Welcome to Annotated Anime, the now-on-Wednesdays weekly anime recap that's a little less "ragtag" and a little more "rainbow" when it comes to our selection of tank colors.
Now that we've moved to a more broadcast schedule-friendly day (why is everything on Thursday?!), a full platoon's worth of armor-piercing recaps are here, including for JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Shin Sekai Yori, Muv-Luv, Bakuman, The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, Girls und Panzer, Busou Shinki, Little Busters, K, Chuunibyou, Sword Art Fairies Online, Hiiro no Kakera, Blast of Tempest, and Space Bros.! Volume of fire carries more weight than greater numbers, but when you've got both, watch out!
Get on below and read some words, then tell us about what you watched this week!
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Episode 3
Space Bros. Episode 29
I think this is the first episode in all 29 so far that I haven't really enjoyed. Right off the bat there's a comment from the ol' whatserface (who is teaching the kids) about how the kid couldn't possibly know something because he has a mohawk. I mean, this shouldn't even be an issue, but I'm very much a supporter of the 'don't judge a book by its cover' phrase. But then he's given an actual role, along with his Dad and brother. Why do we have a family of punks, and why is the youngest one swearing all the time? What's going on?
The problem I have is that none of this would have bothered me if the rest of the episode was up to scratch. I mean, it's never been fast paced, but the show had put on as many anchors on as it could, not just limiting it to the storm cloud. I would be very willing to bet it has something to do with the real-life astronaut and animating the scene for that, which has caused a bunch of extra scenes around here.
Not that I'm saying the punks are filler, in fact they seem pretty important. I just kinda wished they had used the extra time for something better, or just to flesh these guys out a bit more. I did appreciate hearing Mutta's thoughts on Hibito and his success, especially as he's been so secretive about it. The gem of the episode for sure, but it didn't take much. Get it together!
Also, is that dog getting vaporised, or has he been playing too much Half-Life?
[Space pugs can be found on Crunchyroll!]
Bakuman. 3 Episode 3
Time for some talks on how to save PCP's butt from getting canned under the conditions for cancelling Tanto. What's that Hattori? All we need to do is get those people who are voting PCP into 4th place to shift their vote to 3rd? So we just need to improve the series? Oh okay, I thought it would be more complicated than that!
Editor aside, it was a neat episode dedicated to Takagi and his story-writing prowess. Also a nice serving of obligatory Iwase, just so she can be all tsundere over a married man. Nice to see them 'making up', though I don't think it's going to do much for her attitude.
The best part is seeing Takagi finally work out what to do with the climax of the five-part story arc. It may be a neat little trick that you can only really pull off with the Japanese language, but you can certainly understand and appreciate what they have done. Now to see if it paid off!
Little Busters! Episode 3
Time for another character to be introduced, and this time it's Yuiko. Intelligent, strong and large breasts. Of course this is based on a visual novel! Now to work out who the robot alien childhood friend is.
Her character is going to take some time to build up, but it certainly seems sensible to get her in early. We already know that we'll be doing the grand tour of characters before we get to the meat of the show (see the Wikipedia page on visual novels), but even so, it doesn't seem to be massively intrusive or clumsy in its execution.
If nothing else, she'll be a great character to combo with Yukimura, as was shown in this episode. She can also play baseball, which may or may not come in handy later on. I'm still pretty unsure as to whether baseball will even happen, or whether it's just the club that happened to be picked at random. Leaning towards the latter for sure, but hey, this show is plenty enjoyable so I don't mind! Next episode has that one girl with the huge hat that seems important (she's in the Kud Wafter spin-off, right?). Whoever she is.
Hiiro no Kakera II Episode 4
It's definitely Hiiro no Kakera once we get back to the horrible CG monsters and indifferent grandma! Huzzah!
But seriously, it looks like next week's episode will have some real drama in it. This week saw the return of the self-pitying Tamaki as well, but it was smoothed over by a partial confession by Takuma, which came much earlier than I expected it to, and some heavy hinting by Mahiro.
