This week: how the sexiness in KILL la KILL has lost its impact, appreciating the contrast in work between Gotou and Hazama in Samurai Flamenco, discovering a purpose for Aoi in Coppelion, and how character development and story progress made this the best episode of Magi: The Kingdom of Magic in at least 20 episodes.
Best episode of the week: KILL la KILL
Anime trending up this week: Magi: The Kingdom of Magic (S2)
Anime trending down this week: Coppelion
Coppelion (Episode 6)
What purpose does Aoi have in Coppelion? If you said she has no purpose, you’d be wrong. If you think she exists purely for comic relief, you’d also be wrong. And if you said she exists just to be annoying, well… you’d be right, technically, but that’s not what I’m going for here. Aoi exists to undermine everything about Coppelion. Think about it for a second and this conflicting detail slowly becomes more apparent. Coppelion thinks of itself as a serious anime, documenting the lives of genetically engineered schoolgirls as they explore a hazardous wasteland and try to ‘rescue’ the forgotten and neglected, only to find themselves with clashing and challenging personalities that call their very purpose and existence into question. The setting and story are entirely serious and the anime wants us, as an audience, to take it seriously, too. But then here comes Aoi, constantly screaming and complaining and being useless. She isn’t funny. She hasn’t done anything important. And honestly, if she were dead, I think Ibara and Taeko would be better off with a bag of nuclear waste than with Aoi around. The bumbling idiot is intended to be the comic relief of the anime but her presence undermines everything that Coppelion wants to be. But then, it isn’t entirely fair to blame a poorly designed character in Aoi when the writing is the root of every problem in Coppelion. Had the writers scripted Aoi’s character better, she wouldn’t feel as wasted or unnecessary or detrimental as she has been. Had her character served any meaningful purpose in the anime, while also providing amusing comedy, then I don’t think I’d have a problem with Aoi like I do now. Really, the writing is so abysmal in Coppelion that virtually every problem this series has can be traced back to this origin. It’s actually somewhat entertaining to see what blunders this anime will make with each new episode.
Galilei Donna (Episode 5)
Question: how did Hozuki program Grande Rosso so well? Or, more simply, how did she even create such a thing? The adorable, little virtual friend aboard the flying mecha goldfish, aptly named the Galileo (like everything else in this anime) is perhaps the most astonishing and extraordinary detail the series has showcased thus far. Yeah, yeah, the treasure hunt is lame and the mecha are pretty tame, so there really isn’t much of anything remarkable in Galilei Donna besides Grande Rosso and the perplexity and infeasibility of Hozuki building everything by herself in a short number of years. But back to Grande Rosso, how did Hozuki program the AI to have such a charming personality? And on top of that, it has an amazing analytics system, able to understand what’s best for the crew and even supersede its creator’s wishes. You typically don’t see AI do that very well, especially when the creator is in tears begging it to save the lives of her friends. It’s really fascinating to see how Grande Rosso behaves in the series and how the character is able to influence the actors around it. You almost never see a mascot character have an impact in an anime since they’re usually there to be cute, funny and, more commonly, really damn annoying. But Grande Rosso is different. It almost feels like a character given what it’s been able to do. And seeing how functional it is in battle and how endearing it is to the cast, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Grande Rosso’s role expand great than it already has. Now, wouldn’t that be something? Not only is Hozuki the main character, a super-genius and prodigy of Galileo but she also created a character better than the writers of the series have done with her two sisters. Pretty soon, we’ll have to call this anime Hozuki Donna, seeing as she’s already rivaling Galileo for everything he’s done.
KILL la KILL (Episode 6)
I think, by now, Ryuuko’s exhibitionism has lost its luster. Don’t get me wrong… sure, the protagonist of Kill La Kill is still arguably the sexiest character of the entire year, but seeing her in her Godrobe, Senketsu, doesn’t really seem all that outrageous or scanty anymore. It’s what you expect from Kill La Kill now; that outrageousness is now the norm. In fact, you kinda expect Ryuuko to be somewhat naked or sexualized for a majority of episodes as a result of this phenomenon. And even when her serafuku is being washed and dried, we still got a few shots of her striped panties every now and again to remain at this high level of sexiness. But after so much, the frequency and intensity of it all, it doesn’t seem all that extreme now. Whether that matters at all or not remains to be seen. Instead, the fighting has picked up considerably with the sixth episode displaying some of the best fighting seen all year, both in terms of story, drama and action. The comedy in Kill La Kill has excelled, too, especially with the cutesy, change-of-pace episode where the two girls tried to make it to school on time. To me, the initial appeal of the sexiness has faded in Kill La Kill and become a rather standard aspect of the series. With that shocking feature now subdued, what remains are some rather entertaining fights and amusing comedy. And underneath that is a budding story and promising characters who are beginning to develop and mature. Of course, the sex appeal wasn’t the main reason why I picked up this anime, but it certainly was an exciting factor to consider. Now with the fascination fading with every episode, I am glad to see that there’s some substance to this series to go along with the fighting and comedy that has performed so well.
