What’s with the term ‘Fabulous Max’ in Penguindrum? Who does the most damage in BakaTest? What has me unhappy with Tiger & Bunny? And what shows are starting to drag on and tire me out? Keep on reading to find out all this and more regarding this week of Summer anime.
You can start to feel that transition between Summer and Autumn seasons with many fans already anticipating the next lineup of anime. That also means that many shows are reaching their conclusions this month, or at least their mini-climaxes, which means it will be a busy time for anime fans. It’s always fun seeing shows end, mixing feelings of satisfaction with wanting more, and immediately starting up new ones, filled with excitement, disappointment, surprise, and best of all, the feeling of something new. But that isn’t for a while, so let’s settle down and focus on this week of anime.
Here are this week’s short thoughts on the 15 shows I’m watching this summer (series appear in reverse-alphabetical order. Kinda like having Usagi Drop and Steins;Gate near the top of these lists since they’re my favorites for the season.):
Usagi Drop (Episode 9) – I’m a little curious why we don’t see Rin with other children more often. At school she chit-chats with other classmates but we never see her bring friends home or visit others in their homes. Is it just not important to the story? Should I assume she has a number of friends but all that is shown off screen? Personally, I think Rin has plenty of friends thanks to her spectacular personality, so I am a little curious to see why she spends all her time (at least on screen) with Kouki and Reina.
Tiger & Bunny (Episode 23) – Lunatic better get some development soon before Tiger & Bunny ends or I will be unhappy. Lunatic is one of the best characters in the series, from his drive to ability to his troubled past, and I feel like he’s been forgotten with all this foofaraw going on with Maverick. I’m sure he’ll make an appearance again soon when the heroes are in a bind, since Maverick’s version of justice and his own don’t see eye to eye, but I feel like his character will be underdeveloped when the finale airs in a few weeks. In fact, there’s a ton of material in Tiger & Bunny that’s been underdeveloped, so I can only hope there’s a sequel in the future for this franchise, either another TV series, OVA, or movie. Maybe if they’re running low on funds they could sell some advertising space…
The iDOLM@STER (Episode 9) – Is it just me or does the production offices seem more like a dormitory for the girls rather than a place of business? The girls are always socializing, hanging out, eating food, or doing something non-productive whenever they’re in that office. I understand they don’t spend all day there and only use that area for breaks between lessons, appearances, and whatnot, but it seems like there is too relaxing an atmosphere to consider it a place of business, especially for these idols. But I suppose the girls do need an area for them to unwind and have fun after a busy day of instruction and promotions, though, and there’s no better place to have that than at the home office.
Steins;Gate (Episode 22) – I’m starting to wonder if Moeka is the most depressing character in the series now. Kurisu, especially after this episode, is certainly challenging her for that position and Mayuri and Okabe aren’t far behind either. Depending on the finale, I feel that any one of those characters can overtake Moeka for that spot, although I don’t want any of them to do it. Nor do I think any of them will. I’m fairly certain that the conclusion to Steins;Gate will be a happy one and that everything will work out for all the characters.
No.6 (Episode 9) – I’m not sure who my favorite character in No.6 is anymore and it’s between Dogkeeper (Inukashi) and Karan. Dogkeeper seems to be the perfect embodiment of the people who live outside No.6, with their intimidating and resourceful exterior enrobing a fearful and timid personality. I think most people who live where she does have that similar persona, although her short temper or love of dogs is unique to her own character. I always felt she was never honest with herself or others until this episode when she was crying and talking to Shion. Karan, on the other hand, is what most people in No.6 should be like. Most are blind to what’s going on with the governing body, but she’s intelligent, aware, and unsure of what to do to solve the problems before her. Her situation, coupled with her personality and conduct, are one of the more interesting aspects of No.6, especially since she really can’t do anything about her son’s circumstances and his friend’s disappearance. I wish we spent more time following her and Dogkeeper in the series, seeing as they are two I find the most interesting.
Nichijou (Episode 23) – I find the short, quick hit jokes to be funnier than the long, drawn-out ones, although that’s typical of how I like comedy. That’s not to say I dislike all the longer jokes but they usually aren’t as entertaining as the short ones. The whole exchange between the Sakurai siblings was alright. The one between Mai and the Professor (Hakase) was meh. But the Yukko stag-beetle and Sakamoto-pillow jokes were great. I guess it also depends on the characters present and the material of the joke but usually I enjoy the shorter jokes more than the longer ones. And I think I’ve already said this a dozen times already but this episode was a great example of this preference of mine.
Nekogami Yaoyorozu (Episode 8) – There’s a specific breed of anime that others find okay or mediocre that I always end up loving and Nekogami Yaoyorozu is one of the best examples out there. I’m not sure what criteria are necessary or what a series needs to do for me to love a series so but it is present in this series. It might be a mix of the characters, comedy, and style of the anime but there is no clear definition for this type of anime for me. Now this anime isn’t ‘perfect’ for me but I’m positive I am enjoying this more than almost everyone else watching it.
