Some months back I re-subscribed to Crunchyroll. I may cancel it again. Little during the past few seasons has held my attention, and nothing in the current season looks worth my time.1 I will grant that the writers of Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon deserve credit for concocting an actual story with a vending machine as protagonist, but one episode of that absurd isekai was enough. Crunchyroll is useful mainly for watching old favorites, but those are apt to disappear without warning; also, my own library, while not as large as theirs, is better-selected.
The only current show I am following is Helck, which is not on Crunchyroll. The demon world needs a new lord and holds a tournament to determine who it will be. The dominant competitor is the human Helck, who is both overwhelmingly powerful and one heck of a nice guy. He professes to hate humans, but the demonic authorities don’t trust him and try to sabotage the trials. Things become complicated: angelic-looking entities with wings and armor attack the demons, and cities where humans had lived are mysteriously empty. Meanwhile, Helck and the feistiest female demon are teleported to a pleasant tropical isle far from everyone else with no idea how to return home. The show shifts from comedy to drama to horror to farce in a manner reminiscent of Akitaro Daichi. Underneath his friendly good humor, it becomes clear that Helck is dead serious. There is a complicated mystery here, with good and evil seemingly inverted, and I am curious to see how it plays out.
I checked out Helck because Tatsuo Sato is directing it. Sato is responsible for Shingu, the most-watched show in my library; Mouretsu Pirates, another favorite; and, Martian Successor Nadesico. He’s also directed disappointments such as Madan no Ou to Vanadis, and the nightmare Cat Soup. At this point it looks like Helck be near to Nadesico in quality, but it’s too soon to tell if it will end well.
I recently re-watched Gate, an amalgam of smart and silly. I gather some people complain that the show is jingoistic. That’s one its pleasures, actually. It’s refreshing when a writer is proud of his country, and I don’t mind the slurs against the USA government much. In fact, I would rather have Gate’s unscrupulous but competent American president in the White House than the vegetable currently rotting there.
Is digital piracy really sinful? Perhaps not.
- OddTaxi and Miss Kuroitsu from the Monster Development Department (and potentially Spy x Family) are the only recent shows I can recommend.