Welcome to Annotated Anime, the weekly anime recap that has its own perfume now. How do you like our slogan?
No? Alright, at least we still have hot, sweet-smelling synopses from the latest episodes of AKB0048, Moretsu Pirates, Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, Accel World, Phi Brain, Gundam AGE, Lupin III, Natsuiro Kiseki, Upotte!!, Sankarea, Mysterious Girlfriend X, Fate/Zero, Medaka Box, and Hiiro no Kakera!
Sankarea Episode 7
Awww, the touching flashback/Ranko’s side episode. Ranko start to remember back to when she first met Chihiro. She was lost in a cemetery all alone, when Chihiro comes in to rescue. From there on, Ranko thought she had found her prince. Little did she know that prince was a zombie fanatic. Even at an early age, Chihiro has always loved zombies. Well this didn’t sit well with Ranko at all. She would rather go outside and play then to watch zombie movies all day, but Chihiro just doesn’t understand.
Ranko thought that she made a mistake in thinking that Chihiro was going to be that one special guy and gave up on him. Her family had to move away for awhile but returned just a couple of years later right next door to Chihiro. Chihiro had no beef with Ranko and was perfectly fine having her as a friend again.
She did try her best to get him to do stuff with her, but all he wanted to do involved zombies. Depressed about it, her mother told her to take him down to the video store and go rent that anime she wanted to watch. So she drags him along to the store. As soon as they enter the store, Chihiro rushes right over to the zombie movies, picks one out, and starts to go home. This doesn’t sit too well with her and she takes the DVD to go and return it. On the way back, her path ends up blocked by a ferocious dog. Chihiro man’s up and scares the dog away with a lead pipe. Then, they cry.
We build up to the normal ‘I’m not going to lose to her’ spat. It’s going to be interesting to see how this is all going to end up in the end. Will he fall in love with the zombie girl? Will he understand Ranko’s love for him and accept it? Will they all just live happily under one roof and share everything? We better have a straight forward ending to this if there is no second season. It will just anger the blood and soil the show if it doesn’t.
[Kids cry over at Crunchyroll]
Mysterious Girlfriend X Episode 7
It’s the end of summer for our couple and that only means one thing, sports festival! Ok, so it doesn’t just mean one thing give me a break. While outside during gym, Urabe is noticed that she can run pretty fast. Almost fast enough to beat the top girl on the track team. So naturally, all the girls want her to join the track team. Urabe kindly refuses because she has something better to do after school and that’s walk home with Tsubaki. What a sweetheart.
Little did she know but Tsubaki was watching her from the classroom window smiling from ear to ear. Back at home, Tsubaki start to realize how popular Urabe is becoming with everyone. Jealousy starts to peek its ugly head around and Tsubaki’s girlfriend is not only just his anymore. Which in turn makes him not dry is hair properly and he catches a cold. Sure, that makes sense. Anyways, Tsubaki has a cold and is not coming to school for a couple of days. Meaning that he can’t go to the sports festival and watch Urabe.
Well this will not do. Tsubaki has to get better to see Urabe run in the relay race. Looks like Urabe has a plan from how Oka helped out Ueno get better when he had a cold. I’ll leave you in suspense on this part. I’m cruel, I know, but I can’t give away all the juicy parts.
[Get the juicy details at Crunchyroll]
Natsuiro Kiseki Episode 7
It's festival time! It's also the episode where Yuka feels positively more so like Yuina from Hanasaku Iroha, both being daughters of country town inns. This one is positively more spoiled, however, and runs away when duty called. I guess that's okay since she's only in 8th or 9th grade.
More importantly, this is definitely as much of a Yuka episode as it can be. I was more impressed at how Rinko continues to demonstrate being the underpinning of the three of them, and this time Saki also has more of a role of playing mediator, along with Rinko, so that Yuka and Natsumi can get along.
I really enjoyed the way Yuka turns on her idol fangirl switch and talks shop. It makes me feel at home, even if Four Seasons is still just a fictional group. The stuff Yuka said can apply to any idol group, really.
A lot of little things happened in this week's episode too. Having two separate plot lines going on in parallel helped. I particularly liked the colored-ribbon reference, but I think that one is a doozy. The character cameos from all their families and how they all played some kind of a role in the background development of our main characters was amusing if subtle. Even the preview--I guess it's time to play in Okinawa?
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia Episode 7
After seven episodes, we finally get a little more insight on Yuuko's death and why she doesn't remember anything. After suffering from a biou of jealously, the sinister shadow appears frequently and is stronger than before. Kirie tells Niiya about her encounter with the shadow and that she's determined it's the culmination of Yuuko's negative emotions. The reason that Yuuko can't remember anything related to her death is that the mere thought of it would create quite a few crappy memories, so she shunts them onto this shadow so she doesn't have to deal with it.
