Last week: the re-sensitization to death in Kakumeiki Valvrave, the complexities of saying ‘farewell’ in Suisei no Gargantia, individual versus team karuta matches in Chihayafuru 2 and a thrilling, informative look inside the police department in To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S.
Best episode of the week: Shingeki no Kyojin
Anime trending up this week: Chihayafuru 2
Anime trending down this week: Devil Survivor 2 the Animation
To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S (Episode 7)
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“A couple fires broke out at research labs again last night.”
“Really? Again? How many is that now?”
“Uh… that’s a total of 12 in the past 3 nights now.”
“Geez, sounds like we’ve got a serial arsonist on the loose now, targeting just these research labs. I wonder what they’re after…”
“Shall we head out to the sites to begin the investigation?”
“Nah, I have a better idea. You know that Judgment whatchamacallit.”
“You mean those middle-schoolers who are paid minimum-wage and who go around the city thinking they’re, like, ancillary police staff but just glorified hall monitors?”
“Yeah, those kids. Let’s have them take care of this investigation for us. Why not?”
“Wait, what? I thought they were only there to discipline delinquents and punks and whatnot. Now you want them solving crimes?”
“Since when have they been doing just that? Maybe in the first episode or two, but since then they’ve always involved themselves in these major crimes one way or another.”
“What about Anti-Skill?”
“What about them?”
“Why not have them take over this investigation? Hell, they’re pretty much the only active police force in this city.”
“Yeah, but they’re here for, like, hostage situations and terrorists attacking and that sorta junk. You never see them pushing paperwork, performing investigations or hell, when was the last time you saw them in court? Plus they always have Judgment around with them to help for whatever reason. You figure a SWAT team would need kids around for help? Puh-leeze.”
“So, you mean you want to have some unqualified, ill-equipped kids go around the city, investigating some serial arsonist who’s caused hundreds of millions of dollars [convert to yen if you wanna get serious about it… as you can tell, I’m not] in damage, probably putting them up against some armed, deranged criminal, quite possibly an esper with the capability of killing these kids within seconds? What are you thinking?”
“Well, honestly, those kids pretty much do all the work for us in the city. Since when have you seen the police do anything in Academy City?”
“Exactly. Let’s just drop a line with those kids over at Judgment, let them squeal with excitement, and in a few days, the arsons will stop and the case will be over.”
“Okay… well what about the triple homicide from yesterday, what…”
“And about how the Roman Catholic Church is sending their army to…”
“So… what do we do here at the Police Headquarters here in Academy City?”
“See that fridge over there?” says Steve, pointing aimlessly toward the break room, “Why doncha grab us both a beer, sit back, and let these kids handle all this shit for us?”
And that’s my impression of how Judgment has the jurisdiction and power it does in Railgun. The End.
Suisei no Gargantia (Episode 8)
Farewells aboard Gargantia are probably about as frequent as there are non-fanservicey episodes of this anime; not at all that common. The reason why there aren’t more farewells in this setting is because ships don’t want or need to secede from Gargantia, mainly because there are more services and opportunities for the individuals that join with these other ships and that there’s safety in numbers, especially for a fleet as large as Gargantia. As a result, Gargantia typically only sees growth in its community and an expansion of its fleet, joining new ships into its network and integrating them into this flourishing society. Given the structure of this setting and how these communities form, people aren’t free to move whenever they want, simply because there is no land, no other cities and no jobs to drive them elsewhere. Not only that but given the system of contracts and political regulations, it’s not easy to earn independence, especially if there are forces opposed to those breaking away. And what if you don’t own the ship, how would you even begin departing from Gargantia if you have no control over the ship in the first place? However, that’s not to say that there are arguments or disputes or other events that cause ships to break away from Gargantia, as we saw with this episode. However, you’d have to imagine that these encounters are quite rare and that for the people affected by these changes, the departure is quite an exceptional and stressful experience. Since people don’t usually part from each other, they simply aren’t experienced at handling these departures. There’s no reason why Amy, Saaya and Melty didn’t expect that they’d grow old together as best friends for their entire lives. So how do you say goodbye, possibly forever, with no other forms of communication once their ships are below the horizon? It’s gotta be real tough for these girls to say ‘sayonara’ to each other, much more than what we’re used to as an audience. I wish the episode had emphasized this more when Amy and Melty were talking to each other, making the departure harder on the two characters than what we saw, but the scene came across as satisfactory for what we should expect. Still, I thought that the two seeing each other for the last time (or so it seems) would be something more emotional and sentimental than what we received.
Shingeki no Kyojin (Episode 8)
So, is Attack on Titan a mecha anime now? Not quite but it’s getting there with the eighth episode of Shingeki no Kyojin, with it being revealed that Eren was inside the Titan, supposedly piloting it like how we imagine mecha pilots control their robots. Still, there are plenty of differences between this monster and the humanoid robots of mecha anime and other differences in structure, enemies, fighting and setting that keep the two distinguishable from each other… but you can’t help but think of this as somewhat similar to a mecha anime given how Eren harnessed the titan for himself and saved the day with his spontaneous heroics. Maybe as the series goes on and the mechanism is explained, then maybe it will evolve into some derivative of a mecha anime at that point. But for now, Attack on Titan is still that incredible steampunk/fantasy-action hybrid that we’ve come to love and appreciate.
