This happens to all of us sooner or later. We watch (or read) a series we like until we realize we don’t like it anymore. Maybe because it changed, or maybe we are the ones who have changed.
Anyway, this happened to me recently with several shows, so I decided to write about it, to try and sort my feelings about it. And I will take the chance to do three mini-reviews as well. (I hope it doesn’t come across as whiny; after all the whole point of a blog is to express yourself.)
This is the well-known TV show about the Winchesters, brothers who hunt the monsters that menace humanity. It was a surprisingly well-produced show, with good acting, SFX, and a well-developed mythos. But, it’s outlived its natural span. I’m hardly the only person to point this out; the show has simply been renovated too many times, often when it seemed like the story had reached a logical ending. This is due to blatant executive meddling, and the show has suffered for it. Plots keep getting recycled. After they killed fan-favorite character Charlie, I gave up on the show. Even knowing that death is not necessarily permanent in this setting, I cannot bring myself to care anymore; it just felt like it was done for shock value, not to advance the plot.
Ultimate Otaku Teacher
Recently I have been looking for new (to me anyway) Anime series to watch. This sounded like a fun comedy so I gave it a try.
The concept is this: an otaku (obsessive fanboy) -who is a genius but refuses to work for a living because he’d rather spend his time playing games- is forced to work as a teacher by his sister who is tired of his mooching off her (she even beats him up with a baseball bat!) Every episode, he finds someone in his class with a personal problem, which he helps resolve using his otaku skills. So far, so good.
The problem is the main character: he’s a conceited ass. And I get that it is part of the joke- how this socially retarded individual ends up helping other people. But the show makes him too unlikable, at least to me. He’s never wrong; he doesn’t grow as a person; and worst of all, he’s a hypocrite. He’s not helping others out of concern, though it took me a while to realize this. He just wants everybody to fit into his otaku views of life- it just so happens, conveniently, that it helps them in some way. For example, he helped a girl who was too shy to speak only because he wanted to hear her voice- which sounded like an Anime character’s! The worst moment came when he wanted to “help” a girl who drew romance manga (comics) get inspiration to write a “forbidden sibling love” comic (yes this is a thing in Japan) -by tricking his own sister into thinking that he found out they were not really related –and then hit on her!!– (all the while the artist was secretly watching.) Of course when his sister found out she beat the crap out of him, but still, he had just proven he didn’t care even about his own sister’s feelings, so I stopped watching. Too bad, because other than him, the series was actually good.
Hunter X Hunter
Another Anime series I started watching recently. This one is actually up to about 150 episodes already, but I only just found out about it. At first, it looked like another Shonen (boy’s) anime in the style of Naruto or Dragon Ball Z. And it is, for the most part. Except, as I soon found out, it’s dark. VERY dark.
The series takes place in a world similar to ours, except it has monsters and superhuman powers in addition to modern technology. And there’s a class of mercenaries- the titular Hunters- who get licensed to deal with them. The main character is Gon, a 12-year-old boy who is naive and superstrong (sound familiar?) who wants to become a Hunter so he can find out what happened to his father. Again, so far, so good.
However, the tests which he and the other Hunter candidates must take are dangerous- deadly so. And even though they knew the risks, the fact is still that many of them die horribly, yet most of the characters –including the protagonists!- barely react to it. It also becomes apparent that some of the contestants are cruel, if not downright criminal- yet the examiners don’t care, as long as they obey the rules. We eventually see a scene where the examiners talk about how the real reason for the exam is to weed out the weak so they will have interesting rivals to deal with! But the absolutely no-more-of-this moment for me came when one of Gon’s teammates ripped the heart out of a man with his bare hand! So okay, the man was a vicious killer, and the boy was raised by assassins. But I don’t care- that’s still a 12-year-old basically playing a slasher and he’s one of the main characters! Worse, the others, while shocked at first, didn’t seem to mind that much- one of them even wanted to learn the ‘technique!’ As hard as it was to me- I actually enjoyed this series’ more clever moments- I decided then that I had to stop watching it.
In fact, I am sorry about quitting all three shows- but I’m tired of being let down by series I enjoy. Better to give up early than hold on by habit and just end up frustrated. But once again: this is my personal opinion. If you disagree, and in fact find yourselves curious after reading my critiques, then by all means watch them on your own. Who knows, maybe you will enjoy them!