Eat your heart out, Alanis King (also, we miss you)
Well, it’s comedy week, which means for
seven five days, we can publish our worst best anime ideas without consequence with no strings attached. And the idea I’ve had in my Top Gear riddled head is what anime shows would be if they were cars... and that quickly proved to be unfunny, so here’s my next best thing. Anyway, hope you enjoy, or at least make sense of my tortured analogies.
On one hand, they make stuff that’s easy to criticize, but overall, they’re both probably the best entity in their respective fields. I know people who hate My Hero Academia and the 911 (despite both being the benchmark all others are currently measured against), and I know that few would argue against powerhouses like Mob Psycho 100 and the 918. Have they both made missteps like the Cayenne and Dragon Pilot? Sure. But one is the best rated brand on Consumer Reports, and the other consistently scores 8 or above on MAL. Like it or not, they’re the gold standard, and I’ll bet you anything they make something you love, whether you want to admit it or not…
Yeah it’s obvious, but it’s obvious for good reasons. Just as everyone knows that Ferrari is synonymous with supercars, Ghibli is synonymous with anime; they’re both known by people who aren’t even fans of their respective mediums, although it must be said that they’re also both imperfect. Many people think their CVs are unbroken lines of perfection, but it should be made clear that for every Earthsea, there’s a Ferrari Mondial, something that’s undeserving of the name it bears. However, it’s all rightfully overshadowed by some of the all-time best stuff ever made: Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and The Wind Rises, while on the other side reside the 250 GTO, the F40, and the 458 Italia. And yeah, while they do rest on their laurels too often (one coasts on Miyazaki’s good will, and the other on Ferrari branded shoes and aftershave), they’re both still just about the perfect place for newcomers to start.
A recent series that aired was Toilet-bound Hanako-san, a show with a distinct visual style that implored me to look up who was animating this show. That’s what finally made studio Lerche stand out to me, and what made me realize something: “wait, is this studio actually pretty great?” Assassination Classroom, Scum’s Wish, Astra Lost in Space; Lerche had a great decade for an anime studio. This kind of sentiment is also what’s won me over on Honda in recent years; after a pitiful showing during the 2000s, the mid-2010s is when the company finally got its groove back, with what is probably their strongest lineup ever, from the incredible Acura NSX to the fun as hell Civic Type-R, to even normal (yet oddly charismatic) stuff like the Accord and Insight. And yet, neither are entities many people get up on their feet for. Sure, they each have their respective fans, but neither quite get the same rapturous attention as Lamborghini or Aston Martin. Still, they’re both damn good at making stuff you want.
I used to think this was a terrible studio, but recently I’ve found a new way to look at Passione: this is the greatest anime studio in terms of making godawful shows. There’s no way they’re consistently this bad on purpose, this has to be their brand. Just like Peugeot, a brand that’s too big and financially successful to be unintentionally making a product lineup that’s literally nothing but the worst cars in Europe. It’s almost become an obsession, with each new product of theirs being eagerly
dreaded awaited so that it can answer our eternal question of “oh boy, how’s it going to be terrible this time?” Maybe it’ll have an astonishingly shitty ending, or it catches on fire if you turn the heater on too high. Either way, grab some goggles for when it blows up in a fiery ball of atomic proportions.
“Impeccably [made] to achieve unmatched levels of dullness”. This isn’t to call either of them bad, but to be brutally honest, these are entities that while I appreciate, I never look forward to anything they make, despite the undeniable effort that’s put into what comes out from them. And their records aren’t sparse, they’ve both been in business for a good long while, but really, when was the last time you noticed something they made? And already I know the answers: Shirobako, and the LFA. Which is weird: among droves of average-ness stands a singular product that’s one of the best works of the decade. Shirobako is what I’d call an essential series for anyone who wants to know what it’s like to work in the industry, and the LFA is one of the most meticulously engineered supercars of all time. Sadly, nothing else has come out since that’s come close to matching the greatness achieved by those two... but those two works of art will hold a special place in my heart. And you know what, most studios and car companies would be lucky to have something of that quality in their catalog.
Yes, I know both of these have their fans, but let’s make it clear that if satan ran an animation studio or a car company, it’d be Toei and GM respectively. They’re massive, established, have plenty of stuff in their catalog that is either good or liked, and they’re both dicks. One has a crack team of youtube officers who intimidate any abridging channel that dares to cover their shows into submission or oblivion, and the other is basically the car industry’s EA, killing brands for financial failures that the parent entity caused in the first place. Oh, and their business models are based on churning out stuff to the lowest price possible. Oh sure, I like the Corvette, and I’m a massive Digimon fan, but if either of these were to have all of their decades worth of bad will come down on them in a karmic hail-mary, never before would this gif be so fitting:
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