Why I won’t watch Kaguya Season 2

I drop a lot of shows. Recently, this is to a point where I drop almost everything that I watch seasonally. So I can’t do a weekly review of the show, not just because I don’t like watching shows weekly but also because most shows feel like a drag to watch. So instead of doing reviews episodically, I want to just go over most shows this season and reason out why I ended up dropping it. Of course, there are a couple of shows that I want to put on hold for it to finish airing, but those will have separate reviews afterwards.

Anyways, the first of my dropped shows was Kaguya season 2. In fact, I didn’t even complete the first season of Kaguya.

But don’t get me wrong. I like Kaguya. Jun talked about what makes Kaguya a lot better than other rom-coms and I would have to agree with everything he said. I mean, the voice acting is amazing throughout, the ridiculous set up makes for great comedy, and the directing and camera movements are interesting and somewhat creative enough (with its line effect and sudden focus on characters) to keep most entertained. I’d say it really does a good job making it feel as though the whole story doesn’t take place in one place because of the various effects, angles and camera movements they use. Other aspects like the OST or animation have no problems either. 

Even with all these great aspects, however, what keeps me away from the anime comes from the fact that I read the manga. I absolutely adore the manga. The characters are really expressive and the jokes are hilarious. And although the anime mostly matches up with the manga, the fact that I read it influenced my watching experience quite heavily So in order to explain why I’m not watching Kaguya, I’m going to have to draw a lot of comparisons to the manga.

My main problem that really sums up the reason why I won’t watch the show is that can’t help but feel like the jokes drag a little. This wasn’t a problem when I read the manga. This is mostly because in manga, the only way of engaging is visually. This means that I can scan through the manga at any speed I want. And the weekly chapters are fairly short. However, an anime or any show’s job is to control the pace you view the episode at. Because of the voice acting or the music, it becomes impossible for one to enjoy the medium as it was supposed to be by skipping through. This means that if I am bored at what is happening on the screen, there really isn’t a way to escape it.

This is largely problematic in the anime. The jokes in Kaguya are great and all. I mean I was consistently laughing while reading the manga, but they are centered around one idea and are very repetitive (at least where the anime is at right now.) Although this may have not been a problem if I hadn’t initially read the manga, but because I did, I know every single joke that is going to appear in that episode and I can’t help but feel a little bored. 

The next reason is the auditory part of it. I understand that a huge reason why people who read the manga watch the anime is because they want to see the characters move with their voice, along with BGMs that make up the mood very well. First, I do like the voice acting in Kaguya. Koga Aoi’s voice is very flexible in range and emotion and fitting with Kaguya’s role, the tone shifts of characters are good punch likes, and you couldn’t have had the famous Chika song without Kohara Konomi. I love the show’s radio as well, and the voice actors are hilarious to listen to. 

But despite that, there is a specific part of the anime that really bothers me: the narration. The narration in the manga is fine and all. It doesn’t bother me too much when I’m just scrolling through the manga. But in the anime something about the narrator’s voice really gets me. I don’t know if it has to do with the fact that he is interrupting the flow of the anime, stating the obvious most of the time, just has an over exaggerated voice that is hard to bear, or all of the above.

Take the “that was a lie!” episode with the tests for example. In the manga, it was absolutely hilarious. This is mainly because the text was in all caps with a bigger font that appeared in the next frame over. This made the exaggeration hilarious along with the unexpected element of it. The individual faces of the character, filled up half the page with their expressions which is absolutely hilarious just to look at even without context. Because of this the manga was able to continue on the joke through the short burst, using the past frames event almost as a reference to create comedic effect, which made the chapter really fun. But in the anime I felt both exaggeration of the “it was a lie” and the surprise element both disappear. The anime switched up the line in the subtitle, so it was slightly more of a mouthful, making it lose that impact. The narrator, as well, lost the enthusiasm that I kind of expected. His tone was relatively similar to what it was in previous episodes, whereas in the manga, a dramatic shift to the voice was done. Of course, this probably also has to do with the fact that I read the manga. I was expecting the joke to come and I’ve seen so much memes of it on youtube and reddit that I honestly got a little bit tired of it.

I may get back to the show in the future when I forget about the manga and just need a good laugh. But in the meantime, as good as Kaguya is, I’d rather be watching shows that are less boring until I forget about the manga.

Babylon’s Disappointing Second Half Doesn’t Stick its Landing

Babylon was a thriller mystery show, and for 7 episodes, it was by far the most interesting and intense anime of its season, and to me, 2019. It kept me on edge every episode with a new twist. The simple yet effective and sleek art style, interesting characters, unique yet catchy soundtrack, and the rare adult-oriented crime investigation plot managed to develop a following even within the western anime community, and I was definitely one of its biggest fans. 

