Remember what I said a few days ago about quality? Well, upon rewatching Seraphim Call, I came to the conclusion that, quality it ain’t.
Let’s start with the packaging, since that’s what one sees first. Media Blasters has always been, IMHO, a bit behind the curve on aesthetics, but I can’t fault them too much. While this OVA doesn’t have cool extras or liner notes or *anything* other than that ever-present market research card, it *does* have all 12 episodes on 2 DVDs, for a reasonable cost. This DVD is Japanese language audio only, with English subtitles…no dub available. This doesn’t bother me, of course, but it may be an issue with others.
Additionally, the type MB uses for their subtitles is the same exact one they have been using since the dawn of time and it looks…dated. Little yellow words that pop up in stark declarative or interrogative sentences with no other forms of punctuation than period or question mark. It’s really disturbing after a while, because even though the voices are normal, there’s a sense of droning monotony, because of the subtitles. (And yes, I am perfectly aware that I’m over-sensitive to such things. But I calls ’em as I see ’em.)
I sat down to watch the first disc with only a vague memory of the individual vignettes, having intially watched them quite a few years ago now. The basic premise is 11 entirely unrelated girls and women will be brought together for *something* to happen. The first 11 epsiodes are background stories on each of the 11 girls, and episode 12 is supposed to tie everything together. I remembered only that about 1/4 of the cast was gay. ^_^
I did not know then, but do know now, that the original character designer is Aoi Nanase (creator of Angel Dust) which explains several things, like the gayness and the odd hair. I’m not sure if there’s a manga for this series, but if there is, I’d like to read it, to see if the story ever goes anywhere. (Perhaps one of my loyal readers can assist with this? Have you heard of or seen a manga version?)
So, with vague memories and a mild fever, I began re-watching Seraphim Call.
The first episode was a slow-paced story about Yukina, a super-genius mechanical engineer with a phobia of men. I had, for some reason, remembered each episode being quite short, but I was wrong – maybe it was wishful thinking, because this epsiode *draaaagggggged.*
Episode two I skipped. It’s a repulsive little loli stalker perv thing that I have no interest in ever seeing again. Once was scarring enough.
By this time I was reclaiming old memories and quite clearly knew what was coming.
Episode three is the tale of Chinami, a girl with a dream to be a dessert chef and divorced parents. Slow, again, but actually kind of the most realistic story of the bunch.
Episode four is, IMHO, the best of the first disc. Using a non-linear narrative, we learn about Hatsumi, a boyish, athletic girl who agrees (after much resistance) to model nude for a painting. It’s not Yuri, at all, but there’s a gender and self identity issue, which is also quite realistic for a high school girl. Although I wish *someone* had told Hatsumi that she looked adorable in shorts and tie…
Episodes five and six are a combo story, which gives the individual perspectives of a pair of creepy incestuous lesbian twin sisters as they reject all else but each other. I remember being strongly disturbed by these episodes the first time I watched the series, but you know, after watching again yesterday, I can only say that I quite prefer them together. It lowers the possibility that anyone else will get involved in their dysfunctional worldviews. These two episodes are full of unresolved virtual reality escapades, which leaves you with no clue whether the girls are back in reality – or were ever there to begin with. After I finished watching, I was disturbed all over again, but this time not by Shion and Sakura, but by myself thinking that, actually, these two episodes were kind of sweet and touching in a really weird way.
Clearly anime is sucking my soul away, one episode at a time.
My last two thoughts, as I watched Shion and Sakura kiss for the second time, were these:
1) I can pretty much guarantee that I would never in a million years fall in love with someone who looked exactly like me, and;
2) How on *earth* did this anime get rated 7 and up???? Did the person who rated it not watch episodes 2,5 and 6?
In any case, while this anime really is Yuri-riffic, its not…erm…good. However, I hold out more hope for Disc 2, where we get some Yuri that isn’t creepy. ^_^