Back to what I was saying though, I'm interested in next week's showdown between Ohmi and the two guardian challengers. It looks like Takuma and Tamaki have felt their presence as well, so they'll probably get involved at some point. The big thing here is to see whether Ohmi plans on holding back against his ex-comrades or not, and whether his intentions are to aide or infiltrate Logos. Things are still unclear on that point despite the guardians' hopefulness. The episode title is ominous enough with "truth" and "tears" and all that.
Finally, we've got the Mitsuru and Shinji drama. I guess they both still have a thing for each other, but I think Mitsuru is reaching out for him this time instead of the other way around that was last season. She seems depressed that her life is on the line though she isn't actively resisting her role in all this. The only ones that have tried to do anything about it are Ohmi and Shinji. But a third guardian brings up a good point: If they get the artifacts back from Logos, Tamaki could seal the sword back as it was. No sacrifice would be necessary. The only difference is that they'd still have to protect it and maintain the seals rather than just dropping the thing in Logos' laps.
More on this next week!
[Keep up with the reverse-harem CG action on Crunchyroll]
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou Episodes 2-3
Well these two episodes cleared up quite a bit in the relationship department.
So far, all your guesses are going to be right on the money if you have watched any of it. We can clearly tell where Sorata stands on the issue of Mashiro. Sorata wants to cheer Mashiro on but his desire to leave Sakura Hall is still great. Will he stay and take care of Mashiro or will he go ahead and leave for a better place? By the end of episode three, we are still not sure. At least I am not sure. I hate taking the road where you know what will happen because of how many episodes there are to how will the story progress with him being out of Sakura Hall. Stop thinking brain! I want to enjoy the show!
We do find out more about Mashiro, like how she is more than just a manga artist. She is actually a world renowned painter with books of her work and everything. This throws Sorata’s feelings all around. Before he just thought that she was just an idiot, but now he finds out that she is an artistic genius. All the funny stuff that she does is mostly for research for her manga. Even thou it is still embarrassing when it happens. Her daily life was still taken care of by someone else so she is not use to doing things on her own. Hence why just getting dressed is a chore.
The one thing that actually urks me in these kind of stories is how dumb they actually make the girl. It’s one thing in being naïve but another to be absolutely helpless. I know that in Japan the guy likes the fact that he is needed. It’s a nice feeling and all but when you become more of a caretaker it kind of takes the magic out of the romance. Hell, I get tired just watch the guy taking care of her every need. Hopefully this will not be the case in this anime moving forward. It would be too much of an uphill battle to watch this relationship bloom.
The other thing you might want to watch out for is that this might get pretty serious later on. We are already starting to have more serious moment then funny ones. This is fine and all but when you start coming into this series in the hopes of a comedy romance you might end up not liking it as much. We’ll see if it can keep a good balance in both the comedy and the romance parts. As of this moment, this is a romance with a little bit of comedy in it.
[Do research at Crunchyroll]
K Episode 3
So yeah, the Red and Blue guys are at it again, except that the Mikoto aka the Red King has decided to turn himself over to Scepter 4 aka the Blue Gang. After the incident, a bit of a bar brawl ensues, and Shiro is still doing his best to convince Kuro of his innocence as Neko sits there and continues to be Neko.
Three episodes in, and K is still in the process of revealing its true nature slowly. I will admit that it was an interesting surprise to find out about the true role behind the Kings that lead each of the colored gangs. Going back to the first episode, something tells me that those floating giant swords are connected to the King's power that holds the balance in the area.
Putting aside the whole thing about the Kings, Shiro trying to clear his name seems to be the focus for now. If GoRa and GoHands play their cards right, the plot could lead up towards something on the same level of Durarara and Baccano. However, they are also at a point where the entire story could fall apart into billions of little pieces that will remain forever scattered.
If they are following in a similar style to Ryohgo Narita, then the establishment of the cast will be the key to putting the entire story together. And speaking of characters, I hope that Neko gets an established role, since she had one of the more mysterious appearances out of the rest of the cast. Otherwise, it would be sad if she was just a silly fanservice character. I also love how Izumo has a bit of a Shizuo resemblance, since he has the whole bartender thing down, except that Izumo is actually a bartender. Either way, he is one person that you do not want to anger, especially if you get in the way of his English styled bar.
