This week: being fanservicey but not being a fanservice anime with Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu, finally satisfying my curiosities in Shingeki no Kyojin, theories on why I can tolerate the melodrama in Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou, and a simple suggestion to make Uchouten Kazoku even better.
Best episode of the week: Monogatari Series Second Season
Anime trending up this week: Shingeki no Kyojin
Anime trending down this week: To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S
Gatchaman Crowds (Episode 4)
I’ve always been a fan of Mamoru Miyano’s voice acting (Light from Death Note, Takuto from Star Driver, Taichi from Chihayafuru, Masaomi from Durarara!!) and having him voice the alien, Berg-Katze, in Gatchaman Crowds is an absolute treat. Not only for me but apparently for Mamoru, too. Just listening to his playful voice, often uncontrolled or untamed in the best way, you can tell he’s having a wonderful time voicing this mysterious, flamboyant and extravagant antagonist. His voice acting has been specular and has helped aid Berg-Katze’s character to appear more crazy and dangerous than any action he’s taken thus far. Mamoru’s talent really matches this role considering his range and use of vocals, and he’s been a perfect fit for Berg-Katze in this revival of the Gatchaman series. And best of all, you can tell from the way he’s voicing Berg-Katze that Mamoru is loving every minute of this performance. I’m always happy whenever a seiyuu goes above and beyond with their presentation of a character but it’s even better when you know they’re enjoying it as much as I am.
Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou (Episode 5)
Thick and sappy melodrama is often a turn-off for me, particularly when a show tries its damnedest to play it as entirely serious and profound when, in reality, it comes off as something ridiculous and is often chided as a result. So while Gen’ei wo Kakeru Taiyou has thick, sappy melodrama, why do I not mind it or even enjoy it in parts? Perhaps one reason for my tolerance of this style of storytelling is because that there’s some actual authenticity to this drama when characters die. There’s no bullshit in Genei Taiyou when a character dies and everyone forgets about them. So from that angle, I can understand why some of the drama is so hard on some of the characters, especially when they try to hard to prevent it and come up empty-handed. The other might be that I’m not as emotionally invested in the characters or story in Genei Taiyou as I have been with other anime. That’s not to say that I’m not enjoying this anime, considering it’s probably my candidate for the best surprise of the season, but more of a byproduct of me enjoying the anime for entirely different reasons than the characters and their depressing stories. That’s not to say I don’t share some of their emotions when they’re sad at the death of a friend or father figure, as was the case with this episode, but more that magnitude is entirely different. Maybe if I were more emotionally invested in the series and then it tried to pull this melodrama on me, then I’d be more disappointed, but I don’t think the series has done really anything wrong despite resorting to melodrama in almost every episode. Or maybe I’m just more tolerant of it in general? Who knows. Either way, this is one of the first times I’ve been able to endure melodrama to this degree without wanting to bash my head on the corner of my desk or drop the series completely. Hopefully Genei Taiyou manages to stay this way until the end…
Monogatari Series Second Season (Episode 5)
If there’s one consistency to Monogatari, whether Bake, Nise, Neko or this, it’s that the final episodes in these mini-story arcs are always a favorite. Just the way each episode manages its climax, its emotions, its subtleties and its satisfying conclusions; every ending throughout the series is a gem to watch. Really, what more can I say after the conclusion to Nekomonogatari: Shiro? Maybe that I want to watch it all over again with a better understanding to everything in the story? If I had the time (and you know I don’t, considering how late these posts always are), I’d leap at the opportunity (as well as tackling my ever-growing backlog, too).
Shingeki no Kyojin (Episode 17)
As I mentioned thirteen episodes ago, questioning the limitations of the steampunk technology (the 3D-maneuver gears) that the humans rely upon to defend the titans, what would happen if there were no trees or walls around to use when fighting the titans? Well, now we have our answer with our heroes out and about in the great wide open, with not much in the way of trees or buildings to use when needed to defend or fight against a titan. Not only does it change the entire dynamic of the series with the characters needing to reinvent other ways to combat these titans but it also provides us with the opportunity to see just how valuable these walls and building are considering how these elite soldiers are largely ineffective without them around. So with the series moving into this change of setting and entirely different landscape, it should be fun to see what happens next.
