Winter 2014 – Week 3 Anime Review

nobunagun-03-shio_clones-opponents-blank-stare-jersey-gym_uniforms-training-gunsThis week: focusing on the main character for its story being the right move for Nobunagun, genuine relationships as a strength for Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta, determining Satone’s role in Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren, and quietly building hype for Natsuna’s character in Wizard Barristers – Benmashi Cecil.

Best episode of the week: KILL la KILL

Anime trending up this week: Noragami

Anime trending down this week: Hamatora


Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren (Episode 3)

chuunibyou_demo_koi_ga_shitai!_ren-03-satone-sophia_ring_sp_saturn_vii-childhood_friend-delusional-cuteWith the arrival of Satone to all the chaos and fantasy of Chuunibyou, one has to ask where this newcomer fits into the series.  Without a well-defined role as of yet, unless you count love rival one of the essential roles missing from Chuunibyou S1 (which it isn’t), Satone is stuck in a bit of a limbo.  She’s not filling in for anything that was absent from S1 which featured a respectable and balanced chemistry.  The series didn’t really need anyone to antagonize or encourage Rikka’s chuunibyou since Dekomori fulfilled that role and the switch from a romantic couple to a love triangle probably won’t do too much in terms of improving or augmenting the comedy.  It’s like they’re doubling Dekomori but adding in a love interesting and taking away her exceptional relationship with Nibutani.  And if that’s the case, how does her character impact Dekomori and her screentime?  So while Satone is an essential character to the manga version of Chuunibyou, I have to wonder what role she’ll play here in the anime.  With S1 of the anime being successful without her, you really have to wonder if her inclusion will actually make the series better considering there’s no well-defined role for her to fit in now.

chuunibyou_demo_koi_ga_shitai!_ren-03-satone-yuuta-childhood_friends-laughing_it_off-awkward-reunion chuunibyou_demo_koi_ga_shitai!_ren-03-yuuta-satone-childhood_friends-romantic_interest


Hamatora (Episode 3)

hamatora-03-birthday-ratio-yes_their_names_are_birthday_and_ratio-no_i_don't_know_why_their_names_are_birthday_and_ratioSo what do the rest of the cast members do?  After three episodes of Nice, Murasaki and Art, all I know about this anime is Nice, Murasaki and Art.  The rest of the cast has yet to do anything besides eat food, complain, hit on girls or do anything of relevance.  Do these characters also have super powers?  If so, what do they do?  And how will they help out Art, Murasaki and Nice?  I’m really beginning to wonder what type of role or purpose these other characters have considering they’ve been present but failed to participate in anything of merit.  Hopefully this changes soon because I really don’t like dead weight in anime.

hamatora-03-koneko-nice-catgirl-receptionist-smile-glasses hamatora-03-hajime-quiet-hungry-eating-visor


Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha (Episode 2)

inari_konkon_koi_iroha-02-inari-crying-bruised-tears-scared-friendshipAlthough Inari’s brother has had a minimal amount of screentime, I find his character fascinating.  Not only did he have an intriguing moment at the end of the first episode, staring down Uka-no-mitama-no-kami but his sudden outburst against her in protection of Inari sparked a unique subplot that’s certain to be captivating.  His antagonistic qualities against Uka-no-mitama-no-kami will certainly put Inari in a bind, considering she loves both characters and will be split by their differences.  It’ll be interesting to see why he’s against Uka-no-mitama-no-kami since she seems like a fine and fun character and one that truly cares for Inari.  That and I’m curious to see how Inari will react since this will be a basis of some appealing character growth.

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KILL la KILL (Episode 15)

kill_la_kill-15-satsuki-junketsu-kamui-bakuzan-katana-sword-defeat-tricky-attackSatsuki doesn’t appear to be that great of a fighter… though that speaks volumes of how excellent of a fighter Ryuuko is.  But the point is still the same, Satsuki hasn’t won a fight in the present of KILL la KILL.  Even though Satsuki is revered and towers above the students of Honnouji Academy, she’s never decisively defeated Ryuuko in battle with this episode showing a pivotal defeat in her part.  In fact, the only other battles we’ve seen her in have been flashbacks and other memories where she’s decimated the competition and had much more impressive victories against Gamagoori, Inumata and Sanageyama than Ryuuko.  But still, from what we’ve seen, Satsuki has been less than remarkable since the moment Ryuuko showed up.  And considering some of the other players in this series, it’ll be interesting to see how she ranks when the series is over, especially if she’s not able to overcome her mother or some of the other unknown fighters in this series.

