A long, long time ago, back when you actually probably cared about these episodes: why Yeti is the best character in Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san (and why the series should be about her instead), changing the perspectives of how we view the characters in Shingeki no Kyojin, how the evolution of Hataraku Maou-sama! holds up thus far, and why the sheer awkwardness of Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge is actually a good thing.
Best episode of the week: Suisei no Gargantia
Anime trending up this week: Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san
Anime trending down this week: Hataraku Maou-sama!
To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S (Episode 8)
I could write something here, but you probably won’t read it with all these pictures of Frenda around, so I’ll just leave this here while I still have your attention: Frenda is awesome and should be featured prominently in every episode. Thanks for your time.
Suisei no Gargantia (Episode 9)
Featured extensively in the backdrop of this anime, never fully becoming a focal point of the story or the action, the ninth episode of Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet finally delivered on probably the most tantalizing and tormenting tease of the season. Think I’m talking about the Hideauze and the origin of their species and the war? Nah. Or may even hints that explain the setting and connect Ledo to the Galactic Alliance to the Hideauze and everything back to Earth? Nope. What I’m referencing is much, much more important… at least to me. For you see, I’ve been waiting for Mayta to actually do something in this series since I ever started browsing over the character designs for this series before it even began its broadcast some two months ago. It probably isn’t surprising to learn that a spiky, short blue-haired tomboy(-ish) character would be my favorite form this cast, but Mayta was a fixture of the background for far too long. Just now, just in this episode, we finally were able to see her partake in an active role albeit a small one on Pinion’s deadly salvage excursion. Nevertheless, the series finally delivered on this imperative and vital aspect, a detail I have been somewhat agonizing over since the very start. With that out of the way, maybe I can begin to enjoy the story again, especially since it finally seems to have returned again, after half-a-dozen episodes of establishing the characters, the setting, and the fanservice the conflict that Ledo faces on Gargantia. Not saying that I didn’t enjoy the detailing, the build-up and the whole dilemma of the anime, just that we’re finally getting some answers, the ones that we’ve been waiting for after 8 episodes, so now it feels like Gargantia is back on track and ready to begin again.
Shingeki no Kyojin (Episode 9)
The big reveal in the ninth episode of Shingeki no Kyojin, perhaps not as big as Eren controlling the competent titan and using it to save his human comrades, is that the transformation from human to titan is granted through the injection of a drug into a human’s body. And the process to which they become a titan themselves, is performed by a conscious decision by that subject, rather than say something outside their control like a full moon or being bitten by a vampire. Not only that but what governs this transformation is something as simple as biting one’s thumb. The fact that the trigger for this fantastic reaction is something that these humans can implement and control is quite fascinating; it really shifts the story and setting into a direction most hadn’t considered yet with humans being able to become titans under a few special circumstances. And after watching Eren’s transformation for the first time, you have to wonder, who else among these humans has also been injected with this drug and can turn into a titan, too? You have to figure that Eren’s flashback, the one with his father showing a syringe in his face, that there are others out there who received these injections too and thus, can turn into titans themselves. Hell, Eren’s father might even be one of the special few who have the ability to turn into these titans. The same for Eren’s fellow cadets. Even the higher-ups in the government and military might be potential candidates for human-to-titan transformers. The point is, with Eren’s transformation into a titan to save the life of him and his two remaining friends, it raises the immediate question of what other characters are capable of this transformation, too. And of course, the follow up question to that is, what are they doing with their human-to-titan transformation powers. Are they using it to lay siege on the human stronghold? Or perhaps they’re using it for something more, something way beyond the walls, on the other side of the horizon, where the humans can’t see or fathom…
Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san (Episode 9)
Just as the show was beginning to lose its moxie and its charm began to wear, we finally saw the return of the best character in the series, Yeti, who single-handedly saves the series from falling freely. Yeti fits a specific role in Muromi-san that really augments the comedy, compliments the characters and just makes every episode so much damn better than all the others. What Yeti does is she’s able to be the calm, steady, level-headed character that allows all the other irrational characters to go crazy, act silly and make us laugh. How this differentiates Takurou’s character is that Yeti actually goes along with Muromi and the others in their silly adventures and actually participates in these zany activities. Takurou, on the other hand, refuses to participate, creating conflict between the characters and always acting screaming and yelling whenever the littlest thing happens. His role fits that mundane, standard form of comedy that you always see main characters in; it’s that normal person reacting extremely to every little odd thing that occurs to them. Yeti, however, takes that tsukkomi (straight man) role but goes along with the jokes and even allows for jokes to be redirected to her. There isn’t much conflict between her character and the others (and if there is, is usually is ignored) which then allows the comedy or oddities to continue rather than halting, like with Takurou. As a result, Yeti fits that ideal role in a wacky comedy series like Muromi-san, the one that just makes everything better. And because of this, Yeti is, by far, the best character in Muromi-san. Also, she’s the cutest character in the anime, too (but that’s just overkill at this point).
