Autumn 2012 – Week 6 Anime Review

This week: mismanaged character development in Little Busters!, the new main characters of Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!, safety concerns in Girls und Panzer, and further disappointment with Jormungand: Perfect Order.

Best episode of the week: Robotics;Notes

Anime trending up this week: Magi

Anime trending down this week:  Jormungand: Perfect Order

Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! (Episode 6) – I’m not sure if this was intended or not, but Nibutani and Dekomori have usurped this anime from the grasps of Yuuta and Rikka.  The dynamic that these two characters share have swiftly become one of the best aspects of this anime, especially with Dekomori’s constantly harassment of Nibutani and the fact that she tries to keep her dual persona despite its increasing difficulty.  Not only that but with Nibutani’s character finally revealed, her character has flourished and she’s stolen Dekomori from Rikka’s side.  Now without Dekomori to support her in her comedic endeavors, Rikka is free to pursue her own story and developments with Yuuta.  Too bad that those serious storylines are nothing compared to the shared antics of Dekomori and Nibutani, and the now infrequent comedy by Rikka and Yuuta is now completely overshadowed by Dekomori and Nibutani.  Yeah, it seems that these two, along with Kumin, will carry the comedy of this anime while all the serious matters are knocked out by Rikka and Yuuta.  Too bad I’m only really enjoying this anime for its comedy (though hopefully Rikka’s story picks up soon).

Girls und Panzer (Episode 5) – Whenever a tank is defeated in battle or otherwise immobilized, a white flag raises signaling a surrender, to not be fired upon, and that the damaged tank is now out of the battle.  However, the white flags prepared for these tanks are unreasonably small and seem inadequate given the environmental circumstances of the battlefield, especially considering the amount of smoke and dust in these battles.  Not only that, but the flag could easily be detected from another shell, especially if multiple tanks are targeting one.  Then what do you do?  Keep firing on the tank, thinking it’s still in combat when it really isn’t?  Furthermore, some flags are not placed on top of the tank but on the side, meaning from certain angles, the flag isn’t even visible.  Whelp, sure sucks to be in that tank if the enemy can’t see you’re out.

Considering the amount of danger the girls are in during tank combat and the question of safety, why not implement something more modern that could prevent further damage to the tanks and protect the girls from potential hazards?  One simple option would be to have flashing lights pop up instead, something that would be easier to notice, even in certain battlefield conditions like smoke, fog, rain, what have you.  Not only that but having more than one light would make it possible to be seen from all angles or if one is damaged or whatever.  Hell, you could even combine it with the white flag if you want.  I don’t expect anything like this to happen, but I figure, sometime later on in the series, after our heroes are knocked out in a battle, that their evil opponent will continue to fire on them after combat is over, just because they’re evil and stuff.  Maybe then the whole white flag system will be revised and updated and safety put as a foremost concern, but until then, I suppose things are fine though nowhere near ideal.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (Episode 6) – You’ve gotta feel bad for Speedwagon.  Everyone else around him has superhuman abilities and they’re fighting supernatural beings, like vampires and zombies, and he’s just there, tagging along for the fun.  Yeah, if something slightly bad happens during a battle, he’s a goner, yet he still sticks around JoJo and helps out in any way he can to see Dio’s demise.  Still, you wanna see the guy have some comparable fighting ability or something so that he could survive or help JoJo when he’s being overwhelmed in battle.  All he can do right now is just watch the carnage and act like a glorified announcer for the audience, which in turn is just himself.  We did see him attack JoJo way back in the second episode but that is nothing compared to what’s going on now, especially considering that even the almighty Ripple is ineffective at times.  Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s able to help out in battle sometime soon since his mission in life, now, is to support JoJo and his extermination of Dio.

Jormungand: Perfect Order (Episode 17) – Unrealistic and unsatisfying, the action in Jormungand this season has continued to disappoint, regardless of the characters or storyline present.  With this second season nearly halfway complete, I’ve realized that what I enjoy about this anime the most are when the anime isn’t in the middle of a firefight or battle or anything like that.  It doesn’t mean I’m enjoying the haphazard episodic content of the stories or the character-of-the-week, just that I enjoy the anime less whenever the guns are out and pumping each other, sorry, I mean the enemy only (save for one or two bullets), full of lead.  Yeah, somehow that’s the case for Jormungand.  Somehow it’s gotten the action so wrong that it is now the worst part of the anime.  A damn shame indeed.

