Summer 2014 – Week 5 Anime Review

zankyou_no_terror-04-computer_program_girl-congratulations-anime_mascot-chibi-purple_hair-twintails-I am terrible at staying up to date with these posts, but whatever. Back during Week 5: concerns with the directing and storytelling in Tokyo Ghoul, considering the depth and complexity of Hanayamata despite its appearance, curiosity about the different perspectives in Yama no Susume Second Season, and wondering all the other things you could do with a Stand in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders.

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

Anime trending up this week: Hanayamata

Anime trending down this week: Tokyo Ghoul

 

Akame ga Kill! (Episode 5)

akame_ga_kill-05-bulat-night_raid-muscles-flex-happy-comedy-nakedI’m not sure if Akame ga Kill! is the most shounen anime ever, but it’s the most shounen anime that I’ve ever watched. Everything from the character archetypes to the secret assassination organization to the forgotten story lines (when was the last time Tatsumi thought about his village and how he wants to save it?) to the unrealistic villains and especially to the overly dramatized and unmemorable fights, Akame ga Kill! embodies every shounen stereotypes like they’re collectables or antiques or something. And though I often decry anime for being “too shounen” (look no further than Tokyo Ghoul), there’s some entertainment and enjoyment from watching an anime that’s this shounen.

akame_ga_kill-05-tatsumi-night_raid-comedy-armor-training-shounen_hero akame_ga_kill-05-sheele-night_raid-no_glasses-cute-purple

 

Aldnoah.Zero (Episode 5)

aldnoah_zero-05-vlad-kataphract_argyre-vers-martian-knight-mecha-beam_sword-katanaWe know that Mars doesn’t have liquid water now and, judging from the recent battles in Aldnoah.Zero, Mars doesn’t have liquid water in the future either. If the red planet did have water, then you’d figure the engineers and machinists who developed these mecha would have designed these robots to survive in water and be adequate in aquatic combat. But no, they’re completely awful when in the water. Water is the one true weakness for Martian technology as it has proved twice in being the debilitating flaw against the supreme mecha that are otherwise impenetrable. You’d figure that when planning to invade Earth, a planet that’s blue for a reason, that they’d figure ways to prevent these liabilities from occurring, such as having an automatic shut-down for the beam sword when it’s engulfed by water. But no, apparently, they missed that slightly important detail and are now down two mecha as a result. Don’t be surprised to see water make a return later in Aldnoah.Zero as it has twice proven essential for the Inaho and the Earthlings to defeat these awesome robots.

aldnoah_zero-05-asseylum-vers-martian-princess-naive-curious-blonde-blue_eyes-beautiful aldnoah_zero-05-saazbaum-vers-count-knight-thinking-conspiracy

 

Glasslip (Episode 5)

glasslip-05-touko-blush-romanceP.A. Works often features a singular, yet distinctive animation style with comparable character designs and background art. It has helped create an image for the studio based on detailed and vivid landscapes and cute moe girls who make cute moe expressions. If you need examples, take a look at Angel Beats!, Hanasaku Iroha, Another, Tari Tari, Red Data Girl, Nagi no Asukara, or even the promotional material for their next anime, Shirobako. P.A. Works is virtually defined by this visual style, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you enjoy the design. That being said, I think I’m starting to find myself growing tolerant or bored with the style. Glasslip is the eighth anime I’ve watched from P.A. Works, and the unique visual style of P.A. Works is becoming more commonplace and less characteristic with each new anime. When watching shows like Hanasaku Iroha or Tari Tari, the visual appeal was real since it was new, fresh and original. Now, I can’t necessarily say the same, especially when there’s only one new innovative technique on display in Glasslip. That isn’t to say that I will stop watching anime from P.A. Works since I don’t enjoy the style as much anymore, but I do feel that having the name P.A. Works attached to an anime won’t make it special anymore.

glasslip-05-touko-serious-stare-cute glasslip-05-touko-surprised-shocked-reaction-cute

 

Hanayamata (Episode 4)

hanayamata-04-naru-tami-friendship-umbrella-rain-dramatic-deep-complex-characterizationHanayamata is probably the deepest anime about cute girls doing cute things. While the genre is typically shallow, focusing on mundane comedy and everyday slice-of-life adventures, Hanayamata includes a narrative about each of its characters and the issues in their lives. Hanayamata isn’t groundbreaking or philosophical, but the anime has solid characterization and splendid writing to bring out genuine reflections and introspection. Tami’s realization that her time is better spent smiling with friends than smiling alone is an outstanding example of how Hanayamata features complexities that seem foreign to a show of this style and this story. Hopefully the anime will continue this trend and allow the characters to grow as the story continues, especially for Tami, Yaya and Naru who all are making progress, but are nowhere near done maturing as characters.

