Jul 012010
 

It’s so sad that I can watch an entire* season of a show, yet still make lame comparisons to a similar, yet vastly different movie.
* where entire is defined as missed a couple episodes here and there.

Working!! is, in setup, a standard comedy. The relatively normal straight man thrown in with a collection of wacky characters and bounced off if them — sometimes literally in this case. And to be honest, that’s mostly what Working!! was. But what did catch me by surprise was the way the show was willing to at least acknowledge the idea of character growth. Let’s be honest, a character like Inami is so extreme as to be useless in the big wide world, and a good candidate for serious psychological counseling. The show could have kept her there — which they did for a good chunk of the run — but there were the outlines of an arc for the character, which is rare for a sitcom. In fact, if you squint, the argument could be made that the central arc of the series is Inami overcoming her father’s programming and tentatively reaching out to Souta. I’ll freely admit that’s a forced interpretation of the show, and that someone (one one) else can very easily say there is no depth here; it’s just about silly people doing silly things in a restaurant. There certainly is a lot of truth to that statement, which also was part of Working’s appeal, well that and New Items. Either way, Working!! kept me entertained all through it’s thirteen episode run, and hopefully we’ll get another meal at the Wagnaria soon.

May 042010
 

One of the new shows I’m following this season is Angel Beat, but I find myself asking the question, why?

Let’s be honest this is a weird show. High schoolers battling an agent of god in some sort of Purgatory? And their leader is a blatant Haruhi copy? And they have a band? Presumably everything is building to a grand explanation of the setting — though it’s an anime, explanations are often in short supply — but until it gets there the whole thing feels very stitched together with lots of cookie cutter characters.

Now having said that, I still find myself intrigued. For starters the animation is pretty good, especially the band bits. Also I really dug the third episode. But beyond that, I can’t help shake this feeling that these kids are raging against the wrong light. That they are fighting for all the wrong reasons, and I think that would be a fun twist. Of course I am a couple episodes behind, so maybe more of the setting is already explained and I’m wrong. Still it would be a fun subversion, and probably won’t shake out that way. Or it will, but will frame their fight in a positive light.

Angel Beat certainly is not appointment tv for me — not like Durarara! or Doctor Who are certainly — but at least I’m interested in where the story is headed, so that’s something.

Dec 132009
 

I recently picked up albums from a pair of Nineties bands that refuse to let themselves sink into the nostalgia act zone and continue to release new music. Approaching their third decade of existence how well do Weezer’s “Raditude” and Pearl Jam’s “Backspacer” stack up against their earlier work?
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