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Review Aloo - Seiren [Dish #74]

Posted March 31st, 2017 at 7:59 AM by gimmepie

Review Aloo - Seiren

I wanted to do a review of one of the most recent season's anime, which basically left me two choices since I've only seen two so far. I have decided to go with Seiren because I don't have much to critique about Kuzu no Honkai and it's boring if I only ever do positive reviews.

Seiren is a romance and comedy series with an unusual format. Rather than dedicate it's full twelve episodes to following one story, it instead rests at the end of each arc and places the protagonist with a different female love interest every time.

As I said above, this anime follows an unusual format, an omnibus format. This is the sort of format that works fine in games, because it creates a way to replay without following the same plot. It backfires when you apply it to a tv series, especially when each arc is just resetting and reusing the same protagonist. Rather than get a heartfelt, well developed story we are instead treated to three different possibilities that are rushed through and not explored as well as they could be.

What's more, some of the arcs are obviously stronger than others. The one good decision made here plot-wise was saving the last arc for last. The first story we watch has an interesting setting for most of it, but overall is a boring and overly cliche plot focusing on the least interesting of the characters.

The following two stories were a lot better. They included some slightly different elements to the norm and the story developed a lot more naturally and logically. Which is even more annoying in a sense because these two would have been perfectly fine standalone stories if they'd been fleshed out properly. Instead of getting to see two really nice stories fully fleshed out as full series, I got two nice stories not explored to their full potential and one crappy one.

I'm being generous with my score here because the second and third arcs did have nice stories. For plot this anime gets 4/10.

Okay, so characters. The plot execution really hurt character development in this anime. A lot. There was not enough time across four episodes for the characters to develop properly. The first two arcs were devoid entirely of development and the development in the last one was there but could have been done better. Furthermore, there were several interesting side characters introduced - Araki and Ikuo for example - who were royally shafted. Interesting events and development were hinted at but we never got to see that because there wasn't time. So they ended up being very flat characters that were just sort of annoyingly there.

The character concepts themselves were also not that special. There were some more interesting concepts sprinkled in - the gamer girl and the furry friend for example - but overall the characters very much fit very common archetypes in the genre. I won't say that any of the characters were bad, some were even quite decent really, but I'm not thrilled with how characters in this series were handled. The few more unusual characters bump this to a 3/10.

I have never claimed to be an expert on any form of acting, but I think I can safety say that the work done on this series was exactly average. Some of the VAs gave more convincing and interesting performances than others but by and large whilst I have little to complain about I don't have much to commend either. At the very least, whilst few of the performances came anywhere near drawing me in, nothing was cringe worthy either. 5/10

The art and animation for the series is in much the same boat as the performances. It was neither stellar nor terrible, sitting comfortably at average throughout almost every scene. I will give some credit here though, there were some scenes that stood out as being very well done. In particular, some of the close ups on the eyes of some characters were quite stunning. The aging of the characters in the epilogue segments of each arc were also quite natural and well done. Nothing to complain about here but still nothing I'm raving over. 5/10

Seiren was a series that was shrouded in mystery leading up to its release. This was a risky move, because it made me as an audience member expect something really special. In that regard perhaps more than any other, Seiren failed to deliver. All that hype and secrecy and it turned out that this series was average at its best moments and plain bad at its worst. What annoys me about that the most though, is that in the latter two arcs the creators were actually onto something. They were good ideas. Not revolutionary, sure, but they each could have turned out to be really well-rounded and enjoyable series. Instead I've been left with a jumbled up omnibus with two average arcs and one terrible one and a tantalizing notion of the series' that could have been. I'm probably being generous here but this one gets a 17/40.

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