Autumn 2012 – Week 5 Anime Review

This week: some deserved recognition for the underapperciated Kamisama Kiss and why I continue to love it, the committee approach to detectives in Psycho-Pass, the captivating sceneries and environments of Sword Art Online, and the awkward ecchi fanservice in K.

Best episode of the week: Girls und Panzer

Anime trending up this week: Kamisama Kiss

Anime trending down this week: Robotics;Notes

Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! (Episode 5) – Remember those hordes of horny loser male background characters there were gawking over Nibutani during her cheerleader tryouts?  Or the fact that she was voted the cutest/prettiest girl in her class, making her the object of desire for the collective male conscious?  So where are they now, especially with the opportunity to see Nibutani wearing her school swimsuit while cleaning the pool?  Or rather, why hasn’t anyone noticed that she joined Rikka’s club and called into question her elegant and magnanimous personality and effectively labeled her a weirdo like Rikka?  Seems rather convenient that it hasn’t been brought up yet considering that you figure some loser stalker would’ve found out by now, but maybe I’m looking into this too much.  Maybe the guys that are chasing after her don’t care that she’s hanging out with a buncha crazies?  Or perhaps she placed a restraining order on her obsessive fan base so that it isn’t a problem anymore?  Either way, I do want her artificial, class-rep/cheerleader personality to be called into question at some point or another in the series, something to confront this dichotomy of her personalities.  Even better if it’s Rikka or Dekomori that’s there to aid her in this time of difficulty, too.

Girls und Panzer (Episode 4) – Though Girls und Panzer has done well through its first few episodes, the fourth stands alone as the most distinguishing and exceptional to date.  And while there has been some tank maneuvering and practice battles to date, the first authentic combat of the series really showcased what this anime is about and what it really can be.  What contributed to the effectiveness and brilliance of this episode are a number of aspects that the anime got right or excelled at.  The most noteworthy is how it depicted its clash between the two schools, providing us with tactics and details that weren’t essential to following the story but merely were present to enhance the situation the girls were in.  The battle animation, a delightful blend of 3-D tanks in a 2-D environment was surprisingly well done, especially with the number of varied shots for the scenes including a few birds-eye, first-person, pans, fixed, and many others.  Not only that, but the battle was entertaining, too, considering the jokes that were built-in to it to lighten up the fact that girls in tanks were trying to blow each other up.  All these aspects really embodied the lightheartedness of Girls und Panzer and made for the best episode to date.  I believe the anime knows that the tank combat is the best aspect of the series and that it wants to stick with this topic for a number of episodes now, moving to a tournament arc which should hopefully remove us from any boring school/family drama segments.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (Episode 5) – Though Zeppeli and Speedwagon were concerned about how Dio freezing one’s blood effectively stopped them from harnessing their natural ripple and the prospect of frostbite, there was another concern on my mind.  Seeing as Dio was able to freeze the blood in their veins, Dio was essentially creating a block in their veins which is essentially the same as a medical complication from a forming clot known as a venous thromboembolism or VTE.  What this does is that it prevents the blood from returning to the heart meaning that the blood flowing into the area will begin to pool there making it swollen and painful (or even more painful than it already was).  In the event that they were able to heat the area and try to melt the blood, small parts of ice might dislodge from the clot and travel back to the heart and into the lungs where it would cause another medical complication, a pulmonary embolism (PE).  Here, a rupture could occur in the lungs leading them to be filled with fluid, leading to a reduction in breathing, blood oxygenation, and finally, death.  However, to say that this should be on their minds is rather naïve, especially considering that these complications probably weren’t really known at the time by the general public nor would these be more pressing or concerning than not being able to fight a formidable vampire.  Still, if this is ever brought up or anything, that’d be amazing for an anime of this caliber to provide such an unparalleled level of detail in its story and action.

Jormungand: Perfect Order (Episode 16) – Whether by design or not, the relationship between Koko and Jasper seems artificial, like they have some unresolved conflict buried deep in their past that prevents them from ever connecting as siblings or that they are so unfamiliar with each other that they don’t know how to behave as brother and sister.  I know that it isn’t a problem with the writing or story seeing as this problem isn’t reproduced anywhere else in the anime, but it’s a though that has crossed my mind several times even in the first part of the series that aired this past spring.  Though the relationship between the two is favorable (Jasper did send Jonah to Koko who she deeply loves and the two do work together rather than kill each other), it doesn’t seem like they really hit it off like we would expect family members to act.  That is to say, their relationship lacks that intimacy and familiarity that family relationships have.  Might this be a point worth exploring in the future, especially should Kasper end up playing the role of antagonist?  I certainly hope for such juicy details!