When Kirie and Niiya bump into Yuuko mid-conversation, the shadow reveals itself to everybody, causing Yuuko to run off. Niiya catches up with Yuuko by the 'cursed stone' they found earlier. Closer inspection reveals that the stone is actually a memorial for the students that died during an epidemic 27 years earlier…and Yuuko's name is on the stone. This causes severe angst in Yuuko, who doesn't want to accept anything related to her shadow. The next day, Yuuko becomes overwhelmed by her emotions and pushes Niiya down a staircase, breaking his ankle and giving him head trauma. When Niiya returns to school and hobbles his way back to the club room, he finds that Yuuko doesn't remember Niiya or anything they have done.
I figure it makes sense they'd wait until half way through the season to drop all this info about Yuuko. They'd set up the lovey-dovey stuff between the ghost and the boy and also introduced the various legends regarding Yuuko at the school. They also brought back the whole thing about that shrine under the club room and the human propensity to freak out and go to extremes during a moment of crisis, so they seem to be setting up Yuuko having been forced into a sacrifice of some sort. I'm interested in seeing where they take this from here.
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE Episode 32
Oh wow, this episode is called The Traitor. I WONDER WHO THAT CAN BE?
On their way to the South American base, the Diva and the Federation base is attacked by the Vagan thanks to Shanalua. As per the usual, the Earth troops get pounded by Vagans and the pilot of the Gundam worries more about his personal feelings than his comrades. Kio catches up to Shanalua and she cries the tears of a woman who needed money for her younger sister's treatment. Their inane conversation is cut off when one of the Phantoms tries to attack the Gundam. Shanalua dies taking out the utterly pathetic Phantom pilot, her friends morn her betrayal and death, etc. What matters is that Zeheart has set up a bomb in a wrecked suit within the Federation base.
Despite the immense amount of time I'm find my eyes rolling, there are a couple things that keep amusing me:
1. Flit continuing to lecture Natora about being a captain. The image of this old man on this ship that he has so much history with bugging this poor, put upon woman keeps cracking me up.
2. Wootbit is somehow worse than his grandpappy. That shouldn't be possible, but he somehow pulls it off.
3. Shanalua is a ridiculously fast texture. It's also depressing that one of the few dependable grunt pilots is a spy. Figures.
Besides that, AGE has seriously become a snore. At this point, their almost wholesale lifting elements from older shows and not even bothering to make it interesting. I'm hoping things improve, but I think this is a downward slope that Sunrise and Level 5 aren't going to be coming up from.
Accel World Episode 7
The highlight of this week's episode isn't the tag match between Haru/Current and Sand Duct/Nickel Doll, or even the angst-fight between Taku and Snow Black, but the way the show has effectively expanded upon the facts we've been told about the way Brain Burst works. From Current's comments about point loss, we can tell the game's more skill-based than most of the massive online games we play in the real world. High-level characters clearly have advantages, but the incentive (and possibility) of newbs winning with the right teamwork and such make Brain Burst more egalitarian than, say, PvP play in your average World of Warcraft.
Despite the show's stiffness and over-reliance on lengthy exposition (geez, Sunrise, you barely have to animate people moving their mouths! The least you could do is make the avatars move a little when they talk), it's world-building like that that's helping sustain my interest. That, and Kana Ueda's performance as Aqua Current. Character design and voice fit perfectly well, in a way rarely duplicated.
Also, I'm glad to see Snow Black back in action. Early on I was afraid that she'd become, to use a trope from superhero comics, a "girl in the fridge", but thankfully she's active and as influential as she ever was.
[Watch Accel World on Hulu and VizAnime]
Upotte!! Episode 7
This week Upotte!! morphs from an occasionally entertaining exercise in gun fetishism to, well, Lucky Star. Besides a brief aside about Swiss guns and cold weather, there's barely a rifle fact to be found in this New Year's snoozer. They may as well start talking about chocolate coronets and eating strawberries off cake.
A great opportunity for laughs was lost, sadly, when FNC and Sig make snow angels. If I were in charge, I'd make it so that when the girls stood up to show off their work, the silhouettes wouldn't be of angels, but of guns.
Too bad I'm not in charge. At least there's a thirty-year-old dog and a chuckle-worthy crack at how pointless male presence is in this sort of production. The only man on the show isn't even worth dignifying with a name, apparently. Damn straight!
[Lock and load on Crunchyroll]
Moretsu Pirates Episode 19
Moretsu Pirates shows admirable restraint this week. If it were a lesser program this swimsuit episode would be chock-full of bouncing and water splashing and all manner of unsavory stuff, but Moretsu Pirates is smarter than that. The most exposed flesh is seen on Mr. Kane and his speedo, instead. Rather than sex, the show services sci-fi fans, when the Bentenmaru basically nukes the beach to produce some rad windsurfing waves. Excessive? Maybe, but that's all in service to the next story, which is apparently a space-dinghy race, with a touch of dirty cheating.
