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Checkpoint: Anime Edition

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Checkpoint - Anime Edition

I used to watch anime — specifically the popular ones that made its way to North America. Since the mid-2000’s, I’ve only watched a couple of anime series including a fair amount of Bleach and the first season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

I enjoyed Bleach until the first wave of fillers came in and then it was unbearable and I essentially stopped watching anime.

It took popular anime inspired memes to pique my interest and look into The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzimiya. After Bleach, I had strict rule for finite anime runs; no more 150 episode commitments only to end in disappointment. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya fit that bill and I enjoyed it.

Since then anime exposure has been infrequent. The most anime related things that I partook in were Persona 3 and 4 for the PlayStation 2. I enjoyed those role playing games very much.

 

If you count cutscenes, then you can count the Professor Layton games as well. They’re charming works that deserved to escape the confines of Nintendo handheld screens. So when they finally released the Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva feature film, I made sure to watch it. It was okay.

mashiro-dance

The most recent anime that I just wrapped up was Engaged to the Unidentified. I stumbled across it in the same manner as Haruhi Suzumiya — by way of animated GIFs posted on a forum. It was a silly GIF, the animation seemed nice and another poster quoted and praised the source. I looked up the weirdly named anime and watched an episode and was hooked.

I wish it ended as strongly as it began though. I haven’t watched many romantic comedies in general let alone anime ones but there were tropes and repeated hysterics that shouldn’t have taken so much air time.

I wish the early “twist” yielded more interesting plot lines and I wish Benio’s obsession with sisters was given less emphasis. I liked it more when there was an air of mystery to the show. I also liked it when the show expressed its comedy side along with bouts of romance which was why the final episode was a let down for me. It felt like they forced the “touchy feely” side in for the final episode.

I still enjoyed it for its colorful animation fun and weird antics though. It’s so weirdly “otaku anime” by teetering on the edge of anime perverseness with its weird opening montage and other shots throughout the show. However, it never goes beyond cursory glances and acknowledgements of those areas and moves on.

I liked all the characters. Kobeni was a lovable protagonist and they handled her reluctance well. It wasn’t overbearing at all. I thought they did a fantastic job framing her situation. Her older sister, Benio was fine for the first third of the season but her transformation into a sister obsessed monster was a bit much.

Hakuya and Mashiro’s interactions reminded me of sibling interactions of my own. It was amusing to watch Mashiro behave beyond her years in key areas but succumb to the temptations of desserts, toys and as you can see with that dancing GIF, Sunday cartoons.

Even though there weren’t many other surprises after the big secret was revealed, I was pleased by the restraint they showed. They could have gotten into the details of the secret but instead kept it guarded until the end.

Would I like to see a second season? No. Leave us wondering how the couple will fair and that’s it. We don’t need to see more Benio obsessing over Mashiro or other established character trope dragged out across another 13 episodes. One season is a enough and if you’re looking for an anime that’s comforting, fun and weird, give this a shot.

Oh, judging by the titles and some screen grabs, all the anime otaku-ness that I wanted to avoid and restraint that I praised seemed to have been thrown out of the window in the two standalone movies released afterwards. I’m going to avoid those.

I’m buying Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition for PlayStation 4. Because I can.

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