K (Episode 5) – Is it just me or is the fanservice in K kinda bad?  The main fault with the fanservice thus far is how Seri’s breasts always seem to be a bit lopsided or cockeyed or uneven whenever the camera shows her from an angle that isn’t straightforward.  I noticed it a few times in this episode, but this is hardly a new trend; there have been problems drawing her boobs since the very first episode.  Not only that, but her miniskirt reveals some butt-cleavage, too, which is a bit awkward considering that the skirt would somehow need to be skintight to pull off such a bizarre phenomenon.  It’s strange, it’s almost like this is the first anime to not understand fanservice or how to draw boobs properly or something.  Or that’s what I would say if this anime didn’t have Neko in it, the only other character to have any sort of ecchi fanservice to date (okay, besides Kukuri’s random and unnecessary pantyshot at the end).  Still, the fanservice in this anime feels off, almost like it is confused by the whole concept and doesn’t know how to utilize it properly.  Thankfully the fanservice is merely concentrated in just two of the four female characters (Seri and Neko compared to Anna and Kukuri) because placing it on every female character, especially Seri’s misaligned boobs or her impractical skirt, would be a disaster.  And the best way for K to redeem itself is to have more Neko!!

Kamisama Kiss (Episode 5) – Undervalued and underrated, Kamisama Kiss continues to bedazzle me with its simple narratives, endearing themes, and satisfying entertainment.  The anime is surprisingly charming with its attractive art style and lighthearted comedy, but where it impresses me the most is with its characterization of our protagonist, the homeless schoolgirl and ineffective Earth deity, Nanami.  Rather than be another blah-blah-blah shoujo romance, the plot of Kamisama Kiss focuses itself on showing how Nanami faces the difficulties of her new everyday life, whether it’s protecting herself from being kidnapped at school to matchmaking a goddess with a human.  And considering how inexperienced Nanami is currently, she struggles with these tasks and we see it as an audience.  But this is where Nanami and Kamisama Kiss shines its brightest; Nanami has an extraordinary, unparalleled attitude, seeing every challenge with a smile and always giving it her best.  Nanami doesn’t always succeed at her tasks at hand but she continues to win me over with her enchanting attitude and delightful personality.  I can only hope that Nanami’s outstanding personality continues to be awe-inspiring and wakes up everyone else to this anime to finally give it the attention and acclaim it deserves.

Little Busters! (Episode 5) – What I’d like to see from Little Busters! is for the anime to take a friendship approach to these story arcs rather than a romance approach.  How to accomplish this would be to have the entire Little Busters gang together to help Komari with her problem to successfully build-up her relationship with Riki and friends further than just Riki alone.  Not only that but Komari would be able to share the experience with everyone else and really develop the bonds between these secondary characters, too, who for the most part seem to be destined to irrelevance in the grand scheme of things.  What’s concerning about this trend is that it doesn’t seem to be the route the anime wants to take with its characterizations as this episode was mainly Riki and Komari alone the whole time.  I’m not going to complain if it goes for this romance approach over a friendship approach, but it isn’t the route I would take if I were producing or directing this anime.  Too bad the route I want is probably not in the game, either.

Medaka Box Abnormal (S2) (Episode 4) – In fights like, whenever there are superhuman abilities or special powers being utilized, I always appreciate an explanation like the ones provided to us in this episode of Medaka Box Abnormal.  Not only do they help explain the mechanisms and limitations for these abilities but they often play an essential role in the characterization of the fighter, especially for Medaka.  Although they often rely on pseudo-science, the explanations are always more enjoyable if they use some real world science in them, such as explaining actions through physiology or physics.  Either way, the fight was rather fun but the helpful explanations provided throughout really enriched the final product and made the episode meaningful to the story and worthwhile for Medaka’s character.  I can only hope the fighting continues from here on out.

Psycho-Pass (Episode 4) – With the setting continuing to be explored with every episode, with the fourth one looking at a virtually-reality internet and social media, I find the committee approach comprised of inspectors and enforcers to be purely fascinating.  Here we see two very different sets of people, professions, and personalities come together as a unit to gather clues, fight criminals, and solve crimes and mysteries.  It’s rather amusing to see how their dynamic works, too, especially with the enforcers being able to help quite a bit more in the analytical and decision aspect of the mysteries than just being there for physical work and fighting whoever confronts them.  It makes me wonder if other occupations are the same or if this is particular to the Public Safety Bureau or even possibly this unit.  Either way, I like how the team works together to solve the crimes at hand and how Akane is learning to function in this group despite being a novice at the whole detective thing.

