Last week: yeah, forgot about Magi and Robotics;Notes so they’re here again along with the usual run of last week’s anime. Topics include honest answers in Shin Sekai Yori, thoughts on Yuuta yelling at Dekomori in Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!, Nanami’s pessimistic side in Kamisama Kiss, and the effects on characterization of unusual character pairings in Psycho-Pass.
Best episode of the week: Shin Sekai Yori
Anime trending up this week: Little Busters!
Anime trending down this week: Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online (Episode 24) – Is there anything more unrewarding, unsatisfying, and unproductive as a Deus ex machine conclusion as we saw in the twenty-fourth episode of Sword Art Online? Really now, the entire conclusion of this arc was absolutely anticlimactic, that the power to win was not born through growth or a challenge or even a anything based on the entire ALO arc… hell, the moment he logged in he could’ve saved Asuna and freed us from all this bullshit given the ass-backwards logic of SAO. Literally, everything that happened over the past 12 or so episodes had no meaning to rescuing Asuna; that everything we sat around and watched this whole season was inconsequential. Then again, the reasoning for how and why Asuna was trapped in the game parallels this ridiculousness, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. You know, it’d probably be intolerable if it weren’t so damn hilarious at the same time.
Shin Sekai Yori (Episode 12) – What fascinates me about the twelfth episode of Shin Sekai Yori is that this is the first to feature an adult who faced an issue in a straightforward manner. As we’ve seen before with adults, there is a sense of half-truth that structures and defines this society, and when Saki or the others are near the boundaries, they often silence their conversations, deny their curiosity and feed them lies. It felt counterproductive and deceptive, as if these concepts and ideas were left to be ambiguous and enigmatic, as a device to keep the mystery and horror elements of the story alive and well. However, when one adult changes face and begins to tell the truth, then Shin Sekai Yori takes on a new complexion and the setting and story becomes clearer and comprehensible. Asahina Tomiko, Satoru’s grandmother and head of the Ethics Committee, did not dance around the issue, hide information, nor did she try to lead Saki astray with false or misleading information on these rather severe and depressing subjects. Rather, she answered all her questions and did much, much more than was expected. As a result, both Saki and us, the audience, have a firmer understanding of how the setting of Shin Sekai Yori operates which will further enhance the elements of the story and allow the anime to advance in terms of exploring other storylines or to advance by allowing new mysterious events to occur for us to solve again. Whatever the direction, having Tomiko appear to clarify these limitless questions and unquenched mysteries will ultimately allow Shin Sekai Yori to progress to the next stages of its story and allow Saki to better understand her place in this crazy, crazy world.
Robotics;Notes (Episode 10) – Although Airi’s character is adorable, the nature of her character is somewhat frightening and unsettling considering how she goes around unnoticed or invisible most of the time. Think about it for a second: this perceptive artificial intelligence, developed by a rather mysterious scientist, wanders around Tanegashima watching people and looking around at stuff. The only way to see her is to use the Iru-O system through one’s PokeCom, so most of the time, people don’t notice her presence. Not only that, but when people want to talk to her, she always seems to be around, like she’s stalking Kai and his friends around the island. Thank goodness she can’t physically interact with the real world because who knows what horrors she’d be able to launch. She’d be the perfect monster in a horror movie if she could do that! But instead, Airi is a charming, sociable bot who seems more concerned with making her friends happy and helping them with their troubles whenever necessary, so that’s nice.
Psycho-Pass (Episode 10) – Character pairings that are unusual and unexpected, like the one pairing Kougami with Yuki, are some of my favorite moments in anime. One reason why I enjoy these situations so much is because it puts the characters in an entirely new and different situation than anything else before. Characters begin to reveal additional information about themselves that would otherwise be never discussed or it exposes areas of weakness or inexperience for which the characters can improve. Not only that, but these situations are often amusing or at least engaging to watch. With this episode of Psycho-Pass, his compassion and leadership were on full display throughout the episode as he guided and protected the life of an innocent, targeted citizen. And though all we’ve seen of Yuki is her dining and chatting with her best friend, Akane, her character was subject to some development that revealed her to be somewhat genuine as a person and voiced her concerns about Akane and her occupation. You know from this point forward, Yuki’s relationship with Akane will be entirely different now that she knows the challenges of her job. And for both of these developments, it occurred as a result of placing Kougami and Yuki together, two characters who seem to be polar-opposites in the Psycho-Pass society. Hopefully there’ll be more of these situations later on with differing characters paired together like this since it is always a wonderful, fascinating and appropriate way of developing a character.
