Welcome to the latest edition of Annotated Anime, the weekly recap that you've just caught with its pants down and weak point exposed. Yes, it's located right there, so don't get too surprised...or excited.
Instead get hyped-up for a new slew of hot recapping action, including brand-new looks at Little Busters!, My Little Monster, Chuunibyou, The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, Shin Sekai Yori, Girls und Panzer, Space Bros., Busou Shinki, Blast of Tempest, Magi, Robotics;Notes, Hidamari Sketch, Jormungand, Seitokai no Ichizon, Oniai, and Bakuman!
All of it's just below, so come check it out!
Sword Art Online Episode 24
In this week's episode of Deus Ex Machina Art Online, Kirito finally reunites with Asuna in a "touching" moment that gets interrupted by the insane Sugou. Really rapey things happen and everybody feels pretty uncomfortable about it. Kirito hears voices in his head and once again defies the rules and logic of the game to pull a sword out of his torso. He then hijacks Kayaba's account and becomes the ruler of Alfheim Online.
Kirito then proceeds to stab Sugou in the face and save the girl. Kayaba comes back from the dead as some kind of data ghost and gives our hero an egg. For some reason. The episode ends with Kirito running off to the hospital to go see his girlfriend after sharing a romantic embrace with his little sister.
Just one more episode. My head hurts. Itchy. Hungry.
[Catch Sword Art Online over at Crunchyroll]
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Episode 11
A few weeks have passed since the school festival, and Rikka is making strides toward being more outgoing and less crazy. Touka moves away, but not before thanking Yuta for being there for her little sister. Things are changing, but they seem to be heading in a positive direction.
At least at first glance.
Rikka is a shadow of her former self, and is trying her damnest to reject everything that represents her former craziness. Sanae refuses to accept this and tries at every turn to bring Rikka back to her side, but finds herself failing time and time again. Meanwhile, Yuta begins to doubt his own decisions, though he realizes he has no right to question whether or not this is what Rikka really wants. Emotions are had, tears are shed, and Rikka heads off on a train to go see her father's grave with her mother.
Yuta than proceeds to have a break down.
This week's Chuu2 was absolutely packed with drama, but the best moment easily came at the end of the episode, as Yuta confronted Sanae and forced her to admit that their crazy fantasy world is nothing but an escape. Sanae's lapse into tears followed by her "I know it is!" was a powerful little moment. Growing up and maturing is important, but do people really need to throw away that childlike sense of fantasy in order to do it? I think not.
[Catch Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! over at the Anime Network]
Magi Episode 11
Another solid episode for Magi this week, as we're finally introduced to Princess Kougyoku of the Kou Empire. The battle from last week rages on, and Ugo finds himself utterly obliterated by the Princess and her super powerful skills. Sinbad steps in and introduces himself, convincing a flustered Kougyoku to retreat with her lackies.
Frustrated with himself for failing to help his people, Alibaba is surprised to find his half brother Sabhmad paying him a visit in the slums. As it turns out, Sabhmad had been the one leaking information to the Mist Troupe in an attempt to help Alibaba overthrow Abhmad from the thrown. Sinbad and the others question why the Deputy King seems so desperate. Upon further questioning, Sabhmad reveals that Abhmad intends to turn Balbadd into a slave production country by selling his own people for more currency from the Kou Empire. Mor is clearly not pleased with this and urges Alibaba to take action.
Even in the manga, this section of the story was a bit hard to get through because Alibaba's so down on himself. Fortunately the supporting cast covers the slack, and Kougyoku's arrival was a welcome one. She's a fun character that I can't wait to see more of, especially her unique skills.
The action this week was solid if not brief. There was a quick exchange between Alibaba and one of the lackies that had me excited for more fancy swordplay.
[Catch Magi over at Crunchyroll]
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou Episode 11
We are in the home stretch for the completion of Nyaboron!
It’s the start of the cultural festival and our gang at Sakurasou is putting the finishing touches on their project even if it means sleep deprivation. The gang is pulling out all the stops to work at the festival and finish their project on time for the premiere. I enjoyed this episode way more than the last one. At least this time we get some humor in good doses. That was the one thing that this series has been slacking on is the comedy. Now it doesn’t need to be a laugh riot from start to finish but put at least some in there to liven it up a bit. The last episode did take a toll on me in terms of overall enjoyment of the series and started to make me think twice about if I wanted to continue watching if it stays on this path. Needless to say, I am back on track with this one.
