This week: though it wasn’t the finale I was hoping for, I am satisfied with the ending to Tasogare Otome x Amnesia, the tale of a hero in Tsuritama, questions about planning and waste in Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna, and my biggest gripe with the Players in Zetman.
Zetman (Episode 12) – Though many aspects of the whole Players/Human angle of the series has bothered me, there have been none greater than the mere disappearance of morals and logic that begets the Players when they revert back to their grotesque form. Despite the fact that they retain human communication and social comprehension, aspects essential and acquired from modern human culture, they are able to go on hideous and brutal rampages in which their goal is to not only heartlessly eviscerate every human in sight but to bring an end to all mankind. So how is it that they’re able to pick and choose which human attributes to lose when they revert to Players and which ones they preserve? Why not go the full distance and imitate the savage beasts they become and lose all sense of speech, pattern recognition, and bipedal kinetics? Or do they still have that sense of morals but they choose to ignore them based on their new forms? Whatever the reason, it has been a bother for me the entire series and a facet of Zetman I fail to understand or appreciate.
Tsuritama (Episode 11) – While many anime play along the lines of a heroic tale featuring a character overcome obstacles, grow as an individual, and accomplish the seemingly impossible responsibility, very few portray it as well as Tsuritama has. The whole story of Yuki from beginning to now has presented the trademarks and progressions of what makes a hero story a hero story. We’ve seen Yuki evolve from a timid and asocial lad into the only force able to save Enoshima and perhaps the globe from an indescribable alien menace. Not only that, but the entire cast around Yuki has grown, too, and each has played a necessary role in the anime to assist Yuki in becoming who he is right now. With the climax at hand, we’ve already seen the hero face adversity and uncertainty and, with the only method of capturing the swimming behemoth now ruined, it’s up to our protagonist to take the final step and become the hero that this anime is based on. How exciting!
Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (Episode 12 [Finale]) – A tragic parting and lonesome ending is the ideal outcome I wished for the finale of Dusk Maiden of Amnesia. And while those steps were taken, they were not the actual ending of the anime which saw the newly completed Yuuko return to the school to continue her budding romance with Teiichi seemingly forever (or probably until Teiichi graduates). While I am a bid disturbed that the producers backed down at the thought of a heartbreaking and demoralizing ending, intimidated by the imagined pressure of not concluding this anime with a happy ending, I am satisfied that they portrayed it for a few minutes before caving in and bringing Yuuko back for the final scene. Why am I content with this ending even though it’s the opposite tone and outcome of what I originally desired? Well, perhaps seeing the lovers be rewarded after never really being together for the entire series won me over in the end. Maybe it’s the fact that I knew all along there’d be a jovial ending where everyone was together after the recent episodes that toyed around with the themes of loss and disappearance. Or maybe, just maybe, deep down inside I wanted to see my bitterness taste defeat and see a romance that I secretly wanted to watch finally get to that gratifying stage. Well, regardless of the reasons, I am rather satisfied with the ending to Tasogare Otome x Amnesia, even though it wasn’t the ending I desired while I watched this anime.
Space Brothers (Episode 13) – With the series constantly switching between every character’s perspective now, helping solidified the characters who are necessarily brothers, we’re able to understand and appreciate the diversity in candidates that Mutta is matched against, that JAXA is evaluating, and that we’re watching. By hearing their thoughts, realizing their motives, and seeing how their perspectives are wildly different among each other and each mission, we can see how challenging and subjective this evaluation and selection process is. What it also does is strengthen the cast and the characters that we’re paired with for the duration of this training session. The series has become quite rewarding in recent episodes with this wonderful change in perspective as it has taken the spotlight away from Mutta overcoming ‘Challenge-of-the-Week” and made it “The-Story-of-How-Mutta-Becomes-an-Astronaut”.
