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Monday, January 9, 2012

Initial Thoughts: Kill Me Baby

No, please do. Anything to save me from this mediocre pile of nonsense.

Spoiler warning: Following post contains spoilers for the premiere episode of Kill Me Baby/キルミーベイベー. Read with caution.

Kill Me Baby is the touching story of Yasuna, a normal (?) high school girl, and Sonya, her best friend who happens to be an assassin. Unfortunately, little Sonya's trained assassin instincts often work against her and others in her daily high school life, as Yasuna's often-broken wrist can attest to. She just wanted a hug, but she ended up with a broken neck. Isn't it sad? No, it's hilarious. Not even Yasuna's intense ninja training can prepare her for the exciting adventures in this explosive 4-panel manga adaptation. (Source: MAL)

The thing about a comedy-based anime is that if it doesn't make me laugh at least once in the first episode, that is usually a good sign that the rest of the series is just as dire. And that is exactly how Kill Me Baby seemed to me: one devoid of comedic value or watchability.

Is there anything really stand-out about this new series? Honestly, there is not. And yet people are excited about this new series. Well, count me out. After one episode, it already feels like old material. I'd rather be watching a KyoAni series.

The cast is a bland mix up of character stereotypes. We have the violent tsundere (Sonya), the genki girl (Yasuna), and the spaced-out ditz (Agiri). None of them make any efforts to move past their own boundaries, relying on their own character tropes to make the majority of the gags. And since the series itself is character-driven, none of the jokes really maintain any lift on their own. 

For a series that is stylized to seem like a combo of Lucky Star and Pani Poni Dash, Kill Me Baby has none of these series charm or individual style, seeming to keep itself reliant on the stale jokes without the benefit of a 'straight man' character to play them off of for reactions. The only character with any promise is Agiri, and that is not saying much, since all of her jokes play off her 'ninja'-ness or the lack thereof.

Also, I refuse to believe these girls are high school age. They look like they're not even out of primary school yet! It is unnerving how the art aids in the infantilization of these girls are who are supposed to be in their teenage years.

Plus, beyond the opening and ending themes, there is no soundtrack. It is really creepy to watch a series trying to make jokes without some sort of musical score to aid in the punchline or set-up, another trick Lucky Star did very well. In fact, the lack of music for over 2/3rds of the episode makes a really disquieting effect - and its hard for me to laugh at anything when my skin is crawling off from the creeps. Not to mention the opening and ending sequences suck.

The art is incredibly bland and lacking in vibrancy. Even the backgrounds are often reduced to kindergarten-esque scribbles - which in other series would be a callback to the fact that they are all in grade school, but just looks lazy in this context. Once again, they are not in kindergarten! But the artwork would have you believe differently. The color palette is boring and subdued, an odd choice for a humor series. There's nothing on screen that really catches my eye.

For some reason, I was really excited to watch Kill Me Baby, I was! And, well, then I did and realized all my excitement was for naught. In fact, after the first 5-10 minutes, I just knew it wouldn't end well. After a half-hour of mediocre gags and jokes about a mini assassin girl (who we never see actually do her job), I laughed exactly zero times. Well, so much for that show. More time to finish Durarara, then!