This week: a refreshing and genuine semi-romance in Silver Spoon, understanding why Yura has always been alone and why she strains her friendships in Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu, why both the new and old characters are making Tamayura ~more aggressive~ much more fun, and frustration with the lack of character development in Gatchaman Crowds.
Best episode of the week: Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya
Anime trending up this week: Tamayura ~more aggressive~
Anime trending down this week: Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou
Tamayura ~more aggressive~ (Episode 7)
Really, the handful of new characters in Tamayura ~more aggressive~ are what’s making this sequel much more enjoyable than the anime franchise has ever been before. And though I touched on this topic in an earlier review, it has become increasingly apparent in recent episodes that the characters are what’s making this anime great. Kanae, Shimokamiyama, and now Tomo have all been spectacular additions to this new series in the Tamayura series, each adding some well-seasoned amusement and wholehearted purpose while their characters are on screen. With this episode specifically, Tomo really provided the spark that made it both fun and meaningful. Furthermore, Tamayura is using its old, minor characters in expanded roles now, which has helped revitalize and rejuvenate their characters and the series as a whole. Chihiro, Shihomi and Saymoi have all seen their roles developed in this new season and each has had a significant impact on Fu’s character, much more than what was seen earlier in the franchise. Seeing these characters have an influence on the series shows a strength in the overall writing and how the story is using these characters around Fu, not just as background characters for comedy. The only characters who really haven’t done too much in this sequel are the big four in this series: Fu, Kaoru, Norie and Maon. Besides Fu, none of the characters have really changed or impacted the series by themselves, though it’s fair to say that none has really had the opportunity thus far. Still, their characters are almost exactly the same as they were in Tamayura ~hitotose~, so there hasn’t been much excitement with them, at least not right now. And I guess I shouldn’t be too angry with this pattern of development since it’s meant a lot less of Kou and Komachi, both being the bane of Tamayura in my frank opinion. But instead, seeing these new characters and some of the background characters stepping up has really paid off for this season of Tamayura. These new characters have done most of the muscle work to lift the anime out of mediocrity and carry it to new heights.
Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu (Episode 7)
Considering that one of the biggest, if not the biggest, storylines in C3-bu is Yura’s struggle to make and maintain friendships or just stable relationships, then you can’t help but want to slap some sense into Yura and show her that her excessive and obsessive actions are what’s leading her down a path of isolation and loneliness. Sure, you can see it in Yura’s eyes (or maybe in the fact that she cut her hair to that cute tomboy style) that she’s determined to be the best damn airsoft/survival game player that’s ever lived. But for what purpose and for what cost? It’s pretty clear that Yura wants the Stella Girl’s Academy C3 Club to be the best in all Japan, likely as a way of saying thanks to Sono and the other club members for accepting her, building her up and treating her like an equal. It’s about the first time that Yura had friends she could rely and depend on and doing this is just her way of saying thanks. Too bad Yura isn’t experienced enough to realize that her ‘thanks’ or leadership is putting off the very friends she loves and cares about. And unfortunately for Yura, it’s straining her friendship with her only circle of friends. It’s really quite sad to see this for Yura’s character since it’s so clear how much she loves everyone else in the C3 Club and how much they love her back. I’m guessing it’ll be up to Sono to bring her back to her senses and force her to realize what she’s been doing wrong. Maybe then it’ll finally dawn on Yura that the reason she’s been alone for most of her life is because of this very reason and maybe, just maybe she’ll finally solve that problem that’s plagued her for her whole life. Or at least that’s how I want C3-bu to end.
Silver Spoon (Episode 6)
It’s rare to see this kind of romance in anime; the one between Yugo and Aki. It’s one where the two characters share mutual feelings for each other but it’s able to progress without the constant blushing, embarrassment, misunderstandings, fanservice or inane comedy that beleaguers virtually every romance anime in a high school setting. The fact is, the semi-romance in Silver Spoon is quite mature in that the characters act like adults rather than silly anime tropes. Not only is it refreshingly enjoyable but it’s also quite appropriate given the themes and story of Silver Spoon with Yugo leaving home to live his own life. Having an ecchi harem of five different scantily-dressed schoolgirls hovering over his dick would completely undermine his character and his story as would a head-bangingly dull romance between Yugo and Aki where the two never advance past the hand-holding stage while all their friends try like oxen to make the romance advance. It’s just… nice to have a romance like this in Silver Spoon. And though I’m not particularly a big fan of romance in anime or the romance genre in general, this is something I can be a fan of. Hopefully the series can continue to build off this sensible storyline since it seems to be my favorite aspect about Silver Spoon.
