Last week: why minimal amounts of fanservice is strange in Hataraku Maou-sama!, why no character development is the best character development in Suisei no Gargantia, the exceptional development and use of its enormous cast in Kakumeiki Valvrave, and considering the time, expenses and logistics of Frenda’s attacks in To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S.
Best episode of the week: Chihayafuru 2
Anime trending up this week: Suisei no Gargnatia
Anime trending down this week: Hataraku Maou-sama!!
To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S (Episode 9)
After watching the past few episodes of Railgun and watching Misaka battle against Frenda and ITEM, I can’t help but wonder how much of that flammable tape Frenda put down. Like, how many miles of tape did she put throughout that facility? And yes, it will be miles considering that through those long corridors, you’d often see 7 or 8 different lines of tape covering the floor and walls and ceilings. Yeah, think about that for a moment. If there were 7 or 8 lines of tape going down one hallway, you’d figure Frenda would have to walk up and down that hallway at least 4 times to get the tape down. Hell, that’s forgetting to mention all the branches that were factored in, too. And how much time did it take to plan all this, design the tape grid and figure out where the branches and breakpoints should be? Not only that, how much time did it take Frenda to do all this? It only seems like she had a day or a night or so to take care of all this, so I’m guessing she put in a dozen hours to prepare the whole plant for Misaka. And just how did she get access to all those places anyway? Not just asking how she got into the various secret rooms and passageways, but how did she get on the ceiling and the walls and pillars and stuff? Hell, probably the best question to ask after considering all this is how much did it cost Frenda? I’m sure that tape isn’t cheap and, considering she used probably a few hundred rolls of it, I’m guessing it was pretty pricey for her to implement. And that’s even discounting all those bomb-dolls that she laid out in the facility. I’m sure those things are expensive, too. But you know, now it makes sense why Frenda was so obsessed with killing Misaka herself and earning a majority of the pay… because she really needs it! So yeah, factor in the time, the money, the difficulty and the logistics of Frenda’s preparations (and that’s not even mentioning the execution of her plan, too!) and it becomes increasingly clear why Frenda is such an excellent and capable assassin.
Suisei no Gargantia (Episode 10)
Often times, I compliment an anime for how it develops its characters and cast depending on their interactions and the events that befall them. And while that’s true for Gargantia with Ledo, a character who has seen a phenomenal amount of growth and maturity of his own, I find the best development of any character has actually had zero development thus far. When examining Chamber and his role in the story, the fact that he has not developed or matured is pivotal to Gargantia and really stands to contrast and measure Ledo as the lead. What makes Chamber such a fascinating role is that he serves as the starting point for Ledo, a reference for us to see how much Ledo has changed since he arrived on Earth. Because Chamber remains a product of the Galactic Alliance, he still follows all the military protocols and procedures that Ledo would’ve had he remained in space. Chamber also has an incredibly mechanical personality, one that perfectly fits his role as a constant reminder of what the Galactic Alliance wants Ledo to do. And that mechanical personality does well in how Chamber reacts to these situations that Ledo reacts to, assessing the situations in a logical, bellicose manner per the rationale of the Galactic Alliance in relation to their war against the Hideauze. The fact that Chamber hasn’t grown at all throughout the anime is a testament to his role as Ledo’s life and purpose with the Galactic Alliance. Not only does Chamber serve as a measuring stick in which to measure the progress and maturity of Ledo but Chamber constantly provides arguments and retorts that the old Ledo would use to counter the new Ledo. His character is one of the most magnificent in Gargantia and deserves praise for how he is used in the series. Even though Chamber has seen minimal growth of his own throughout Gargantia, he still continues to play a fundamental role in the anime and further enhances Ledo’s character and Ledo’s story.
