Like I said… I feel like I just watched the unrated cut of JACK THE GIANT SLAYER. The version they couldn’t dare show you in theaters!
Obviously, new shows have just been gushing out of the pipeline as of a week or two. It’s a daunting amount , to be honest (as it is every season), so we’re going to be experimenting with a few ways to cover everything by the end of April. In regard to this column, that means I’ll be holding off on the retro ONE PIECE and DBZ write-ups for a little while in order to alternate between these Spring pilots and the remaining episodes of MAGI. So stay tuned…!
Anyway, I guess I have some hitherto-unexplored interest in giants, because the two shows that stood out the most from the pack for me were this and GARGANTIA ON THE VERDUROUS PLANET. I suppose there’s some marketing philosophy to be found in having titles stress how BIG your show is.
(Also, making a shrieking, skinless horror your mascot is a smart way to seize people’s attention).
Maybe I just didn’t come into the show with an open enough mind but, for the first half of this pilot, I found myself plotting out some paragraphs about how the show didn’t really live up to the gargantuan promise of its title and promo image. I can’t remember ever saying this about another anime, but the animation style actually looked a bit over-rendered. Sure, it’s not necessarily bad to detail every brick on a medieval cottage’s wall instead of just scrawling a general impression, but when that detail seems to come at the expense of certain scenes actually being animated (yeah, they go for the “Ken Burns effect” in a few noticeable scenes), your priorities are a little out of order.
Again, it initially looked like the show was going to be similarly overcooked. The gimmick of these fast-moving, mountain-scaling watchmen with their amped-up climbing gear did seem like something that’d be cool on its own. Being in addition to everything else, though? It seems like too much.
Well… then things took a rather shockingly dramatic turn in the second half, and all of my grievances were flipped. The show hurries to get its set-up - - maybe a little awkwardly, but that’s all right - - so as to immediately get us to the heart-wrenching good stuff. I was shocked, I was moved, and I was ultimately juiced up about the prospect of seeing what comes next.
I think I might’ve just played right into this crew’s hand?
Watch this episode, "To You, 2,000 Years in the Future The Fall of Zhiganshina" here and decide for yourself.