Shingeki no Kyojin (Episode 19)
It’s kinda cute how little everyone cares about studying or researching the titans besides Zoe. Like, I’m sure everyone else is curious and eager to learn about the titans as much as they can if not for the fact that it could eventually lead to the solution that would save mankind… but nobody really cares about it except for Zoe. Everybody is out doing their own thing, thinking about killing whatever titans get in their way… and then there’s Zoe. It’s just cute how much she cares about this stuff and how it consumes her life to the point of obsession. And to be honest, her science experiments are pretty cute, too. Sticking Eren in a dry well and having him explode into a titan so they could monitor him in case he goes berserk? The little chibi Zoe in her imagination reflects that very charm in her surprisingly unique character. Not only that but go back to her previous experiments on the other titans and how much she cared about them. It’s really quite amazing at how abnormal or spectacular her character is. And even though I’ve mentioned it before when first analyzing her character, I think Zoe is easily my favorite in Attack on Titan.
Monogatari Series Second Season (Episode 7)
Until time travel is going to be a well-defined science, it’s always going to be rather ambiguous and unclear when implemented in stories, literature and of course anime. If not for the very fact that it’s theoretically impossible right now, it’s for the fact that authors and writers can only analyze and include a certain limited set of facts and information before devolving a proper story into a low-quality textbook on the theory of time. So seeing Monogatari take a stab at this topic with a rather humorous approach felt somewhat refreshing and entertaining, much like this sequel has been in the Monogatari franchise. With most of the dialogue being a mix between stereotypical anime convoluted dialogue and stereotypical anime-style parody humor, this time on the theme of time travel rather than some popular anime, it came to be pretty uplifting and fun, if not for the fact that it sideswiped the issue of ambiguous time travel but poked fun at it with Shinobu being the main culprit. So I applaud Monogatari for that. By taking a moment to identify the potential flaws and subsequently making fun of its storytelling mechanics, Monogatari was able to sidestep a potential pitfall and turn it around into a positive. So good job for doing that, Shaft.
Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou (Episode 7)
This episode is the calm before the storm. Not only was it very uncharacteristic for Gen’ei wo Kakeru Taiyou (being happy and cheerful), but it’s pretty clear that something bad is going to happen and happen soon. In fact, they probably could’ve shown a still frame for 24-minutes saying “I hope you enjoyed the first half because the rest of this series is gonna be dark” and communicated the same message. Guess we’ll find out how dark this anime gets with only five episodes remaining.
Gatchaman Crowds (Episode 6)
It’s shocking that an anime of this quality and admiration has only had character growth for one, maybe two characters. You’d figure that for all the attention, acclaim and love that Gatchaman Crowds is receiving that it’d do more than develop Rui’s character and perhaps arguably Utsutsu’s, too. But Hajime has never really been challenged nor has her character significantly changed. Not that I’m complaining since I like her but I would’ve expected to learn more about her, her personality and seen her face a situation where she’s forced to do more than act genki like she always does. Sugane’s character has changed minimally, as a byproduct of Hajime and Joe, but the most progress he’s made has been moving from the forefront to the background. Honestly, Utsutsu is the only Gatchaman that’s seen genuine growth throughout the series and even then it’s been rather limited or unclear. We’ve seen her become more open as a character but it’s never really been the focus besides a few select scenes. From a developmental and maturity standpoint, Rui is miles ahead of everyone else in terms of his character and his story, so it’s not so much an issue with the writers writing good character but just choosing to ignore the main cast through the first half of the series. Maybe it’ll pick up soon with Hajime or the others in this series but I wouldn’t hold my breath at this point.