Kakumeiki Valvrave (Episode 8)
Considering that Module 77 is still apparently drifting aimlessly within the void of space, frequently assaulted by Dorssia on multiple fronts, you can’t help but consider that our heroes are contending against this evil empire without any supply lines to support itself. While that doesn’t seem to be a problem for things like food and clothing, considering that all the markets, shops and convenience stores are still ably supplied for a student population somewhere near a thousand, the question falls on how the Valvraves are supplied on weaponry, maintenance material and machinery, and fuel. Right now, it doesn’t seem like there’s much of an issue between battles, but you do see the Valvrave units sustain damage which would need to be repaired and maintained between battles. The only one with any knowledge and ability to do this would be Takumi-sensei, but it seems like he’s been rather clueless about these units until recently, and even then, he probably wouldn’t know all the know-how in figuring out how to restore these machines to satisfactory levels between battles. Additionally, you’d figure it’d be more than a one-man job to fix these mechs, and it doesn’t seem like anyone else (except maybe Yuusuke) would be able to assist. Similarly, the whole Valvrave center, situated conveniently under the school, was pictured to be more of a research center than an arsenal. Besides the hanger and the weapons presently on the Valvraves, it doesn’t seem like there would be a considerable amount of ammunition and fuel in Module 77, especially since these units were still experimental and being researched rather than any military base or similar. It really begs the question of how sustainable is Module 77 on its own right now without any capacity to resupply itself during this ongoing war with Dorssia. I wouldn’t be surprised if the situation was brought up eventually in the series, to a more significant degree than was mentioned previously, but the answer here is rather simple and obvious, with the ARUS securing a supply-line to Module 77 after the Valvraves push back Dorssia for the nth time. Still, it’d make me happy to see something as essential as this be featured in the series.
Hataraku Maou-sama! (Episode 9)
The evolution of Hataraku Maou-sama! as a series has been rather fascinating, following a path similar to many light novels but still retaining its charm and intelligence despite doing so. As many light-novel adaptions go, the series starts off with an exciting or amusing idea, does pretty well until the first arc is finished. Then after that, lightning strikes the series, it loses its focus and resolve and its identity and becomes nothing but circular storylines and filler episodes that go nowhere else but down. And while the same can be argued for Maou-sama! which has clearly slipped since the first arc climaxed in episode 5, I still find this series to retain that charm and style that made the first half so enjoyable. It’s true that the story and characters have stagnated in this second part, but the series hasn’t forgotten that comedic style and character dynamic that made it entertaining and enjoyable from the first half. Not only that but the characters have even featured some growth since the end of the first arc too, most notably with Chiho admitting to her feelings over Maou, which certainly is promising for her character. It doesn’t necessarily help that the cast has ballooned with the addition of several new characters, essentially shifting Shirou and the main storyline to the background, but each new character has fit into a role of their own, though some have been more valuable than others. In that sense, the series has evolved rather nicely when compared to other adaptations of light-novels, but it still falls victim to that stereotypical ‘light-novel decline’ where everything begins to slip at the conclusion of the first arc. Hopefully the series will revitalize itself and return to the plot that we were promised in the first few episodes, but until then, the series is still enjoyable thanks to it being able to retain that charm and comedy and dynamic which made the first part of Maou-sama! such a blast.
