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I finished "Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet" on netflix last night. The first episode was some of the best mech anime I've ever seen. I wish the entire series was like the first episode. Then it turned into a 'slice-of-life' anime for about 7 episodes. After an unnerving loli dance scene in which every guy over 40 was drunk and wooing at 10 year old girls dancing I was done with it (seriously japan? is this what japanese men want? wtf.). But then I looked at the episode descriptions for the final episodes and I stuck with it. The final 3 eps were great and had good action. If you want to see some good mech battles, watch the first and last 3 or 4 eps of this series. All the episodes in between are just filler crap to establish some sense of loyalty between the mech pilot and the group of people on the gargantia. And of course to forge a typical anime relationship of: "i love this guy i just met and even tho we've only known each other for less than 2 weeks, you need to stay with us for life!"
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I just finished Season two of Haganai, which I didn't even know existsed until I accidentally came across some imagines of scenes I didn't recognize, and then checked my Queue. They also are doing the AoT approach. Its been a long ass time since Season 1, and season 2 caught up to the light novel. Its probably one of the few "Slice of Life" animes I really enjoy... probably because it makes me laugh to the point of tears at times which makes any anime a fave of mine.
I purposely stay away from long running series like Naruto (well the original, Shippuden has been amazing (too bad I'm like 3-4 seasons behind at this point, I'll get around to watching them soon enough)) or Bleach. Generally they get to muddled down with filler eps due to catching up with the manga and generally the story gets stretched to thin. If a series goes past 50-52 episodes chances are high I'll end up dropping it no matter how good it is (52 is pretty much the max I'll go for as it's the general run length of most Gundams). This is the real reason why I never got into One Piece, I like the manga (well what I've read of it) and what eps I've seen but at this point I'm so far behind that it doesn't even pay to start watching it (plus it's hard to find episodes to download, Kaizoku has up to 300 something but after that it's hard to find the rest of the episodes pre-600. Only real way to watch it now is on Funimation's site).
Basing anime off of manga is a mixed bag in my experience. Generally the shows either end early and are generally shitty adaptations of the core material (Claymore anyone, the anime was good up until episode 20. Their anime original ending was shit, not that the manga's ending was much better) or they're amazing and stick to the source. Brotherhood was probably the best adaptation of the source material I've ever seen though I only base that off of other peoples comments (I have yet to read the FMA manga, I have it in my archives but I haven't really found time to read it yet). The original run was good but after episode 26 or so when they started off into their own anime original stuff it got pretty shitty. I generally cringe when I hear a 10+ volume manga is getting adapted into an anime because I know the show won't having an ending for 10+ years. The practice of filler will always remain though because these studios need to make money off their shows and stopping at the end of every season so the manga can get further ahead would be detrimental to them (with the way mangakas release chapters it's downright frustrating, I'm looking at you Kishiro Yukito (I want my new chapters of Gunnm) and Rei Hiroe (god damnit dude start releasing new Black Lagoon chapters, this wait time is killing me)). And you can't really condense the series down because you'll piss those hard core fans off if you leave out just a small, minor detail (while that's not a big deal over hear, it's downright sacrilegious to do it in Japan. Otaku are scary people).
Haganai was a great show. I enjoyed it when it was airing which is odd for me because I generally hate harem based shows (they're everywhere you look, there's like 3-4 news ones every season). Then again it's got a great cast of characters and the humor is amazing. I generally only watch Slice of Life shows now, they're relaxing and generally have great stories/plots. Most of the action packed shows these days are poorly done and generally suffer from the Shounen tropes (long running, weak characters and character development, weak plot, and generally sub-par animation). Honestly the last good, action packed shows I've watched in recent years have been Iron Blooded Orphans and MSG: Thunderbolt. While very gory they both have some pretty strong lead characters and very good plots (plus the music selection for Thunderbolt is amazing, gotta love that Jazz).
I used to get One Piece subs from Kaizoku a long time ago, but back then they only had up to ep 100 or so. I got the rest from a variety of sub groups but got annoyed with different ones dropping it. In the end Horriblesubs was the best group imo. Always consistent for a variety of shows. No special attack fonts, but quick good releases with decent translations. I just checked their site and they have a bulk torrent of eps 1-700 that you can easily pick and choose the eps you want to download out of it with your torrent program. If I ever go back to downloading, I'll stick with them.
FMA Brotherhood was amazing. I'd love to see another anime of that quality. Theres way too many anime based off of manga that will never finish or wont finish for 20 more years. I loved the anime for Hajime no Ippo aka Fighting Spirit, but if that anime ever picks back up, it would never end just like the manga. Filler eps wouldn't be needed for some of these series if the manga artist would actually provide story along with their fight scenes (one piece does this quite well and theres no where near the amount of filler eps compared to other series). I stopped reading Bleach because every chapter in the hueco mundo arc was literally 10 pages of pillars with a few word bubbles. I'm pretty certain the anime was canceled for the same reasons. The guy would drag on the arcs for so long the anime couldn't fit filler into the episodes anymore because they'd catch up to an arc, and abruptly start an episode with "meanwhile, in another time" or some crap like that and start a brand new arc thats taking place in highschool even tho they moved way past that from season 1 and were literally just fighting in hell. After having to do that more than 5 times the anime was simply canceled instead.
I read the FMA and Inuyasha mangas but eventually dropped them because they took way to long to release. Thats also why both of those animes never got their ending until many many years after the animes ended. I really like Berserk but the manga will never end. The guy making it will take it to his grave with him. The whopping 1 chapter a year we get became so disheartening that I stopped reading it years ago and I don't even care if it finishes at this point. I see there is another anime being made for it and it looks great. But I have no interest in watching it unless its actually based on the second half of the manga and will actually make an ending the manga artist will never finish. As much as the original FMA ended horribly compared to the manga, I'd really like to see an independent anime ending for berserk. Even if its no where good as the potential ending we'll get from the manga, at least it'll have an actual ending.
The issue I have with anime is the slice of life genre and all the action animes that are all rip offs of each other featuring highshoolers. I'm sure quite a few series are good, but I'm too lazy to put the time into watching them. I know there are other non mainstream anime being made like GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack (watch a trailer, wtf. I'm not interested in watching this at all), but because of the deluge of anime titles out there, all the anime I actually would be interested in must be lost in sea of anime titles.
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