Chihayafuru (Episode 6) – The addition of Kanade to Chihayafuru helped rejuvenate the series for me by bringing a new and different passion of karuta to the anime. Kanade’s sincere love for traditional Japanese clothing (kimonos and hamaka) and Japanese history (specifically literature) reveals a completely unknown side of karuta to both Chihaya and us, one which explains the meanings behind the poems and their histories. This really revitalized the anime for me because it shows that there is more to karuta than just memorizing poems and slapping cards at lightening speeds. There are people out there who see the game differently and I’m happy the series is taking a broader approach to karuta than just a game. I doubt Kana will ever be an expert at the game but I’m still excited to see what she how she can fulfill her love for Japanese clothing, appreciate karuta, and enjoy time with her new friends.
Future Diary (Mirai Nikki) (Episode 5) – I’m not sure if I understand this correctly but are we supposed to feel sympathy for these characters? The past few episodes have greatly expanded Tsubaki’s (Sixth) and Yomotsu’s (Twelfth) characters, exposing their depressing pasts and current motives. It’s showing the reasons behind their plans and their actions, which I deeply appreciate the series doing, but it is cast it in such a way that I think the series is trying to make us feel sorry for or at least try to understand these monsters. And we’ve seen Uryuu (Ninth) change completely, too, going from a gruesome and controlling terrorist to a chatty, panty-wearing prisoner. Complete 180 turn in character there, going from something everyone would hate to someone we might feel sorry for. Are we supposed to connect with her now that we’ve seen her in a different light, that she’s not totally evil or corrupted? I’m not sure if that’s what the series is going after but I can’t feel any sympathy toward anyone but Yukiteru. Maybe there will be some other character later on who I change my feelings for, like Yuno or someone, but I don’t respect or feel compassion toward anyone but Yukiteru.
Mawaru Penguindrum (Episode 18) – If there was a prize for most consistently awesome anime this year, then Penguindrum would be the most deserving. The anime operates as such a high level every episode that it’s always enjoyable to watch, especially this episode. I was captivated by the emotions and drama between Tabuki and Kanba and the progress the series makes with each new episode. But I do wonder something. The end is gradually approaching and there is no clear ending in sight. As of this current moment, I have no clue how the series will tie everything together and what the finale will look like. I do know one thing and that is Momoka is the biggest, most central element in Penguindrum. She is above fate, above destiny, and above all the other characters seen so far. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that she is the Penguindrum in the end. Scratch that, she’s likely above that, too.
Persona 4 the Animation (Episode 6) – Wow! An episode with Chie, Naoto, and Aika? I didn’t realize this was gonna be an anime where I’d fall in love with so many girls but I, uh… erm… eh, what? Oh nothing, nothing, please ignore that little bit. Uh, what was I going to talk about? Oh, right.
Persona 4’s comedy has both surprised and charmed me. I’m delighted to see such a strong presence of original comedy in the series, especially with the way the characters play off each other. Yosuke and Chie are phenomenal in the comedy department, especially when they’re together like when they were stalking Kanji, but they are also multi-dimensional and are involved in the central plot revolving around the murder mystery. I actually laughed a few times at Yukiko, too, which I never thought would be the case, and Yuu’s unique personality (bland but not boring) has made for some pretty hilarious moments, too. If it weren’t up against comedy juggernauts this season like Ika Musume or Working!!, then this would be my favorite comedy of the season. But this is giving those two a run which really says something about how much I like Persona’s comedy.
Tamayura ~hitotose~ (Episode 6) – Wasn’t this anime supposed to be about photos and photography? Well, this episode decided to take a few trips back in the time machine and illustrate the origins of Maon’s whistling and how her whistling earned her a lasting friendship. But even in an episode like this that’s about as far from photography as any in the series, I still noticed some elements of photography. The scenery in Tamayura is absolutely breathtaking when it wants to be but not every scene can be like that, otherwise it’d lose some of its magic. Instead, more ordinary backgrounds use some elements of real photos that are blended with the background to make realistic backdrops. I noticed this several times in the anime already but this episode had numerous examples with many of them impressive, especially with the characters moving through some of these elements. I don’t particularly care for photos used in anime but they were doctored in a way that made them feel ‘anime-ish’ (for lack of a better word) and therefore acceptable by my standards. Kinda actually like it in this anime since it’s in such a unique setting that the photos give a new angle or a new texture to the setting that is Tamayura.
The iDOLM@ASTER (Episode 19) – Since starting the anime, I’ve grown to like Takane quite a bit. She’s consistently made me laugh with that abnormal personality of hers. Both her talking and singing voice are pleasing, helping pronounce that elegant yet airhead personality of hers. And I don’t have a problem with her appearance either, actually enjoying her mature, young lady appearance better than the average Idolmaster character. If I had to name faults for Takane, I’d be stumped since there really isn’t anything she does that annoys me or angers me. I’d say that since the anime began, she’s been the best surprise of the cast so far and easily the most improved from my initial impressions of this franchise (I already knew Makoto would be my favorite well before the anime began, so no surprised or improvement there). For what it’s worth, I’ve really grown fond of Chihaya and Haruka, too, and both their character episodes should be coming up shortly. In fact, Chihaya’s second character episode will be next week.
UN-Go (Episode 5) – Ha, take that Shinjurou! You were wrong! And that makes you human, unlike Inga and Kazamori. And that made for a really enjoyable and intriguing episode, too. I am blown away by what Kazamori does and how he interacts with Yuuki and Inga. He can be virtually anywhere he wants like when he transferred himself to the building, allowing him to talk to Yuuki when he was in the men’s room (can’t go in there in a female body Kazamori). And he’s useful to the story, too, like when he rationalized with Yuuki and helped him snap out of his funk or even simple jokes like teasing the boys. And Inga is always impressive, such as when he’s still hungry after consuming the truth or when he was angry at Yuuki. And while the writing in these one-episode mysteries are quickly paced, the writing has been outstanding and they’re able to cram an entire mystery in one episode with little to no wasted time. This anime is becoming more and more remarkable with each episode.
Working’!! (Episode 6) – Did this episode make sense to you? Okay, so let me get this straight, Kyoko can call members of her former gang and get them to work at her restaurant whenever she wants? And for no pay, too? So then why didn’t she do that in the very first episode when Wagnaria was short staffed and they ended hiring Takanashi? She could’ve just called one of her members then and just had them work full-time for no pay and saved the restaurant a bunch of time and money. And at no effort, too (the Kyoko way). Just seems a little inconsistent here with how much effort was put into hiring Takanashi when they had potential workers a speed dial away. Well, we do know Takanashi is a much better employee than Youhei or Mitsuki, so maybe that’s the reason. But if we were only looking for only the best workers, then surely one of them could stay and replace Yamada…