Winter 2012 – Week 4 Anime Review

This week: Chihayfuru producing a recap episode the right way, two Takehito Koyasu appearances this week (Brave 10 and Mirai Nikki), and the charming art style of Thermae Romae.

I did end up watching the second episode of Gokujyo and found it to be somewhat funny and pretty entertaining, so I thought I’d pick it up.  The problem is it seems to be canceled again for Monday’s TV broadcast (January 30) and be delayed to streaming for yet another week.  The whole situation has been a mess and it doesn’t seem like there will be any high quality translations out for it any time soon due to these circumstances and inconveniences.  Hopefully the issue becomes resolved soon since I would like to see it in better than 360p quality and with subtitles but if not, it’s not that great of a show that we’re missing here, and I would be fine with watching it raw every week.  I’d just prefer to watch better quality and subbed if I can help it.

Another (Episode 3) – There are a ton of subjects I love to nitpick in anime and one of the most irritating happened in this episode.  Nah, I’m not talking about the grotesque death at the end for having a stupid chain of events but rather the scene where Misaki and Kou were talking in the museum.  Misaki is happily telling Kou the ghost story that no one will tell him in fear of… fear I guess, and Kou is absolutely scared shitless.  He’s so overly engrosses in the story that his eyes quiver, his body stiffens, and he gasps for air.  Then his cell phone vibrates. “Oh sorry, lemme grab this one.” Yeah, all that fear and horror that was brewing since he entered the museum in the last episode and for most of this episode was dispelled in one shot.  Pathetic.  I hate how anime always use ambiguous and perfectly timed cell phones to break up the atmosphere or are used to prolong storytelling.  If there were any realism to Another, Kou would’ve still be scared shitless, ignored his cell phone, and continues listening to Misaki’s tell.  Hell, even if he reached for his cell phone, he could’ve seen it was his grandmother, put it down, finished the story, and call her later.  Why is it whenever a cell phone rings in anime, the characters always have to respond to it and it always has to lead to a scene transition or major revelation or something unnecessarily dramatic?  It’s really frustrating to see Another pull a stunt like this in such a prime scene.

Brave 10 (Episode 4) – Takehito Koyasu’s voice has finally arrived and I’m beyond thrilled.  His soothing yet powerful voice is always a favorite of mine whenever he’s in an anime and this is no exception.  The character he voices is Masamune Date, head of Oushu and skilled swordsman whose out to create chaos and destruction.  Not to mention he’s an cocky badass with an eye patch so the voice and character match perfectly.  We did not see much to his character besides the brief introduction and later, at the end, when he swipes Isanami from the heroes and abducts her to wherever but he’s already my favorite.  Can’t wait to see him fight which should be in the next episode or so.

Chihayafuru (Episode 16) – If anime need to have recap episodes (and I don’t think Chihayafuru needed one), then they should be done like this.  What Chihayafuru did properly in this recap episode was break up the monotony of continuous storytelling over the major events we have not yet forgotten with witty new humor that shows us a side of the characters we never see.  I particularly liked it when the guys were sitting around talking about boobs which girls they liked (since that’s what high school boys do) and Chihaya’s unfortunate situation with New Year’s money.  Pretty much all the humor was much appreciated and it helped break up the seriousness and tediousness of retelling the story.  I’m beginning to think anime companies are noticing that fans generally don’t like recap episodes and are trying their best to change them up and make them more tolerable or enjoyable.  Still, I would’ve rather had no recap episode at all and save these jokes for BD/DVD extras instead.  But since they did have a recap episode, I’m glad they did it better than most.

