Spring 2012 – Week 7 Anime Review

This week: a reasoning behind the lackluster episodes of Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna, examining the depressing existence of Yuuko in Tasogare Otome x Amnesia, the new main character in Mouretsu Pirates, and why the concept of Upotte!! is quickly diminishing.  Also, a new anime, Hyouka, has been added to the weekly reviews and the list has received a new order.

As like the previous seasons at the half-way point, the order of anime is reversed so that the exposure in terms of place on the list is about even over the course of the season.  One anime violates that rule but its justification is that it is new to the list this week.  Hyouka has been added and will be a regular member of these weekly anime reviews since it has enough value and distinction as an anime to be worthy of its own section.  It has been placed at the top of the list to start.  Also, the Mid-Season review is being completed and will be out hopefully by this weekend.

Hyouka (Episode 5) – After solving the mystery of Hyouka from Chitanda’s uncle 45 years ago, I can’t help but relate Houtarou to Jun Sekitani.  We’ve come to learn that Jun was ultimately forced into becoming the figurehead of the revolt while the other students pulled the strings to make the events unfold in a way that would see no blame shifted upon them.  In the end, Jun Sekitani was sacrificed as a means for the school to retain their extended festival and lost out on his cherished high-school life as a result.  Before, he was a simple student who would otherwise have remained in the shadows and watched as the events unfolded.  That there sounds a lot like Houtarou, our protagonist who enjoys conversing energy for whatever asinine reasoning.  But he, like Jun, was pressed in joining an activity he didn’t want to join in.  He really became the face of the investigation while Chitanda was the one working behind the scenes to make everything happen.  It ended in a positive way for Houtarou, but now he has begun questioning his philosophy toward life.  And much like Jun Sekitani, Houtarou may lose his former highschool lifestyle as a direct result of these events and begin something new.  It’s rather funny to see that in this analogy that Chitanda is the one who became strong and essentially played the role of antagonist from her uncle’s story.  If the author intended the story to be that way, then I must applaud their efforts since I appreciate the way everything worked out in the past and how it paralleled the present.

Zetman (Episode 7) – With the success ALPHAS demonstrated in its first battle, while essentially an untested prototype, too, I wouldn’t be surprised to see militaries, police forces, and any form of security body inquiring about obtaining one.  Imagine after completing a few modifications to the superhero suit, Amagi Corporation could mass produce these suits and distribute them throughout the globe and amass an incredible fortune.  Not only that but the amount of influence and power that would result from such developments would be overwhelming, too.  It’s impressive what the technology in this anime can do, putting a young human on the same level as the horrifying Players, but I’m curious what other military technologies or weaponry are available in this setting.

Upotte!! (Episode 7) – The novelty with Upotte!! is beginning to diminish and the whole concept of guns-as-girls has waned considerably.  Rather, all the characters we see seem like regular humans who are just extreme gun fanatics.  They don’t seem like guns anymore, just that they’re crazy about guns.  And all that extremely picky stuff they do about their surroundings or how others act around them or whatever is necessary for a joke or explanation can be answered in that the girls are just LARPing as their favorite guns.  Either that or they’re psychotic.  Regardless of explanations or not, these girls seem entirely human, but I suppose that’s expected when the material for guns-as-girls is short and somewhat hit-or-miss.

Tsuritama (Episode 6) – Though Yamada continues to be a mysterious character in Tsuritama, he finally evolved from a simple watcher to an actual actor in this episode.  As a result, his shadiness as a stalker of Yuki and intimidator of Haru and Koko has dissipated and his character has become clearer to us.  Furthermore, we’ve seen how adept he is at fishing, combat, and accessing the situation.  But perhaps the most important thing we learned about Yamada is that he isn’t evil but a victim of character perspective in the series.  He demonstrated heroics on the fishing vessel when he stood up against the possessed Haru and his mind-control squirt gun.  But to say he’s a good guy now would be too much, especially considering we’d have to ignore everything else we’ve seen of him prior to these spectacular events.  This evaluation, whether he’s good or evil, will need to come at the end of this story.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (Episode 7) – Yuuko’s life is essentially a hell.  Her existence essentially serves no purpose, so she is forced to wander our blue planet aimlessly without a goal or ambition to guide her reality.  Next, add in the fact that she is ignored by every living thing around her despite being able to interact physically with the world and respond to our sense of touch (and possibly sound or perception).  Not only that but she’s imprisoned in high school forever, a fate worse than death, as she cannot escape the same lessons and curriculum for eternity.  Not only that but due to her ghostly nature or something else that has yet to be explained, she has no memories of her life or her past and can only imagine the history of her life and existence as a ghost.  And on top of that, a sinister, jealous, and vengeful version of herself, Shadow Yuuko, lurks in the school with her at all times and, unlike Yuuko, has all the memories of her existence and thus, holds a wicked grudge against Yuuko.  And even with all that, the first person to acknowledge her existence is a blood-related relative (Kirie) who dismissed her as a revolting spirit who would bring those around her to death.  It’s no wonder that she’s grown to be so dependent and attached to Teiichi and this explains why she is such a spoiled, selfish, and needy girl.  It really is depressing to contemplate the hell Yuuko resides in.

Space Brothers (Episode 8) – In terms of progressing the story and developing his character and Hibito, Mutta’s time in America was perfect.  Not only has he exhausted everything he can do in Houston as a character and in terms of the story, but he’s able to go back with several plot developments ready to go when he steps foot on familiar soil, when he returns home to Japan.  What needed to happen for the story to progress was for Mutta to pass the second exam, which just transpired, and the necessary actions occurred while he was in Houston.  Not only that but we were able to develop Hibito’s character considerably and add to Mutta through Hibito’s perspective, something the way the story is not structured to do given how tethered the story is to Mutta’s narrative.  What happens next should be interesting considering Mutta is at the third level of training.  That and he stumbled upon those letters underneath the dresser in his brother’s home which may come into play sometime much later in the series.

