Unpopular Opinions – Tag Post

Admittedly, ‘unpopular opinion’ posts are not exactly my wheelhouse but I’ll try because I’m keen to take on the challenge!

Having said that, I suspect that if you’re seeking some saltiness here then I may well disappoint… I tend not to watch/seek/finish things I don’t like. Still, as I’ve already said, I wanna give this a shot, especially since it’s been too long since I’ve finished a tag post and I’m way behind on a few of them.

Thanks to IER for tagging me – check out Curtis’ answers too, especially the part on Blade Runner and Deckard.


Popular Series I Don’t Like

Immediately I found this harder than I thought!

I know plenty of shows that are or were very popular, and of course we all do, but with the ones that don’t appeal to me, I’ve rarely tried them out…and thus I don’t know what they’re really all about.

Wait!

I think I could use Death Note here. I didn’t watch a whole lot, so it’s impossible for me to attempt any kind of thoughts on the quality, but I can say why I set it aside: basically, too much screen time for Light and not enough Ryuk and the world of the Shinigami 😀

Popular Movie I Like, but Everyone Seems to Hate

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is not precisely ‘hated’ but I think it represented a disappointment for a lot of folks.

And I know the film didn’t meet the expectations I myself had built up for it, but it’s pretty unfair of me to judge a new studio against Ghibli. Still, I enjoyed the movie a fair bit – I mean, it’s not in my top ten, but I certainly don’t consider it to be a failure or anything dramatic like that.

It was sometimes exciting, other times endearing and always bright and vivid even where it wasn’t distinctive.  

Love Triangle where the Character Didn’t End up with the Character I Wanted (Spoiler)

Maybe Kids on the Slope for this one… but only for part of the series.

And I hope I can quickly explain what I mean. Basically, Ritsuko likes Sentaro for most of the anime, and so while I feel bad for our pianist Kaoru (who kinda pines for her during these episodes), I wanted her to be happy. I wanted Sentaro to sort of truly ‘see’ Ritsuko, but things don’t quite take that path.

Yet it seems that everyone does end up happy by the of the story, maybe it’s just that the narrative sets things up to make two of the trio appear as kinda ‘fated’, which is maybe a bit of a tell, huh?

Popular Genre you Hardly Watch

If you’ve visited The Review Heap a few times, you’ve probably noted that Romance is an easy target for me since I haven’t reviewed much at all… and it could indeed be my choice here, but I think I’ll pivot to Sports 🙂

I know Slam Dunk a little and I love Haikyu!! – firstly, for the reasons that I enjoy most shounen anime, but perhaps beyond that, because I play indoor volleyball and there’s plenty of realism mixed in with the drama.

Still, I’m not very familiar with sports-themed anime, and tend not to seek it out, rather than having any kinda specific dislike of the sub-genre.

Beloved Character you Don’t Like

I’m not sure if Rintarou Okabe is ‘beloved’ or just well-known?

But here we go – I’m including him here as someone I warmed to, rather than someone I didn’t care for at all.

At the beginning, Okabe’s insecurities led to so much over-acting and posturing on his part, that it was nearly enough for me to stop watching… but he did change and so I kept going. And I’m glad I did, because I ended up catching a great show and it was nice to see some character development.

And yeah, I know – I turned this into a positive answer somehow 😀

Popular Show or Series I Can’t Get Into

Ah, now I’m on firmer footing!

I do a series of ‘Abandoned’ posts here on the blog that seem to fit this question nicely, and so I have plenty of options choose from… lemme just browse a moment, here we go. For this one, I’ll quickly mention a darling of the 2019 line up, The Rising of the Shield Hero.

So, what happened?

Well, in a way there’s not much of a story. Back in November I remember almost finishing episode one… but I didn’t. Maybe I was worn out on Portal Fantasy at the time, or I didn’t have the energy for a double ep, but 8 months later I still haven’t gone back to this series and I can’t quite put my finger on why.

Perhaps because it seemed like a lot of classic tropes but no little extra thing that made me sit up?

Popular Show or Movie I Have No Interest in Seeing

I could probably fill this section with a few options, I think.

Generally, if a series has 100+ episodes or more, I will never get around to such an anime. And I guess it’s not just the impressive time commitment that I can’t handle, but my suspicion that the shows will have poor or non-existent endings, due to the nature of their endlessness.

