Face Off: Mike and Ray Say ‘Bleh’ to Akane-iro

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Mike: So I watched 4 episodes of Akane-iro last night. It’s really not terrible. It was actually pretty funny sometimes. I wouldn’t call it great; I’m not even sure I’d call it good. But it was watchable and amusing at times, though predictable.

Ray: Did you find Hirano Aya’s voice annoying?

Mike: Not especially. Actually, to tell the truth, had you not told me and I not looked it up in the ANN, I would have had no idea it was her. She doesn’t almost at all sound like her other roles, including that in Eternal Sonata. Same thing with Kugimiya too, actually–until she gets tsun tsun mad and the “Louise” voice comes out.

Ray: Kugimi’s voice was surprising. She does act well for her role in the show. I was pleasantly surprised with her acting.

Mike: Right. Actually both she and Aya use barely recognizable voices for their roles.

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Ray: Well as an Aya fan, I knew it was Aya from the beginning. She’s so cute as the little sister that I’d pick her over everyone else.

There are odd elements in the show. For example, does Junichi hear his friend’s voice in his head from time to time?

Mike: I was actually surprised at the slightly surreal scenes in the show, like the one you mentioned. We do know, of course, that there is some kind of observation going on in secret by the prefect Shiraishi, and there is something odd with the parents being James Bond and the Bond girl and such. I would not be surprised if our male protagonist had something implanted in him, had some sort of special power, or other things like that.

Ray: Which, in my opinion, clashes with the show’s essence. I mean, it feels grafted into it to make it more interesting. It really seems like he’s got special powers, and somehow, even the teacher and Rierie’s character Mitsuki is involved.

Mike: Yeah, that was my biggest problem aesthetically with the show. It is decidedly of two very different genres. It starts like an action show, then it’s a rabu rabu harem comedy. And then a total action show. Full Metal Panic did this balance much better, I think.

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Ray: It has a purpose in FMP; Chidori had special powers related to what Sosuke’s organization has been researching, and that’s clear from the start. However, in Akane, it’s quite unclear what the hell is going on with the spy stuff and secret observation. Again, does his friend talk into his head? And why has he never questioned why that is? I’d be very disturbed if I can hear you mentally! XD
After all, neither of them are Jedi Masters…(geek alert)

Mike: Well, I don’t think this show is going to go all Chaos;Head on us, and I think there are definitely some hints from the start that Yuuhi is someone special–she’s being watched, or even possibly sent, from the beginning. But yes, it feels tacked on. They need to fulfill the potential there or else this is going to be just another bad show that failed to use its full potential, like This Ugly Yet Beautiful world.

Ray: I really am not sure whether it’s Yuuhe or Junichi that’s being observed.

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Mike: Oh it’s almost certainly Junichi. He is the main character, after all, the one who has to take the hilarious pratfalls.

Ray: but you just said Yuuhe’s being watched.

Mike: She could be watched too, but I also said she might also be sent.

Ray: …I thought Yuuhe’s from a rich family, the father is a good friend of Junichi’s father (spy).

Mike: Yuuhi seems to be the daughter of a yakuza boss. Is that supposed to be the implication?

Ray: Yes. I don’t know where the UFO could be from, but Yuuhi is the daughter of a wealthy family. Her dad promised to marry her off to Junich’s family. That’s the core plot.

Mike: OR SO WE THINK!! Da da dunnnnn

Ray: …are there hints that it’s not?

Mike: Well, the aforementioned stuff about being watched, the action subplot with the parents, etc. You are caught up on the show, right? Up to episode 8 or 9?

Ray: Yeah.

Mike: I guess if it hasn’t turned “serious” yet, then it’s probably not a primary focus. I’m speaking as someone observing from Episode 4.

Ray: Well, so far, it’s episode of the week. To tell you the truth, it’s the same as classic dating sim/harem shows every episode, with nothing else happening. I’m content with hearing Aya-chan being the sexy motherly younger sister thing…(drools) and Kugimi with her ojosama tsundere, and Rierie with her occasional performance. But other than that, I can’t say I love this show all that much.

Btw, tell them why you watched it.

Mike: You made me. ☺

Ray: Yes, and you were supposed to hate it or at least can’t stand it.

Mike: Well, it turns out I could stand it. But like most shows I’m not all that hot on, I’d probably just simply stop watching it. It’s a show that makes me go “eh” rather than “this sucks!”

Ray: There aren’t that many sucky shows that get subbed. It isn’t like back in the heyday of foreign fandom, where just about every show was grabbed off of Japan, packaged, and sold in US markets.

Mike: Yeah. This show has a built in fanbase, for one, since Hirano Aya, Rie Kugimiya, and Rie Tanaka are all in it.

Whenever I watch shows of this sort, the main thing I look for is–how is this different from the norm? Is there anything unique about it? The only thing in this show like that is the action stuff. And that wasn’t blended very well.

Ray: What makes it not work as opposed to FMP, where it works well?

Mike: It’s clumsier than FMP. Like you said, the school comedy and action bits were linked together by a central plot device. Plus, FMP’s humor is outrageously funny. This is only mildly so.

Ray: Yeah, this show really doesn’t make me laugh out aloud. It’s just not anything.
I have a hard time figuring out what it wants to be. Without Aya-chan vs. Kugimi vs. Rierie, I don’t think I’d bother with it.

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Mike: Yeah. Especially since they are trying to act different, it’s nice to hear that. Though Kugimiya isn’t acting like a character all that different than her other typecast roles–it’s basically Nagi without the otakuness. She’s much more interesting as Taiga.

Ray: Anything you actually like about the show?

Mike: The pacing isn’t horrible–and that’s usually the thing for me that makes the difference between a merely mediocre and a bad show. Some of the humor is enjoyable. I like the teacher who picks on Jun. There’s some occasional fourth wall breaking, though I think this is starting to become an everyday thing for anime these days.

A truly bad show would have long stretches of very flat pacing with really inane dialogue. This show doesn’t do that too much.

Ray: Where did it break the 4th wall?

Mike: It’s pretty mild. It’s stray lines like “how the heck did we end up with such a cute girl for a class president?” where it referenced some anime cliché.

Ray: Ah that. There was another, too. It’s like an abuse of self-mockery to make it look cooler. When Slayer S1 did it it was hilarious. These days, if the show isn’t about parody, it isn’t funny.

Mike: Yeah. Ever since Haruhi Suzumiya, the number of otaku shows that do it has skyrocketed. It’s starting to get stale.

Ray: Yeah. There’s not much to recommend this show for, except if you’re the fan of Kugimiya Rie, Tanaka Rie, or Hirano Aya, or all of them.

Mike: Yeah, and I’ve never been one to follow something on the strength of seiyuu alone.

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