Future Diary (Mirai Nikki) (Episode 16) – What is this? Two Takehito Koyasu appearances in one week?  Can my body handle such unanticipated awesomeness?  Well, this version of Takehito Koyasu isn’t the suave badass like Masamune is from Brave 10, who wears eye patches (so not Minene), is an expert swordsman (not Yuno), or kidnaps girls (not Twelfth) but he’s still awesome.  Not the same type of awesome, mind you, but his character is awesome nonetheless.  He’s Kurou Amano, Yuki’s father, and quite a hilarious character.  He’s a bit of a lazy, perverted, and unreliable gag character who seems to only be there for the laughs but he plays an important role in this episode.  It’s interesting to see a character with such a personality be used in the drama, tension, and horror of Future Diary but it works nicely, especially with how the episode developed.  Really, there are a bunch of other subjects to talk about for this episode like Minene’s character, how unhappy I am with the diaries at the end of this episode, and what I think of Seventh in general but I couldn’t pass up talking about one of my favorite voice actors twice in this post since he played two new and immediately favorite characters in both anime.

Mouretsu Pirates (Bodacious Space Pirates) (Episode 4) – We sure are spending a lot of time on these trivial matters.  It makes me wonder how important they will be down the road.  I’m guessing we’ll see these situations arise again and again during Marika’s pirating career and that she’ll have to fight in electronic warfare and create battle plans but will we see these situations in as much detail as we’re seeing now?  Will we see Marika learn from her past mistakes from these events and show her growth as a captain the next time a similar situation arises?  Or are these situations one time only events where we just see Marika become more of a leader than she was before and then kinda forget about them once she becomes captain of a space pirate vessel?  Not sure yet what to think about these events but I will admit I do like the careful amount of progress they’re showing in Marika’s character from these events and the amount of detail they’re putting into these situations to create a realistic space adventure for the anime.

Persona 4 the Animation (Episode 16) – Since Naoto is the final character in the main group of Persona characters that means this should be our last Shadow dungeon/boss battle for the time being.  I’m kinda glad we’ll be done with this formula for introducing characters but at the same time, I’m partially dejected.  These episodes have been highly entertaining and meaningful to the story, so I’ve been happy with them, but they have also gotten kinda tedious after seeing them about six times now.  The situations always follow the same basic path and rules, so there isn’t a whole lot different they can do, but they are each impressively individualized and do tell a story for each person that are essential to their characters.  I’m a bit torn on the subject, split between the two sides, so it’s probably best this is the last one for the foreseeable future.  I’m interested to see what Naoto brings to the group since she is the final character to join the party and the anime is approximately two-thirds over now.  Can’t wait to find out!

Rinne no Lagrange (Episode 4) – Yeah, some of the developments in this episode were pretty dumb or typical anime clichés but I’m really happy with Lan’s character now and surprisingly okay with Muginami, too.  But what I want to talk about for this episode was how well done the CPR was.  Most anime/television/media portray CPR in a very generalize sense or overly-dramatic-or-sexual/not-realistic approach which is one of the subjects I love to nitpick.  Usually there are many technical errors or lack of a focus in these scenes, so I find myself unnecessarily frustrated.  But the CPR that we saw Muginami perform is pretty much what’s accepted in the medical field at the moment.  Many approaches to CPR in media show more of an emphasis on breathing in the mouth over chest compressions and usually never show any important and minor details like listening/feeling for breathes or pinching the nose and tilting the head back (chin up) for the rescue breathes.  Rather, we saw Muginami perform repeated chest compressions more than breathing into Lan’s lungs which I happily welcomed.  Furthermore, Muginami performed CPR without showing a great deal of stress or worry either which is what’s needed in an emergency situation like that.  I’m going to guess the studio had a CPR instructor go over the directions with them so they could create a realistic depiction of CPR for the scene since it was done so brilliantly.  If they did or not, nevertheless, I’m going to applaud Rinne no Lagrange for doing this scene so well and not following the path that most other anime/television due in this situation and milk it for drama or romance or any other unnecessary foofaraw.

