Anime-Gataris Series Review: A Guide In How To Have An Idea But Not A Story

Overview:

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.

Review:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Reviews:


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Karandi James

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Anime-Gataris Episode 12: Death By Narrator, Nonsense, and No Direction

Review:

Anime-Gataris has become an increasingly convoluted and frustrating watch. Despite early indications that some catastrophe was coming, the final form it takes is incredibly random and the solution is equally non-nonsensical making for a fairly lacking finale that draws on the worst clichés of poor endings including the power of friendship overcoming anything.

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Now, I like a good Gurren Laagan reference as much as the next anime obsessed human but even that wasn’t enough to save this story from sinking into a swamp of its own making. It was almost like watching a dream play out on screen which meant nothing really had any weight and so wasn’t worth worrying about.

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I’m not sure how I feel about this series as a whole right at the moment but I know that this episode just kind of made me sigh. A lot.

Finally, time is running out to have your say in the reader’s poll for best and worst anime of the season. If you haven’t voted click here.


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Anime-Gataris Episode 11: Let’s Make Random Happen

Review:

Anime-Gataris has increasingly become the show this season that I have to wonder why I am still watching it. The first couple of episodes were great fun but since then it has become a bit of a chore to watch and episode 11 decided to throw any chance of recovery out the window. The show has always been a little bit self-aware and has continuously played on the tropes of a myriad of other anime but this episode decided to go just all too far down that rabbit hole with anime essentially taking over the ‘real’ world of the story.

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While this does lead to some interesting visual humour at times and the occasionally funny line, as an overall narrative it is just nonsense and while the talking cat most definitely foreshadowed some of these developments it is just too sharp a curve for the series to take this far along.

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Overall I would have to say this was a somewhat unsatisfying episode to watch and I’m not convinced I’ll be impressed with the conclusion but this far along it would be sillier to drop it.


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Anime-Gataris Episode 10: It’s the Power of Friendship/Teamwork/Plot Convenience

Review:

While this episode certainly did better than last week in that it delivered some actual plot progression and a nice simple problem to solve (Principal’s door is locked and we need a code to unlock it), there’s still plenty to wonder about how the show got to this place. More specifically, why they felt the need to have a traitor in the club who is clearly continuing to play both sides. I’m just not sure what this adds as it isn’t particularly clever or funny and it just seems kind of dumb.

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The other question I had this episode came up during the opening when the entire opening theme was filled with Minoa’s friend, Obata. Other than fan servicey type shots of her doing high jump or stretching, I haven’t really figured out why her character even exists in the show, so I’m stumped as to why we needed her face grinning at us through the opening this week or what relevance that has to anything.

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And possibly both of these concerns will be cleared up before the end and I’ll see it was well thought out and purposeful all along. And then again, maybe not. Still, you have to give Minoa credit for staying true to her passion.

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Definitely a better episode than what we’ve been getting but this series has left it a little late to really turn itself around so all I’m hoping for is a decent ending.


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Anime-Gataris Episode 9: There’s a Fine Line and This Just Jumped Right Over It

Review:

I’m not the biggest fan of comedy in the first place, but the first couple of episodes of this show were pretty funny. However, heading in to episode 9 and off the back of a couple of fairly flat episodes, we see the show trying to capture some of the energy it had earlier in the season with a severe mis-fire (at least for me).

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What was funny early on in the season was the characters were so recognisable as fans of anime or light novels. They were passionate and over the top enthused, but you could relate to them and the excitement they felt in getting to discuss that passion with others. The exaggerated elements of the show were there, but they made enough sense within the context.

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Now however we have the sports clubs actively copying anime techniques rather than actually training for their sport with some incredibly stupid results. This isn’t funny because it requires you to believe that every single high school student, their coaches and supervisors, jettisoned their brains after watching a single anime series and they’ve just copied what they’ve seen on TV as if it some kind of bible.

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Then we get the so often repeated threat of club shut down that even the club doesn’t care but finally there’s a twist. This time the principal is involved and there is a traitor in the group (and just so you know, it is the character that has legitimately served no other purpose in the story thus far so guess who it is).

So yeah, not funny humour and incredibly lame plot developments… this one is heading down my watch list fast and I’m just kind of hoping it remains watchable until the end of the season at this point.


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Anime-Gataris Episode 8: It’s a Swing and a Miss

Review:

One thing that has become painfully obvious during the mid-season of Anime-Gataris is that this show is at its best when it is a straight parody of other anime or when the characters are passionately engaged in an anime discussion dropping references left and right. Devoid of either of those ideas, the story itself doesn’t have enough substance to stay standing and the one note nature of these characters becomes far too clear.

