Thoughts about the anime before it ends.
Hey, gang. Hope everyone is doing okay. Things still haven’t been great for me but here I am.
So a big part of my last job was reviewing new anime every season. Now, for those of you not into anime, “seasons” in Japan are only 13 weeks or so, instead of the fall-to-spring seasons lie in the US. I looked over a few shows, Haruchika, Attack on Titan Junior High, as well as just watched some for fun like Keijo!!!!!!!!. However, one series I signed up for with zeal was Tiger Mask W, the new iteration of the old 60s/70s animated series from Japan. I know Japanese Wrestling fairly well and this wrestling anime was being co-produced by New Japan Pro Wrestling, so I’d be perfect for it. It soon was announced for 39 episodes so it was guaranteed for 3 seasons.
Whelp, here we are. As I am writing this the show is ten episodes away from those 39 episodes. Honestly, it fell short of my expectations. Not to say that I was expecting something akin to Evangelion or anything, but sometimes this show became more of a chore to watch that something to keep me on the edge of my seat. Episodes often time had little if anything to do with the plot. Some episodes were so jammed full of development that pacing went out the window and made you head spin, and there were so many references to New Japan things you would only get them if you were a big wrestling fan of Japanese wrestling going into it.
But was it stupid of me to expect something better?
Maybe I was. Thinking a Japanese cartoon being made partially by a wrestling company was going to be high standard was probably my first problem. Although it kept to a realistic story at first, it’s lost its way since the early episodes. Soon you had outlandishly big opponents, Wrestling on pyramids, and things that made me think this was an old episode of Kinnikuman more than Tiger Mask.
I think a lot of it came from the fact they announced 3 seasons right off the bat. They were given 39 episodes to tell the story, but honestly, they just didn’t have enough story for 39 episodes. Did we need episodes with wild goose chases for sugary desserts? Holding shows in the middle of nowhere to a bunch of old people? A couple of no name idol singers that hated being there? Nope. no, we didn’t. Total time filler that added nothing to the plot whatever and was a waste of time. They probably could have done everything in two seasons if they cut all that crap out of it. Too many episodes that made me scratch my head wondering what the point was. A more concise way of telling the story would have done this show wonders.
And let’s face it, the main character Naoto comes off as an idiot. He spends three years training to be a pro wrestler and he doesn’t seem to get some of the most basic ideas. Especially at the beginning of the series, you have thought they plucked him off the street and put him under that mask. I understand he’s young but after three years if he didn’t get it I don’t know he ever would.
But the show wasn’t that bad either. It had some good points and when the show writers got on the task they could do some cool stuff on the show. The handling of the character of The Third played out rather well. Sure the reference made more sense if you knew about the older show, but the explanation of who he was was done well even if you didn’t.
And looking around, I think I was just about the only person who really gave a damn.
So it’s not so much that the show fell short of anything, it was I expected it to be something other than it really was.