This week: a surprisingly emotional iDOLM@STER episode, the lone person who cares about the truth in UN-Go, and a spotlight on Taichi in Chihayafuru. Oh, and the order of anime in this post has flipped, so now it’s reverse. Yippee!!
Working’!! (Episode 7) – Since I like Inami more now than I ever did during the first season, I’ve begun to notice more and more things about her character. And recently, I began to notice her hairpins whenever they changed. I recall in the first season that Inami has an enormous collection of hairpins but I never really cared for them or noticed all the different styles she wore. But now I look forward to seeing what new hairpin Inami is wearing every day. It’s such a minor and irrelevant detail in the series (was only brought up once in the entire series) but it’s so fun to see what designs she has since no two are ever the same and they are kinda cute. I wonder if there’s a list somewhere with all the hairpins she’s worn to date. If there is, I’d like to see it so I can find my favorite.
UN-Go (Episode 6) – What’s fun about the world of UN-Go is that Rie is the only person who really cares about the truth. Sure, you could include Yuuki in that distinction since he’s the one actively pursuing it each episode and revealing it to the world but he’s content with letting it slide in place of the best option available for the members involved. But Rie is different. She campaigns for the truth and justice. But she doesn’t get very far considering how powerless she is in this world. Nevertheless, she still chases it. As because of her undying and unyielding determination, I’ve grown to like Rie when initially I thought she was a spoiled child who lived in a world of ideals and fantasies. But that really isn’t the case anymore as we have seen her grow as a character and understand her thought process more. I like what Rie brings to the world of UN-Go, being the only one who seeks the truth to be the answer for every mystery.
The iDOLM@ASTER (Episode 20) – I doubted that Idolmaster would have an emotional episode but this one really tugged at the heartstrings and made for an emotional rollercoaster. Over the course of the episode, it went from dark and depressing to heartwarming and cheerful and stopped at many levels between the two extremes. Sure, it was a bit cliché and cheesy near the ending but the emotion and passion behind these scenes was conveyed in a manner I haven’t seen since Ano Hana. I never thought I’d see something of this magnitude from Idolmaster but it pulled it off and quite exceptionally, too. I just wish more of the anime were like this rather than standard otaku fodder but then it probably wouldn’t be doing as well with it dedicated fanbase and target audience. But the series has greatly improved this past month with episodes 17 (Makoto), 19 (Takane), and 20 (Chihaya and Haruka). Probably because the emotion that Idolmaster brings in these episodes feels more authentic than artificial and I appreciate that effort by the staff to do that in this anime. Also, a bonus image of Makoto happily eating a donut. I couldn’t omit such an adorable screenshot this week, even if I tried.
Tamayura ~hitotose~ (Episode 7) – I’ve mentioned those split screen scenes in the past as part of some other posts but now it’s time to focus on just that. Whenever the four girls doing something simultaneously, be it eating delicious foods or drawing on old cloth, Tamayura uses split screens to show each one taking a different approach to the same activity. What really works in those scenes are all the details showing how each girl approaches each thing differently or showing their expressions all at the same time. I really like how the series preserves the individuality of each girl when they all do the same thing together rather than having them all work exactly the same like assembly-line parts designed to do only one specific task. And it’s extra effort for the staff, too, since they need to animate four shots differently rather than just one big shot. It’s a minor detail that goes a long way in making Tamayura enjoyable.
Persona 4 the Animation (Episode 7) – I didn’t think that Persona 4 would ever be this funny but I haven’t laughed this hard at an episodes in a long, long time. And yes, that includes recent anime like Ika Musume, Working’!!, Nichijou, BakaTest, Nekogami, and many more. There’s just something about the comedy in this anime that just works. Sure, I don’t have as many laughs as the anime noted above but whenever I laugh during Persona 4, it’s usually harder than normal. And what makes it even better is this isn’t a straight comedy either but more a mystery or action anime than anything. That just goes to show how awesome the comedy is in Persona 4, that even though it’s not the main genre of the anime that it can still beat out some of my favorite comedies in terms of how good the laughs are. That’s not to say that this is my favorite comedy of the year since there are more factors than just that but I will say it is among one of my favorites. And yes, that’s even if the series goes serious for the next 18 or so episodes.
Mawaru Penguindrum (Episode 19) – Whatever happened to the Seizon Senryaku? Probably the most memorable characteristic of this anime has been lost to the recent drama and developments as the series has become almost entirely serious without any bizarre or comical moments for miles. Can’t say I’m disappointed with all these twists and exciting plot details but I do miss one of my favorite moments from the series. Is there a reason behind the sudden disappearance of the transformation sequence or even the hat in general? And what exactly is its connection to Momoka’s diary (what it calls the Penguindrum) and to Sanetoshi, the architect behind everything? Well, it will need to reappear soon in order to explain this connection and exactly what’s going on with Mario, so it’s not like it’s gone forever. But without it the past few episodes, it might as well feel like forever.
Future Diary (Mirai Nikki) (Episode 6) – My random tangent this week for Future Diary is that scene where Yuno found Yukiteru’s dirty magazines under his bed. I love that cliché in anime whenever the girl finds that stuff in a guy’s room and it always turn out to be magazines of girls in bikinis or something incredibly tame yet they always overreact. Seriously, it’s just girls in bikinis. It’s not a big deal or anything. Why do they have to act like he’s a raging pervert or a deviant or whatever? It’s perfectly natural for a teenager to have something like that, but yet the women always act like they’re criminals over something so minor. I could relate it if it was something hardcore but it’s was just bikinis, something you could find dozens of in any supermarket or convenience store. Hell, I wonder what they’d do to him if he watched an episode of Ika Musume or something. I don’t understand it but it always makes me laugh whenever the characters act like it’s a big deal over something so stupid. Oh and later in the episode Yuno eagerly asks if Yuki is going to sneak into her bed during the night. Heh. “What? You pleasure yourself to girls in bikinis? How immoral, you hentai!! Btw, let’s have sex.” I laughed pretty hard when she asked that.
Chihayafuru (Episode 7) – It was nice to see Taichi get the spotlight this episode. I’ve been ready to learn more about his character since up to this point he’s just been following Chihaya around like an excited puppy dog. We finally got some explanation and substance to his thoughts and actions but what was really great was how he went out of his way to help Chihaya’s karuta club. It was a selfless act by Taichi that really doesn’t benefit him at all but he did it anyway to help Chihaya realize her goal. Up until this point, I figured he was just apathetic toward everyone else around him and against anyone that’d threaten his time with Chihaya but this showed otherwise. And as a result, I like Taichi more than ever before. And it was awesome to see Taichi win a game of karuta since we really haven’t seen him ever win a game before (besides some insignificant games when he was a child). I hope to see more of him but I figure the series will go back to Chihaya and someone else next episode to complete the karuta club.