K (Episode 6) – It’s rather amusing to think that, in the span of a day, everyone that knew who Shiro was doesn’t know him anymore and everyone that he’s met, such as Kurou, Neko, and everyone out to kill him, does (or so they think).  Yeah, think about that for a sec.  His only friends now are characters he’s met in the past day or so: Kurou and Neko.  They’re the only ones who know who he is now since Saruhiko monkeyed (get it?) around with the computer while on campus.  It’ll be interesting to see how everything plays out from this point forward, but it’s rather interesting to note that everyone in Shiro’s life up to this point are no longer in it and the two characters he just met are the only ones left.  And I suppose Saruhiko, too, but that’ll come later, I suppose.

Kamisama Kiss (Episode 6) – The sixth episode of Kamisama Kiss offered us the opportunity to contrast Nanami and Tomoe and see how truly different they are as characters.  With Tomoe disguised as Nanami for most of the episode, we were able to see how he reacted to the events of Nanami’s life as Nanami, but with his own personality and behaviors.  With this, we can compare his choices with Nanami’s choices to show how strongly their personalities and behaviors differ.  Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is how caring and compassionate Nanami is and how cold and introverted Tomoe is.  Look no further than their default faces with Tomoe often wearing a harsh yet emotionless expression and Nanami all bright and cheerful, complete with a smile or grin.  Beyond that, their attitudes are the complete opposite: Nanami is the young schoolgirl full of hope and optimism and Tomoe is the old man fraught with depression and despair.  So when we were able to see Tomoe step into Nanami’s life and act the way he did, it served as an excellent contrast to show how different the two characters are.  With this episode as an illustration, we can see how unique and polarized their relationship is and why there are often conflicts between the two.  Also, Tomoe disguised as Nanami is cuter/hotter than regular Nanami.  I hope we get to see her (him?) again soon!!

Little Busters! (Episode 6) – Like with many drama anime, problems are solved as quickly as flipping on or off a light switch.  Boom.  Done.  It doesn’t matter how severe or prolonged or damaging the problem is, as soon as the solution hits, BAM!, it’s over.  Where this hurts the most is in the character development, making light of their problem by having it resolved so quickly and so effortlessly.  As we saw with Komari, it just took a few minutes on the rooftop with a few colored pictures and her years of emotional agony, lapses in memory, and mental distress are gone.  Poof.  Gone.  Just like that.  It makes her problem seem so trivial, so easy, so… stupid, even.  It’s a problem seen again and again in anime and it’s rooted in lethargic character development.  If Little Busters! cared about Komari at all, her solution would be extended well into the next character arc, showing Komari overcome her problem through time and with effort.  Show her overcome this handicap as a person and accept her new life.  Don’t just be like “oh, wow, look, I have friends”, show her spending time with her friends that make her realize what a magnificent life she has.  Show her helping her other friends overcome their problems.  Everything else up to this point was fine, just the solution was over too quickly and everything is now alright.  No, that’s not alright.  This is the best opportunity you have for character development and you blew it.  And that, that, is sadder than anything Komari went through.

Medaka Box Abnormal (S2) (Episode 5) – Though Abnormals have been deemed ‘godly’ by the characters of Medaka Box, they seem rather human to me.  Perhaps it is because Abnormals are only god-like in one specific attribute and human in everything else?  Through they possess superhuman abilities and are able to accomplish more than any mere mortal, everything else about them is perfectly normal.  In fact, they’re more normal than abnormal.  Then again, if these characters had a number of crazy attributes, then they’d just be needlessly complex and convoluted.  And with them as they are now, special in only one area, that’s enough to be considered abnormal by most people.  Still, it’s not like these people are living gods or anything; they’re just humans who are really good at one thing in particular.

Psycho-Pass (Episode 5) – Is it just me or did they cryogenically freeze Masaoka back in the 1950s and recently unfreeze him?  Sure, yeah, he’s kinda that grey, old school detective character that doesn’t understand the new generation and all their electro-gadgets and whatcha-ma-jiggers while still being able to solve all these weird techno-crimes… but wasn’t he born in, like, 2070 or something?  You know, when the internet and everything else existed?  Like, after he was born, did he just skip childhood and become an cranky geezer at the age of 6?  How does he not know any of this stuff?  I can understand if he doesn’t like it, but he grew up with this stuff when he was a kid and teenager and adult and stuff.  Why doesn’t he understand this stuff?  Why is all this stuff so foreign to him and why does Akane, the spunky new detective with an attitude, gotta explain this stuff to him?  I don’t understand it except that his archetype doesn’t really fit in with this setting.  Now, if this were a 1960s/70s cop show… actually, no, this should be Police Squad instead.  Yeah… that’d be nice.

