Hey, and welcome to this week's edition of Annotated Anime, the weekly anime recap that, wherever it goes and whenever it shows up, cannot help but elicit wondrous expressions of "(o Д o)" from all who gaze upon it. We're not sure why, though. We assume the reason is good.
Speaking of "good", we watched the best of this week's anime and managed to keep our wits about us just long enough to write about what we saw, including the latest episodes of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, K, Sword Art Online, Oniai, Hidamari Sketch, Busou Shinki, Little Busters!, Space Bros., Robotics;Notes, Girls und Panzer, Jormungand, Seitokai no Ichizon, The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai, and the grand return of My Little Monster!
Now, while you get yourself stuffed full of food, get on below and read about the week in Japanese cartoons!
Busou Shinki episode 7
I suppose it was too much to hope for that last week's mind-blowing episode be followed up with something that could truly up the ante. This ain't Girls und Panzer, after all. That said, episode 7's arguably the weakest so far.
From the get-go Busou Shinki's been playing against the expectations one might have had going in. I'm sure most folks went in expecting a harem action-comedy in the vein of Infinite Stratos, and they would be right to assume that Busou Shinki would take the same tack. It simply makes sense. Instead it's been much more of a daily-life show, and the draw's been seeing these otherwise typical daily-life scenarios from that strange, six-inch-tall viewpoint and the intriguingly sci-fi premise of imagining a world where humans have essentially adopted intelligent action figures into their lifestyle.
Sadly, episode 7's ghost-story angle doesn't really press those same buttons, and simply couldn't fit the same angle that's kept my interest in Busou Shinki up..at least not unless I opt to believe that Shinkis are apparently capable of seeing ghosts as well, which could play into the whole Ghost in the Shell the-soul-has-been-quantified premise. But no, that's just too much of a stretch, even for a show where humans have adopted intelligent action figures into society.
[Grab your figmas and check their ghost-hunting prowess at The Anime Network]
Robotics;Notes episode 6
Though last week bore witness to the plots first left turn into trademark sci-fi weirdness, the show quickly reassures us that this is not the point of no return - by "returning" to our regularly scheduled school-club anime. The rhythm of Robotics;Notes seems to be a tad bit similar to Persona 4, in that you've got this dramatic, crazy mystery lurking in the background of a fun, character-oriented day-to-day existence. The former will be visited from time to time, and eventually take center stage once the mystery turns into a crisis, but the latter promises to make up the major part of our time spent.
Contrast that to Steins;Gate, where things snowballed fairly quickly, and early on. The time-travelling conceit allowed for "resets" to an earlier, more lighthearted, goofy antics, but there was never any doubt that things were serious and could only get moreso over time. I don't see that happening quite yet with Robotics;Notes, at least not until the mystery starts to involve more people than Kai.
Not to say that we're lacking for tension on the other fronts, as Subaru's robot-hating fisherman dad plays the epitome of the stereotypical disapproving parent. I expect that the show is clever enough not to rest at that, but until then he'll be a fun dude to hate.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Episode 7
Huge episode. I hardly want to talk about it lest I spoil it for someone. Destinies are fulfilled. Let's just say that. Before I get into spoiler land, I just want to say that this is another one of those defining JoJo moments for me. This episode was a string of gut punches one after the other. The fights are one thing, the poses are another (fabulous) thing, but the way this series hits me emotionally is top notch.
The way it is being handled in this anime is absolutely excellent as well. I loved how the battle looked, especially the use of color during key moments. The pacing also cannot be beat. I love how the characters say what they need to say and yet still get on with the fights in a completely reasonable speed. With the way it wrapped up, we now know this is the beginning of the end. A few new characters have come along and we're about ready to see Dio be taken on.
Okay, I'm going to get into spoilers. I hope you've had fair warning and/or watched the episode.
Spoilers: Dio is still a dick. Holy moly, the scene with the mother and a child is so painful. Again we have a piece heavily censored as compared to the manga but in this case I really, really don't mind. It's still a completely heart wrenching moment. This is of course after being wrecked emotionally by what happened to Zeppeli. His passing on of powers to JoJo pretty much spells out that we are at super serious time. Jojo and his massive chest glow so brilliantly, eh?
Sword Art Online Episode 20
Well that was one hell of a fight.