Deep down we know that Sorata is in love with Shiina. That part is made pretty clear this episode with little bits of awww inducing moments. It was pretty sweet; I’m not going to lie. One new thing we find out is that Jin, back in the day, was sleeping with Misaki’s big sister. Mainly to keep Misaki pure to him he didn’t want to defile her. Just a lesson for you young ones out there, this is not OK...ever. Yet Misaki blinded by her love for Jin seems to over look this and stills tries to go after him. That’s dedication right there, but I also think she is out of her mind. This is my least favorite part of the story so far in the relationship circles. As of right now, I could care less what happens to either of them from here on out.
At least in the next episode Nyaboron will debut and we will see if Shiina will be going back to England. What did Rita mean that Shiina has someone waiting for her when she gets back to England? Does she have a suitor hand picked by her father? I’m pretty sure it is so let’s act surprised when we find out.
[Festival time at Crunchyroll]
Shin Sekai Yori Episode 11 & 12
These two episodes finally start to bring everything together, from the lore and the history of the world to the often strange actions taken by the Ethics Committee and the Board of Education. Saki picks up that there are some glaring holes in her memory, particularly that the guy she dug so much is no longer there. The rest of her friends find that their memories have been altered too. After investigating the old village that's been abandoned, they piece together that there are even bigger gaps of time they can't remember, particularly from the adventure during their summer camp.
Before they can investigate further, they get roped into meeting with the head of the Ethics Committee. Saki gets pulled in first, where she and the audience get one helluva info dump about the nature of being the leader of the village. In short, we get some exact info about Fiends and Karma Demons ,without any of the religious mumbo jumbo. The head of the Ethics Committee lets Saki know that the teen is seriously being considered as a replacement for the aging leader, due to how she was able to handle the discovery about the history of the world and their village. All seems well until another member of Group One decides to escape into the woods on their own, forcing the kids to go out on presumable one last adventure.
Although it took a while for everything to come to a head, I rather like how everything was explained and put into context. I'll go into it more during my Final Impressions, but these episodes saved the show.
Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse Episode 23 & 24
Man, things have really stepped up in these last episodes. We've got a ton of TSF action, BETA stomping and human betrayal. You know, the things that made Total Eclipse awesome in the first place. The RLF reveals that there's a secret American plan called Red Shift, where strategically placed nukes will go off if a certain amount of BETA cross Alaska, creating a new line of defense to fight the alien beasties. That shouldn't be a problem, right? Well, leave it to somebody to let loose every single BETA that was being studied by the Americans. Now, I say 'somebody' because we find out that the RLF are merely puppets for some other group called the Alliance. One hint about the BETA being creatures for God's purpose make me think it's some sort of religious group. We'll find out soon enough.
Character-wise, all the BS that was bugging me before is pretty much gone now that everybody is fighting for their lives. Yui is thinking with her head instead of heart/crotch, which means she's back to being a bad ass. Hell, even the Americans come back after some undercover work to help keep the BETA from causing the presumable end of an already reeling world. The last image from episode 24 has Cryska and Inia activating some sort of special ability that I assume is supposed to make them react faster and fight better, but the Major from the Alliance activates something in his TSF and causes a short circuit.
Zetsuen no Tempest Episode 11 & 12
I wasn't expecting an episode of Ace Attorney to pop in the middle of Zetsuen no Tempest, but I ain't complaining! Yoshino spends most of episode 11 arguing against Samon's time prison, eventually creating a theory that is plausible, if not true. The thing is, Samon can't prove that it isn't possible without spoiling the secret of the time prison. There are some amusing inner-monologues going on in Samon's head. Samon eventually uses a time paradox to prove that the barrel holding Hakaze's bones is the same as the barrel currently keeping her company on the time island. Unfortuantely for Samon, it isn't enough to crush Hakaze's spirit, so Mahiro's decision still isn't set in stone.
While the main trio tries to figure out a way to bring Hakaze back through time, Junichiro arrives at the battlefield after Evangeline loses again. Turns out that while Junichiro doesn't have the talent to be mage, he's certainly good at some sort of magical aikido. It keeps the mages busy while the main players argue about the logic of both Trees and how they might have manipulated events to kill Aika. In the end, Samon finds out that, surprise, there isn't anybody in the clan who could've committed the murder. So where does that leave us? Well, it seems that there's a mage for the Tree of Exodus. Wait, what? Of course, things get cut off before we can get any more info.
