Summer 2011 – Week 7 – Short Thoughts

Problems with the tension in Kamisama Dolls?  Is Blood-C finally becoming a good or interesting anime?  And what would No.6 be like without certain elements of its story?  This and other short thoughts on fifteen current anime are all below (although this is several days late, so some of these shows are from last week.  Sorry!).

It’s getting to that time in the season where anime begin to pick up and work toward their climaxes.  Details will begin to be revealed, stories will take twists and turns, action will definitely increase and the series will reach their most anticipated and exciting point soon.  This is always the best part of the season since all the shows, as a collective whole, begin to ramp up to something special right before their conclusion.  This is where an anime can make or break itself, by showing it thought everything out beforehand or just make up a string of excuses and hope it holds.  I always enjoy seeing where I rank an anime before and after a midway point to see how the second half of a season holds up compared to its first half.  That and compare it to the second halves of other anime, too.  I’m getting excited to see what every show will do as the end of the summer anime season approaches.

Here are this week’s short thoughts on the 15 shows I’m watching this summer (series appear in alphabetical order):

Ao no Exorcist (Episode 19) – Filler episodes like these should have a requirement for a certain amount of action or random character development in them to justify airing them.  Otherwise, they’ll end up being boring, even if they focus on comedy or have a fun plot.  I’m a little curious on what the series plans to do with its finale as it’s coming up soon and a filler episode at this time seems to worry me a little.  Let’s see if they can correct the mistakes of the last action sequence this time around.

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu II (Episode 7) – Every episode my favorite character changes.  I guess you can chalk that up to the wonderful cast in BakaTest but it might also be because I don’t feel as attached to the characters as I do with other shows.  But it’s nice to see such a diverse cast all work together to make the comedy in this anime come together as a hilarious product.  And if you’re curious about who I enjoy the most, it often bounces around (in no particular order) Yoshii, Tsuchiya (Voyager), Hideyoshi, Yuuko, Kudou, and Nishimura (Ironman).

Blood-C (Episode 6) – Blood-C has picked up in the past few episodes but not enough to save the calamity that was the first four episodes.  The reason is the story and storytelling.  Nothing really happened in this episode storywise except that a few more hints, the talking dog and the teacher’s warning being the most blantant.  But all these hints and symbolism without a clear story or effective storytelling comes across as awful, which is the reason why this anime has suffered greatly.  I’d admit that if the gore, violence, and action stay at the current pace, I’ll be content, but it won’t satisfy me for another six episodes.

Dantalian no Shoka (Episode 6) – With the appearance of two new libraries, I can’t help but wonder how many libraries there are out there.  Do they all have the same books within them?  And trapped within, do they have those innocent personalities, too, content with reading books in that formless world?  Are all the libraries young women, too, like Dalian, Flam, and the eye-patched kid?  Maybe we’ll learn why the libraries have these forms and the true purpose behind these libraries before the end of the series.  I’d love to see what similarities they all share and how they came into existence.

Hanasaku Iroha (Episode 21) – That freaking Bonbori festival is mentioned in EVERY SINGLE EPISODE.  ENOUGH FORESHADOWING ALREADY.  It’s already obvious that the series finale will revolve around Ohana, Ko, and the Bonbori Festival (the next time he visits) and constant reminder of that has gotten a little annoying.  Although that’s not as annoying as the lack of development on Ohana and the inn.  I don’t know, as we’re approaching the end, I felt like there just could’ve been so much more to Hanasaku than we actually got to see and focus on.  Maybe I should reserve my judgment for the end of the series but I can’t help but look back and wonder what could have been.

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée (Episode 8 ) – I recently visited a Bavarian-themed resort town and had the opportunity to visit some galleries, just like on Ikoku Meiro.  Having experienced a few different ones, I can understand why they are no longer fashionable, compared to the emergence of department stores and supermalls.  Galleries suffer from a few flaws, namely that you have to go into a building or an area just to access the shops.  Their advertisement space is limited, too, seeing as they don’t have access to the streets for doors, windows, or merchandise.  Many stores only had windows and signs to display products, so it was difficult to know what you were getting yourself into before stepping into the store.  Plus empty lots near stores seemed to indicate an unfavorable atmosphere when shopping around.  But it was nice to wander around an antique such as this, especially after seeing it as the setting in Ikoku Meiro no Croisée.

Kamisama Dolls (Episode 7) – I’m guessing you’ve already watched episode 8 but this was supposed to go up last week, so let’s go back and revisit that flashback.  The whole story about the teacher was ineffective for me.  It felt like they were creating unnecessary drama and forcing it down our throats just so we would feel sympathetic for both Aki and Kyouhei.  But it just made everything stupid and even sillier.  The tension was mild at best, and adding in the various sexual details made things only worse.  Adding sex to a scene for more tension or emotion will only work when it’s actually been developed.  It felt like they just added it in because they thought it would increase the drama and tension of the scene in the most effortless way possible.  But no, the sex in this anime is bad.

Mawaru Penguindrum (Episode 6) – What is the purpose of Ringo’s fate?  Is she becoming Momoka to prevent her family from fighting or doing it so that she can finally be together with the man she passionately loves, Tabuki-sensei?  It seems that her becoming Momoka is futile in rejoining the family together, seeing as the parents are divorced and Ringo is almost old enough to live on her own, so I don’t subscribe to that school of thought.  But if that’s the case, then I also assume that becoming Momoka to win over Tabuki-sensei is also a worthless goal since it seems he’s moved on with his life and won’t fall for Ringo because she is someone similar to Momoka.  Can’t see a bright future for Ringo in this anime, at least not yet.