A-1 pulled out all the stops this week and delivered what is easily the best action scene in the series thus far. The choreography was absolutely top notch, and seeing mid-air combat executed so well put a huge smile on my face. Kirito's final dual sword attack on the Salamander general was as exciting as it was eye explodingly beautiful. If only Sword Art Online could be this cool all the time.
Of course, the second half of the episode was as typical as ever, with both the Cait Sith and Sylph leaders flirting with Kirito in an attempt to bring him over to their side as a mercenary. He manages to defuse the situation, and explains that he and Leafa are headed for the World Tree. Kirito tells the two leaders he'd like to get their help as soon as possible. He hands them a bag of loot to put toward building up their forces, and departs with Leafa for the base of the World Tree. Meanwhile at the top of said landmark, Asuna breaks out of her cage. Dun dun dun!
And with that, the first half of the Fairy Dance arc comes to a close. I have a lot of problems with this second arc, but considering I haven't dropped the show yet, I must be enjoying something. If A-1 can keep delivering the visual goods, I'm ready to ride this train all the way to the last stop.
[Catch Sword Art Online over at Crunchyroll]
Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai! Episode 7
I was expecting a typically lighthearted beach episode, but what I got was a somewhat depressing story instead. Nice work, KyoAni!
The Magic Society crew heads out to Rikka's hometown for a little getaway. Excited for some fun in the sun, everybody seems ready to have a good time, save for our patch wearing crazy girl. Concerned for her well being, Yuuta learns from Touka that their father passed away a few years back due to illness. Her father had never told Rikka about the fact he was sick, so his death came completely out of nowhere. Shortly following his death, Rikka and Touka's mother left them to their grandparents and vanished. Child abandonment eh? Nice!
As a result, Rikka just kind of slipped into her own world. Touka thought that taking her out of the countryside would have helped fix the problem, but unfortunately nothing has changed. Rikka refuses to except the death of her father and continues to run away from reality. When confronted with the fact that her childhood home no longer exists, her immediate reaction, following some quiet tears, is to slip right back into her fake world.
Chuu2 took a dark turn this week, but for the better. It's good that we're finally getting a real look at what makes Rikka tick, and it really sucks that her mother just abandoned everything. I wonder if we'll be seeing her somewhere down the line. Good stuff.
[Catch Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! over at the Anime Network]
Space Bros. Episode 33
Oh Mutta, you're such a bro. Not quite a Space Bro, but your bro is a Space Bro. Not enough Bros in space for Space Bros just yet, but we're getting there, bro. Remember what I said about Mutta not showing much care/emotion towards his brother being an astronaut, in an almost selfish way? Seems all that was rectified when he decided to cry/smile. Moon landing, guys!
Also, I'm totally not surprised that Hibito would say something silly when he first stepped onto the moon. Can't say I was expecting the jump thing to happen, but I wonder if that's not something to do with JAXA.
"Hey, Animator-chan. Can you make Hibito do the highest recorded jump when he gets on the moon?"
"Why hello there Money JAXA-san. Of course we can, but why would we want to?"
"We want kids to become astronauts so they can get famous being stupid on the moon!"
Ah, it really wasn't that bad, and it was completely in character. Nevertheless, let's get back to Mutta and his waiting game to get into space. Way more interested in his progression than seeing Hibito on the moon any more!
[Space pugs can be found on Crunchyroll!]
Little Busters! Episode 7
While I never disliked the show, it has been the last few episodes that have really warmed me up. The end of the Komari arc was quite hard hitting, and this one was nothing like that. It was genuinely fun, featured a great new character and still had that 'let's help everyone!' view on things that the Little Busters seem to have without being super corny and forced.
Yep, it was the introduction of Haruka and her crazy purple hair plus matching antics. She seems to be the nutty character, but she has the unique trait of actually treading that fine line and not coming off as an annoying prat, at least so far. I really enjoyed her eccentric reactions and attitude, which seems pretty fitting as a new member of the Little Busters.
While this is good in itself, seeing Riki stand up for her against the public morals people (in other words, disciplinary committee) was very cool. I'm still not sure about Riki, as his willingness to jump in to help people is going to risk feeling very forced and overly soppy, but if he treats the doubtless incoming problems in the same way as he did in this episode, I think I'll really like his character come the end of the series. Also, Kud may have only had a brief cameo, but isn't she darn adorable?