Girls und Panzer episode 10
Yes! Victory for Ooarai, and new tanks, including a prototype Tiger-P (the "P" is for "Porsche"), a conversion-kit upgunning of the 38(t) to a Hetzer, and a never-used-in-combat Type-3 "Chi-Nu", the last of which brings the total number of World War II-era Japanese tanks that could be considered competitive in a global tanking contest to...still zilch.
Sadly the arguably viable Chi-Nu is never given a chance to shine, because the gaming nerds who volunteer to drive the damn thing find out all too late that driving a tank "IRL" is nothing like it is in World of Tanks. To be fair, World of Tanks doesn't actually feature the Chi-Nu in its lineup*, so it's not as if they got any virtual practice time with it. Nevertheless, the gamers end up the first casualty of Ooarai's big fight against the all-Wehrmacht Black Forest Academy, the heart of the Nishizumi school of tankery.
And it's kind of a crazy matchup, too. The Saunders match's 10-versus-5 was one thing, and even against Pravda 15-versus-6 was rough odds, but 20-against-8 is just plain crazy. It was bad enough that Pravda's T-34s and the like already outclassed the majority of Ooarai's team, but Maho and her team are rolling with mid-to-late-war models like the Panther, Elefant (the final form of the Tiger-P), Jagdpanther, and both actual-service Tigermodels . Any single one of Maho's tanks could one-shot six of Miho's eight units, and that's assuming the Tiger-P isn't as much of a jalopy as the show hints**. Honestly, I don't mind if Ooarai end up losing this last match - there are other ways to save your school - if they can put up a decent fight and show the too-rigid Nishizumi doctrine what's what.
Once again, though, one of the best parts about the episode isn't in the tanks, but in the music. Instead of the Russian "Katyusha", this time the show Siegs for the Reich with "Erika", an equally fun march, what with all the Tubas and such. A piano rendition of the Ooarai theme is also especially touching, played as all the different teams eat some katsudon for victory (and punning).
Of course, the true tragedy here is that we're in for a months-long wait to see a resolution to this battle, as episodes 11 and 12 have been delayed all the way to March. Arrgh!
*Sure, the nerds never actually mentioned they played World of Tanks, but do you any other half-decent "online tank game"?
**Considering only one Tiger-P ever saw combat its mechanical failings may be played up a bit for comedy.
Busou Shinki episode 11
I totally called it, and it's happening. It's a plot rush. Busou Shinki has done something unprecedented (for itself) and required a next-episode conclusion. The horror.
To be fair, what has actually been revealed of the plot so far - of Hina being kidnapped by a creepy Shinki collector because she's somehow ultra-rare (maybe blue-haired Strarfs aren't standard) doesn't feel entirely out of place with the girls' various episodic adventures. Unlike everything else, though, it takes itself seriously, which is definitely out of place with the ten other episodes so far.
And it also feels like a total rip that they spent so little time on the actual Shinki tournament. This thing here is the only thing standard-model Shinkis are supposed to be doing! At least spend some time covering it, it's not as if they have anything else (or better) to do.
Robotics;Notes episode 10
I have to say, I'm beginning to have problems with Robotics;Notes these days.
It's not that there's nothing happening. Something always happens in every episode. Nearly every subplot gets a new wrinkle or detail to make it more intriguing for the next week's round. This time, it's monopole magnets and the idea of an AR-upgraded GunBuild-2, with yet another stinger hinting at the past. So it's not what most observers would chalk up to "pacing problems".
No, the issue here is becoming one of balance. There's simply not enough emphasis being placed on the most intriguing portions of the show's plots and subplots. In short, it's leaning too heavily on Aki's stuff, and not heavily enough on Kai's.
I don't have a real problem with either part of the whole. I find each satisfying, except that linked as they are in Robotics;Notes, one is clearly less "typical" than the other, and developments regarding the Robotics Club and its quest to make giants walk is beginning to sap the energy from new revelations about...whatever it is the secret reports and NASA conspiracies and monopoles are about. And the show isn't doing itself any favors by not linking the two halves as effectively as they need to be. As it stands it's hard to see how anything the club is doing will have any effect on the secret truths and mysterious angles being explored.
I don't know if this weakness can be laid on Production I.G. or on the original game, but I really hope Robotics;Notes can get the ball rolling a little bit faster, and soon.
