Hello and welcome to this week's edition of Annotated Anime, the weekly Japanese cartoon roundup that took the opportunity to play Santa, and stuff your stockings full of six-inch women!
Anyway, between late-night visits to your bedroom and sock drawers (check your footwear for loose ladies before putting them on!), we also had just enough time to watch Nippon's Noitamina Industry (Hint: It's "Animation" spelled backwards) latest turnout! Eric met a young yank in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Elliot saw stuff beyond comprehension (or coherence) in Sword Art Online, Magi, and Chuunibyou, Josh calls out for some sumbitch in Sakurasou, Jeff checks the flip-the-bird sides of Seitokai no Ichizon and Oniai, Chris plays the numbers game with Hidamari Sketch, Bakuman, Space Bros., Little Busters, and Jormungand, and I see the true meaning of holiday wintertime thunder-thighs in Robotics;Notes, Busou Shinki and Girls und Panzer!
Oh, and we all managed to write it below! Check that stuff out, if it please you!
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Episode 10
Onwards to Battle Tendency! No new opening song just yet but it seems Roundabout is still going to be making the endings of this show awesome. I've got to admit, I instantly liked the way Joseph looked, along with Smokey, Grandma Erina and Old Man Speedwagon. Everything seems to be just right.
The voice actors are really doing their job, as Joseph's attitude towards Erina as compared to other characters really shines through. There's something noticeably cozy about New York City and how it is represented in this episode. Even though there has been a big jump, the animators are still hitting all the right notes.
So, yeah. We have a new JoJo, Joseph Joestar, and he is as cocky as Dio was an ass. With his intense innate Ripple abilities, and the fact that he's just a teenager, all of it makes a lot of sense. He's still a bit of a child and this is clearly obvious when he's around his grandmother Erina, who has become quite the hard-ass (in a good way) over the years.
We're also treated to a brief visit from both Speedwagon and Straits, the former showing his years more than the latter. Going to South America, we discover that there are many, many more stone masks and Straits has gone a little power hungry after watching Dio in motion. After transforming himself, Straits heads to New York to confront JoJo, and we're left waiting to see who will win, a vampire or a storm of bullets.
Sword Art Online Episode 23
I don't. Even. Know.
There was so much wrong with this episode that I don't know where to begin. Let's start with the positive stuff!
Production values were solid this week, with the animation and art maintaining consistency. Some of the action was less than spectacular (black screens with a slash!), but for the most part it was entertaining to watch Kirito and his backup blast through the guardians.
All right. That was the positive stuff.
Anytime Sword Art Online attempts drama, all I can do is shake my head and sit in a corner for a few minutes to think about why I'm still watching this show. The less said about the Sugu/Kirito conflict the better. Also, why did both groups back out of the tower when Kirito made it past the swarm of guardians? The novel answers this question with great ease: everyone realizes that this boss wasn't meant to be defeated. Knowing that it's an unbeatable foe, they charge in specifically to help Kirito reach his goal. The anime once again fails at inserting the little details that at least fill in the plot holes plaguing this show.
Depending on the type of person you are, next episode will either be touching, or 24 minutes of torture.
Come on folks, we made it this far. Let's take it all the way to the end!
[Watch Imouto Art Online over at Crunchyroll]
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Episode 10
Rather than waste its time running in place, Chuu2 opts to be refreshingly straight forward about its romance. With emotions brewing over the past couple of episodes, both Rikka and Yuta have individually realized their feelings for the other. Completely embracing this fact, the two lovebirds attempt to find a decent avenue with which to confess, leading to some comical situations.
At the end of the day though, Chuu2 cuts right to the chase; Rikka tells Yuta that she's in love with him, and the two share an adorably quiet moment together under a bridge. Boom, a relationship is born.
There's still one last fish to fry though, and that's Rikka's issue of dealing with reality. Her sister implores Yuta to say something, but he struggles with whether or not it's the right thing to do. Just before the end of the school festival, he finally confronts Rikka about the issue and she reacts poorly. The episode ends with her standing on stage, singing her father's favorite song. Off goes the eyepatch, and her colored contact is no longer in there.
I love that KyoAni (and the source material) didn't prolong the pre-romance bits here. This feels much truer to reality, and in turn it feels more sincere. Yuta doesn't freak out when he's confessed to; he smiles and laughs it off, inserting a quip about how he was supposed to go first. It's this light hearted approach to romance that makes Chuu2 such a charming experience.
I can't wait to see how this all ends.
