Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On Enjoyable Mediocrity

Alternatively: "Sometimes You Just Want a Show About a the Hijinks of a Kid Inheriting His Demon Yakuza Family."

Nurarihyon no Mago, or Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, as it is apparently titled stateside (but hey, it's being simulcasted free on Hulu, so I'm not gonna b*tch excessively about an awkward translation of the title), is not a great show.  I wouldn't recommend it that highly to anyone, and I'd even say that anyone who does not like shounen series should probably take a pass.  There are fifty things you should watch first, but that's another story.

Its characters are not terribly original.  Its narrative is far from groundbreaking.  Its humor is not uproarious.  As a work, it does not challenge me to think, either deeply or obsessively.  I don't think much about it at all, except when Monday rolls around.

But, week by week, I watch it.  And, what's more, I find myself excited for the new episodes because, dammit, I'm excited to see what mess Rikuo's humorously precarious position has gotten him into this week.  Yeah, I can usually guess where the plot is going to go with some degree of accuracy, but I nonetheless enjoy it.

I think the reason behind this is that my expectations for the work are relatively low, even after enjoying it for twelve straight weeks.  It is what it is, and I'm content with that.  It doesn't strive to be a work that commands my attention, and I don't treat it as one (inb4 irony).  If anyone reads this and then goes to watch it, they may well be disappointed.

But for me, expectations and quality are balanced rather nicely right now.  And in the end, I think this may be almost as important to enjoyment as actual quality.  Or that's what I tell myself to justify watching a show about a kid inheriting leadership of his wacky demon yakuza family instead of doing a million other more productive things.


P.S.:  I think I may be writing a post in the future about recommendations, and how recommending things to people works (and doesn't).  But this is not a recommendation, nor an anti-recommendation.  If you choose to watch Nurarihyon, it's on your head alone, and I wash my hands of the matter.


  1. Alternatively, I know for me that once I get so far into a given thing (book, show, game, etc.) unless it's /really/ bad, I'll feel compelled to finish it. For instance, Death Note has recently had a series of episodes that I've far from enjoyed, but because I'm 17 episodes in I feel compelled to keep watching, only in part because it was recommended to me and more because I don't want to give up on something I've already put a fair amount of time into.

    Don't know if you ever felt like that, but thought I'd add it just in case.

  2. I feel the same way as HTMC. It's almost an obligation to understand the thing as a whole, which is why Code Geass and Buffy are still nagging at me, even though one is really bad and the other is depressing and does not have a satisfying conclusion (insert RAAAAEG here).

    On the other hand, you just reminded me to finish Heroman and Macross Frontier.

  3. Code Geass had a pretty weird cliffhanger for an ending, yeah. Maybe if they'd made a second season, it'd have all been answered.

    But sometimes, the answers to big mysteries are STUPID and you wish they'd just been left as mysteries, and then you go into denial about what actually happened.