My Little Monster Episodes 10 & 11
Finally, the Christmas Party -- it's a chance to gather up all these disparate misfits and force them to interact with each other. We hear another confession, see Natsume fall harder for Mitsuyoshi, and believe all is well with the Shizuku and Haru train. Of course, between episodes 10 and 11, we see Yamaken ramp up his desires for Shizuku, bringing Haru to a fever pitch. Now that Shizuku and Yamaken are together in study classes together, he's obsessing more over her and falling even harder.
I don't know that there is really any drama other than Yamaken's perceived feelings. Shizuku operates on a single track, and it seems impossible for her to deviate her feelings. Haru elicits a passionate reaction, while Yamaken sits squarely in the friend zone. Unless he makes a bold move, that's it for his chances with Shizuku.
Space Bros. Episode 37
Seems we went for option one, as Mutta has finally become an astronaut! It was quite nice seeing him discover that he knew the examiner from back when he was younger, just for him to get all emotional about it. Can't blame the guy, it's not everyday you become an astronaut, after all. Nicely done with the pink bike too, I totally didn't link it with the horoscope until Mutta thanked the girl in a super creepy fashion.
So, are there actually press conferences for announcing new astronauts in the US? Perhaps it's just a Japanese thing (or an anime thing), but it's hard to tell when we still haven't managed to use Big Ben to launch people into orbit yet.
This pretty much means that all of the characters we actually care about have become astronauts, besides that one other woman who hasn't really done anything. It was pretty nice to see the arse in Kenji's group got turned down. What will be interesting to see is why he appeared in the episode preview eating with the rest of the group. Perhaps everyone from the tests meet up for a meal? Perhaps he just gatecrashed the press conference with a Death Note. We'll soon see.
[Space pugs can be found on Crunchyroll!]
Little Busters! Episode 11
This episode might have been pretty fun to watch, but it was pretty dumb. I dig the whole 'test of courage' thing, and I loved the groupings, too. Sticking Rin, Komari and Kud together is definitely a recipe for disaster, in the best way possible.
*CONTROVERSIAL STATEMENT ALERT*
In fact, I think I could probably stomach a spin off that only focused on these three.
*CONTROVERSIAL STATEMENT OVER, GO BACK TO YOUR DAY JOB*
Actually, I should probably mention that the entire cast is pretty well structured. Everyone has their own little quirks and attitudes, and there's no one with a recycled personality. Sure, there's something to be said for Komari's voice I suppose, but I think it's okay...
Oh yeah, there was an episode. So yes, I quite enjoyed the episode. I enjoyed that they left the mysteries in the principals office open. What I didn't really enjoy is that they ended up chasing an eagle around a building. I mean, I know there wasn't really much opportunity to bring up the fact that they grew up with a freaking eagle, but I can't help but feel this was a little out there. Not even the high doses of wafu in this episode can really change my mind on that.
Jormungand: Perfect Order Episode 10
I don't think any of my words can accurately describe how amazing this episode was. We all knew this plot was going somewhere, and that the Jormungand system was going to be an interesting one to see in action, but... wow. First of all, being able to mess with enemy maps and intel is absolutely brutal. In fact, the Night Nine, as badass as they may be, were pretty lucky to not have been completely slaughtered by Koko.
But that wasn't even the thing. The part of this episode that really made my jaw crash to the floor in amazement. No, you perverts, not that Koko bath scene either. In fact, I don't think I really need to tell you that it was several shades of awkward. Jonah better watch out that Valmer doesn't find out about it.
Of course, I'm talking about the final scenes of the episode. Koko wants to completely eliminate air warfare? Hell, not even air warfare, but the use of air travel too? She would tear anything with wings or blades down from the sky, forcing war to an absolute standstill? Madness.
Again, it's still not the reason I was left in shock. The estimated deaths of 683,822 people in air-related disasters, and the subsequent reaction of Jonah pulling a gun on Koko? Yeah, that about does it. My god, I cannot wait for the next episode.
Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb Episode 10
It was nice to see Hiro's sister drop in before the end of the series. It seems she has a habit of swinging by just often enough to make her more of a recurring character than... whoever those people were in the first two episodes of this series that we never heard from again. Also, Metapod rolled into a snowball and landed on the roof of the apartments. Sick skills, bro.
A little bit on tests and a little bit on snow. It's Hidamari simplicity at its finest, I suppose. It didn't really have as much going for it as previous episodes (unless you're into cheerleaders, I guess), but it was still pretty enjoyable overall. Hiro and Sae may as well have announced their relationship in this episode, though I suppose there would be no real need as the other girls will surely already know.