[Catch Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! over at the Anime Network]
Magi Episode 10
Another solid episode this week, as we see the conclusion of Alibaba's ill-fated meeting with the king. It's here that we're finally introduced to the black haired mystery man, Judal. A priest and Magi under the Kou Empire, Sinbad begins to suspect that trouble is afoot seeing as the Empire have their hand in Balbadd's affairs.
Things get further complicated when Judal pays Sinbad a visit in the slums, noticing Aladdin's strange aura. Upon discovering the boy is a Magi, Judal snaps a little bit and starts beating the ever living crap out of everyone. Not willing to stand by and watch his friends get attacked, Aladdin steps up and challenges the mysterious Kou Empire Magi to a battle. Things seem to be evenly matched, but Judal begins to bust out high level magic that lays ruins to the area. Left without choice, Aladdin summons Ugo and manages to severely overpower his opponent. The blue djinn gets hit with one of Judal's attacks, and despite Aladdin's best attempts at healing him, begins to leak magoi. Don't count Ugo out yet though; the blue giant goes a little bit berserk, and in an effort to protect Aladdin, utterly annihilates Judal.
No seriously, Judal's body is a mess following the battle.
After last week's painfully low budget episode, it was nice to see A-1 put a little bit more effort into things. The first half of the episode is still inconsistent as all hell, but the final half and main action sequence are fairly decent. Things get awesome by the time Ugo initiates his beastly counterattack on Judal.
If you're still aboard the Magi train at this point, I highly implore you to stick with it. Things will be getting crazy in the next few weeks.
[Catch Magi over at Crunchyroll]
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou Episode 10
Time to tear the blond hair girl a new one, emotionally.
No, not really...well kind of. It’s one of those “What’s her deal?” kind of episodes since we didn't get all the back story from the last episode. Rita seems to be hiding some emotions behind that smile of hers. We all knew that Shiina and her had something going on. I mean, she did come back for her to take her back to England and all, but what was the actual motive. Was it that she really wanted to see Shiina return to the art world? In a nutshell she does but that is only the surface of what is going on.
Rita spills her guts out this time around. No real humor in this episode so you can stop watching it thinking that there will be something to lighten the mood like I did. I was actually waiting for something cut the drama mood of this episode and it really never came up. It’s an OK episode overall but I was looking for something more entertaining. Seeing thou that this series runs for 24 episodes, it is a hurdle that we must endure. I say endure because I’m not a fan of the crying type of drama. It may be your thing, but to me, meh.
At least the group was able to get their Nyaboron project done by the end. We should be able to see some of it at the festival in the next episode but we might not because it seems as thou a new challenger has appeared from a rival school. Not too sure what will be the beef with this new girl or who it will be with but rest assured if she ends up falling for Sorata and starts to leave at Sakurasou. You will be imagining me throwing my hands up in the air shouting “Son of a bitch!”
[Cry it out at Crunchyroll]
Oniai Episode 10
At this point in the show, the way the OP cuts into the cold open feels both like a gag and a pattern. It's pretty clear that some of the skits in the show are just about some side adventure or a joke, while some are about the girls dealing with their romantic tension with Akito. Maybe the opening simply denotes when Oniai is actually about Akiko fighting for Akito's favor, versus all the other time when something else happens that is tangential to the main plot hook. It's just a hypothesis.
This week Oniai spent over 10 minutes going over Gin's back story with Akito. It's actually a pretty unusual story between two kids who may have first went down the path where warriors exchanged words using fists. The whole thing feels a lot more engaging on a variety of levels, beyond merely physically harassment or the various obstacles Gin put in Akito's way as an unconscious mean to weed out the phonies in her life. There's a roughness psychologically, between the way Akito is trying to get under Gin's skin and the way Gin takes it like a man, proverbially speaking. Of course, the whole thing falls down when the joke about Gin being a girl becomes, well, the joke.
The flip side of the episode is about the Student Council President, showing us a prim and proper side to her. It's kind of weird because she outright confesses putting that face up for Akito as a way to serve him, after he picked her as the best caretaker for a sick person. It is also kind of weird because the way she expressed herself is almost a form of fanservice for people who might like a more sane and composed knockout character that Arashi almost is. When Akito relaxes once Arashi returns to her usual self, it feels almost ironic.
[Watch Arashi pour a mean cup of tea on FUNimation!]
