Dated 28 May 2011: Part One: In re Ano Hana and Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream, two shows I've started watching (but haven't started liking)
I started watching Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai (Ano Hana or We Still Do Not Know the Name of the Flower we Saw That Day) because of all the hype, and I'm watching Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream because, well, why not? The last show I watched about figure skaters turned out to be pretty good, and I'm already watching three magikal girl shows (Suite Pretty Cure, Sailor Moon, and Cutie Honey), so what's one more? I blame Zero Episode Test.
In contrast to popular opinion, I did not enjoy the first episode of Ano Hana. I thought the second episode was a lot better. Nevertheless, after seven episodes, I still don't really enjoy it as a whole. Claims about its purported gut-wrenching emotional content are overwrought, in my opinion, for one pretty important reason: I don't like any of the characters.
I loathed Potato-kun immediately. Basically, I was horrified that dumb kid from Rozen Maiden ended up in another show. Despite not liking any other character in the show as well, I at least would have found it more interesting with someone else in the lead. Must every anime male lead be so uninterestingly bland, and with such dubious redeeming values? I would even have preferred Anal-chan's fat mom in the lead role.
Speaking of "Anal," that is, "Anaru," the childhood nickname of Anjou Naruko, she has rocketed in popularity as an otaku fan favorite, thanks to her very aerodynamic figure, suppressed nerd leanings, black underwear, and the copious amount of time she seems to spend lounging in bed. Well, there was a momentary dip when the web preview for episode five suggested she might not be a "pure-pure" girl, but her popularity continued its climb after the show verified her sexual history was a non-threatening, blank slate. Despite an affinity for Haruka Tomatosauce, I don't really like Naruko either, mostly because she's obviously manufactured to be such a harmless character designed to appeal to a certain demographic of young viewers.
TO BE CONTINUED!!!