Shin Sekai Yori (Episode 6) – Satoru’s motivations for continuing this war are entirely mysterious to me, especially since he’s risking the life of him and Saki for little or no gain.  Though it isn’t in Satoru’s personality to turn his back and flee in the face of danger, Saki has been pleading with him to ditch the queer rat army and return to their comfortable homes back in civilization, allowing them to survive this frightening ordeal and potentially reunite with their missing friends.  Still, Satoru marches forward for some unknown goal or reward, something that may ultimately cost him his life and Saki’s, too.  I suppose we may never know the true reasons or motivations for Satoru’s current actions, but I desperately want to know in order to understand his character and why the story has turned in the way it has.

Sword Art Online (Episode 18) – The vivid environments, depicted through gorgeous shots of scenery, landscapes, and cloud patterns are probably my favorite aspect of Sword Art Online.  The dazzling backdrops that are the setting for these online realities are often stunning and mesmerizing, creating a surreal paradise that is the main attraction of playing ALO and what continues to draw me into this anime, especially this arc more than the last.  Why I believe I’ll enjoy ALO more than SAO is because there seems to be a bit more emphasis on the world they’re playing in, principally based on the fact that you’re able to fly around it and that Suguha’s goal is to be able to fly endlessly through the world and enjoy its many wonders.  I can only pray that Sugu’s wish for limitless flight is granted to her and the audience before the story is over so that we can explore more of this beautiful game together.

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  1. #1 by windyturnip on November 6, 2012 - 7:10 AM

    I thought Satoru made his motives pretty clear throughout the episode. He’s fighting because he fears they’ll be overwhelmed if he stops. It really exemplifies the difficulties of ending of war where there is no reciprocity or trust.

    Kamisama Kiss is one of my favorite shows of the season too. I think it got overlooked because it is a shoujo anime, and it has an admittedly generic setting. It executes everything so well though that it still manages to rise to the top.

    You seem to be giving Girls und Panzer a pretty positive review. Do you think it’s worth it for me to pick it up, or is it a niche anime?

    • #2 by windyturnip on November 6, 2012 - 8:19 AM

      Wait a second. Satoshi? Satoru? Either we both missed that, or I’m way off topic.

      Speaking of which, is there a way to edit your own comments?

      • #3 by avvesione on November 6, 2012 - 10:40 AM

        Whoops, you’re right, wrote down the wrong name in my notes for this episode and never bothered to check. Actually kinda surprised it doesn’t happen more often.

        As for a way of editing, there isn’t on your end but I have the ability to edit anything, so i went ahead and fixed your comment and my post after realizing my mistake. Thanks for pointing that out.

      • #4 by Kaellian on November 6, 2012 - 1:49 PM

        Satoru’s motive were clear, but his behavior was still strange and unlike him in the context. There is also the part where killing humanoids should affect him negatively (like the monk), but he seemed unaffected by it. If I had to guess, I would say it’s probably related to how got his power back (might have overwrote the initial “mental programming”), but only time will tell.

        Shoujo and generic setting can’t be the only explanation, or Tonari (shoujo school romance) would have went by unnoticed as well. I think the aesthetics of the show was the biggest reason why it received no attention…and truly, it’s a shame. This is by far one of the best anime this season.

        Girl und Panzer is an eternal source of disagreement between Avvesione and myself. Personally, I dislike the show and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless they enjoy watching cute girls being excessively emotional about every days life. The setting itself make no sense, and I still can’t come to term with it after five episodes. Because of the lighthearted nature of the show, there is no tension at all, and it’s really difficult to cheer for either side in a battle.

        Beside all the uninvolving tank battle, the simplistic plot and character depth isn’t doing a good job at keeping me in either. It’s as if the story was written for a kid, except it’s watched by grown up men. Well, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with a simple story, but a good one generally have subtleties that a child wouldn’t notice, and at least, leave you something to think about once its over. There is nothing of the sort here. It’s just it. No symbolism. No thinking required. Nothing left to interpretation.

        Is it worth checking out? Considering it’s popular, it might be worth a try, but my experience was fairly negative.

