Hey, woah! Holy crap, is it Saturday already?!
Time really flies when you're burying Vanu dirt-lickers as the beta test for Planetside 2 ends, and in my pursuit of glorious victory and profit for the New Conglomerate (go Blue and Yellow or go to your death!), I have ignored my duty to deliver you, dear readers, the latest in Japanese cartoon recap goodness. Never again, at least until Planetside 2 goes live again.
Until then, this is Annotated Anime, bringing you the latest in Busou Shinki, Psycho Pass, Hidamari Sketch, Magi, Chuunibyou, Sakurasou, Sword Art Online, Jormungand, Little Busters!, K, JoJo, Robotics;Notes, Space Bros., and now, Oniai, because you demanded it!
So get on below, and read recaps that are the canonical representation of "Better Late Than Never"!
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Episode 6
Here is the second time Roundabout was used in a completely brilliant way to end the episode. Tingles. My body was full of tingles. I'm really starting to like the opening theme too.
Sword Art Online Episode 18 & 19
With their journey to the World Tree about to begin in earnest, Sugu informs her RL pal Nagata that she'll be splitting from their party for a bit while she helps Kirito. Disappointed, Nagata agrees to head back to the group and let them know what the deal is.
Just as our happy pair are ready to set out, they're confronted by Leafa's old party. The leader, a pushy player named Sigurd, demands that she stick around. As a popular and well known member of their group, losing her would look bad for them in the long run. Kirito, being the white knight that he is, butts in and goes on a rant about how players aren't just items that you can hold onto. Sigurd draws his sword and prepares to kill Kirito, but it stopped by his comrades who remind him that doing this sort of thing in public probably isn't a good idea. With things having calmed down a bit, the pair make their way out of the city and hit the sky roads. Meanwhile, Sugo informs Asuna that he met Kirito in the real world and went out of his way to announce their engagement. Taking a sick pleasure in seeing Asuna suffer, he leaves her to her own devices. Unbeknownst to him however, telling Asuna that Kirito is alive at all was a huge mistake. She memorizes the password to the cell door and bides her time.
Elsewhere, Kirito and Leafa touch down on land and prepare for the next stretch of their journey, which takes them through a long and difficult dungeon. Just outside of a neutral town, they're attacked by a huge squad of Salamanders, out for revenge after Kirito kicked their buddies' asses a few episodes back. Things aren't looking good for our heroes, but Yui manages to turn the situation around by helping Kirito transform into a giant demonic beast who annihilates all but one of the opposing players. After bribing the remaining Salamander into coughing up some info and getting in touch with Nagata, the pair discovers that Sigurd is actually in cahoots with the enemy. The Salamanders have sent out a huge number of foot soldiers to attack a peace treaty signing between two of the other races. Much to Leafa's surprise, Kirito insists that he tag along and drags her back out of the dungeon to intercept the surprise attack.
To be honest, there's not much to say about episode 18. I don't find Leafa and Kirito's interactions to be all that interesting, and the fact that it's a dead end romance doesn't do much to help with that. On the plus side, episode 19 was artistically very solid, with a well directed action sequence in the beginning and some wonderfully consistent animation. Next week should be fairly interesting, so hopefully A-1 can keep the quality up.
[Catch Sword Art Online over at Crunchyroll]
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Episode 5 & 6
As it turns out, Rikka is not particularly good at match. In fact, she's pretty awful add it, putting her and her fellow Magic Society members in a tough spot. If she can't at least do better than the class average on her next math test, the society will be disbanded by the faculty. Ruhroh! After a few failed attempts to butter up to the teachers (including a hilarious scene at the school pool), Yuta volunteers to help Rikka study back at her place. While taking a quick break, he learns that she's never really had many friends and has been alone for most of her school life. As a means of getting her to work harder at passing the test, Yuta agrees to make a super 'cool' email address for her, since his is so [lame] awesome.
The test rolls around, and Rikka remarkably manages to get past the extremely low class average. Yuta dramatically gives her a new email address, briefly slipping into his Dark Flame Master persona, and is then treated to one of the most adorably glowing smiles ever.