Seitokai no Ichizon Lv.2 Episode 6
Ringo Sugisaki makes a return in this week's Seitokai no Ichizon. She took some time to visit Ken, and the opportunity to observe his afterschool activity. It was also very weird in that Ringo is kind of an unstable agent in this harem chemistry set. It was just weird that she'd flip her finger to Minatsu, or play off Mafuyu just the way she does it, or ask those straight questions to Chizuru. Somehow her interaction with Akaba feels the most normal. It's kind of funny, because Ringo does some outrageous things. On the other hand I no longer know what her character is suppose to be, besides being very cute about being Ken's little sister and plays the straightest boke ever. I wonder if that is something she puts up as a mirror to Ken's desires? To be honest as amusing as this episode of Seizon was, I don't quite get it.
Towards the end of the episode, the photo from last episode's eroge CD-key hunt emerges for a very nice gag, so there was that to look forward to. The newspaper club's Lilicia also seems to make her proper appearance in season 2 at the end, for the teaser for next week.
Space Bros. Episode 36
I've got to hand it to you, Space Bros. Yes, you gave us the Serika backstory just like I was dreading would happen, but you blew me out of the water with a genuinely touching story. Perhaps I'm a little biased as I can relate somewhat to the story in the episode (I'm actually an astronaut), but I couldn't help but get a large dose of the feels throughout the episode.
Which is pretty good, really, seeing as Serika has only really been characterised as 'woman' and 'food destroyer' thus far. Mutta had certainly seen something that us viewers hadn't, so it's nice to see that she isn't flat and boring as she'd seemed before.
So we get a back story episode and only find out she has passed at the end, and it was still good? Crikey. It certainly made up for the last episode, and hopefully we don't fall into another slump. Seems Mutta is back in the next episode, even though it's going to focus on those that didn't make the cut. What does that mean? 1) Nothing. 2) Time skip. We shall see.
[Space pugs can be found on Crunchyroll!]
Little Busters! Episode 10
The Little Busters might not have been able to find a new member this episode, but they at least gained a pretty competent cheerleader. Or is she a good luck charm? Garden gnome? I don't even know, but she has a big parasol so she best watch out for strong gusts of wind. She's into poetry, and... not much else, I don't think. She didn't seem particularly depressed, but what she was saying certainly sounded depressing.
There's definitely more to her, that's for sure. Just like Komari, I think there will be a whole can of worms just waiting to be dug into. The only matter is when, as I'm not sure the 26 episodes is going to be enough, assuming all of the girls have their own problems to solve. Perhaps I'm basing this too much on my experience of Clannad, but having not played the game, there's not much more I can do save play Little Busters! or spoil myself, neither of which are on the cards right now!
There were those mumblings of a movie, but I'm veering off track. Mio is certainly an intriguing addition to the team, and I look forward to seeing more of her in the future. Now we just have to wait for Kengo to join/rejoin the team. Seriously, I really hate that the opening revealed all of this stuff. Not cool!
Jormungand: Perfect Order Episode 9
Wait, what? Suddenly we are getting plenty of plot! Koko is now a kidnapper? Quantum computers? WHAT DO THE NUMBERS MEAN?
They mean something, probably. Koko, and likely Kasper, are pretty set on building this computer. With a whole bunch of orbital satellites and a powerful number-crunching computer, it's pretty easy to see just how big of a threat the Hekmatyars are going to be when it comes to controlling... war itself?
And who would have thought that even Jormungand could have a bath episode? It was brief, but it didn't fail to show just enough skin to get a few more Blu-ray sales, I'm sure. Bookman is certainly playing a key role in this series, and it seems like Koko and her crew will need to watch out when attempting their next abduction. Those guys from Black Ops are here to teach her a lesson.
Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb Episode 9
Wait, did we just spend an entire episode playing The Game of Life? Not that I mind so much, I also played that game a lot as a kid. It did almost mean that the landlord was nearly outed on what the reason for running Hidamari Apartments is. Did you see her with Nazuna? She's quite obviously using it to lure in young girls, the fiend.
Spending most of the episode in Sae's apartment 'sleeping' while they improved the board game? I'm onto you, miss. To be honest, she can have Sae. And Hiro. Bleh.
But really, what does the landlord do? Does she even have a job? Does she even exist? Is she in fact just a coping mechanism that the girls have to cope with being away from home? Is she in fact a tanuki? Yeah okay, I've run out of things to say about it. It was an okay episode, I guess.
Bakuman. 3 Episode 9
This episodes had two parts. The first part was the 'we're Ashirogi and we don't like what you're doing, grrrr' part. This is where Takagi and Mashiro sat around talking about Nanamine, commenting that they don't like the way he does things, and ultimately growling in a low hum to show their disapproval. It's okay, because they plan to show him up with PCP. Oh, his manga got number one in the rankings? Back to the drawing board, then.
