Hey there, and welcome to another edition of Annotated Anime, the weekly Japanese cartoon roundup that you'll soon be watching on your holo-sphere hypervisual receivers - in between pirate broadcasts of the last remaining idols in the galaxy, of course!
But! Until then, you can view us on your computer monitor, tablet screen, phone, or anywhere else with access to a certain series of tubes, partaking of the peerless analysis and recapping from our talented staff! This week we offer you a cornucopia of Nippon-animations for your perusal, including Jormungand, Fate/Zero, Phi Brain, AKB0048, Moretsu Pirates, Gundam AGE, Medaka Box, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, Mysterious Girlfriend X, Accel World, Lupin III, Hyouka, Space Bros., and in a grand post-E3 return, Bob Muir gives us a triple-dose of Kids on the Slope!
Fate/Zero Episode 24
This week started off with the long awaited duel between Kiritsugu and Kirei and didn't disappoint. Both men pull out all the stops to wipe the other off the face of the Earth, though the actual battle is kept pretty grounded. There's some cool practical use of magic, but it never turns into some ridiculously super powered fight. Ufotable did a really good job with the choreography here. Midway through the battle, the Holy Grail summons Kiritsugu and promises to fulfill his wish. The world can be saved... except not in the way that our kinda-hero had hoped. The Grail reveals to him that it is incapable of saving humanity in a way that Kiritsugu himself doesn't know, meaning that it would go about it in the same way that he had all these years; sacrificing the few for the many. Kiritsugu realizes this is the opposite of what he wanted and rejects the Grail by shooting his daughter in the head and choking Iris to death (in his mind/the Grail). Back in the real world, Kiritsugu places a bullet in Kirei's back and heads to confront the Grail.
Saber concludes her fight with Berserker, stabbing him in the chest while shedding tears for her former comrade. She had made her decision long ago to obtain the Grail, even if it meant cutting Lancelot down. Clearly the revelation that she had been in the wrong weighs heavy on her heart and soul. We unfortunately don't get a whole lot of this battle for reasons that I think are pretty obvious; there simply isn't enough time to show everything that Ufotable wants to.
On the whole, I would bet that Ufotable had to make a lot of edits to this episode due to time constraints. I'm looking forward to checking out the director's cut on the BD this September, for sure.
This week ends with Kiritsugu using all of his command seals to order Saber to destroy the Holy Grail, with Gilgamesh looking on with rage and shock.
If the preview is any indication, it looks like a certain young hero will be making an appearance next week.
Bring on the final episode.
[Catch the conclusion to the 4th Holy Grail War on Nico Nico]
Mysterious Girlfriend X Episode 11
How can this show get any better? Oh right, full nudity.
Let me rephrase that, full TV censored nudity. The battle for Tsubaki’s heart rages on at the school festival. We start off with Ueno and Oka looking around the festival when they happen to come along a maid café. It seems that Oka has a special surprise for Ueno. She dons a maid outfit and serves him in the café. Oka looks great in a maid outfit and some other guys think so to by asking to take pictures. Ueno is furious and leaves Oka there.
Meanwhile in an abandoned part of the school, Tsubaki and Hayakawa are reminiscing about old times in middle school. Hayakawa pulls out all the stops to get Tsubaki to remember his feelings toward her. But Tsubaki is still committed to Urabe. Then, the drool is put into play. As soon as it does, Urabe shows up in a robot costume. You’ll understand why in a minute. Anyways, we now have a test to see whose drool is sweeter and to know who has the connection to Tsubaki. Urabe goes first and knocks it out of the park with full on nose bleed. It’s understandable that this happened because Urabe is buck naked under the robot costume! Things even more intense later but I’ll leave that to when you actually watch it. Other than that, I really need to fist bump Tsubaki next time I see him.
[Getting naked at Crunchyroll]
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia Episode 11
How's this for a change of pace: Yuuko can't see Niiya anymore after his little flashback adventure. Everybody else can see him, so it seems that Niiya has absorbed the Shadow Yuuko. When Niiya can touch Yuuko, it causes the ghost immense amounts of pain. The two are able to exchange messages via a notebook, but it only causes more pain for the lonely ghost.
