Before the season started, many were probably dismissing Argevollen as Xebec fanservice crap with mecha. The director’s previous works were Kanokon, Ladies vs. Butlers, Motto To Love-Ru, and To Love-Ru Darkness. It can’t probably be anything more than fanservice crap.
Even if the fewer who took the time to know who the series composition was thought he has written/directed a good amount of series they liked, they would still be pretty skeptical. It’s still XEBEC and it’s still being directed by that person.
The season started and some people tried Argevollen. Many dropped it and many who stuck with it didn’t like it that much and was just hoping for it to improve to their liking even now. Even for those who are still watching it, some think that the pacing is incredibly slow, the ever-important plot only mildly interesting, and the characters cliche and bland.
Why am I dedicating all these sentences to saying what the majority thought about Argevollen? To bash them for not seeing the good in Argevollen. Nothing personal, just taking advantage of my anonymity on the internet. I don’t mind having contrasting opinions with others. But if those opinions are different because they lack the capacity to evaluate and understand things properly, then we have a problem. This is the case for Argevollen. People do not like it not because of their tastes, but because they don’t have the ability to understand what it’s doing. I sound arrogant and I have every right to be. I am superior and people must know. It’d be such a waste of superiority if I don’t let people know.
Okay I suck at being mean.
Anyway, I like Argevollen. It being 6.4 in MAL tells me that liking it is a pretty rare thing because almost everything’s above 7.0 there, ongoing or finished.
UPDATE: The show became inconsistent throughout so this post is only half-representative of my feeling for the show
It started shaky, especially the first two episodes. We’re thrust in the middle of a war. There are lots of characters we don’t know anything about except for the cliches they show. Many cuts are awkwardly timed. However, I did like it
because it featured mecha that move their own weight. I just felt like it was lacking in its execution. I was hoping that at some point, the execution would get better, and I was rewarded pretty quickly. Argevollen raised its game in episode five, and it hasn’t let down since. As uncommon as this may be, it felt like they knew what they wanted to do but they just didn’t know how to start it.
So, what do I see in Argevollen that I like?
I see dialogue that flowed really well. The characters talk about things like how people talk. They talk about important things, but also talk about many things irrelevant to their “complexity” and the plot. When you work, you don’t just talk about work.
I see a mecha series that’s grounded and has an attention to detail and the reality and mundane side of war. War features lots of dead time where people are just on standby, and Argevollen shows that. It shows how in reality, lots of soldiers aren’t obsessed with the war. Granted, the squad in focus may be too easygoing, but for me that’s what’s fun about watching them. We see how war is full of politics and bureaucracy at its finest. It’s dedicated in showing things that others neglect to show in favor of drama and battles. They even dedicate time to show a firmware update on mecha. A single mecha won’t be enough to turn the tables in this series, even if it’s the main character’s.
I see characters that have natural personalities, not the “I’m complex and deep” facade that many series like to have with their characters. From the word itself, complexity isn’t something you can show quickly and easily. If something’s truly complex, then the process of communicating that will just be as complex. The characters aren’t anywhere near special, but I think they are good. Their interactions feel organic and therefore the characters feel natural. There’s also a subtle quality to the characterization which I like despite them having exaggerated traits (aka omg cliches don’t like)– and that fits with what Argevollen is doing. Eye-catching or very charismatic characters won’t fit that well if you ask me. The occasional comedy is also good and uses the characters really well.
That covers the main points on what I like about Argevollen, or at least the things my sucky writing skills could express.
Oh right, plot. If you’re wondering about that, it’s basically about two warring countries where a technically advanced for their tech mecha of shady origin exists that our main character gets to pilot and a certain important incident for many characters that presumably killed the main character’s sister. This is why I don’t like the idea that plot is the most important. It’s like saying that the story concepts by themselves make or break shows. And for me that’s not the case. But everyone’s different so 😦
Xebec is a studio that almost only makes fanservice-centric shows especially in recent years. For some reason, they occassionally make different shows. When they do, it feels like the production is good and there’s effort put in on the execution even if the staff is usually different for each of these occassional productions. Argevollen’s director is probably a joke to some people because of the titles under his belt, but if you look at just how these fanservice infested shows were executed, you’ll see that this person can actually be competent. Deep, shallow, action, slice of life, serious, comedy, ecchi, hentai– no matter what kind of a show something is, it’ll still need good execution to work.
If you’re interested in this series, there’s no harm in trying. If you were at least mildly interested after the premiere, I suggest continuing at least until episode 5. If you really liked the episode and effectively the series more by that time, then maybe this series is also for you. 😀
P.S. Just to be clear, I like Argevollen but right now it’s far from being my favorite for this season.