After its first half ending at 7 episodes, Babylon took a break, before heading into its second half, involving more politics and the story beginning to spread at a global scale. Unfortunately, it is in the last 5 episodes that Bablyon disappoints. Not only are the writers clearly out of their comfort zone, but the show begins to focus on what were its weak points in the first half. The last episodes are boring if not funnily bad, and in the last episode it presents a weak and uninspired ending.

Although I really did like the first half of the series, if I had to choose a part of it that didn’t hold up as much as the rest, it would indefinitely be the politics. There’s a debate that goes on between Itsuki Kaika and Japan’s representatives, and the points that are presented by the politicians are the most basic, unsophisticated, undeveloped arguments that even a group of middle schoolers could come up with. It’s definitely not a debate that you’d be expecting on something as important as it is, and it shows the lack of competence for the writers in this subject. But it isn’t terrible, and it frankly doesn’t bore you enough for it to stand out or drag the show down. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the last 5 episodes.

Babylon’s second half focuses on how Japan’s adaptation of the suicide law begins to affect the rest of the world. But man, is it unrealistic. Not only are there already places in the world that already have adapted the suicide law, but there is no way that the leaders that aren’t under Magase Ai’s control would act the way that they did. Practically all of episode 11 shows the leaders of the world come together to discuss what “good” is, and it’s visually presented as a very deep, intelligent, mind blowing conversation, but it couldn’t be further from that. If what was being discussed was at least thought provoking, then the visuals could have been justified, but from how shallow it is, the episode is nothing but embarrassing.

By emphasizing on the political side of the show, Babylon loses its best qualities. The (good)edginess, and amazing moments with Magase Ai. Although she does play an important part in the plot overall, and has some appearances, her impact on each episode and the occasional amazing twists that she brought are completely gone. 

There’s still more I can complain and rant about, but honestly this post is getting a little long, and I want to talk about the ending, so let’s do that.

The ending! 

Fuck!

I can’t express in words how underwhelming this ending felt. Although Magase Ai did feel untouchable for a while, I thought that in the end she would be taken over(and most likely killed) by Seizaki. But instead, Seizaki dies and Magase lives on. Now I’m not one to really complain much about who the author decides to kill and spare, and what they want their work’s message to be, but to be frank, I’m fucking pissed and am going to complain. 

Essentially, the president of the United States is hypnotized by Magase and is about to kill himself in public. If he succeeds in doing so, then the general public will believe that suicide is good. In order to prevent this, Seizaki kills the president himself, and kills himself. At least what I interpreted from this, was that Seizaki killed himself because he basically became a public embodiment of evil, and by committing suicide he brings down the act of killing oneself to his level. He also has an encounter with Magase before he kills himself, but that’s heavily implied to be a hallucination, although I think Seizaki may have been acting in order to make himself look as worst as possible before killing himself.

But was there really a need for Seizaki to kill himself? To me, it feels rushed. Like this had to be the finale, and so Seizaki had to make a move that would end everything and represent suicide badly. But frankly, there really wasn’t a need to do that. I mean, Seizaki had yet to kill or at least arrest Magase, and in the end she’s fucking alive and well! In my opinion there’s no way that Seizaki would kill himself there, he had strong beliefs and willpower to be able to overcome the situation of assassinating the president, and continue on with his investigation. After all, the situation probably would have been understood by all of the higher-ups. It definitely wouldn’t have been clean, but with faking punishments and various complicated processes, I feel like Seizaki continuing on his life and the investigation would have been more than possible. But instead, Babylon tries to have a clean cut ending with Seizaki killing himself, and it feels lazy, unnecessary, and unsatisfying.

The concept of the ending isn’t terrible, and the execution isn’t too bad either. But it’s just so…. Lukewarm. Even if you disagree with my ‘could be’s for Babylon, I think that most can agree on how lacking the ending felt. The anticlimactic finale of Babylon, to me, fully represents the disappointing second half of the season.

Babylon was a disappointment. To me, it had more than enough potential to become the best anime of 2019, and yet even after taking a break, it managed to fuck up so badly that it went from a strong 9 to a weak 7 by the end of its run. I’m upset, depressed, and angry. 

There’s still things that I want to talk about, especially why the show got ruined, namely the fact that the second half is literally written by a different person. But this post has gotten way too long, and I’m tired.

I’m curious as to what others think about the second half, especially the people that enjoyed it, unlike me. So please, feel free to leave a comment on what you thought about Babylon and its second half.