Kakumeiki Valvrave (Episode 7)
Have you been desensitized to death in Valvrave yet? Well, after seven spectacularly eventful episodes (and even then, that’s still being meager to what’s transpired), you probably are like Inuzuka, witnessing a bloody and lifeless Haruto and thinking, “Oh boy, not this again!” But when the twisted, grisly corpse of Sakurai floats by, you can’t help but feel similar to Inuzuka who quickly turned from nonchalant to ghastly in two seconds flat. Just seeing her gruesome body there, floating aimlessly among the wreckage of the war field, really emphasizes death again in this series, one in which we’ve seen Haruto survive twenty or so bullets, stab wounds and other assaults that would surely kill any non-vampire human and Shouko miraculously surviving a giant laser blast. Having Sakurai’s death here, the first ‘authentic’ death of the series, does well to refocus the audience into its bearing and magnitude. Before, death was just another typical event in the daily lives of these high-schoolers, nothing too strange or exciting, especially after seeing Inuzuka’s reaction to Haruto’s latest “death”. But now, death has some meaning to it, some weight to it now and it begins to lose that sensitization that we felt once before. Of course, when it comes to Haruto and any of the other Valvrave pilots, we will still continue to be desensitized to their deaths and whatnot, but now we have to reevaluate how to feel about the remainder of the cast, those unfortunate folks who don’t get to reset once their life counter hits zero. It just goes to show how impactful and influential Sakurai’s death really is for Valvrave.
Hataraku Maou-sama! (Episode 8)
It’s rather amusing to see Emi, who’s only lived in Japan for a couple of months, to be the supposed expert of Earth to Ente Isla residents when chaperoning Suzuno around Tokyo. Of course, when assessing the situations of these characters, it makes the most sense for Emi to be in this position, having lived on Earth longer than any other Ente Isla human, actually knows the people and culture of Ente Isla, and she is an intelligent, caring and typically tolerant person, too. Still, it’s humorous to see people go to her for information about Earth when she herself is still a stranger in this strange land. Emi herself is no expert at Japan by any means, especially since she still is preoccupied with a stressful, minimum-wage job that dictates her schedule and is stalking an eccentric guy who works at the fast-food chain the next neighborhood over, but she’s the best available option for any travelers who are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Ente Isla, looking for something nice and quiet in Japan. I suppose as the series goes on and Emi becomes more accustomed to Japan, she might be able to help better situate travelers from between the two realms, especially if she can coordinate and secure proper housing and employment for Ente Isla residents before making the trip through space-time. You also have to wonder if Emi’s influence will also affect Ente Isla too, in that her presence and expertise in Japan will translate to changes in the culture or customs in Ente Isla, such as bringing over food and festivities that Emi might particularly like (although I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what Chiho does whenever she makes the expected trip to Ente Isla in the near future). The point here is that while it is hilarious to see Emi guide people around Japan as the resident expert from Ente Isla, she really is the only one suitable for such a position given how everyone else has zero experience compared to her couple months of experience.
Devil Survivor 2 the Animation (Episode 8)
You know, up until the point when the sky began dissolving into that black nothingness known as the Void, I began to think that the deaths in this anime were absolute. That these characters were gone. That they were actually dead. But no, with something as outrageous and bizarre as the sky itself disappearing, you know that the ending will need to be something so outlandish, so extraordinary that Hibiki will need to recreate the world or something and thus, bring back all his friends that died during these battles with the Septentriones. Like, for a moment, I was kinda happy to see an anime that wasn’t afraid to kill its most enjoyable and amusing characters, but with this twist in the plot, you figure that with something so irreversible as the existence of the entire world fading, that death is just a minor obstacle in what the eventual end of Devil Survivor 2 the Animation will be. I can’t say I’m terribly surprised by this turn of events but I’m still disappointed all the same. The one good thing to look forward to is that we’ll eventually get to see the return of Otome and Joe at some point, so maybe I should be thankful I’m getting that rather than nothing to look forward to for the finale.
Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge (Episode 8)
Okay, seriously, who has a play going on during the middle of a formal dinner party? Like, there aren’t any chairs or tables for them to sit down and enjoy the show, people probably have their view blocked if they’re trying to watch in the back, and what about all the people who still wanna walk around and converse with each other? I wonder if the crew working on Dansai Burni no Crime Edge were trying to think of fancy, formal events and came up with “dinner party” and “play” and decided to synergize them together to create a new paradigm that defines fanciness and formality and ‘really serious important adult stuff’. Too bad it sucked.
Chihayafuru 2 (Episode 20)
Although it feels as though we’ve been in the team tournaments for the entire season of Chihayafuru 2 (not really, only since episode 3 onward!)… wait, has it really been that long? Yeah, it seems we’ve been focusing on pretty much just these team style matches for the entire second season of Chihayafuru, something that has been both outstanding and gratifying but also quite stubborn and tiring. While the entire story arc was undoubtedly fascinating and intriguing, the constant wear and tear of watching team match and team match really gets to you, especially after 17 episodes worth of it. That’s not to say I don’t still enjoy these karuta matches but I markedly prefer the individual matches more than the team ones. And it was the same with the first season of Chihayafuru, when I enjoyed the series watching the team matches but fell in love with it during the individual tournament matches in the second half. The main reason for my difference in enjoyment is that these matches focus on a character on their own than compared to the team matches when it focuses on several characters. Here, in the individual matches, there isn’t anyone else to help them out should they have an issue they can’t overcome; it’s just them alone and their challenge across from them. Furthermore, the opponents of the individual matches were much more interesting and were developed to a greater degree than any of the previous team match opponents. And on top of that, the matches have a different style, a different flow and a different feel to them that make them feel quicker, more concise and easily, easily more dramatic. So with that, I am looking forward to the individual tournament for the remainder of the second season of Chihayafuru… but the only problem between this season and the last is that there are hardly any episodes left in this season. The only thing that this singles to me is at this tournament will be cut shorter than the one last year and that this season of Chihayafuru, according to my opinion, spent way too much time on the team tournament than on the individual matches. Then again, I should probably reserve my criticisms for the series until after everything has emerged, but still, with so few episodes left, I think I can get away with being a little preemptive on this irritating issue.