Silver Spoon (Episode 4)
If the fourth episode of Silver Spoon is accurate, I feel bad for the farmers of Hokkaido. For so many of those students to miss out on freshly-made or gourmet or even just cheap, hot pizza, you can’t help but feel bad for them. Even here, driving through dinky, dusty rural towns of a couple thousand people, there’s always a couple pizza places. And hell, isn’t Ooezo Agricultural High School situated in a decent-sized city in Hokkaido? Why can’t the students just visit a local pizza joint after clubs are over but before curfew? I don’t know, maybe Japan just hates pizza, but judging from the reactions of the students, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Or maybe it’s just not as Americanized as I expected it to be with pizza being a significant aspect of their regular diet. Well, if it were up to the students, it probably would be. Heh, wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the students do something with pizza whenever this manga/anime is over.
Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu (Episode 5)
C3-bu actually has quite a bit of fanservice, especially with this beach episode with the girls all in their bikinis and using two bikini tops as flags, but it doesn’t feel like a fanservice anime like so many others. Perhaps it’s because C3-bu has the restraint to prevent the show from diving into the “ecchi territory” where there’s bouncing boobs, upskirts and panties, and sexually-suggestive situations. In fact, C3-bu has had none of it, with the most fanservicey material being girls bathing in a hot springs a couple episodes back. And while that still is considered ecchi to some, it’s pretty much the mainstream for late-night anime now. Maybe the series drew a line that the animators dare not cross, akin to what happened with Girls und Panzer (though it did have frequent bathing and I did catch a couple upskirts in that anime). Still, whatever C3-bu is doing, it knows that it doesn’t want to be labeled as an ecchi anime though it is pushing the envelope with episodes like this. Nevertheless, I don’t think the series will do much more than this, especially since we’ve already checked off the hot springs episode and beach episode already.
Tamayura ~more aggressive~ (Episode 5)
Considering how much Kaoru, Norie, Maon, Kanae and pretty much everyone else devotes their time and attention to Fu, you can’t help but wonder why Fu doesn’t return the favor and spend all her time helping out and obsessing about her friends. Like, when was the last time Fu planned a hike to a special area to inspire Kaoru and her love of scents? Or what about Fu gathered everyone else together to help encourage Norie with her cooking? And has Fu really ever helped Maon decide what she wants to pursue since she’s always undecided about what she wants to do? Nope and no to all three. Instead, it’s all about Fu. And no, I don’t mean to say that Fu is selfish or avaricious but she clearly doesn’t care about her friends as much as they care about her. Or if she does, she never goes to the same lengths to show it. If there’s one thing I’d love to see, it’d be for Fu to do all the behind-the-scenes things to help one of her friends to return the favor that everyone has done for her. Too bad I don’t think anything like that will happen, at least not in Tamayura ~more aggressive~.
Uchouten Kazoku (Episode 5)
If there’s one suggestion I’d like to make to Uchouten Kazoku to make it immensely better than it already is, it would be to have the Shimogamo family to spend more time as tanukis and less as imitation humans. For one, it would help reinforce their characters are a small, simple and vulnerable family of tanukis that’s suffered and struggled since the death of their father. Another reason why I’d prefer this change is that it would further contrast the difference between them and the humans that they’re so afraid of. And finally, the real and only reason why I wanted to write this mini-review for episode 5… they’re just so damn cute. I absolutely love how adorable these little creatures are and almost feel jaded at times when they’re human throughout the whole episode. If we saw the Shimogamo family at home conversing and arguing at tanukis… oh God, imagine how cute that’d be. Imagine how much everyone would love it, especially if they fought and wrestled, too. So yeah, the more the characters are in the tanuki form, the better. Much, much better.