So far K has kept me interested, and I look forward to seeing how the next episode is going to contribute towards the story. Let's hope that they decide to add more balance between the nicely animated sequences and the regular scenes, since it would bring tears to those that want to see more of those pretty segments that got us hyped in the first place.
On a different note, I can't help but to compare Scepter 4 and Homura's rivalry to the Crips and the Bloods.
[You can choose your color with K at VIZ Anime]
Sword Art Online Episode 16
And back into the digital world we go!
We get our first look at Egil in the real world, this week, as Kirito meets him to discuss the photo of Asuna from last episode. The former Sword Art Online merchant tosses our hero a game called Alfheim Online; a popular fairy MMORPG that's been making the rounds since Kirito and co. were lost to SAO a few years ago. With a heavy emphasis on PK and player skills, the game has no real levels of which to speak of. Combat ability relies entirely on the player's athletic abilities. The other big difference is that players can actually fly in-game using the wings on their back. Much of Alfheim Online's popularity stems from that element. As it turns out, the alleged photo of Asuna had been taken at the top of the World Tree, a key location in AO. With this new game and a single photo as his only lead, Kirito once again dives into the digital world in order to finish the SAO nightmare once and for all.
Creating a brand new character with a new name, Kirito spawns high in the air, only to immediately get teleported into a forest in the middle of nowhere. After briefly checking to make sure the log-out option was where it was supposed to be, Kirito is soon surprised to find that his skill values are the exact same as they were in SAO. While most of the items he possessed before Aincrad collapsed are now corrupted, Yui's soul is still intact. After a quick tap on the icon, the young AI girl spawns once more, and the two share a tearful reunion.
After confirming a few details, Yui explains that Alfheim Online is a nearly complete copy of Sword Art Online and its servers, sharing most of the assets and code of the nightmare game. The system treats Yui as a navigation pixie, so she quickly changes into her tiny form so as to not stand out. Kirito fills in his companion on the details surrounding Asuna, and the two of them resolve to travel to the World Tree. Unfortunately, Yui is unable to explain why Kirito spawned in a random forest as opposed to the Spriggan hometown he was supposed to be transported to.
Nearby, two Sylph players are engaged in combat with an opposing squad of players. Heavily outnumbered, the smaller of the two, a boy named Recon is slain, leaving his female partner, Leafa, behind to fend for herself. Before she even gets the chance to battle to the death, Kirito crashes between her and the remaining enemies. Being the dark knight that he is, our hero easily slays one player, smirking into the camera.
Despite taking a pretty big dip in animation quality, this was one of the better episodes of Sword Art Online in some time. Paced significantly better than the past few week's worth of content, it managed to explain the basic rules of Alfheim Online while sneaking in some plot progression as well. If the rest of the Fairy Dance arc is handled as well as it was here, then it looks like SAO is still worth watching.
[Check out Sword Art Online over at Crunchyroll]
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Episode 3
A month after school started, Yuuta has managed to get used to his surroundings and leave his dirty past behind. Unfortunately, Rikka is still stuck in crazy person land, describing her older sister as some kind of dark priestess. After an assembly, Yuuta is summoned by Rikka to discuss creating a brand new club at school to serve as a base of operations. Hoping to bring him in as the vice president of the Far Eastern Magic Society, Yuuta is once again dragged into one of her ridiculous schemes. In an effort to secure members, the pair sets up shop outside, only to find out their sempai, Kumin, had the same idea in mind for her nap club. Without enough members to actually start a club, Kumin gets roped into Rikka's plan.
Enter the middle schooler Sanae Dekamori, servant of the Wicked Eye, and pigtailed girl who apparently breaks into people's houses. Equally as insane as Rikka if not more, Sanae joins our motley crew as the fourth club member. After some negotiating, Rikka's Magic Society is approved as a circle by the school and even the class rep joins up for some strange reason. With our cast all in one place, things are set up for things to get utterly insane.