    • #5 by avvesione on November 6, 2012 - 10:47 AM

      True, you’re right about Satoru’s motives. I guess what I meant instead were his reasoning for continuing to fight instead of pressing forward. When they first emerged to the surface, it seemed like Saki had an idea of how they could safely slip back to their canoes and return home which is obviously what they’re trying to accomplish. Attempting to end the war was never apart of their current mission, even after they emerged from the underground, so I’m still curious why he started fighting the queer rats when there was no real reason for him to (and the part about the ambush was only a possibility, not an absolute).

      Yeah, Kamisama Kiss is a personal favorite of mine, so I am curious how other people feel about it since hardly anyone talks about it. Hopefully this sparks some recognition and discussion toward this wonderful anime because it definitely deserves it.

      Girls und Panzer is a lighthearted anime with a focus on friendship, perseverance, and tanks. The animation and art quality is superb, especially during the tank warfare, and there is some pretty decent comedy spread evenly throughout. The drama and plot are kinda simple and basic, probably the part of the anime I enjoy the least, but the characters are all fun and amusing and the show has really won me over in these recent episodes. If you have the time, I strongly recommend you check out Girls und Panzer.

  2. #6 by Xiammes on November 6, 2012 - 10:23 AM

    @windy Girls und Panzer has a been a delight. Considering the main focus has been the tanks, the series is easily one of top 5 for the season so far, if they keep this up it might end up as one of my favorites of the year.

    I personally think Satoru’s violent behavior is due to the fact he didn’t get any sex last episode. So the next best outlet for frustration is violence. I also think he was making the right choice, they could easily be ambushed and killed if they ran away, best defense is a good offense. Still he should have taken a break.

    • #7 by avvesione on November 6, 2012 - 10:53 AM

      Yeah, I suppose that tease when they were captured in the last episode might be influencing Satoru in some manner and that he’s taking this opportunity to satisfy his desires with brutal aggression.

      Still, there was no absolute proof that they were going to be ambushed nor that they would be killed if they were. The fact is that since they went into war with the queer rats, they were set-up to be ambushed and are putting their lives in danger for no reward. Satoru nor Saki had no reason to fight them once they emerged to the surface and had they taken this opportunity to flee, they probably would’ve slipped away unnoticed. And even if they were ambushed, Satoru’s almighty psychokinetic powers would’ve been enough to protect them and kill them almost instantly.

      So, as for Satoru’s motives/reasoning, I’m still not entirely clear but the whole no-sex thing is certain to play some part in it.

      • #8 by Xiammes on November 6, 2012 - 11:02 AM

        I still think it was the ultimately the safer way, his psychokinetic powers can’t save him from a back attack. Though there is the possibility they could slip away unnoticed.

        Though if he were in the right state of mind, he would have pondered on what would have been better to run away or fight, so his frustration I believe is what made him take that choice so rashly.

        Another possibility, Satoru could also be thinking Shun and the others got caught and were being held prisoner like he and Saki was and was a way to rescue him. Though this isn’t hinted at all, and most likely not the case.

        • #9 by avvesione on November 10, 2012 - 5:22 PM

          True, I never thought about Satoru thinking about the others and wanting to rescue them. That could be something I am missing here.

          Still, ever since they were captured and were fleeing the queer rats, everything they were doing was to escape and get back home regardless of the outcomes with the other factions. That’s why I’m still confused about why they wanna fight, with nothing to gain, just from gaining their power back, especially since it goes against what they were doing this whole time.

      • #10 by windyturnip on November 6, 2012 - 12:19 PM

        The prisoner’s dilemma dictates that both sides keep fighting even though a better solution exists. Even if both sides wanted to stop, distrust and fear would likely prevent a ceasefire. Instead of trying to reach the best solution, they are merely seeking to eliminate the worst possibility.

        The death of the monk proved that their powers do have limits, so we can’t be sure that Satoru would have been able to defend them as they fled. They were even talking about how their cantus (canti?) were more suited for offense than defense. Satoru’s powers may have seemed incredible this episode, but they obviously have their own set of weaknesses, not to mention that they had a small army accompanying them most of the time.

        • #11 by avvesione on November 10, 2012 - 5:26 PM

          Not sure about the prisoner’s dilemma here since they had the opportunity to flee after emerging to the surface without any enemy (or friendly) presence for that matter. It wasn’t until later when the dilemma becomes applicable.

