Spring 2012 – Week 5 Anime Review

This week: reevaluating Upotte!!, the character with the most development in Tsuritama, why Mutta’s criticism of Hibito is wrong in Space Brothers, and why I continue to watch Medaka Box every week.

Say, Jenny Dolittle (Mouretsu Pirates) is going to Space University, right?  I wonder if that’s in the same schooling system as Space Kindergarten, the place where Nyaruko, Cthuko, and Hastur (Haiyore! Nyaruko-san) all went.  If so, then I kinda wanna see a cross-over between the two or at least cameos or something.

On an actual serious note, I did add another anime to my weekly viewing schedule and that is Hyouka.  It probably won’t be added to these weekly reviews immediately but I want to try to incorporate it somehow so I can bring up discussion points or interesting tidbits or whatever happens in these weekly Anime Reviews.  There won’t be any post on my impressions of it or anything to that nature but it has impressed me with its art, animation, and music and that’s enough of a reason to keep it for this season.

Kore wa Zombie desu ka? OF THE DEAD (Episode 5) – Say, what’s the deal with Anderson anyway?  Ayumu was alarmed when the always silent and tranquil Eu collapsed and showed various clinical symptoms such as a fever, malaise, and fatigue.  Unsure of how to treat persons or diseases of the Underworld, he quickly called Anderson for practical advice to help Eu get over this concerning condition.  Rather than doing a quick review of her symptoms and a history of illness, he went on to suggest humiliating and asinine things for Ayumu to do while Eu received no medical treatment.  Seriously, you’re harming both Ayumu and Eu with that stunt and that is not okay.  Just leave.  Go home.  Go back to wherever you were off-screen and don’t come back.  I hope he never returns after doing something like that (and is it sad that I still like him more than Orito?)

Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna (Episode 5) – Even though the cast of Lupin are meeting each other for the first time in these early episodes, their chemistry together is nearly as perfect as it was when the original ran in the early 70s.  The way the characters interact with each other shows a sense of awareness, intelligence, and playfulness which always appealed to me when I watched the characters interact in the old Lupin series.  This bond between characters has always been a strength to the series, so seeing it be retained in this series despite the introductions and the rivalries already, I couldn’t be happier.  On top of that, the dialogue has also been wildly impressive and been a driving force in creating enticing scenes, especially the introductions between each other.  This has been an remarkable adaption of the original Lupin series in more than just the art style and animation, the chemistry between the characters and their dialogue deserves some compliments, too.

Medaka Box (Episode 5) – While Medaka is portrayed to be this revered and idolized superhuman, someone capable of solving the world’s problems in a single day or something ridiculous, she fails to distinguish herself as the reason why I watch this anime every week.  That’s where our little show-stealer, Shiranui comes in.  Her constant energy, spirited demeanor, unceasing intelligent commentary, and irresistible fun make her the superior character in this anime.  Hell, Shiranui even has better chemistry with Zenkichi than Medaka has with him meaning when either are on screen with our lead, Shiranui’s scenes are better.  Not only that but Shiranui is much more attractive, too, given that she’s a rather adorable young maiden whereas the other is a monstrous pair of breasts that probably gets sunburned quite frequently given how much skin exposure they get.  The reason why I got into Medaka Box and return to it weekly is because of Shiranui.  She’s won the show for me and I know that’s the same way for many others, too.  As long as she can continue to provide this baseline comedy, entertainment, and adorableness, I’ll be happy with Medaka Box.

Mouretsu Pirates (Episode 18) – Grunhilde played the antagonist during Gruier’s story but has done nothing since.  Her character has largely become Gruier’s shadow, she follows her older sister around who, in turn, follows Marika around like a shadow.  Gruier, however, interacts with Marika and the other characters and actually provides input and feedback for these characters in relation to the royal family or other trivial matters.  Besides that, Gruier doesn’t do much of anything else but that’s still better than Grunhilde’s character who mostly stands silent, watches everyone, and looks cutely angry.  Her involvement spiked in the series in this episode when she gave 2 lines of advice but those could’ve easily been pitched by Gruier since they have a similar background and play the same role in the series.  So why is Grunhilde around besides having another cute girl in the cast?  I can’t think of any reason besides that one and that’s not really a good answer for why a character is around.  Unless she plays an important role sometime soon, I’ll be baffled on why Grunhilde even came back in the series when she had zero effect after her villainous role finished.