Nekogami Yaoyorozu (Episode 6) – Seems like the only characters that are ever developed in Nekogami are Mayu and Yuzu.  Can’t blame the series since this is a comedy though and it makes sense to only develop the main characters as much as necessary.  I do enjoy these episodes since the contrast between the comedy and makes for a pleasant break and the information actually clarifies many points that had me confused in earlier episodes.  I figure the series will end with some backstory on Mayu and her eventual reacceptance back into Cat Heaven only to choose to stay on earth with Yuzu.  Let’s see if that happens or not.

Nichijou (Episode 21) – I figured this day would come but I am getting a little tired of Nichijou.  Of course, I’m only saying that now because of one bad episode (I enjoyed episode 20 a lot) but that’s all the show needed.  I arrived at this point midway through the episode wondering why everything has become more ‘normal’ rather than ‘absolutely crazy’.  These skits and gags don’t have the same randomness and unpredictability that the first half of the series used so well.  But I’m sure my opinion will change after the next episode after a few justified guffaws.

No.6 (Episode 7) – I wonder how No.6 would be perceived without all these homosexual undertones in the anime.  Would it be even more popular and well-received by the male anime community without these details?  What do female fans think?  Is this a form of revenge for all the ecchi anime out there that focus on panties and cosplay over characters and story?  Would the anime be more ‘successful’ if the relationship between the two were a simple one?  Guess I should search around to see if people have written their thoughts on this topic to get an idea of what to think.  For me, it doesn’t make any difference if they are gay or not and if we see it or not.

Steins;Gate (Episode 20) – This is kinda funny to think about.  Okabe paying Mr. Braun the rent was an indirect way of him supporting and funding SERN and FB.  To think, he’s secretly been financing his enemies throughout the entire show.  Not much more to add after this since this episode aired over a week ago.

The iDOLM@STER (Episode 7) – Episodes like these lack originality.  They’re very formulaic and predictable stories that revolve a random set of characters used to explore one or two characters further.  And while these stories are very standard and unimaginative, there are no flaws in storytelling or development.  This episode was very well done and we were able to learn more about the three characters shown in this episode.  So even though the story lacked originality, it was still done in an excellent manner.

Tiger & Bunny (Episode 21) – Almost all the NEXTs that we’ve seen have had some sort of limitation built into their power.  Kotetsu and Barnaby have time limits meaning their power can only last a predetermined duration of time.  Kaede can only use the power of the last NEXT she has touched, meaning she’s only able to do one ability at a time (and if she’s facing the opponent with that same ability, she’ll be weaker and inexperienced with it, meaning she’ll usually be at a disadvantage).  But what’s Mr. Maverick’s limitation?  Sure, his power can be nullified if a contradiction can be proven but that’s not a limitation built into his power.  His memory altering ability lasts years and can influence a whole group of people without any resistance.  It just seems to broken on its own.

Usagi Drop (Episode 7) – While this anime would be nonexistent without both the kids or the parents, it’s interesting to think about what the focus of the anime really is on.  Is it on the kids or the adults?  Certainly the anime follows Daikichi around but he’s always focusing on Rin and being a new parent.  The anime also spends some time with Rin and the other children but it somehow always falls back into the hands of the adults.  It’s so well-blended, it’s difficult to tell what has more of a focus in this anime.  Of course, you can take the easy way out and just say ‘parenting’ but there’s no fun in that.

Next week’s Short Thoughts will be more ‘on time’ (there is no real set time for these to be posted but I aim for Mondays) since I won’t be swamped with work and going on a mini-vacation over the weekend.  But I do realize this is late since the episodes of Steins;Gate and Kamisama Dolls are already nine days old.

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  1. #1 by Kuuki on August 26, 2011 - 5:24 AM

    Female fans of No6 are divided into a few categories.
    – The “OMG THEY KISSED!” or, the full fledged fujoshi who don’t really care about the rest. That’s the annoying part of us. If you find one, run.
    – The fujoshi more interested in the other parts of the story.
    – The not fujoshi who enjoys it anyway because she likes the story.

    Well, you still have fujoshi and not-fujoshi who don’t like the anime. I’m more in the second group. I think.

    • #2 by avvesione on August 27, 2011 - 7:22 PM

      Interesting. Well, as long as a majority of people are liking No.6, then I’m happy. Maybe not for all the right reasons but at long as it’s getting attention and respect, then I’m happy. Thanks for the clarification.

  2. #3 by Kuuki on August 28, 2011 - 3:30 AM

    No problem!
    I’m interested in how the anime is perceived by the male community so it’s perfect :)

    • #4 by avvesione on August 28, 2011 - 2:22 PM

      I think there are 3 main groups:

      The guys that are: “Ew, this is gay” and drop it.
      The guys that are: “Ew, this is gay” and keep watching.
      The guys that don’t care and keep watching.

      There’s probably a few that don’t fit into any of those groups but most people I’ve talked to/read from fall into one of these categories.

      • #5 by abcd on September 1, 2012 - 1:03 AM

        You forgot “Oh, this is gay, hot!”

  3. #6 by Kuuki on August 29, 2011 - 9:52 AM

    Pretty much like the girls in fact.
    Still, I’m happy people watch it anyway, I never thought it’d be that popular outside of fujoshi circles

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