kill_la_kill-15-satsuki-seki_tekkou-red_gauntlet-glove-smile-antagonist-villain-thief kill_la_kill-15-mako-scissor_blade-safeguard-fume-pouty_face-cute-badass


Nobunagun (Episode 3)

nobunagun-03-shio-jersey-gym_uniform-training-practiceAlthough Nobunagun promises an extensive cast with ~14 characters featured in its OP, the series has decided to focus solely on its main character, Shio.  And because of this emphasis on developing the main character (before throwing her in the fire), the audience has had a chance to develop an understanding and rapport with our protagonist.  As a result, we’re seeing that this anime is about her and her character rather than about aliens or DOGOO or other secret organizations or everyone else.  Really, I couldn’t care less about that stuff since it’s basically what you get in any other anime.  In fact, if that’s what Nobunagun were about, I’d probably drop this anime.  But since Nobunagun has been about Shio and only Shio for three episodes, I’m enjoying the anime.  Of course, this might change as she powers up and joins the other fighters but, for now, I’m pleased with what we’ve been given.  And as long as Nobunagun is about Shio for the most part, this anime will grade out pretty well.

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Noragami (Episode 3)

noragami-03-hiyori-spirit-soul-catgirl-cat_tail-unhappyWho is the main character of Noragami?  Is it Yato or Hiyori?  You could make an argument for either the male lead or the female lead being the main character of this anime, but neither is strong enough to win out and they counter each other with seemingly equal force.  With Yato, you’re dealing with the story about a minor god who dreams of making it big and has his own sidekick in the form of a Shinki named Yukine.  We’ve been with Yato since the start of the series and it’s up to his character where we go, who we see and what happens.  With Hiyori, you follow her character around more than Yato, you’re able to listen to her thoughts and see her alone more often than we’re alone with Yato.  Furthermore, her story could be viewed as the main storyline, too, since it’s about her recovering from her accident and ending these catgirl Astral Projections when her soul leaves her body.  It’s never quite clear with Noragami on who the true main character is since the two leads share the qualities usually reserved for the lone protagonist of an anime and that they’re together more often than not.  So, with that said, who is the main character of Noragami?  With it rather unclear and ambiguous at this point, it’s difficult to say.  That being said, how the series develops might provide us with enough context and material to show a change in the anime and lead us to make a decision on this tricky question.  But for now, there really is no main character… or is there?

noragami-03-yato-delivery_god-god_of_war-minor_god-unhappy noragami-03-hiyori-coffee-bored-tired-looking_away


Samurai Flamenco (Episode 14)

samurai_flamenco-14-hazama-flamenco_red-sentai_parody-aliens-monsters-mt_fujiAlthough I’m still furious and loathing the decisions and direction of Samurai Flamenco, I… I hate to admit it, but I am curious to see where it’ll go.  I’ve reached the point where I’m finally over all the terrible, terrible offenses that Samurai Flamenco has committed since it decided to be a bad parody of the Sentai genre… that doesn’t mean I’ve forgiven the series, but I’ve accepted that this is wants to do and this is where it’s going.  And because of that, I’m curious where it is going.  I’ll admit I’m still intrigued by what this series has to offer since it’s still full of twists and turns that make it entertaining, and I’m wondering what it all will mean when the final episode rolls around.  So while I’m still not happy with Samurai Flamenco, I’ll probably stick with this series to the end.

samurai_flamenco-14-hazama_brother-from_beyond-twist-mystery-whatever samurai_flamenco-14-hazama-flamenco_red-setnai_leader