Medaka Box Abnormal (S2) (Episode 10) – Medaka’s knowledge base is derived from all the books she read as an infant, absorbing their words and information much like a sponge absorbs liquid. As we’ve seen recently, Medaka has gaps in her knowledge that she fills in, not by having people explain it, but by performing it (with a few hiccups here or there sometimes). However, isn’t this contradictory? If Medaka were a master of learning from reading books, wouldn’t she also be a master of learning from people as well? I mean, books and conversation are two types of communication, both with information originating from another person and being directed toward Medaka. Instead, now she’s able to learn through her actions which is entirely based on her own actions and her own understanding. It’s like as she grew older, she became less perceptive to learning from others and began to learn by herself. But no, last season and again this season, it shows that Medaka gain knowledge instantly from reading books. So what is it that’s different about a book than a person? You’d figure they’d be able the same since they’re parallel forms of communication. Maybe one of these days, we’ll get an experiment with Medaka with someone reading a book to her and testing if she retains the knowledge like she was talking to someone or if it’s like her reading a book. Maybe then we’d figure out why the two forms of knowledge are so different.
Magi (Episode 10) – Fights are always the best part of shounen anime but they can easily become the worst, too. Fortunately for Magi, it seems to understand what makes fighting electrifying, enticing, remarkable and meaningful. What made the fights in the tenth episode stimulating to watch were that it featured a number of new, powerful abilities that truly defines the power and strength within these fighters. They were enticing to watch because the fights are perhaps a transition to show where the anime is progressing in terms of how fights are fought and won. What is remarkable about these fights is that it shows how potent and formidable magoi are when used properly, something that we did not expect seeing as Aladdin saw them not as weapons but as the lifeforce of the planet. And of course, the fights were worthwhile to watch since it developed the role of Magi in the world and of Aladdin’s character more than just about anywhere else. Not only that but the art and animation was impressive throughout the battle-sequence and it was fun to watch, too. If Magi is able to keep this up and make each following fight interesting and meaningful to watch, you can expect Magi to develop into one of my favorite shounen anime of all time.
Little Busters! (Episode 11) – Although the story of the episode turned out to be absolutely dumb, this is probably my favorite episode of Little Busters! based on how entertaining and amusing it was. Sure, not much happened in the way of progressing the story or developing the characters or any of that, but the episode featured cute, stupid characters doing cute, stupid things for about 20 minutes. And during those 20 minutes, I was always smiling, if not always laughing. Comedy, such as the style shown in this episode, will always a positive in my opinion, so to see Little Busters! move away from its typical episodes of introductions and mild, secondary comedy, to this where it is the primary focus, is something I truly enjoyed and will now crave from this anime. Although we know the anime will return to its routine in the next episode and continue to develop each girl as necessary, my faith in the comedy of Little Busters! has been restored and I will eagerly await the next comedy episode whenever it decides to resurface for this season.
Kamisama Kiss (Episode 11) – Despite Nanami always wearing a smile on her face, her character can become rather pessimistic or discouraging at times. For example, the hairpin in this episode is what reveals Nanami’s pessimistic nature. When she discovered the hairpin in Tomoe’s room, she immediately deduced that it belonged to his former fiancé, Yukiji, rather than that it was a present from Tomoe to Nanami. Of all the solutions she possibly could’ve thought of, she found the most disheartening answer and accepted it. She never thought that it was a present for Nanami that she happened to stumble upon and wanted to surprise her with it, which is what accounted for his suspicious and dodgy behavior. Not only that, but in regards to her crush on Tomoe and other romantic endeavors, Nanami is often pessimistic and blind to the other interpretations or options available around her. Instead, she wallows in a depressing mood like it’s the only way for her to feel. And again, she’s often powerless to stop others (read: Kei), like when she was dragged along to the beach or to the mixer. Still, there are other times where Nanami is entirely optimistic which is shown through her beautiful and radiant smile, so it’s not to say that she’s always depressing, but rather that there is a duality in her character that goes between the two extremes. Then again, she is a teenage girl with raging hormones, so I suppose this is only natural for someone her age.
