Spring 2012 – Week 10 Anime Review

This week: significant and immediate improvements in Lupin the Third: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna, contradictions in Houtarou’s lifestyle in Hyouka, understanding the mechanics of alien communication in Tsuritama, and philosophical questions arisen from the finale of Upotte!!.

Zetman (Episode 10) – I haven’t decided whether I interpret these trials as tests for Kouga or simply basic training.  If these are indeed tests, then these are assessing what developmental stage Kouga is at in becoming a hero.  His subsequent training will be based off these results to tailor him to be the superhero that others want him to be or to enact the justice that they see serves their purposes.  However, if these horrifying events are actually the most primary form of training, then these trials are already influencing Kouga rather than merely gauging his standing on justice.  The first incident with the schoolgirls and his sister I viewed of more as a test whereas this current event, the one in the mansion with all the girls, as a training session given the multiple opportunities and varying conditions.  Should this be true, then we’ll see a different Kouga emerge from this mansion than the one we’ve seen all series.

Upotte!! (Episode 10 [Finale]) – The ultimate purpose of Upotte!! is for the girls to be the best guns they can possibly be.  However, if they’re unable to kill humans as alluded to by Funko and witnessed by the audience when blood somehow magically went back into Sensei’s body (I about flipped my desk), then what’s the ultimate goal of these guns?  Just kill other guns or destroy the environment or dick around?  And why can’t they kill people if they were able to cause Sensei to bleed fiercely on the floor?  We’ve seen them destroy the physical environment, why not flesh and bones?  Better yet, why can’t they use the destruction of the environment to kill humans?  The question quickly becomes, why do these guns exist?  Yes, this is yet another over analysis of Upotte!! but this concept and direction really begs that some philosophical questions be asked to further examine and explain this anime.  It’d be a wonderful anime to debate if it just weren’t so damn boring and terrible all the time.

Tsuritama (Episode 9) – Through what mechanisms do the aliens communicate so effectively through water?  There seem to be no barriers or resistance to this awesome and frightening form of mind-control as we’ve seen through Haru’s use of squirt-guns and the alien’s deep-sea control of Enoshima.  What needs to happen is that the water needs to dampen the individual without any necessary contact, physically, from the alien and it’s able to penetrate through the skin all the way to the central nervous system and cause the victim to be taken over completely by the alien.  But it can’t be anything physical as in terms of molecules or atoms because of which the timing, absorption, and lack of other factors that would suggest it.  Nor does it seem to be generated from the alien itself as it appears any ordinary water can do the trick.  But what about water vapor, especially with the fear of the typhoon soon to arrive on the tiny island?  Yes, bringing factual science to explain mystic phenomenon in anime is always a terrible idea since it ruins the fun and distracts the viewer, but I can’t help but have my mind wonder on how to explain the bizarre happenings of Tsuritama in an attempt to solve how Haru, Yuki, and everyone else will save the world from an alien that loves to boogy and sleep (and obviously, the way to solve it would be to fish it out of the water, so it can’t do mind control anymore…. but then what about Haru’s squirt-gun in which he did not come into contact with the water either… ah, I hope I found a vital flaw in this story).

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (Episode 10) – The presentation of Teiichi viewing all of Yuuko’s forgotten memories was a bit curious at times but all the more exciting and wondrous given what we learned about our ghastly heroine.  Perhaps what struck me as the most confusing was the fact that, in the beginning, Teiichi relived all the senses and kinetics that Yuuko experiences in her memories, yet at the end it was almost an out-of-body experience after first realizing her hatred for Asa.  Perhaps it was at that point where the two split, which resulted in Teiichi being thrust from Yuuko’s senses and given the form of a typical, floating spirit for the remainder of the viewing.  Particularly interesting was the way Teiichi interacted with nothing while a projection of the images of Yuuko’s memories (from her perspective) were shown behind him where Teiichi’s eyes would be unable to watch it.  Overall, the whole presentation of Yuuko’s memories borrowed a number of details in how it covered the material, clichés like following along with the actual person and watching a movie of the memories, yet the forgettable details like moving from intrapersonal to interpersonal and imitating the actions give the episode innovative details in how it narrated its story this episode.  Presenting a character watching another’s memories is always a difficult way to depicts scenes in an anime given that there is no real-world equivalent to base the scenes off of and most rely on the obvious forms of symbolism and storytelling to accomplish this goal but Tasogare Otome x Amnesia’s commitment to adding refined and original details makes it always an interesting anime to watch.

