Monday, September 17, 2018

Crossing Time anime should have gone off the rails more (Anime Review)

I'll admit to not watching many of the short-form anime series like Crossing Time. However, I genuinely enjoyed Ojisan and Marshmallow, one of the few short-forms that I've finished. Unfortunately, Crossing Time did not impress me at all nor make me overall hopeful for the micro-genre. It's composed of 12 three-minute episodes all of which play on simple tropes that get old after the first minute.

When I first saw posters for the show and read descriptions of it, I thought it was a yuri anime about two girls and their time waiting for the train each day. Sadly, that was only the first and last episodes. Each episode focuses on a different person or pair, a few appearing in two episodes, waiting for the train at a railroad crossing.

This could have been fine, except that it is entirely unclear what the point of the show is. It's billed as slice of life. I like slice of life shows. Recent examples including A Place Further Than the Universe, New Game! and Flying Witch have all been excellent.

And while I can see why Crossing Time is billed as such, it doesn't even rise remotely to that level of enjoyment nor really feature any life that is identifiable to an actual person. You might be saying: "of course it doesn't, it can't compare to long-form shows." Bah, good writing is good writing, and this show doesn't have it, regardless of length.

Many of the scenes are either stupid or creepy, particularly the one where the middle-age man meets the teenage daughter of an unrequited crush and when she comes on to him, he isn't repulsed and it ends with us fairly certain they will get together. Yuck and illegal.

Others like the brother and sister who only communicate by text gets a little sis-con (or whatever the reverse is as the younger sister seems to have an older brother complex, although he reciprocates as well) and I just don't care for those.

Several others are creepy as well or perpetuate stereotypes that fall flat. The first of two episodes featuring a pint-sized high school boy infatuated with a curvy high-school girl had promise only in that it accurately represents the thoughts going on in high-school boys' heads. But by the second 3-minute episode that had gotten old and had moved to creeper territory pretty overtly. I could go on and on about the other episodes' problems, but you get the drift.

What it should have done with its slice of life concept and the idea of people waiting for the train is feature stories with more drama, nuance, melancholy, grief, etc... You know, actual emotions. But instead it focuses on either cheap lust or cheap laughs.

Is it a parody or satire of anime conventions, with so many different tropes represented? I don't think so. The laughs aren't good enough, and the work not satirical enough. Where Ouran High School Host Club or Monthly Nozaki-kun skewer the genres while being entertaining in their own right, this  is just a limp set of 3 minute time-wasters. Thankfully combined it's less than an hour of my life.

I won't waste any more of your time reading about a show that wasted mine. So for Crossing Time the anime, I rate it a 4/10 (and only that high because of the first and last episodes).


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