Working’!! (Episode 8) – Inami isn’t the only character I’ve grown to like since this new season of Working!! began. Yamada was another character I never really cared for during the first season, largely for two reasons. One is that she showed up in the latter half of the first season and was featured quite a bit, taking away from other characters like Sato and Soma. Second, her jokes were pretty meh and it felt like they were just trying to make her cute rather than funny which turned me off of her character. This season, however, has had a bunch of jokes played off her that have resulted in some pretty hard laughs. It’s fun to see how everyone finds her annoying and no one cares to really help her (except Taneshima) when she wants it. I find it hilarious how they treat her and how she always disappoints in her activities. I think Yamada was the final major character of Working!! that I did not enjoy meaning that the entire cast is now in the positive. Certainly helps a comedy when you like every character, doesn’t it?
UN-Go (Episode 7) – Yuuki has earned a few monikers as a young but brilliant detective. “The Defeated Detective” and “The Last Great Detective” are the two most common titles he’s been given which tell two very different stories of our protagonist. But to me, they also tell the story of this anime. The public calls Yuuki ‘defeated’ since his deductions are never ‘correct’ when in reality he has actually performed exceptionally and achieved many accomplishments. I feel this anime is the most underrated and underappreciated this season, largely due to the lack of discussion on it when it has been marvelous from about the third episode forward. It’s fitting to give this anime the title “The Defeated Anime” although I’ll admit it’s extreme at this point. As for the other one, by no means is this “The Last Great Anime” but something more along the lines of “The Last Great noitaminA Anime”. With the timeslot moving away from its original purpose and demographics, this kind of feels like the last ‘noitaminA-ish’ anime given its characters, storytelling, and originality. If the noitaminA timeslot does change over the next year or so, then this might be the last to embody its original spirit and message of unique anime with a focus on stories and characters that the general or casual audience can enjoy. It’s a stretch to apply those two labels from Yuuki onto the anime in general but they are close enough to how I felt about the anime, especially after this intriguing episode.
The iDOLM@ASTER (Episode 21) – Kotori is the secretary for 765 Production who is often is in the background keeping the business running without partaking in any of the flashy or rewarding aspects like singing or managing. She’s never really had a chance to shine during the anime, which is understandable when you have over a dozen main characters who all have adoring fans. But this episode had other plans and used it to show another side of Kotori: her passion for singing. What a pleasant surprise that was. And what makes it even better is Kotori has a beautiful voice (and a nice body, too). In fact, she’s better than most of the idols in my humble opinion but there must be reasons why she isn’t an idol. It was great of the series to have something like this for such a minor character and I’m glad we saw Kotori in the spotlight for once. After all, she supports everyone in their goals and dreams and never gets to share her own with the others. It’s too bad she never gets any recognition or praise for what she does and I see she’s still not really respected by the series since everyone talk over her only performance. Still, I’m glad we had an opportunity to see her do something she loves for herself.
Tamayura ~hitotose~ (Episode 8) – The ticket with no destination is a beautiful metaphor for some of the themes in this anime but I can’t help but wonder if it applies to the anime itself, too. I’m not sure where Tamayura is going, especially with Fu’s photography being a bit… underdeveloped (haha) at this point. At this point it seems like it’s a complete slice-of-life anime with no real direction or progress being made in terms of a story. The characters are maturing just fine but I’m never sure what they’re going to do or what will happen when they do it. Every episode seems random and disjointed like the series has no idea where it wants to go and is sampling everything along the way. And just like the ticket with no destination, the anime isn’t sure where it wants to be when its journey is over. Does it want to remain a slice-of-life or does it want something more from its rich cast and to tell a story of growth, understanding, and friendship? Maybe we’ll find out soon.
Persona 4 the Animation (Episode 8) – All the characters in Persona have been great in both contributing to the story and to the comedy. But Yuu might trump them all in both categories. His stoic expression has been an absolute killer in some scenes. His indifferent delivery in some jokes, such as on the phone with Yosuke after watching Kanji’s Midnight Channel and again in the tent with Kanji and Yosuke, are beyond hysterical, too. And given his personality of being passive yet heroic feels contradictory to some of the things he’s said and does, especially in the past two episodes. I pretty much love every character I’ve seen in Persona so far but Yuu might be my favorite given what he’s done for the story and how he’s made me laugh. It’s amazing how delightful the cast of this anime is while still carrying out a serious murder mystery, too.
Mawaru Penguindrum (Episode 20) – I know we’re not supposed to like Kenzan Takakura, the father of the family and mastermind behind the much of the misfortune in the series, but I just can’t hate him. What silly reason do I have to justify such a preference? Well, it’s largely because he’s voiced by Takehito Koyasu and I don’t think I can hate any character he’s given his voice to. Had it been some other voice actor skilled in villainous male characters then yeah, I’d probably hate Kenzan for what he’s done. But when I hear his voice as it is in the anime, I can’t develop feelings against his character or any character of his for that matter. It might be a lame reason for me to view a character’s development irregularly but that’s how I see it and how I’ll probably always see it. Maybe sometime near the end when Kenzan is explained more I’ll begin to dislike him but right now, even after all that has happened in the series, I retain positive feelings to Kenzan. And all because of his voice.
Future Diary (Mirai Nikki) (Episode 7) – I’m not sure whether to give Future Diary credit or not for the way it used poison in this episode. I am overjoyed to see a series name a poison it’s about to use instead of something generic like “poison” or a skull with crossbones. But really, methotrexate, that’s what you’re going to use? I’d love to find out why the author selected that since there are so many better ones out there. Methotrexate is a medication I see every day at work and one of the most universally used chemotherapy drugs out there. I fail to see how that would’ve been effective as a poison in such a dose and, had Yuki bitten into the cherry tomato, the bitter taste would’ve caused him to spit it out and wonder what’s wrong, effectively preventing any absorption of the “poison”. I would’ve liked that better than seeing Yuno be suspicious about the weight of the tomato and stopping Yuki before a bite. (I realize she read her diary before and knew what to expect but saying because of the weight? If Rei was as intelligent as we’re supposed to assume, I figured he would’ve taken out a specific amount of tomato juice and replaced it with methotrexate to avoid any suspicion.) But still, the series named a poison but unfortunately, it’s something I’m quite familiar with. I guess it’ll get points for that. Plus, it didn’t piss me off as much as the latter poison gas scene which I’m not even going to get started on. That was not a good use of poison at all.
Chihayafuru (Episode 8) – Now that the club finally has enough members to become official, it’s about time we take a closer look at the new characters and their roles in the story and in the club. Strictly from a karuta standpoint, Nishida seems like the only elite player while Kanade and Tsutomu are mere novices. It’ll be a while before those two are a factor in any karuta matches and we have yet to see either actually play a game. But with enough practice and training from these skilled players, they may turn out to be impressive players before the end of the anime. From a story standpoint, none really jumps out as a strong or decisive character that will be an influential role in the story. Part of that may be because of how the story wanted to portray them entering the club. Perhaps the anime wanted to show Chihaya and Taichi work to convince them to join to make engaging episodes and develop their characters a bit further. They might turn out to be strong characters now that those scenes are over. But for now, they’re rather mediocre for the story. I hope that these characters aren’t there just so the club is official, that they contribute to the story and the main characters but it hasn’t been apparent yet. Maybe now that this small arc is over the three lesser characters of the Karuta club will begin to strengthen and become more valuable to the anime rather than just being bodies for the club (which is how they feel right now).