Thanks to a bit of inspiration caused by some nostalgic candy, Niiya meets Kirie's grandmother, aka Yuuko's sister. Yuuko's sister drops a bomb: she too can see Yuuko, but only the angry, shadow version. Niiya gets the old lady to tell him what happened to Asa, the little girl that Yuuko saved. That sparks something in Niiya's memory, which gets him to go out and grab the extra bell that he found earlier in the series. Niiya rushes back to the club room and wrecks it, causing Yuuko to see him and her Shadow again. He manages to get through to both sides of Yuuko and the fused Yuuko welcomes back her mortal boyfriend. Oh yeah, and Niiya mentions that he's the grandson of Asa. Surprise! It also looks like Yuuko might have dealt with her "unfinished business", as she seemed to have a bit of trouble picking up her fallen bell.
[Get your ghost on over at Crunchyroll!]
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE Episode 36
If this episode proves anything, it's that Flit has one of the biggest set of nuts I've seen in a Gundam show. Two on one in a 40+ year old suit? BRING IT. Hell, Flit does a damn good job, considering the technical differences between the AGE-1 and the Vagan ships. It is for not, as Kio comes back and gets captured anyway…AFTER TRYING TO PUNCH A LASER. It's impressive, the levels of stupidity within the Asuno clan. Flit freaks out and tries to repair the busted AGE-1 himself, but Unoa is able to get the old man to calm down. The emotional scene is ruined by the idiot kids running in, as well as deferring to Wootbit to get them to calm down.
After the skirmish, the Diva is in need of supplies. Lucky for them, the Madorna Workshop is nearby, so they meet up with them to stock up. Laraparly is quite happy to see Flit, but isn't so happy with her son Rody, who seemingly ran away from home years prior. As if to make things worse for Flit, Asemu sends a message to his father. Despite Flit's initial objections, Asemu gets ready to save his son from the Vagan. Speaking of which, the final shot of the episode shows Kio alone and freaked out in a Vagan prison cell. Good. The little moron deserves it.
Medaka Box Episode 10
There's one simple fact that's clear now. Medaka is just not human.
Her pacifist attacks have only spurred on the interest and disdain from the self proclaimed inhume Chairman of the Discipline Committee, little Unzen. His super sweet jacket, and explosive super-balls just won't be enough for our fearless leader. Who's going to have to foot the bill for fixing the building?
Things actually get a bit cerebral in the video, showing some actually human characteristics of Medaka and her posse. I don't know ever the whole Super Saiyajin mode of hers will take us, but I'm pretty excited. More than anything I'm glad you guys had me stick with the series as it is getting pretty juicy, and quite funny. Give me more Shiranu!
[Watch Medaka tear the world up over at Crunchyroll]
Hyouka Episode 9
Sometimes, I don't get this show. I mean, I get it, but I don't get why, you know? Obviously, this show is really a celebration of the mystery genre, what with all of the references, fanservice and admiration to detail that pulp detective novels themselves go through the trouble of paying attention to. On the same base, anime and the mystery genre is like what Otaku no Video is to otaku and what Uppote is to guns... the difference here is that Hyouka does it in a really boring and meaningless way.
As I was watching Houtarou and the gang spend another week talking about a stupid movie, I suddenly felt the urge to watch some Detective Conan. You see, even though Hyouka is NOT a show about solving cliche things like murders and robberies, sometimes all of this talk about Sherlock and locked rooms just make me want to watch some actual mystery series, not discuss them for 20 minutes in excessive detail.
At the end of the day, this weeks episode ends with the Classic Club cutting their losses and effectively making these past two outings pointless so far. Is this ultimately a bad thing? Not really, because even with the still entertaining presentation and details in animation, but because it always puts me in the mood to watch less boring crap. Boy, do I love me some Conan...
Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine Episode 11
Well, that was quite the episode, wasn't it? I think you'll struggle to find another anime that can use homosexuality, obsession and a downward spiral of sanity to concoct a story such as this one. Fujiko doesn't really get a big showing in her own anime this week, but it's no doubt building up to the incoming finale where she'll likely be facing her fair share of demons.
No, this episode was all about Oscar, and now we discover exactly why he hasn't show up in another series. He starts to make the same mistakes that Zenigata himself claims he is glad to have atoned for, and seemingly in repentance for creating the Fujiko hoaxes and endangering the public with the bomb under the bridge, he uses his own life to protect everyone, grabbing a bomb on the brink of detonation and plunging into the river below.
