This week was alright? Thematically more shows that are generally lower on the pole did well, but there was nothing that wowed me. The order is roughly by how good/how much I liked the episodes, but aside from Fate/Kaleid which was terrible, most of the shows are pretty interchangeable this week.
Weekly impressions for Akame ga Kill!, Aldnoah.Zero, Barakamon, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei!, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Sword Art Online II, Tokyo Ghoul, and Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance) (Also, Avatar: The Legend of Korra, including finale!, and previous weeks’ Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun and Sabagebu!).
Link in titles leads to full-episode write-ups for Aldnoah.Zero and Zankyou no Terror.
Barakamon episode 8:
Before I get to anything else, there was a noticeable dip in drawing quality in this episode. Faces and figures were not drawn to the usual standard, with a lot of off-model shots.
This episode was much calmer than usual. Sensei is now part of the community, and so gets to be with the kids when he’s trying to obtain a gift for Naru. They keep on displaying him not entirely as an adult, but someone who speaks the same language as the kids and acts like them. Sometimes he’s the adult, sometimes he’s a child, or a chuuni, and sometimes he’s someone on the road to adulthood. In other words, he’s very human.
The second half of the episode again continued with Sensei as part of the community, as part of the family. Everyone on the island is close, but he’s even closer. We also made use of the fact we’ve never seen or heard of Naru’s parents, to a degree.
An alright episode. Not the strongest, but still pleasant.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders episode 21:
This was probably the best written episode of Stardust Crusaders, and definitely the one with the strongest concept. Continuing the trend of horror, this time we have our past coming to haunt us, we have our own desires as our enemies. We face the walking dead, and the loved ones we’ll have to put down ourselves.
The concept is great, and in another show, or in Part 2, it could’ve been amazing, but Stardust Crusaders isn’t a series that made us take it with any form of seriousness, and Polnareff’s plight is really not one we can care for.
The first half of the episode showed what I found problematic – so Abdul sacrificed himself for Polnareff, and Polnareff felt guilty, right? Except none of that appeared since Abdul died and this episode, which was quite a lengthy number of episodes. The joker of jokers, in a series that didn’t make us care for his issues and struggles, is not a character, and this isn’t a show, to pin such heavy drama upon.
It just ended up feeling like a caricature, in a way. It’s just like Kyoukai no Kanata, in a sense. A well-written conflict, not supported by the series up to this point. Still good, in a vacuum, if you know what I mean.
Tokyo Ghoul episode 8:
This episode wasn’t subtle at all, but it also wasn’t trying to be. It showed us how violence leads to more violence, and how rage and vengeance lead to more of the same. Mabo, the crazy old man who only cares about killing ghouls? In what is supposed to be a shocking and sad revelation we find out that it’s all but said outright that he’s doing it in order to avenge his wife.
Humans who are paper-pushers die in the crossfire, just like the peaceful ghouls such as Hinami’s parents. So we’re once again at the message that Kaneki Ken had shared with us before, as the shounen protagonist in town, as the only one who stands between both worlds, it’ll be his goal to foster love and understanding between everyone in the tried and true shounen fashion – allow others to beat him up and convince them through his determination.
But, we’re in a grittier world, and Ken has to make a deal with the devil inside him for power, and the devil always collects its debts. That scene, of awakening the power within and then being fearful of it also continued the air of “a story about sexual awakening” the series gives at times, especially when Rize is concerned.
This was a tight action episode. I predicted this week the action will be non-stop, and it was. There were some great shots, especially when we saw two people across a distance in one scene, such as Nine holding Five at gunpoint, but this episode was really all about the non-stop music, that kept things pressing forward relentlessly.
Plot-wise, it was like watching Die Hard 2 all over again, especially with an airplane with a bomb on it which Lisa had to leap from. Fun, but empty.
Thematically, Lisa had to leap to Twelve’s hands, just as she did in the first episode, reaffirming her relationship to the duo of terrorists. On Shibazaki’s front, the Greek Tragedy continues, as he has to go between his internal conscience and what society demands of him, and in true Greek Tragedy fashion, his choice is preordained, and there will be price to pay. Most of this is build-up for what is to come.
Cruhteo played his role in the story, which was to learn the truth, and act out with honour, and for justice. It’s interesting that as he tortured Slaine, and there’s no other term for it, it was because of his being a human, and how lowly that is. But when he accepted him, it was for adhering to his ideal, and serving their joint liege.
