This week: why Flamenco Girl is evil in Samurai Flamenco, appreciating how Kyousogiga is reusing its material by expanding on its recaps, why the storytelling outdid the unique visuals in Monogatari Series Second Season, and questioning the schoolgirl uniform attire in Coppelion.
Best episode of the week: Monogatari Series Second Season
Anime trending up this week: Nagi no Asukara
Anime trending down this week: Galilei Donna
BlazBlue: Alter Memory (Episode 4)
Although this was expected, based solely on the cast of characters prior to the start of the anime, I want there to be more villains in BlazBlue. Everyone is just so nice and friendly to each other, like how Taokaka wants to play with Ragna instead of fighting him, how Rachel is content watching everyone do whatever and now, most recently, with Noel talking her way out of a fight with Litchi Faye-Ling. Those are at least 3 fights that could’ve happened in this episode alone. These guys are all too nice and friendly to each other for a fighting anime. Thank goodness there’s Hazama to create chaos and disorder, forcing the characters to fight each other instead of talking things over… and this gets back to why I want there to be more villains in BlazBlue: for there to be more fights. Hopefully Relius Clover appears again soon or Jin Kisaragi finds someone because the series is going to be pretty dull unless some decent fights start up.
Coppelion (Episode 5)
Why the schoolgirl uniforms? Why not something more… appropriate, for being a medical/rescue team? Well, maybe appropriate isn’t the word I’m looking for since this is an anime and everyone wears school uniforms in anime… but maybe, something more professional or applicable is what I’m looking for. Why not wear something more recognizable as a rescue worker? Why do they need to show off some skin in those miniskirts like they are now? Certainly those clothes aren’t ideal for running around, carrying people and trying to save the lives of those trapped in Tokyo’s nuclear epicenter. I mean, seriously, are miniskirts the best thing to wear when running, climbing, fighting and whatnot? And what’s not to say those blazers or skirts might get caught on some twisted metal or debris or something and get damaged? Or what happens when it rains and their clothes get wet? You’d figure that for a team as important as the Coppelion team is that they’d be given clothing suitable to aid in their job. And yeah, sometimes they do switch clothes but they always revert back to the blazer and miniskirt combo. I guess the only logical explanation is that this is an anime and schoolgirl uniforms are the only form of fanservice they’ll go for. Still, this show used this as an opportunity to differentiate itself from the rest and try out military uniforms or something for the same level of fanservice but be more appropriate for the setting and be different than all the other “school uniform anime” out there.
Freezing Vibration (Episode 5)
I can’t tell who is worse, Elizabeth for leaking the documents to the Mably Corporation and then remaining close to her enemies or that Chevalier tortured Elizabeth and then nonchalantly placed her back amongst friends thinking this wouldn’t backfire on them. Like, did either side really plan ahead for what might happen if things took a turn for the worse? For example, Elizabeth should have anticipated what the backlash would be if she was discovered to have leaked crucial documents, an act of treason. She probably should’ve left the E-Pandora facilities and returned to Japan or Britain where she’d be in touch with the Mably Corporation and away from Chevalier. And for Chevalier, why wouldn’t they send Elizabeth back home after torturing her? Allowing her to go back among peers, even if she was completely traumatized and couldn’t start a rebellion, is that the others around her are going to be pissed off and want to rebel against this cruel organization. I suppose the right answer is that they both made terrible, terrible decisions but I figure Chevalier has more to lose than Elizabeth, so I’ll pick them as the worse option provided there is a rebellion and the girls fight back at the defense of Elizabeth.
Galilei Donna (Episode 4)
Galilei Donna… I want to like you, but… can you just please stop being so stupid? Not only does the treasure hunt storyline really suck featuring a host of problems (it doesn’t make sense to search for hidden documents and obscure clues to find a treasure left by a man 500 years prior… what if this were lost or destroyed or deteriorated over time?) but the content of the show is slipping from adequate to subpar. For example, the daughter of Herman Hans needed a special surgery for an unusual disease but no one know how to do the surgery. So in order to address this issue, he began to create a robot to do this procedure to save her life. But… that would mean he’d know what the surgery was in order to save her life, so why not just hire a surgeon to do it for him? Him building that robot is what cost his daughter her life. What a negligent parent, choosing a now-useless robot over a human girl. And then there’s the issue of Hozuki falling, getting injured and then requiring that exact, specific robot to save her life. That’s just an example of lazy writing. Then there was Cicinho chasing after the girls and then fighting them and then stopping… why was that even necessary? That’s an example of stupid writing. And then having Herman provide the next clue by handing over the document at the end to allow the story to progress? That’s an example of even lazier and even stupider writing. I mean, why can’t this anime be better than it is? I want to like this anime but it keeps lowering my expectations and I’m becoming less impressed with it after every episode.
