Winter 2014 Week 5 Overview – (Anime Power Ranking)

This week I actually wrote as close as you’ll get to editorials on several episodes, so just head to the main post to see my thoughts on the shows that interest you, and how they stacked up this past week.

Anime Power Ranking is no longer held, so here are the shows I’ve watched this past week and how I order them. Each link leads to my episodic write-up of the relevant show. Since I missed the post on Saturday, and all the shows from last Thursday to yesterday are in one post, there’s no relative placement this time around.

(Shows Covered – Nagi no Asukara, Sekai Seifuku (Zvezda), Nobunagun, Chuunibyou Ren, Kill la Kill, The Pilot’s Love Song, Log Horizon, ‘Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha’, Nisekoi, Tokyo Ravens, Noragami, Buddy Complex, Pupipo! and Pupa)

1) Kill la Kill Episode 16 (+4)

Kill la Kill Episode 16 overview anime

There’s tension, and then there’s Mako.

Whereas last episode failed to deliver, this one did deliver, oh boy did it deliver. It might be that after a show which is all about the combat, the thematic delivery and the truths of the worlds being uncovered feel like a fresh breath of air, or just that in the post-NGE era we are all suckers for big mysteries and their revalation. Regardless, this episode had filled me with joy. The closest episode to this one is obviously episode 13, where we also get some insight into how the world operates from mother Kiryuin.

Was a lot of this unexpected? Yes. Was most of it not really thematically relevant to a deep discussion? Yeah. But, it was fun. More than that, it was interesting. What’s actually important though is we got the promise that last episode only hinted at – the lines are drawn, we finally understand who the lines and players are. We’ve set everything up, now we just need to see what the actors will choose to do, and how things will fall out. In other words, we’re finally aware of the real conflicts, and can actually carry it out. The end-game is here.

2) Sekai Seifuku – Bouryaku no Zvezda / World Conquest – Zvezda’s Plot Episode 4 (+0)

Sekai Seifuku Bouryaku no Zvezda / World Domination Zvezda Plot Episode 4 overview anime

“Believe in me.”

This episode was weird. As in, it was Mawaru Penguindrum weird, where it’s hard to know what really happened and what was symbolic. But this show is all about symbolism and symbolic warfare. We keep at the theme of choosing one’s family and togetherness, and add in an overt moment standing for Jimon and Kate restarting the world as the first couple. This show continues to be intensely interesting, and very interesting to write about. I never know what the next episode will bring, and I can’t wait.

3) Nagi no Asukara Episode 17 (-2)

Nagi no Asukara / NagiAsu Episode 17 overview anime

Emotions are hard, and change is our theme.

Change is only an interesting theme when it’s resisted. Here we actually have it happen quite differently, change happened, but only for some, and so Hikari tries to freeze time, while Kaname actually tries to turn back time. Kaname had always been very direct about how he felt, and is going straight for the target now, and once more he thinks of his own wishes rather than those of Chiaki’s. The drama continues, even as it takes a breather, all in all. I just wish the drama was allowed to grow and change, rather than replicating the same pattern time and time again. But then again, that is the show’s theme.

4) Chuunibyou 2nd season Ren Episode 4 (New, Day change)

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren / Chuu2koi Ren Episode 4 overview anime

Alas, it was not meant to be.

This isn’t a drama, it’s a comedy. The role of the supporting characters in a comedy is often to deliver their gags and setup lines. That means they’re often not allowed to grow, to evolve. This episode was hilarious, this episode had heart-warming moments. This episode even had a moment of true cringe. I liked it, but we ended right where we began, which is what you expect from a “filler fan-service episode.” And seems next one will be one as well. I had fun, but I still prefer Rikka and Yuuta, and if you give the side characters an episode, please allow them some growth.

5) Log Horizon Episode 18 (+2)

Log Horizon Episode 18 overview anime

A princess’s heartfelt plea.

This episode was sort of nice. We’ve had a moving speech, one that actually made a lot of sense in the context of the show – adventurers are players, they want to help, they want to feel powerful, and they’ve had a lovely young girl ask them for help and say she’s weak but will still do her best – she’s sort of like what they might be like in real life. This episode also had a neat political manuevering bit, which you might want to read my explanation for more in-depth, and made me think of the show with the best political/logical arguments in that regard, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere. Also, there was progress, even if not on the players’ part, but the nobles are evolving as characters, and that’s nice to see.

6) The Pilot’s Love Song / Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta Episode 5 (+0)

The Pilot's Love Song / Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta Episode 5 overview anime

It’s all about mother.

Some people might complain about how much time is spent on flashbacks, but after Tenjou Tenge, I’ve learned to accept the story I’m told, not the story I’d like to hear, and hey, Kyousougiga and Uchouten Kazoku made great use of flashbacks as well. Note, flashbacks here means “sights from the past”, not “content from previous episodes” – that shit’s annoying.

Anyway, we see Claire’s past, and she too has a story to match Karl’s, and it even got emotional at a place or two. They raised their emotional death flags as they made clear their desire to stay together, and we also learn that everyone here is a sacrifice or an outcast sent on a one-way trip. Things are getting interesting, both on the drama and worldbuilding front, and it feels the setup is nearly done, and it looks like a setup to good things.

7) Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha Episode 4 (+1)

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha Episode 5 overview anime

Just sweet

This episode had just been so sweet. Yes, very much makes me think of Gingitsune. We had a date, we had people cheering our clumsy and loveable protagonist… it just felt sweet, and I smiled throughout. Still, things are progressing pretty quickly, and we even had another love interest develop, of two of Inari’s friends. Well, it’s just a nice way to spend my evening :)

8) Nisekoi Episode 4 (+1)

Nisekoi Episode 4 overview anime

RomComs are not about becoming couples, but admitting you’re already one.

It’s a RomCom, and it’s going exactly according to plan – the secret is slowly revealed, Onodera and Raku slowly work up to reveal their feelings to one another, and Raku and Chitoge slowly grow fonder of one another. It’s the definitive RomCom checkboxes being ticked, what else is there to say? Ah yes, I really wish the full track of the endcard tune will come out. I’ve created this in the meanwhile, and while imperfect, it’s better than what’s on youtube.

9) Noragami Episode 5 (+2)

Noragami Episode 5 overview anime

This show has some great backdrops, and some interesting ideas.

Another episode we just spend with the characters, without much knowledge actually gained of them or the world, just a tidbit. The theme of the show thus far which actually had some nice development this week is about boundaries, crossing them, and living between them. Gods don’t have morality, so are free to do as they choose. Their regalia, their source of power, by way of negative reinforcement teach them what humans’ morality is like. Seems like next week we’ll finally get to the main plot of the show. This show is officially on notice, and has 2 more weeks to prove itself. And yes, it’s going to introduce even more characters.

10) Tokyo Ravens Episode 17 (+0)

This show had been more fun lately. We finally have our protagonist power up, and not gradually, but genuinely going from zero to hero. The plot in the background develops even more, and things are becoming dire. The pace really is picking up. It still suffers from some bad CG/music, but hey, it’s finally getting to that proper shounen territory. If you think about it, plenty of shounen shows take time to get going, but they have hundreds of episodes, whereas this one only has 26. Oh well.

11) Nobunagun Episode 5 (-8)

Nobunagun Episode 5 overview anime

So very wrong.

This show lives and dies by how much Oda Nobunaga and crazy Ogura Sio it has. This episode didn’t have much. Furthermore, it felt the need to show us how crazy everyone who’s an E-Gene holder is by making them wacky and/or sex-offenders. I wasn’t entirely enthused, and the action felt somewhat flatter this episode as well, as we continue with antics to overcome the new enemies we encounter each episode. This show is on notice, two more episodes to impress me. Hopefully it was a momentary dip (only cause my schedule is so packed already).

12) Buddy Complex Episode 5 (+0)

Buddy Complex Episode 5 overview anime

Jumping the shark? We /are/ the shark!

This show has solid acting, but when the characters are so immaterial it hardly matters. Music is solid, fights are pretty, but it’s just too much of “been there, done that.” Got more protecting the weak, beating ourselves over past mistakes, and being welcomed into a new family this episode. Old hand.

Basically the show to watch when you’ve ran out of other mecha shows to watch but want another. It’s the popcorn version of mecha shows.

Missing: Still busy, so I still hadn’t watched Samurai Flamenco episode 13 and up and Space Dandy episode 2 and up. I hope to catch up this weekend. Latest episode of Gin no Saji will be caught up on tomorrow, and Tonari no Seki-kun.

Summary: Shows 1-2 had been great this week. 3-6 had been “Good”. 7-10 had been from above average to average, and the last two had very mediocre episodes this week.

As always, this isn’t about the shows as a whole, but the episodes discussed above. I actually had quite a bit of fun with most shows this week, including those in the “Above average to average” bracket. I’m putting Buddy Complex on hold, just because my schedule is too busy, and it’s just too bog standard. Noragami had been given a reprieve of 2 more episodes to prove itself, but Nobunagun had been failing so it’s given 2 episodes to pull itself out of the nosedive.

I also managed to write less about episodes I’ve watched this week, and take less screenshots, which freed up time. The goal is to perhaps write even less about more shows, to free up even more time for backlog/video games.

Elimination Results: Buddy Complex goes on the indefinite hold pile, just too many shows, and it gives me nothing I hadn’t seen before.

Past Casaulties – this is where we honour shows eliminated in past weeks: Week 1: Mahou Sensou (Magical Warfare), Nobunaga the Fool, Witch Craft Works. Week 2: Hamatora, D-Frag.

Shorts, which aren’t part of this merciless death-game, but still in order:

Pupipo! Episodes 6-7

So, we’ve been to the underworld and are back, now it’s time to meet a boy who can see ghosts, and foster a grade school romance, right? :P As always, just sad that the episodes are this shot. I quite like this show.

Pupa Episode 4

The most troubling and comforting aspect of the show is that the “scientists” watch our siblings as if they were voyeurs, so they are like us. The only reason to watch this show is for the sake of the cannibalism, which we had some of this episode. Any semblance of internal logic, or plot, or plot-holes is nowhere to be seen. The worst show I hadn’t dropped after one episode, honestly. At least they’re only 3 minutes a pop.

Tune in next week, to see which other shows get the axe. Still a few too many shows, but with writing less about each show, I have some more time, woohoo! This write-up is under 2k words, even. Success.

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