Fastest Reversals of Fortune
Instead of reminiscing about the year’s big stinkers, which can easily be happened upon by playing roulette with the lovingly-constructed seasonal airing charts, I figured I’d focus on the series’ that were built-up to be some of the year’s greatest hits, but turned out to be colossal disappointments. Stealth-stinkers, if you will.
You know how some of the younger-oriented shoujo fare can come off as having ingested so many packets of sugar that a technicolor deluge of vomit is what ultimately spews forth? Well, Rainbow is like that only with gluten-free, angst-ridden melodrama replacing sugar, sweet-and-low, and everything nice. If you can bear imbibing the heavy amounts of rain-soaked brooding, however, then there's bound to be at least a bit of inspirational goodness at the end of this grime-encrusted rainbow.
Dance in the Vampire Bund
I actually didn’t make it past the first three episodes of this series because while I love Studio Shaft, I’m not a fan of having my time wasted. Maybe the captivating Kon-esque opener set my expectations unreasonably high, but Vampire Bund seemed to have all too quickly fell prey to nervously puttering about instead of plunging deeper into, well, the wellspring of political and societal drama that it had drawn a course for.
Speaking of putzing aimlessly about, Occult Academy similarly busted out of the gate by presenting itself as the pitch-black, whimsical Sam Raimi-esque counterpart to Highschool of the Dead, and then suffered from a plot that was so unfocused that it felt more disjunct than a traditional episodic series. I’m pretty sure that locating the key to the destruction of human civilization and stopping it from going critical falls under “fire-under-ass-lightingly urgent” so why was it that the paranormal crisis management crew were busy spelunking or helping ghost girls find their way home, à la Bakemonogatari? And yes, treating the occult-loathing tour de force of a heroine progressively like a bland, one-note lump of paper-maché reeked heavily of betrayal, Occult Academy.
Black Rock Shooter
Describing what went wrong with the animated adaptation of the skull-stompingly popular Black Rock Shooter phenomenon is actually quite simple, for there exists an excellent analog. This little cream-of-the-crap OVA can be likened to your run-of-the-mill fighting game or FPS. It’s no secret that the vast majority of game developers have treated and continue to treat writing, dialogue, and the integration of a proper narrative like an optional feature which receives less development time than ensuring that the main character’s rugged, sweat-slicked facial stubble is rendered in all its glistening glory.
BRS, on the other hand, lacks the whole game aspect that acts to triage the story-marginalization. What do these two stories have to do with each other? Who are these characters and wherefore are they fighting each other? Sure, this yuri-subtext-laden throwdown is pretty, dazzling even, but without even the slightest bit of context, it’s not too different from watching two A.I. opponents duke it out in Guilty Gear or Blaz freakin’ Blue.
And it’s sad, really, as this whole endeavor has once again proven that X-to-anime adaptations, where X is something inherently ill-suited to a narrative-reimagining, will continue to flounder until those in charge learn to allow their stories to be composed by writers rather than a room full of fingerpainting pre-schoolers.