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Futakoi Alternative

14 OCT

If there’s one thing I can credit Futakoi Alternative for, it’s for consistently surprising me; the show changes gears so rapidly throughout the 13 episodes that it’s basically impossible to predict what will happen next. Just when you think the show is running along the lines of some GAINAX tripfest, the series will abruptly switch to slice-of-life. The creators will wait a few episodes for you to get used to that, and then swerve violently into the angsty romance genre. Then, just as you think that the show is going to consistently do the opposite of what you’re expecting, the anime will follow formula to a “T” and shit out a hackneyed hot-springs episode… just to prove you wrong! I can’t think of any show more wildly schizophrenic; even FLCL had the decency to be dependably bizarre.

The show feels almost like a game that my brother and I play when we’re watching something especially lame and predictable. At random moments, one of us will spout out something absolutely random that completely breaks the mood of the show. For instance, our hero could be in the midst of confessing his love to some particularly buxom bride- to-be, and I’d scream out, “EAT HIS FACE!”

Imagine this, except replace me with some totally messed up Japanese dude who happens to have suffered through the original Futakoi series in its entirety. You can imagine where this is going. “Instead of some boring plot where a heroine loses her memory, let’s have a giant squid attack the city! This romantic comedy needs more neo-Nazis! Why doesn’t this show have more FIRE?” and so on and so forth.

However, the real question is whether the series is actually entertaining. Honestly, I’m not so sure. The director goes in too many directions at once, and there’s a limit as to how seriously I can take some cheesy romance scene when I know that weird wacky comedy will be coming 20 seconds later. Also, the show is actually fairly boring at times, despite the rapid changes in pace. Particularly in episodes 3-7, where the anime is slowly developing the setting, there are many dull and uninteresting moments.

That said, there were several moments when I laughed out loud, and several others when I was actively interested in what would happen next. While certainly not perfect, it’s hard to deny the stubbornness with which the creators tried to do something different.

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