Space Brothers (Episode 11) – Being able to view the thoughts and reactions of the other characters in this cast, particularly Serika in this episode, has allowed the series to expand its perspective on this anime beyond that of Mutta and Hibito.  By allowing us to visit the minds of multiple candidates and characters, we’re able to learn much more about everything going on rather than leasing out the space in Mutta’s head for a season or whatever the duration of this anime is.  By giving us multiple perspectives each episode, we’re able to enrich the experience on the screen and in the story by seeing how different characters interpret different events.  Everyone has their own specific motivations, goals, approaches, and personalities, so by seeing what one person thinks and contrasting it with another allows us to get a more comprehensive experience of what we’re seeing rather than being stuck with a single style of thinking.  It’s rather interesting now to finally hear the thoughts of Serika after seeing her as a crush for so long and also, finally a rival.

Mouretsu Pirates (Episode 23) – Mouretsu Pirates was an anime that drew acclaim and applause for how it handled the hardcore science fiction of space travel and transportation in its infancy.  It quickly grew to the point where people studied it to find minute and inconsequential details in the anime to prove it had some scientific faults but those could largely be excused due to the artistic talent rendering this manga into an anime not knowing all the ins and outs of science (like that stars don’t twinkle outside a planet’s atmosphere).  It just about took a 180 at the end of the previous episode with a masked pirate standing outside of his ship and somehow living long enough to shout.  However, what we learned it was all for show and that the man was a hologram and the sound was the byproduct of hacking the other pirate’s systems for simple show.  At this point, I was about to return to normal until we witnessed a flashback of a ship that was attacked and moments before its eventual explosion.  And what I saw absolutely shocked me.  There was a fire on the outside of the ship.  A fire.  Yes, a fire.  How?  Not only is there no oxygen in space for which the fire to combust, but there is no gravity either for which the fire to behave under normal conditions.  In all the ways Mouretsu Pirates reinforced the science in its story, you’d figure this would be an obvious catch.  But it wasn’t.  And now I can no longer view Mouretsu Pirates as an acclaimed or respected anime in terms of its scientific detail and truthfulness.

Medaka Box (Episode 10) – During the beginning of this episode, it donned on me what would make Medaka Box immediately better in my opinion.  Remove the anime from the school setting.  Had all these characters belonged to different organizations and operated in the real world without being restricted to this expansive campus, we’d be able to see varying environments for which to enjoy this anime and for characters to interact with.  Being limited to a school, and an absolutely insane one at that, doesn’t allow the series to really expand into other areas and sets perimeters on its characters, so I can’t help but feel the anime has dumbed itself down by being stuck at yet another school somewhere in Japan.  Had it taken place outside of school, the anime could take on a number of varying backdrops for which to use for its stories and its characters.

Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna (Episode 10) – It isn’t so much a coincidence but more that it is expected that the best episode of this season is one that revolved around Lupin and not Mine Fujiko?  Why?  Because Lupin is dynamic, intelligent, cunning, and above all, entertaining enough to lead the anime to success.  Forget the passionate imagery and the bewildering storyline, the range of emotions, reactions, and the general performance by Lupin was enough to carry any episode of any anime.  The way he just makes the series come to life through his personality and actions is simply wonderful.  What I’ve been feeling all season is that this anime needs the original cast together and for the attention to be drawn away from Fujiko and more toward Lupin.  The original TV series is an infamous and beloved classic that earned its position through Lupin being the commanding character in an exciting anime.  Funny how the anime begins to resembled its former celebrated self as soon as the title character takes the spotlight.  Hopefully it’s like one of his stolen possessions and he never gives it back.

Kore wa Zombie desu ka? OF THE DEAD (Episode 10 [Finale]) – My unwanted opinion of what would make Zombie infinitely better should it come back for another season?  Why, remove everything about the vampire ninjas and replace it with Eu.  Not only were the episodes where Eu was the main character the best in this season and the previous, the worst ones were those that pertained to the three vampire ninjas and their subtraction from all things related to the story and anything funny or interesting in Zombie.  I just have never gotten into anything from the vampire ninjas and, after about two seasons of wasting screentime, I’m ready for them to be done.  I just don’t get what they add or why they’re included in the series.  It certainly isn’t for the humor.  And it doesn’t appear to be connected with the story at all.  They look alright but they’re nowhere near the cutest in the series.  So really, why continue to have them around when they’re a subtraction to the series?  Hopefully the third season is all about Eu since she’s consistently the top character in this anime.

