Anime-Gataris – Mid Season Anime Review
Synopsis: Just as soon as she enters Sakaneko Private High School, Asagaya Minoa is dragged into the anime club by her classmate, Kamiigusa Alice, even though she knows next to nothing about anime. A classmate, Kouenji Miko, along with other anime-loving senpais, quickly turn her into an anime fan. Fighting off the incessant shut-down threats of the student council, and completely oblivious to the coming apocalypse, the anime club talks about anime in the club, at Akihabara, at anime Meccas, and at hot springs. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Anime-Gataris, or as I would like it to be renamed ‘The Basics of Being an Anime Fan in Japan’, is all about its cast spouting about the magic, wonders and inner workings of the anime fandom nonstop. This includes related media and hobbies such as cosplay and merchandise collecting. It almost feels like propaganda for the anime industry to try and convince the audience that there’s no joy like the joy of being an anime obsessed fan. Besides all the raving about anime, the show also keeps explaining really common and well known tropes of the anime world, which either feels boring or like being talked down to by audiences who are already well aware of everything being explained onscreen.
Tom: While Anime-Gataris’ introduction to anime fit in the first episode as lead girl, Asagaya Minoa found herself thrust into the anime fandom, it now feels like a very strange thing to adhere to. Anime-Gataris is very likely something only current anime fans are watching, rather than people seeking an introduction to the medium or fandom. So the series spends an awful lot of effort explaining anime fandom to– anime fans? It’s only on occasion that Gataris offers up entertainment that doesn’t retread the most common knowledge its audience is already likely to know, with fun little gags or clever lines. But these instances are further predicated on a requirement of basic anime knowledge, tropes, and the like. Anime-Gataris is a show confused about itself, unsure whether it’s catering the very fan base it so thoroughly explains, or attempting to offer itself as a bridging point for newcomers.
Linny: What could also be seen as potentially unbalanced and strange about Anime-Gataris is its random elements that are never really explained or implemented all that well. For example, in the very first episode, we get a talking cat that looks very strange in the otherwise ‘everyday’-like art and setting. And then the cat just proceeds to exist, offering either after credit fourth wall breaking dialogue or disappearing from the story completely. At one point in the first episode, the girls literally walk on him despite being completely aware that he is a living and feeling being, making them come off as psychopaths. Also, the show often cuts to or starts the episode by focusing on what Minoa’s sister is doing, which is maybe meant to be an in-show joke (an unfunny one in my opinion) because that character has absolutely zero to do with anything else, besides existing as Minoa’s sister. Furthermore, one can’t even claim this show is trying to be solely for new fans as it keeps namedropping popular old and new anime names (altered for copyright reasons) that feel like shout outs to a more knowledgeable audience.
Tom: Odd ball humor and supernatural occurrences that seem to have no barring on the rest of the series aside– Anime-Gataris isn’t even able to provide an engaging cast of characters. Minoa’s buds in the Anime Club are all archetypes/stereotypes of anime fans. It’s not an awful starting position, but because the series invests so much time and effort to explaining anime pilgrimages, convention outings, visiting anime stores, etc. there’s not enough screen time to explore any of the cast. In fact, by episode six it honestly feels like I don’t have any greater understanding to its characters than I did in episode two after they were all introduced. It’s as if we haven’t actually moved on and delved deeper into, well, any of them.
Linny: The plot of Anime-Gataris is also a bit cliche, in that it feels extremely generic, like a very bland take on anime that follow the everyday activities of a standard high school club. We even get a very common plot line early on about the Student Council head trying to have the anime club shut down almost as soon as it starts up. There’s even a token hot spring episode. Yes, one could argue it has SOME unique points because it features anime fans and offers what could be great information for newcomers but it has very limited appeal for more well versed audiences. Its content is very basic and sometimes ad like as it sings the praises of something super commercial like collecting ALL the anime merch.
Tom: Anime-Gataris was something I felt had promise. But it’s obsession with over-explaining anime fandom to anime fans has crippled the show in its ability to explore its characters, offer up clever gags and humor, or even just progress the show in other, less ‘informative’ ways. It’s a show at odds with itself: focused on explaining anime fandom and offering an eye opening experience to anyone curious enough and unfamiliar enough– yet peppered with in-jokes and gags only well-versed anime fans are going to appreciate or pick up on. With no time then for its characters to grow and become appealing reasons to watch in and of itself, Anime-Gataris is a miss-mash of competing ideas that fail to form a cohesive and entertaining series. Its only use is as a gateway of understanding for Western Fans curious what everyday Japanese Anime fandom is like, only just.
Linny: I, on the other hand, was left unimpressed from episode one but I will admit that this show might be a decent way to help new anime fans learn about the more obsessive side of anime fandom or what it’s like to be an anime fan in Japan in general. Anime-Gataris did make me chuckle once in a blue moon with a well executed anime based joke here or there but ultimately, I must still conclude that Anime-Gataris is going to have limited appeal, with a high chance of turning away the most knowledgeable anime fans with its attempts to be ‘anime fandom for dummies’ and its insistence on pushing the commercial, money hungry side of the community.