Space Brothers (Episode 6) – Mutta often is extremely critical of his younger brother whenever he witnesses him being successful and receiving the praise that seemingly everyone bestows upon him.  However, this is a failure by Mutta and probably his greatest flaw.  Throughout most of the series, Mutta’s observations, analysis and conclusions of Hibito are just plain wrong.  His reasoning often stems from examples of Hibito from when he was a child and acted like his younger brother.  What Mutta fails to realize is that Hibito has changed quite dramatically as he’s grown up and become a much different, almost completely different person than from when he was a child.  Mutta never seems to consider that when watching Hibito succeeds, he’s stuck in the past with a version of Hibito that no long exists or is a mere fragment of what Hibito is now.  Until Mutta can overcome this self-imposed inhibition, he will never see what his brother has truly become.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (Episode 5) – Though I dislike it when characters develop or present shallow self-esteem problems like Kirie displayed through this episode, I have more of an issue when the anime resolves it through shallow encouragement or ambiguous answers.  I understand Kirie’s problems but she places them on herself by automatically assuming Teiichi will only fall for a long-haired, large-breasted, and beautiful woman rather than promoting her own qualities when with her crush or enjoying time with Momoe.  That’s fine but it’s not the sort of character conflict that I enjoy.  However, the resolution to this issue with having Kirie don nekomimi and dress as a maid become an instant sensation and then have Teiichi respond that he doesn’t not like her felt cheap.  While I’m happy with the outcome of Kirie being back to her more energetic and social self, I can’t be satisfied with how it happened with just lazy tricks that never showed her overcome these issues but simply just dismiss them.  I might be a little jaded since my favorite character was cheated when it comes to her character development but I guess I can claim a small victory in that she’s back to the way I like rather than continuing to be resentful and pessimistic.

Tsuritama (Episode 4) – Although Yuki is the protagonist of Tsuritama, he hasn’t had the most character development in the series.  Haru, the Yuki-loving, dimwitted alien who’s presence is an unnerving mystery to some has grown the most since the beginning of this series.  What’s even more amazing about this is that we’ve spent more time with Yuki throughout the series than with Haru.  What gives?  Well, what gives here is not in the amount of change a character has but how much they’ve changed.  What prevents Yuki from having the most is that Yuki often reverts back to his depressed and isolationist side at even the slightest hint of a challenge.  He’s certainly improve in more areas than anyone else, especially when fishing with Natsuki or resisting the water pressure and rescuing Haru despite not knowing how to swim, but the fact that he falls back on old habits means he hasn’t fully developed.  On the other hand, Haru is progressing in a pleasant, linear fashion and is becoming more accustomed to humans, their emotions, and their varying ways of life.  Haru doesn’t have nearly as many problems as Yuki, so the amount of change we see in him is less than Yuki, but the fact that he learns from his mistakes, accepts intrapersonal change, and becomes a better person shows that he has had more development than Yuki.  You usually don’t see a supporting character have more development than the lead but Haru’s character has been handled magnificently and his development has been extremely satisfying.

Upotte!! (Episode 5) – I thought I fully understood Upotte!! but this episode has given me a new challenge to my former mindset and is forcing me to reevaluate this anime.  My original idea is that Upotte!! was a gun extremist’s self-insert fanfic where he was a teacher at a school where lolis never aged.  That’s what made the most sense to me given the characters, setting, and material and it still is fairly consistent even after this episode.  But after watching a sadist rifle brutally torture and maim these cutsy girls and watching them hunt each other for no reason other than to feel superior, my prior notions of what this anime was intended to be can no longer be the best interpretation.  As these war games have proceeded and the intensity has enhanced, I’m beginning to understand that the teacher and the fact that the girls don’t age are no longer as important as the mutual friendship between the four guns, competition among students in Japanese schools, and teaching the audience about the history and mechanics of these famous weapons.  Those together don’t blend well to provide the best idea of what Upotte!! is but they are each better than my original methodology of this anime.  Perhaps when this arc concludes in the next episode, the series will be clearer to us but who knows what surprises or changes will happen next.

Zetman (Episode 5) – The result of the rather unique art style of Zetman is the effect that everything, whether intended or not, appears more dramatic or epic than needed.  Given the mature, defined, and detailed nature of the art style, it gives a comprehensive image of each character in every shot.  This level of completeness means the characters are always thorough in their facial features and are able to convey their emotions very clearly without needing to rely on animation tricks, sound effects, or dialogue.  Factor in the themes and material of this anime, too, the whole straight-laced superhero and justice angle, and the product are scenes that appear courageous, powerful, and influential.  The story is supposed to speak to the audience.  Combine that with a rather flawless adaption from the manga, one which already incorporated a number of these scenes, and you have the best opportunity for dozens of heroic or theatrical poses or shots each episode.