Thermae Romae (Episodes 5+6 [Finale]) – Thermae Romae doesn’t belong in the argument for best art or animation of the season but that lame style of Flash animation possesses some charm in giving Thermae Romae a rather unique and unforgettable appearance.  Honestly, if I could choose between Thermae Romae being animated like Guilty Crown or Another or stay with what we were actually given, I’d take the new styles in less than a heartbeat.  But the Flash animation was not a complete disaster, as I find the style used in Thermae Romae to be remarkably unique and unparalleled in anime today.  The art style was rather crude and poorly animated but there was just some sort of charm every time I watched the anime.  It seemed to work given the outrageous premise and zany humor and gave it a feel that was completely different than any other anime out there.  Add in the fact that all the characters were burly men with realistic faces and not a cast of moe high school girls with perfectionistic hair styles and colors, too, and you have another factor in why the art style is memorable in Thermae Romae.  Though it is nowhere near my favorite in art styles for the season, Thermae Romae had a special art style that is part of what made it unique, unforgettable and one of the best anime of the season.  Kinda wish it still continued but that’s all that was planned for now (besides the live-action movie coming out in April and the ongoing manga).

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  1. #1 by shopper62144 on January 30, 2012 - 1:03 AM

    I just skimmed over the post and judging by the pictures and some of the stuff you wrote Gokujyo and another look quite interesting. Could you please give a general overview of the two for me?

    • #2 by avvesione on January 30, 2012 - 4:06 PM

      Sure.

      Another is a horror anime set in a rural town that holds a strange mystery. Kouichi transfer to a school there which is the center of the secret and source of the tension. There he meets a mysterious Misaki who warns him about getting to close to the mysteries of the town.

      Gokujyo is an ecchi comedy short (only 6 minute episodes) about Aya, an egotistical, outlandish, and attention-seeking teen who goes to all-girls dorm school with a cast of bizarre characters. Each episode follows her misfortunes and sexy adventures with the other girls.

      Neither anime are my favorite but they’re both decent on their own. Another has had 4 episodes air and Gokujyo only 2 (altought only streaming off the anime’s website at this time) so you can catch up on them quickly if you want.

  2. #3 by Zammael on January 30, 2012 - 2:25 AM

    @shopper62144
    I just skimmed over the comment and judging by the avatar it may be interesting. Could you please give a general overview of the comment for me?

    All kidding aside, I just finished watching MN, and as expected — after a great episode last week, #16 turned out to be alright if forgettable — even with the new character, Yukiteru’s slacker father.

    I wonder why the female Seventh just stood there while Yuno lunged at her in the end. In the manga, Yuno sliced her arm, causing her to drop the bouquet. But the anime had problems animating that scene — it appears the flower bouquet flew back behind Seventh, but somehow it defied the laws of cartoon physics and did a swerve, landing in Yuno’s grasp. Okay.

    Two chapters down, 28 left to adapt within 10 episodes. Gonna be a bit hairy there.

    As for the others — I dropped Brave10 since it degenerated into Saturday morning cartoon fare. I was hoping for 21st century version of Ninja Scroll, and got some lame Thundercats shit.

    Mouretsu Pirates — at first it smelled like another Space Opera, but the last two episodes has lurched back towards hard scifi. Thumbs up from me.

    • #4 by avvesione on January 30, 2012 - 4:12 PM

      Yeah, Mirai Nikki has kinda cooled on me lately but it’s still entertaining and I’m still excited to see what happens in the end. Guess it’ll start ramping up in terms of story shortly with only 10 episodes left and about 30 chapters to cover. Guess we’ll be seeing less and less of these silly antics now.

      Brave10 is still one of the lowest on my list but I am still enjoying the setting and the cast has improved for me. It’s not as serious as I had hoped and the battles are pretty lame but it hasn’t gotten bad enough to the point where I want to drop it.

      The attention to detail and carefully planned and executed character development in Mouretsu are carrying the show for me. Can’t wait to see what the space warfare looks like in the next episode (hopefully more than just the electronic stuff we saw earlier) and see what convinces Marika to eventually become captain of the Bentenmaru.

  3. #5 by Frizna on January 30, 2012 - 11:21 AM

    Lol sorry for how that came out, what I meant to say was Ive never watched the anime before and was wondering if you could tell me what its about?

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