The second part was the 'I'm Nanamine, I don't like editors and I'm tsundere for Ashirogi Muto. I also look strangely like a Code Geass character' part. It's where he expressed his dislike for editors while constantly starting at a PCP poster and making angry faces at it. He then spin-kicked this one guy in the face or something.
Kosugi really needs to sort himself out, though. When he discovered the 50 editors, he should have left childish comments in the chat, thrown the laptop out of the window and smashed Nanamine into the nearest wall.
"Listen here, budski. Only I have a say in how to edit you manga, you get me?"
"Not even my father has hit me"
"I am your father"
I don't even know what I'm writing any more.
Busou Shinki episode 10
It's the Christmas episode! Our gift: yet more interesting Shinki-society questions prompted by the appearance of a Santa-themed Shinki, with an added bonus (we are good little boys and girls, after all) of said Santa being voiced by one Rie "Kugyuu" Kugimiya. Given her history of voicing tiny, flat-as-a-plastic-board girls, it somehow seems fitting that she voices a character that is in fact a tiny girl made of flat plastic.
Meanwhile, on the mind-blowing questions front, we've got the dilemma facing "normal" Shinkis that try to find work. Lene, Hina, Ann and Ines are all "normal", apparently, which means they're armed and designed for pit-fighting in the tournament duels depicted in the likes of Battle Masters. They bring the "Busou" (armament) to "Busou Shinki". Unfortunately, for girls whose masters aren't into the fighting scene (these ones, namely), the job market's tough, monopolized by Career Shinkis like the nurses and Santas and stewardess Shinkis of the world.
That's amazing, even just on the basic concept of having these sentient toys afforded the freedom to find employment, and for presumably regular humans to post Shinki-targeted want ads. "Seeking Wedding Cake Decorations" is just one incredible example. Can Shinkis own personal property? Will we ever see "apartment buildings" the size of high school locker banks designed to rent to go-getter Career Shinkis? Can I live in this amazing-sounding world?!
Also boggling the mind? If a Shinki can automatically simulate a cold or fever to self-repair temperature damage, why can't it eat cake? I recall that scene from the movie A.I. where the robot kid from The Sixth Sense tries to eat food and his face melts off. Creepy.
[Get your mind blown for Christmas at The Anime Network]
Robotics;Notes episode 9
And finally, GunBuild-1 stands. It's actually gigantic. Even compared with the actually-existing KURATAS robot, it towers on a scale approaching the Odaiba Gundam. What I do like about it is the concession to realism here. Despite the original blueprints looking pretty much like a trace of the original GUNVARREL mecha, proportions and all, GunBuild-1's got a serious case of thunder thighs and tiny, tiny arms. The truth is, even if modern hobby robots (like the TanageshiMachine-3) look and move somewhat like cartoon mecha, you can't expect design like that to just scale up without consequences. A GUNVARREL-sized robot with identical proportions to the fictional version, but made using regular earth materials instead of magic sci-fi metal would simply collapse under its own weight if it tried to walk.
Of course, even real-life robots can actually do things that GunBuild-1 can't, much less the things the show's level of hobby robots can manage, making that monstrosity little more than a big statue. A cool statue (like the Odaiba Gundam or that Tetsujin-28 over in Kobe), but no robot. It's understandable that the commons gathered to watch would get bored.
The conspiracy plot sinks once again into the background. I'm really beginning to worry about a sudden plot dump in these next few weeks, but at the very least Robotics;Notes isn't being predictable...yet.
Girls und Panzer episode 9
Girls und Panzer continues to be rather brilliant, though there are no moments quite as revolutionary as last week's "Katyusha". We still get a lovely little Russian lullaby, though, and a heartening rendition of "Yuki no Shingun", which is actually a somewhat morbid Imperial Japanese marching theme. That two moe-moe girls happily sing it in the snow during a game of tank-battlin' is a contrast that practically encompasses the whole show. Lovely.
There's also a mass version of the Anglerfish dance, and of course a pretty great tank battle that finally makes some use of the 38(t). The "(t)" in the name is for "Track those bastards!", if its performance is anything to go by.
Next week, a seventh tank joins the force, with those kids from the intro, one of which looks like she fell out of a Leiji Matsumoto show for some reason. Their tank doesn't actually look like the Tiger (P), though, so I can't help but wonder if it'll ever show up. C'mon, Girls und Panzer Ooarai'll never beat the final boss with the pre- and early-war dinosaurs they have now!
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