Mouretsu Pirates (Episode 20) – Somehow, someway Ai has become the main character of Mouretsu Pirates.  Whether by design or unintentional, Ai has surpassed Marika in terms of her time in the spotlight and has received more character development than anyone besides our pirate captain.  But why?  It’s completely random that a new first-year student would be able to come in and do everything that she has, especially considering how much more time the rest of the cast has played in the series and had nowhere near the level of growth as we’ve seen in Ai.  It wouldn’t be surprising to think that Ai will end up following Marika around after this race when Marika does something to save Ai, but who knows considering that Kane is already the helmsman for the Bentenmaru and that’s Ai’s specialty.  That and I believe this is the last story arc with the schoolgirls for the remainder of the season and that everything from here on out will be about Marika and maybe Ririka and space pirating in general.  I can’t wait for the series to reenergize itself again and have some fun in space.

Medaka Box (Episode 7) – The student government and subsequently, the Medaka Box, run solely on the ambition and liveliness of Medaka.  Without her, the student government would be a mundane position at the school and the box would be non-existent.  However, to solve everyone’s troubles like Medaka wishes to do, she needs help, which is why the student government now holds three new strong members.  Their ambitions and goals, however, are no match for Medaka, as well as for the fact that they don’t even see eye-to-eye on the matters, too.  Kikaijima didn’t join the student government to help people with their problems but instead to earn some money and save the school some money per the request of Medaka.  Akune isn’t compassionate or considerate like Medaka and joined to serve the public, but rather to be around Medaka and eventually win her heart over Zenkichi.  And Hitoyoshi is there because Medaka forced him and he wants to be there for Medaka.  He could care less about what he does but he still does these tasks for her.  Without Medaka, all these talented bodies would be elsewhere, working only for themselves.  But with her gracious precense and direction, these characters are still working for themselves but also helping others out in the process as well.  And all thanks to Medaka’s ambitions, too.  She truly is an amazing character given everything she’s able to do and how she’s able to get the best out of everyone.

Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna (Episode 7) – The fault with Lupin the Third: A Woman Called Mine Fujiko is that it spends too much time on these new, episodic characters and severely lacks involvement with the familiar and beloved cast.  This episode is a prime example, showing off some glorified book report about the Cuban Missile Crisis by some artsy director and only included Goeman as a deus-ex-machina for a solution and Fujiko playing the role of uninvolved narrator.  It really is pathetic the way the series is able to use the Lupin franchise this way, having the characters exist for trivial reasons rather than being the stars of the show like they should be.  No, they need to be.  Without these characters being the pivotal characters in each episode and incorporating them into the story itself, this series will be doomed to fail as a Lupin series.  It needs to reevaluate itself and start using the cast we know rather than giving us characters that have zero value beyond the episode in which they were shown.

Kore wa Zombie desu ka? OF THE DEAD (Episode 7) – After gathering quite a huge cast in the first season of Zombie, the second season has failed to really introduce any new characters or develop any of the love interests at all.  Instead, everything concerning the cast and romance in this anime has stagnated and begun to rot like a zombie in sunlight.  Thought the romance in this anime does absolutely nothing for me (it’d probably be a negative if I really thought about it), I’d like to see the cast expand beyond the whole addition of Chris as an antagonist and Anderson as a whatever.  The cast and their chemistry together is one of the selling points of Zombie and it’s begun to feel repetitive recently given how they jokes are the same and their activities are virtually unchanged, too.  Maybe we’ll see more before the second season is over but it doesn’t seem likely given the structure of this season, the content of these episodes, and the pacing of the story.

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  1. #1 by Joojoobees on May 23, 2012 - 6:56 AM

    Mouretsu Pirates: I thought this was the final arc.

    Hyouka: I’m glad you picked up this title. The first arc was handled very well, IMO. It should be interesting to see how they handle things from here out.

    • #2 by avvesione on May 23, 2012 - 4:07 PM

      Well, with about 6 more episodes go, I’m guessing this arc will finish with the race in the next episode and have the next 5 episodes center around Marika (or Chiaki) or whatever. I think the series will end back on the Bentenmaru while doing a bunch of piratey stuff.

      And yeah, I’ve really enjoyed Hyouka and thought it’d be worthwhile to include it here on my weekly posts. It always brings up a bunch of interesting points and does it in such a beautiful manner that it has been an amazing show to watch. You seem to be charmed with it, too, judging from your posts on it lately.

      • #3 by Joojoobees on May 24, 2012 - 8:29 AM

        Yeah, Hyouka’s a funny show, because there has been some seriously negative reaction to it, based, I think, on not understanding the scenario. Some people took the scene in episode 1 literally, and thought Eru had magical powers, then were disappointed. Some people were expecting a dark mystery with people being murdered. I also think some people have judged it too harshly just because it looks SOOO good — thinking that means there is no substance to it. Aah, well.

        • #4 by avvesione on May 24, 2012 - 7:46 PM

          I didn’t really read any of the initial reactions or first impressions posts on Hyouka because I didn’t want to spoil the first episode for me (I watched it about 2 weeks late), so I can’t really comment on why people don’t like it, but I have noticed a general feel of negativity around it. There is also has been a positive buzz about it, though, largely due to the art work and directing, so at least there are some who are enjoying and support the anime. Perhaps they’re not as vocal as the other group but it doesn’t really bother me at all since I’m able to enjoy the anime.

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