To be specific, however, I’ll mention something far shorter: the Neon Genesis rebuilds.

I definitely understand the urge to refine and improve something you’ve made in the past, but I’ve yet to give these films a shot and probably won’t. I understand that the storylines diverge… but the first Evangelion series is complete enough for me, even with that bitterly polarising ending.

Popular Show or Movie I Prefer Over the Book

Ah, I can finally sneak some Studio Ghibli into this list, with Howls’ Moving Castle.

Here, as promised, I’m landing on the side of the film… just. Ultimately, I think it’s kinda unfair to compare two starkly contrasting art forms, but it has to be done 😀

For me, there are many fun and also interesting differences between the two texts, and the movie tends to be about trimming out and combining elements in terms of narrative and character, but omits pretty much all the satirical elements that really make Dian Wynne Jones’ book fantastic.

In exchange, there’s Joe Hishashi’s beautiful score and the vibrant colours and Miyazaki’s comforting direction, along with a stellar example of CGI integration in a film that has now (suddenly?) been delighting audiences for fifteen years.


And done!

*wipes brow*

That was tough – but I appreciated the struggle and now I’d like throw to the Otaku Author and Lita Kino if they’re not too swamped.

And of course, if you’re reading this and you wanna jump in, lemme know as I’d be keen to take a look!

Stein’s Gate (Shutainzu Gēto)

Game adaptations that work exceptionally well as film (or longer narratives in general) feel rare to me – but maybe that’s a reflection of my limited knowledge of animation that falls into that category?

Stein’s Gate (Shutainzu Gēto) 2011

Either way, I think this series is outstanding.

It’s rightly considered a classic of speculative fiction and anime; it features a compelling cast, premise and execution – and I mention that last aspect because for me, I can enjoy a show with fascinating ideas and give it a bit of a pass if the execution doesn’t quite match up, but I know not everyone is as forgiving as I am!

However, I don’t really feel Stein’s Gate has too many flaws – I mean, it panders with the harem aspects and main character Okabe has a moment of rage that stretched my ability to go along with him, but other than those two aspects I think the series will be well-regarded for decades.

Here’s a quick Wikipedia plot summary:

[Stein’s Gate] follows Rintaro Okabe, who together with his friends accidentally discovers a method of time travel through which they can send text messages to the past, thereby changing the present.

So, with that simple description comes a whole lot of tension and trauma as Okabe finally finds meaning through his discovery – only for his obsession to quickly pull his friends into life and death situations that soon keep compounding until Okabe is driven right to the very edge in his frantic efforts to right the wrongs he’s largely responsible for.

And yet, there is romance, friendship, comedy, conspiracy and alternate timelines aplenty, twists and welcome surprises too – all explored in a very intimate setting that is beautifully realised; the Akihabara/Tokyo that the show depicts seems to strike a perfect balance between hyper-realistic and anime-romanticised.

The writing too I found to be top-notch – it’s self-aware without bludgeoning the viewer with the fact, generally where Okabe’s friend Daru takes the lion’s share of the one-liners or general wit.

In fact, more often than not we’re encouraged to laugh at Okabe and his delusions of grandeur, something that will either become a source of fondness if you make it through the whole series, or which will drive you batty and force you to maybe walk away too soon, as I nearly did.

Having said that, I think that the science-fiction elements are both front and centre, but it’s still a drama and boy, at times it really made me feel for the characters.

Okabe certainly puts himself through the ringer and part of the cleverness of the writing is that one of his friends, Mayuri, is such a sweet girl that his fear of making her suffer becomes a powerful storyline indeed.

Perhaps it’s not a revolutionary move in terms of storytelling – I mean, I don’t care so much if a villain suffers – but she’s so without guile that Rintaro’s mistakes really pack a bigger emotional punch than they otherwise might.

Anyway, enough rambling – I’ll close with a note that I think if you like time travel, drama or romance you’ll enjoy Stein’s Gate a lot, but a quick note: my DVD came with an OVA but presented it as episode 25 and to be honest, I don’t think the OVA has the same impact as a final episode.

If I was able, I’d jump back a bit in time and not actually watch it 😀

5 Stars

Images sourced from google/anisearch.