Last week: two things I wish they did more of in Gakkou Gurashi, celebrating the rural setting of Non Non Biyori Repeat, deliberating the lack of anime voice acting roles in Sore ga Seiyuu!, and the lack of Maya Matsumoto in the finale of Working!!!.
Best episode of the week: Gakkou Gurashi!
Anime trending up this week: Working!!!
Anime trending down this week: Charlotte
Working!!! (Episode 13 [Finale])
Isn’t the finale of Working!! supposed to always be an episode devoted to Maya? The last episode of the first two seasons were delightful tributes to my favorite character in Working!!, the incredibly normal and oft forgotten Maya Matsumoto. But this one was like every other episode of this season’s Working!!!, and focused on resolving every last storyline. But still… what about Maya? I know the series still has a ways to go with the romance between Takanashi and Inami, but couldn’t they spend half the episode on Maya? Or even a couple of skits, especially with all the new stuff going on? I suppose I should be thankful that there’s an hour-long special airing after this season, so there’s a chance that Maya will get her chance in the spotlight, but it’s hard to say at this point. I don’t know if I’ll ever really be content with a conclusion to this franchise if there’s no tribute to Maya Matsumoto at the end, like there was in the first two seasons.
Sore ga Seiyuu! (Episode 12)
What amuses me the most about Sore ga Seiyuu! is, after 12 episodes and with one to go, Futaba still has yet to land a normal role in an anime. You’d think that after so many auditions and after so much work that she’d have a decent role in a decent anime, but no, it’s far from the truth. In fact, she has yet to voice a character with a real name and regular appearances in an anime. Then again, maybe that’s the whole point of this anime… rather than focusing on the idol side-job that’s keeping her above her bills, the whole point of Sore ga Seiyuu! is that there’s almost no work for a beginner in the industry and that it takes years before you break through. A similar message was conveyed in Shirobako, so maybe the common theme that voice actresses want to convey about the industry is that it’s bleak, difficult, and depressing… but worthwhile if you love what you’re doing and willing to live your life as a voice actress.
Non Non Biyori Repeat (Episode 12 [Finale])
To me, the greatest strength of Non Non Biyori is its rural setting. Although I’ve always enjoyed the comedy and am pleased by its cast of characters, it’s the setting that captivates me with Non Non Biyori. I’ve been preaching rural settings in anime on my blog since the very beginning and I want to highlight Non Non Biyori as one of my absolute favorites in this category. Perhaps the most notable of the setting are the stunning and picturesque shots of the surrounding scenery, of farmlands, mountains, forests, shrines, flowers, and homes. Not only do these shots help break up the skits or scenes by giving us pause, but they are gorgeous and elegant landscapes that starkly contrast the urban Japan that we often see in anime… and that anime fans probably often see when they look out their windows. The other aspect that I dearly love about the setting in Non Non Biyori is how it impacts the characters and their comedy. Most of the jokes in Non Non Biyori are exclusive to rural environments, such as digging up bamboo shoots, difficulties with cell phone reception, catching a fish for a koi pond, or everything related to their one-room sized school or tight-knit community of various ages. The success of the comedy and the characters in Non Non Biyori is a testament to the setting, and I wanted to take a moment to celebrate the rural setting of Non Non Biyori with this season finale review.
Joukamachi no Dandelion (Episode 12 [Finale])
In the end, does it really matter who became the king? I mean, it probably makes more sense for one of the older children to be crowned the king at the end of the election, but in terms of their platforms and promises, does it really matter? I mean, why couldn’t Shuu or any of the other children fulfilled Akane’s promise and eliminated the security cameras everywhere? Were people planning on voting for Akane solely because of that reason? What about all the other candidates focusing on medical research which Kanade promised? Why couldn’t they have made that their platform, too? Then again, maybe the election wasn’t so much about the promises the candidates made and was more about the candidates themselves. That would explain why Aoi was always the top in the pre-election polls, but it really doesn’t explain Shuu’s rise and eventual win. Then again, this is a comedy, so why am I thinking so hard about this?
Gatchaman Crowds Insight (Episode 12 [Finale])
Yay, they fixed the issue with the Kuus and now everything’s back to normal, right? Wait, what’s normal for Gatchaman? Let’s see, we’re back to having the unpopular Prime Minister running the country… the same one at the beginning of the series that indirectly caused this entire mess. Uh, that’s not good. Oh, and Rizumu has been released from jail, the leader of VAPE who opposes CROWDS and Gel. So, it’s only a matter of time he begins his war with Rui again and uses the red CROWDS to destroy CROWDS itself. So… yeah, it’s like we’re right back at the very beginning of the season with society on the brink of another catastrophe. Oh, and this time, we still have some of those murderous Kuus around… so all-in-all, aren’t things worse off now than at the beginning of the series? Shouldn’t there be one more episode where the Gatchaman squad go out and prevent Rizumu from starting a new war and stopping the Prime Minister from screwing up again? I get that the message at the end was for people to think for themselves… but how is that going to stop Rizumu and how is that going to help the PM?
