Spring 2014 – Week 10 Anime Review

inugami_san_to_nekoyama_san-09-yachiyo-suzu-aki-panic-comedy-chibiBack whenever these episodes of anime aired: how detailing the background characters in Isshuukan Friends represents Kaori’s growth as a character, wondering if Adashino-sensei is Ginko’s only friend in Mushishi Zoku Shou, being frustrated with the expositions in No Game No Life, and why I’m going to miss Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin when it’s over.

Best episode of the week: Mushishi Zoku Shou

Anime trending up this week: Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii

Anime trending down this week: No Game No Life

 

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii (Episode 9)

soredemo_sekai_wa_utsukushii-09-kara-nia-mira-sisters-princesses-principality_of_rain-fighting-comedy-chibiThe anime may be named The World is Still Beautiful, but the anime has hardly focused on the world or anything beautiful in recent episodes. Remember back to when Nike first met Livi, that she claimed she couldn’t love him without him realizing the beauty of the world around him. Well, so much for that. The anime has apparently forgotten about that major detail and seen the turbulent and disorderly relationship of Nike and Livi develop without that essential prerequisite. Instead, we’ve been treated to empty conflicts from beautiful uncles and pushy princesses instead of learning about the world that Nike wants Livius to appreciate. And to make things worse, we’ve been forced to stay inside the Sun Kingdom’s gigantic castle without escape or a breath of fresh air. So with this most recent episode taking us to the Principality of Rain, we’re able to go back to that fundamental point of the series and see the land that Princess Nike so dearly loves. And the results have been phenomenal. Not only has this been the best episode of the series since its premiere episode but the anime was able to return to its roots in fleshing out Nike’s character and exposing her beautiful world to Livius. Furthermore, the episode was actually fun with Nike’s family providing genuine humor and showing the quirky, laid-back nature of her family and her country in contrast to the formal and steadfast style of Livi’s. The two nations do an outstanding job of revealing the stark differences between Nike and Livius and helped reinforce why Nike wants Livi to appreciate the world around him. I can only hope the result of this story arc is that Livius begins to understand and appreciate the world around him and why it means so much to Nike. Hopefully Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii can salvage this message before it’s too late.

soredemo_sekai_wa_utsukushii-09-nike-childhood-memories-panic-scared soredemo_sekai_wa_utsukushii-09-livius-neil-confused-question_mark-surprised-king-butler

 

Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin (Episode 9)

ryuugajou_nanana_no_maizoukin-09-tensai-daruku-master_detective-fume-unhappy-pout-maid-trap-otoko_no_koAlthough Nanana’s Buried Treasure is in the lower half of anime for me this season, it’s a show I don’t necessarily want to see end this month. Even though I have had issues with the flimsy and often forgotten story and the lack of significant character development, the series has been surprisingly charming and entertaining. The anime has the right combination ingredients, from its setting, its adventures and especially its characters, for it to be fun, stupid and silly and all in a good way. And because of that, I’m sad to see it ending despite it being mediocre overall. Furthermore, we know the series still has plenty of content that will remain untold since the award-winning light novels is at 7 volumes and still ongoing. Even though I might be a little harsh on my grading for this series in the end, it’s one that I hope returns to television sometime soon since it is an anime that I enjoy. I don’t often say that about anime that I rank lowly, but I’ll be keeping my eye out for more Nanana in the future.

ryuugajou_nanana_no_maizoukin-09-saki-happy-excited-twintails-waving ryuugajou_nanana_no_maizoukin-09-nanana-curious-looking_back

 

Ping Pong the Animation (Episode 9)

ping_pong_the_animation-09-tsukimoto-smile-robot-human-joy-happy-blush-paddleI don’t have much to say on the flashbacks in Ping Pong, but I am very happy with how they were used to support character development and thrilled with their impact on the story. The flashbacks were some of my favorite scenes in the anime, especially as the series progressed and we began to piece these scenes together and understand the complex friendship between Smile and Peco. The flashbacks were an essential aspect of the series and integral to the character development and the progression of the story. Each time a flashback happened, it helped connect a point from the present with a point in the past and helped link the whole anime together. In terms of storytelling, the flashbacks were utilized flawlessly.

