Due to the holidays, Desu ex Machina which runs the weekly Anime Power Ranking (APR) where anibloggers get to submit ballots on the episodes/shows of the past weeks, didn’t run an APR last week, so I’m going to share with you the ballot I would have sent. Each link in this post is to my write-up of said episode.
Samurai Flamenco Episode 11
Sentai delivered so straight that it’s crooked!
This is the weakest anime of Samurai Flamenco thus far, and my least favourite (no, the two do not necessarily go together). While every other episode up to now maintained the themes of the show, and even when we had the “craziness” it was a logical continuation of the themes (what people wished for) or had a new thematic discussion (the growth of evil), this episode hadn’t done either of these things. The crazy sentai references didn’t bug me (and in fact reminded me of my childhood TV-watching), but it was “just an episode where things happened“, rather than one where the show advanced, or even paid any attention to its themes.
I hope that after using one episode for it, it’ll return to its normal nature next episode.
Some recent anime episodes led me to discuss flashbacks in a bit more length; I think this topic is interesting enough to devote more time to. The discussion and examples used will follow anime, western television, films and books. It is not an anime-only topic, but anime might get a bit more space and examples because I have examples on hand and it’s what made me revisit the topic conceptually.
Flashbacks obviously can come in the form of showing us content from earlier episodes, say, so we’ll remember what happened. An anime infamous for flashbacks in this way, which had episodes where up to a third of the content was recycled was Naruto – this was done because the anime was catching up to the source material and they wanted to use as little content per episode as they could. We’ve even had some examples of a flashback within an episode to something that happened the very same episode.
Note, however, that sometimes such “remembrance” sequences aren’t only required, but drive a point home – you can see it where someone is surprised by a new development and the flashback serves to have them narrate to us what actually happened, or show it again now that we’re armed with new knowledge and can put in the proper context – it’s very common in thrillers – think of the resolution of The Usual Suspects, The Sixth Sense, Fight Club, or recently in anime the case of Akatsuki in Log Horizon thinking of how Shiro and Nyanta had defeated Demiklas – we’ve seen the content we’ve just seen, in slow motion, accompanied with her trying to work out what happened which we’ve missed.
So, another season of anime reached its half-point and it’s time to watch my mid-season impressions, where I talk a bit of the show and rate it.
Due to how many shows I have to cover (15), I’ve cut them into two halves, sorted alphabetically. The shows within each episode are sorted roughly by excitement generated within me or how good they are. I’ve also bolded in the following lines what shows I’ll recommend people without reservations.
The first post (this one!) will cover: BlazBlue: Alter Memory, Coppelion, Galilei Donna, Gingitsune (Silver Fox), Kill la Kill, Kyoukai no Kanata (Beyond the Boundary), and Kyousougiga (Capital Craze). The second post will cover: Log Horizon, Nagi no Asukara, Outbreak Company, Samurai Flamenco (Samumenco), Strike the Blood, Tokyo Ravens, Unbreakable Machine-Doll, and Valvrave the Liberator’s 2nd season (Kakumeiki Valvrave).
Kill la Kill:
To those who don’t know, I avoid reading most online discussion of this show, so the hype and anti-hype and plain old disappointment won’t affect me too much (I try). So, what do I think of it? I think it’s a very interesting show. The clothings as an external power source that runs counter to normal shounen sensibilities where true power must originate from within, and clothing as dignity/humanity had been very real thematic threads in the show’s early episodes, until it came time to shed them as second-hand skin, and to proudly don one’s clothes, and be proud of not wearing one’s clothes… I feel the yarn had got a bit tangled for the writers in that segment, but since it’s early, not every reversed thread must truly find its way into the final tapestry.
The source of power still seems a very relevant thread in this tale, and I’ve noticed that not only are the antagonists in this show potential shounen-show characters/allies, but a few of them could even be the stars of a shounen action show in their own right, especially considering what happened in episode 6, where Sanageyama had to show his will for power was greater than everything else, his desire to win, to fight a strong opponent, and maintain his dignity. I’m still curious about all the “Balance of power” talk we’ve had, and hopefully the lessons of Nazi Germany and the George Orwell references in episode 1 (both 1984 and The Animal Farm) wouldn’t just be discarded from here on out.
