Thursday, July 13, 2017

Anime Corner: Level E (2011)

It's rare to come across a show that's only 13 episodes and still wears itself out by the end, but they do exist, and this is one of them. Very light, inconsequential, and occasionally hilarious, Level E isn't something you can find yourself too invested in (for multiple reasons I'll go into later), but should nonetheless provide adequate entertainment for a few hours until you decide to move on to something a little more interesting. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy it, as I found it pretty damn fun to start, but it somewhat flies off the rails and its lack of focus takes a toll on the overall experience.

I thought for sure this would be a show that would focus a little more on a central character, and within one episode I had already found myself intrigued by the direction and the two leads. Sadly, after just 3 episodes they toss this out the window, and focused on a different story with a handful of other leads. I was all on-board for those until they tossed them out after 4 episodes... and this isn't even counting an episode in between these serials that had its own cast. While the "main" character is most often the Prince, he doesn't show up in several episodes, and even in the ones he's around for, he isn't often the focal point of the story.

Speaking of the Prince, he's very much one of those characters I can see being far more popular than he probably deserves, due to his comedic nature and larger-than-life personality. For a few episodes he's really entertaining, but much like the rest of the show he definitely starts to wear on you. As an eccentric and irresponsible alien with far too much power and free time, the show chooses to aimlessly wander with him, and with this free reign he is rarely giving an opportunity to play up the potential odd couple dynamics of his character beyond his interactions in the first 3 episodes. A shame, considering how much better he works in those situations.

The animation, while largely pretty standard, takes occasional departures into the realm of the nightmarish, blending in bizarre monstrosities of a CG nature that ought not e'er be seen by human eyes. Some of these scenes really threw me off, because they didn't match the tone of the rest of the show, but that doesn't ultimately matter. This isn't a show that uses its brain, so why should the audience? The music is forgettable, so I suppose they felt it necessary to set itself apart by doing random crap and adding to my list of bizarre images I kind of wish I hadn't seen.

In the end, for all its misgivings, I still did mostly enjoy this show. Unlike something equally as bizarre and cornball as Space Dandy, I never felt challenged or impressed by this show, and instead just let it happen to me -- a watching method that resulted in a handful of big laughs and many more chuckles. It's pretty easy to slip into, and watching aliens basically just be irritating to humans provides some reasonable entertainment.

Episode count: 13

My grade: C-

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