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Yoru no Yatterman – A Difficult Journey


Also my face during Yoru no Yatterman’s filler episodes.

A Promising Beginning:

I don’t think I’ve ever watched an anime as inconsistent as Yoru no Yatterman. It’s been one hell of a journey, so I think it only makes sense to start from the beginning – and what a beginning it was. I didn’t have any expectations going in, so when I watched episode one, the first thing I had to do was write a post for it. I was blown away, it was the perfect balance of comedy and drama. I remember being so excited about the series after that, since it had proven itself from the starting line. After the death of her mother, I thought Leopard would make a promising protagonist, and Voltkatze and Elephantus would be suitable sidekicks.

When Gachan and Ally joined the team, I thought they made good additions. Their first encounter with the new Doronjo was funny and sweet, but there were hints of a tragic backstory lingering beneath the surface. For the most part, I enjoyed them – probably the most out of the entire cast. By the third episode, everything was going well, and my expectations were rising.

A Terrible Middle:

And then it crashed. From episode four to nine, all we got was pointless, stupid, irrelevant filler that did nothing to bring out the best parts of the series. The emotional drama was essentially erased from existence. The one-off stories were all kinds of ridiculous, from road races, to underwater palaces, to escorting a baby dinosaur to its mother. The most promising part of an otherwise awful middle part was the backstory with Ally’s father. That could have been done better, but I caught on quite quickly and wasn’t too disappointed with the reveal. But that was the one good egg in a rotten batch.

I was so disappointed, week after week, because the Yoru no Yatterman that had presented itself in the first few episodes seemed like a long forgotten dream, and what was being delivered instead was a genuine nightmare. I don’t know if many people enjoyed those self-contained episodes, but I sure as hell didn’t. The comedy that I thought was funny in the beginning was turned sour, repetitive, and as a result, irritating. At its lowest, Yoru no Yatterman was the worst anime I’d forced myself through in a long time. I’ve seen worse shows, but I tend to drop them after the first episode (or even before the first episode finishes) but Yoru no Yatterman showed promise in the beginning. I was ready to accept whatever ridiculous ending was going to thrown in my face, and forever remember Yoru no Yatterman as a terrible shame.

An Ambitious End:

And then… it got better again. The third and second last episodes weren’t that good, but they were an improvement on what had come directly before. The comedy was still lost on me, but once the crew managed to get to the Yatter Metropolis and return to the actual plot, I found myself not hating what I was watching anymore. The twist with the final villain was pretty smart, and not one I had considered. Illusions were prevalent through the episodes, for the main characters, as well as those living in the Yatter Kingdom. Having that reveal to shock the characters and the audience at the same time was probably the best thing that could have happened.

The last episode hasn’t long aired, and I’m actually annoyed with it. Part of me wishes it had just slipped down to the irrelevance of the middle episodes, so that I could finish it, say that Yoru no Yatterman was a failure of a show, and never have to recommend it to anyone. But the last episode was a complete return to form. Ambitious is the word I’d use to describe it. The story was serious again, the characters had their emotional outbursts, and the final battle, although convenient as hell, was a thrill to watch. Most of the episode looked wonderful, with fluid and dynamic key animation at its best moments. But there’s also the fact that some parts were unfinished, and scenes had to be recycled and reedited to cover that up (very poorly). Apparently the animators have apologised and asked viewers to watch the Blu-ray release, but frankly, I’ll take an expressive and clumsy episode to something without errors, but lacking in oompfh. The climax we got was exciting, fitting for the absurdness of the series, but also proved that it still had the raw strengths of the first episode in its back pocket. I just wish every episode was the same as the first and last – if that were the case, this could have been one of the best of the season. But the fact is, most of what we got was poor, unfunny, and pointless. Consistency would have been a blessing here.

March 29, 2015 at 2:23 pm
17 comments »
  • March 29, 2015 at 2:39 pmALFREDONM

    I saw the last ep and i can say the animation was terrible but the story was ok and even funny at times. Thanks for the review.

  • March 29, 2015 at 3:17 pmxephx

    From what I understand a lot of the tone of the middle episodes comes from the old 70s Yatterman show. I’ve read in other sites of people who’ve seen the old show that have enjoyed those episodes, so maybe that’s the problem.
    Whatever the case I liked this show, found the middle mediocre instead of awful, and think that the beginning and ending were pretty cool.

  • March 29, 2015 at 4:03 pmTheVoid

    The middle existed to reference the other Tatsunoko shows and show Yatter Kingdom had effectively screwed over any happy endings that could have been found in them.

