it means to be human. Brilliant stuff... and dense as dwarf-star matter. Innocence in particular is incredibly hard to understand, while being, visually, one of the best movies (anime, live action, animated, whatever) ever. Glorious to look at... later. (note: this does not apply to the anime 'Ghost in the Shell: Stand-alone Complex'. Much easier to understand, and pretty darn good, too)

Noir is one of my favorite series. It pains me mightily to put it on this list, but for a beginner, it may be TOO intense, too thick. If the shows they run on Adult Swim is steak, Noir is pure Kobe beef. As SDB has mentioned, there are no throwaway episodes; every one is required to understand what's going on. There is no letup, there is no chance to catch your breath. The problem with the show for the newcomer is that it's also VERY difficult to watch multiple episodes in a row. If there was ever a series that needed to be seen in the once-weekly style, this is the one. We ran into that problem last year when the Duck U. Anime Club watched Noir. What was perfect when watched with time between each episode became flat-out annoying when mainlined (specifically the flashbacks and the music of the watch). High on my list of must-see shows... later.

By all means, this is not a complete list... feel free to post more in comments!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:24 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 591 words, total size 3 kb.

1 I'll agree with that assessment of "Ghost In The Shell". I found the time yesterday to sit and watch it with no interuptions. Had to decide whether to watch in Japanese w. subtitles or the English Dub (I know this could be a whole topic of discussion in itself, I eventually went with the dub). It's very enticing visually and I found the soundtrack somewhat haunting. But in the end felt much like I did after I saw "Akira"... like I missed something important... like there was something I just didn't get. I guess the best analogy I can give... like the first time you see "2001 A Space Odyssey". You enjoy it, you follow the HAL/Dave story, but there's a lot of other stuff needing thought and analysis. I'd read reviews of "Ghost In The Shell" online, so I was expecting some heavy introspective overtones, but still had some trouble. Seems like this movie would benefit from repeated viewing. Maybe after I've seen some other stuff. Thanks everyone for your recommendations, this is a great little community you have here!

Posted by: madmike at September 01, 2006 02:46 AM (P1mII)

2 In the case of the Ghost in the Shell movies... Both are part of the original manga, which I found places them in more context (though, granted, there's still a lot I probably don't "get").

Posted by: Cineris at September 01, 2006 06:52 AM (Q+gO6)

3 Well, I dunno if I'd say that they're both 'part of the original manga.' They certainly use it as a starting point, but from there go pretty far afield.

I first read the manga, oh, 10-12 years ago but hadn't looked at it since. Last Christmas, I gave a copy of the TPB to the Duck U. Anime Club President, and borrowed it from him later. GitS: Stand-alone Complex stays much closer to the manga, though much of the plot changes. Surprised me just how much it uses.

But, that's just me.

Posted by: Wonderduck at September 01, 2006 11:06 AM (fEnUg)

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