Shockingly, the semester is already at its halfway point, so it’s about time to talk about what’s been going on in showing. For each show we’re watching, I’ll be summarizing the premise, discussing the plot up to this point, and then adding my own thoughts about the series. As always, plot can and does equal spoilers, so make sure to skip over plot sections where you don’t want to know just yet. We’re watching a lot of great shows this semester, so many of these come with strong recommendations.
Spring Break has come and gone, which means another half-year of Showing is already behind us. So, one more time, I’ll be looking back on what we’ve already seen, so you can catch up, check that you’re on the same page, or just decide if you’re interested in the series. For each show, I’ll summarize the premise, quickly go over the plot, and then provide my own thoughts. Be warned, plot summaries will probably contain spoilers.
Welcome and good evening again, ladies and gentlemen! Our series this time Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler), originally released as a manga in Square Enix’s Monthly G Fantasy in 2006 by Toboso Yana. It has since proven popular enough to warrant a two-season anime adaptation, a spin-off video game, two well-scored stage musicals, and an impressive doujin community. For this review, however, I’d prefer to focus on the manga and anime.
Although the two differ in execution, the basic premise remains the same between them: In manor house outside of London, the demon Sebastian Michaelis serves as Earl Ciel Phantomhive’s loyal butler. The two have a contract: In exchange for Ciel’s soul, Sebastian serves as his retainer until the Young Master kills those who slew his parents and sold him on the black market. The Earl, though only twelve when the series opens, is already a captain of industry and a favored subject of Queen Victoria. He lives a double life: By day, he works as the head of the Funtom Toy Company; by night, he serves the Queen as her agent in the London underworld, assisted at all times by Sebastian, who performs his duties with impeccable skill.
What’s the overall result? Well, for me that’s a bit of a tricky question. As of this writing, Black Butler is my “fanboy” series; it’s the kind of thing I like for far fewer reasons than I should because the series happens to hit enough of my favorite story and character elements (Ciel, for example) it its execution. So, bear in mind that my view on things is likely more forgiving of Black Butler than I would normally be. That said…
It’s Fall Break now, which means that this semester’s Showing is already halfway over. So I’ve put together this handy little article for those of you who might have missed the first half of Showing, who think they might forget what’s going on over Fall Break, or who want to waste a few minutes on the internet. For each of the shows we’ve watched thus far, I’ve assembled a description of the series, a summary of the plot, and a quick review of what I’ve thought about it so far. Plot summaries will almost certainly contain spoilers, so if you want to watch the series for yourself, you may want to skip these.
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Good to see you all again! Although I can’t really speak much from experience, I must stay that I was thoroughly impressed by the lineup this past semester. Showing was a real event this time around, and I’d like to take a few moments to take a quick look back on it.
Our starter for this semester was one I had not seen since I was in high school. At the time, I was rather amused with it, but after re-watching the first season, I found that the series hasn’t held up as well as I had thought. Let me be clear: It’s not a bad series; I don’t think so, anyway. But whenever Genshiken’s not poking a good-natured elbow in the ribs of hardcore anime fans, the overall result is disappointing. The humor tends to be awkwardly spaced; whole episodes can go by with scarcely a slice of wit to hold interest, relying instead on the (mostly bland) antics of local basket-case Madarame to keep the whole thing from grinding to a halt. Add to that rather generic BGM and character design, and what’s left is a series So Okay, It’s Average. You could do worse than this dull little piece of work, but you could do much better as well.
Wolf’s Rain –
I must admit, I was pretty skeptical about this series. Just looking at the character designs made me shudder; I like bishounen as much as the next fan, but I didn’t walk in expecting much in the way of, well, anything else. Thankfully, Wolf’s Rain does not disappoint. It has its issues, mind you; the plot moves at the pace of cheap pancake syrup and the dialogue can sometimes suffer as a result. But thus far, it’s been nothing short of a treat to watch. The backgrounds and character animation are, as expected, fantastic, with real eye for detail and cohesion. And the music! Man, Kanno-sensei should really go make an album or something. If she does stuff like this for a show… Ah, I digress. Anyway, if this series can overcome its pacing problems and deliver its already unique story already, then it’s well on its way to becoming a favorite of mine.