Question: Am I bad luck? Because as Tim and I realized this week, whenever I ask for something to happen in an anime, it never ever happens, even if it would be self-evidently awesome and the writers are nuts for not going wi... | subscribe
I'm late, I'm late for a very important date.
With the winter anime season in full swing, this is my last opportunity to do a Final Impressions for something from the fall season. I think I put off writing up Kyousougiga for ...
I really wonder how something like Outbreak Company comes about. Did the creators actually plan to do a surprisingly nuanced portrayal of the fine line between cross-cultural appreciation and cultural imperialism, or did it just kind of work out that way? If you had told me at the beginning of last season that a show full of otaku in-jokes was actually going to raise questions about how Japan should handle the soft power generated by the popularity of anime and manga, I would have said you were crazy.
Well, no-- actually, I would ask "How do you know the future?" and "Are you the Doctor?", and "If so, which Doctor are you-- one of the hot ones?", but I'm getting off-topic. The point is, the depth of Outbreak Company was a big surprise.
I commented several times that I didn't think that Little Busters! Refrain would wrap up completely within thirteen episodes. In fact, the midpoint of the series was moving at such a sluggish pace that it seemed all would be revealed in a movie sequel, or a few OVAs. Having not played the visual novel, I could only judge based on where I thought the show was going, and considering the twists and turns towards the end, there's no wonder I was proven wrong!
Indeed, Little Busters! Refrain wrapped up in the final episode, bringing the latest anime adaptation of a Key work to a close. I'm sure there are a lot of us already accustomed to Key's style of merging school kids, bad news and world-changing fantasy, and this was certainly not an exception to the formula. It all got quite crazy towards the end as the loose ends were tied up, so here's my attempt at making sense of it all. A word of warning to those of you that are yet to see this show: there will be spoilers aplenty!
A good, classic romantic triangle needs a satisfying conclusion. For many of this generation of anime viewers, the bar is set using a meme regarding nautical affairs. [Editor's Note: He means NICE BOAT.] Unfortunately, that is not what we have in White Album 2.
Seriously, I'm glad that we didn't go down that route. That was never the point to the White Album 2 story, which was about the bonds forged over the intense, soul-bearing process of making music. If one can liken it with sex, well, this was the clean, PG-13 version of your average teenage jam session--with some actual sex to fulfill the eroge requirements.
The music aspect doesn't take away from the actual drama-- the too-kind sort of drama, where kindness ends up ruining things, only to beget more heartache in return. The ending simply goes down the route that felt right, with some caveats.
It's taken me quite some time to write up my final impressions of Coppelion, because I've been so conflicted. I was eager for the show to begin and when it did, I was blown away by its refusal to adhere to "normal" color palettes, its outlook on humanity and what it means to live, and how the survivors of a nuclear disaster could benefit from a troupe of schoolgirls. It shone brightly as a glimmer of hope in a sea of series inundated with little sisters, moe blobs, and other medicore narratives, and I was taken with its first few episodes.
It's rare for me to like a show this much, yet have so little to say about it. With Gingitsune, I can think of things to say-- conclusions to draw from the narrative, things about themes and character development and tone and what have you-- but I almost don't want to. Right now, Gingitsune exists in this happy, relaxed, perfect little place in my mind and I don't want to disturb it. Watching this show fills me with the same contented feeling I get on a lazy Sunday morning when I have a comfy couch, a full pot of coffee, and nothing in particular on the agenda for the rest of the day except enjoying the peace and quiet. Who wants to ruin that with analysis?
However, this is Japanator: The Otaku's Companion, not Japanator: We Sit on The Couch and Watch Stuff Then Don't Tell You About It, so regardless of how I feel right now, I should probably make an attempt to explain what this Gingitsune business was all about. See what I do for you people?
