This week: further analysis on Mako’s character, helping proving her true value in KILL la KILL, an exceptional, cunning and innovative moment in BlazBlue: Alter Memory, questioning why all scientists are crazy in anime based from Kakumeiki Valvrave (S2), and complaints of Shounen Fight Syndrome in Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta.
Best episode of the week: KILL la KILL
Anime trending up this week: Gingitsune
Anime trending down this week: Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta
Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta (Episode 6)
I haven’t complained about Shounen Fight Syndrome for quite a while, but that’s largely because it hasn’t bothered me lately. The end to episode 6 of Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta, on the other hand, made me feel both frustrated and nauseated. I will give it credit that it did connect the Dragon Lance, Sakanade, to Hime’s youkai background, but the whole set-up and the deus-ex-machina nature of the whole fight was pretty weak. In fact, I might even go as far to say it ruined the episode, taking all the strategy and struggles and emotion in the fighting and turned it into an easy out without any satisfying climax or resolution. That’s really where I find my beef with Shounen Fight Syndrome and the end to this episode of Yozakura Quartet is a fine example of why I hate this cliché in anime.
Samurai Flamenco (Episode 6)
Samurai Flamenco should be more serious. As it stands right now, the series is 20%, maybe 25% serious and the rest is just silly and superhero-ish stuff. And while I’m fine with that for most anime, it’s the serious aspects of Samurai Flamenco that I find I’m enjoying the most. I find myself more enthusiastic and passionate when we’re learning Hazama’s backstory, observing the challenges and struggles in his heroic activities and how Gotou’s police work provides a real world contrast to Hazama’s superhero antics. Not only that but the chemistry between Gotou and Hazama is ideal and balanced for the serious anime trapped inside Samurai Flamenco. But for the most part, we’re given pretty girl idols dressing up as magical girls and stomping nuts, a battery of weapons that are all shaped like office supplies (with perfect timing and functionality, too) and a cast of silly characters who bounce in and out of the series when it has gone too long between jokes. Why not take these moments and refine them? Why not make this anime 60% serious or more? Samurai Flamenco doesn’t need to be as silly or lighthearted as it is, but I don’t mind it sprinkled throughout, especially during the downtime. Hopefully the anime can make a positive turn soon, especially with the midway point quickly approaching. Thankfully, anime like this usually turn to focus on the serious aspects when they’re at the midpoint and at the end, so there’s hope that my desire will come true.
Monogatari Series Second Season (Episode 20)
Izuko Gaen is easily one of the most remarkable characters in the Monogatari Series franchise. Not only is she a god of some sorts, she’s essentially a female NisiOisiN, a character who’s all-knowing, much like the author is. In fact, her catchphrase is, “There is nothing I don’t know; I know everything.” Pretty awesome, right? But does she know why kids love Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Hmmm? I guess we may find ourselves in a paradox here or something if someone were to ever ask her.
Magi: The Kingdom of Magi (S2) (Episode 7)
I can’t be the only one who doesn’t like Aladdin’s fanatical and obsessive sexualization of boobies. Although it’s been present throughout the series as a recurring ‘joke’, I feel the need to bring it up now after it’s happened for the nth time. It’s not to say that the joke isn’t funny now (it was never been funny to begin with) but that it just seems so contrary to his personality and demeanor to others. You always see Aladdin as a kindly, smiling and compassionate child, putting others before himself and using his skills as a Magi to better the lives of everyone around him. But whenever there are adequately sized boobs around or anything larger, watch out because he becomes a completely different and considerably lesser character in the process. In fact, look how quickly he and Alibaba turn on Morgiana because there were some cheap hookers in town. Seriously, you’re going to be parting ways with her for who knows how long and those two losers decided to spend it with some floozies in a club and alienating their best friend? Seriously, who does that? Aladdin and Alibaba are dicks.
KILL la KILL (Episode 7)
I’ve always found Mako’s character to be one of the most remarkable aspects of Kill La Kill. In an earlier post, I weighed her significance in the series beyond her obvious comic appeal to examine just how much of an influence she has on Ryuuko and on the anime as a whole. And with this episode, her brilliance was demonstrated again, though maybe not in the way you think. While the episode will be renowned for Mako’s Two-Star Ulitima (delinquent’s) Uniform, the subsequent fight, and the whole “511013” speculation, I find Mako’s actions throughout to be the most notable. What this episode confirmed is that Mako was willing to work for Ryuuko as much, if not more, than what Ryuuko is doing for Mako. All throughout the episode, save for a few choice moments, Mako worked diligently and tentatively for Ryuuko, laboring meticulously to improve the lives of her family and her best friend. And although some corruption and selfishness swayed her momentarily, I think we’ve really discovered the true value of Mako’s character; not only is she the sweet, charming gal that makes us laugh and the girl that supports the loner, Ryuuko, but Mako is willing to do whatever she can to make Ryuuko a success. We witnessed how hard she works and how serious she is when it’s her responsibility and this reinforces the idea. It really builds off my previous analysis of Mako, not that she’s the only one on Ryuuko’s side but that she’s willing to do whatever to help out her best friend. And considering the disadvantages of her character, I find the size of Mako’s heart to be more significant than really anything Ryuuko’s done. Although it’s Ryuuko that will catch the headlines for her sex appeal, victories and triumphs, the only character who has really blossomed in Kill La Kill has been Mako. And even though Ryuuko will continue to be my favorite in this delightful series, Mako is the character I respect and appreciate the most.