Mawaru Penguindrum (Episode 8) – What’s with all this ‘Fabulous Max’ everywhere in Penguindrum? It’s been used a half dozen times already with various implications but no defined or connected meaning between them. I kinda like that ambiguous meaning behind ‘Fabulous Max’ and its usage thus far but I hope to find out a purpose or significance behind that line. Most of the series has been silly but with a deep meaning behind it (unless it’s the penguins, then it’s just comedy), so I figure there will be some meaning behind ‘Fabulous Max’ before the series is over.
Kamisama Dolls (Episode 9) – Whenever a character is added this late to a series, it’s always a girl. Always. If it were a guy, no one would notice/care but because it’s a cute girl in a miniskirt, she has our attention. Should be interesting to see what she’ll do, especially with a limited number of episodes to work, but her addition to the lineup of Seki will make for some interesting development with the cast. But is it necessary? I don’t think she is, in any way, essential for the story, so I am wondering what purpose she’ll serve and why it took so long for her to make her appearance. She also seems to be a former romantic interest of Kyouhei, judging by her appearance and arm-grab, so that’s a minus for me. Instant romance like that is always a minus. Always.
Ikoku Meiro no Croisée (Episode 10) – There have been plenty of flashbacks of Yune’s home in Japan. They’ve been nice supplements to the series, showing Yune’s life with her older sister rather than having Yune tell us everything. I’ve been hoping we’d get a full episode devoted to the time Yune decided she’d abandon her home in Nagasaki and venture to Paris with a strange giant named Oscar, but I doubt we’ll ever get such a story. It’s one of the areas I want developed in a series like this, especially seeing Yune say her farewells to her family and friends, but I feel like it will be glossed over for more details like Alice and Yune having tea or Claude and Camille doing whatever. Poor Yune.
Hanasaku Iroha (Episode 23) – I wonder what Hanasaku Iroha would’ve been like if it were reduced to a 12 or 13 episode series. Everything would have needed to be quicker and screentime for each character would’ve been reduced but I feel it would’ve been a better series. There’s been a lot of unnecessary fluff and filler in this anime and it’s starting to tire me out. Having the series be 12 or 13 episodes would’ve been ideal and, if the series wanted to save some of that other material used, they could’ve been for OVAs or something. But I’m getting tired of this series faster than any other, with maybe the exception of Ao no Exorcist, so I’m happy to see it approach it’s finale in the next few episodes.
Dantalian no Shoka (Episode 8) – Everyone loves Dalian. She’s like a bratty princess at times with how she acts toward everyone but everyone still loves her and works hard to please her, even if they receive little or nothing in return. Camilla did two unselfish acts in this episode, all to please Dalian. She brought over some warm treats which instantly satisfied our little heroine and went on an boundless journey, aided with the powers of a Phantom Book too, in order to provide Dalian with a lovely stuffed bear that she desired. I’d like to see her treat Camilla better now but I somehow doubt she will. At least when things get serious, Dalian is a very intelligent and compassionate person, and helps out those who need her help. Perhaps that’s why everyone loves her because deep down, within that adorable exterior, is actually a sweet and helpful person.
Blood-C (Episode 8) – Is this the first time we’ve had a scene with extended nudity in a CLAMP production before? That bath with Saya is the first and only time I can remember where there’s been nudity like that in an anime that CLAMP has had major authority over (I do recall some nudity in Code Geass which they provided character designs for). Maybe something here or there in another anime but this scene was rather lengthy and showed some pretty revealing shots of Saya as she washed off the blood and tended to her wounds. I know I should be talking about how impressive the series has become with its continuously improvement but this scene simply caught me off guard. I never thought I’d see anything like this in any CLAMP anime.
Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu II (Episode 9) – I wonder who’s more damaging to the other characters, Yoshii or the girls. The girls obviously do more physical damage, with everything they do, so there’s a clear level of damage that’s done to the guys. But the damage that Yoshii does, toying with Himeji and Shimada’s feelings, cannot be seen or measured without going to the writers and questioning them directly. I sometimes feel that all the pain and suffering that Yoshii received is equal to what he deals out but there is a distinct difference between the motives. The girls obviously know what they’re doing when they injure the boys but Yoshii is an idiot and doesn’t realize he hurts the girls when he does. I’m sure if he knew what he was doing, he’d stop. But he doesn’t and that’s because he’s an idiot. Can’t help but feel sorry for both sides here.
Ao no Exorcist (Episode 21) – Will this anime end with an anime original ending or will there be some open-ended finale where a sequel can be added after the manga has some time to make more material for the anime to base itself off of? Guess we have only a few more episodes left before we find out but whatever it is, either a true conclusion or an open one, I think this will be it for me on this franchise. It’s lost its spark for me, somewhere during the 16th episode (felt it go out), and I’m continuing the series on the strong momentum from the first half of the series (the episodes in the Spring). Unless the series has something remarkable and noteworthy in the next episode or so, I’ll actually be happy to finish this series.
I might be taking a week or so off of these, especially with the finales coming up and some anime finishing before others, so I’m not sure how many more of these will be appearing before the season is over. There’s also the issue of doing the Autumn preview and Summer Review, too, which typically replace these posts, so this might be the last one of these for the season. Guess we’ll see.