Episode 07 – “Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears”
This past week, I had the pleasure of catching up with Death Parade, an excellent series currently airing this season and featuring what is arguably the best OP of the season, as well. Imagine my surprise when I watch the live music video for the opening, a far departure from the glamorous visuals we see in the anime’s opening. Gone are the goofy dance moves and smiles, replaced with awful dance moves and awkward CG. But the question is, was it designed to intentionally look bad? And if so, what’s the purpose of doing so?
I don’t know what happened this week in Durarara!!, but it wasn’t good. Well, I suppose to be fair, the content of this episode is actually quite good, but the animation is absolutely horrid. Some parts look like a PowerPoint trying to piece together parts of an animation and failing to do so. When I heard that Brains Base had given up this project to a new studio, I got worried and apparently rightfully so. They don’t even get a benefit of a doubt like Death Parade’s BRADIO because this is clearly much lower quality than anything episode shown thus far.
But the question is, was this the fault of specific animation director in charge of this episode? Fans of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann will recall the legendary episode 4, which was received so badly due to the animation style used that the producer of the series resigned after episode 5. If not the fault of a specific person, could it have just been a drop in budget or mismanagement of time before the deadline? And if so, what does that mean for future episodes? Because this level of quality is unacceptable, especially for a series that has a large, established backing as Durarara!! has.
It’s unfortunate because we actually cover some interesting territory this episode, namely cold Siberian territory, as we retrace Vorona’s steps to becoming an assassin. It all begins with her killing an intruder with some clever use of bath water and a hair dryer, and it almost ends with a misguided attempt to kill Anri. I always love those unstoppable force, immovable object moments in anime when two seemingly invincible entities meet, and it seems that in this case Anri and Saika come out on top because as amazing as Vorona is, she’s still just a human.
The issue of unfinished video games hitting the market before they’re ready has been a hot one recently, while the circumstances are a little different with anime, a medium with even stricter deadlines, the problems are still the same. Recently, we’ve seen this happen to the highly anticipated Sailor Moon Crystal and Mekakucity Actors series, both of which had animation quality fixed in the Blu-rays. So is it understandable that things like this happen? Yes. Is it acceptable? Absolutely not, especially since you can’t use “it’s supposed to look like that” as an excuse.
If your Assassin’s Creedy: Unity or Master Chief Collection is not ready yet, don’t release it yet. Likewise, if you anticipate problems, don’t air your anime series yet because fixing the issues in the Blu-rays shouldn’t give you an excuse to produce low quality work in the first place. KanColle was pushed back 9 months, and outside of the CG (which still looks good), it looks fantastic. If anything, this debacle should give us an appreciation for all of times when production plans go right. All we can hope for at this juncture is that this is simply a one time occurrence and won’t affect the quality of future episodes nor the future seasons. Maybe I’m just upset that they ruined an episode featuring my favorite character.
“In Japan, they say when you stop looking for something, that’s when it turns up.” ~ Simon Brezhnev