It's time to strike your summer fish-face, people, because it's the last week of "Spring" this season at Annotated Anime!
Yes...that's the face I wanna see. An anime-watcher's face! It's perfect for enjoying the cartoon goods of Glorious Nippon, goods like Kids on the Slope, Moretsu Pirates, Accel World, Sankarea, Medaka Box, Mysterious Girlfriend X, Eureka Seven AO, Lupin III, Phi Brain, Space Bros, AKB0048, Gundam AGE, and Natsuiro Kiseki!
And once you're done reading all that splendidness, stay tuned for our Summer Season 2012 Preview Guide!
AKB0048 episode 9
OK, time to freak out. If you've ever wondered just what kind of threat the DES et al see in idols that would prompt them to respond with military force to any clue of their influence, this is it.
Watching an AKB concert does stuff to your kids. It puts hearts and/or stars in their eyes.
That little girl in the pic? She didn't have those hearts when AKB0048 came to her Stalin-era Space-Siberian hovel. And then when she watched them sing "RIVER"? OH SHI-
Is it some kind of radiation the idols give off? Having those little alien coal mine canaries that glow in the presence of the "idol aura" is telling.
Yeah, if I were the DES I'd probably start sending space marines to check things out whenever I heard someone humming "Heavy Rotation" as well. Those radioactive cultists could be anywhere!
Accel World episode 11
The screenshot above = My face when the fighting started. Pigtails included!
It took them a bit too long to do it (though I've heard that Accel World has a second half planned), but now we see what it's like when Level 9's fight. It's pretty GLORIO. That said, it makes Scarlet Rain look a little weak. Considering that most of Brain Burst is meant to be played in a one-on-one or small-group setting (more Power Stone than Battlefield), having her default to turtling up in a robo-fortress (no matter how cool-looking) seems counter-productive. Heck, that's the reason she needed Haru's help with the Catastrophe Armor in the first place, right?
A little more of Brain Burst's esoteric side shows again, what with your avatar control related to something as nebulous as "maintaining the will to fight". Then again, that should be expected from a game that constructs your look based on an arbitrary analysis of your psyche.
Also, it's a major dick move on part of Brain Burst's developer to make everything hurt twice as much fighting in the Neutral Field. What kind of asshole does that?!
Moretsu Pirates episode 25
Plot twist after plot twist piles into the pirates' penultimate performance, as Grand Cross Captain Quartz Christie is revealed to be very much a pirate...just one that's sanctioned by the Galactic Empire, just like Ironbeard. Which brings one to wonder why Ironbeard saved the Bentenmaru from Quartz in the first place. And what's Ririka doing freelancing with the Parabellum crew? And Kane has a twin brother? What's going on?!
Of course, this is all to set up the final climactic encounter as some kind of debate on What It Means To Be A Pirate, but there's a strange contrariness to Ironbeard (and/or Quartz') arguments. "Pirates" by definition are outlaws! Being a sanctioned agent of the biggest government around is the opposite of being an outlaw!
I think we're beginning to run up against the language barrier here, where English speakers think of pirates as seaborne marauders, and "Kaizoku" really just means "Sea Gang" in Japanese, no explicit connotations of violence or illegality attached.
Either way, at least we get a HUGE battle next week!
Natsuiro Kiseki episode 11
As someone who capped all of Hanasaku Iroha it invariably feels like that show would've been what a proper Sphere anime should look like. There's just this raw, unpolished feeling about Natsuiro Kiseki which makes it feel less of a quality show than PA Work's last original work. However this week we see that it really is just a matter of polish. The substance; the character animation, the framing, the choreography, and even the music show a respectable degree of thought and effort. It wasn't your computer-rendered stuff married with 2-D graphics, but all those dances were traditionally animated.
All of that makes the girls' audition in this week's episode a subdued experience. Unlike your typical idol anime with its climatic concert scenes, Natsumi's crew just wore regular exercise clothes and danced in front of an unforgiving panel of judges. Yuka took a big fall, but can the little girl bounce back? It was both serious and yet comical, and I suppose at the very least I felt the intensity of that catty audition could be.
How will this series end? I mean next week the girls visits Haruhi's favorite scheme: the endless summer. For one I know they will not repeat episode 11 seven more times. If all good things come to an end, (how) does Natsuiro Kiseki qualify?