Hyouka (Episode 8) – I question the intelligence of Houtarou or rather, his willingness to commit to his philosophy of conserving energy.  If he truly prized his selected and personalized lifestyle, then by all means he should be denying Chitanda of involving him in her asinine escapades of unexciting mysteries.  He should be able to effectively communicate to her and the rest of the Classics Club that he just wants to be left alone and be lazy rather than resisting for a second and then backing down immediately.  Chitanda is certainly persistent but not impossible to avoid.  And it’s not that Houtaoru is being lazy against Chitanda and thus being roped into these mysteries, since we’ve seen how much pain it causes him to be forced into the role of detective.  And it’s not that Hourtarou has calculated the road to the least amount of effort either since the least amount of effort would be to ignore everyone and leave them be.  No, there are some discrepancies in how Houtarou currently lives his life in his given philosophy.  But perhaps these moments of pain and weakness are signs that his lifestyle is currently cracking and facing a certain fragmentation before the end of the series?

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  1. #1 by AngryJellyfish on June 13, 2012 - 2:09 AM

    Fully agree with you with regards to the vampire ninja in Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka, they’re just nowhere near as funny, cute or plot-relevant as Eu and Haruna! As for the final episode of the series… while it was obviously left open for continuation (in Studio DEEN’s usual style), I’d have still preferred a little more closure. It felt more or less the same as every other episode. :/

    Compared to that, Upotte!!’s ending was just as abrupt, even more flawed, but somehow (in my opinion) more enjoyable. Probably because my expectations were lower to begin with, and because I much preferred the shootout episodes to the misfired (:razz:) attempts at comedy.

    • #2 by avvesione on June 14, 2012 - 1:37 PM

      I agree with your last sentence about Zombie… it felt like every other episode in that nothing happened. This whole season was a terrible, terrible waste. Nothing happened, it was funny for only a few moments, and the use of characters was completely off. If it comes back for another season or movie or whatever, I doubt I’ll be watching it (unless it’s all about Eu, which it probably won’t be).

      As for Upotte!! the series never really had anything going for it, so it had no expectations for which to impress or disappoint. And the finale was about a long, drawn-out gunfight which is always something fun or enjoyable to watch. In fact, the best part about Upotte!! were the gunfights since it never relied on stupid character traits or its basic forms of humor. Kinda wish the anime had more firefights like that in it since the episodes that had the gunfights were easily my favorite.

  2. #3 by The Walking Talking Steven Hawking on June 13, 2012 - 8:47 AM

    I think you are being a bit to critical on Moe Pirates

    The fire could have been burning from other things, such as the oxygen escaping the ship and nothing could really smother the flames so why would the flames go out if there was things to burn? Not saying they were acting accordingly to the way flames act in zero gravity, but fire in space requires a lot less oxygen to burn in space so they oxygen escaping should be enough.

    • #4 by avvesione on June 14, 2012 - 1:46 PM

      Well, even if there was enough oxygen escaping from the ship to sustain a fire, the absolute frigid temperatures of space should’ve been around to overcome any flame in the area by bringing whatever was burning to well below the heat of combustion.

      And to be honest, yes, I am being a bit too harsh on Mouretsu Pirates since obviously the fire was just artistic details on the damage the ship had taken and an excuse for why it exploded in that dramatic fashion. It was more a comparison of how the series was acclaimed as being scientifically accurate in the first half and then being lazy in this part. But at least it accomplished what I wanted and started a discussion/got a comment, so thanks for adding in your thoughts on the matter.

  3. #5 by Zammael on June 13, 2012 - 2:47 PM

    Regarding Hyouka, perhaps Houtaru’s just lazy about enforcing his laziness.

    Moreover this apparent conflict hides a deep fascination with his opposite, the earnest curiosity of Chitanda, which overcomes his natural reticence. Otherwise there’s no story ;)

    • #6 by avvesione on June 14, 2012 - 1:50 PM

      What you said is true about the conflict he has within himself, his own curiosity about Chitanda and her passion for her rose-colored life in contrast with his own grey one. I suppose that’s why Houtarou can be lazy toward Mayaka and Satoshi but always succumbs to Chitanda and her persistence and persuasion. I suppose that’d make the most sense given his history and his thoughts on the matter.

  4. #7 by mwnanamai on June 19, 2012 - 7:19 AM

    Hey Awesione,

    Maybe the problem with Upotte! is that it is aimed at the wrong public, such that we can’t scare children with gun wounds and the more gory aspects.

    Do you have any idea of what was the the target public for it ?

    • #8 by avvesione on June 19, 2012 - 4:53 PM

      I think the target audience for Upotte!! is anyone who really wanted to watch an anime about cute girls running around with guns in a comical/fantasy setting. I’m being a bit more serious than the anime ever intended to be but it does cast the anime in an interesting perspective trying to seek out what answers exist where the series never intended to answer.

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