Last week: the vivid and dazzling display of emotions of Kumiko in Hibike Euphonium!, Fate/stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works demonstrating the necessity of an epilogue for an anime, questions regarding the Nagato of the Disappearance arc in Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu, and the best possible ending for Plastic Memories.
Best episode of the week: Fate/stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV)
Anime trending up this week: Plastic Memories
Anime trending down this week: Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki (S2)
Plastic Memories (Episode 13 [Finale])
Sometimes, I hate being right. After watching the third episode of Plastic Memories, I projected that the anime had about 3 episodes worth of content on Isla’s story and that the anime needed to stretch it over 13 episodes to fill the entire series. And, well, that’s pretty much exactly what happened with Plastic Memories. However, what I failed to predict is how much I’d enjoy the content on Isla’s story, which actually turned out to be genuinely good. Although I never had much praise for Plastic Memories, I honestly felt satisfied with how her story was handled during the serious moments, and was actually content with how the finale portrayed her final moments. This was the best possible ending for the series, and it left me with positive memories of Plastic Memories.
Ninja Slayer from Animation (Episode 11)
Although I initially praised the still-image animation style in the first episode of Ninja Slayer, I’ve grown weary of its overuse and inappropriate use as the series has continued. The major turn-off of this comedic animation style is that it should only be used for comedic scenes. When the still-image animation style is used for serious fights, or more grossly, for exposition, the style feels cheap and ineffective. It isn’t suitable to use such a simple and plain animation style for these scenes, especially when I can’t tell if I’m supposed to laugh or be engrossed with the story. And when it’s used for exposition, it’s just cheap and boring. Thankfully, as the series has progressed, Ninja Slayer has deviated from its original path and become more normal as an anime. I’d applaud this change in direction, that it’s now moving down the right path, but I’ll reserve any praise for this series when it rids itself of these oversights and can effectively demonstrate an understanding of when to use the still-image animation and when not to. A perfect example of this animation style contrasting with the theme of the story was the fight between Dark Ninja and Ninja Slayer. Although I don’t expect Ninja Slayer to have the budget to pull off an impressive fight scene here, it felt as though the series was mocking itself by using the still-image animation here at such an important time. Until Ninja Slayer can fix this, I am uncertain how much I’ll enjoy this anime moving forward.
Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu (Episode 13)
Why was Nagato acting like Nagato and not Nagato in Nagato? Or rather, why did we have this brief interruption of silly, stupid Nagato for silent, serious Nagato with no real explanation to who she was (or maybe what she was), why she was able to change, and what this whole story arc had to do with Nagato. It’s frustrating to me since this was one of the few times I enjoyed the series besides all the cute, chibi Nagato faces, and I feel the series has dropped the ball into tying this Disappearance arc in with the rest of the series. Just, what exactly was the significance of this arc and how does it change Nagato or Kyon? I’m still hoping for an explanation before the series is over at episode 16, but I have a sinking feeling that this is it for the Disappearance arc and for silent, serious Nagato.
Hibike! Euphonium (Episode 12)
Hibike! Euphonium has done a phenomenal job with how the characters display their emotions and personalities through their facial expressions. Perhaps the most notable of this anime is the protagonist, Kumiko, who goes through these emotions more easily than the others. And the twelfth episode of Hibike! Euphonium probably featured the most emotion from Kumiko yet, ranging from confused to awed to surprised to determined to frustrated to confident to defeated to bawling to understanding. Kumiko’s face is a canvas for which the artists can use their entire palate of emotions for which to write and draw her character. And this episode is a perfect example to demonstrate how the creators of Hibike! Euphonium wanted to create her character and for which to test her with this performance. And as a result, we were able to witness a smörgåsbord of emotions, feelings, and reactions from Kumiko, all well on display in her brilliantly animated face. This episode was an absolute delight to watch to see Kumiko’s character grow, and I am thankful that her character is able to demonstrate the emotions she goes through with such magnificence.
Fate/stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (TV) (Episode 25 [Finale])
Ah, an entire episode dedicated to an epilogue; how heavenly. To me, an epilogue of some sort is necessary for an anime to have a proper ending, and not only to tell me what happens to my favorite characters after the events that just unfolded. No, it’s much more than that. An epilogue is necessary because it provides the proper de-escalation that a story needs, bringing the anime back down from the climax, the peak of the story, to a final resting place. So while the content and format of this episode was nowhere near as accomplishing as some of the other finales and episodes this week, I adorable this epilogue of FSN UBW because it was the most satisfying and gratifying episode. What it did was take the passion and excitement of the final fights, bring it down to Earth gently, provide closure to the characters and help tie this series in with others in the Nasuverse. If it were up to me, every anime would have an epilogue like this, either at the end of the series or in an OVA soon thereafter, but it’s difficult when most anime are derived from concurrent manga and light novels. A shame because an ending like this is likely to be one of my favorites of the year.