Sankarea Episode 11
As we roll into the final episode of the next week, we go ahead and finish up the main part of the story an episode early. For some reason, I do not approve of this type of storytelling. It only seems to me as a hint of another season or a final cleansing of everything that has happened.
We finally, after a week break, find out what was going to happen to Chihiro after Rae’s father kidnapped him. Needless to say, it came down to a one on one match to see who the stronger protector of Rae is. Pretty simple really, Chihiro just has to land one blow to Rae’s father by any means. While father stays with just fencing. Meanwhile, Rae makes it back to the house to try and stop whatever her father is going to do to Chihiro. Unfortunately, two of the house maids stop Rae from going any further. By that I mean tying her up and play dress up. Yeah I’m at kind of a loss too on this. I guess the show never wanted to take itself too seriously since we are talking about zombies.
Anyways, everything finishes up in a nice neat package for everyone. All except the one last thing that should be answered by the last episode. If not, then I see another season in our future.
[Dressing up at Funimation]
Mysterious Girlfriend X Episode 12
I only have one question. When the hell does the Blu-ray come out?! This show doesn’t need to end on the next episode. I will continue to watch it as long as they keep making them.
From the last episode, Oka finally saw Urabe’s scissor skills. So naturally, she wanted to see them again. Only that Urabe wasn’t having it because it’s not for show. This didn’t get Oka down in the slightest. She pulls out the big guns and whips out a picture of Urabe naked in the classroom from the festival. You can see where this is heading. Snip snip.
But that is not the real bulk of the story. This time around our two young lovers are getting ever so closer to each other. It’s driving me mad with anticipation if they are going to actually kiss by the end of the season. One would think that this is where it will end up but I am not holding my breath too much on it so that I won’t be crushed and cry like a baby. *cough* Anyways, the physical attraction is higher than ever going into the last episode. Both of them are loosening up more on the holding is ok part. It’s super sweet how these two of come to this point and I hope for a nice strong finish next week. If not the announcement of season two, but again, I won’t hold the drool in my mouth for it.
[Be held at Crunchyroll]
Eureka Seven: AO Episode 9
HERE WE GO AGAIN with another episode, and Arizona gets fucked up this week. Is it just me, or has there been nothing inherently interesting with these past seven or eight episodes of Eureka Seven: AO? In fact, they all end up following the same formula each week like clockwork, so what's the deal with each episode containing the redundant killing of Secrets and the sporadic appearances of Truth? Other than those certainties, I can't seriously imagine that BONES expects people to enjoy listening to cartoon characters talking about politics without a sense of reward. That might work better for a show with actual merit and a cohesive plot to back it up with, but not Eureka Seven: AO... this shit is a snoozefest with melodrama acting as a substitute for poor pacing.
Ao freaks out again this week after seeing people die again. I know there's not just one person to blame, but screw whoever calls the big shots at BONES who ruining good, decent shows by hand-picking and unnaturally changing a character's personality for the sake of the plotline at their leisure whenever it seems fit. It must be a goddamn conspiracy, because this crap has been happening since Raxephon; the idea of creating a fleshed out character doesn't mean being able to make them suddenly develop PTSD on a whim whenever it's relavent to the plot. Gosick flirted around with this, No. 6 based its shitty foundation upon this and nothing else, and now Eureka Seven: AO is dipping its toes with this concept and shamelessly ditching whatever magic was used to make the last series fun. "A scene where the main character recluses himself and needs to be preped up and motivated to save the world for the thousandth time" is now a legitimate part of the "BONES Sci-Fi Quality Checklist", right behind "Add unnecessary NTR love triangle" and directly after"ambiguous ending"
Seriously, AO kinda sucks now, and that's upsetting.
Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine Episode 12
I couldn't help but hope that this episode would be a good one. This series has been great for the vast majority of the past eleven episodes, so it would certainly be a great shame if it stumbled on what seemed to be a grand conclusion. Before I watched the episode in question, this was essentially all I could think about.
Thankfully, I didn't need to worry.
While the episode was setting up for the thirteenth and final episode in the series, we still got to see plenty of action and Lupin-related shenanigans to keep the interest. Fujiko theme park? Sure thing! Much of her past was torn up, so we're really getting to see more about what makes her tick, as well as why she wants to run away from her childhood experiences. Colour me impressed, so lets hope it carries on over to the final episode. Oh, and that Oscar thing? Where did that come from?
[You can watch this show for free on Funimation? What a steal!]