Kakumeiki Valvrave (S2) (Episode 18)
Why are scientists always insane (or killed) in anime? Like, besides evil CEOs seeking world domination/destruction and yanderes, scientists are always the craziest characters in anime. And we’re not even talking mad scientists here; we’re talking those grunts in lab coats that wear glasses and sit at computers. But why are these people depicted as crazy? Scientists in the real world are fairly normal (read: boring) people. They just happen to study and explore the world around us, either building giant robots or playing God with the human genome or alien science. And when scientists discover something new or revolutionary, they usually aren’t content with that as a final answer and will work on improving it or exploring it further. Sure, these people are passionate and borderline obsessive, but I don’t get why scientists are always portrayed as some crazy mastermind who did something ridiculous and then became insane as a result.
Seriously now, why couldn’t Haruto’s father be a real character like a majority of the cast in Valvrave? Why did they make him such a meaningless character? Why couldn’t he have engaged Haruto and stood his ground against the Valvraves and the genetic manipulation of the students of Module 77. Not only would it have strengthened the opposition and provided support for why JIOR’s military but it would’ve humanized Haruto’s father. But no, it was probably easier to write him off as a mad scientist and then humanize him at his demise, where he’s crushed under some rubble and Haruto speaks to him then he realizes he loves his father and then there are tears and blood and Haruto must leave him and there’s an explosion and Haruto screams and cries… yeah, you know that’s gonna happen. Sorry for the spoilers.
Gingitsune (Episode 7)
Is everyone religious in Gingitsune? Yes, it sure seems that way. But does everyone need to be religious in Gingitsune? No, of course not. Although it makes sense for the core of the anime to be about these religious characters (Makoto and Satoru) and their divine deities (Gintarou and Haru), I wish the anime would branch off, broaden out and include characters from various other backgrounds. I was happy with Yumi’s and Hiwako’s presence initially but this interest has waned considerably with their characters only seeming to appear at shrines and temples. I don’t mind that they dressed up as shrine maidens or that Yumi is the cousin of Shouhei, the son of a large temple, but I wish their characters were strong enough to pull the series away from just a religious setting and show how the heralds and religion impacts the characters and society. To put it simply, I want to see the series explore the world and its characters outside these holy grounds. Since the series has been in a shrine or on temple grounds in every episode, I think Gingitsune could really sell me on its purpose if it were able to demonstrate the herald’s impact on society by actually seeking people who have problems besides little, lost kitty cats. Let’s hope something like this happens soon.
Coppelion (Episode 7)
So a Coppelion’s blood type changes based on their year in school? I just… no… I mean… why… I mean, what’s the point of this bullshit explanation doing in the middle of an anime? Couldn’t the solution have been simply, ‘Ibara needs Haruto’s blood since they’re both the only O type here’ or something? Why did they need to do something as unscientifically and illogical as explain the need for the blood transfusion with changing blood types by year. First, who would design such an awkward system? What purpose does it serve? If there was a single ‘best’ protein, why not have them all have it all the time? Second, how do these different expressive proteins know when to switch? Changing the blood type like that could cause a serious immune reaction that would kill the person since it would see the blood cells as foreign objects. And if the body had already recognized a previous blood type, why couldn’t Ibara be infused by anyone in a grade lower than her? I mean, her body should already know those proteins, so there should be zero problem donating blood to her from a type her body is compatible with. To me, the source of this bullshit is just all awful writing in Coppelion, where the authors wanted there to be a special blood transfusion between the two but were too lethargic to put any effort into their research and made up some bullshit answer to their solution and stuck with it. Then again, what hasn’t been bullshit in Coppelion besides the aesthetics and backgrounds?
BlazBlue: Alter Memory (Episode 6)
There have been a few flashes of brilliance and moments of glory thus far in BlazBlue: Alter Memory, but I have to admit, the whole ‘oh, someone died, let’s redo that bit again’ segment is my favorite. I couldn’t help but find myself amused during that entire stretch. Just seeing the series go off on a conspicuous tangent like that, then have the observers realize something was wrong and have everyone do the scene over again (complete with rewinding VCR visual effects) was just amazing. Not only was it unexpected but the whole reversal of fate was fun to watch. But was there something more meaningful behind this whole sequence? Something more… astute and creative than just a funny scene watching Jin die?
It really makes me wonder if what we saw is what happens in all these fighting games… is this what happens after round 1/round 2 of a fight, when the character recovers from zero health instantly and is back to full life? I think we may be on to something more than silly storytelling here if this whole fight/death/reset was intended to happen as we saw. If so, then yeah, this is easily the greatest moment of glory in all the BlazBlue anime. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that’s what the studio had in mind with this whole segment. Then again, I’m not actually in their minds, so I don’t know for sure, but I’d like to think that this is what they meant and give the series its credit for its originality and insightfulness. And no, I never thought I’d be saying that about the BlazBlue anime, but here we are.