Summer 2012 – Week 9 Anime Review

During one of those previous weeks, I forget which one exactly: presenting effective yet limited character relationships in Sengoku Collection, questionable abandonment of the Voxes in Rinne no Lagrange, continuing the character problems in Tari Tari, and curious about Chitanda’s curiosity in Hyouka.

Though all the screenshots and episode titles are well over a week old, the topics for each are effectively timeless and appropriate for the anime, regardless of the current episode or your place in the series.  Sorry for the delay, thank you for your patience and I hope you enjoy the review of Week 9 of Summer 2012!

Tari Tari (Episode 10) – Perhaps one of the better, if the not the best aspects about Tari Tari, is that the character problems are all ongoing.  These central and character-specific problems weren’t solved in their story arc nor were they quick-fixes to these overbearing difficulties.  Miyamoto still has concerns over her choir and her future as a singer.  Wakana continues to have challenges with writing her song, the one connection she has with her deceased mother.  Sawa continues to look for a career that will satisfy her love for horses despite being rejected from her dream horse-training school.  And the background characters of this anime, Taichi and Atsuhiro, each have problems, too… I think, I don’t really know (they really do deserve more screen-time given their position in the anime).  But the point is still simple, each character has had a challenge since the beginning of the anime and they’re all attempting to overcome this trial through their own determination and with the help of their friends.  These aren’t easy problems to solve nor will they be fixed in a day or so.  Presenting these problems in this way, as well as taking the time to show the characters struggle with and eventually overcome them, is the right way to show character and story development in an anime like this.  Tari Tari understands how to effectively show each character’s problem and has handled their maturation and resolutions of their problems magnificently.  Bravo Tari Tari, for doing such an outstanding job on this complicated and intricate subject.

Sword Art Online (Episode 9) – The online interface, that is the assortments of menu screens, visual options, information displays, and data transfers, are all a fascinating way for which the characters to interact with their virtual world and solidify the experience of an online game for this anime.  It surely conveniences the players to have this system, to constantly reference these virtual menus for their gaming experience, such as trading, identifying, and storing items to exchanging maps, character communication, and especially health and healing.  Not only that but such a system is expected in an online game such as SAO, so seeing the character use it, and to use it as much as they do, gives the gaming experience a virtual ambiance that also feels realistic and expected for such a technology.  It always amuses me how often we see the characters use the virtual interface system since I understand how essential it is to a character’s everyday life and imperative to their survival.  It also extends to other aspects of the game, such as identifying items and crafting, which I also appreciate in this anime, though not to the same degree as those pop-up menus that the characters use with the swipe of their palm.  Makes you wonder if such a system will ever be in place in the real world, to the same degree and capacity that SAO presents with exchange of information and digital storage, or if technology will surpass it in some other way.

Sengoku Collection (Episode 22) – Since every character has their own episode, specific to themselves, devoted solely on their story, and parodying some famous story of its own, Sengoku Collection does a brilliant job of keeping the historical connections of the characters present within these stories and finding the time to establish these connections, their histories, and their effects in the present with such speed and accuracy.  Though many of these connections are simple, Date Masamune’s character tree has become surprisingly complex with Oda Nobunaga, Mogami Yoshiaki and now Katakura Kojuro, thus increasing the complexity, detail, and time spent to keep the characters, connections, and historical significance accurate and meaningful to the current story and the anime in general.  It may seem like a challenge but Sengoku Collection has been able to find the happy balance between a minimalistic approach, which would omit details and implication, to one that’s too convoluted, taking up too much time and becoming a distraction to the character’s story.  By no means is it perfect as I have no true understanding of their roles, relationships, and which aspects are new to the anime, but in keeping with the spirit of the anime, continuing to present a new character, a new story, and a new parody each time and doing each one fantastically, Sengoku Collection has done a wonderful job at keeping these historical connections present, involving them to the stories, and developing the characters through these relationships and episodes.