Phi Brain Season 2 Episode 12
Pretty sure this series was due to end here at some point, then someone slipped, fell on his keyboard and accidentally gave the go ahead for an extension. This means we have more silly words and the return of Captain Angst as he tries to work out why he isn't a Phi Brain and why his mother doesn't love him. Yeah, this is the same plot we had back in season one, only with more angst. Also stupid made up words. Bah.
[You could watch this on Crunchyroll, or you could do something more fun, like try and become a human cactus by swallowing needles]
Space Bros. Episode 13
If there is anything closer to a training montage in this show, I think we just saw it. Namba and company are all over the place doing various space-training things, be this math-running, using an air-abacus or just typing out the mess made by Babelfish. Luckily this didn't take up the entire episode, as we got to see the next big task too.
Talk shows can be pretty brutal wherever you are, so you have to feel a bit bad for the JAXA folk when their existence is thrown into question by a seemingly clueless politician. In true Japanese fashion, it's time to write her a letter showing her who's boss! Namba has other ideas though, using various ant metaphors to justify his decision not to send a letter. Seems this guy is still full of surprises!
[This show is blasting off again via Crunchyroll]
Kids on the Slope Episode 11
Kaoru catches Sentaro leaving home to avoid his previously abusive stepfather's return and manages to make enough of a scene that he can't leave. When the reformed stepfather does return, Sentaro is understandably apprehensive, but the stepfather makes a point of giving him an expensive fountain pen and calling him his son, completely changing Sentaro's outlook on their relationship. From then on, he agrees to stay and practice with Kaoru for their performance at school festival. They even convince Ritsuko and her father to join them; finally, with Ritsuko singing, she has some justification for standing around with the rest of the band in the opening credits.
The night before the festival, Sentaro heads after Kaoru on his motorbike to deliver a piece of sheet music he left behind. When Kaoru sees Ritsuko the next day, he learns there has been an accident and rushes to the hospital. It appears as if Sentaro was very badly injured and has severe head trauma, but Kaoru soon realizes that Sentaro's sister Sachiko had tagged along due to her twisted ankle. Sentaro only has a broken arm, while Sachiko is the one in critical condition. He finds Sentaro on the roof and, for the first time, we see Sentaro cry, concerned about always hurting those around him. Soon after, Sachiko recovers, but Sentaro has disappeared completely, even leaving behind his precious rosary.
I should have known better than to expect things to go smoothly after the stepfather "problem" was quickly resolved. Ultimately, Sentaro still ended up leaving and not playing at the festival, but in a much worse way than I imagined at the end of the previous episode. As Kaoru and Ritsuko stared at the river in the last scene and talked about how they hoped he would pop up when they least expected it, I was wincing at the prospect of his dead body floating downstream. Thankfully, that didn't happen. I'm really intrigued to find out how the next episode will close out the story.
[Catch Kids on the Slope on Crunchyroll]
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE Episode 37
Hey guys, guess what? Vagans have hearts too! It's only taken the entirety of the series to show somebody sympathetic on the other side of the war. Perhaps if this were done earlier in the series I'd care. At this point, Ezelcant's zombies come off as mass murders just about anyway you put it, no matter how many sick kids you through at the view. AGE missed its opportunity to give a balanced view of the war. They should've just kept them as one-dimensional villains instead of attempting depth.
Anyway, Kio gets special treatment because he looks so much like Ezelcant's dead son, of couse allowing him to spend his day in the slums with poor and sick kids. It seems that Ezelcant is also not long for this mortal coil, which also probably explains his heavy push with Kio. Not only that, but the Vagans decide to make a copy of the Gundam using the EXA-DB. In case you haven't seen the scans, expect some amusing robotic cosplay very soon.
Medaka Box Episode 11
With situation spiraling out of control, will Medaka be able to hold on to her humanity? Not if the Discipline committee has any say. Unzen is a tricky little bugger.
The battle thankfully comes to a close this episode. With Medaka going all Saiyajin, I was a bit scared this battle was going to end the season. Instead the episode ends on a bit of a sweet note. I'm glad more time had been spent on building the character of Medaka, as her background has been pretty much ignored, and her character just accepted as a spectacle.
It's good to see the Student Council team up, and that seemingly forced friendships have some depth to them. Now I'm just wondering where do they go from here? Things got awfully serious for bit, so I wonder if things can keep going as is. Will there be more aggressive boob grabbing?
[Feel Medaka's rage over at Crunchyoll]
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