A thoughtful response to current anime.

Kill Me Baby – Episode 1

I’ve already watched this show, I watched it while I was visiting my parents and not eager to blog about stuff.  So I’ll wait here while you go watch it, and then we can talk about it.

…thirty minutes pass…

It says something that this is the most visually appealing screenshot I could find of this episode.

So Kill Me Baby is trying to be a quick gag comedy about a high school girl assassin and her friend, but it’s lacking in a lot of respects.  Probably the most importantly for a comedy, it’s not really very funny. There were a few jokes in it that I chuckled at; in particular I liked the extended sequence (pictured above) where the friend busted out a water gun at the assassin.  But for the most part the humor was formulaic, falling into the two broad categories of “the assassin reacts violently to ordinary stimuli” and “the assassin reacts with exaggerated caution toward mildly threatening stimuli”. If a show gets formulaic before the first episode is out, that doesn’t give me a lot of hope for the future, you know?

Also, the production quality is painfully low (pictured above).  Gag comedies frequently have less detailed animation than, say, fantasy action dramas, but in the good ones they do a lot with a little detail; they own the simplicity, make it into a style.  With something like Lucky★Star, you get the sense that it’s non-representational on purpose – like a Picasso painting, where he could paint a horse that looks like a horse, he just chooses not to.  In Kill Me Baby you get the sense that they hired one guy to do the animation and he broke his drawing hand right before production started.

The low production quality carries over to the music as well.  This is the first time I’ve thought a show’s in-episode soundtrack (as opposed to the OP/ED) was worth commenting on on this blog; it’s not really something that I usually pay attention to. But the soundtrack was so extremely low-effort that it affected even my insensitive ears.  I was sitting there, after an unfunny joke, and I was like, “this part of the episode seems really dry and empty” and then I realized that there was no music playing.  There should have been more music, and the music there was should have been better.

I guess I also didn’t really care about the characters?  You could say “it’s a gag anime, it’s not about the characters”, and that’s fair as far as it goes, but if you look at anime like Lucky★Star, Arakawa Under the Bridge, or Nichijou, you’ll find that in addition to their gags they have a cast of likable characters being gagged upon. Characters are a limiting factor – if your characters aren’t at least decent, there’s little hope for your anime.

So, I won’t be watching Kill Me Baby.  I will be keeping an eye out for the ED single, though, that was a pretty cool tune.


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