Autumn 2011 – Week 11 Anime Review

This week: stalling relationships in Working’!!, the role of the diary in Mawaru Penguindrum, and Dr. Harada in Chihayafuru.

Working’!! (Episode 11) – Working!! never has any trouble progressing the characters, their storylines, or developing new relationships… except whenever romance is involved.  Virtually every other storyline in Working!! has progressed in this second season, including minor characters like Otoo and Nazuna, so it is somewhat surprising to see all the romance angles stuck spinning their tires in the mud.  The analogy also has another side to it, not only making no progress but kinda mucking up the anime, too.  I’d like to see Takanashi/Inami and Sato/Yachiyo at least progress to the next level before the season finale next week because it’s a tease to have these relationships in the anime but never go anywhere.  Still, Working’!! has been one of the best anime of the season, so it’s not like these stalling relationships have been detrimental to the anime but it’s the anchor that’s preventing the anime from reaching its full potential.

UN-Go (Episode 10) – Kazamori is the most versatile of characters in UN-Go.  Not only can she provide instant analysis on material or questions at hand but her intelligence and awareness allow her to see things through another perspective.  The best example of this was in the beginning of this episode when Kazamori questioned Yuuki’s motives before heading to the hearing, finding out why he’s seeking the truth and then questioning his purpose for finding the truth.  It’s like she assumed the role of Yuuki and gave him a dose of his own medicine.  Plus Kazamori is one of the more entertaining characters in the anime, especially when she is with Inga.  Kazamori has that dry, witty sense of humor that fits nicely with the mood of UN-Go, like after she shocked Yuuki during the prison episodes.  And it’s fun when Kazamori is in that doll form, too, since she makes unintentional or physical humor possible, too, like when Kuramitsu Mine, the new Diet member with short hair and glasses, glared at Yuuki for holding a doll when they were conducting serious business.  Kazamori is just an awesome character.

The iDOLM@ASTER (Episode 24) – Originality is not Idolmaster’s strength but it still does a damn good job in being emotional, creating drama, and making a good final product.  The anime has been fairly predictable these past few weeks and the finale should be no surprise, a concert where all the girls are reunited and have fun like they originally had.  But the anime has still been enjoyable to watch even though you could see these developments from miles away.  I’m not sure who to give credit to here, either the director, the writers, or the characters themselves, but the anime has been fun to watch and these past few episodes have been the best episodes of the anime.  It’s hard for an anime to be enjoyable when it’s a bunch of clichéd events and predictable storylines but Idolmaster has been able to do just that.

Tamayura ~hitotose~ (Episode 11) – One huge positive in Tamayura is that the anime takes place in the town and the surrounding countryside rather than cramped in a cookie-cutter, claustrophobic box with 30 other students called a classroom like so many other anime opt to have.  I don’t understand the fascination with the classroom setting besides it being a requirement for students to be in most of the day but Tamayura has the solution that most, if not every, anime should use instead: make every episode outside the school.  Without being trapped inside that unimaginative and limited setting, Tamayura takes place in a colorful and exciting world filled with exploration, adventure, and discovery.  The setting will always be my favorite part of Tamayura and I wish more anime, especially those with teenagers or other youngsters, would follow this example.

Shinryaku!? Ika Musume (Episode 10) – We need more winter/snowy Ika Musume episodes.  That skit had to be one of my favorites of the year just because of the stark contrast in setting from a sunny, clear oceanside to a tumultuous, chilling blizzard.  It was fun to see everyone in such a different environment and see how they reacted, although it was no surprise for some like Cindy in her bikini and Ika Musume who had never seen snow before.  Plus the jokes in that skit weren’t that bad either.

Persona 4 the Animation (Episode 11) – Was not expecting that from Persona 4.  Human Kuma (Teddie) was a bit of a surprise, especially with an appearance like that, but it will expand his role in the anime much more than being trapped in the other world like he was before.  Not exactly sure what he will do now in the real world but at least he’ll be able to do stuff with the characters now.  Hopefully he can help advance the plot some rather than just be used for comic relief but we will see.

