This week: social commentary on social media in Gatchaman Crowds, questioning the ability of transformation in Uchouten Kazoku, realizing how Tamayura ~more aggressive~ is beginning to feel more like Aria and wondering what else Monogatari Series Second Season could’ve done with an older Hachikuji.
Best episode of the week: Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!
Anime trending up this week: Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu
Anime trending down this week: Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya
Uchouten Kazoku (Episode 10)
Transformations are integral to a tanuki; something as inseparable to them as wings are to a bird or Cheetos are to a D&D session. To tanukis, the ability of transformation is what allows them to walk around Kyoto without any human or tengu suspecting otherwise. It even allows them the ability to hide or escape in times of danger. So why doesn’t anyone in the Shimogamo family use their intrinsic ability to escape from these cages? Why are they unable to do a simple transformation when they’ve been ‘transformed’ (as humans) for the entire series? Are these cages made of Seastone or something? Or maybe they’re submitting to their death, eager to be boiled in a hot pot for humans to dine upon? Or maybe they’re just stupid? Whatever it is, it feels inconsistent with the rest of the series. I really don’t see the reason why these cages are able to imprison them, especially since we’ve seen others transform into objects as small as frogs or a wallet which would easily squeeze through the bars and allow for escape. Well, maybe there’s something going on that wasn’t explained or hasn’t been explained yet? There’s got to be because it doesn’t make any sense otherwise. So whatever it is, I’m curious to learn what the ‘kryptonite’ is for tanukis, something that prevents even the greatest of tanukis from using the greatest of their abilities.
Tamayura ~more aggressive~ (Episode 10)
Considering that the original creator of Tamayura is Junichi Satou, director of Aira, one of my all-time favorite anime series, it shouldn’t be surprising that this anime has some of the same vibes and feelings as Aria. However, I never really felt that way with the OVA or first season of Tamayura. So now, when I’m watching Tamayura ~more aggressive~, I’m surprised to note that this season feels a lot more like Aria than anything previous for Tamayura. I’m not sure what changed or happened but there’s that sense of calm, comfort, maturity and humor. There’s that sense of characters are not only living but growing upward and outward, too. And then there’s that sense episodes that are extremely well written, hitting everything I want to see in an episode in terms of storytelling, character development and series theme. Of course, it isn’t at the level of Aria nor will it ever will be, but this season of Tamayura reminds me more of Aria than just about any other anime I’ve watched since.
Stella Jogakuin Koutouka C3-bu (Episode 10)
Although I continue to reiterate my fascination with Yura’s character in most of my C3-bu posts, I can’t help but pass up the opportunity to go over the joy and delight I have when seeing the complete contrast of Yura’s character to everyone else. Even with a change of venue, now under the direct care of airsoft/survival game legend and enthusiast Rin, Yura is still unhappy with her situation and much more obsessed than her new teammates. It consumes her. And even when given the chance to befriend her new teammates, Yura focused on herself and her winning instead. Her obsession consumes her so much, it’s just so intriguing and entertaining to watch. And to expand on that, it’s even more fun to see what Yura was at the beginning of the series. Her character development has never been pretty, especially considering her various hardships and social anxiety, but it’s certainly more fascinating than the stereotypical anime protagonist who continues to improve without much in the way of setbacks. And it’s a couple thousand times better than just an anime about a club of girls doing stuff together. Really, I love Yura’s character. It’s the most mesmerizing part of C3-bu and really the only reason why it’s one of my favorite anime this season. You could even say I’m obsessed about Yura’s obsessions. And as such, I just hope the ending doesn’t mess everything up for this anime by tearing down everything that’s been built up for Yura’s character, beginning with a blank slate and turning her into one of the most complex characters of the season.
Monogatari Series Second Season (Episode 10)
The brief visit with the teenage Hachikuji is the very definition of the word ‘tease’. For only a few minutes and a couple dozen lines, we finally saw what Hachikuji would be like if she was given the opportunity to grow up. But it was over before it started. It was just a cameo, an appearance. It was the ultimate tease since seeing her grow into an adult was basically the point of this story arc and of this timeline. But alas, it was not meant to be. Then again… what would we have done with an older Hachikuji? For one, this Hachikuji wouldn’t have the same memories or personality as the loli ghost version that we’re so familiar with. Furthermore, it’s not like this anime would’ve stayed in this timeline considering the desolate and declined state it was in. And if we saw her for more than what we did, what would she have done for the story or the series as a whole? What would you do with Hachikuji? What could you do with Hachikuji? Really, as much as I dislike the fact that we only saw this Hachikuji for a little more than the interval between blinks, I have to admit that her appearance in this episode of Monogatari was very meaningful and applicable despite being unfulfilling. And I guess a quick cameo like that is a nod to the fans of the franchise who wanted to see her like this, especially since you could easily remove this encounter from the story and leave the legend of an older Hachijuki unresolved. Man, just think of how unsatisfying that would be.
Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou (Episode 10)
I don’t have much to write about this episode, except that Luna is much hotter now than she was before. Who knew transforming a girl into a naked half-werewolf demon girl would be so awesome? Additionally, her character’s personality is much more proactive and aggressive, something that draws more attention and action to her character than before when she was the secluded background character that had a somewhat disturbing crush on Akari. The only bad thing about this new, hotter werewolf Luna is that she won’t be around for too much longer considering that her only outcomes now are being saved and reverting back to normal or just simply dying. And we both know that no one wants either of those outcomes, right?
Gatchaman Crowds (Episode 9)
The influence that social media has on Gatchaman Crowds is obvious. Not only is it ubiquitous throughout the story with Galax and Crowds but it even pops up in areas of character development and as a primary means of communication. It’s apparent that this anime couldn’t or wouldn’t exist 4-5 years ago when social media was still in its infancy and growing considerably. Now that it has developed and become an everyday component of our lives, whether we would like it or not, it feels appropriate that Gatchaman Crowds could deliver such insightful and entertaining material regarding social media. And it’s also very apparent that this anime is a form of direct commentary on social media too, showing its portrayal in various ways to highlights its positives, its negatives, its promise and its limitations. It’s fascinating to see this commentary too, since it does take a look at one of the futures of social media rather than taking an existing platform (like Twitter in Valvrave or NicoNico in literally every anime ever) and incorporating it as a simple and often overlooked component. I can only wonder what the final message will be regarding social media in Gatchaman Crowds since, to me, it’s the focal point of this anime more than anything else that we’ve seen. So considering that, you figure the message will be perceptive and reflective and, above all, meaningful to the audience.
Danganronpa the Animation (Episode 10)
Although this completely goes against the story of Danganronpa, I wish the entire cast of characters were still around. Now that the series has dwindled down to a mere handful of characters, I’ve started to realize how much I miss some of the other characters that existed in earlier episodes. I keep wondering, “If so-and-so were around, how would the series be? How would they impact Danganronpa?” It’s too bad we’ll never know how things would be different, but considering that this anime is a murder-mystery and that it exists solely to kill off its cast, I suppose I really can’t complain; it’s just wasn’t meant to be with Danganronpa. Then again, maybe this is something an OVA of sorts could solve…