ping_pong_the_animation-09-tsukimoto-hoshino-smile-peco-robot-hero-childhood-friendship-paddle ping_pong_the_animation-09-obaba-tsukimoto-hoshino-sakuma-smile-peco-akuma-childhood-awards-championship-memories-trophies-certificate

 

No Game No Life (Episode 9)

no_game_no_life-09-clammy-feel-fi-elf-reunion-happy-tears_of_joyIf there’s one major knock on No Game No Life, it’s that the expositions have been poorly adapted. The No Game No Life anime is an adaption of a light novel series, so the original story is in an all-text medium that’s broken up by the occasional pages with cute girls on them. In literature, expositions like the ones we’ve seen in No Game No Life are fine, if not expected, since the ideal way to explain something in a novel is through a sensible monologue or discussion that provides clarification. Anime, however, is a visual-medium which depends heavily on pictures and voices to communicate its story. Because of these extra dimensions, anime can be more creative and inspired when presenting expositions. For example, Hyouka does an exceptional job when explaining its mysteries by utilizing dramatizations and illustrations to enhance the exposition and deliver a product that’s exciting to watch. With No Game No Life, many of the expositions are presented as characters talking without much else. Yes, there are accompanying visuals that help reinforce the exposition that’s occurring concurrently, but the scenes are largely lackluster with the adaption being a bit too strict and rigid. In literature, there really is no other way to present these expositions than to just lay it out in blocks of text. But that doesn’t mean that anime, a medium that is multi-dimensional, should adapt it in the exact same way, unless it wants to make these scenes boring and monotonous. Since anime are able to present graphics and illustrations, not to mention voices and music, why not try to add some innovation or inspiration to these expositions to make them more interesting like the comedy and action of the series? The anime has done remarkable work in regards to these other elements, so why not provide the same treatment for the expositions? Instead, it seems as though No Game No Life is fine with focusing on the monologues and adapting these scenes as just monologues. However, the series could do much, much more with these scenes, especially with how frequently these monologues occur. But really, if that’s the biggest complaint I have about this series, then the anime must be doing quite a bit else correctly. Still, these expositions are by far my least favorite aspect of the anime, so it’s not surprising that I’d be so harsh on something like this.

no_game_no_life-09-shiro-smile-happy-blush-cute no_game_no_life-09-izuna-werebeast-mysterious-powerful-fox_ears-kemonomimi-moe-cute

 

Mushishi Zoku Shou (Episode 8)

mushishi_zoku_shou-08-ginko-adashino-friends-fighting-arguing-comedyIs Adashino-sensei really Ginko’s only friend? With Ginko’s nomadic lifestyle and with so few recurring characters in Mushishi, the seaside village doctor makes a considerable impression despite the fact that he’s appeared in only a handful of episodes between the two seasons. Tanyuu, the scribe that’s been featured in the two seasons, is the only other notable recurring character in this anime, and her relationship with Ginko is a bit more formal and complex than that between Ginko and Adashino. The doctor’s fascination with the paranormal and occult allows him to have a different type of relationship with Ginko than everyone else. We see a different side of Ginko every time we see him paired with Adashino. So in that sense, Ginko is friends with Adashino or, at the very least, Ginko is more personal with him than anyone else. But is there no one else out there who has a similar relationship with Ginko? We’ve seen him communicate with other mushishi or partake in festivities, but his personality is always the same, distant and relaxed while still being kindhearted and compassionate. Really, the only time we see Ginko’s personality change for the positive – that is when he’s not getting angry at the foolish people he’s helping – it’s with Adashino-sensei. So based on what we’ve observed so far with Ginko, it seems as though Adashino is his only friend. Then again, for someone like Ginko whose purpose is to wander the round Earth and help those who need help, maybe it’s not so bad he only has one friend. After all, given his occupation and lifestyle, it must be difficult to maintain relationships like that seeing as he’s never in one area for too long.