Mawaru Penguindrum (Episode 23) – I always thought the diary would be a part of the finale but now, after this episode, it’s clear it won’t be.  Momoka’s diary was the central plotline that began the anime, with Ringo following it like a book of commands in order to become Momoka but it changed its fate around and became even more.  We found out that the diary has magic spells that can transfer fates and other things that saved the lives of many and it became the most coveted prize in all Penguindrum for another few episodes.  Now, one of the most important and crucial items and concepts in all Penguindrum is gone.  That kinda screws up my theory that Momoka is the most central point in all of Penguindrum, too.  Unless Ringo can become the incarnation of Momoka and solve everything like I expected, then I suppose I’ll be wrong, but that is actually what I prepared for.  Still, it’s strange to see the diary gone before the finale, especially when we don’t know the whole purpose of it yet.  Perhaps we’ll learn of it’s true meaning, and Momoka’s true purpose, when we see the finale in a few days.

Future Diary (Mirai Nikki) (Episode 10) – I don’t know what to make of Minene’s character anymore.  The first time we saw her, she was a ruthless murderer taking the survival game as seriously as possible and ready to kill whoever in order to win.  But since then, she’s been made out to be less than frightening and more of a complex and distinguishable character, one that we would learn about and begin to understand.  And now with this episode, she’s become more of a humorous and fanservice character with her murderous/terrorist side being a secondary character trait than anything.  The anime is trying to make her be cute and likable but that goes against what the other few episodes have done: make her a villain or make her deep.  The one constant between all three is that she is a main character and we know we will see her again: you don’t kill off a character you try to make complicated or fanservicey.  Maybe the next time we see her we’ll start to understand her character a little more and find out what her purpose is in Mirai Nikki.

Chihayafuru (Episode 11) – Dr. Harada is awesome and one of the best characters in Chihayafuru.  Not only is he one of the few characters from the memories in the first few episodes and can identify with Chihaya and Taichi more than anyone else but he provides an analysis and perspective on karuta that novices (like myself) can use to understand the game more.  He’s a coach and an inspiration, too, so he’s one of the more valuable characters in the series, but he doesn’t really lead you to believe that.  He just watches from the background and tells us his thoughts and cares for our main duo, something that no other character does in Chihayafuru.  Dr. Harada is a special character and I hope to see more of him in future episodes, especially those outside of karuta matches and tournaments where we can see another side to his rich personality.

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  1. #1 by Detetiv on December 20, 2011 - 6:56 PM

    that’s really quick… I don’t think teddy became a bishie so quickly in the game though I’ve never played it… I really need to catch up

    • #2 by avvesione on December 20, 2011 - 8:40 PM

      It’s going to take some time to get adjusted to human Teddy. Was not expecting an adorable mascot to turn into someone like that so quickly but whatever. Glad to see he can do stuff in the human world now which certainly won’t hurt his character in my eyes.

  2. #3 by Justin on December 20, 2011 - 7:42 PM

    It was completely shocking to see Minene turned into a freakin moe character–but considering the pace of the show, maybe we needed that brief respite. Anyways, I still find myself unusually entertained with Mirai Nikki, even though it feels like something’s wrong…

    Also, in a magic trick, the diary returns…ok, that probably won’t happen^^

    • #4 by avvesione on December 20, 2011 - 8:44 PM

      I find it strange that Mirai Nikki was able to make Yuno both insane and cute whereas those two sides of Minene mix like water and oil. It will be interesting to see what happens to Minene in the future and see if they can integrate those two sides together or if she’ll revert back to a crazy bomber or what.

      I had a conversation about the diary with a friend recently and he pointed something out: it’s not the diary that’s important but the spell Momoka had in it. If Ringo or someone else can find that spell elsewhere (like Momoka likely did) then the diary’s value is marginal. The spell that transfers fate is what made the diary important, not the diary itself, so as long as the spell is out there, somewhere, that’s what’s important. Not sure if the diary will return or not but I’m pretty sure the spell will.

  3. #5 by Pam Skidmore on November 6, 2013 - 10:57 PM

    I saw your blog and I have to ask you. What’s the anime called for the picture of that is at the beginning. Is it an anime or anime art. If you know please tell me.
    (The picture with the guy holding the girl or personality brown hair.)

    • #6 by avvesione on November 6, 2013 - 11:49 PM

      The image at the top is from an anime called Mawaru Penguindrum. The girl with the brown hair is named Ringo.

      Also, in case you’re interested in any other images on my blog, I title each image with the anime name first, the episode second and then the names of the characters afterward. You can probably find a few other images of Mawaru Penguindrum or Ringo if you search around.

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