Silver Spoon S2 (Episode 3)

silver_spoon_2-03-aki-equestrian-helmet-horse_jumping-competitionWhat would Silver Spoon be like without Aki?  Not only does Aki’s character fulfill the romantic interests of Hachiken, but she’s a driving force that moves the anime forward and leads Hachiken toward new, unknown frontiers.  Or when it’s Hachiken taking the initiative with something new or strange, it’s usually Aki who teaches him or assists him where he’s inexperienced.  Aki’s character acts as a mentor to Hachiken and helps him get from point A to point B.  Without her, there’d be a void in Silver Spoon.  Although the other characters could step up and help Hachiken, there wouldn’t be that one character that he depends on like he does with Aki.  Furthermore, there aren’t any other girls who turn Hachiken on like Aki does.  And while the romance in Silver Spoon has stagnated like an old tractor that’s on the last days of its life, it’s a nice touch to have for Hachiken’s and Aki’s characters moving forward.  I couldn’t imagine Silver Spoon without Aki’s warm personality and, considering her irreplaceable impact to Hachiken, I’m not sure what Silver Spoon would be without her.

silver_spoon_2-03-hachiken-aki-laughing-embarrassed-comedy-cute-romance silver_spoon_2-03-aki-yelling-tutor-caring-equestrian


Space Dandy (Episode 3)

space_dandy-03-qt-cleaning_robot-human_personality-reaction-shocked_eyes-dislocated_wheelI love how QT is a robot that expresses human emotions and reactions.  Whether it’s looked distressed after dodging an errant laser beam, expressing anger over Dandy’s and Meow’s antics or just changing its eyes and voice in response to whatever, QT expresses a wide array of diverse emotions much like any human would.  It’s remarkable to see a robotic character perform this well since they usually act robotic or monotone in this form or, if they’re to have human emotions, they actually look like a human.  Instead, QT looks like a classic cute robot but functions like any human sidekick would.  She’s not the best robot or the most capable robot but her pairing with Dandy aboard the Aloha Oe is ideal.

space_dandy-03-dandy-pose-laser_gun-space_suit-awesome_background space_dandy-03-dandy-wulongs-money-cash-smile-happy-payday


Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta (Episode 3)

toaru_hikuushi_e_no_koiuta-03-everyone-ariel-chiharu-nanako-sharon-wolfgang-noriaki-benjamin-mitsuo-kal_el-friendship-happy-dinnerOften times, relationships in anime feel artificial or forced.  In The Pilot’s Love Song (or whatever the English title is), the relationships feel genuine, like they’re between two humans rather than two anime characters.  There’s no ‘he’s-my-brother-but-we’re-not-blood-relationed-so-it’s-okay’ incest, oblivious male lead in harem, stupid love triangle or perverted male otakus in this anime.  Instead, the characters feel like people and act like people.  Whether it’s the familial relationship of Kal-el and Ariel, the romantic relationship between Kal-el and Claire or any of the numerous friendships that have developed recently, these bonds feel natural and authentic.  Of course, there are times where they feel a bit anime-ish, but for the most part the relationships and chemistry of this anime mirrors real life.  What makes these relationships feel appropriate is that they’re born through seemingly plausible events, sincere personalities and a feeling of camaraderie born through people working together and living together.  The bonds between the characters have been outstanding thus far in this anime and have helped elevate this anime to the top of the season for me.  Furthermore, I’m interested to see how these relationships will change as the series continues and Kal-el’s identity and Claire’s identities are discovered by each other and everyone else.

toaru_hikuushi_e_no_koiuta-03-ariel-kal_el-siblings-family-rivarly-older_younger-gritting_teeth-comedy toaru_hikuushi_e_no_koiuta-03-nanako-surprised-blush-embarrassed-twintails-cute


Wizard Barristers – Benmashi Cecil (Episode 2)

wizard_barristers_benmashi_cecil-02-natsuna-lawyer-stare-serious-rivalBesides Cecil, the only character building any hype is her rookie counterpart, Natsuna.  The other first-year lawyer seems to always carry a bit of focus away from Cecil when they’re in the office together, largely due to their similarities as novices and that Natsuna holds a grudge against Cecil for already being better than her despite her personality and behaviors.  With this, you can see some pressure or exciting developing for Natsuna’s character despite having done little to nothing yet.  And with this rivalry brewing, you wonder if Natsuna’s antagonistic qualities will drive her away from the Butterfly Law Offices and over toward the prosecution where she can go against Cecil head-to-head.  And while that’s the predictable outcome, I’d rather see Natsuna’s character mature and learn to accept Cecil for who she is and what she does… seeing them work together would be a start, but I’d love to see the two characters become friends before the series is over.  But before that can happen, we’ll need to see what Natsuna’s all about and hopefully we’ll see her in court sometime soon.

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