Gangsta. (Episode 12 [Finale])
Every episode of Gangsta is way too dark. Just way too dark. The anime doesn’t need to be this dark, especially since one of the selling points of this anime is its fight scenes and battle sequences… you know, scenes where you want to show the viewers the action and whatnot going on. But for Gangsta, it’s gotten to the point where I can hardly tell what’s going on anymore in some scenes because everything, including the characters, is covered in darkness. The anime doesn’t need to be this dark, and it could learn from some other shows with how it uses colors and balance. For example, Gakkou Gurashi and Durarara!! both had a number of dark scenes, but uses a lighter tone on the characters, helping them stand out from the background. Gangsta is nowhere near as colorful or moe as those anime, but it’d definitely help with the final battle between Worick and Striker. I have no idea why these last few episodes have been as dark as they’ve been or why the series made this change recently, but I absolutely hate not being able to see what’s going on in an anime.
Gakkou Gurashi! (Episode 12 [Finale])
Although I am very happy with Gakkou Gurashi overall, there are two things I wish we saw more of in the anime: more horror and another episode from Yuki’s perspective. To me, the horror and psychological aspects of Gakkou Gurashi were my favorite, and I wanted the anime to show more, especially as the anime progressed. I wish that some of the slice-of-life episodes were pared down in order to deal with more confrontations with zombies or other psychological stressors. The other thing I wanted to see from the series is an episode like the first one. I absolutely loved the bait-and-switch at the very beginning, especially with how it established the mood and helped expose the nature of Yuki’s character… and I wanted more of that. I was hoping there’d be an episode in the middle where everything was shown from Yuki’s perspective. I mean, take any of the episodes in the middle and just show it entirely from Yuki’s perspective with the school all normal and with other students around. That’s just me, but those are two things I wish I saw from Gakkou Gurashi during the middle.
Durarara!!x2 Ten (Episode 12 [Finale])
While I am disappointed that the Celty and Shinra episode was not included in this season of Durarara!!x2 Ten, I am thrilled to see that this wonderful side-story is getting its own OVA, which will air in January 2016. This special OVA will cover the adventures and excursions that were hinted throughout the beginning of this season of Durarara!! between Celty and Shinra. Early on, I even documented my excitement for such an episode, so it should be no surprise that I am waiting with anticipation for this OVA to air. And I certainly hope everyone who has enjoyed Durarara!! thus far is excited for this OVA as well!
Classroom Crisis (Episode 13 [Finale])
Uh… so…. how and when did they build this new rocket engine? And how much better is this new rocket engine than the old rocket engine? Like… how did they do it? And what issues did they have besides that one issue with the budget? What did each student contribute to this final product? I mean, for an anime about a classroom of brilliant engineers and other students, it baffles me as how little attention and focus the series was on them and their work. I mean, how many scenes did we have of the students working on their own that didn’t involve Nagisa, Mizuki or Iris? And did we really need all that other bullshit in Classroom Crisis, too? To have the final rocket engine magically appear out of the blue like this is a disservice to the anime – that it would claim to be about keeping the A-TEC program around but have nothing to do with showing how the program worked or what the students were doing. To skip all their efforts and trials like this is just bizarre. I really don’t get it.
Charlotte (Episode 13 [Finale])
One of the better aspects of Charlotte were the incompleteness or disadvantages associated with each superpower. For example, Yuu could only take over the bodies of people for a few seconds, Nao could turn invisible, but for only one person, Shunsuke has the ability to go back in time but loses his eyesight after each use, and Medoki has the ability to make someone fall asleep but it makes her fall asleep, too. So why, exactly, do none of the abilities that Yuu steals at the end have any of these downsides? Like, every single ability that he stole and used in this final episode did not have a disadvantage like every other power that we’ve seen throughout the series. What gives? Everything worked too well when every other attempt to foil the evil scientists and secret organizations were inhibited by these defects. I don’t understand why now, all of a sudden, Yuu is able to stop bullets in his sleep and map out every single special person in the world without any adverse effects. I don’t get it but it seems like this is a bit of an inconsistency with how the superpowers were described in Charlotte.