This week: why conflict is the best thing to happen in Isshuukan Friends, not being distracted to the real story in in Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin, appreciating character developing for a strong, independent female lead in Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii, and some differences between marathoning Mushishi and watching Mushishi Zoku Shou weekly.
Best episode of the week: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
Anime trending up this week: Isshuukan Friends
Anime trending down this week: Akuma no Riddle
Akuma no Riddle (Episode 4)
Will anything important ever happen during school in Akuma no Riddle? For an anime that spends about half its time in the classroom, not much happens. Virtually everything that moves the story along or is remotely exciting happens outside the classroom, whether it be in the dorms or wherever someone wants Haru to be murdered. I can only imagine that the school scenes are used as downtime between these scenes because the anime would be too exciting otherwise. But, I suppose that half this anime is about Haru and she is keen on making friends and graduating from her class, so there’s some meaning there to her character. It’s just everyone else is apathetic or indifferent to school that it makes these scenes so tedious. Then again, there was a bit of backstory on Kouko’s character in the classroom with this episode, so it isn’t a total waste. Still, Akuma no Riddle would be much, much more without these classroom scenes.
Captain Earth (Episode 4)
One of these days I should try eating human flesh because aliens (and monsters) are always saying that humans are the most delightful and succulent source of nutrition in the vastness of space… and I’m wondering if we’re missing out on something here. Then again, the real topic of this post is in regards to how Amara and Moco, the tag-team duo of the KILL-T-GANG, survived for so long without delicious, delicious human flesh? What did they eat before venturing to Earth and how did they survive for so long without earthlings? And to continue off that point, how do they know that humans are the most perfect food in the solar system? Have they even tried Italian food yet? Anyway, the point here is that it’s rather silly to have aliens comment about eating humans when they have little to no experience with humans, especially eating them. I would be more likely to accept this argument as true (and enjoy it much, much more) if the invasion had already occurred and they had devoured half of mankind. Learning about eating people after that would be something that the series could use to strengthen its villains and the story, but for two aliens to claim that humans are filet mignon without even a lick or a bite into anyone undermines the whole purpose of these villains. Then again, this is hardly the most prominent problem with Captain Earth at this point.
Hitsugi no Chaika (Episode 3)
I am struggling to understand the purpose of Akari’s character. Through three episodes, her single accomplishment is that she’s been a third wheel to Chaika’s adventure. But really, what has she done that Chaika or Tooru couldn’t already do on their own? In fact, if you completely removed her character, the anime would be the exact same. Akari has had no impact or influence on Hitsugi no Chaika. Not even a little. She’s just there. She just exists and follows her brother and Chaika around. Really, what is the purpose of her character and why does she exist now? I usually don’t have issues with characters who have minimal impact on an anime or are meaningful for comic relief or fanservice, but Akari has done nothing for three episodes now and is one of the most prominent characters being shown quite frequently. I figure that there’ll be a time where her character is important or significant in some way, but for now, she has no meaning or purpose, besides being the biggest third wheel in anime.
Isshuukan Friends (Episode 3)
I’m thrilled to see conflict in this lighthearted anime since conflict is exactly what this anime needed. Without conflict and without problems that arise, this anime would stagnate, grow stale and grow boring. But with conflict, thanks primarily to Shougo’s character, we’ll see the characters grow from this event and for them to mature as human beings. Instead of the anime being simply nice and boring every episode, Isshuukan Friends is moving along its story and its characters through meaningful interactions. Had Shougo acted the same as Yuuki, then the anime would have done nothing new. Instead, Shougo confronted Yuuki about Kaori and her condition and challenged him to view her through his perspective instead of his own. It pushed the characters in such a way that they had to react to this conflict. And as a result, we saw the characters become something more than when the episode started. I can only hope there continues to be conflict in every episode since that is exactly what this needs to continue to improve. It’s already one of the better anime this season and a simple conflict every episode will continue to help its characters, it story and its overall product, grow.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders (Episode 4)
Not only was Joseph Joestar the best protagonist in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure but he continues to be the best all-around character thanks to his brazen and flashy personality. He easily has the best presence of anyone so far in this season of JJBA, both in terms of his dynamic with the other characters and how his comedy is portrayed. It’s actually amazing to think but his character has actually improved from the last arc to this one, which is saying something since he was phenomenal as the lead character in Battle Tendency. It’s promising to see him again in Stardust Crusaders since his personality contrasts so sharply with Jotaro’s and the two complement each other by making up for the other’s weaknesses. However, given how much we’ve seen of Joseph already, I’m not sure if he’ll continue to improve as a character or if this is the pinnacle of his success as a character. However, if that’s the case, he’s leveling off at the right place and is certain to make this season of JJBA an unforgettable one.
