Back during Week 9: explaining why Tokyo ESP is the most disappointing anime of the season despite not being the worst, layering the education and presenting knowledge in Yama no Susume Second Season, why Sanae is more than just the #1 girl in Koutarou’s harem in Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?, and wondering why more people don’t use photon swords in Sword Art Online II.
Best episode of the week: Aldnoah.Zero
Anime trending up this week: Akame ga Kill!
Anime trending down this week: Space Dandy Season 2
Yama no Susume Second Season (Episode 8)
One of the better aspects of Yama no Susume is how the anime structures its education and how it layers this important information. In the eighth episode of Yama no Susume Second Season, we were formally introduced to the topic of nutrition and hydration when the Kaede highlighted the importance of proper nourishment during challenging hikes. The subject was discussed much like any other during the anime with the girls discovering some novel aspect of mountaineering and relating to it through the particular events of this particular episode. However, the issue arose initially when the girls were scaling Mitsutoge and Kaede offered Aoi some chocolate since she was feeling exhausted. It was introduced then as something important, but it wasn’t an appropriate time to discuss it completely. However, by showcasing nutrition then, they were able to link it to a previous experience in this episode and how it improved Aoi’s experience at that time. The way the anime builds these moments of knowledge is a huge positive for as it’s able to link story events together and use them as teaching points for both the girls and any novice mountaineers watching Yama no Susume. The continued emphasis on education and information about hiking certainly defines the purpose of this anime, and this provides Yama no Susume with a genuine meaning beyond watching cute girls climbing mountains.
Tokyo ESP (Episode 8)
Tokyo ESP might not be the worst anime that I am watching this season, but it is certainly the most disappointing. The anime began with an electrifying and encouraging episode about supernatural humans with super-awesome powers destroying or defending Tokyo. The story was building up Rinka as some breathtaking heroine who was destined to save humanity from these terrible monsters, and we were introduced to most of the massive cast of Tokyo ESP throughout the episode. Since then, Tokyo ESP has failed to capitalize on that energy and excitement and has been attempting to return to that level by lethargically progressing through the lengthy history of everything for 7 episodes now. But it’s been 7 episodes of ‘meh’ and with an incredibly awkward backstory, too. All that was good about the first episode is gone, and everything since has been that of a subpar anime. Of course, as I mentioned at the beginning of this review, this is not the worst anime of the season for me, but it’s had the most extensive decline. There is still plenty of time for the anime to recover and end with a bang, but given that everything since the first episode has been downhill, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this anime continue to sink.
Sword Art Online II (Episode 9)
If the Kagemitsu G4 (Kirito’s photon sword) is this powerful, why doesn’t everyone use it? Considering how colossal the game is, both in terms of size and popularity, and given the obsessive nature of its patrons, how come no one else has discovered the unlimited potential of these beam sabers? Not only do these light swords deflect bullets, and quite a few of them too, but they’re essentially one-hit kills, unlike virtually every other weapon in GGO. I seriously doubt that something so powerful would go unnoticed or underutilized for so long, especially since users can dual wield the sword and a gun together. Then again, considering the story of SAO 2, we’ve gotta make sure Kirito is the most distinctive and memorable character there is, so having him bring a sword to a gun fight and winning is the rationale behind this broken and illogical judgment.
Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!? (Episode 8)
There’s always a main girl in a harem. Whether it’s the first girl we see, the girl that the main character chooses in the end or whatever, there’s always one girl that stands above the rest in these harem anime. In Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?, that role belonged to Sanae. Belonged to? Yes, belonged to, as in the past tense. And it’s in the past tense because Sanae has surpassed that role and become more than just a haremette. She’s in a category all by herself now, well above everyone else in Koutarou’s harem. Or simply, her character developed into such a unique role that her relationship with Koutarou is fundamentally different than that of everyone else. Since Sanae’s capture and subsequent rescue, she’s been much more active as a character and been linked predominately with Koutarou more than everyone else, including fighting alongside Koutarou when the other characters are merely spectators. Her character is much more dependent on Koutarou than everyone else, as she seems to always do stuff through Koutarou and only Koutarou. Given the accelerated pace of the series, perhaps there was some story events and character development that needed to be cut for the anime to fit in 12 episodes that explains more about their relationship since the events of Sanae’s arc were generally tame and their relationship has exploded since then. Whatever the reason and whether we’ll learn in the anime or not, it seems that Sanae will win out in the end… or rather, she’s already won.