mushishi_zoku_shou-08-ginko-silver_hair-one_eye-mysterious-calm-compassionate-kindhearted mushishi_zoku_shou-08-adashino_sensei-doctor-monocle-sea_side_village-friend

 

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders (Episode 10)

jojos_bizarre_adventure_stardust_crusaders-10-hanged_man-stand-mirror-mummy-knifeStands in JJBA are the embodiment and visual personification of a person’s control over ripple (hamon). Essentially, they are powerful representations spiritual energy and ability that are dependent on the people who can summon them. So considering the relationship between person and stand, you’d figure each would be similar to their master. However, a majority of the stands are different from their masters and many stands are not organic in appearance with many featuring metallic components or being chimeras. Just a few examples thus far: Hanged Man has a metallic shell over its brain; Magician’s Red has the head of a bird of prey; Hierophant Green is certainly interesting, considering it looks more machine than man; let’s not forget about Strength, the stand controlled by the orangutan Forever… it was a giant freighter. For these to be extensions of their users is simply remarkable considering how often these stands are non-human or non-organic. Just what about these people and their control over ripple causes their stands to take such forms? I’d love to find out but I’m not sure anyone knows how or why these Stands take these forms. At least not yet, anyway.

jojos_bizarre_adventure_stardust_crusaders-10-hol_horse-emporer-stand_user-cowboy-sunset-hat jojos_bizarre_adventure_stardust_crusaders-10-polnareff-crying-manly_tears-awesome-dramatic

 

Isshuukan Friends (Episode 9)

isshuukan_friends-09-maiko-ai-friends-schoolgirls-background_charactersThe background characters in One Week Friends were never really well defined. The reason for this could be two-fold. For one reason, it could be an artistic representation of how Kaori is isolated due to her repeatedly losing memories of her friends and the fact that she can’t reach out to others as a means of forming new friendships. Another reason could be that the series wanted to separate Yuuki and Kaori from everyone else and to solely focus on those two together. For whatever reason, it was interesting to see the classroom very featureless and vague. However, I noticed that the background characters are more defined and distinctive now. These characters that were simply ambiguous before now have discriminating features. And if there’s meaning behind it, it could relate to the points before. By having these background characters appear more human could be a visual illustration of how Kaori’s social skills are improving and that everyone around her seems more approachable or sociable. It could also mean that, as Kaori gains more friends, that the world is opening up around her and that it’s not just Yuuki and Kaori anymore. Whatever the reason, the fact that the background characters are more noticeable and recognizable is certainly significant as the series has progressed. It might not really amount to anything significant or noteworthy in the end, but there’s an interesting correlation there between the two. I’d like to think that having more distinguished background characters is a sign that Kaori is opening up and that she’s able to interact with people better, so I’ll imagine that this was intended for that very reason and that it is exactly as I described it.

isshuukan_friends-09-shiho-mother-friendly-blush-cute isshuukan_friends-09-hajime-transfer_student-smile-friendly-mysterious

 

Akuma no Riddle (Episode 10)

akuma_no_riddle-10-otoya-assassin-crazy_eyes-grin-bloodlust-insane-returnHow interesting. After debating with myself earlier this season on whether the failed assassins live or die in Akuma no Riddle my theory was confirmed in this episode with Otoya making a surprise appearance. Even more surprising was to see where she was at the start of this episode and considering her objective. What was most interesting about her appearance was that she was in prison, possibly for having been caught after an assassination. She was able to escape and returned to the academy to murder Haru, despite having failed her mission and being expelled from the Black Class. So what does this mean for all the other girls who have exited the classroom? It appears as those Nio and the others organizing this game aren’t keeping a watchful eye on them and that they’re free to do whatever they want. Does that mean that the other girls will make an appearance before the finale? I can only hope that we see the entire cast again, one last time, when the whole plot of this anime is revealed and we learn what was truly going on between Haru and the others.

akuma_no_riddle-10-sumireko-assassin-ojou_sama-rich_girl-cyborg akuma_no_riddle-10-haru-tea_party-dress-unhappy-serious

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