Kyousogiga (TV) (Episode 5)
Kyousogiga is a cartoony anime… and that’s a good thing. The charming nature of Kyousogiga is derived partially from its characters, its setting, its story and its style. It’s artwork and aesthetics are simplified and colorful. The animation and action are exaggerated and striking. And that is even foregoing all the special moments where the art and animation combine to make a significant impact on the character or the scene. The visual appeal of Kyousogiga is virtually unrivaled in both its delight and its passion. The scenes are fun to watch. The scenes are also meaningful to watch. And although Kyousogiga seems a bit silly or simple, it works to the overall appeal of the show. The anime wouldn’t have the same type of enchantment if it looked like every other anime. The fact that is has these cartoony aspects helps differentiate Kyousogiga in a positive manner. And that fact that Kyousogiga is a bit cartoony, helps make Kyousogiga Kyousogiga.
Magi: The Kingdom of Magi (S2) (Episode 6)
Well, wasn’t that something? In what is arguably the best episode of Magi since before the Balbadd arc, we saw the resolution of an unenticing side story, the most significant development of Hakuryuu’s character and a conflict erupt between the main characters that did what I wanted all along, split the party into various groups. Finally, the story and characters of Magi have done something significant and interesting. Furthermore, it was fun to watch, too, seeing Hakuryuu take command of the situation without backing down or crying like a crybaby. And to top it all off, we finally saw Hakuryuu open his heart in what was sure to be a pleasant addition to his complex character.
Really, why can’t more episodes of Magi be like this? What’s so hard about actual progress? By exploring Hakuryuu’s character, we effective hit a mini-climax in the story with all the characters splitting up and going their separate ways with ambivalent and conflicting emotions. I love it. I just hope Magi loves it, too and can continue on this upward trajectory.
Monogatari Series Second Season (Episode 19)
I’ve never really viewed the Monogatari franchise as a comedy, but I do find myself smiling and laughing at its humor more than many other anime in the comedy genre. And with the last episode of Monogatari Series, I have to wonder if enough of these amusing bits in these story arcs are enough to qualify this anime as a ‘comedy’. Considering how multivariate the series is, I really shouldn’t be surprised to see the series listed as a comedy. But along with 5 or 6 other labels, the series is hardly a true comedy like some of the other anime I’m reference earlier as comparisons to Monogatari. Perhaps it’s my natural weakness to NisiOisiN’s writing or maybe it’s because I’m in comedy withdrawal since the end of Watamote and Love Lab. Or maybe because this story arc is devoted more to story and writing than action and mystery like virtually all the others. Whatever the reason or reasons, I find myself enjoying the humor of Monogatari more than ever before. I can only hope this continues since there seems to be an emptiness where there usually is a strong comedy anime for me. And while I don’t expect Monogatari Series to fill that void completely, I do appreciate its humor of late as an addition to an already captivating and delightful anime.
Samurai Flamenco (Episode 5)
The stark contrast between Gotou’s justice and Hazama’s justice is the most intriguing and engrossing attribute of Samurai Flamenco. The purpose of his character, besides playing the voice of reason to Hazama’s antics, is to provide an honest disparity to Hazama’s heroics. Whereas Hazama kicks bad guy ass, gets congratulated in the streets and is celebrated in the media, Gotou is an active duty police officer who performs boring or mundane tasks, like retrieving lost wallets, helping ordinary citizens and promoting the police in response to the weirdos dressing up in spandex and attacking people who really haven’t committed any crimes. And of course, because Gotou is so ordinary, he isn’t kicking ass, being congratulated or celebrated for his work. The whole examination of Gotou’s character and his work is a delight in this anime because it provides that foundation or benchmark for which to really measure and define Hazama’s character and his action. It would be even better if we were able to spend some more time with Gotou and to see how he, as a police officer, would act in the situations that Hazama and Mari find themselves in. For example, you could have Gotou arrive on a scene where Hazama is being beaten up and where Gotou, as a police officer, acts as the ‘hero’. Still, what Samurai Flamenco has done thus far has been adequate for us to draw comparisons for Hazama’s extraordinary personality. Furthermore, it will be interesting to see how these characters change over time and how each other influences their views and actions on justice.