          And if it’s true that the monk’s powers are limited, wouldn’t it make more sense to save the powers and only use them sparingly rather than go all out, use them all up and try to defeat the horde like the monk did (which ended up killing him)? If they wanted to learn from the monk’s mistakes and live, they would’ve avoided confrontation and combat.

  3. #12 by Samuel Amaral (@SPambas) on November 6, 2012 - 11:39 AM

    The battle was really enjoyable in girl und panzer. I really rolled in laugh in the floor when the StuG III team was like “We are safe, our panzer has low profile” … they forget the 4 things stick up on top of it :D

    • #13 by avvesione on November 10, 2012 - 5:29 PM

      Yeah, it really compliments the lightheartedness of the battle by sprinkling in the bits of comedy like that throughout. Having comedy and entertainment like that during the battle really plays into the strengths of this series and made the episode even more enjoyable than before. Really happy with the first real battle of the anime and am looking forward to more again soon.

  4. #14 by azeriraz on November 6, 2012 - 4:56 PM

    Kamisama Kiss is extremely underrated. It really doesn’t do much but as you said it keeps dazzling me also with it’s simplicity. More people should be watching it.

    • #15 by avvesione on November 10, 2012 - 5:30 PM

      Agreed, I can only hope that some people will give it a chance either soon or maybe at the end of the season and marathon it. If anyone asks me for recommendations from this season, I’ll be sure to mention Kamisama Kiss.

  5. #16 by Mrbeansman on November 6, 2012 - 11:45 PM

    You didn’t go into this but I like the way that this episode of Chuunibyou ended. While the resolution seems a bit awkward I liked that they didn’t go the route of Rika going from a score of 5 on a high school math test to what should of been a score in the mid 70′s early 80′s. This episode brought me back to the old Kuwabara studying his ass off and passing by one question back in the old Yu Yu Hakusho days.

    • #17 by avvesione on November 10, 2012 - 5:33 PM

      You make a good point, it would’ve been stupid had she gotten the highest grade in the class or something like that. I’m glad that she was able to do enough to keep the club around, since that’s the outcome that matters, but I wouldn’t’ve minded something where she barely misses and then she’s all depressed but they let her keep the club some other way or if the teacher is nice or something. Either way, it was a believable outcome and a positive one, too, so what Chuu2 did was great in that regard.

  6. #18 by Detetiv on November 12, 2012 - 2:00 AM

    Don’t worry too much about that in ALO -cough-
    I’m just waiting for secrets to be revealed so badly x)

    Anime w some comedy isn’t my kind of thing but I’m quite happy I started kamisama kiss.

    Is Psycho Pass any good? That title seems to have slipped by.

    • #19 by Kaellian on November 12, 2012 - 5:06 AM

      Psycho Pass has been amazing so far. If you liked series like Ghost in the Shell, it’s a must pick imo, and even if you hated them, it’s worth at least a try.

    • #20 by avvesione on November 18, 2012 - 7:45 PM

      Secrets of ALO? Not sure how I feel about this…

      I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying Kamisama Kiss. It has quickly become one of my favorites of this young season both with its humor and its lighthearted romance. Even better to hear that you usually don’t like those anime with only some comedy!

      As for Psycho-Pass, if you think you’ll like a futuristic detective anime, then go ahead and give it a try. Has some violence/sex in it but it isn’t anything too graphic (ok, some deaths are) or terrible. Might not be for you but give the first episode a try if you’re interested.

      • #21 by Detetiv on November 18, 2012 - 7:49 PM

        Will try. More about that Lyfa is his sister secret-wise. I can’t wait for the end bit cause in the light novels it was a bit confusing.

        • #22 by avvesione on November 18, 2012 - 7:51 PM

          Oh, yeah, I’m actually interested to see how that plays out with Kirito discovering that Lyfa is his sister. I hope it’s played out more as comedy than romance, but wouldn’t be surprised if it’s comedy that evolves into confusion.

          As for Psycho-Pass, I’d say the first episode is the most violent/sexual, so if you can tolerate that, you can tolerate the series (at least thus far).

        • #23 by Detetiv on November 18, 2012 - 7:59 PM

          it’s the whole everyone falls in love w the main character again though…. it’s interesting the reveal and I hope it’s extended more after the reveal since it’s really short the cool-down period.

        • #24 by avvesione on November 18, 2012 - 8:04 PM

          Oh right, I did read about that (as well as seen a lot of fan art on it).

          Well, I just hope the anime does a good job with the reveal and managing time for all the characters.

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