Kakumeiki Valvrave (S2) (Episode 16)
How does ‘eating’ runes work? Does the brain tissue revert back to a smoother state, resulting in a loss of wrinkles? Do the synapses of memories just disappear? Like, how do these memories, physical material in the brain, just get transferred over to a robotic machine without any appropriate connections? I mean, in order to lose these memories in the real world, something has to happen at the site of the synapses, such as alcohol, drugs or toxins that damage and destroy the physical material there. But in the case of Valvrave, they’re just gone? And then what’s this bullshit about how runes are to information like particles are to matter? How does that shit work when these memories, called runes in Valvrave, are also physical matter, too? Kind of a double standard now, Valvrave, by denoting that ‘runes’ are also physical matter and not just information. I know, I know, I shouldn’t be applying logic or science to Valvrave because… well, it’s Valvrave… but at the very least, couldn’t it be consistent with its wacky universe?
KILL la KILL (Episode 5)
So what is the setting like beyond the walls of Honnouji Academy? Or more appropriately, what’s the rest of Japan like (or the world like for that matter) in this overly-enthusiastic, dystopian future where the center of society is the local high school? We already know that there’s a class system in place, based on the performance and grades of the students and that Honnouji Academy owns schools in eastern Kantou, the area where Ryuuko attended several schools before transferring to Honnouji Gakuen, and has completed a conquest of Japan except for Kansai. It really makes me wonder what it’s like when you go far away from Honnouji Academy, such as to Hokkaido who is supposedly under Honnouji’s rule but far away from the centralized power there. Are they like mini-Honnoujis? Are their cities structured the same way, too? And then what’s so special about Kansai, too? As with any setting, I would love to see more and am happy to get whatever details I can extract, either through dialogue or other knowledge, but this show is a bit more of a tease than others considering how focused it is on Honnouji as its only physical location. Hopefully the anime will require Ryuuko or someone else to explore beyond the walls of this insane school, but for now, I’m excited to see what I can learn through little hints like these hidden through each episode.
Kyousogiga (TV) (Episode 4)
While it has been established already that I dislike recaps, I do enjoy what Kyousogiga has done with its reinterpretations of its OVAs from last year. That is, these last few episodes have featured repeat material from previous episodes but these new episodes expand and develop the material beyond what the OVAs previously achieved. I actually like this. I do like that the anime is able to take some of its material and improve upon it in a way that highlights the world and its characters better. Although I would prefer it to be entirely all new material (a similar or parallel story rather than old/new material mixed together), there is something special about seeing old footage again but with different levels of magnification and focus on the subjects presented. It would be something similar to an anime going back and answering questions or addressing issues that I or others had with the original material. It’s kinda neat like that. Too bad that some of this material is still a recap or repeat from the OVAs, but, when that’s the only knock I have on the series, you can tell I like the anime by quite a bit.
Magi: The Kingdom of Magi (S2) (Episode 5)
Although it’s impossible for me to give proper acknowledgement and merit to sakuga sequences given the format and style of this blog, I do want to take a moment to provide recognition for some of the outstanding and magnificent animation demonstrated through Magi as a series. As compared to other anime, Magi seems to have a more frequent occurrences of gorgeous sakuga sequences and are typically employed during dramatic fighting scenes, especially with Morgiana and her impressive hand-to-hand (or rather, feet-to-face) fighting style. So while I’m seeing my interest in the series wane, I do find myself still enjoying the art and animation in Magi thanks to sakuga sequences like those displayed in the fifth episode of this second season. I can only hope that these sequences continue since they’re one of my favorite aspects of Magi moving forward.