It's actually kind of hard to write about this show because so much time is spent on ridiculousness in every episode. That's not to say there isn't any real development; the signs of disappointment that Rikka shows when Yuuta rejects the invitation to join the club are a real sign that she's not as cut off from reality as people think. The animation and overall direction is still quite good, even it isn't anywhere near the ridiculous standard of Hyouka. It's funny how even Rikka seems relatively normal when compared to the idiotic stupidness that is Sanae. I'm also looking forward to seeing what exactly it is that little miss class rep is up to, considering she seems to be the most normal of the group.
[Enjoy the craziness of Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! over at Anime Network]
Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse Episode 15 & 16
After the disaster in the USSR, another pair of Americans are sent out to meet up with the UN forces in Alaska. Speaking of the Yukon base, the upper brass in the UN has started a mock battle tournament to test out new TSFs. Yuuya thinks its all crap, but it's what's being forced onto everybody. The Type XFJ Project is also in danger of being overridden, especially after the Soviets returned the remains of rail gun. Yui takes it in stride and promises to finish the project while attempting to figure out her feelings for Yuuya.
Later at a party, a Chinese pilot named Cui confronts Yuuya about his record. She challenges him in the next round of the tournament and leaves. The next day, Yuuya bumps into Cryska and helps her look for a missing Inia. Yuuya goes through a bit of introspection, considering his experiences with the other USSR pilots. The two eventually split up to look for the little gal. Several hours later, Yuuya comes back empty-handed, as does Cryska. The two talk about going out again when we meet the pair of Americans from the start of the episode. The guy's name is Leon, who happens to also be Japanese-American and ends the episode with a foreboding claim that he'll clean Yuuya up nice and good. I'm sure more than a couple of fans can take that claim and run with it.
What he actually means is that he's there to show up the UN with the Raptor, a dark, sleek and sexy TSF. When Leon buggers off, Inia arrives and heads off with Cryska. Vincent bumps into Leon and Sharon and they catch up, showing that Leon isn't a complete antagonist, just that he clashes with Yuuya. The next day, Argos team has a pow-wow to figure out how to beat the Chinese suits. After they wrap up, they watch the next exercise involving the Soviets, which leads to an easy win for the Soviets and the Scarlet Twins. Later that afternoon, Argos team begins their battle against the Chinese. They work better as a team, forcing Yuuya to come out and battle Cui. After some initial trouble, Yuuya manages to slice up Cui and get the win. Afterwards, we see that the USSR has put Cryska and Inia into a vat and is doing some tests. Hmm, artificial humans perhaps?
[Watch all the awesome robots over at Crunchyroll!]
Shin Sekai Yori Episode 2-4
We start with a newly crowned emperor sacrificing people who stop clapping and a fable involving a prideful boy becoming a karmic demon. Well, this aught to be pleasant. Well, the kids start to work on a game involving their psychic power and pushing a ball into a hole, so things start fairly nice. That is, until one of the kids cheats. We see that shadow cat appear while the cheater is walking home, so he of course disappears. On the way home from school, a Monster Rat on the side of a river falls in and one of the girls saves it. The kids note a strange marking on the Monster Rat's head, which will probably come back to haunt them later.
Following the game from the previous episode, the kids head out to camp in the woods with their class. At night, the kids talk about a creature called a blowdog that should be in the woods. The next day, the kids decide to go out on one of the banks they shouldn't be on. Oh boy, you know that's not going to end well. They run into one of the evil minoshiros, which puts all but one of the kids in a daze. When they recover, they remark that they couldn't use their powers and their memory is hazy. That is, except for Saki, who was wearing red sunglasses. Later, the kids follow the minoshiro and pull it out of a cave. Again, the other kids fall into a daze, leaving Saki to try and capture it on her own. While trying to catch it, a message asking her to stop destroying library property goes off. Utterly confused, Saki threatens it and it stops the self-defensive hypnosis. The creature tells them it's essentially a library in a tiny form, designed to protect information from destruction.
