i love gonzo bashing

Categories: anime, commentary


I wasn’t planning on making a post tonight until I got pointed to this “But trying to be unbiased about Gonzo” post… and it got me thinking about how to improve Big Al’s algorithm of “Good,” “Okay,” and “Bad.” What’s the criteria for “Bad?” GSD bad? Gundam Wing bad? Zeta II bad? Since I’m waiting for my medication to kick in, I might as well dig a bit deeper and provide my own ranking. Instead of ranking the shows based on my opinions, I’ll employ anidb’s rankings (their real ranking, not their temp rankings) to determine the quality of a Gonzo product, going with the theory that “concensus of average people beats the experts” as popularized by TMQ. All the rankings are as of 1/9/2006, and probably would change slightly over time. I notice downward trends over time for most titles… i.e. FSN currently has a 9.9 something.

Better Than Ghibli (These were all ranked above Mononoke‘s and Totoro‘s average of ~8.50)
Basilisk (TV) : 8.79
Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo (TV) : 8.53
Last Exile (TV) : 8.53

Somewhere in the Middle
Full Metal Panic! (TV) : 8.42
Gantz (TV) : 8.23
SaiKano (TV) : 8.22
Chrno Crusade (TV) : 8.26
Vandread Second Stage (TV): 8.11
Hellsing (TV) : 8.02
Vandread (TV) : 7.92
Trinity Blood (TV) : 8.21
Samurai 7 (TV) : 7.93

Worse than Nemu and Ninjas (Ranked below or tied Da Capo‘s 7.87 and Naruto‘s 7.85)
Gad Guard (TV) : 7.36
Gate Keepers (TV) : 7.04
Sunabozu (TV) : 7.82
Kiddy Grade (TV) : 7.72
Peacemaker (TV) : 7.63
Speed Grapher (TV) : 7.85
Gravion Zwei (TV) : 7.71
Samurai Girl Real Bout High School (TV) : 6.40
Gravion (TV) : 6.54
Zaion: I Wish You Were Here (TV) : 6.80
Gate Keepers 21 (OVA): 6.85

No Clue (Not enough votes)
Black Cat (TV) : -Inc-
Solty Rei (TV) : -Inc-
Gin-iro no kami no Agito (movie) : -Inc-
Witchblade (TV) : -Inc-

Based on this anidb system, it seems that Gonzo has produced more inferior (if we consider Da Capo and Naruto to be below average) than superior (if we consider Ghibli to be better than average) and a lot of average stuff. How does this compare to another anime production company like AIC or Aniplex? I have no clue, but it would be interesting to see. That’s really the only way to get a feeling if Gonzo is truly better or worse than the other anime companies out there.

However, I can think of two big failings for this system. The first is source material. Hellsing is a very popular manga, and it’s reader base had been craving for an anime. With such exceptional source material, it’ll take a Ryan Leaf-level of expectation devastation to make a truly crappy Hellsing. But the author of Hellsing wasn’t a fan of Gonzo’s version, and the new Hellsing Ultimate pretty much wipes away Gonzo’s version by retelling the whole story– without Gonzo. Trying to make a good anime series out of Hellsing should be easier than trying to make a good anime series out of Da Capo. The votes should ideally be weighed by difficulty, much like Olympic-style diving competitions.

And this brings me to the second failing of this rating system: would these series be better off with another production team? For instance, Full Metal Panic (8.42) is considered “almost Ghilbi-like.” Remember, FMP was originally done by both Kyoto Anime and Gonzo, and I guess Gonzo was so awesome, Kyoto Anime was the one who got the nod for the two sequels. Both Fumoffu (8.56) and TSR (8.58) both score better than the original Gonzo-touched product. So is FMP considered “almost Ghilbi-like?” Or “could have been better if Gonzo weren’t involved?”

For whatever reason, Gonzo kept getting plump source material– Samurai 7, Hellsing, FMP, Crno Crusade, etc– and, for whatever reason, they felt like they needed to “improve” it. Yes, gay and robotical samurai. Fantastic. That’s Gonzo’s failing. It’s not that they can’t animate nicely or tell a story, they have this incessant need to muck around with what’s there already and bend it to their will. (Though Gainax is slowly evolving into Gonzo in this respect.) And I think that’s why, more so than rankings and stats and whatnot, anime fanboys continue to rail against Gonzo and make them the butt of dumb jokes in their blogs.

2 Responses to “i love gonzo bashing”

  1. Interesting rating system if one is looking at a viewer popularity contest for favorite shows. Definitely something to consider when deciding which show to watch or purchase.

    What I wonder about is how good is a studio in multiple performance categories? Like how well does a studio perform when given a small budget? Faced with high turn over of key talent? Off-shoring? Trailblazing in new technologies and new plot devices?

  2. I’ve always believed that Gonzo caters to a certain taste which I conicidentially do not find to my liking at all, and they enjoy using a lot of flashy stuff (as in literally – lots of special effects, smooth animation and 3D everywhere for the most part. EXCEPT Speed Grapher which was where it was needed). They’re either hated or loved, it seems…

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