Gangster Miyako is the best Miyako.
Bakuman. 3 Episode 10
The great ten week battle has begun, which has both Ashirogi and Nanamine pulling dumb faces and snarling at each other down the phone. Oh, also Nakai showed up at the end. Remember him? He was the original guy chasing Aoki back in the day, but because he's a jerk he ran home to his farm. Now he's back, and bigger and jerkier than before. He also likes eating pizza and being a jerk.
Rabuta and Peace was cancelled, which probably means that the two fans of that manga are really upset about it. Bah, it was a weak arc and I don't care much for it! Hiramaru is being classy as ever, and perhaps missing out on a serialisation was better for him in the long run. Full supporter of Hiramru x Yuri-tan, right here.
Next episode, more dumb faces. Light also makes a guest appearance. Nakai acts like a jerk.
Oniai Episode 11
I don't know if I can meaningfully describe this episode--it's largely bereft of meaning already. Well, I guess it was kind of cute when the only guy living with a bunch of girls gets the "investigate rustle in the bushes" duty at night, kind of like how creepy crawlers might find their way inside a house and needing to be taken cared of. Otherwise, it feels this week's Oniai is mostly a lead-in for something, something I hope that will wrap up next week. Well, it has to, the season's almost over!
There are really two gags this week. For some reason Ana decided to go out and about after her nighttime bath, in commando. The pre-opening sequence this week is a merciful buck forty-six, showing us why she did not want to put on any underwear--they're apparently cunningly hidden within her messy room. While she and the rest of the dorm dwellers patrolled the premises, there was the invariable "having to scale an obstacle with a guy underneath" gag. The rest of the time she just yelped randomly, setting off the creeps for the other girls who are already in a scared mood.
Then, we have a weird dream sequence where somehow Akito gets together with every girl he talked to in the show--including his editor. The entire team has a moment in the backyard, where each is nursing a child they made with Akito (two for the Prez) while Akito does the laundry. It was surreal, to say the least. And maybe that alone is worth the price of admission to this week's Oniai.
[Breastfeed with Oniai over at FUNi!]
Seitokai no Ichizon Lv. 2 Episodes 7-8
Yes, we're catching up, a little. In fact we're at the home stretch after this week!
Seizon episode 7 is a Lilicia episode. With the smoldering remains of the fourth wall, Kurimu decides to send Ken to "observe" a minor character, because the council is worried that Ringo's introduction has upset the balance of screen time, further squeezing out the screen times and lines of characters that we know. And it's true that Lilicia has been mostly absent.
And it's a typical Lilicia episode--she gets to be her own brand of stuck-up know-it-all. It was odd to say the least when she then pretended to be a tsundere character in front of the Student Council, after Ken's advice on how to become more relevant as a character. I think Lilicia's delivery is a little too straightforward but the effect was probably to confuse rather than to amuse. At any rate, the heart of the episode takes place when Kurimu goes shopping with Mafuyu, both to spend more time with her but also to make some jokes about buying clothes that are all too big for you. It's here that both Kurimu and Lilicia demonstrate an unexpected level of sensitivity and respect for the people around them. Unless, of course, your name is Ken Sugisaki.
In episode 8, a new character appears, and it's someone we've seen alluded to--his childhood friend and ex-girlfriend, Asuka. Ringo reports Ken's "abduction" with his ex to the Student Council, as the two flee to a resort by the mountains. It takes a second to remember that Seitokai no Ichizon actually takes place in Sapporo so it was not an outrageous trip for the crew to go to the beautiful countryside.
Asuka is interesting to say the least, but I think Ringo still takes the cake as the most bizarre and powerful character in season 2. In essence, Asuka plays not just another woman in Ken's life, but someone who has some sensibility in terms of running a normal romantic relationship by bringing in some exclusivity about her partner. Naturally this means she wants to put down the Student Council, who followed Ken to the hot spring resort, while distracted by the natural bounties and open-air bath.
And for some reason, there is a Thermae Romae reference at the end. Seitokai no Ichizon is that kind of show--harem and earnest to the nth degree, tugging on heartstrings, but all so bizarre. Invariably Asuka supports Ken's new-found resolve to make the world his harem, mends her past hurt with Ken, and befriends the harem aka. Student Council in a good way.