Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Inou Battle Within Everyday Life: When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace (Inō-Batoru wa Nichijō-kei no Naka de)

Everyone has a favorite band or a favorite director or what have you. If you like a subject then you probably have a favorite creator of said subject. If you follow my blog then you probably know the actors and directors I swear by. Al Pacino can keep dropping dog turds for the next twenty years, but he'll always be The Man to me. Kubrick and Nolan are my go-to directors. In fact, I made a list of my favorite directors here. And of course my favorite horror actors list is here. None of that has anything much to do with this post aside from providing a neat segue, but I like making lists, okay? Don't hate. 

I mention all of this because (told ya it was a segue), despite this being an "anime blog," I haven't made a single list devoted to things like "favorite anime voice actors" or "favorite anime studios" or anything like that. As far as actors go, it's tough for me to name Japanese voice actors and actresses. Yes, there are voices I recognize, but I honestly couldn't name ten of them off the top of my head. It wouldn't be much of a list. Anime studios would be an interesting one, though. That might be a list one day.

At the very least I pride myself on knowing more about the anime industry than Donald Trump knows about the Middle East. Ba-dum-tss. 

I've got a lot of respect for TRIGGER. They are still incredibly new, but they are a descendant of GAINAX, though. And GAINAX was responsible for some really great classics. Not everything was great, but those few key anime are what I judge most other anime by. So, rightly or wrongly, I tend to hold the work of TRIGGER under the same microscope as GAINAX and Kill La Kill proved that TRIGGER can stand in the footsteps of GAINAX. 

Maybe that's why I find TRIGGER's involvement in When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace somewhat mystifying. This anime isn't all that special. It isn't bad or anything either, but it isn't the mind-blowing spectacle that I expected from those responsible for Kill La Kill, Gurren Lagann, and FLCL. This anime is just so... commonplace.

It's like discovering a deleted scene from The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly where everyone  in the movie discovers that Clint Eastwood's character is really named Pete. It's weird. A universe where that happens shouldn't exist.

But it just so happens that what we have here is an anime that is really just like most other high school harem anime these days. This is FAIRLY. AVERAGE. ANIME territory. Then again, average anime isn't bad and I really can't hold an anime that isn't bad against anyone. That'd be silly. I still enjoyed it. But is it what I expected from TRIGGER? Not even close.

So what is this anime about, exactly? Well, we have your group of five characters from the school Literature Club. The male of the bunch is a nerdy chuunibyou (basically someone that pretends he has super powers) and the rest are girls that more or less have a crush on him. Essentially, the setup is exactly the same as Student Council's Discretion. Only this time our five characters actually get super powers bestowed upon them for reasons we don't know until the inevitable info dump in episode eight.

The super powers are not the plot for most of the show. They are merely a point of humor. Although things do get somewhat serious toward the end there's never any intense feeling of suspense. The cliffhangers from the episodes that actually have cliffhangers are treated matter of factly. Sometimes the cliffhangers aren't even resolved until halfway through the next episode and we are only shown how they are resolved in a flashback. Each episode just begins in a business-as-usual way. The whole idea seems to be "Let's just make an anime that's fun and cutesy rather than too serious."

And that's what this is.

There is one incredibly dramatic moment where the character of Hatako goes on an epic rant. Hatako's voice actress should be applauded for that. It was a powerful and uncomfortable moment. Maybe the most memorable moment of the entire anime.

The resolution for the anime was also rather good. Sure, there were plenty of threads left untied for possible sequels, but the big reveal about Andou Jurai's boost in power and how everyone else's power was returned was handled excellently.

Ultimately, my final thoughts on this anime are still in questions. I guess I'll have to watch it again sometime.

I did like it more than the second season of Log Horizon, though. While it felt average compared to other TRIGGER and GAINAX products, this anime certainly wasn't a mess by any means.

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