hanayamata-04-hana-naru-yosakoi_dance-naruko-clappers-pose-practice-training hanayamata-04-hana-machi-chibi-comedy-angry-yelling-sweat_drop-imagination

 

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders (Episode 18)

jojos_bizarre_adventure_stardust_crusaders-18-joseph_joestar-polnareff-jotaro_kujo-kakyoin-arabia-smile-comedyOh, just think of all the things you could do with the Sun if you had that Stand. Imagine starting your own solar power company and using the Sun to generate massive amounts of energy, able to make millions and solve the world’s energy crises. Imagine using the Sun to ward off deadly winter storms, by using heat to dissipate storm clouds or melting snow and ice in the aftermath. Imagine using the Sun as a means to light areas at night when light is necessary, such as in search-and-rescue situations where rescuers need to cover an extensive stretch of geography or accelerating the growth of plants by providing continuous energy for photosynthesis. Or even using the Sun as a source of entertainment, allowing summertime or sunlight activities to continue into the winter or into the evening. Imagine all the things you could do better with the Sun than becoming an assassin. Or think of all the other things you could do with these Stands than fight each other. Just think.

jojos_bizarre_adventure_stardust_crusaders-18-the_sun-stand jojos_bizarre_adventure_stardust_crusaders-18-jotaro-kujo-serious-deadpan-heat-hot-sweat

 

Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? (Episode 4)

rokujouma_no_shinryakusha-04-shizuka-kiriha-koutarou-ruth-theia-yurika-karama-korama-gloom-dread-disappointment-the_scream-comedyWhatever happened to the archeology/excavation subplot? Remember back in the first episode when Koutarou was working at that dig site, fell into a mysterious underground passage, activated some statue who turned into a multicolored hair goddess and… and then this chaos at the apartment happened? Has Koutarou not mentioned that to anyone? Has he already forgotten what happened soon after he moved into his new home? Have the viewers or the production team forgotten about that, too? I’m kinda curious to see what comes of that since it was the first significant detail of the story of Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? and something obviously meaningful to Koutaoru and his story. However, since the anime doesn’t seem to be too concerned with itself at this point, I’m guessing they’ll save those details for the very end and use it as a way to conclude this first season of Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?

rokujouma_no_shinryakusha-04-harumi_sakuraba-sundress-parasol-beach-beautiful-romance rokujouma_no_shinryakusha-04-kiriha-ruth-sanae-theia-yurika-shizuka-angry-smile-comedy-bikini-swimsuit

 

Sword Art Online II (Episode 5)

sword_art_online_2-05-kirito-ggo-feminine-long_hairIsn’t it ironic that Kirito was saving the lives of everyone in SAO and is now murdering everyone in PvP in GGO? Well, you could argue that Kirito needs to fight against the masses in order to save people from DeathGun (in turn, saving the lives of everyone in GGO), but it’s amusing to see how different the situations are between the games.

sword_art_online_2-05-shino-ggo-sinon sword_art_online_2-05-deathgun-ggo-villain-mask-red_eyes-skull

 

Tokyo ESP (Episode 4)

tokyo_esp-04-rinka-intangibility-phasing-bullet-white_hair-psychic_powersHow selective is Rinka’s intangibility/phasing ability? From what we’ve learned, Rinka is able to move effortlessly through solid objects and even allow weapons like bullets and swords to pass through her. We’ve also learned the only matter that she can’t go through is other people, such as when someone is punching her. But how much control does she have over her ability? At first, we saw her sinking through the floor of her apartment, which is consistent with her ability? How come this doesn’t happen to her all the time? And what about her clothes or objects that she’s holding? Shouldn’t all her clothes fall off every time she activates her ability? And whatever she’s holding, shouldn’t that fall out of her hands, too? Maybe the question will arise later in the series when the antagonists try to fight against Rinka and use her ability against her, but for now, these are simple questions that will likely go unanswered since they’re not relevant to the story.

tokyo_esp-04-peggy-flying_penguin-the_collector tokyo_esp-04-kobushi-stone-snakes

 