Shin Sekai Yori (Episode 7) – So, uh, what happened to everyone else during Saki and Satoru’s deadly ordeal?  Judging by the look of it, they probably had a nice picnic over the past few days and relaxed on the beach.  No, seriously, what happened to the other three after they were separated from Saki and Satoru?  I’m guessing they were able to escape the entire queer rat war going on and avoid any confrontation with anything dangerous, but those are only guesses on what didn’t happen.  I’m curious about what did happen, even if it isn’t much.  Sure, their clothes aren’t torn or raggedy and they still have their supplies and stuff, but what did they do between being separated and meeting up with Saki and Satoru at the lakefront.  I can only hope that this story isn’t passed over in the anime but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is given the time constraint the anime faces.

Also, just curious, anyone else think they have a connection between the Squealer from Shin Sekai Yori and Squealer from Animal Farm?  It stems from a thought I’m having in the revision/editing phase.  I might try to explore that a little later since I haven’t read anything on that possible association yet.

Sword Art Online (Episode 19) – Every time Recon fails or dies, I can’t help but smile.  He is such a pathetic, worthless character that whenever he does something that inadvertently kills him or troubles him in some way, I am happy.  I’d actually love it if every episode of SAO from here on out had some scene with him fumbling around, failing some mission, and being killed.  Yeah, his death is my satisfaction.  And I’m glad that they don’t die in real life in this game because that means we’ll get to see Recon die over and over and over and over again in ALO.  It’s not that I hate him for his timid, weak, and indecisive personality, but he’s my greatest satisfaction from these past few episodes was watching him die in battle, getting shut down by Lyfa when trying to be heroic, and dying, again, in the sewers to one arrow.  Yeah, one arrow.  If you’ve played a video game, you know how weak one arrow is.  And from a crossbow, too.  God, he’s pathetic… and I love every minute of it.

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  1. #1 by bobbobsters on November 15, 2012 - 9:13 PM

    i feel like you made that police squad reference because of George.

  2. #3 by Marina2 on November 16, 2012 - 12:32 AM

    On Girls und Panzer,

    Remember that all student councill members in the tank survived from four shots at point blank range in ep.4??? I think all tanks in competition must have enough protection that allow them to take multiple hit without breaking apart.

    Also, there is a gap between each shot, normal people will stop and comfirm enemy status before firing again. And…..even if you can’t see a flag, you still can see if enemy can still move or turn a turret or not. (Moving after “dead” and firing at “death” target are againist the rules anyway)

    In the end, I would say that you think too much about this.

    • #4 by Marina2 on November 16, 2012 - 12:50 AM

      …..Well, unless you stick out your head out when enemy fire at you.

      • #5 by Kaellian on November 16, 2012 - 12:10 PM

        Or if your tank fall off a bridge when your buddies missed a shot, or if the environment around you is destroyed and 50 tons of rock crush you to death..etc

        The security aspect really bother me in this show. What I see look incredibly dangerous for both the girls and the spectator, yet it’s played out as if nobody was aware of that risk. When the girls are racing their 4 tons vehicles in a city filled with people and shoot at each other, it just doesn’t feel right.

        I know we’re supposed to not think much about it, and suspension of disbelief is necessary to enjoy a story, but the writers will usually take additional steps to make you understand how the physics of the world work. Upotte might have been terrible, but you knew that a girl shooting at human would only result in minor wound, you knew that when they shot each other, they would “break apart”. I can’t say the same here, They tell you it’s dangerous, they act as if it was not.

        Personally, I would enjoy the show a lot more if it was a glorified paintball games with tank played in a controlled environment,. That’s what the fight are essentially supposed to be..

        • #6 by avvesione on November 18, 2012 - 8:10 PM

          But tanks and guns and explosions and all that danger is so girly in this anime, which is one of the points they’re trying to make. If it were all paintball and controlled and safe, it wouldn’t have that type of jarring culture shock which Garupan is all about.

          But yeah, I want more explanation on the safety of this anime, especially since Miho has those frightful flashbacks of her in a tank drowning.

