A year does not come without its downs and 2016 had a bunch of shows that sucked or simply disappointed the audience. I’ll be talking about three of the worst shows I got to see last year. Keep in mind that my criteria does not include shows that were dropped. As disclosure, my criteria to drop shows is the following:
- After three episodes, it does not get interesting.
- Being able to predict at least 50% of the next episode.
- Competing with another show that has the same story/plot/genre.
Now let’s talk about crappy shows.
From the great mind that brought us Mirai Nikki, I present you Big Order. The synopsis presented on different anime sites does not make justice to this convulated piece of (sh)art but let’s try to do a quick rundown:
A high-school student called Eiji lives in a world where fairies grant wishes but those wishes materialize in superpower entities called Orders that you can use to grant said wish. The boy has a secret, when he was a kid, he wished for something that led to the world to be nearly destroyed ten years ago. Now Eiji has to escape from those who know his secret, rescue his sick sister and also conquer the world.
This is not rushed, this is what is laid to us during the first episode of the show and it gets worse or better. Big Order is one of those rare anime shows that fall on the category ‘Schlock.’ The story is a mess, where friends become enemies on one scene and there are back to be friends five minutes later. I never fully understand how Orders works and if I tried to figure out, the rules changed for what the plot needs.
One of the most clear examples of the poor direction is the awkward tone shifts. A violent and heavy scene is accompanied by an upbeat jazzy track. And for a show that only has 10 episodes (thank God) they introduce a fuckton of unnecessary characters which the author tries to use to impact the story but in reality makes it more difficult to follow.
I’m not recommending this, but if you are into bad shows or you are a Mirai Nikki fan, you might want to give Big Order a shot.
Musaigen no Phantom World
I had to rewatch this because I did not remember what the show was about. And to be fair, I was not going to talk about Musaigen for being so bland and forgettable but I’m keeping it, not for the show, but as a statement of my departure from following Kyoani’ shows.
Before that, let’s see what Musaigen no Phantom World is:
An accidental release of a virus affects the brain of some people allowing them to see creatures from another dimension, called Phantoms. Phantoms are the equivalent of ghosts or Yokai, and while most of them are harmless, humans create clubs and organizations to combat Phantoms that are a threat to humanity. The story focus on Haruhiko and friends who are part of a Phantom hunting club in high school and their adventures fighting Phantoms.
This a run-of-the-mill setting, but DID YOU SEE THE ANIMATION? OMG! KYOANI DID IT AGAIN! I’M LITERALLY CLAPPING AND CUMMING AT THE SAME TIME.
OK, the show is dull. It has long stretches of nothing happening and when the action comes, it is just boring, predictable, and unappealing. The characters are a set of instructions and they feel as being written by a machine. Even with a second watch I could not come up with a distinctive trait from any of them. They don’t even pass the Plinkett test.
Here we have probably the most memorable scene and serves as an example of the kind humor that drives the show. The art direction is on point but it’s a cheap joke with a predictable build up: Boobs + Limbo = Comedy gold, right? I don’t mean it could not work, but that’s the template for all the characters in all the episodes. The climax comes in the last two episodes and when it ends, nothing changes in the story. Style does not win over substance and mediocre comedy is a sin on itself. Musaigen is not worth your time and I wish could get back the minutes I spent watching and rewatching it for this review.
Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku
Magical girls fighting to death among themselves trying to survive a perverted game that will test their moral and ethical ideas. How could a premise like this fail? It’s a fresh take on the magical girl genre and probably could tackle concepts such as: “Why does a magical fight?”, “Are strength and compassion incompatible?”, etc. But alas, it failed. No higher concepts here, only shock value for the sake of it and underwritten characters.
Let’s review why Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku is the worst show I’ve seen on 2016.
At the beginning of the show we are presented with Koyuki (Snow White) a shy high school girl who loves magical girls and becomes one without knowing that she is going to get involved in a Battle Royale-type of fight with other magical girls. But as the story goes on, the protagonist get less screen time and when we got to see her the scenes are the same: She gets traumatized and her ideals shattered. Again and again and again. And that’s the reason is so strange that in the last episode she suddenly gets a character arc out of nowhere, and the last ten minutes it’s like we are introduced to a completely different person. She disappears for the most part of the anime and now we have to root for her? No thanks. All the other girls only serve as expendable stock for the killing numbers.
Killing characters is a bold movement for any story, it radically changes the interactions of those who were left behind, you have to describe how they deal with grief and sadness. But doing it only when you need the plot to move forward and this having obvious death flags (flashbacks every time someone is going to die) it gets boring too quickly. Unless you are trying to do an 80s slasher film, it does not work. The most memorable death should have been the pregnant woman who was a magical girl. Clearly they want it to be a turning point but when that happens, I’ve already saw four or five gruesome killings. Why should I be shocked at this point?
The bar has been set high for a show that tries to expand on the gritty side of Magical Girls and sadly Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku does not come close to that. One of the reasons I kept watching it to the end is that I expected to do something witty with all the pieces it had. I even had a theory that I was watching a meta-show where the girl that survived would be picked as the new heroine for a popular anime and that’s how Precure and others are produced. Something clever, or at least fresh. Instead we got Saw. And those movies suck so hard, just like this anime. Avoid it. Not even worthy for the shock value, a shtick that gets old in two episodes.
And that’s it all for today folks. I hope this year bring us less trash. So far it has been decent. Don’t make me regret saying this.