Episode six saw the show shift focus to Makoto, Yuta's BFF, who receives a love letter from one of the girls at school. Unsure of what to do, he comes to Yuta for advice and accidentally misplaces his research; a book containing a ranking of all the girls in their class. Shinka ends up with the list and Makoto promises in front of his classmates to shave his head to atone for his sins. The episode ends with his secret admirer not coming out to meet him, though it looks like the master of napping, Kumin, might end up having a thing for him.
It's nice to see that Chuu2 doesn't shy away from putting the spotlight on the more minor characters. I was pleasantly surprised that Makoto ended up getting an episode all to himself. It definitely isn't my favorite of the season thus far, but there was a wonderfully charming moment between Yuta and Rikka that warmed my heart. The shot of the pair holding hands in front of the passing train was fantastic.
[Catch Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! over at Anime Network]
Magi Episode 5 & 6
This is what i wanted from Magi right from the get-go. Consider Elliot a happy writer and anime watcher.
Episode five closed out Aladdin's solo adventure in the countryside, and gave Aladdin a much clearer objective. Perhaps more importantly is the way in which it set up the greater world beyond what the show has shown up until this point. The world is not a peaceful place, and entire empires are making pushes to conquer the land. Yet, as Kougyoku Ren displayed, the line between just and unjust aren't so clear. There are good people working under corrupt officials, and vice versa.
It was this week's episode however, that restored my faith in this adaptation. I've talked about the pacing/direction problems I've had with the series before. Magi is a fantastic manga series that I had felt could benefit greatly from an animated version. Up until the last few weeks though, it's felt more like a best-of collection of patched together chapters. As far as character development is concerned, Mor's first solo adventure is as important as it gets. Providing Mor with a clear sense of purpose, and giving the audience a better understanding of her personality, the anime absolutely had to get this story right.
Thank goodness they did.
The action was quick and exciting, and the musical choices were actually fairly solid. Better yet, A-1 didn't opt to pretend the first few chapters of the manga didn't exist, and instead left the characters as is and even referenced the offscreen events. I still would have preferred that they didn't cut out the first few chapters of the manga, but I'm pleased they didn't choose to ignore them entirely.
With the Balbadd arc starting in earnest next week, I can only hope that A-1 can keep up the quality on display these past few weeks.
[Catch Magi over at Crunchyroll]
It all began when Akito Himenokouji moved into the same high school dorm building as his younger sister, Akiko, who hasn't seen him in six years. The overtly bro-con little sister makes all these over-the-top gestures about trying to get into his pants, which saved both the viewers and the show from setting up the expectant, overplayed jokes. Soon Anastasia Nasuhara joined the siblings in the at-school dorm (yes, they all live together), whose deadpan facial expression soon worms into a keg of laughs, or just a trickle, depends on how you react to jokes about holes. The half-American, half-Russian exotic stoic plays along with Akiko's perversions, although slowly she warms up to Akito as does Akito's childhood friend, Ginbei Haruomi Sawatari--permanently friend-zoned and a domestically-advanced tomboy. To round out the strange harem is 3rd-year student council president Arashi Nikaido, who just wants to make people into her sex slaves. Lastly, did I tell you all of them are part of the student council? And I really like the OP song? Those iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girl references are a nice touch.
It turns out (as revealed by earlier episodes of Oniai) that Akiko has a favorite bro-con light novel author, and that just happens to be Akito (whose books are published via his pen name). Living under the same roof as his bro-con-obsessed sister naturally raised a flag with his editor, who, instead of being professional, became something entirely too racy for television. It's all quite amusing and harmless at the end, but man, that is some serious fanservice.
The joke is largely set up by the earlier episode when Akiko would continuously go "gue-hee-hee" as she reads these passionate passages about brother-sister love, of the non-platonic kind. Without that background knowledge, the ick factor isn't really present as we revisit the same plot device in this week's Oniai.
In the second part of Oniai 6, the plot makes a half-hearted attempt to see if Akito is really a sis-con. While we don't really get any real conclusion, we get some reasonable doubt in regards to Akito's front, as if he is hiding something. It somehow transits into the introduction of the last persistent character that we'll see: Arisa Takanomiya, a 12-year-old dorm manager and child prodigy.
