Vampires and the occult are no rare presence in the often frustrating and maddening world of Japanese anime. After a few episodes of Trinity Blood I caught on Adult Swim I was ready to slam my face against the corner of a desk just to empty my skull of the insipid and dull meandering that tried to pass for animated entertainment. Sure, I could sever an optical nerve in the process, whatever, as long as Trinity Blood exits my visual center forever.
Witch Hunter Robin was even worse. I neutered myself specifically in the case that my offspring might one day in the future produce something similar to that wretched X-Files-meets-X-Men horseswallow. The show was as cliched as they come. A secret combat unit with special powers uncovers conspiracies. Gosh, sounds kind of like Stand Alone Complex come to think of it, one of the penultimate episodes even features a similar siege on the protagonists’ headquarters, but whereas SAC treated its characters and audience with a pat and a handshake, WHR poured sugar in your gas tank and stomped on your face with the main character Robin’s trendy black boot. The whole point of the show is Robin battles witches with her unique fire powers. Later on, she’s shocked to find out she’s a witch herself.
Robin, welcome to Fucktardville.
All would be forgiven if any of these shows had any sense of aesthetic design, decent production values or if anything happened in them. Nothing happens in most anime nowadays. Speeches and bullshit replace action, most of it redundant, all of it stupid. This stuff not only ignores the golden rule of writing fiction – show, don’t tell – it outright fucking defies it with all the audacity of the thousand nations of Persia. Sometimes you’ll see a character’s “cool” attack move or something, then other characters, spectators really, endlessly tell you about it until the episode’s over and you’re left prying out your own kneecaps with a bedpost.
Then there’s the recently released, currently ongoing Ultimate Hellsing.