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  1. #1 by bobbobsters on May 7, 2012 - 8:12 PM

    I remember going to the space center in Florida. It’s pretty neato. Also, that picture of Jigen is really badass and would make a good banner on facebook…

    Also, on Upotte!!, Both newcomer guns are insane, though Galil is waaaay better and more normal imo.

    • #2 by avvesione on May 7, 2012 - 9:05 PM

      Pretty much any Lupin pic would make a great banner but that Jigen one is my favorite yet.

      And yeah, about the new guns, I kinda wonder how long they’ll stick around or if they’ll change character after this arc. And I agree with you, Galil is much better but I think you’re talking about the gun and I’m talking about the girl. =P

      • #3 by bobbobsters on May 8, 2012 - 4:42 AM

        I know hardly anything about the gun. If that gives a better idea.

        • #4 by avvesione on May 8, 2012 - 10:07 AM

          Ah. All I know about the gun is it was designed and made in Israel which explains why she has cat ears and a tail.

          Yeah, actually I know nothing about the gun either. Probably should ask Mike to learn more…

        • #5 by bobbobsters on May 8, 2012 - 4:00 PM

          That explains the ears and tail?

        • #6 by avvesione on May 8, 2012 - 8:17 PM

          Sorry, that was just my humor.

          Correction: “humor”.

  2. #7 by Joojoobees on May 7, 2012 - 8:13 PM

    I think a big part of the problem with Mouretsu Pirates at the moment is that it has way too many characters. I don’t have anything against Grunhilde, but I think the story would have been better if she stayed on Serenity. Anything Grunhilde has done, could have been attributed to Gruier, and that is just the first character I would cut. Unfortunately Luca has the same problem, there is clearly not enough time to develop her character, so it would have been better to just nix the character from the start. Finally there are too many girls in the yacht club. I still don’t know who half of them are, despite the fact that they were featured in two out of three arcs.

    • #8 by avvesione on May 7, 2012 - 9:09 PM

      Well, the thing that bothers me the most about the uselessness of the characters is that Ai and Maki have been able to wedge their way into the story and actually accomplish stuff. Ai is the girl with the hat who steers the ship and Maki is the one who managed the engines in the most recent arc. Both are new characters introduced at the beginning of this arc for these purposes. All the while, the already existing characters do nothing new. It’s a mistake, at least in my mind, to have characters just exist when they don’t do anything but hopefully that goes away when the Yacht Club disappears after the next episode.

  3. #9 by mwnanamai on May 8, 2012 - 3:04 AM

    The last Upotte! was interesting indeed, what marked me was the contrast between AR18 shock-fear face and Sako’s psychotic eyes, an confirmed Sako bastard status as much as the torture of Funco itself.

    Another moment I found myself feeling a little silly was when I saw Galil running, a girl with cat ears&tails holding a riffle, and I was loving it… but it is Anime so I can’t complain :P

    Next episode will be the big moment for Elle personality to shine now that we have M16 acting like a boasting jackass, and the casualties list from Sako include FNC and SIG.

    I hope I can make alive past my exams so I will try to catch up on Zetman, from the review it does look good.

    • #10 by avvesione on May 8, 2012 - 10:10 AM

      Good luck with your exams!

      Yeah, glad to hear you’re enjoying Upotte!!, too, despite the whole torture/brutality stuff going on this episode. It’ll be nice to see L85A1 do something in the next episode after being mocked and humiliated the entire series but I’m curious if it will be just dumb luck or her actually doing something useful.

      And it seems like everyone like Galil. Guess being a catgirl really helps.

      • #11 by mwnanamai on May 9, 2012 - 9:09 AM

        The violence does have a point of making Sako a monster, so we don’t have a danger free antagonist like in Black Rock Shooter, but not saying that Sako antics are not disturbing.

        Also we had a lot of cut looking girls with guns in the previous episode with Funco, M16 and SIG great ”pierce your heart from 500 meters”, so I don’t feel cheated yet. Only downside is that 1R18 have not jumped yet had a moment of cute pose yet :P

        How L85A1 is going to save the day is going to be interesting indeed, but I vote for dumb luck because they can just be this stupid.

        It is kind of hard not to like Galil when in contrast with Sako being a douche, she is just the kind of bad girl you can like .. and she is a catgirl too ;)

        • #12 by avvesione on May 9, 2012 - 12:56 PM

          I never watched BRS, so I’m not familiar with that point but the rest I agree with. How our opinions change after the next episode, however, might be interesting since there’s still a lot left to cover in these war games and what Sako and Galil want to do to the school afterward.

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