Welcome to week 4 of “Up to Snuff*”. We started this mid-season, so it’s not too surprising that we’re not seeing huge movement week-to-week. But it’s striking just how dominant the top two series are – they jostle with each other for position, but no other show has nearly as broad an appeal with our crack staff. The movement for the remaining places has been interesting to watch – those have been anything but predictable so far.
Meanwhile, our bonus poll this week is “Best Art & Animation”. And this one was a blowout – not even close. As for the hidden gem, Passerby joins the fold to share his pick – and since he’s keeping a light viewing this schedule this season, reaches back a bit for his choice. All the goodies are below – please enjoy and as always, share your feedback in the comments.
Without further ado, let’s get to this week’s results:
* Name subject to change (“Golden Gridman”?)
Weekly Staff Poll
Bonus Question: Best Art & Animation
SSSS.Gridman – 15 (2)
Sword Art Online: Alicization – 9 (1)
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Golden Wind – 7
Double Decker! Doug & Kirill – 6
Uchi no Maid ga Uzasugiru! – 6
Passerby’s Hidden Gem: Beatless S2
I know, I know, Beatless wasn’t exactly hidden nor really a gem — if it was then maybe a rather dull gem that needs a lot of polish and even when you do it just reveals all the cracks. But all gems are but fancy rocks in the end and it’s up to humans to give them value. And Beatless, for all its flaws, was nonetheless interesting. I suspect that when people think of science-fiction anime their first instinct is robots shooting lasers, and while that’s not exactly wrong and Beatless has all that too, science-fiction is first and foremost speculative fiction, about ideas that are on the cutting edge, or that represent a specific vision of humanity, or that are just plain weird. That’s where the value of Beatless is; while it is not at all the best produced anime out there it can still be perfectly engaging if the ideas it explores about artificial intelligence and cognition pique your curiosity. There’s usually a few shows with this sort of appeal every season, especially in science-fiction. One of the great strengths of anime as a medium is its breadth and if you poke around its edges you’ll find shows that may not be the same spectacle or pure entertainment as mainstream hits, but may, by their fringe nature if nothing else, offer fresh perspectives. That’s why we should dig around for hidden gems; sometimes we hit the mother lode, other times it’s just dirt, but as long as we open up new horizons along the way then it’s a worthy exercise.