Oh, right, I do these kinda posts, too. This week: Kaiki bringing out the best in others in Monogatari Series Second Season, watching the OVA that connects episodes 8 and 9 in Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta, the setting feeling undervalued in Nagi no Asukara, and the true victims of torture in Samurai Flamenco “B”.
Best episode of the week: KILL la KILL
Anime trending up this week: Freezing Vibration
Anime trending down this week: Gingitsune
Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta (Episode 9)
Feeling a little disjointed? Feels like you’re missing a chunk of the story here? If you have a sinking feeling that something was skipped or passed over, you wouldn’t be wrong. The transition from episode 8 to episode 9 in Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta does feature a gap that’s 3 episodes wide. In fact, if you want to have a seamless transition from episode 8 to episode 9, it’s best to take a break and watch the OVA to this anime franchise, Yozakura Quartet: Hoshi no Umi. It wasn’t until after watching episodes 9 and 10 (yes, I’m always late writing about this anime) did I realize there was a gap between the these two arcs that was covered in an OVA a couple years back. I haven’t watched the OVA yet, but I plan on doing so sometime soon. And yes, this does break away from my normal style of featuring some thoughts or opinions or analysis, but it’s a fantastic time to mention something integral to the series that might be missed otherwise.
Samurai Flamenco “B” (Episode 9 3)
You may think or feel that King Torture’s horrific torment of Akira is the worst form of torture occurring in Samurai Flamenco right now. But if that’s your stance, you’d be wrong. Instead, someone else is being tormented worse. Someone else is suffering more than the bloodied and beaten Akira. And if you try to search around for a character who is bloodier or more beaten than Akira, you won’t find a single character. Instead, you’ll have to turn off your screen and stare into the darkness at the reflection that stares back at you. Yes, you are being tortured by King Torture in Samurai Flamenco. Why? Because we, as an audience, had the experience of enjoying Samurai Flamenco as a wonderful anime, only for him to show up and pretty much ruin everything. The series has followed the exact blueprints from the ‘Natsuyuki Rendezvous Guide of How to Screw-up a Good Anime’ and gone into an irreversible tailspin that’s certain to end in calamity or something worse. And who has this really affected the most? The characters? King Torture’s cohort of evil minions? No, it’s the audience who’s been affected the most. And maybe King Torture is a metaphor or a manifestation of everything that’s gone wrong with this anime. That he is a representation of the torture this anime is putting us through with these most recent events. Well, either way, I can’t find myself happy with anything going on in Samurai Flamenco “B”, so hopefully this little section can end and we can get back to “A” or move onto “C”.
Nagi no Asukara (Episode 10)
The mysticism and enchantment of Shioshishio seems lost or forgotten now in Nagi no Asukara. With the story reaching its mid-point climax, the anime has taken its focus away from its captivating setting and turned it toward the societies and their differences. And even though the setting is a major focal point of this heated (cold?) war, the magic of this underwater wonderland seems to be neglected. The beautiful saltflake snow now seems secondary to the ongoing conflict, the swimming between places has been entirely replaced with boring, bipedal walking, the anime spends more time above the surface than below the surface, and the fact that they’re using water to cook underwater or the need to drink is more prevalent and never questioned are just a few examples of why I feel the setting is being ignored or misused. Still, I’m happy that Nagi no Asukara tried to do something with its setting and incorporated it into its story, so the lack of focus and attention to the details isn’t as troubling as if the anime had ignored the fantastic setting completely. Nevertheless, I do wish the anime had spent more time detailing the underwater world, taking each and every action into considering and wondering, ‘if I were underwater, how would I do things differently?’ If the anime were designed with that question to be asked constantly throughout, then Nagi no Asukara could have warmed up to be one of my favorite settings in all of anime. Instead, it’ll have to settle as one of my favorites for this season.
Monogatari Series Second Season (Episode 23)
Kaiki is a remarkable, spellbinding, enchanting character and I love him and I want everyone to love him, too. But beyond his magnanimous tongue and wily appearance, I find Kaiki’s relationships with the other characters in Monogatari to be quite rousing and distinctive to the series. We’ve heard from Senjougahara that the only character to make her feel uneasy is Hanekawa, but that was before she developed this bizarre relationship with Kaiki. While her personality and speech are essentially the same, Kaiki doesn’t mince words with Senjougahara, dodging her jokes and attacks with perfect evasion or playing along with them to make Senjougahara apprehensive. He even is able to intimidate her, which is downright distinguishing, and uses his manipulative power over her without her able to defend herself. It’s times like these where Senjougahara recognizes that she’s still a kid (and she hates it) and Kaiki is there to constantly remind her. And even though Kaiki is a heartless bastard, he’s still able to move Senjougahara to tears, even after she runs to the bathroom to save her character. This villainous monster is able to invoke a rainbow of emotions in the typically intimidating and stoic princess of Monogatari and her character flourishes like never before when she was paired with Araragi. The same can be said with Nadeko, too, who’s become surprisingly enjoyable for just the second time in the series… and not just because she’s a naïve, moe, yandere medusa-god but because Kaiki brings out the best this in her new persona. To see Kaiki make everyone and everything around him better, not just the other cast members but the dialogue and storytelling too, is another trait I sincerely appreciate, especially since he is present as the protagonist in this arc. Ah yes, yet another reason why this is my favorite arc in the lengthy franchise that is Monogatari. I can only hope that Kaiki continues to play a role throughout the series beyond this arc, though I doubt he’ll ever have as much of an impact on the series as he does right now in Koimonogatari.