Shingeki no Kyojin (Episode 10)
Clouds in anime are usually an afterthought; just another miscellaneous component in the background, out of the focus and out of the minds of the audience. But for Attack on Titan, the clouds are often gorgeous visuals that complement the anime. And no, this isn’t just the clouds in the sky, which are beautiful and detailed in their own right, but the clouds of steam that are associated with the various titans that bedevil mankind. In this episode, with the clouds of steam acting as a smokescreen for Eren, Mikasa and Armin, the artwork and animation of the clouds become a focal point of the episode and came to the forefront of our attention. What makes the clouds so remarkable in Titan as compared to other anime is how much more thorough, vibrant and colorful they are. Clouds in other anime are often a collection of various shades of white and amorphous without much in the way to draw or grab the attention of the audience. And unless it’s a storm or raining, clouds are almost never have personality or color. Here, however, the clouds feature a multitude of shades and lighting and are structured in a manner to give them more of a heavy or built-up appearance. Furthermore, the clouds are associated with the fearsome titans, so it helps to give them this appearance when being associated with the most frightening and terrifying aspect of this anime. Hell, maybe that’s the reason why the clouds are so damn elegant in Titan is because that they have some meaning and purpose to them than just details in the background? That and with the clouds being the background for virtually half this episode, I suppose it makes sense that they put their effort into drawing these clouds as detailed as possible, because wispy white clouds wouldn’t have that same effect, now would they?
Kakumeiki Valvrave (Episode 9)
Perhaps my favorite aspect of Valvrave the Liberator is the tremendous amount of character development we experience for its expansive cast and how each character has evolved into their roles in the story. Consider characters like Saki, Inuzuka, and Yamada from the first couple episodes to where they are now. Each began as nothing more than a background character and, if they were lucky, they’d have a couple of lines in an episode. Now, each has become influential characters in their own capacity who now have the ability to command the anime whenever they’re on the screen. And I’m not just talking about the Valvrave pilots or the other lead characters, like Shouko and L-Elf either. Even characters like Nanami, Marie and even Sakurai have seen dramatic progress in their characters which has allowed them to fill specific roles in this anime. The fact that we’ve seen so many characters going from the nondescript, non-significant role of everyday student to an actual effective character is one of the greatest strengths of Valvrave. We’ve been able to watch characters who have nothing special about them all grow into their new roles as a result of the events of the series and through the actions of the other characters. Valvrave has done well in managing its gigantic cast of characters, not only in dividing up the screentime to appropriately manage the story and the characters but in how its uses these characters in the series. One can only hope that as the series begins its second half soon that this trajectory remains true for the remainder of the cast who have yet to really shine in Kakumeiki Valvrave.
Hataraku Maou-sama! (Episode 10)
Shows with mild amounts of fanservice, which I consider Hataraku Maou-sama! to belong to, are certainly strange, aren’t they? In Hatarauk Maou-sama!, you have the standard assortment of girls in bikinis and breast jokes, which is fairly standard in today’s anime environment, material that is so ubiquitous and omnipresent in anime today that you’d wonder if it’s a religious children’s show without it. And while that’s expected in just about every anime these days, Maou-sama! takes a step above zero and has added in minor fanservice elements, such as the occasional bra shot, panty shot and jiggling, bouncy breasts. There’s just enough of it and it’s just frequent enough that one would consider Maou-sama! to be slightly ecchi or somewhat fanservicey. My question is, why? Why this minimal amount? These fanservice elements are hardly necessary in Maou-sama! We can tell that Chiho has larger breasts than Emi just by looking at them. They don’t need to move for us to notice, ‘Wow, I just realized that her boobs are bigger than her boobs!’. And the occasional shots of underwear haven’t really proven instrumental or even important to the characters or the story? So why even have it? Of course, the on the other hand, why not have more of it? If Maou-sama! is going to have some elements of fanservice in it, why not add in a considerable amount so that it feels satisfying or gratifying to the audience. Why not have a dozen pantyshots? Why not have Chiho’s breasts bounce a couple times each episode? Why not put it up to a level where people would respond to it being an ecchi anime and enjoy the fanservice more? Really, at this miniscule level of fanservice, I don’t understand what the point is. If it’s this little, why even have it in the first place? And if you do have, why not make it more frequent so that it’s somewhat enjoyable instead of just the slightest bit awkward. It’s just strange at this current level. It doesn’t really satisfy either fan camp, being those who don’t want any fanservice and those who enjoy it and want more from their anime. So considering the use of fanservice in Hataraku Maou-sama!, that occasional breasts physics and those rare panties, you really have to wonder what’s the point. That is why I always find anime like this one, one with a minimal amount of fanservice, to be strange.