Mushishi Zoku Shou (Episode 4)
Unlike every other anime airing this season, I find it odd to watch Mushishi only once a week since I marathoned the series prior to the second season beginning earlier this month. During that golden week, I would watch numerous episode of Mushishi together and the end of one would mean the beginning of the next. Now, each episode stands alone for a seven-day period and I dare not wait for these shows to pile up since every episode is an individual masterpiece. So with this new season of Mushishi, I found that I am watching the series different than I did before and I have much more time to digest the episodes each week than after six or seven or eight at a time. I’ve found new aspects and details to appreciate with the series and can enjoy it for a longer duration of time, yet the downside is that I know each viewing is limited to half-an-hour instead of several hours at a time. There’s now that sense of hunger at the end of each Mushishi episode, wanting to skip ahead to next week’s episode and watch it right after. Then again, I doubt that’s any different with any other anime that’s as remarkable as this one. Probably not, but it’s interesting to see how stark of a difference there is between marathoning an anime and watching it week-to-week, especially of an anime with such extraordinary quality as this one.
No Game No Life (Episode 3)
Watching Sora and Shiro play real world games in No Game No Life would be interesting but not as interesting as playing games with magic, made-up rules and chaos. Here, we’re able to see the characters go beyond strategy and employ emotion, personality and humor into these events to turn these common games into something more. And while I wasn’t expecting anything to the degree of this new game of chess (I was expecting cheating to various degrees), I found something new to look forward to with each new game in each new episode. So instead of watching people play checkers or slot or something normal, we can now expect Sora and Shiro to play crazy checkers or silly slots. It certainly livens up the setting and scenarios in No Game No Life, which is quickly becoming a pleasant surprise this season.
Ping Pong the Animation (Episode 3)
I often don’t comment on the music in anime, so the few choice times where I do mention it, you can tell it left a favorable impression on me. There were actually three noteworthy songs that stood out to me in the third episode of Ping Pong; the first being the melody that used ping pong balls as a rhythm, the second being a techno song during Kong’s first match and Tsukimoto’s humming at the end. Each had their own brilliance to it, with the ping pong ball song being beautiful, the techno song augmenting the visuals and the humming song carrying importance and implication. Each song displayed its own unique value to the episode and helped improved many different aspects of the episode as a result. It often takes quite a bit for a song to impress me in an anime, so for Ping Pong to do it three times in one episode, is nothing short of astonishing. Even though we’re still in the first month of the season, I think I’ve found my favorite sounding anime of the season with Ping Pong.
Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin (Episode 3)
What I’m enjoying the most about Nanana isn’t so much the adventures, the puzzles and the treasures but how the series presented Nanana’s death, the role of her character and how the series is trying to move our attention away from her and toward these fun, little scenarios. To me, the series would not have presented the importance of Nanana’s character and her murder if it weren’t the central storyline of this anime, yet everything since then has been a diversion or distraction to take our mind off Nanana’s character and her death and LOOK, SHINY TREASURES AND CGI ANIMATION. You aren’t fooling me, anime, and you aren’t fooling anyone who’s curious about how this all points back to Nanana and her death. And considering the magnitude and imagination employed in Nanana, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nanana’s ghost be a hoax or the phantasm of a magical treasure device. I mean, after all, who’s putting these treasures all throughout Nanae Island? Really, there’s a mystery presented in this anime that goes beyond searching for treasure. While the episodes present entertaining or amusing puzzles for the characters to play around with, the real puzzle is presented to the audience to understand what’s going on with Nanana’s character, the treasures and everything in Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin.
Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii (Episode 4)
Strong female lead characters always bode well for an anime, and Princess Nike is one of the best at what she does. Rather than being a cute, innocent moe girl who goes to school, enjoys time with friends and fights monsters/aliens/whatever with magic or superpowers, Nike is an active, energetic, passionate and outgoing young lady who isn’t afraid to defy those around her, challenge authority and be a strong, independent woman. And because of that, it’s amazing to see her in the role she’s in and how she’s changing as a person. Whereas before, as princess of the Principality of Rain, where she was free to do what she wanted, now she’s the fiancé of the Sun King and is adapting to a life where her role will no longer be the tomboy that she currently is and into something more regal and royal and regulated. So while the anime continues to focus directly on how Livius I is changing as a king, it’s also an examination of how Nike is changing, too. However, Nike still possesses that strong, independent personality and won’t be remodeled overnight. Unlike many characters who have a weak will or multiple flaws, Nike has a defined and refined personality that is able to resist simple or straightforward character development. Her stubbornness and tomboyish nature aren’t going to fade away quickly, if at all, so it’ll be interesting to see what other traits of her personality evolve as she continues to live in the Sun Kingdom. And even as she changes, she’ll still continue to be the tough, reliable protagonist that will lead this anime to new heights. You can think of it more as adding details or touching-up a project that is in its final stages. Or at least, that’s how I view how the series is trying to improve and distinguish Nike’s character. A strong female lead is always appreciated in anime, but one that matures and grows as a character too, is something truly special.