Rinne no Lagrange (Episode 21) – Considering the awesome and frightening power of the Voxes that still reside close to Earth, it is somewhat surprising how everyone readily abandoned their usefulness in an effort to return to their normal, mundane lives.  Though they still continue to study the artifact recounting the tale of Earth’s catastrophe some 20,000 years ago at the hands of Astelia, everyone has all but given up on these mobile armor’s capabilities and practicality.  Imagine what they could do in resolving or preventing wars or conflicts in various reaches of the globe.  Consider their helpfulness in aiding with construction, transportation, and space exploration.  Their technology would be exceedingly useful for the rest of humanity, too, understanding their specifics and applying them to an industrial-scale to help aid everyone’s lives.  But no, everyone decided to give up the Voxes and to return to being school girls and reading ancient stone tablets that aren’t really stone tablets but ancient technology or something or I don’t know anymore.  But yeah, really, their jobs with the Voxes should not be over considering the impact and influence they’d have for the rest of humanity.

Natsuyuki Rendezvous (Episode 9) – Welp, the anime lost me, though not solely on the fantasy-realm that I’ve harped on for the past four-or-so weeks.  What irritates me the most about the Natsuyuki Rendezvous is the lack of consistency, the lack of a steady flow for which the story is told.  Every episode is so jumpy, ready to switch to another time and place as though the story feels insecure about it and needs to clarify itself by relating to something that happened in the past or is not happening at all (the sketchbook storyline).  Though it’s been a wealth of knowledge, it’s come at the sacrifice for the story, the characters, and my overall enjoyment of the anime.  This constant start-stop-start-stop-start-actual development-stop-start-stop pacing of these episodes have prevented the anime from achieving any rhythm or flow.  And this is a damn shame considering it didn’t have this problem, at least to this degree, before Shimao usurped Ryousuke’s body from him.  Looking back on it now, that was the worst choice this anime could’ve made for itself.  I plan to continue and complete this anime but it has dropped like an anchor recently and for good reason.

Hyouka (Episode 20) – I’m curious!!… for what happens when Chitanda’s curiosity isn’t satisfied.  Like, what happens to Chitanda when she’s alone at her home and some random event sparks her interest but there’s no one around for her to bother (save from calling Houtarou) and she can’t solve the mystery herself?  What happens?  Does her head explode?  If so, that’d be a good reason for needing to satisfy her curiosity, but seriously now, what happens?  Does her curiosity eventually subside and she’s able to focus on something else and go about her day or does it steadily eat at her until she eventually solves the riddle or finds some solution that cures her of this ailment.  I’d actually like to see an episode where Chitanda is presented with such a challenge, such as her at home alone when the power goes out, thus removing her from her cohorts and attempting to answer this question by her lonesome.  There was a hint during the School Festival Arc when Chitanda hugged her dakimakura (really a body pillow but that word is amusing) and was curious about her role among friends.  While it did get some time, it never did satisfy my curiosity about Chitanda’s curisosity.  And since I doubt it will ever get answered in such a way to answer this question, I guess I could turn to my curiosity over the issue and see if it eventually subsides or eats at me until I stay up for nights on end, downing caffeinated beverages and scanning through every episode of Hyouka finding clues for my theory behind this issue.  Or, like Chitanda, I’ll just find someone else to do it for me, tee-hee.

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  1. #1 by illogicalzen on September 11, 2012 - 11:23 AM

    I got fed up with Natsuyuki Rendezvous, largely because of the inconsistencies and also the body-swapping arc, which has gone on for far too long. This body-swapping arc doesn’t match up to the first arc and also appears to effectively dismiss all the character and story progression that happened before. Instead of moving on from Atsushi with the help of Hazuki everything has gone back to the very beginning and Rokka has become a fairly two-dimensional character. Also, Hazuki appears to have no part in the story anymore, and while we do have some strange fantasy elements, he no longer seems to have any say in what may happen to his body, future or even his relationship with Rokka. The first half was great with proper development, but now its just become a horrible recurring theme and is a dull series. It’s a shame since I really liked the first half of the series with its mature romance and entertaining characters, but it really lost me in recent episodes.

    • #2 by avvesione on September 14, 2012 - 1:13 AM

      I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. What’s disheartening about Natsuyuki is how remarkable the first half was considering the story, the scenario, the characters and how everything developed, especially the bits of comedy and awkwardness that comes with an adult romance. Not only that but Rokka’s character was outstanding at that point, comfortable, strong, and resilient though sensitive enough to be swayed through Ryousuke’s passion and determination. But all that was lost when they switched bodies and the series became a ghost of itself (heh…). A shame, a damn shame indeed.

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