It's been a while since we last checked in with Gundam Build Fighters Try, but being able to watch the last few episodes in quick succession as I caught up to the latest developments has led me to one, inescapable conclusion:
Sekai might be the Try Fighters' ace, but Fumina is their MVP.
Ahoy there Japanator! Ensign Redgrave reporting for duty. I'll be taking over the SS. Annotated Anime for One Piece so I hope you're ready.
From last we left our heroes, the devious Doflamingo had started the hunger games within Dressrosa with the help of his string string fruit. Manipulating the natural greediness of pirates and criminals, he places bounties on our heroes with the highest amount being given to Usopp due to his God like status.
Hit the jump to see how the Straw Hats rally to counter to Doflamingo's massacre.
Kantai Collection has an identity crisis. It's trying to split the difference between a splashy, substance-free fan-service fiesta for existing fans of the game it's based on, a more sedate genre piece featuring girls being way too nice to each other, and a weighty war drama befitting the violent and arguably tragic history of the real-life warships the characters channel the souls of.
That's been the apparent narrative of the show's in the first four episodes, as the sudden and unexpected loss of Kisaragi in episode three threw many expectations for a loop. Followed up with the overwhelming antics of episode four, no one was sure just where the pendulum would swing in the following episodes.
Now that we've approached the halfway mark, though, it seems that Kan Colle has picked its path.
It's worth pointing out that among many similarities to other episodes in the series, this week's installment of Build Fighters Try is the second time they've spent the opening minutes on the puppy-love angle between Fumina, Sekai, Gyanko, and now Shia. As a fan of cute, dumb things, I can't help but like it, and anyone looking to Build Fighters for a serious war drama has long since been frightened off, so there's no problem there.
What IS a problem, though, is having sound effects in the opening sequence. Why do you do these things, Sunrise? When David Production did it to the openings for JoJo's Bizarre Adventure late into the Battle Tendency arc I thought it was just some kind of rookie mistake, but you've been making Gundam for several decades now. You should know better!
While it's been at least six weeks since the last time we checked in with Bleach, various publishing breaks and delays have given us just four-odd chapters to work with, and given the pace Bleach tends to move at, it feels like we've barely been gone at all.
Such a laid-back pace is well-suited to the series' place in the weekly Shonen JUMP roundup, but I'd hate to be the guy who only reads collected volumes, because that's a lot of paper to buy for comparatively little movement.
It's not always easy to accept when a show doesn't meet up with our expectations. We form a picture of what it "should be" in our heads, and when it goes in a different direction, one of two things usually happens:
1. We delight in the novelty of uncertainty.
2. We resent it not being what we wanted it to be.
Risking the #2 scenario is especially perilous when it comes to making a moe anime, as most otaku really don't watch these kinds of shows to be made anxious about the future.
That in mind, it's not surprising that the sudden sinking of Kisaragi last week left a sour taste in many a Kan Colle fan's mouth. "What happened to my comfy show about cute boat girls?!", they asked all over the internet.
The answer it seems, was that it was all just waiting for Kongou to show up.
Despite its reputation for grit and mature storytelling about deep subjects like war and..stuff, the extended Gundam franchise is host to a great many ludicrous and silly things. For me, one of the silliest things about Gundam, especially the original Gundam series, is the Core Block System.
For those unfamiliar, it's that system that allows a little transforming plane (the "Core Fighter") to form the "abs" of the original Gundam, which would assemble the legs, head, and upper torso around it. Given the original series' reputation as pioneering a concept of giant robots in a military, wartime context, the Core Block System and its combining glory feels like a weird holdover from the Super Robot days, where every robot assembled itself with an eye towards spectacle more than practicality.
Thank goodness for Minato Sakai and his Build Busters teammates, then.
If you thought Kan Colle was just going to be about cute girls displacing not nearly enough water for their supposed channeling of old warship souls, episode 3 is here to toss some water on that notion. And it's not the magic water from a repair bucket either.
Indeed, it's episode 3 that takes what may be a hard left turn into unexpected-yet-historically-accurate drama, though at this early stage it's impossible to tell if it's a trend that will hold (thus threatening to make Kan Colle a more interesting TV series, or break, allowing it and its viewers to remain in safe, comfortable waters.
It's been far too long, but after its season-long hiatus, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has returned to the airwaves!
And neither Joseph Joestar's Stand-user party nor the hardworking folks at David Production are wasting any time getting back in the saddle, as they dive into Egypt to hunt down Dio Brando once and for all.
Watching Build Fighters Try is fascinating, not just because it's a fun, well-produced piece of mecha entertainment, puppy love and Fumina reaction-face gallery, but also to compare it to the first Build Fighters season and see just how the Build Fighters brand has evolved over the weeks and months.
Sunrise's sophomore gunpla battle effort is both an effective continuation of its predecessor's legacy, but like its characters, mecha, and setting, it's also a different sort of beast, with different goals and ambitions.
The first episode of Kantai Collection kicks off with what might be regarded as an almost galling display of pretentiousness: Against a black background, a serious-voiced woman recites the Gosei, a set of five meditative precepts laid out by Imperial Japanese Navy Vice Admiral Hajime Matsushita. To this day, naval students at Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Forces are encouraged to reflect on them every evening.
For better or worse, the material that follows doesn't anywhere near that level of consideration, but if nothing else, Kantai Collection puts on a good display as a properly entertaining anime about cute girls wearing big guns.