K (Episode 11) – The King’s powers have never been fully explained, have they? Instead, without any clear exposition on their extent or limitations, we’re left wondering what they can and can’t do. Mikoto’s power is declining yet there is no real explanation as to why or how this came about. Reishi is able to kinda float and fly around by creating platforms for which he can run and jump on, something entirely new from this episode. You also have Saruhiko who has both the Blue King’s and Red King’s powers simultaneously. And then there’s Kurou, too, who has his powers following his king’s death. And Neko, who seems to have her own rules, too. And let’s not forget about this murderer who can jump between bodies and is currently possessing Kukuri. Yeah, any type of explanation on these powers would be helpful since, really, nothing has been defined for us besides ‘people have these strange powers’ and ‘they can do stuff with them.’ Then again, maybe the anime is saving that for the end which is often the case with powers in anime like this.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (Episode 11) – Anyone else getting Raiders of the Lost Ark vibe from this new arc in JJBA? You’ve got the Nazis suddenly appearing in a desert environment, obsessed with the occult again, seeking to awaken a frightening, almighty power that will surely turn nation into an invincible power, oh wait, it will surely turn into death and destruction for those foolish enough to tinker with whatever. I’m even guessing we’ll be given some ghastly and gory deaths of Nazi soldiers, too, very soon. Not saying that this is a good or bad thing, just that this is something that popped into my head during the last few minutes of this episode. Might be worthwhile to keep an eye out for any references or tributes in this episode should this connection prove to be true.
Girls und Panzer (Episode 9) – Every sport has injuries and Panzerfahren should be no exception, especially when a tank gets blown up, flips over, and the girls inside are not wearing seatbelts. Not only that but injuries and stuff are always an aspect of every sports anime, causing some prominent and influential character to be moved to the sidelines while some weaker but more inspiring character takes center-stage. But no, nothing of that sort has occurred yet in Girls und Panzer unless you consider Miho’s rescue of her comrades in the previous Panzerfahren tournament to be similar. Dunno, I’ve always been weary of the safety aspects of the anime thus far but I’m surprised it hasn’t ever been discussed or even mentioned throughout the course of the anime thus far. Maybe nothing gruesome like broken bones or burns but maybe a concussion or sprained wrist or something. I mean, all we’ve gotten in the anime thus far is a pair of broken glasses that Aya immediately shrugged off!
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! (Episode 11) – Yuuta yelling at Dekomori during the scene at the train station felt entirely out of his character but is an effective way of showing how conflicted and troubled he is over Rikka’s sudden departure. Throughout the entire series, Yuuta displayed a number of different emotions, often varying forms of embarrassment or annoyance, but he always kept his cool and never raised his voice or became violent with anyone. In fact, he was one of the least likely to become violent given his character. So when we saw him raising his voice and shouting at Dekomori at the train station, it’s not to show that this was inconsistent with his characterization to date, but that he could not control his emotions anymore and released it all on a similarly emotional Dekomori. However, although I ultimately feel that this was a successful method of showing how distressed he was, I don’t feel that it was entirely necessary to see. I believe the anime could’ve done the same scene and accomplished the same objective without Yuuta breaking character and yelling at Dekomori. Rather, I think I would prefer to have seen Yuuta sulk, try to ignore Dekomori and tell her it’s all over. Heck, we could even have the same Dekomori crying scene that everyone seems to love, too, just at the result of Yuuta leaving her alone on the train station platform, showing a broken friendship rather than the result of being yelled at. Not to say that the scene we got wasn’t good or anything, it’s just that it isn’t what I wanted to see from Yuuta’s character.