Just to round this inaugural entry out, I have to make a note on Akiko's fantastic t-shirts. This week we see her face as the revolutionary Che Guevara, and seeing her home-made dakimakura. It's becoming one of the things I look forward to every episode of Oniai.
[Watch love conquers incest on FUNimation!]
*Girls und Panzer is on break this week*
Busou Shinki episode 6
This may be the most mind-blowing episode of the show yet, thanks in part to my love of viewing Busou Shinki beyond its initial goal of providing dumb moe moe robot fun, and more as an examination of a world where robots live alongside humans in a wholly intriguing manner.
This episode blows my damn mind because it opens a window into the world beyond the cast's day-to-day, human-less existence. For once, we see Shinkis operating in society at large, and not just in the Toy Story context. And the impressions are nothing short of fascinating.
Here we see Shinkis integrated almost fully into civilization, with the six-inch mechanical musume taking on "careers", as construction site assistants, guides, stewardesses, waitresses, and even nurses, all with appropriately moe costumes, and all apparently capable of manifesting the heavy weaponry that made them so potent in their original context as arena-fighting robots.
And the most mind-blowing - and potentially terrifying - role some Shinkis play in the world? Soldiery. Our cast members board an airplane in their customary checked baggage carrier, and encounter no less than Shinki terrorists bent on blowing up the airliner. Yes, even Al Qaeda or whatever faction serves as the latest Call of Duty antagonist have seen the sinister potential of the palmtop companions.
Of course, the civvie Shinkis go to war for their beloved master, only to realize that the "terrorists" are in fact part of a training exercise, one involving Shinkis used by the regular military, complete with identical Arnval models wearing fatigues and toting assault rifles (though why they'd stoop to those peashooters when they can manifest jetpacks and energy swords is beyond me). More sinister still is that the Shinkis display devotion to the army (or the terrorists) the same devotion as they'd give to a regular master.
That's pretty scary, and almost contradictory in its way. Shinkis are supposed to have their own will, and at times live on their own (as in the case of the Yda and Ach that ended up working for a criminal). And yet they apparently love their army overlords like the affection is earned. Are Shinkis programmed to imprint on a new master, or can they rebel against mistreatment?
And what of career Shinkis? Can they grow dissatisfied with their designated jobs? Are they allowed to quit and pursue their dreams? Do they even have dreams beyond satisfying their master (in which case it contradicts Strarf's love for combat over loving dear master). And if Shinkis are programmed to love their masters, does that cheapen the love Ann, Lene, Ines and Hina feel for theirs, in distinctly "Love Plus" fashion?
So many questions! I must know!
Robotics;Notes episode 6
Robotics;Notes finally takes its left turn into sci-fi weirdness, and in a rather appealing fashion, Rie Kugimiya plays a critical part, living the life of Airi, a delicious loli AI with a penchant for gathering information, splitting her personality, and handing random folks secret passwords.
Further, hilarious conspiracy theories involving global warming, solar flares, and the secret motivations of - of all things - NASA, call to mind Steins;Gate and its love of demonizing CERN. For all the paranoia about benevolent scientific organizations, you'd almost think that 5pb was a rather Luddite organization. And of course, yet more intrigue regarding Kai and Aki's mysterious ailment.
That said, what's most fascinating about this week's episode isn't the character interaction. In that respect the show seems to be weakening, despite a fun performance by Mr. Pleiades, and another display of cool affect. That's a worrying trend, considering how much Aki, Kai, and the others carried the show in its first episodes.
It doesn't help that all in all Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head's plots were a little bit weak when taken at face value. They plots were substantial and unconventional for anime, but Okarin was the catalyst that made it all worthwhile. Were Kai and co. to be diminished, this would remove a key part of Robotics;Notes' key appeal.
Let's hope that the future will push the kids back into the limelight. There's a lot of potential there in seeing how the plucky school club deals with things when everything takes the train to crazytown.