Devil Survivor 2 the Animation (Episode 10)
So how does Nitta surviving change Yamato’s plans? Because considering that Yamato had a plan for these seven days, for how to attack and survive the Septentriones and create his new world in the aftermath of defeating Polaris. And according to his plans, Nitta was supposed to sacrifice herself and be out of the picture for these final days. But instead, because of Hibiki’s heroics, Nitta is still around. How does Nitta being alive affect Yamato’s plans? Certainly having one of the most powerful and most capable summoners around helps but Nitta is also one of the many characters that are against his plans for creating a new world order. In fact, does Nitta being alive complicate his plans for overcoming the possible resistance from facing Hibiki following the defeat of Polaris? Does having Nitta around change the game enough so that he can’t overcome Hibiki on the final day? It’ll be interesting to see what Nitta is able to do from here on out considering that she was expected to die from Yamato’s original plan. You figure that after the events of this episode, in which Hibiki saved Nitta from Yamato’s shrewd plans, Nitta will play some pivotal role later in the story. Whether she’s the one who defeats Polaris or Yamato or even Hibiki still remains to be seen. However, at this point, you can expect big things from Nitta now that she survived her sacrifice.
Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge (Episode 10)
Although Iwai’s hair never fails to grow day after day, her character growth has been stunted by always being around Kiri. Just about every time we see Iwai, she’s with Kiri and they’re doing something together. And while that might be expected from an anime who’s protagonist is Kiri, we were treated to some moments of Iwai alone and on her own for virtually the first time this entire series. In the few scenes we had with Iwai, we were able to see her character unfold and expand beyond the binds of being together with Kiri. Of particular note is how Iwai behaved around Emily and what they were able to do together. Seeing Iwai take command of the situation and take care of Emily, spending time with her until her parents returned to her, really shows a side of Iwai that we would be unable to see from when she’s together with Kiri. I definitely wish we had more time of Iwai alone for her to develop her own character and own personality away from all the crazy events of the series, but with only 13 episodes total and quite a mess of a story to wade through, perhaps it’s best that we didn’t have any of this fluff, especially if it has little to no importance in the story in the end. Still, it was nice to see Iwai on her own for once and I hope we see more of it in these final episodes.
Chihayafuru 2 (Episode 22)
I’ve always enjoyed the ranking system in karuta. It’s like in those shounen fighters where different characters have different power levels and it’s arranged in a logical system where you can identify who’s stronger than the others. It’s the same in Chihayafuru with the characters allotted to one of four classes, being logically termed A through D. But like in those shounen fighting anime, you always have those few characters who break the system and go beyond the top ranking in whatever silly system they have. That, too, is the same in Chihayafuru with Shinobu, the Queen, literally decimating and dominating every A Class match she faces. Really, there should be another class that’s just for Shinobu. Calling her the Queen is a start, but there should really be an S Class for Shinobu given how dominant she is. I suppose she has been classified as Super A Class, but that still puts her in the same group as everyone that she beats by 20 or so cards. It’s not really fair for her to be placed in this group where she’s clearly superior to just about everyone. Then again, being called the Queen is pretty spectacular, and you don’t really see people acknowledge her Super A Class rank like you see with other characters, so maybe there’s some more weight in the title ‘Queen’ than I’m making there out to be. Still, I don’t think anyone would have a problem if they created an S Class just for Shinobu and put her in there with maybe Arata and Suo (who became King after only 3 years of playing karuta).