Minoa keeps dreaming about an anime she saw as a kid but doesn’t know which one. one day in the classroom a classmate overhears her talking about the anime with a friend and seeks her out. Turns out she’s a major anime fan. Soon the girls have found other like minded students and started an anime club but things aren’t going to be smooth sailing.
While reading that overview you probably had the sense that you had seen that show before. Probably more than once. Anime-Gataris is another one of those self-aware kind of parody type shows except that it doesn’t really commit to the idea of parody or satire and instead indulges itself by endless references within the industry and later in the series even becoming self-referential. That doesn’t automatically mean we should sound some kind of alarm as there is still a lot of potential in such a series. Early episode of Anime-Gataris did in fact work quite well.
No, where this story fell apart is that it forgot it was supposed to be a story and not a series of loosely connected set ups. Just metaphorically winking at your audience as you skate right over increasingly thin ice with your story isn’t enough to really let you get away with the kind of abysmal story this show ends up producing. And while there are some early attempts at foreshadowing the ending we ultimately get, there are entire chunks and episodes that do not feed in to the overall narrative in any meaningful way and are merely there for the sake of squeezing in one more reference or trope.
Maybe people who just like gag comedy will still get something from this. There is enough of a plot that if you aren’t too concerned about it making sense you could just kind of go along with their nonsense. However, then the show will have to contend with the fact that other than the first couple of episodes where the characters have rapid fire conversations making some interesting points and the references serving some kind of purpose (or at least taking a small dig at the show they were referencing), by the mid-season these had become far less frequent and had lost any bite they may have had and by the end they merely became filler to drag out a conflict that had so little weight there was no reason to care.
That isn’t to say there aren’t some very funny moments in this series. Early episodes are quite amusing if you happen to like the kind of humour they are selling and should you have experienced enough anime to be able to negotiate your way through the layered references in some scenes. Yet repeated gags and fairly flat delivery make even the comedy elements of the show pretty dull by the end.
Maybe breaking the fourth wall entirely in the final episodes seemed like an extraordinarily amusing idea in a planning meeting but the actual delivery is rather like the show is looking at its audience and pointing at itself demanding that we acknowledge how clever it is. The end result is pretty ordinary.
Where the show fares a bit better are the characters with Minoa being generic but entertaining as our pink-haired leading lady. New to the anime community, her enthusiasm and passion are a joy to watch at times and while there’s nothing particularly exceptional about her or any of the cast, they all kind of serve their assigned roles well enough and the early season has some great moments shared between members of the anime club.
Despite all of that, I can’t actually bring myself to dislike this show. At least half the series (the first episodes and then elements of the mid-season) was pretty entertaining and I did appreciate the sheer number of anime they managed to reference during the run time. However, I also can’t bring myself to recommend the show given the entire series is just a downward spiral from the spark of a good idea down to a derivative and self-indulgent mess.
- Episode 1: A Pleasant Surprise
- Episode 2: The References Just Keep Coming
- Episode 3: No Chance of Dropping At Episode 3
- Episode 4: There Was Supposed to Be A Ka-Boom
- Episode 5: Not Even This Show Managed To Make Waiting In Line Interesting
- Episode 6: I Lost Count, But This Was Fun
- Episode 7: They’re Going To Shut Down The Club, Again?
- Episode 8: It’s a Swing and a Miss
- Episode 9: There’s a Fine Line and This Just Jumped Right Over It
- Episode 10: It’s the Power of Friendship/Teamwork/Plot Convenience
- Episode 11: Let’s Make Random Happen
- Episode 12: Death By Narrator, Nonsense, and No Direction
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