Hanayamata (Episode 8)
Is Naru truly enjoying yosakoi dance or is she merely enjoying spending time with her friends? It’s important to distinguish between the two, especially since they are not mutually exclusive events and heavily dependent on each other; it’s because of her friends that she’s doing yosakoi dance and it’s because of yosakoi dance that she’s able to spend time with her friends. However, the enjoyment can be entirely different between the two. For Naru, yosakoi dance is synonymous with falling down, being uncomfortable, being nervous and now embarrassing herself in front of a crowd. There are only a few choice moments where she actually seems happy with herself when dancing. Contrast that with the other moments of the series where she’s spending more time with more people and trying to encourage her friends to make the right decisions. To me, it seems like Naru does not genuinely enjoy yosakoi dance but continues to do it because of its association to her friends. And this observation leads me to another question: will Naru ever enjoy yosakoi dance for what it is? Not just watching performances and being mesmerized, because we’ve seen that aspect of her already, but will she ever feel that passion and excitement that she does when she’s up on the stage and dancing brilliantly? I would love to see it happen, but I’m concerned with how much time remains in this anime given that it’s only one season. Maybe we need to petition for a second one? Who’s with me?
Glasslip (Episode 9)
Yanagi has quickly become the most interesting character in Glasslip. Whereas most of the cast is somewhere between lackluster and comatose, Yanagi is attempting to tear down her old self and reinvent herself as a new person… to turn over a new leaf and move on with her life. She really seems to be the only character that is action-oriented and the only one that is making significant strikes with herself. She’s even giving away her wardrobe to Hina, Touko’s younger sister, as a means to do so. Pretty soon, we’ll see what Yanagi wants to become with her new personality. More importantly, we’ll also see how this impacts her relationship with everyone else, seeing as she’ll be different than what she was before.
Aldnoah.Zero (Episode 9)
Given the absolute and total destruction we’ve seen of Earth in Aldnoah.Zero, you can’t help but wonder what’s happening in the other areas of the globe right now. We’ve only seen glimpses and heard rumors about what’s going on outside of Japan, but it seems like there are major wars occurring all over the globe. Are they on the same magnitude as what we’ve seen in Japan? You can’t help but wonder, especially seeing as the entire globe was attacked at the same time. Were some areas prepared better than others? Moreover, the knights staged their assault from the Moon, meaning that one side of the Earth was prone to their assaults while the side facing away from the Moon was not. Did that affect how the Earth was invaded and how humanity responded? The episode did provide a map of the Earth, showing the regions of the world currently in conflict and deemed hostile, and it appears as though East Asia and North America were hit harder than the rest of the globe. But we can’t really assess how the destruction compares or how those forces are faring compared to what we’ve seen and experienced in Japan. We might have to wait until an epilogue or something to witness the carnage and destruction of this war, but given the size and magnitude of this global event, I’m sure we’ll find out our answers eventually.
Akame ga Kill! (Episode 9)
The parallels between Night Raid and the Jaegers are quite pronounced, as well as quite amusing. It’s amusing because the two groups are almost mirrors of each other with one character being a parallel of their counterpart in the other. Additionally, the two organizations seem to have the same origins and similar objectives. It’s as if we’re seeing the two sides of the same coin, with Night Raid supposed to be the ‘good guys’ and Jaegers supposed to be the ‘bad guys’. But really, the two organizations are the same, but just employing different philosophies to their actions and their morals. I’d love for the anime to utilize these two groups as a means to point out the fact that neither is ethical or justified, but I have little hope for the anime to bring critical thinking when everything we’ve seen is superficial (action and fanservice). Then again, I’m watching this anime for these superficial moments, so I can’t really complain given the paradigm we’ve seen for this series.