Even if Oscar was a bit of an irritating character, it was certainly still a very powerful episode. I'll certainly be happy if the show continues to stay at this high in the final few episodes, because when this show is good, it's really good.
[You can watch this show for free on Funimation? What a steal!]
Jormungand Episode 11
It seems Valmet is finally going to confront the guy who took her eye and fellow soldiers, but with the unexpected help of Jonah on Koko's orders. While she's heading off doing this, Koko continues to do business. A small Mafia group finds out the hard way that they need money to buy from her, but it doesn't seem to dampen the teams spirits that much!
We are introduced to some new characters too, who seem to have orders to dispatch of Koko and her team. The last 10 minutes or so is really where it kicks off, when they catch the arms dealers off guard. The ending of the episode literally had my jaw on the ground, and while I brought it back up to my face I couldn't help but think about where this is heading. Final episode next week, and damn it's going to be good!
[Get loco with Koko over at Funimation]
Phi Brain Season 2 Episode 11
Still on the island and with non-puzzle related mysteries solved, Kaito and the gang ponder if there is any way they could take advantage of the environment to better their puzzling prowess. Luckily for them, Nonoha and Elena knew of a great way to so. What better way is there but to share beds and sweat out all of the impurities! With all of that bad stuff out of the way, their minds will be clean and sharp. Faultless logic.
Weirdly, the onslaught of messy scenes involving those on the island wasn't as bad as you might expect. Well, it was bad, but... I kinda enjoyed it? I dunno man, seeing Nonoha all hot and...
I still think the show is poop.
[You could watch this on Crunchyroll, or you could do something more fun, like solder knives to your hands and become Wolverine]
Space Bros. Episode 12
Namba almost threw me off! While I mentioned last week how he knew what the time was, even I was convinced that he'd gone through some crazy method of determining the time. As flashy as he made his 'calculations' sound, I do hope it isn't something that comes back to bite him in the ass, later on in the series. Most of the episode was dedicated to Serika and her name, but it was all a bit too... boring. Space and tests are cool! Learning about her name, not so much!
Besides this, there wasn't a huge amount going on. We got to see that the crazy Rubiks cube guy managed to suss the time out, through a combination of not having slept on the coach, and being able to approximate this time based on his reading speed and pages turned. Pretty crazy stuff, but it meant that both his team and Namba's were correct with their time. They also began to ration out their food supplies for a two week stint in isolation, which probably won't work out if space lady has her way. Next up, the 'where has all the food gone' arc!
[This show is blasting off again via Crunchyroll]
Kids on the Slope Episodes 8-10
Besides the fact that I'm playing catch-up on three episodes, a lot is happening in Kids on the Slope. After Kaoru and Sentaro made up at the school festival and wowed the crowds with their off-the-cuff jazz performance, all the girls are fawning over them. Though Ritsuko has friend-zoned Kaoru in the past, she suddenly starts feeling a little jealous, sneaking glances at Kaoru behind his back. At the same time, we discover that Jun had become a political activist in college, gaining some communist tendencies before having a crisis of conscience and leaving both the group and his college career behind. Now disowned by his family, he is down and out, having just moved into a tiny apartment after Ritsuko's father helped him out. He tries to push Yurika away, but she insists on being with him, even cutting her hair and acting differently, much to the dismay of her parents.
Kaoru sees Ritsuko knitting something and figures it's for Sentaro, since he knows she has had feelings for him in the past. However, they're secretly gloves for Kaoru instead, but Ritsuko is too afraid to try dating Kaoru after she brushed him off in the past. Sentaro eventually calls on Jun and sees Yurika, the girl he likes, in his apartment, driving him to break off contact while in tears. Seeing that his friend is hurting, Kaoru cryptically hints that someone has cared about him all this time. Sentaro finally figures out that Ritsuko has always been interested in him and goes to apologize for not noticing it. However, now that she's interested in Kaoru, Ritsuko has finally moved on from Sentaro and considers him family.
Ritsuko leaves her knitted gloves on Kaoru's piano, but at first Kaoru isn't sure they're for him. After questioning Sentaro, he finally puts them on and thanks Kaoru. It seems like they're both interested in each other, but neither one of them are sure where to begin. Meanwhile, Jun plans to leave for Tokyo and join a former political friend in the publishing business. Yurika is crushed, especially since her parents insist on arranging a marriage. After Sentaro and Jun have one last jam session, a "duel" of sorts that restores their friendship, Jun prepares to leave on a train and is confronted by Yurika. Though it seems like Jun is leaving for good and Yurika is happy to have broken their relationship off cleanly, the sight of Yurika's parents angrily chasing after her for leaving a marriage meeting causes Jun to pull her onto the train, much to her pleasure.
