Two terrible finales later, and the worst season of anime I have seen in awhile comes to an end. I did miss out on a couple sequels, but the overall quality of the summer was poor. At least this gave me time to finish 110 episode epic, Legend of the Galactic Heroes. But even in a season full of trash there are still a couple anime worth viewing, like the over the top perversion of Prison School.
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The final episode embodied every aspect I love about Prison School, but also contained the scenes I can’t bear to watch. Every ridiculous scenario involving the vice president is incorporated with male fetishes and it makes me cringe. It isn’t funny to watch her sweat on people while sitting on their faces, and I don’t even find it to be good fan service. I would rather see the vice president’s punishments follow along the ideas of cruel and unusual exercises rather than sexual to provide a counter point to Hana. This concept doesn’t follow along with the overall themes of Prison School, but I thinks it’s more suitable when the punishment isn’t for the sexually deprived teenage boys. I can understand why people might be physically attracted to it, but one might as well go watch hentai. Yet even with the male sex fantasy in mind, Prison School is able to be a consistently fun show with some charming moments.
Hana being exploited by Kiyoshi to get the DTO plans would fall under the creepy tag, but somehow Kiyoshi’s drive to help his friends escape expulsion shines through. Though the scene was highly sexualized, all of the emphasis was on the purity of Hana and Kiyoshi. Neither of them have had french kisses and the tongues represent the continuing mental battle from the previous episode with each of them trying to dominate the other and gain an advantage. This idea is completed when Kiyoshi had attained victory and walked back to the prison like a veteran returning from war. These absurd metaphors combined with provocative imagery are the staples of Prison School which provide its hilarity.
All of the build up of the past 3 episodes pays off as Prison School reaches its final climax. The boys have finally completed their elaborate ruse and the only thing left to do is to present it to the principal. Even though the audience already knows the prisoners have won, Prison School holds its suspense by using the Underground Student Council’s perspective. They don’t know how the plan comes together, and Gakuto makes sure to show them in style. I wished for it to happen when Joe threw the glasses for Gakuto’s spectacular entrance, but it was just never meant to be. He makes up for it by being the character to execute the literal ass pull which symbolizes every juncture of Prison School. The show may pull everything out of its ass, but it doesn’t stop it from being fun to watch.
The episode title, Odds and Ends, perfectly sums up my feelings on Gangsta’s finale. Coming into the episode, I understood Gangsta had too many unresolved plot lines for the final episode to have any closure, but this takes the advertising anime ending to a new level. Not only did it fail to give a conclusive resolution for the series, but left multiple new cliffhanger for fans to proactively hate. There were a couple moments which elevated the episode such as the Striker action sequence and the sounds of Mikhail mutilating a body. But no amount of great directing or increased production values will get rid of the sour taste Gangsta has left me with. Even if Gangsta were to receive another season, it wouldn’t change the failure of season one to have its own contained arc.
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Durarara falls into the same pit Gangsta is in, and fails to deliver a mini conclusion to the end of its second cour. Durarara gets a little more leeway because its third cour is already planned, but the content is significantly worse than Gangsta. Both attempt to build interest through leaving open threads, but the difference is in the delivery. Durarara doesn’t have enough visual storytelling to tell all the separate tales for each character, and tends to rely on character dialogue. This trait lends itself to mundane scenes where numerous characters have to explain their plans and motivations. As a result, the plot slows down and the pacing is ruined. Occasionally the show will throw in a few surprises to keep the viewer interested, but they happen randomly and often without context. Without the situation being correlated to the rest of the plot, these scenes have no emotional bearing on the audience while furthering the disarray of Durarara’s pacing. Everyone I talk to seems confident Durarara x2 will come together at the end like its predecessor, but I don’t know if I can hold on for another couple episodes. I’m still deciding whether or not I will finish this second season.
I ended up looking up the name of the arc Overlord just completed, and I found an interesting fact. The novels after the Blood Valkyrie arc we just finished watching are written from a different character’s perspective. This makes it difficult for Overlord to have a sequel and it looks like the anime will end here unless its sales numbers are incredible. Which is a shame, because I found Momonga the weakest part of the show and wished they had more time for MMO world building. Out of all the shows which ended this week, Overlord did the best job at having a conclusive ending while leaving it open for a sequel.
The next light novel focuses on one of the lizard villages Momonga is attempting to turn into an undead army. Making Ains Ooal Gown the antagonist of the next arc is a great idea considering how much Overlord portrays their overbearing strength. Instead of the pre-ordained outcome of any conflict, a new point of view would bring tension to the show. Maybe enough to elevate Overlord’s terrible drama. This perspective could also bring a wide breadth of cultures to the unexplored MMO world. Usually after a show like Overlord, I wouldn’t even consider watching another season, but the premise of the next light novel shows promise.