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Why was this even here? They didn’t end up doing anything with it.

The reason episode 8 highlights these issues so beautifully is because the entire episode is a tug-of-war between the show trying to be plot driven with the anime club getting shut down and overcoming the student council’s meddling and a barrage of references about doing your best, the screening itself which dumps huge numbers of references and then we finish with a dance sequence that other than being filled with creepy CG was incredibly familiar.

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Basically we had moments that reminded us that this show knew how to make us laugh and had some energy, and then we had all the scenes with Minoa thinking or moping or rallying to get her enthusiasm back up. Minoa is a cute character and when she’s discussing anime she shines. But otherwise, she just doesn’t have enough character, and the audience hasn’t been given enough reason to care about her as a character, for any of the rest of this to have much impact.

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This one looks like it will be hard to review because early episodes were really good value in terms of just making me laugh. Now however, while I don’t dislike the show, it has definitely slumped into kind of watchable nothingness.


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Anime Quotes – Autumn 2017

Yes, this is another fairly random post where I have collected my favourite quotes from this season (so far) in one place. I’d love it if you would share your favourite lines or quotes from the season in the comments.

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Anime-Gataris Episode 7: They’re Going To Shut Down The Club, Again?

Review:

While conceptually I understand that this show is parodying many other anime, and the overused club getting shut down conflict is worth poking fun at, this is getting ridiculous. It was kind of the reason I didn’t watch Food Wars this season because the whole getting expelled or equally ridiculous consequence of cook offs kind of wore out its welcome as a source of conflict for me and I ceased to care whether the entire school burnt down.

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The challenge this time is to have a good showing at the school festival but just an anime screening isn’t enough. Suckers for punishment and Minoa’s infectious enthusiasm, our favourite anime club decide to make an anime (short). What could possibly go wrong with that?

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Oddly enough, most of the episode is smooth sailing once they agree on a concept and script and they do a decent job of outlining the production process. Of course, the student council can’t let sleeping dogs lie and the episode ends with yet another near catastrophe facing the club. I somehow doubt this one will be anymore exciting than the previous challenges. However, much like episode 5, I found this episode wasn’t quite as charming as others. It does the job but it more just watchable than actually entertaining in its own right.


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Anime-Gataris Episode 6: I Lost Count, But This Was Fun

Review:

I have no idea how many references they packed into that episode but they were coming thick and fast and they were fantastic. Shout out to the Ore Monogatari and Steins;Gate references that both got shoved in to the same scene and somehow made perfect sense. Yet if there were any surer sign that this show gets its audience it would be this moment:

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Every single audience member had to relate to that trauma of realising there was no way to watch a current episode (or any episode given they had no TV).

I will point out that for an episode that was kind of Kaikai’s, Minoa did a good job of stealing the final act of it. I felt a little bad for Kaikai by the mid-way point. He’s been one of my favourites from the group from the beginning and there were so many moments this episode where I just felt like he had the perfect reaction to a sequence of events.

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Also his unnecessary narration of an encounter was pretty hilarious.

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All and all, I had a great time this episode, which was a relief after the flatness experienced in episode 5. This, while ultimately not really moving the plot along in any meaningful way, did do some great work with the characters and returned to the fun of just showing us that it really does get the audience. Of course, it also has god-rays, bath sequences, and the usual girl drooling over boy on boy couple so it kind of understands the anime medium pretty well and is accepting a wide range of elements from it into its commentary.


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Autumn 2017 Week 6

As we reach the half-way point for a lot of shows (though a number of these will continue on for a second cour) I am still loving this season. It could just be that I found the Summer season fairly weak and this season looks good by comparison, but I actually kind of feel like there are some really excellent shows out at the moment. Even some of the slower stories like Just Because and Girls’ Last Tour have been really fun to watch so far. We’ll see how these shows go as they entre the second half of the season but I’m really hopeful.

Okay, half-way through the season and what do you think will end up being the best anime for Autumn?

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Must Watch

March Comes in Like a Lion Season 2 (Episode 26)

Oh wow. This week delivered the best episode yet of a show I was already deeply in love with. My only concern is that I cannot think another episode will top that and it is a little early in the season to peak. Absolutely amazing how this show continues to deftly deal with human emotions. It just kind of gets it and it speaks to me and I am totally in love.

Land of the Lustrous (Episode 5)

Another, oh wow. This show continues to build on its world and characters and continues to visually impress. Phos gets that little bit better each week as a character (I was worried in episode 1 I would never really like Phos much) and now I genuinely love Phos as a character and can’t wait to see what happens next and how they will deal with it.