Tokyo Ghoul (Episode 5)

tokyo_ghoul-05-touka-ghoul-black_red_eyes-blood-transformation-fightingThere are too many jumps in the content and story of Tokyo Ghoul. Not only does it feel like scenes have been dropped entirely, such as the transition between episode 4 and episode 5, but flashbacks and parallel scenes have been placed at questionable times, such as the one documenting Nishiki’s backstory. This style of directing has become such a problem that it is having a significant and negative impact on the storytelling. The narrative bounces back-and-forth between these scenes, creating a lull or valley or pausing the present, like the one during the battle sequence with Tsukiyama. Yes, the content from that flashback was necessary for the story and character, but was it right to place it in the middle of the fight? Was it imperative to include it there and not to fragment the scenes to build up to something or recall Nishiki’s past at the end of the battle? One way to grade an anime adaptation from a manga or other source is in how it fits material in an episode appropriately. Since the mediums are entirely different, adapting a manga without accounting for these modifications can lead to some awkward scenes as the methods may work better in one medium and not in the other. Situations like these are where I find legitimate criticisms with Tokyo Ghoul, rather than the normal bitching and moaning that this isn’t the anime for me. I am curious to see if this situation improves as the anime continues or if we’ll see a rush of material toward the end… or even worse, an anime original ending.

tokyo_ghoul-05-touka-ghoul-hair_covering_one_eye-panic-looking_back tokyo_ghoul-05-tsukiyama-ghoul-gourmet-mm-black_red_eyes

 

Yama no Susume Second Season (Episode 4)

yama_no_susume_2-04-aoi-hinata-kokona-kaede-train-sunset-happy-friendshipYama no Susume has exclusively been told through the eyes of novice mountaineer, Aoi Yukimura. Every episode has been an adventure where we learn about mountaineering through her eyes and her experiences. We follow her every step and every event through her perspective. In that sense, the anime is able to educate its viewers about mountaineering and allowing novice mountain climbers to experience these events through someone they can relate with. However, with three other characters always around Aoi, you can’t help but wonder if we’ll ever see the anime through their perspectives. Each character brings something different to Yama no Susume, and it would be very beneficial to see the anime through the eyes of someone experiences like Kaede or someone who takes greater pleasure in nature and the environment, like Kokona. We do earn some glimpses of their perspective when the other girls offer advice or recommendations to Aoi, but we rarely venture inside their head to see what they’re thinking, how they’re enjoying the mountain climbing or what their experiences are like. With the anime ending in December, we have plenty of time for the anime to explore the different perspectives for all the characters, though it’s a question of whether the anime wants to part with Aoi’s mind when the anime has been so successful with her as the sole protagonist.

yama_no_susume_2-04-aoi-mt_fuji-view-mt_mitsutoge_summit-success-victory-scenery-landscape-summer yama_no_susume_2-04-aoi-tired-stiff-crying-cute

 

Zankyou no Terror (Episode 4)

zankyou_no_terror-04-computer_program_girl-what's_a_shame-engrish-failure-otaku_mascot-purple_hair-twintailsAre there too many riddles in Zankyou no Terror? Why do the police insist on continuing to solve the riddles, and only these riddles, and not try to stop the terrorists themselves? All we’ve seen the police do in this anime is contemplate the answers to various questions. There has been little to no action elsewhere, even in sensible areas such as expanding the force, increasing presence and surveillance or even enlisting the help of other agencies to track the terrorists down. It’s like they’re treating the symptoms but failing to address the underlying disease. Maybe soon we’ll see the tactics of the police change as the series is reaching its midway point since I doubt the series will sustain itself on mysteries and riddles alone.

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  1. #1 by heartstm on August 19, 2014 - 5:46 AM

    Not to spoil too much, but once you get caught up on Yama no Susume you’ll be treated with a nice Hinata-centered episode. It was a bit divisive in the reviews I’ve read but I personally liked it for the same reason you might.

    I’m also glad you’re appreciating how sophisticated Hanayamata is. It’s got a lot going on.

    And if I had to guess, the main reason you’re disliking Glasslip isn’t because you’re tired of PA Works, it’s just because Glasslip isn’t very good.

    • #2 by avvesione on August 27, 2014 - 10:49 AM

      Right, I’m actually caught up on Yama no Susume, but the topic I jotted down after watching episode 4 was on this topic, so I wrote it from that perspective despite knowing the Hinata episode was next. That’s the problem with being up to date on anime but being very late on blog posts.

      As for Glasslip, I like the anime. It’s not the best PA Works anime but I am enjoying the characters and its themes. The problem is that I’ve lost my appeal for PA Works and its visual style. It’s not new or sexy or exciting anymore. It’s just something I expect to see every season now, except for the one season they did Uchouten Kazoku.

  2. #3 by Anime 1000 on August 23, 2014 - 11:13 PM

    Thanks for the Review. You have give me a lot of info. I hope you do not stop at Summer 2014 – Week 5 Review :)

    • #4 by avvesione on August 27, 2014 - 10:50 AM

      I don’t plan to stop anytime soon, but I am always late on everything I write.

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