This week: rants against the esper level system in To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S, why I hate student governments in anime with Kakumeiki Valvrave, setting up Rion for much more in Chihayafuru 2, and the stereotypical sad backstory for lolis in Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge.
Best episode of the week: Yuyushiki
Anime trending up this week: Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai. 2
Anime trending down this week: Kakumeiki Valvrave
To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S (Episode 10)
To me, the whole esper ranking and classification system is odd and incorrect. First off, the ranking scale is based on how powerful and how useful their abilities are. I can understand that, but what type of criteria is used to evaluate it? I’m sure if you ask around, you’d see that people have different opinions on what makes an esper strong and what makes their abilities useful. Take Kuroko’s Teleport for example. With a little bit of creativity, she could literally be the most powerful character in all of Academy City. So why is she stuck at being a Level 4, especially since her abilities are some of the most practical in everyday life and in battle, and not among the elite in Level 5? And why does the series treat this classification system as scientific fact? Is there a device or instrument out there that’s calibrated from Level 0 to Level 5 that accurately measures a person’s ESP-ness? The method employed by Academy City, the System Scan, is certainly questionable as a way to assign levels, especially after missing people like Touma. And what scientific measures are they using to determine their powers? What exactly do they think they’re measuring and how do they have scientists that work off this system to enhance their powers? Like, how is it theoretical that Accelerator can be the only Level 6 with his abilities? How do they know there’s room for improvement or that Misaka’s Electromaster can’t become Level 6 on her own? Hell, just look at what Misaka can do with her ability, including hacking into intricate computer systems, cling to and run on walls, sense spatial movements through electromagnetic disturbances, and the ability to control anything metallic, just to name a few. Really, the whole idea of this scientific esper ranking system is just wrong, especially with how people treat is as an understood fact. To me, the level system for espers is opinion rather than fact. And as a result, it should be treated as an opinion and that people should reconsider the esper abilities on their actual strength and usefulness rather than being assigned a number based on some suspect scientific instructions.
Suisei no Gargantia (Episode 11)
Just how many other fleets and other societies are there roaming the oceans in the world of Garganita? It has been established that there are numerous other societies of seafarers out there who connect their ships, like Gargantia, but it has never really been states how many there are out there or how those societies differ from each other. All we know about the other fleets of ships is that there are pirates out there that like to exploit the weaker ones and that everyone gets their power from those lightning bugs, so they need to sail the world in order to power their vessels. So how exactly does this cult society appear randomly? After sailing around for decades, wouldn’t you figure that these ships would have established communication with each other? It’s not like these ships just materialized and these people appeared out of nowhere, except in the form of the story of Gargantia. Just how do Pinion and the others not know about this flotilla and their crazy cult ways? Sure, it works in the form of story to surprise us, but realistically, this shouldn’t surprise anyone that’s lived for more than a couple months on Earth. And what about the people who live on the land, what are their societies like? Because as we saw from the maps, there are chains of islands out there that would be the peaks of mountain ranges today. There are a number of dubious details missing here in Gargantia about the world, the various human societies and how they interact with each other. Then again, the story of the anime has been squarely isolated on Garganita throughout, so it is somewhat forgivable considering a social studies lesson in the middle of this anime wouldn’t really be necessary for the story to advance (but then again, neither were the fanservice episodes).
Shingeki no Kyojin (Episode 11)
So the plan is to place the giant boulder in the hole in the wall to block the titans from entering? That seems alright, because then that’d block the sole access point for the titans and it would allow for the humans to retake the city and the land they once lost. But, consider this for a moment, what will prevent the titans from pushing the boulder out in the first place and retaking the city? Now, this is considering that the titans aren’t coordinated to form a unit of its strongest members to push the boulder out of the hole in the wall, but you have to figure that after some time, the titans will dislodge the boulder from its resting spot and gain access to the city again. And of course, this is considering that the strength of these titans are comparable to Eren’s titan and that a handful of them, pushing the boulder together, would be enough to free the boulder from its position. Unless there’s another part to this plan, I think that this idea is doomed to failure.
Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai. 2 (Episode 11)
How awesome is it to see Kyousuke live on his own? Not only that, but think about his situation, too: he doesn’t have to pay rent, he doesn’t have to pay bills, he probably doesn’t have to pay for food (unless he’s going to eat out every night) and all this while still going to high school. Not to mention, he’s got cute girls visiting him in his apartment, but then again, that’s kinda always been the case and not really a result of living on his own. But think about it for a moment, and you have to admit that Kyousuke is pretty damn lucky to be in this situation. Hell, if I were provided the opportunity when I was in high school, I know I would’ve thrown myself at the chance. Living on your own is tremendous and I always enjoy seeing these stories unfold in anime. Seeing it here in Ore no Imouto 2 is fantastic, and I’m hoping to see this story arc last until the end of this second season (because that would be a great way to end this sequel).
Kakumeiki Valvrave (Episode 10)
There are few things that I hate worse than student governments in anime. Although it does play a semi-serious role in Valvrave the Liberator, student governments are always pretend institutions that kids pay way too much attention to and value way much more than they should. What legitimate power do they have? How do they keep people in check? They’re always just a silly role to give shitty work that administrators and teachers don’t want to students who are eager to suck up to anyone in any form of authority. Yet, in anime, they’re always depicted as these revered, prestigious, elegant students who the student body, en masse, treats objectively better than their individual peers. Honestly, who gives a shit about this kinda stuff? Actually, how do you give a shit about this stuff? At least in Valvrave, the new student government is an actual de facto government for the space module, but without any sorts of laws, enforcements or system of justice, how will everything work? In real life, it wouldn’t, but at least for the characters of Valvrave, the anime won’t spend too much time on the impossibility of this issue and thankfully, return back the story at hand.
Hataraku Maou-sama! (Episode 11)
What amuses me the most about Hataraku Maou-sama! is how the Ente Isla immigrants have struggled to make new acquaintances with humans after quickly befriending Chiho and Rika. Really, you figure that Sadao, with his new compassionate and sociable personality would have made other friends besides Chiho or that Emi, with her gracious and amiable nature, would have won over more than just Rika. I understand that their missions aren’t here to make friends, but you would’ve expected them to expand their social networks a bit after living in Japan for several months. What I mean to say is, that it’s still surprising that the only human who’s caught up in the messes that seep through from Ente Isla is Chiho. Why aren’t there other humans, such as Chiho’s friends or other coworkers, who befriend Sadao or Emi and get caught up in these misadventures, too? It might balloon the cast out a bit much for a show like this, but it would nevertheless be interesting to add a few new humans to the mix to alter the dynamic of the series a bit and refocus it to amusing events on Earth rather than various plot points crossing dimensions.
Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge (Episode 11)
Every backstory to every loli is a depressing one. Either they’re like Emily and they’re impoverished with no hopes of an enjoyable life or they have family members die (Yamane) or they have some mysterious disease (Iwai fits that) or something that makes us sad to see a little girl go through such hardships. It’s like every loli is required to have some form of a sad story or depressing past, just to make us feel bad for them or something. It’s like, without it, the creators fear they won’t appeal to us. They create these stories so that we feel ambivalent or conflicted toward them in that they deserve some forgiveness for whatever mistakes or errors they make. It’s actually quite amusing to see all the various stories these characters go through, especially since these sob stories often have no real weight on the actual storyline besides giving us a moment to think, ‘oh, that poor loli, I feel so bad for her now.’ Honestly, I would have rather seen a story about how Emily became the assassin she is today, going through rigorous trials and experiments to be the seasoned killer that she is. To be fair, not only would that have helped expand her character than eating a sandwich, but it might have drawn more of an authentic emotional attachment to her character by showing that she loves her Papa despite going through such hardships. Now that would be something meaningful and worthwhile to help elevate Emily from just another ‘villain-of-the-week’ to a ‘decisive antagonist’.
Chihayafuru 2 (Episode 23)
Given the frequency of Rion’s character during the high school tournaments, you can’t help but wonder if they’re setting up Rion’s character for a larger role later on in the series. Of course, with the second season of Chihayafuru ending shortly, we won’t be seeing Rion again for quite some time, but the way the series has treated her character and how she’s played against Chihaya and Taichi (and the fact that she still will still be in school next year), you have to figure that there’s some grand plan involving Rion later on in Chihayafuru. On top of that, with her facing against Taichi in the B Class finals, you figure that she’ll be in A Class next year and ready to get revenge against Chihaya, Taichi and Mizusawa’s karuta team. I certainly hope there is more planned for Rion following this high school tournament, especially since she could really develop into another rival for Chihaya, one that looks up to her to compete against her, unlike Shinobu or Arata.