K Episode 6
Once again, I guess this means that K is putting itself into another messy corner. Actually, things are turning out to be a little cleaner, since they have decided to show us the backstory that leads up to Tatara's death. But let's be honest, did we really need it? I mean, we all know that backstories are only useful when they expand on certain characters, or add an important piece to the story. And yet, nothing was gained from knowing Tatara's character. Though I will admit that we at least have an idea about what's going on with the Red King, which has the potential to lead up to a major conflict later on.
And on the other side of town, Shiro finds out that there are no records of him ever being a student in Ashinaka -- what a shocker. However, Neko's hatred of cellphones might be acting a front to protect Shiro from his true identity, since it would lead to his demise.
If GoHands and GORA weren't doing a poor job in fleshing out the things that don't need to be fleshed out, we would have already known the truth behind Shiro, along with having a setup that takes us back to what made K an interesting show at first. I think it's obvious that he was manipulating everyone in the school from the start, since everyone doesn't seem to know him for some reason. Or his look-alike might be the one pulling the strings to make sure that Shiro is the culprit in the murder.
I think I have a feeling that either the team has no idea where they want to go with this premise, or there was some sort of executive meddling that occurred after the first episode aired. Temptation may be forcing me to drop the show next week, but my masochistic delusional side tells me to continue, and hope for the best.
[You can erase the records of K's backstory at Viz Anime]
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou Episode 6
I’m starting to like the heart that this series is bringing. We have an emotional Aoyama episode this week.
Aoyama is working hard for everyone’s sake but ignores her own health. She is trying to do way too much; going to school, working, acting classes, and taking care of Shiina. It’s just too much for one girl to handle, but she is thick headed that she doesn’t want help from anyone. Granted I can relate to this a little bit in my own life. I’d rather do something myself and know I did it the way I would like then hand it off to someone that has no clue on how I want it. The fact is you just have to let some things go. You can’t do everything on your own without consequences. Ignoring your health is the last thing you want to do because when the time comes for you to be at you’re a game, you will just crash and burn. This is a lesson that Aoyama learns well.
There is another pet aspect that I kind of noticed in this episode with Shiina. It looks like to me that she displays some dog like traits in this episode mainly the worried aspect. When a dog knows something is wrong with a family member, humans I am talking here, the dog doesn’t seem to want to leave the side of the one that has something wrong. Shiina displays this trait throughout the episode from not caring about her debut in the magazine to wanting to stay right at the door when Aoyama goes in for her audition test. She even stays with Aoyama while she sleeps and holds her hand in concern. It’s actually very sweet. Man, I am sucker for this crap...
Anyways, our writing and animation duo is also finding out more about where each one wants the relationship to go. The problem is that it’s in the wrong direction of each other. Sorata unfortunately knows what each of them wants but can’t interfere with it out of the sake of them all being friends. A dilemma that I have also seen myself in and believe me it’s not fun.
It looks like from the preview that we will be getting a new female next week. She looks and sounds adorable but what will be her intentions?
[Go past your limit at Crunchyroll]
Space Bros. Episode 32
Seems that going to the moon is enough to make you a celebrity these days. Strange, I know, but Hibito doesn't seem to mind all of the attention he's receiving while in space. Sure, there was the space call and a few other things involving Mutta at NASA, but this episode was well and truly about Azuma.
The big, scary astronaut unsurprisingly turns out to be a nice guy, and he may as well have passed up the opportunity to go to the moon to stay on Earth with his family. He couldn't handle the publicity over the space missions he'd done before, and the mighty Brian Jay helped pass the baton to Hibito. Everyone's a winner.
That Azuma would shake Mutta's hand and congratulate him, even while enjoying some time with his family, was pretty darn heart warming to see. His kids may have a few screws loose, but it seems like a real nice family. I just hope he lets his foot off the accelerator in that car, because he had the look of a madman at the end there.
[Space pugs can be found on Crunchyroll!]
Bakuman. 3 Episode 6
Shiratori arc is over, woo! Not that is was particularly bad or anything, but I can't say I really care for the kid and his dog. It didn't end without bringing a little rift between Ashirogi, but once again it's all sorted in due course when Takagai reveals he's been mentoring Shiratori to be able to write his manga alone. Hey, Takagi. How about you just tell Mashiro next time and save us the emo rubbish? Thanks.