I really wonder what the show could do with more money. The artistic direction and use of stills is brilliant, but it’d be nice to still see it augmented with more money. The musical direction and the choice of classic pieces throughout the episodes greatly enhance the experience of watching this show.
Episodes Watched: 6/25 Current Grade: A? Some episodes are amazing, some episodes are really good, a couple didn’t hit the mark, and within each episode there are also moments of greatness within an ok episode and weak moments in a good episode. So I’ll give it an A? for now.
I’ve decided rather than use a never-ending list of shows, that I’d talk each week about a few different shows. This week I’ll pick three shows I think are pretty good, or surprising, and which I feel need more love in order to be picked up – meaning, Kill la Kill, Log Horizon and Kyoukai no Kanata, for instance, are all out. I’m also going to be a tad swamped with things for the next couple of weeks, so I’ll use a couple of such posts to tide us over while I work on some content in the background, and real-life related stuff.
The shows I’ll discuss in this post are Samurai Flamenco, Gingitsune and Kyousougiga.
I’ll also add a paragraph per show which is more of a “Sales pitch.”
Samurai Flamenco / Samumenco – This episode is good in ways that remind me of one of my two top shows of last season, and considering I gave a whopping 6 shows a score of 8 or higher last season, that’s saying a lot. The show is Genshiken Nidaime, and what the two share is comedy that isn’t entirely reliant on gags or generic moments that could and often would appear in dozens of shows a year, but comedy which rises, seemingly in an effortless manner, from the characters’ personalities and the interactions between them.
Crossing in red light will not be tolerated!
The characters seem to be either naive or cynical, but they’re all likeable for it, rather than feeling anyone is either too stupid or too much of an ass. The characters, especially the two main characters, seem to interact well with one another. What is the show about? A boyish model who believes in justice like in cartoons from the 80s, and sets out to spread it, and his friend the cop who can’t help but facepalm. The show makes me think of older shows such as Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop – it is solid, without resorting to wild colours or a crazy art style.
The show knows what it wants to do, what it wants to be, and it doesn’t try to be anything other than that.
Sellin’ it: Amazing character interaction, classic art style, discussing issues that have to do with adulthood – And it’s all done so well. Target crowd? Have you liked Cowboy Bebop? Have you liked Samurai Champloo? Are you over 20 years old? (Note, only one needs to apply), did you like Kick-Ass (I sure did)? Whatever, just watch this – unless all you’re after is lolis and comedy, then you might want to skip it.
Watched: 3/22 Current Grade: A. If I could marathon the whole show right now, I would, and considering how busy I am, that’s high praise.
Well, I’m watching a lot of shows this season, even more than last season, about 20. So I’m going to split this post into two parts, the first will go live today, and the second will likely go live in a couple of days. I will not post this sort of list every week, certainly not for this number of shows. I intend to cut down the amount of shows I’m watching to 10-12 by next week or the week after, to leave me more time for other things.
There will be spoilers of episode 1-2 of the shows discussed, but that’s part of the premise, honestly.
Shows covered in this part: Coppelion, Nagi no Asukara, Gingitsune, Yuushibu, NouCome, Strike the Blood, BlazBlue: Alter Memory, Tokyo Ravens, Kill la Kill, Outbreak Company.
Well, let’s dive straight into it. Again organizing it by how well I like them thus far to make it easier to read. Will also use some keywords to describe each show.
Got Me Hooked:
Kill la Kill – In case you’ve lived under a rock, this is the hottest show of the season, and perhaps the year. Made by the people who had left Gainax to form Studio Trigger, many of the people behind Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann are also behind this show, and it shows. Kill la Kill is very sure of what it wants to be, which is a spectacle. Everything is over the top, and we also get some interesting note on the nature of power in the background. Koshimizu Ami who plays the main role of Matoi Ryuuko is an inspired choice, giving the same vibes she did as Kallen in Code Geass. Watch it, it’s fun. Watched: 2/25(?) Keywords: Popcorn, over-the-top action, fascism, nature of power.
Sadly, I can’t cover all the expressions Ryuko has in one photo, especially not her cheeky smile.