After helping Sentaro study English so that he can hopefully become a third-year student with the rest of the class, Kaoru soon misses some school due to a fever, so Sentaro forces Ritsuko to pay him a visit. In the process, Kaoru grows a pair and confesses loudly that he loves her. They almost kiss, before Kaoru passes out from exhaustion. Despite these bold moves, summer arrives and Kaoru has lacked the confidence to get any closer to his crush. Ritsuko lets him and Sentaro know about a challenge thrown down by Seiji and his rock group: that they'll win this year's cultural festival. The two musicians are excited and start putting together a setlist, but Kaoru is concerned for his friend when he hears that Sentaro's stepfather is returning to town. Though he promises his siblings that his stepfather is less of a drunk to ease their minds, it's clear that Sentaro thinks he will be unwelcome and prepares to leave.
I'm glad to see some resolution to love problems that have been going on for several episodes, though I was expecting Sentaro to put up more of a fight about Ritsuko once he realized. It seems like he's too dense to really grasp the fine points of the situation, but it would have been an interesting challenge for his friendship with Kaoru. There's only two more episodes to go and potentially an entire school year left to cover, so hopefully we get to see what ultimate effect these three years of high school have on the main cast.
[Watch Kids on the Slope on Crunchyroll]
Moretsu Pirates Episode 24
Action! Adventure! Plot twists galore! In a fashion that I enjoy for this show but is generally Not A Good Thing For A Show To Do, Moretsu Pirates has packed a metric ton of revelations and new developments into its third-to-last episode. The Bentenmaru scraps with the Grand Cross, ending up the only ship to escape its zig-zagging clutches, and the space pirates gather at the Pirate's Nest base for a spot of dessert, conversation, and general one-upmanship.
Except the pilot of the Grand Cross is right there for some reason, and admits to testing prototype weapons on these pirates "that have lost their way", because renewing their licenses to put on shows for luxury guests isn't "the pirate way".
Also, did I mention the android spy, the non-android twin, and other general weirdness, as well as what happened to Marika's mom (hint: she's not on vacation)? It's all in there this week, plus a few stronger hints at the philosophical conflict that will likely drive the final confrontations of the series (hint: what it means to be a space pirate!)
AKB0048 Episode 8
Action! Drama! Angst! Mecha! If not for a brief scene of the girls dancing to "Aitakatta", and how chunky the mechs look, and how pink the battleships are, you'd think this was an episode of Macross and not an idol show (no, Macross is not an idol show). The Katyusha's beam laser turrets are definitely not just for show.
Naturally, they heap more drama on TakaMina and Kanata, and the former's insecurity now that the latter is considered more soul-compatible with the role. But Yuuko comes to the rescue with a tiny bit of selfishness. Joining AKB is about your dreams, after all, much as the girls are symbols of All That Is Right And Good In The World.
Also, they devote a few moments to an incredible off-frame headbutt, and the pressures of giving up your identity once you become a successor. It's a little tragic that Megu from the 76th Generation needs to be made the bad girl for this scene, but it had to happen, I guess.
I can't wait to see what happens next. With both successors and stand-ins all on stage, and the DES bringing in reinforcement for a hard-core retaliation, episode 9 promises a ton of action and concert goodnesss. Will we get something as legendary as episode 3? I hope so.
Accel World Episode 10
This week's episode was kind of a boondoggle for folks expecting to see the crew track down and take on the Catastrophe Armor. Instead we get more world-building, revealing the one-shard city that comprises the true face of Brain Burst, the game's nominal PvE play, and get confronted with the reality of what happens to a fighting game where no one's allowed to fight.
I've said before, that as bland as Accel World is on paper, its most fascinating aspects (to me, at least) are the bits where it details its own structure. Actual concepts and conventions used in real games are at work here, from PvE to progression to angst over the endgame to guild dynamics. Add to that the touch of Inception-style "years can pass in this world while only seconds pass in meatspace", and you have a compelling mix of EVE Online, Monster Hunter, and Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm.
I want to play that kind of game.
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