This week: questioning the purpose of Yukine’s self-study in Noragami, rationalizing the roles of the anime-original characters and the stagnated romance in Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren, why I wish Silver Spoon had virtually no comedy, and the unnoticed, ‘other’ languages in Space Dandy.
Best episode of the week: Space Dandy
Anime trending up this week: Silver Spoon S2
Anime trending down this week: Wizard Barristers – Benmashi Cecil
Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta (Episode 10)
The scene where the students were weighing their options and deciding between fleeing to the shelter or flying in the skies is a wonderful demonstration of how to utilize secondary or background characters. Although I had expected the character to play some limited capacity in Pilot’s Love Song, I never imagined the amount of emotion and passion that would be invested in these characters or displayed in such a heavy moment. Typically, an anime will employ these characters in the same capacity but without the level of emotion or detail, especially considering how underdeveloped the cast of Pilot’s Love Song is. Really, what significance has Benji or Sharon had in the series before this scene? What about Nanako and Noriaki? The fact that we received this level of emotion from such simple characters is both validation of magnificent writing and an exhibition of how to properly utilize characters in this caliber of a story.
Space Dandy (Episode 10)
The futuristic space alphabet in Space Dandy has been omnipresent in this anime. It’s the universal language of the universe, appearing in every episode and being the most prominent and discernible writing seen. So that means no other language exists right, like English or Japanese? I mean, everything’s been converted to this new system, so why would there be anything different? And even though the series wants you to believe that this space alphabet is universal, Japanese and English still exist in the universe. Take a look at the picture above, of the calendar and see what you notice. What’s the first thing you notice? Was it an 8? That giant 8. Yup, Arabic numerals still exist in the future. What else? The kanji for fire is in the upper left corner, denoting Tuesday, as well as a “しちがつ” meaning July. But it’s not just there. Japanese, English and Arabic numerals are all over Space Dandy with this episode being the most obvious. The clock in Meow’s home; the signs outside the bar; the bottle of vodka on the table. Just rewatch the episode again (it’s good enough to watch again) but keep an eye out for every other language and written system that isn’t the space alphabet. There’s no real significance to there being multiple languages in the series, but for one that developed its own writing system and employed it prominently throughout… it’s just strange to see other forms in such frequency go virtually unnoticed as in this episode. Then again, we see Japanese and English and Arabic numerals everywhere, so it might not be surprising that these everyday symbols go unnoticed when there’s something new on the screen like with the space alphabet.
Silver Spoon S2 (Episode 9)
I wish Silver Spoon did not have comedy scenes. Or rather, I wish Silver Spoon had some lesser amount of humor and focused more of its attention on its fantastic drama. I know it sounds strange considering how much I adore comedy in anime, but I want more of Silver Spoon’s strengths, which is found in its drama, not its comedy. The ninth episode is a perfect example, with some of the most emotional and devastating scenes in the series. This episode was truly one of the best for Silver Spoon, primarily due to the drama that occurred. And to address the other side, the episode featured a handful of comedy scenes, too. And while these few scenes do not represent the comedy as a whole in Silver Spoon, I did not find any of the jokes amusing. In fact, they almost detracted from the emotion that was building throughout the episode. And while I do feel that breaks are necessary, even when building tension or emotion, that the comedy did not add to the series. In fact, besides a few comedy-centric episodes, I don’t feel as though the comedy has added much to the series overall. I do wonder how I’d appreciate the series if it were all straightfaced and serious. I know I wouldn’t enjoy that with other shows but other shows don’t have the sophistication and determination that Silver Spoon does when it comes to its characters. Thankfully, with the series nearing its finale, the anime will likely lean toward the drama over the comedy, granting me my wish to the best of its ability.
Noragami (Episode 10)
What does Yukine hope to accomplish by educating himself through self-study? Wouldn’t most teenagers rejoice at the thought of being liberated from the bondage of school and books and worksheets? It appears as though Yukine is using this opportunity to study from Hiyori’s hand-me-downs as a means to mimic school-life, but his schooling is derivative of his affinity or borderline jealousy to the lives of his former peers. What he wishes he could accomplish from school life (a social network of friends and fun) is likely unobtainable through self-study like he is undertaking. Then again, it’s not like he is dealing with the pressures of a typical study, such as worrying about projects and exams and social ills between classmates. So maybe with those stresses removed, education might be fun. But then the question should really revolve around what Yukine hopes to accomplish with an education. His life is pretty much reduced to being a sword for a lesser god. It’s not like his education will impact his employment or social standing. It’s not like these things are set in stone since he would always work for another god but I doubt his education would be the first thing they look for on a resume. Or, again, there might be some nostalgia for Yukine, to remember his life the way he lived it, and that there’s some comfort there with it that cannot be reciprocated by Yato or Hiyori. Whatever the reason, I just know I wouldn’t be studying if I were some semi-invisible ghost-sword who could wander around freely between working odd-jobs.