      • #7 by Samuel Amaral (@SPambas) on November 18, 2012 - 6:29 AM

        I think we are thinking to much about it.

        Modern technology help tankers survive multiple direct hit from most dangerous Anti-tank ordinance, so for a sport with fighting in mock tank battle we could reduce the ordinance explosive content and reinforce the tank.

        Maybe the white flag pop out from a computer that monitor tank damage, or something. I questioned it on the first episode but then I just found it kind of cute.

        Here is a video of a modern tank hit by 3 missiles, apparently the crew survived.

        The only unsafe behavior on the show is Miho and other tank commander sticking out during combat. I bet someone is going to get injured because of that.

        • #8 by avvesione on November 18, 2012 - 8:12 PM

          Kaylia does raise a good point about the environmental hazards, though, especially with civilians nearby, girls exposed from their tanks, rocks and water, and anything else that might result in injuries or death.

          The point about the white flag was thinking of something more attention-grabbing and something more durable. I figure there would be better options available if they have the time and technology to manufacture tanks for war-games.

    • #9 by avvesione on November 18, 2012 - 8:07 PM

      “In the end, I would say that you think too much about this.”

      Heh, that’s exactly the point of my posts sometimes.

      But yeah, I was inclined to think more of other safety features since the tank warfare does seem the slightest bit dangerous with shells flying everywhere, directed at these girls. Not surprised to see the armor endure, but there should be some better system than a miniature white flag that pops out.

  3. #10 by Samuel Amaral (@SPambas) on November 17, 2012 - 3:35 PM

    I guess you are having a Upotee! deja vu with Girls und Panzer, there is probably a Sako chara in the future, I just hope not as crudely sadistic.

    I guess that from the High Tech telecast including gps location they probably have a way to inform the tank crews of the enemy status. The biggest safety hazard is the girl insisting on driving with the open hatch even in hot pursuit and enemy fire.

    The tank tactics during the battle was good to watch.

    • #11 by avvesione on November 18, 2012 - 8:14 PM

      Exactly, I was thinking about SAKO when writing that piece on Girls und Panzer. I could imagine something happening where one side doesn’t see the other side if knocked out and continues firing on them or if a sadistic girl wants to bully Miho like we saw in the restaurant.

      Also, there have been hints toward Miho having a traumatic event in which the tank she’s in is sinking and she’s drowning, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some safety issue arises in the next episode or so.

      • #12 by Samuel Amaral (@SPambas) on November 20, 2012 - 4:35 AM

        As a student of mechanical Engineering and from a pure technical point of view I would think that it would be more safe to use missiles instead of shells. Because were when fired the missile could still have a auto-destruct command to be controlled by the judge or the knocked out tank could emit a signal causing missiles to be automatically divert their trajectory. That would make a downed tank impossible to hit, but none of that is possible with the shells they have been using.

        But yes something clearly awful happened to Miho in the past, so there is really some danger in panzer mock battles. At least they did a good job characterizing the world as being one where women do daring and dangerous things, such like when their instructor was parachuted on a parking lot with her panzer.

        In real life the instructor would come with her panzer on a truck, but women are really the daredevils in Girl Und Panzer.

        • #13 by Samuel (@SPambas) on November 20, 2012 - 10:26 AM

          It ain’t possible with shells because shells have high velocities and spin to keep their trajectory in flight.

          The shells could have some form of auto-destruct.

  4. #14 by windyturnip on November 18, 2012 - 2:02 PM

    I’ve always found Jormungand to be disappointing, both in this season and the last. I think its main issue is that it doesn’t really know what it is. It tries to balance action, drama and comedy, but it just can’t put the pieces together. These switches are often so jarring that it’s hard to really enjoy any part of Jormungand. It’s too bad because this series does have moments where we start to see it shine.

    • #15 by avvesione on November 18, 2012 - 8:17 PM

      The concept and setting of Jormungand are still the most attractive aspects of the series but everything else seems to be failing or underacheving in regards to the first season. The action is beyond pathetic now, yet it continues to rely on it as a storytelling device and promotes it like it’s now the selling point of this anime. Ugh. The comedy has been amiss lately, too, and been geared toward fanservice with Koko and Valmet, like we saw with the boob fondling and Valmet wanting to bathe with Koko. Ugh again. And the drama… yeah, I’ve never been a big drama guy and it doesn’t appeal to me at all. So yeah, this season of Jormungand has been a huge, HUGE disappointment for me.

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