Monday, 25 April 2011

吟遊黙示録マイネリーベ ヴィーダー/Ginyuu Mokushiroku Maine Riibe Vuiidaa /Wandering Revelations Meine Liebe ~Wieder~ (‘My Love ~Again~’)

As I said in my review of Ouran, it was very amusing to watch that silly series in harmony with Meine Liebe, since the archetypes sent up in the Host Club are almost exactly like the ones presented seriously here. Meine Leibe is about an elite school for the super-rich teens who are destined to become the future leaders of their county. The honoured elite of the students, the ‘Strahl Candidates’, bear more than a few similarities to Ouran’s characters. There is the attractive blonde leader, his loyal sidekick, the cute boy who looks like a small child despite being the same age as all the rest (here fragile rather than hyper) and is friends with a tall silent type, and then in place of the twins, a token Japanese guy who kind of gets ignored when the writers get bored of him.

The school is in chaos in this second series. The headmaster has disappeared, and his replacement is shaking the boat, allowing Strahl candidates to be chosen by merit rather than purely by birthright. None of the existing candidates get demoted, conveniently enough, but several new rivals appear. The conflict barely gets resolved, though, since the last few episodes are devoted to the plucky young heroes foiling an attempted national coup d’etat. This climax is ironically really the series’ nadir. Let me explain: Meine Liebe works, and is fun, because it takes itself VERY seriously, and refuses to ever accept that any of its concepts or scenarios are at all ridiculous – it’s about big, important speeches, angst being overcome and occasional bursts of small-scale action. However, when it gets TOO self-indulgent, and these teenagers make melodramatic speeches that save whole countries and prompt the people with guns to curse that their plans have been foiled, it’s just TOO much. It’s a fragile balance that gets pushed too far. Psychic powers are similarly iffy.

But Meine Lieber wins out by strength of self-belief, a fittingly over-pretty art style with some beautiful backdrops, an amusing lack of prominent female characters (all the better for yaoi fanart and doujins to be made by the target audience) and its wonderful camp excess. It’s with the tongue in the cheek that one has to enjoy Meine Leibe, and the second series is really more of the same. For all its enjoyable qualities, however, the fact remains that silly storylines, a slow pace and some totally impossible plot contrivances keep the anime being nothing more than mediocre.

(originally written 8.10.06)

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