Nagi no Asukara (Episode 23)
So… has everyone forgotten about the slumbering residents of Shioshishio? With the advent of Manaka’s latest problem, it’s safe to assume that the cast of Nagi no Asukara is preoccupied with her, but there has been little to no progress in saving the city that sleeps under the ice. It’s been a while since the cast even visited the hamlet in search of clues or useful information. Hell, it’s almost like they’ve forgotten about it given all the difficulties they’ve had with Manaka. Then again, their most immediate concerns are with Manaka… or were with Manaka when she was in her slumber. Now that she’s moving and laughing again, why not turn their attention to their families and other friends below the sea surface instead of focusing on this silly little issue of love?
KILL la KILL (Episode 22)
So when Ryuuko and Satsuki finally defeat Ragyou in the final, most-glorious battle in the finale KILL la KILL, where does humanity go in the aftermath? After sustaining and surviving such a malicious onslaught from an alien enterprise, how do Satsuki and Ryuuko plan to rebuild humanity? Will she continue as she did as the student president with similar philosophies and personality or have the events of the series changed her in a way that she will respond more kindly to her fellow peers? What about Ryuuko who’s been a loner or outcast for most of her life? Will the events of the series have changed her in a way to where she’s now an agent of society and acts with the best interests of humanity in her mind? How will the world recover and who will become the next leader of the world? I figure as much that Satsuki will resume her leadership role and supervise the reconstruction of humanity, given her role and personality since the start of the series, but I’m more interested to learn the fate of Ryuuko. Will she continue to grow and mature as a character and play an active role with Satsuki or does her dominate personality of a wanderer cause her to leave the stage after accomplishing all her immediate goals. Although I’m not expecting much of an epilogue for this series, I am curious to see the fates of all the major players in this anime. However, the one I’m most uncertain about, and therefore most interested in, is Ryuuko.
Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha (Episode 9)
Do the gods have a history of bestowing their powers on the lesser humans in the setting of Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha? Is there a history where the powers are abused or misused as much as we see with Inari? Have there been incidents in the past where the power has severely affected a deity? If not, then why is everyone so anxious about Uka donating her power to Inari? So what if a god is friendly to a human? It doesn’t need to be anything malicious or destructive. And in the event where Inari is draining too much of Uka’s power, why not have the two discuss the issue and find a solution where both can be happy? But where’s the fun in that story? As always, the characters outside the situation and in positions of power overreact to every little thing that happens and probably with no history to support their actions. It’s a shame they didn’t find a better way to deal with Inari’s reckless and wild use of Uka’s powers, but every character could’ve handled the situation better than locking up Uka and making everyone else worry.
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren (Episode 10)
None of the anime-original characters help with the romance in Chuunibyou. The characters were created for this anime to augment the series and allow for more comedy and interactions. With those elements in the minds of the creators, it quickly becomes clear that the new characters are not in roles essential or even meaningful to the romance. Then again, the only anime-original characters that are intelligent enough to recognize the issues at hand and to do something about it are Touka and Nibutani (so you can ignore the rest). But even with these two identifying the problem and taking some degree of action, the two have no significantly impacted the romance in any noticeable way. Although the two are trying their best to make the situation better for Yutta, Rikka and Satone, they have not accomplished anything remarkable yet. Then again, one could argue that with the limited romantic progress this season that this limitation isn’t consequential of them being anime-original characters and developed outside the romance but that this anime is focused more intensely on the comedy and is setting specific milestones in the romance to end the seasons of anime with. Considering the lack of progress in regards to the romance and the success of the series, I cannot blame KyoAni for barely making any progress this season, especially if they want to make a third season in the near future. So with that in mind, maybe there isn’t an issue with all the anime-original characters being comedy first and romance never since it’s easy to lengthen a series with comedy. And I think they’re doing exactly that with this second season of Chuunibyou.