Devil Survivor 2 the Animation (Episode 9)
Devil Survivor 2 has really been an anime of two-halves, hasn’t it? Remember the Septentriones of the first half of the series, those incredible, destructive and frightening monsters that took several characters and a handful of episodes to kill? Now, the Septentriones just kinda appear, a couple characters do something special, and it’s gone without a fuss in a few minutes. What about the death clips that seemed to actually carry some weight and significance in the first half, now just used for the characters to voice their empty complaints again, ones that fall on deaf ears. Not only that but the first half of Devil Survivor 2 felt more like a video game with more of a focus on developing the summons, powering them up and using their special powers to combat the bosses with varying levels of results. Now, it’s like Yamato has taken the controller from us, is using his cheats, and beating everything for us in the matter of seconds without much in the way of effort to be spent or satisfaction to be earned. At some point, Devil Survivor 2 shifted from one paradigm to the next, from one focus to another. The anime now feels entirely different than it did before, going from an anime that felt like it had something or was going somewhere to something rushed and empty. Part of this transition is related to the story being explained, the characters being explored and fact that we already know who’s going to win each fights (so why bother showing them struggle each time?). The other is that the series is compressed into a meager 12 episodes and its evident that way too many ideas and details were chopped in order to fit this final budget. Had this series been allowed more time (and more money) to develop each facet of the series to an adequate degree, the series would have easily fared better than how it currently stands. Rather than reaching these final episodes and feeling rushed and empty, a longer Devil Survivor would have been able to progress much more smoothly and appropriately than the current series that we have now. It is rather unfortunate, isn’t it?
Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge (Episode 9)
It’s always fun to watch an anime that’s awkward but Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge is almost too awkward at times. It’s not just the irrational characters, the wonky story, those awful color filters and the amusingly-bad animation because they all play a major role in the awkwardness of the series, but rather, it’s that strange beauty of how all these awkward bits fit together to make the series an unintentional riot. I don’t often find myself laughing at any non-comedy anime but every fight scene with the scissors and those just absolutely regrettable color filters provokes a laughter as awkward as the anime itself. To continue off that note, the characters themselves are downright bizarre at times, especially with the semi-sex scene following the murder at the play of the dinner party of the secret organization out to kill Iwai. Oh, and have I mentioned the plot yet when trying to document all this awkwardness? It’s perhaps the worst offender of the list but it just works so perfectly with everything else. In fact, that’s the charm of Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge… just that awful gracelessness and embarrassment that you feel when watching it. No, it was never going to be the best show of the year or even a great show this season, but Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge is still amusing and enjoyable, but only if you can manage to derive your enjoyment from just the sheer amount of awkwardness from this anime.
Chihayafuru 2 (Episode 21)
I don’t often find myself disappointed by anything in Chihayafuru 2, but that wasn’t the case after episode twenty-one. Watching Arata’s parents in the crowd, watching their son participate in the karuta tournament, really irked me knowing that they were there to watch their son lose. Moreover, they were wanting their son to lose the tournament over something as petty as him wanting to go to college where he wants. I’ve always been a strong supporter of allowing kids to go where they want for school and to study what they want when they get there, so seeing Arata’s parents cheer against him based solely on his own life and career plans leaves me feeling disheartened by these two adult characters. Sure, it was played for a quick joke in the series, but to what expense? From now on, I’ll forever remember these characters as the two who want their son to go to a local school because they enjoy fat wallets or are too narrow-minded to consider the long-term benefits of sending him to a university in Tokyo. I wouldn’t have minded it if the joke was altered slightly so that the parents were merely advising him toward the local community college versus school in Tokyo, but to see them actively cheering when he lost a card in a match is a bit much for me. Hopefully there’ll be some redemption later on, such as if Arata loses to Shinobu in the finals match and, when comforting Arata, they allow him to go to Tokyo, but something like that is so cliché I already feel nauseous just writing about it. Still, I’d prefer that over knowing that Arata’s parents were basking in his defeat, knowing that they’d be restricting their son’s choice in school, and possibly, his life goals.