Mouretsu Pirates (Episode 25) – Even if you told me straightforwardly that Mouretsu Pirates is moments away from the series climax, I would not believe you, not even for a second. Despite the position in the story and how many episodes remain (one), the series has done nothing to establish any sense of energy in the series to make it feel like a climax. These past few episodes have done nothing to generate any excitement, drama, or tension for the ending of this series. Instead, we’re watching a few rogue pirates get their arms hurt after pulling their weapons on some distinguished pirate-murderers and everyone eat fancy food served by giant clones of some sort. There’s also been shopping, vacationing, and even a cut-back to some schoolgirls having a picnic on a grassy hillside. Without any space combat, extreme character emotion, or even any drama or action between the cast, Mouretsu Pirates is making an ending as forgettable and disappointing as possible. While the recipe is present to make this series finish with an impressive story about Marika and her crew, we’re stuck debating about what it is to be a pirate for characters who never existed two episodes ago and have had no more than a minute of screentime throughout the entire series. And with the foreshadowing present in these past few episodes, the imminent finale I expect will be the anime equivalent to the series walking the plank into shark infested waters. Ugh, this second season has been nothing more than a catastrophe.
Medaka Box (Episode 12 [Finale]) – Medaka Box saved its best episode for last with this anime original episode specifically written to conclude this anime. And that original and dedicated story is what allowed this to be the best of this animated series. Rather than trying to tell a flawed story of a manga in the midst of its identity crisis, the finale to the Medaka Box anime was able to narrate a simple tale of what Medaka meant to the student council while allowing them to take center-stage without being overshadowed or secondary to Medaka. NisiOisiN had the benefit of writing this episode specifically for the anime meaning he was able to use his insight and knowledge from how the manga was received and appreciated, and able to tailor this episode to conclude the anime in the best possible way. Having an episode without Medaka but be able Medaka really made for a charming and innovative ending that featured probably the best scripting and storytelling of the entire series. Rather than being tied to a story and required to adhere to the mandates of penning a manga, NisiOisiN was able to write freely on the subject and content of this anime finale and was able to author a wonderful story for which to end the anime. Erm… well, I guess the anime isn’t over but, for this first season finale, this was the best episode. The anime will return in a future season as it has been given the green-light for another run. I can only wish there will be more anime original content given that this episode turned out to be my favorite.
Lupin III: Mine Fujiko to Iu Onna (Episode 12) – So, was the entire purpose of Glaucus Park to confront and capture Fujiko? This owl-centric amusement park certainly required quite a bit of time, money, and energy to design, erect, and furnish. And considering all the events that happened perfectly and in the proper sequential order, there must’ve been impeccable planning and execution for all this to happen. And for what, just to bring a girl back to her papa? Just imagine had one factor, just one simple factor been off, how this whole orchestrated event would have collapsed and been one of the biggest wastes in the history of mankind? Still, even if it is successful, everything about this whole operation has been a huge waste. What is the purpose for all these psychological traumas and experiments that were performed on Fujiko? What has been gained in these proceedings and events? There really needs to be some sense of logic, rationale, or explanation at the end of this series for me to truly enjoy and value this anime since, given how strange and bizarre it has been thus far, I fail to understand why everything has happened the way it’s happened or really what the hell is going on. Guess we’ll find out when the finale airs and concludes this story in the Lupin universe.
Hyouka (Episode 10) – Whenever watching a mystery anime like Hyouka, there’s always that feeling of paying attention and playing along with the story and trying to solve the mystery along with the cast. And for those still playing the game at the end of the mystery (assuming you haven’t lost interest or ragequitted after getting some clues and facts wrong), there’s no greater reward than solving the mystery before the cast does and feeling superior to their intellect and abilities. That euphoric aspect of mysteries has always been an attractive aspect of the series to me, especially when the mysteries are at a level that’s challenging but not impossible and presented in a way that allows the audience to solve the problem along with the cast rather than having it end with them reading ahead in the script and telling us the answer. Hyouka has done a fantastic job in regards to this style of presentation and storytelling and has made it one of the better mystery animes around. Also, I feel the need to say that I got the answer before Houtarou this week since it was my thoughts on the movie after watching the previous episode. Though it looks like there might be a change or modification in the next episode, I still received that euphoric feeling after seeing Houtarou successfully pitch my idea for the murder mystery in this anime.