    I mean they had the Mach 5 and the monkey from Speed Racer in it. Plus we got hilarious scenes like Galina being proud of himself for beating a little girl, or how delusional and badly costumed the Yatterbots and Doronbow gang can get, while still being competent.

  • March 29, 2015 at 5:18 pmwicho-m

    Did somebody really watched last 1979 episode? Animation was terrible like this one… pure 70′s tribute XD !

  • March 29, 2015 at 7:07 pmricz

    First and the last three episode is the best part of this series

    And I my say that this series is the one that gives the best finale this season(so far) imo

    • March 29, 2015 at 7:29 pmricz

      aside from that recycled/poor quality animation

    • March 29, 2015 at 7:31 pmricz

      must* not my XD …

  • March 29, 2015 at 7:20 pmos

    I dropped this after I realized this show is made for female audience.

    • March 30, 2015 at 5:52 amScruffy

      In what way is this show targeted at females? I would say it’s more Shounen than anything else. Besides, that’s a pretty silly reason to drop a show.

  • March 29, 2015 at 10:23 pmDP

    While it was by no means a perfect anime, I seem to have liked it a whole lot more than most. I think people are missing the fact that it was riffing on a children’s show. The silly episodes were that way because they were supposed to be like a Saturday morning kid’s cartoon. Yet, Yatterman had so much wonderful subtext: yes, the black and white confrontation of good vs. evil; but also the deep, melancholy of growing up and facing all of the lousy things that can happen to people.

    This not only wasn’t a show for everybody; I think it wasn’t a show for MOST people. It was ultimately very simple in its message, perhaps too simple. But if you’re receptive to that message, it was also also very, very beautiful. And the fact that it ever got made is one of the things that I really love about anime, as it still maintains the ability to be so wonderfully surprising and willing to make things that have no obvious commercial appeal.

    • April 3, 2015 at 9:35 amAozora

      Exactly. I also thought that the emotional growth of Leopard and Galina was handled quite beautifully. Slowly, yes, but I was there. Especially for Gatchan who turned from an indecisive coward to a strong protagonist, willing to be a leader.

  • March 29, 2015 at 11:08 pmflap

    I really didn’t hate the middle episodes, but 7 & 8 I think were especially rough, with Voltkatze & Elephantus being reduced to pure comedy roles. The middle episodes showed the world that people were living in, and how they were subdued by the Yatterman ‘heroes.’. When the wrestling guy had its own episode, I realized what was up and they were going to show us a bunch of episodes of people living in the Yatter kingdom, as well as training Gachan. It’s like Fellowship of the Ring; you know from the outset that the whole book is basically pointless walking around, the good stuff is at the end :P

    But the dinosaur stuff was pretty bad.

  • March 30, 2015 at 7:36 amSolaris

    You can’t get all of those jokes unless you do yourselves a favour and grab that very old show called Yatterman. Actually Yatterman was the first on a very long ‘series of series’ featuring the same format plot with this silly trio of thieves that regularly try do do mischiefs failing hard every time. They were comedies aimed at children, and I tell you, they were funny as hell.

    Now the idea of revamping that changing completely the tone but keeping those jokes like that was a terrible idea. This could fail hard or become a masterpiece. I still have to make my mind about what is what, but I can presumably say it’s not a masterpiece.

    Also, this show reminded me more of Zvezda than the old yatterman. It had the very same highlight and pits of that other show and, while both aren’t that bad, they were equally uninspiring the least.

  • April 1, 2015 at 5:07 amMiaminights

    It was a rough ride but I enjoyed the show as a whole. Sadly that final episode really let me down. There were moments of brilliant animation, then the loops. ugh

  • April 2, 2015 at 7:28 amShinwinds

    Well the first and the last episode indeed the best episode so far. But i can enjoy the middle episode, and the fact they always blow up when failure is the charm in this show. It’s so nostalgic yet funny.

  • April 2, 2015 at 4:22 pmMormegil

    I think I was the only one who enjoyed some of the “filler” episodes.

    Sucks about the ending. Too bad they weren’t able to finish it in time. Besides that one part in the last episode, everything else looked pretty good.

  • April 4, 2015 at 8:46 amGrahav

    Agree with the review word by word.

    They couldn’t decide which theme to put in the series. The first episodes theme would have been the best. Referencing and repeating the original series was bad since the two themes didn’t match and it was already done.

    The looping of the Last episode. Oh, God. Really impossible to ignore.

    Feels like a wasted potential show. Which is sadder when it just downright terrible.

    I will rewrite it in my head.