Death Parade Episodes 1 - 3
Death Parade's first episode was, and is still, the only episode I loved from the winter season. (I'm behind on Yuri Bear Storm and Durarara, but still, shows you how great this season's been for me). The first episode was entertaining in how chilling and grand it played on a thematic level, but also compelling in how morally ambiguous and almost satirical it worked metaphorically. I love anything that leaves things open for interpretation. First episode, we see the consequences of a wife and a husband. The wife goes to Hell after playing darts, the husband goes to Heaven. Why? Well, the series never really gives that out and that's what makes it pretty damn cool. On a surface level, it seems the husband has some harsh pent up feelings of anger towards his wife, but it also seems these feelings were brought on by the wife who seemed to have an affair. Past consequences are never disclosed, but left for the audience to infer and make their own judgments. Plus, what the Hell is "The Void". What exactly is the dart game supposed to represent? All these interesting things to ponder about and then comes the second episode.
It's irritating in the same way some fans disregard Richard Kelly's original cut of Donnie Darko. It gives out a bit more information than it should and takes away some of the ambiguity. Death Parade's second episode is far worse than that. It walks the audience through the first episode clearing up most of the confusion one would have and revealing the wife and husband's situation more clearly. Boo! I hopped aboard this series thinking shit wouldn't be so literal and on the nose. Yeah, it's still a bit ambiguous, but think if Stanley Kubrick winked at the audience, telling us that 2001: Space Odyssey is suppose to be abstract. Death Parade's only unclear because it tells us so.
Fortunately, the third episode is slightly more promising since the series goes back to toying with death and the unexpected again. It's just too bad the series can't be more patient. It's stakes are too high and there isn't enough theatrical buildup for much of it at all. It's like the dude who wants to catch the pesky mice in his house. Too eager to catch them that he doesn't even think of laying out his traps in meticulous fashion. Ah well, at least the cinematography is still gorgeous.
Yatterman Episodes 1 - 2
Goddamn, talk about a tonally inconsistent shitstorm. Flawfinder saying this series makes Angel Beats awful combination of humor and drama look like Haibane Renmei isn't too bad of a comparison.
The humor itself isn't funny at all. It's supposed to be a throw-back to past times? But who cares? I get - or at least I think I get - that the female lead putting on a big silly bravado is a facade for the pain she hides underneath, but the execution fails to sell it. Even though I can sort of appreciate what the series may want to say on a dramatic level (as run-of-the-mill it is), it's too bombastic and gag-heavy on a thematic level for anything to work. Plus, the side characters are fucking lame.
Rolling Girls Episodes 2 - 3
What's there to really say? All my fears of Rolling Girls came true, once the wacky madcap bullshit subsided, the film had nothing to ride on. This is why you don't treat "crazy shit" as its own element. You have to have something behind it because, damn, the cast of this show is so mind-numbingly lifeless, the direction is wish-washy and there's nothing viscerally exciting about the visuals anymore.