3. Ao Haru Ride
What shall I say about this show? I knew more or less what dross I was about to get going into episode one. It’s one of those twisted seishun shoujos, where the main male is cool and stern yet somewhat rapey, the main female is “honest” but hated by dem bitches, and a slew of secondary character get pulled in to make a happy family of cheer, secondary relationships and romantic misunderstandings in the female lead’s attempts to relieve the male lead’s sullenness and tragic back story. I failed to tear myself away from these tired devices with Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, and I’ve fallen into the mire once more with Ao Haru Ride.
What little Ao Haru has above the rest lies in its unique art style, which suits the romance genre very well. If only the same could be said about the stories they tell; that art style does very little to stop me from being bored to death every Monday by trivial romance twists.
Expected Rating: 4/10
Unfortunately, Barakamon is not the Black American president spin-off of Pokémon or Digimon that I was hoping for.
In fact, it’s not even about what it claims to be about: a fish-out-of-water story of a stick-in-the-mud calligrapher trying to find beauty in life for his work by moving to the countryside. Instead, we were treated with a slew of light-hearted yet insubstantial stories, with all the actual character development inexplicably being applied to the characters despite zero storytelling to illustrate it. One episode, the main character is a down and angry calligrapher who can’t stand these rural peasants (and rightfully so), and the next episode, they’re suddenly friends going to the beach together.
It doesn’t help that Barakamon’s premise hits every trope and theme that I personally despise: the dismissal of hard work and rule abiding in favour of happy-go-lucky impulsiveness; the idyllic, rustic countryside, with all its bugs, lack of internet, bugs, frequent interruptions to water and power, bugs, need for manual labour and OH GOD THE FUCKING BUGS IS BIGGER THAN MY FACE; the idea of “child wisdom”, where snotty little brats who can’t read supposedly could teach adults something about “living the bigger picture” through their naivety and their ruining everything with their grubby hands; and calligraphy, the art that I had the misfortune of being forced to practice as child by stint of being Asian, and therefore have very few fond memories of.
That being said, most of these complaints are more personal than not. The show itself is fairly well crafted. If you enjoy mild laughter, sense of calmness and bugs on your face, then this show may not be so bad.
Expected Rating: 5/10
If I watch less anime next season would I be able to get away with writing less too?