Magi: The Kingdom of Magi (S2) (Episode 10)
The nations of Mangostand Magnostadt and not Rome Reim are perhaps two of my favorite countries in all of Magi. Why? Because these are the only two nations we’ve seen that don’t suffer from internal strife or conflict where the heroes must drop everything their doing and correct every social, economic and political ill. Instead, the characters can focus on their own adventures and themselves and the series has performed marvelously as a result. That’s not to say that I hate it when the character encounter a major conflict that interrupts their story, but I don’t care for it when it’s all that happens as what seems to be the case for a majority of Magi. I hope that these individual story arcs can continue for quite some time with the characters growing significantly in each one. Not only does the series deserve some much needed character growth but it’s also nice to explore three different settings at a time instead of just one (and usually one that’s full of poor people struggling with some evil king/organization/whatever). Let’s hope this pattern continues with Morgiana’s trip home next week.
Kyousogiga (TV) (Episode 8)
Is it just me or does the fighting seem… out of place in Kyousogiga? Although there has been some action and adventure in Kyousogiga, there were never really any confrontations or duels like what was presented in the eighth episode. The difference in style was actually quite jarring, especially since the entire series prior to this point had been slow, mysterious and calm. Of course, you’d expect there to be some changes or differences as the series inches closer to its climax, so I suppose it isn’t outrageous to see the anime heat up like this, especially with the promise of conflict. Still, the fact that there was fighting like this seems baffling for an eccentric anime like Kyousogiga, so hopefully this development won’t materialize into additional fights.
KILL la KILL (Episode 10)
If Senketsu is able to transform into a number of different forms, including a spiky form, a giant eye form and now a jet form, why isn’t he able to transform into something more decent for Ryuuko? I understand that being ecchi is a huge aspect of KILL la KILL and I do enjoy the fanservice in the anime, but I fail to understand why Senketsu appears the way it does on Ryuuko, especially after seeing all these transformations. Furthermore, if Senketsu is an ‘armor’ that Ryuuko wears, why doesn’t he cover more of her vitals instead of stopping halfway down her boobs? It seems all the other transformations save for Satsuki cover their bodies with defense, so why not Senketsu too? At first, I thought it was because that’s all that Senketsu could cover given the amount of blood and the compatibility he had with Ryuuko. However, after seeing three new forms in the matter of a few hours, I really wonder why Senketsu’s default is the sexy schoolgirl uniform that we are so familiar with. Like I said, I understand that the anime wants to be ecchi and enjoys its sexy protagonist, but there aren’t any reasons why Senketsu is as skimpy as he is anymore. Maybe we’ll get another transformation again soon that’s more modest for Ryuuko that will quell my question. Or maybe Senketsu will become uncontrollable from all these transformations and Ryuuko’s blood and go berserk? Guess the only way to find out is to keep watching.
Gingitsune (Episode 10)
Gingitsune has never been the most exciting anime, but where’s the excitement in this anime? I mean, I’ve watched calm and relaxing anime before but Gingitsune isn’t that. Gingitsune is simply boring. I mean, what’s going on with any of these characters? I can’t tell if there’s any growth or development occurring… or why I should even care. And is there even a plot or purpose to this anime? If there is, there’s been no effort in progressing it or even communicating it to us. Instead, it’s like a slice-of-life but without the comedy, romance, friendship or lackadaisical meaning that champions that genre. Instead, Gingitsune is… just there… occupying space. It never place high on my list of anime initially but, with each passing episode, the anime is continuously dropping and my expectations were already virtually nil. Then again, I’m not particularly frustrated or angry with it, but I almost wish I were since that would be a sign I care about it or its characters. As of right now, I can’t say much of anything regarding Gingitsune besides it’s boring.
Galilei Donna (Episode 9)
Freezing Vibration (Episode 10)
Why don’t more people use the ‘Freezing’ ability since it’s so effective? As we saw in the fight between Elizabeth and Charles, ‘freezing’ an opponent is a really effective way of winning a fight. Not only does it stop them in their tracks to prevent any attacks but it prevents them from forming any sort of defense against an attack. Hell, it’s one of the most effective ways at fighting the Novas, so why don’t more of these Limiters use their freezing abilities when fighting with their Pandoras? I mean, they names the series after this ability for God’s sake, why is it so underused? Without it, there’s no way that Charles loses that fight against Elizabeth. There’s no way. So why don’t more of these characters use it? Hell, it could even be used to prevent fights (theoretically speaking but would never happen since that’d make Freezing lose its purpose) if needed. Either way, you figure there’d be more uses of freezings in Freezing, but I guess the series doesn’t seem to think the same way I do. Oh well, I was happy to see it put to use in this episode after being virtually ignored this entire season.
Blazblue: Alter Memory (Episode 9)
Although I never had high hopes for BlazBlue, I did expect an anime series based off a fighting video game to have fights. Instead, BlazBlue has decided to focus on its mess of a story and alienate its enticing cast for a handful of characters who are way too serious for what this franchise is about. I made a fateful prediction about this anime way back in its infancy and stated that this anime would live or die based on the number of fights it had and the amount of focus it gave to its story. It seems that with an absolute minimum of fights and way too much time spent on the insipid “story”, BlazBlue has chosen the wrong path and ended up like every other terrible anime adaption of a fighting game. Seriously, it’s not hard to figure out that fighting is what draws people to these games and not the story. Why not do the exact same thing for the anime and find success?