Anime Impressions Grab-bag (Fall 2013 Week 9)

I’ve decided rather than use a never-ending list of shows, that I’d talk each week (or so) about a few different shows. Though I wanted to make a post about several shows that need to “pick up”, I’ll cover the latest development in four shows, which I want to give some more time to. About a paragraph or two per show.

The shows I’ll discuss in this post are Samurai Flamenco, Kyousougiga, Log Horizon and Nagi no Asukara. Expect spoilers for these shows.

Kyousougiga / Capital Craze

Kyousougiga / Kyousogiga / Capital Craze anime

Episode 5 begins the thematic journey in earnest – an image upon which more than a thousand words could be written.

This is a wonderful show, and the last three episodes had been especially great. We’ve spent much of the show slowly building up the setting and the chracters, right? Episode 5 gave us Myoue’s past, how he came to be there, how alone he feels. Episode 6 showed us his story in a more complete manner, and then it showed how the siblings are finally ready to move forward. These episodes had been full of beautiful and very rich imagery, and aside from showing us a family, had also shown us what it is to be human.

Episode 7 though, wow. Mother is back, an event they all waited for, and then she has to leave. This episode breaks down what being a family means, in all its glory, in all of its simple casual cruelty. This show is amazing, right now. The concepts of family, of cycles one can’t escape from (which is also family), it’s all so great.

You can see my write-ups for the show here. I especially suggest reading the writeups for episode 5 and episode 6 where I go over the symbolism, and episode 7 to just see me opine on how families are, according to the show, and sometimes according to me.

Watched: 7/10 + Episode 0.
Current Grade: A++ – If you’re not watching this, you really should.

Samurai Flamenco / Samumenco

Samurai Flamenco / Samumenco anime

So am I, Masayoshi! Actually an ominous statement within the show.

Well, episode 7 sure ended on a different note, eh? The internet is filled with people saying how the show lost its way or is “finally interesting”, to me this is actually somewhat similar to the case of Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, where both many of its fans and its detractors like it for its “anime-cliches” and fan-service, rather than for the deep intelligent core and cosmology it has. Anyway, for me, Samurai Flamenco is still the exact same show.

The core of the show is characters and their interaction. Evil in this show is about “selfishness”, and much of the show is about naivete versus cynicism, ideals versus the real world, and Hazama’s journey of growing up – into a hero, into a man. Episode 8 was still just about that. Sure, it had ridiculous lines and “villains”, but the show had delivered ridiculous lines to us since the first week – and exactly how ridiculous the villains had been to me was to show us that they’re not the real point, but Hazama’s turn into something more similar to Mari, who’s an actual villain. Not much happened, for me, in episode 8, because they needed to hammer home how the show hadn’t changed – though many people seem to have missed that.

Watched: 8/22 – And you can read my write-ups of episode 7, which had a nice story-structure, and episode 8, where themes are re-inforced.
Current Grade: A. If I could marathon the whole show right now, I would, and considering how busy I am, that’s high praise. Great characters, great chemistry, organic comedy.

Nagi no Asukara

Nagi no Asukara anime

This show is sort of slow, being a 26 episoder I guess it’s to be expected, somewhat. Now, I even make a point of it – slice of life and “calm” moments in this show are vital, because we must care for the characters if we are to care when things happen which rock their world. Furthermore, the show is making use of an important message – “everything is personal” – when the cultures clash, it’s because particular people who you can point at disagree with one another, often for reasons of pride.

And yet, I do wish that we’d just get to the juicy part, of culture clash, emotional clash (as growing up and change are big themes of the show). Episode 8 was the most slice of life and nothing actually happens episode in the show, but episode 9 ended in a very ominous way, both to the world, the cultures, and to our characters’ fragile hearts and relationships, so hopefully this show will start delivering non-stop emotional thrills from here on out.

Watched: 9/26. In terms of episodic notes, I suggest episode 7 where we discuss how it’s all personal, and episode 9 which is about change.
Current Grade: B+

Log Horizon

Log Horizon anime

Shiro pls ;_;

See the above image? That’s my problem with the show right now. Shiro seems to draw from Lelouch Lamperouge, protagonist (and villain?) of the Code Geass series. Problem? Lelouch would’ve covered the content of episodes 6-9 of Log Horizon in a single episode. The characters are enjoyable, the atmosphere is pleasant, but they’re just drawing it out too darn long. The early episodes were a bit sparse as well, but each had a discrete idea. Here? It just feels like they need to get a serious move on. Don’t tell us the plan has more stages, as each episode ends, just go through them. I am also not enthused with the way they try to introduce drama into negotiations which have next to no conflict or complexity, this isn’t Spice and Wolf or Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere territory, alas – the show’s depth lays in its social commentary, so get through the technical details and give us some more of that please.

Watched: 9/25. No special episode to recommend, here is the list of the episodic notes.
Current Grade: B+ – I’ve actually took it down one category, from A. It needs to pick up the pace.

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