The vast majority of the time here on Ogiue Maniax, I talk about the shows I like or at the very least the shows which I think have merit in discussion. I prefer to be open-minded about shows of all kinds, though there are some genres I’ll get into less than others for a variety of reasons (boys’ love, for example). Still, as much as I want to say that every anime or manga has its day in the sun, there’s some criteria in which I will have to declare a show less-than-good, and not in a so-bad-it’s-good kind of way. Here is one of them.
When a show fails to reach my already low expectations, I will think less of it. Link, upon reading one of my reviews for My-Otome/My-ZHiME, informed that from what he’d heard, the My series was nothing but pure trash. My response was that I was fully aware of this, but it did not impact my enjoyment of the show. I expected nothing deep, and that’s what I got, as well as an excellent characters in a sort-of-okay story. Now, Tokyo Underground is a different story.
With Tokyo Underground, I looked at the show presented to me, one that was essentially “fighters with elemental powers hitting each other.” “Okay,” I thought, this is about as run-of-the-mill as you could get, so it shouldn’t disappoint. All you need is characters throwing lightning and fire at each other and maybe some training montages and the occasional powering up and development of new abilities. I got none of that. Instead, over the course of 26 episodes, only two new abilities for the main character were developed, with one of them simply being an enhanced version of his default special move. Whereas Dragon Ball Z had the courtesy of giving us the logic of “powering up makes you stronger,” fights in Tokyo Underground consisted of using the same attack over and over with no tangible change from one attempt to the next.
I heard the manga is better though. Maybe I’ll check it out some time.
To summarize, when a show cannot even reach the level of “cliche,” then there’s a problem.