But Cruhteo didn’t actually change. He still doesn’t accept terran humans, he’s still a racist or speciesist who looks down on the others, and will crush them without thought. It was more like a master who wanted to shoot down a rabid dog until it learns that dog was saving the boy from rabid animals, except here the thought is more about aslave.
Another point is about how arbitrary the social stratification is. Yes, we speak of the Martian system, and how even a super-advanced system, which is actually ancient, is actually used to resurrect an outdated and archaic social system. You know what all of it is analogous to? The military’s rank system. We also have Inaho who is self-serving and it happens to benefit the Princess, and Slaine who will sacrifice himself for the sake of the Princess.
As with most episodes of the series, it was really good looking, and the back and forth in scenes heightened the effect, but it felt like about 5 minutes could’ve been cut. Something about the pacing feels a bit bloated.
Also, as with most episodes, it ended with Slaine getting shafted in some way or another.
Akame ga Kill! episode 8:
This was a pretty fun episode. Don’t really have much to say other than that. If anything, what it showed us again how similar the two sides are, both are willing to put their lives on the line, both are fighting for ideals and comrades they believe in, and both are willing to kill former allies for their goals.
They’re not two sides of the same coin, they’re the same side.
Sword Art Online II episode 8:
I don’t know if I have much to say about this week’s episode, actually. The first half was a continuation of annoying-Kirito and endlessly-patient Sinon, as the two exposition to us how the game works. It actually matters, and is not an overlong explanation. Yes, we all know the scene is only there to explain the rules to us, but don’t you actually care when you play a game or watch a show to know the logic by which it is ran? So it’s fine, that’s just how you have to pass information, and sometime even the most graceful way isn’t “super graceful”, that’s life.
Something ALO did very well was show us the joy of flying which the characters got to experience, the joy of being in the game, just like the first episode of Aincrad showed us a beautiful world. And likewise, when we see the dude in the camouflage suit drop Dyne, leaping through the air and all that? That was pretty fun.
And then we see Death Gun, and we see Kirito inside the game as Sinon was without, terrified, frustrated, unwilling to face his past. But for Sinon, there’s still the game, and being drawn to Death Gun’s monster-drop weapon, because she’s still a hardcore gamer.
Well, there’s gonna be a lot of action in the upcoming weeks. Considering the pace, I almost wonder if we’ll get some Alicization or the Excalibur sidequest in this season.
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei! Episode 7:
(Last week’s episode)
It took me 6 days to get to actually watching this episode, and about an hour to get through it. That tells you how I feel about the series in general right now.
So, what do I see right as we load into the episode? Why, (mildly NSFW) a brother’s close-up stare at his step-sister’s crotch, only covered with panties, and yes, she’s literally 10 years old. There were a couple of other moments in the episode where it felt someone mistook Fate/Kaleid for Mahouka and inserted that show’s plot and script into this show.
This show just went to stupid Moe Slice of Life, which I have nothing against, but it’s not what I signed up for, and this is almost entirely what the second season had been thus far, would-be slice of life anime “non-comedy” with an extra-heavy dose, even for Fate/Kaleid, of fan-service and ecchi.
Yes, silly cake contests appeared even in Mai-HiME and Code Geass, and are even more apt in a “moe slice of life” show, but this show is quickly running out of content to keep me occupied, and yeah, the way this episode opened is why we can’t have nice things.
Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun episode 7: (Last week’s episode)
I just want to say this episode was very clever. Give us a scene with Mikorin and his figures, then see him asked to pose, so he decides how to learn cool macho poses from his figures, except in true anime figure fashion, they’re all girls in almost risque poses.
I just don’t really find it funny, the punches all feel a bit lost.
Sabagebu! episode 4:
Slowly watching it. This show is so cruel, in some ways it’s crueler than Watamote ever was, but here it’s aimed to mock and make light, rather than to make us sympathetic, so it’s easier to digest, but on other levels, that makes it worse. Still, I giggle quite a lot at the unrestrained physical violence on display.
*) Avatar: The Legend of Korra Season 3 Episode 12-13 (Finale!):
Oh wow, that finale. Lots of cool bending fights throughout the season, but that final fight going through the air was something special. Also, I did not see that ending, especially not the final few minutes, I teared up. I’m so glad that Season 4 Post-Production is done, because if any season of Korra finished on a truly open-ended note, then this is the one.
Nothing amazing, except Korra’s finale. Tokyo Ghoul was good, but it was very unsubtle. JoJo was “good”, but the season and characters couldn’t support it. An enjoyable week, I guess. And no Hunter x Hunter if I keep on holding myself to marathoning the last arc ;_; I did finish watching up to episode 136 this week, though!