Version 5.4 ~ Haruhi gave rock and roll to you.

1 June 2011: Part Two: In re Ano Hana and Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream, two shows I've started watching (but haven't started liking)

Naruko, Menma, and Jinta
Either Menma is real or Naruko needed a massage.

I won't address every character in Ano Hana, but I have to mention Menma MacGuffin. Honma Meiko bugs me because she's incredibly immature and really quite dumb. At first I thought she was that way because her mental age was frozen after she died, but I've since determined Menma's just not very smart. Even her still-grieving mother admits that Menma was kinda slow. Lady, slow ain't the word. Anyway, it also bugs me that the show takes painful steps to avoid doing anything that could prove or disprove Menma's existence to the other characters as she avoids directly interacting with any of them except Potato-kun. Since Menma is a ghost that can touch things, eat, and even cook, these convenient omissions and contrivances are just annoying since it would be a cinch for them to determine whether or not Menma is all in Jinta's head.

Naruko and Jinta
That's right, Naruko, Jinta is cracking up.

Ano Hana does have good production values, and I can understand why other people enjoy it. If you care about the characters, you'll probably enjoy it as well. It's at least better than the other Haruka Tomatosauce show about a ghost girlfriend, Asura Cryin'. However, neither are as good as the AYAKO DOCTRINE show about a ghost boyfriend and figure skating, Ginban Kaleidoscope. Which brings me to Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream, another show about figure skaters. And while Pretty Rhythm might not have ghosts, crazy shit does occur in the astral plane.

Aria and Rhythm
Unlimited Pants Works.

Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream is...not good. It is incredibly low-budget, and essentially every background character is rendered merely as a pastel silhouette, even background characters with speaking roles. Basically every yen budgeted for this show appears to have either gone towards the bad CGI sequences or possibly a massive merchandising effort. There are live-action segments bookending each episode during which grammar school girls shill for the Prism Store and its wall-to-wall crap. Well, it's good for the economy. Japan could use a boost in spending right about now, so I guess it's all right, even if it does involve shamelessly whoring 11-year-old girls to sell "fashionable" junk to six-year-old girls. I've only watched one episode so far, but I have a sinking feeling Pretty Rhythm will run for at least 40. I'll give it like one more episode—two, tops.

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