A ton of information, right in front of a curious kid? Of course the kids want to pick it's virtual brain. The database then begins to drop some knowledge about the Fiends and demons of the world. The karma demons previously mentioned were people from an ancient civilization (probably ours in this context) that had psychic powers, ala the people from the first episode that tore into various pedestrians. These PK users eventually caused enough strife to throw the world into the dark age the kids are currently living in. The database goes on to list the brutality of all the emperors, leading to a group of scientists rising up to save what was left of the world. This leads to the revelation that the current society is based off of the scientists' studies and part of their practices involve removing PK-sensitive children who could pose a problem in the future. They even went as far as altering human genetics to prevent future violence.
Before the kids could get more info out of the database, a priest appears and burns it. He essentially arrests the kids for knowing too much, seals their PK abilities and takes them to the main temple. On the way there, the group gets attacked by giant rats, indicating they're being invaded by outside forces. The priest shows off some impressive muscle, but it's obvious that the attack on the database had a negative effect on him. After the priest illuminates the giant rats, a blowdog appears out of the pile of bodies and attacks the group.
[Find out the truth over at Crunchyroll!]
Blast of Tempest Episode 3
After talking big last episode Mahiro hauls ass after one attack. Yoshino appears and backs up Mahiro when the mage comes back to attack. Hakaze tells them to run, but Mahiro is determined to stand his ground and fight. Yoshino gets a quick lecture on the nature of Hakaze's defensive magic while trying to find a way to support Mahiro. Things are made worse when the government steps in and bombs the exits of the city to quarantine the area. Yoshino uses this to his advantage to escape into the woods and separate them from their attacker. While escaping, Mahiro informs Yoshino that Aika's murder was somebody in Hakaze's clan.
[Teleport over to Crunchyroll to watch Blast of Tempest!]
Busou Shinki episode 3
If you'll allow me to make a political reference for a bit, one of the current issues of the day, one somewhat under-discussed this election season, has been the continuing use of unmanned drones in the global fight against terrorism. In this case, "unmanned" really just means "remote control", where a human is continually at the controls.
Now, take the Busou Shinki concept and ignore for a moment that Shinkis are all shaped like cute girls. If you like, imagine them looking like a Predator drone or whatever. Shinkis are have will and emotions, are armed to the teeth, and, going by the last three episodes, completely autonomous. They're even capable of going out into the world and taking up vigilantism. Taken in this context, that's kind of sinister. I don't doubt that at some point there'll be some kind of plot about someone who wants to militarize Shinki tech.
Then again, this is probably just rooted in the whole "Astro Boy dichotomy", where western culture tends to fear robots while Japanese culture accepts them in the "helper and/or friend" sense (better robots than foreigners, am I right?!)
Also of note in this episode is the legendary duo of Yui "Chie" Horie and Yukari "Part-Time Soldier" Tamura playing an Ach and an Yda, two motorcycle-based Shinkis that are reminiscent of the Mospeada Cyclone. Which means I love them.
[Renew your fear of autonomous robots that love cleaning their screwholes at The Anime Network]
Girls und Panzer episode 3
If you're still skeptical about Girls und Panzer, I'll tell you how it's different from other, similar shows in its class (i.e. "the moe moe mecha/military" class). Girls und Panzer backs up its preposterous premise with the appearance of actual knowledge and enthusiasm for the premise, all the while upping the ante on the absurd front.
Upotte!! tended to cherry-pick its facts based on how they wanted the characters to behave, while Strike Witches' historical allusions were too vague (and pantsless) for most military nerds to recognize. Girls und Panzer on the other hand, touts that knowledge, all the while without being overbearing about it.
Instead of a lecture scene dumping information about the history of Team A's Panzer IV Aus. F, the show instead demonstrates the fact that the Aus. F's thickened side armor by having it resist a direct hit from the StuG III's KwK 40 (though by most accounts that should have broken through at the angle shown).
And then they follow up with the preposterous notion of these girly girls getting hot n' heavy about the noise and violence of armored combat (and firing off a steamy tank gun). Also, the kids painted their tank pink, shiny gold, and samurai/roman colors. And all high schools are apparently set on gigantic aircraft carriers, including the fake-British school being on an even bigger aircraft carrier (which class is that? I was thinking an Audacious or Ark Royal but the bow looks wrong).
Sleeper hit of the season!
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