Jormungand: Perfect Order Episode 6
I'm really not sure what happened in this episode. It jumped all over the place, and had all sorts of names thrown out. But you know what? I really enjoyed it! There's certainly something that can be said for an anime that can keep your gripped with good old action sequences with big guns regardless of story.
So from what I gather, this super-secret ghost squad all seemed to hate Tojo, and they are happy to have died trying to kill him? But the leader of the super-secret ghost squad knew that they would all die, and was happy to let it happen? Then after Tojo finds him, they are all friends and there are kids building sandcastles and Koko has a crazy face and oh God what the hell.
But yeah, don't care. Guns, guns, guns! I'm sure it made sense to most of you, but I'm happy seeing Jonah smiling like a kid before pumping guys full of led. Reminds me of my school days.
Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb Episode 6 7
Oh poop, I managed to skip an episode somehow. Curse you Hidamari and your lack of continuity making it super easy to not notice until it comes to recap you! Ehh, let's roll with it! I'll stick the episode six recap on the next AA, we'll get a nice double going on or something!
Anyway, this was definitely a Yuno episode. It centred on her awesome ability at designing pamphlet covers, breaking into the international scene and confusing her parents. Or something like that. It was nice to see some nods to past episodes, what with Yuno mentioning how disappointed she was to not have finished her piece last year. You've matured well, miss!
Seems she needed more than ten people to brag to about her pamphlet prowess, as she ends up going on a date lunch date with Arisawa, who you may remember from past episodes. If I'm remembering right, and I'm probably not, there was something about Yuno losing a phone and being sketched? So yeah, after graduating from art school, it seems she's become pretty good at buying tat from the 100 yen stores and picking out bin colours. Sounds... ominous. Oh yeah, more pamphlet boasting.
Aww damn it, episode six had Ramune all over it! I'm thirsty now...
Seitokai no Ichizon Lv.2 Episode 4
Apologies in advance, but the recaps for Seitokai no Ichizon season 2 may come in waves! In episode four, the sequel finally turns the corner, in my eyes, as Minatsu makes a move on Ken. It all happens in a very long and roundabout way, and in a sort of unexpected moment. I suppose if the background music isn't right, it might come off kind of like an ad for some ED drug.
Joking aside, this week's episode again revolves mostly within the student council room as Kurimu wanted to collect some interviews from the student body. The team paired off to visit the three different grades within the school. Akaba hoarded Kurimu as expected, and somehow Minatsu paired with Ken, leaving Mafuyu to handle their useless faculty adviser.
As Minatsu and Ken went about their work, we see a new side to the two of them--both are rather popular with their classmates outside of the student body, and with students of their opposite sex. While Ken is just goofing around as he normally does, Minatsu shows a slight jealous streak, which eventually becomes an internal realization as the two of them ended up by themselves back the the club room.
Of course, this is Seizon, not some fanservice anime--the end result is actual character development and a freaked-out Ken. It's just to me the whole thing came about in a very roundabout way. Maybe that's how Seitokai no Ichizon manages to be normal, when it distracts the viewer with the random jokes that it always serves.
Oniai Episode 7
Did you know the name Oniai is a shortened name for the full title, "Oniichan dakedo Ai sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne!"? Did you also know it's spelled with just one "i" instead of two (as in "onii-chan") because it makes a pun? Silly Japanese--and silly Oniai for being so full of such corny wordplay. This week's new word is: Onishiteru, as in "bro-love." Now where can I buy that t-shirt?
As expected from episode 6's ending, this week's Oniai has to do with introducing the latest character, Arisa, the 12-year-old manager of the dorm who can cook, clean, get good grades and be overall an overly cute addition to the student council dormitory. All of the upperclassmen approves Arisa's presence, except Akiko. Naturally this is simply because Arisa calls Akito her fiance.
The interpersonal relationship side of it is more complicated. It seems that Ana, Ginbei and Arashi all takes Arisa's claims as they would any little kid--not very seriously. After ascertaining that Akito is not a lolicon, they went about their own agendas. In Anastasia's case, I think really put her fluffy stuffed animals to good use.
The rest of the episode has to do with Akiko and Arisa resolving their childish conflict, while demonstrating some powerful gags such as pointing out, in plain language, the problem with Akiko's brother complex. Well, that's great, but I guess we can't end the show just like that, and thankfully Akiko refuses to reason with the girl only two years her junior. And by the same token, Ana is only three years older than Arisa, so I'm not so sure the age gaps are all that cracked up to be.