Just how did Gunzou and company escape the strange and deadly "ship" that Kongou was able to create? How will the Fog ships based out of the American coast handle I-401? Will they ever make it to Hawaii, or all the way to San Diego? It's was with these questions, leading to a general feeling of anxiety, that I finished Arpeggio of Blue Steel. However, in the end I don't think any of these things really mattered.
For better or worse, Arpeggio takes a page out of Nanoha As with its ending. But when you're an alien ship that shoots powerful gravity beams because, well, you're an alien ship, it all makes a lot more sense visually. It's just that Arpeggio goes an unwelcome step further and makes itself into some kind of visual mess. I'm not too happy with what went down-- both in regards to the climatic action scene and the story's resolution-- but I'm still glad I stuck through with this CG anime all the way. Here's why.
It's been a rough ride on board the home-made goldfish airship along with the three descendants of Galileo Galilei. It's also a learning experience; Galilei Donna is a textbook example of both what you can do with suspension of belief, and some examples of what not to do to mess with that magical realism many anime rely on to make fantasy work. If anything, however, Galilei Donna is consistently inconsistent--the final episode puts a pretty ribbon on top, but leaves me wondering what it has left on the table.
Following their arrest, the three sisters ended up in custody, and what happen in this week's Galilei Donna is an episode of Hazuki Ferrari: Ace Attorney. [Editor's Note: I kept waiting to hear that Law & Order "Chu-CHUNG!" sound.] Both the Adni Moon group and the Galilei Donna throw evidence every which way in an attempt to reveal the truth. It feels like one of those "replay" novels where authors play a tabletop RPG, complete with thick narratives about what each character does, why they do it, and how it's done. Except it's done using a legal trial instead of swords and spells. Our law student sister gets her day in the sun, or at the defendant's table in this case. How many times can she scream "Objection!"? I lost count.
I'm kind of at a loss with Beyond the Boundary right now, to be honest. There are some great characters and the animation never disappoints-- in fact, sometimes it's hard to get a good screencap from this show because the action moves so fast that a single frame only captures a tiny part of what's going on. However, the ending failed to answer any of the questions I've been asking all along, and left me completely unsatisfied as a result.
What's worse is that I'm afraid that KyoAni plans to sell us the answers to these questions in the form of OVA episodes, which is pretty much reprehensible. It's fine if the final episode doesn't answer absolutely everything, but to have to buy a continuation just to get explanations for everything the series has been hinting at for its entire run? That's just not Kosher.
Well, let's start off by going over the final episode and maybe I'll somehow get a handle on how I feel about this show.
Oh, Diabolik Lovers. I've had a time yammering on about you with Karen on the podcast appearances I've been able to make. I eagerly anticipated you each Monday because I knew I was in for some kind of awesome trainwreck each week. But there was more to it than that. Even though you did little more than parade a blonde waif around as she slowly succumbed to the primal instincts of each "hot" vampire, I became invested. I wanted answers to the several questions I had, because there were plenty. By the time you reached the twelfth episode, however, any hope I had of you setting the record straight on several different topics had vanished, leaving me with an astronomical amount of questions that I suppose will never be answered unless I actually take the plunge and play the visual novel.
It’s hard to believe that a tale about a magical Kamen Rider that loves doughnuts could be a huge letdown. The show's premise was very promising, since our main hero was battling to protect the lives of innocent people after a Solar Eclipse Ritual caused countless people to turn into creatures known as Phantoms. If the series had played its cards right, we could've ended up with an interesting show with dark undertones.
Sadly, Kamen Rider Wizard’s inability to conjure up a tale with a focused cast of character left us with an unsatisfying series. With the show's special coming to an end, you can join me below as we find out if Wizard has one last trick up its sleeve.
I came into Attack on Titan enthusiastically praising its dark, despair-filled setting and crazy action. The first few episodes were strong, even if the characters were two dimensional cut-outs. The music was big and bombastic, and the whole thing seemed like it could do very little wrong over the course of its full 25 episode run.
I was naive.
As Studio Wit's first big animation project, the writing was on the wall for Attack on Titan.