The Ancient Magus’ Bride (Episode 5)

I don’t know that I expected this show to get that dark. By my usual standards it was pretty tame to be honest, but the contrast from the romping with baby dragons to being in a shed with a mass cat murderer before the love of his life kind of turns into a puddle was pretty affective. The show remains ridiculously pretty to look at which is also why the gorier moments of this episode were so striking. I’m still enjoying this show but I’m interested to see where it goes and whether this is a one off or whether we’re actually going to see both the lighter and darker moments throughout this series.

Girls’ Last Tour (Episode 5)

Five episodes in and this show, while incredibly lacking in anything resembling a plot, has just managed to keep me fully engaged episode after episode and wanting more of the adorable cast. I’m really interested in the world that is being explored and I love the mix of emotions the girls and their interactions can capture. Hopefully this show continues along these lines because so far it has been great.

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Usually Entertaining

Recovery of an MMO Junkie (Episode 6)

Another good bit of progress as Morioka goes on her dates. For someone who hasn’t been out for awhile, two nights in a row would have had to have been draining and yet she’s right back on the computer. Still, so many relatable moments this week. This show continues to charm.

Kino’s Journey (Episode 5)

Kino’s Journey continues its downward slide. As much as I enjoyed the first couple of episodes, since then it is almost as though the show has already run out of things to say. Or maybe it is just on hold until we get to the next big moment. Either way, the last two episodes haven’t done much for me and while on balance the positives still well outweight the negatives, this show needs to do something soon or my interest is seriously going to be stolen away by all the other shows that I’ve enjoyed this season.

Just Because (Episode 5)

How do you deal with the fall out of rejection? These kids don’t know and that’s what makes it a true pleasure to watch. Each character is lost in their own drama but trying to maintain and all and all it is great to watch. Looking forward to what their next steps might be.

Anime-Gataris (Episode 5)

Just saying to Anime-Gataris but if this episode is a sign of things to come, it will probably be sliding down this list really quickly in the next few weeks. The fun and energy I came to enjoy from this show seemed conspicuously absent this week and without anything to really replace it and no overall plot in sight, this episode was far less enjoyable. Still, every show can have a mis-fire so I’ll leave this here for now.

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Okay, I Guess

Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ (Episode 5)

This one consistently seems to develop episode to episode. We learn more about the characters and the protagonist continues to actually be fleshed out and hasn’t remained a complete blank slate. That doesn’t mean this show is amazing as it is pretty much going by the numbers, but it is doing what it needs to and is doing it consistently well enough. Not a bad watch by any means.

King’s Game (Episode 6)

To be honest, if this goes one more episode like this (or if they insist that this is some sort of virus causing mass hypnosis leading to the body killing itself) I am so putting this in the ‘They Made This’ category next week. Yeah, the story has gotten that bad. Fans of truly terrible trash horror will still be having fun but pretty much no one else. The fact that I’ll still choose this show over others this season concerns me a little bit, but I kind of knew I had a soft spot for bad horror.

Black Clover (Episode 6)

This was definitely a mixed bag of an episode with many good moments and many cringe worthy moments. Still, the story continues along and Asta keeps moving forward to on we go to the next episode.

Juni Taisen: Zodiac War (Episode 6)

If you want to see the next characters get knocked off, then this episode works. If you actually want a story that doesn’t seem convinced that it is cleverer than it is, this show probably isn’t for you. Oh well. The animation remains fantastic in this and some of the fights were pretty cool to watch so while I’m not getting behind the story or the characters, this remains fairly watchable.

Sengoku Night Blood (Episode 6)

I did say last week that this would drop down the list if it didn’t pick up and, well, it didn’t pick up. If anything it got even more dull and fairly pointless. I’ll give it another episode or two but then I’m probably looking at dropping this. The show isn’t broken, just nothing happening that interests me.

UQ Holder (Episode 6)

Still working and actually managing to be kind of sweet in parts this last episode. Unfortunately, my best recommendation for this show is it never gets as bad as its premise and tone suggests it could be. So most of my enjoyment is from seeing it manage to toe the line between entertaining and annoying.

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They Made This?

Dies Irae (Episode 4)

No change here as I am still hopelessly confused. Despite not really getting what is going on, the show remains oddly compelling and I do kind of hope it finds its way to making sense. But at the moment, this is just messy and doesn’t look like it intends to clean things up any time soon.

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Tried and Dropped

Evil or Live (Episode 4)

My Girlfriend is Shobitch (Episode 2)

TWOCAR (Episode 1)

Taisho Mebiusline Chicchaisan (Episode 1)

Love is Like A Cocktail (Episode 1)

Konohana Kitan (Episode 1)

A Sister’s All You Need (Episode 1)

Urahara (Episode 1)


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