Happy Valentine’s Day, people! … or it would be if you were reading this on Valentine’s Day and not whenever it is you are reading this. As of this writing, it is Valentine’s Day, and what better way to celebrate the holiday than by talking about an anime that has unrequited love as its theme? Not only that, but it has moody teens, awkward scenarios, and hiding from reality by dating someone who they are not even attracted to.
“Romantic,” you say? Well, get ready then.
I absolutely love tales of characters that are unapologetically bad. It is refreshing to see the story being told from the perspective of someone who is just not a good person. The material is tough to do because if the person is not likable, no one is going to watch; however, if they are too soft, it lessens the impact of the character. Dark comedies in particular do a good job of presenting tough moments that you just cannot help but smile or laugh at.
Saga of Tanya the Evil (Youjo Senki) sounds like a title that is trying too hard, but it was a show that I had my eye on from the beginning of the season. Anime can do a good job of gut punching you when it presents something well. After watching the first episode, I feel that Tanya is definitely capable of doing that and more.
Kōji Seo has created some very interesting manga series. A majority of the ones that I have read have been about growing up and the difficulties that one faces in life, especially when it comes to love. His characters can be frustrating to watch at points, and it would not be a Kōji series if you did not want to try and punch one or more of the characters at some point in the story. It is not because they are bad people. It is because they are people. They make mistakes, they act out when hurt, they do not always know what they want. That is the beauty of Kōji’s stories. Even when everything is said and done, you can look back fondly on seeing these characters live their life because they feel realistic.
I have not seen any anime adaptations of Kōji’s works, but I have been following Fuuka for a while, so I was looking forward to seeing how it translated into an anime series. Would it capture the same feelings that the manga does so well? Would it be able to convey the emotions that the characters go through? Would it make their personalities shine? Well…
Freeform, formerly known as ABC Family, has been around for almost exactly a year. Shadowhunters was the first installment in the programming schedule, and it’s been performing quite well, despite its resounding critical “meh.” Shadowhunters, if you’ll recall, was originally a book found in the “Young Adult” section of your local Barnes & Noble. Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Divergent are all examples of the genre that has found its place instantly and simultaneously in all forms of storytelling. It seems a book can’t be written without a three movie deal carbon-copied beneath the publishing contract. Beyond, though, breaks the mold.
Beyond will be the channel’s second entry in original programming. How original is it? Totally original. This show has not been ported in from some haphazard comic book, nor was it the continuation of a novel series that the young men and women of America could not get enough of. Beyond reminds us that, sometimes, the small screen is more than a stage for poorly written adaptations.
In order to see what more television has to offer, you’ll have to look Beyond.
During the past few years, we’ve seen increasing success of internet-based shows. Yes, providers such as Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix are thriving off of their original series’, but independent productions have been proving the “Kevin Smith Dream” can be achieved. Remember Kevin Smith? He produced, directed, edited, starred in, and wrote his own indie movie, Clerks, then received backing by major studios for his follow up work. That’s the goal.
High Maintenance achieved said goal, having begun on Vimeo (YouTube for industry folk), then getting picked up by HBO (TV for rich folk). Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld, the creators of the show, weren’t exactly newcomers, though. Blichfeld had been a well-respected casting director with access to a wealth of talent in New York. That kind of leg up makes all the difference in this world.
Let’s see if High Maintenance is worthy of its buzz.
The most surprising show—and arguably the reason I review television—I have ever had the pleasure to review, Being Mary Jane, was not for me. Being Mary Jane was made about a black woman, by a black woman for black women, and aired on a station entitled Black Entertainment Television. And I fell in love. That series has become my most suggested, often with the disclaimer “It’s not for you, but you could benefit from some diversity in your empathy.”
Being Mary Jane brought compelling arguments and counter-arguments on heated racial and gender-based topics with a certain grace and intelligence that I found easy to digest and entertaining as all hell. The scope of social issues ranged from personal to global, all while presenting two sides to most arguments. The show was beautiful. For some reason, I expected Queen Sugar to bring about an equal amount of my praise. That may have been unfair, but I’m not sure lesser expectations could have saved Queen Sugar from my scorn.
Here at Tonight’s Watch we’re big fans of Donald Glover. Derrick Comedy, Community, Childish Gambino—we were there through it all, laughing and loving it the entire way. We love Donald Glover. And we missed Donald Glover when he disappeared from the our weekly television schedule. He’s back in Atlanta, a show he’s not only starring in, but writing and producing. That’s a triple dose of comedy genius.
I know what you’re thinking: “How can we trust you to keep your journalistic neutrality while you’re proclaiming an undying love for this man?” I won’t. You better believe, after years of admiring a style of comedy so specific and mystifying, I’ve developed a bias. Comedy and all art is subjective, though, so at any point where I have to judge how much I enjoy something, I am exercising a bias. If you trust me and my taste, and you haven’t been exposed to the wonderful comedic stylings of Donald Glover, then I can promise you that my bias will become your salvation as I sing these praises in such a catchy tune that you’ll have no choice but to sing along.