Monogatari Series Second Season (Episode 18)
Lovely artwork but even lovelier storytelling. While it will be the imagery of this episode that makes the headlines for being a stunning array of vibrant, detailed and spectacular visuals, it was the content of this episode that was the real treat. Rather, I found the history of Shinobu to be extremely fascinating, opening a window into her character which is arguably the most obscure, underdeveloped (haha, boob joke) and neglected character in the Monogatari Series. Her character has barely been the focus of any story prior, so having an episode devoted to her history was delightful. Furthermore, how it tied in with the current storyline provided its significance and timing. And to make things even better, it was how the story evolved with Shinobu’s character and her first servant that really speaks about her personality and her relationship with Araragi. The episode was nothing short of special with its gorgeous scrolls overlaying Shinobu’s dialogue, but the real treasure here was the story of this episode. And though we know the animation and art style will likely revert back to ‘normal’ Shaft, we can hope that the storytelling of Monogatari Series will continue to dazzle like it did in this episode.
Nagi no Asukara (Episode 5)
When has telling someone to “forget it” ever worked? When has it ever resolved a conflict of any sort or made a situation better? First off, if you’re going to tell someone to forget something, like Chisaki told Manaka after she overheard her talking about her crush on Hikari, it doesn’t mean that they’ll necessarily be able to forget it. In the case of Manaka, how will she be able to forget that she heard who her best friend loves? Even if she tries her hardest, you know she won’t be able to forget based on how stories are written. And what about from Chisaki’s perspective, how will telling Manaka to forget about it make anything better for her? Why doesn’t she address the situation with Manaka, talk things over and make a plan for how to mitigate the problem so that Manaka doesn’t make things worse. Or better yet, since Chisaki doesn’t know how Manaka feels, why not ask for her input on this issue as well? I mean, now that Manaka knows, you might as well take advantage of your own mistake and work to keep her on your side. But no, she just wants Manaka to forget about it and for the issue to be dropped, though you know it won’t leave Manaka’s mind anytime soon. And what does this say about Chisaki’s respect for Manaka? Telling her to forget about something significant like this is pretty disrespectful to Manaka. Why can’t she learn who her best friend loves? Why is this a subject that’s a secret to her? Well, whatever it is, you figure that once another character tells someone to “forget it”, it’ll blow up in their face before too long. It’s just a matter of time before someone explodes in Nagi no Asukara.
Samurai Flamenco (Episode 4)
Flamenco Girl might be a superhero to the victims she saves and rescues but the girl behind the mask, Mari Maya, is evil. She is pure evil. Not like supervillain evil but a different type of evil that shows her abuse of power and how she’s a hero for all the wrong reasons. And no, this is not from all the nut stomping she does, though you could probably tally that up to something evil too, but it’s her selfish and demanding personality that demonstrates why she’s evil. First, she blames Hazama for ruining her debut. She figures that if she starts fighting crime now on the streets with that somewhat sexy get-up that she’ll be labeled as a copy-cat. And while any superhero wouldn’t mind, Mari can’t have that. That’s her being selfish. So her idea is to team-up with Hazama and for her to take center-stage, saving him and taking the spotlight. That’s her being demanding. Those aren’t personality traits you’d find on a hero; they’re what you’d find on someone evil. And to further illustrate this point, she even claims she doesn’t understand the whole “good versus evil” aspect either… which is exactly what someone would say if they’re evil pretending to be a hero. However, I don’t think Mari is intentionally evil or intends to be an ‘evil’ hero but that these actions are derivative of her personality as a whole. You figure that her introduction like this as a flawed character will eventually lead to her having an epiphany where she’s able to turn her character completely around and become a hero of justice, like Samurai Flamenco. However, I don’t expect the kicks to the balls to go away, even if she does become a proper superhero.
Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta (Episode 4)
Underage anime characters drinking alcohol and getting drunk after one or two sips is a stupid, humorless cliché. Sure, it’s not as bad as the characters drinking juice or soda and then acting drunk, so at least Yozakura Quartet didn’t mess up that badly, but still, having the main cast of teenagers act drunk after ‘mistakenly’ drinking alcohol is a tired anime stereotype that has never been funny. It’s just a lazy way of having the characters act stupid or silly when the authors can’t be bothered with writing something intelligent. Why not have them willingly drink sufficient amounts of alcohol to justify getting drunk and then acting crazy? Or why not have the characters act silly for another reason, like celebrating after a stressful or successful event? I’m not sure if it’d justify Kotoha licking Ao’s boobs but it could do be a justification for Hime’s overeating. Or, you could just work around the event and try to produce comedy through some other means. I mean, virtually anything would be better than this provided Yozakura Quartet didn’t devolve into anime cooking jokes, oblivious male leads, or characters screaming every punchline. So yeah, I guess Yozakura Quartet is better than 50% of comedy anime, even after something asinine like this.