As Akiko and Arisa gain mutual understanding of both being treated like little children and loving the same person--and rejected for being little children--the two little children have a good time being pals. Isn't it great? Why does this show have to thrive within only that "LOL Japan" context? Can't Oniai be about wholesome stuff, something other than incest? I don't know, but I guess that's why we're watching it!
[Join the Bro-love revolution on Funimation]
K Episode 7
Okay, K, we need to have another long talk on how you are making this story unfold. You almost won me back by opening up to a fight between Kuro and Sceptor 4's main troops. Then you pull off a recycled animation by using Seri's pose from the opening theme of the series. Now, I am fully aware that most super robot animes and tokusatsu shows have the tendency to recycle sequences, but those sequences are played out in a way where the viewer looks forward to it. As for Seri's attack, there wasn't anything groundbreaking in the attack that she performed.
You know that you are watching a disappointing series when a semi-obvious twist hits you in the face, since Neko was at the center of it all. Going back to episode one, the scene where she was frolicking in the nude makes sense now. There's also a chance that Shiro's action could have been planned out by the guy that might be the Silver King. However, GoHand and GORA's execution in putting all of this together still feels rather amateurish. And to be quite frank, it's a bit unfortunate, since K felt like it was going to be a fun series.
As we pass the halfway point, K will probably continue to leave a messy trail, and the staff will pump all of their money into the final episode of the series. The other outcome could be that K's quality will diminish until we are left with a finale that feels very cheap. But at the end of the day, the only outcome for K is the burden of being a mediocre series.
[Uncover K's memories at Viz Anime]
My Little Monster Episodes 4-8
Hurricanes tend to knock out power, and thus keep me away from episode recaps. In these last five episodes, we've understood more about Haru and his background -- including the troubled relationship with Yuzan -- and seen leaps and bounds to his relationship with Shizuku. Near kisses, hugs, and numerous confessions helped propel the storyline without letting things stagnate. Frankly, if you're reading this, then you already know what happens in these episodes. Let's talk a bit about where the show is right now, then:
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun feels like a negative image of Kimi ni Todoke, so perhaps that's why I continue to enjoy the show. Shizuku is a flip of Sawako: she has a good understanding of her emotions and is unafraid to express her feelings, but is cold and detached in execution. Sawako, meanwhile, was nothing but warm and pleasant once you got to know her, and the show's drawn-out nature came from her inability to process and understand her own feelings and those of the ones around her. Otherwise, the plot is pretty similar: a lonely person gains a circle of friends, and steadily pursues a romantic interest throughout the course of the show.
And is this a good thing? That's a tough question to answer. It's certainly a refreshing change from shows where people are too afraid to speak about their feelings, falling back on tropes and unwillingness to speak from the heart. Thankfully the show does not rely solely on "frankness" as its positive note. The slow and steady release of information about the characters' backstories keeps me intrigued, and I find myself paying closest attention to those scenes.
Oh, and don't forget Nagoya. He's the real hero of the show.
Since we're a little bit past the half-way point, it's worth looking forward to the show's conclusion. What are you guys looking for in the show? Sure, you can read the manga and be a party pooper like that, but let's just stick with the anime for a moment. My own personal hope is that they dig into their family lives, and why they've been seemingly abandoned.
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou Episode 7
Enter the little sister to the group.
If there is an episode that could turn you away from the series it’s this one. The zaniness factor has been doubled to tripled in this episode all the way up to the point of annoying. It was right there at the ledge of funny and annoying which can seriously ruin an episode. We have had drama for most of the series so far, so some humor is welcome but not so far that it was difficult to get through the first half of the episode.
The little sister has come to see her big brother to see what he has been up to. As the norm, she starts freaking out about his living arrangements with the two main females of the dorm. To protect her brother from these women, she tries to make her presence known. What she actually does is size them up in more ways than one if you get my drift. At least she doesn't have any sort of big brother love problems like we normally see...for now. It seems that she just wants to protect her big brother and I am OK with this.
By the end of the episode she is at least going home for now. I was waiting to for something to happen where she would be staying with him at the dorm but we avoided that. I’m pretty sure we will see her again sometime soon because she is the cute little sister of the group that makes it more of a balanced harem. Also our fun loving anime girl gets her driver’s license too in this episode. It makes absolutely no sense why it is in there. Just look past it for now, I’m sure it will mean something later.
[Little sister time at Crunchyroll]