How about that fist fight though? Sometimes Mashiro and Takagi can get super annoying with their secret keeping solo antics, so watching them beat the stuffing out of each other is pretty fun to watch. Oh, there was something about a love story as well. Weird that they literally went from waiting for the results to laying on a hill saying 'meh, 4th place'. It's like the animators realised that no one cared for multiple chapters about it in the manga.
Why is there not a Godzilla manga?
Little Busters! Episode 6
Well, it certainly wasn't a friendship speech. I guess it may as well have been, but I'd be lying if this episode didn't have my emotions on the ropes. I feel Key has softened me up in this respect, but you're a cold, heartless monster if you didn't get all emotional at the rooftop scene at the end! Wait, is it time for my pills again?
The Little Busters certainly seem to be a pretty great group, what with all of them chipping in to help out Komari. Even Yukimura leaving to bury the cat while Riki and Komari have a small chance to sort things post-shower. It's always the little things that count, and this show seems to be full of these little things. Great episode, now get rid of them onions.
Interestingly, this happened on episode 6, a quarter of the way in. Now, I know there's nothing to say this'll happen, but knowing other anime I'd say we're in for a good three more 'arcs'. Keep the kleenex handy, I think.
Jormungand: Perfect Order Episode 5
I love this show so hard it hurts. Not only does miss colon-three face from the last episode turn out to be a flimsy katana-belt wearing assassin, but she's also brutally murdered after a swift kick to the face. Oh Jormungand, you didn't really go anywhere, did you? We finally get a taste of what Kasper is capable of, and it's safe to say he's comparable to Koko and co. That would be a great name for a shop. Anyway.
The episode focuses on the 'ghost squad' the aptly named Kasper provoked in the the previous episode. Turns out it was a group known as the SR squad, who Tojo, one of Koko's men, used to work under. After a brief call with his old boss, Kasper begins his plans to remove the new threat and be able to trade as he used to. Cue the katana girl and a whole load of crazy killing.
This new series is shaping up to be a great one, and I can't wait to see what happens next! It's just the right kind of serious action to partner well with a great new Jojo series. Serve with hot, fluffy mash and a succulent gravy.
Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb Episode 5
So much fried chicken in this episode. There was so much fried chicken that there was even an advert for the stuff between the ED and the next episode preview. And you know what the worst thing about it is? Now I really want some fried chicken. God damn it.
That aside, I quite enjoyed the episode. Not necessarily because of the content specifically, but because it's about time we focused on Nazuna and Nori a bit more. They may be the new girls, but I've never really felt that they featured that well in the episodes, especially when a few times in the previous three series we'd end up going back to a time before they moved into Hidamari Apartments.
While there was more substance to this episode than the last one, it seems we've upped the number of 'washing' scenes. Not only is Yuno's bath time replaced with Nazuna and her tub, there's even a sneaky Nori shower thrown in at the end. This is an odd thing, as while these scenes are innocent and not really fanservice, I can't help but feel that they're trying to make them that way? I don't know, but something seems a little off. Sae also seems to be getting more feminine, whoda thought?
Psycho-Pass Episode 5
Remember that awesome show Psycho-Pass I was covering? Well, so do I! So let's hop back into the action. Episode 5 along with the previous episode definitely changed the entire mood of the show around. Lot of bright colors, friendly chat and kinda warm fuzzes all around. It isn't like the edge is gone, it just seems.. a bit more light hearted.
Besides everyone on the team getting a case of the friendlies, fans of Summer Wars would probably be at home with all the avatar action going on. I'm personally glad we got to close this 2 episode arc, it just wash' vibing with me. There was a lot that could have been done with Akane's character and her use of the net groups, but it really only used it as a vehicle to solve the crimes.
My favorite thing about the show though, is still the constancy of the technology. All the faults of it, and the awesomeness. Things break and don't work right from time to time, and the flaw in their dependence on the master control system and ideas is questioned from the start.
I was hoping the reveal of Shinya's past would end up being a bit darker, but I guess that would take him out of the running for being the story's main hero. Perhaps the rest of the team has done some nasty stuff? I just hope they all stop getting along so well.
[Get your Crime Coefficient checked over at Funimation]
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