A confession: despite being a massive Weaboo, I am actually way, way behind on my an*me watching. You name any recent series, and I have definitely not watched it. Hell, I’ve only gotten around to watching Inuyasha last night. It’s not from a lack of knowledge or resources that I don’t watch stuff, I’ve simply never made the time for it. I really do need to rectify this problem.
While watching Inuyasha last night with a couple of my friends (Miffy and Bachelor), we decided to also check the anim- sorry, we can’t to use the “A-Word,” the Japanese Animation listings on Tubi, as There Has Never Been A Better Time To Watch Something On Tubi. For the record, Inuyasha is only on Netflix (in regards to official channels), and fuck that. Anyways, while I was looking around, I noticed that there was an ani- fuck, a cartoon series from Japan based on The Tower of Druaga. You know, hey, I’m kind of known for my fandom for Druaga, and I really to need to watch some more ani- Japanimation anyway, so why not check it out? Probably because Bachelor told me, in no uncertain terms, “ohhhhh it’s bad, it’s really fucking bad!” Not that I’m the kind of person to disregard the opinions and advice of my friends, but I needed to see this for myself. It wasn’t that I thought it would secretly be good; the episode thumbnails looked really ugly, but I figured that it would be fun to watch this garbage and talk about it on my web site. This show fucking sucks! Let’s talk about it!
Episode 1- Wait, is this a fucking Isekai!?
Episode 1 is an extremely fast-paced, extremely abridged telling of a new generation of heroes going to the titular tower to fight Druaga. The new hero is a young man named Jil, which I guess is short for Jilgamesh, and his party of companions that he treats like shit. This is clearly meant to be a comedy, as there are a number of sight gags and goofy lines that come close to breaking the fourth wall. The problem here is that none of this shit is funny. You get stuff like, “My traveling companion whose name I can’t remember has been killed! Oh well, fuck it, let’s keep going.” Then when Jil does do the cliched “I’m full of burning anger and I’m going to kill the villain with the support of everyone I’ve met along the way,” it’s because a random inn keeper shows up on the top floor and is killed by Druaga. That’s some Family Guy level non-sequitur shit. Jil is a complete sociopath weirdo who sucks. He knocks out another one of his party members, leaving him to be killed by an oncoming army of monsters, and calling it a brave sacrifice.
And we definitely can’t forget about this:
Oh, a joke about sexual assault. That’s cool.
The writing is really bad and painfully unfunny. I haven’t really touched on the art yet. The art is pretty bad, too. It’s not super ugly, but it’s so utterly generic, and lacking in any real striking detail. The animation itself really relies on coasting along with static images on speed lines or on blinding white voids, with the rest of the episode mostly being characters standing around talking.
Maybe the budget for this wasn’t that high, but if that’s the case, why not make an intentionally lo-fi action-comedy using the cutesy style of the original games? This promotional material for the arcade game could just as easily be used for a short 15-20 minute show with sight gags and maybe a little less getting hard over a potential rape.
Though I guess if you do that, you can’t have blatant references to Gainax’s seminal works:
End of the episode happens: it was all a dream. Jilgamesh dreamt that he was a total dickhead who somehow saved the day by turning into an EVA, and is actually a shitty newbie whose lack of combat skills have completely fucked over the party he began the episode traveling with.
This sucked. The opening Ska theme song was alright, and I do like how the previews for the next episode uses the original Druaga graphics. My question is though: the intro led me to believe that this was an Isekai (character being transported to a fictional world and being stuck there). There was no Isekai stuff here. Whatever, let’s check out episode 2 and then never watch this again.
Episode 2- Wait, this got better somehow!?
Episode 2 takes a drastic turn. The animation is better. The tone of the show turns into a drama, with bits of humor, with a joke that’s actually pretty good. We start by seeing Jil and company get rescued from the cliffhanger that episode 1 ended on, then him getting fired and having to go back to the lower ranks of being an adventurer. When all the grizzled veterans laugh at him for being a little kid with no experience, he then proceeds to start talking some shit. Then a couple of vets start beating the shit out of him, but then freak out and back off when he starts no-selling their offense; I mean, he got hit over the head with a large rock and brushed it off.
Later, a young woman finds Jilgamesh sitting on a bench in an alley. And here it is, folks: the first joke in The Tower of Druaga that actually lands:
The girl who picks him up is Kaaya, who he teams up with after waking up from the ass kicking that he got. They are also joined by Ahmey, a lady knight who just so happens to be there. Unfortunately, that particular bit of characterization is not expanded upon, at least not in this episode. Before they all set out to climb the tower, Jil looks for his old party, which includes his brother Neeba, which I guess is short for Neebamesh. Instead, Jil overhears them talking about assassinating King Gilgamesh, the hero from the original game. Of course, he does not overhear the context of them trying to foil the assassination plot, so he goes back to Kaaya and Ahmey to launch a counter to this plot.
I’m summarizing the plot here because, holy shit, I was expecting more ugly garbage with shitty rape jokes and an unlikable protagonist. Now it’s like, an actual show? Granted, it’s still not amazing or anything, but it’s also not the fucking doldrums of episode 1. I was expecting to tear into this series, as the beginning of this post stated (letting the cat out of the bag and letting you know that I sometimes write these posts while experiencing the media in question in real time), but now I’m in this state of “fuck, should I keep watching this?” Episode 2 ended on a cliffhanger, and I still don’t know if this series is an Isekai, or if the opening was just some weird stylish shit that threw me off.
Now, I still think that a cutesy show in the style of the old promotional materials would be better, but this show did a 180 on me, and left me somewhat impressed. I might check out episode 3 sometime (only 12 episodes in the first season of two), just to see if the show gets better, or if remains kind of mediocre, but clearing the bar established by the first episode. I would still recommend playing the games over watching this, but I mean, if you got a couple hours to kill, you could probably do worse.
Damn, I’m thinking I really need to get on the trolley in regards to watching more anim- sorry, series of moving pictures drawn and storyboarded from the Land of the Rising Sun. Go full-on Weeb this Summer.
Right, I did mention that the opening theme to this show is pretty cool. Take a listen: