Spring 2014 – Week 7 Anime Review

isshuukan_friends-06-saki-bored-tired-lazy-school_deskLast week, if you still remember: understanding that Ping Pong the Animation is not a happy anime, what made this episode the best episode of Akuma no Riddle, detailing a game in which everyone would beat Sora and Shiro from No Game No Life and a super easy way of solving every mystery dungeon in Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin.

Best episode of the week: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders

Anime trending up this week: Akuma no Riddle

Anime trending down this week: Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to

 

Akuma no Riddle (Episode 7)

akuma_no_riddle-07-isuke-nio-mahiru-shinya-sumireko-swimsuits-bikini-sukumizu-wetsuit-concerned-watching-scarWhat made this episode of Akuma no Riddle the best in the series (to date) was not the menacing time-bomb, the cryptic scavenger hunt, Suzu’s fascinating backstory or seeing all the girls in swimsuits. No, these pieces certainly helped, but what made this episode better from all the previous ones was the completely different dynamic. Rather than having nothing but backstory for the first half of the episode, then isolating Tokaku, Haru and the unlucky assassin for second part, this episode incorporated the entire cast the entire time and made the deadly assassin game the majority of the episode. By involving the cast in the event this time, the other girls were allowed to spectate and commentate on Tokaku and Haru playing Suzu’s deadly game rather than being non-existent like every other episode. The assassin-classmates were involved in this episode to a significant degree, adding a fresh and diverse feel to this episode and providing humor, nervousness and energy to the episode that would otherwise be difficult for the three primary characters. Sure, the other girls have been involved in previous episodes, but nothing to this level and never when someone was trying to assassinate Haru. Involving the cast like this made this episode the most enjoyable thus far and I hope to see future episode incorporate the cast like this during more of these events. That and more swimsuits, please.

akuma_no_riddle-07-suzu-assassin-highlander-eternal_youth-swimsuit-locker_room akuma_no_riddle-07-tokaku-assassin-swimsuit-sports_bikini-mystery-game

 

Hitsugi no Chaika (Episode 6)

hitsugi_no_chaika-06-frederica-dragoon-diguise-human-blonde-fun-hyperFrederica should be around more. Not only is she the first character in Hitsugi no Chaika to possess an amusing and delightful personality, but she’s also arguably the strongest fighter in Chaika’s gang of misfits. She has the ability to fly, making travel or escape much easier, and is the only one around to question whether Chaika, Tooru and Akari are doing the right thing or not. Having her around would make the adventures of Chaika much easier, too, especially with her ability to transform herself into anything she wants, whether it be another human, a cat, or her natural dragoon form. But really, think about having her disguise herself as someone important and steal the remains every time. It’d be too easy, really. And maybe that’s why we don’t see her around as much. Perhaps having Frederica around all the time would make the anime too easy (it wouldn’t be fun to watch Frederica do everything) or too dumb (if Frederica were around too much and wasn’t doing anything, she’d be underutilized). So maybe having Frederica pop in and out is the best use of her overpowered character in this anime. Then again, she still should be around more since she’s the only fun character in this anime.

hitsugi_no_chaika-06-frederica-tooru-dragoon-human-upside_down-comedy-fun hitsugi_no_chaika-06-chaika_bohdan-chaika_trabant-red_chaika-white_chaika-twins-clones-family-similar-rivals

 

Isshuukan Friends (Episode 6)

isshuukan_friends-06-shiho-mother-smile-warm-gentle-tender-benevolent-blush-awesomeIt’s a shame parents aren’t around more often in anime since mothers are frequently the best characters in the shows they appear in. For example, Kaori’s mother, Shiho Fujimiya, fits this archetype very well, being compassionate to her daughter and charitable to her new friends. Her benevolent personality shined brightly and she was able to have a positive effect and lasting impression on Yuuki, Shougo and Saki. Furthermore, she was able to disclose valuable information about Kaori to Yuuki in hopes that he continues to make her daughter’s life better. She already knows very well about how he has positively influenced Kaori’s life through encouragement and persistence and wants to help him continue by helping him understand more about her daughter and her special condition. And let’s not forget Shiho’s tender and gentle smile. Her genuine affection and honest devotion make her one of the best characters in this anime, if not the best, and I can only hope we continue to see her character in this anime as the series continues.

isshuukan_friends-06-kaori-yuuki-saki-shougo-friendship-conversation-happy-calm isshuukan_friends-06-kaori-smile-happy-laughter-progress

 

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders (Episode 7)

jojos_bizarre_adventure_stardust_crusaders-07-jotaro-angry-annoyed-irritated-yare_yare_daze-good_griefJotaro’s catchphrase of ‘yare yare daze’ can be translated and understood a number of different ways. It’s an expression of mild exhaustion, irritation, or disappointment and can even be used to express relief, similar to a sigh. When translating it into words, it can come out as ‘give me a break…’ or ‘how annoying…’ or even ‘good grief…’. All are correct… but some are more sensible than others. ‘Good grief…’, for example, is the unmistakable catchphrase of Charlie Brown, so by translating ‘yare yare daze’ as ‘good grief…’, we have the unintended consequences of seeing bits of Charlie Brown in Jotaro. Then again, there are potential issues with the other translations, too. If Jotaro’s catchphrase were ‘give me a break…’, we might expect him to break out into Kit Kat’s famous jingle. And constantly reading ‘how annoying…’ would get pretty annoying, too, you know? And just replacing ‘yare yare daze’ with *sigh* would be slightly awkward too, because Jotaro sighs a lot already, sometimes right before saying ‘yare yare daze’ (imagine that, two *sighs* in a row). So really, there is no exact or true translation for ‘yare yare daze’, especially when many of the translations for this expression have established uses or fame in English already. However, if you wanted to use a translation that was free from those potential issues, then something like ‘what a pain…’ would probably be the best.

jojos_bizarre_adventure_stardust_crusaders-07-hierophant_green-stand jojos_bizarre_adventure_stardust_crusaders-07-ann-runaway-rebel-surprised

 

No Game No Life (Episode 6)

no_game_no_life-06-jibril-flugel-angel-wings-drool-excited-comedy-cuteThe games are flawed in No Game No Life. Like, severely flawed. But rather than document the inconsistencies and arbitrary developments in the game this week, like I did with the review for last week, I will find another topic that relates to this episode. Specifically, what game could you choose and have an easy time beating Sora and Shiro?

Considering what we know, of their impressive supremacy and unbeaten streak, you’d figure it’d be nearly impossible to find a game where you’d have any type of advantage over them. In fact, the anime portrays them as unbeatable in all types of games and, after what we’ve seen, it seems to be true. But really, it’s quite simple to think of a game where you could be Sora and Shiro, and I’m sure anyone who has thought about this question for a little bit has a few ideas. To me, the simplest game to easily beat them in would be a foot race. It could be 100 meters, 400 meters, a mile or anything. Given that the two are hardcore otaku who never venture outside and spend all day sitting around, the idea of a simple foot race as a game is one where the median population would hold the advantage over Sora and Shiro. Additionally, it’s difficult to cheat or hold different interpretations to subjective rules in track, so there’s little they can do with their intellect and knowledge to gain advantage. Or if you wanted, you could really choose any sport or anything with considerable physical activity to win. The reason why we’ve seen Sora and Shiro be undefeated in No Game No Life is that all the games they’ve played have had zero to minimal physical involvement. And even if they know the ideal way to throw a discus, to shot a basketball, to hit a baseball, to do the front crawl or how to sprint, their bodies would be unable to handle the demand and victory would be guaranteed for the opposing party. Of course, the anime loves to introduce silly gimmicks to these games, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see something similar occur in this anime if sports are introduced. Still, the easiest way to beat Sora and Shiro, and probably the greatest chance of success too, would be to race them.

no_game_no_life-06-jibril-flugel-angel-wings-happy-hyper-fun-cute no_game_no_life-06-stephanie-dog_ears-pout-frustrated-looking_away-cute

 

Ping Pong the Animation (Episode 6)

ping_pong_the_animation-06-hoshino-sakuma-peco-akuma-beach-moon-night-glasses-dramatic-multiple_frames-cinematographyThis episode of Ping Pong was particularly happy – unusually happy, even – watching everyone spend their time around Christmas differently and enjoying it in their own unique ways. The cheerful mood was augmented by the jovial music and laughter, and the absence of table tennis matches helped aid in this special atmosphere. However, the attitude and humor of this episode made me realize that most episode of Ping Pong aren’t happy ones. This episode was such a dramatic shift from the norm that I began to realize what the rest of the series was about. Rather than being a story of growth and happiness and accomplishment, the series is quite the opposite with most of the anime concentrating and focusing on the stress, disillusion and melancholy associated with playing competitive ping pong. I suppose it shouldn’t be terribly surprising considering the content and developments of the previous episode, but I never consciously thought that this was a dark or depressing anime. I came to the conclusion early on that this anime was realistic but never to the point that it was an unhappy one. However, after watching a happy episode and realizing how well it contrasts the rest of the series, I can’t help but figure that this anime is supposed to be some level of depressing. However, considering how powerful and outstanding the anime is, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was refreshing to have an episode like this change the pace of the anime and offer some new perspective, like a one week vacation. However, the best elements of this anime are related to the competitiveness born through the table tennis matches. I can’t wait until the next episode when the anime returns to what it does best.

ping_pong_the_animation-06-tsukimoto-smile-serve-paddle-table_tennis ping_pong_the_animation-06-hoshino-peco-determined-serious

 

Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin (Episode 6)

ryuugajou_nanana_no_maizoukin-06-yuu-surprised-shocked-best_expressions-emotional-funny-comedyYou know what’d make every puzzle in Nanana simple and effortless? Using a rope and grappling hook. Imagine that. Throw the grappling hook to the other side, tie the other end to something and just climb across. Ta-dah! Puzzle completed without having to waste time or energy thinking or doing anything. Oh, what’s this? A geyser puzzle with hot water and pillars that move around and spray water up your skirts? How will we get through this? Rope and grappling hook. Or what about this weird desk room with trap floors and whatnot. Rope and grappling hook. Or any other treasures that we’re bound to see. Again, rope and grappling hook. I mean, seriously, why not?

ryuugajou_nanana_no_maizoukin-06-tensai-master_detective-genius-wet-unhappy-straightface-detective_hat ryuugajou_nanana_no_maizoukin-06-daruku-trap-happy-tan_skin

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  1. #1 by Joojoobees on May 25, 2014 - 4:56 PM

    I hadn’t really thought of Ping Pong in terms of “happy” or “unhappy”. I agree the show is more realistic, which I suppose means that reality is more “unhappy”, I suppose. In some ways the most depressing the thing about the show is the way the adults are presented. Few of them are happy with where they ended up. And since all the kids will grow up to be adults, there is very little hope in the show.

    • #2 by avvesione on May 25, 2014 - 5:42 PM

      I hadn’t really thought of the anime as “happy” or “unhappy” either until this episode, but the idea came to me when I realized how happy this episode was and that it was different from all the rest. I’m not sure if the anime is intended to be “unhappy” as much as it is realistic, but when you see Tsukimoto’s struggles, Hoshino’s struggles, Kong’s struggles… just everyone is going through one problem or another. Combine that with their attitudes and the anime paints a pretty bleak picture on the situation. Then again, you have some bright moments like this and in episode 7, so it’s not completely unhappy. But, for the most part, it is unhappy.

  2. #3 by gedata on May 25, 2014 - 7:09 PM

    “What a pain” is not only the best translation, it’s the one used in the the OVA dub too. Viz’s translation went with “give me a f$3&ing break”. With that kind of rude tone it never really reminded me of those Kit Kat commercials.

    Also, I don’t really care for Frederica much, she doesn’t seem to have much emotional stake in what’s going on and only seems to be around to make occasional quips at Toru and bail the gang of trouble.

    • #4 by avvesione on May 25, 2014 - 10:09 PM

      Honestly, any of the translations are fine, but most of them have other context to them that distracts me a bit when watching JoJo’s. That being said, ‘what a pain’ is probably my favorite and I’m glad to hear they used it in the OVA dub (haven’t watched it).

      As for Frederica, I think I like her the best because she doesn’t have that emotional tie with Chaika or Tooru and is just following along for the hell of it. I’m not one to really get emotionally invested in stories or characters, which is probably why I value Frederica more than everyone else at this point. But I understand what you said and agree that they only use her when she must be absolutely necessary since everyone else has a meaning in the story at this point.

  3. #5 by LGM on May 25, 2014 - 11:02 PM

    No Game No Life =
    The games are severely flawed in No Game No Life? How? I actually read the LN before so if they cut out something that makes the game flawed I might have missed it.

    For example, few things they cut out; Sora & Shiro actually planned a few route (around 20) to makes sure they get the end result of a hyper nova.

    Jibril didn’t decide to plead her devotion to Shiro because he’s awesome or whatever, but because he want to challenge the one true God Tet who taken away the only reason her race to exist – to kill. Which she remind us the reader again & again that Tet “that cheating little shit” only won the war by default since all other gods died in the war.

    • #6 by LGM on May 25, 2014 - 11:35 PM

      About the foot race, good deduction there. That actually somewhat came up later in the story.

      In term of story, it makes sense no one thought of that though because;

      – All other nations probably still think the ‘blank’ is back by a superior power. Now more then ever since they are follow by an angel of death like a watchdog.

      A simple foot race against an opponent that best case scenario back by either the elves or the ware beasts, worst case scenario back by someone higher in the rankings. Sounds a little too risky.

      – Since the ‘blank’ aren’t challenging any humans anytime soon they choose the game & really their appearances aren’t screaming weak physical.

      – & Steph is… well, Steph.

      • #7 by avvesione on June 20, 2014 - 1:50 AM

        Sorry for the tardiness of these replies.

        In regards to the game being flawed, I mean that the rules are applied liberally and utilized to make sure Sora and Shiro win. I mentioned some aspects of the blackjack game there were used that are not always true, like winning 2.5x the bet back on a natural blackjack when a majority of casinos award 1.5x. And if they were playing casino rules, Steph should’ve been using a sleeve of 8 or so decks or reshuffled cards into her deck after each round. With the game against Jibril, there were issues with the definitions of the words. The one I had trouble with was the issue of “air”/”oxygen” and written text toward the end, but it’s not really all that important. Still, thanks for mentioning the LNs and what was cut out of the anime.

        And yeah, figured someone would bring up a footrace sooner or later since it’s nearly impossible to cheat at that without others noticing, especially if one race is faster than the others.

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