[Put a track jacket over your one-piece on Crunchyroll]
AKB0048 Episode 4
Folks criticizing AKB0048 for basically ignoring all other forms of cultural/personal artistic expression, are kind of missing the point. Besides everything else about it that makes the show surprisingly watchable, it remains a promotional vehicle for AKB48. Unless the current members all suddenly branch out into other pursuits, it simply doesn't make sense to do anything other than pretend that the only form of entertainment is idol entertainment. No matter how insane that seems to sensible people (and haters). If singing "Season of the Lemon" is a expression of freedom in this crazy world, just let it. And rather than get pissed about it, let that craziness aid your ability to point at it and laugh. That's what they want (besides getting you to like AKB48, 'natch).
And while I mentioned in my first impressions that I found it best to ignore in the meta-discussion and mercenary roots of the show, sometimes it's funny to try to read into AKB0048's "message". Take, for example, the girls' arrival on Akibastar, home planet of AKB0048 and the last bastion of liberty. Compare its cosmopolitan utopia with the desperate, rust-brown aesthetic of Nagisa's home, or the post-apocalyptic ruins that comprise a planet under the Entertainment Ban (note the "Beginner" concert/warzone from last week). Looking at that, you can see why AKB0048 is so revered as a force for change that its members take the names of their forebears, like a Bishop might do upon becoming Pope. That's why the "Pro-Entertainment Coalition" belonged to violently rebelled, and why Kanata and Sonata's father died to get a bunch of teens singing and wearing short skirts.
If that creeps you out a bit, you're watching this show properly.
As an aside, I think complaints about AKB0048's use of CG are overblown. I think it looks great. "Lazy CG" is the mass ninja-running scene from Naruto a few weeks back, not this stuff. And honestly, I see no other way they could have done it. Sure, Idolm@ster was pure 2D, but it had a total of four large performance sequences in its 25-episode run, and great as the likes of "Smoky Thrill" looked, the kinds of shortcuts A-1 had to take to avoid completely breaking the bank on those scenes are apparent. Besides, compare the kind of dancing the real-life AKB48 does (which the AKB0048 girls emulate), and you'll see that doing that in regular style would be costly. Too costly.
Fate/Zero Episode 20
Another one bites the dust.
As the series closes on its conclusion, I think it's safe to say we're going to start seeing characters drop off at a rapid pace from here on it. This week sees Maiya unfortunately meet her demise at the hands of what appears to be Rider, which is strange for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that he was supposed to be recharging his energy through the evening. Elsewhere, Kariya is forced to devour a bug that feasted upon Sakura's innocence and life force; perhaps the greatest torture that could ever be inflicted upon the loving uncle.
We finally get to check back in with Waver and his bro as they settle down in the woods, the former hoping to help the conquerer recover the energy he lost during the massive battle with Caster. Any chance to see these two interact is welcome, as they share a unique relationship that is in many ways the most sincere out of all the master/servant pairs. Rider had actually drew from his own energy during the battle because if he had used Waver, there was a possibility that it would be fatal for his young master. The two agree to take care Saber in the evening, after they're closer to 100%. When questioned as to why he's to particular about going after the legendary king first, Rider responds that it's his job to show her the way so that she's not lost for the rest of eternity.
Iris and Maiya are in a similar spot back at headquarters. They share a surprisingly intimate moment in which we learn that Maiya was a child soldier, though the novels apparently imply a lot worse (look it up). Somebody resembling Rider smashes through the door and fatally wounds Kiritsugu's partner, kidnaps Iris and disappears into the sky. Maiya encourages Saber to give pursuit and she obliges, enraged that the conquerer would do such a thing. Kiritsugu arrives just in time to see his partner off to the next world as he holds back tears.
If I could live stream my face into this column, you'd see that I'm frowning. I'm pretty convinced that the Rider we saw was a fake due to the lack of dialogue and the fact that it'd be incredibly out of character for him to launch a sneak attack. It simply doesn't match with how he's been developed up till now.
[Catch Fate/Zero via Nico Nico]
Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine Episode 7
Seems like Fidel Castro and Che Guevara did the fusion dance, and now he is romantically involved with Fujiko. Also, all of the countries now have silly names, probably so that the real ones don't get all angry and start putting bounties on Fujiko and Goemon.
Yeah, I'll admit, I didn't really follow what was going on in this episode besides the whole 'everyone is angry face nuclear bombs and the doomsday clock' thing. What I do know is that Goemon cut a missile in half while standing on a plane, and that's what matters. If you are halfway into the episode and are wondering where the boobs have gone, don't worry, they appear at the end! Spoilers!
[You can watch this show for free on Funimation? What a steal!]
Phi Brain Season 2 Episode 7
If I took a dictionary, put it in a blender, then pieced together what words I could find intact, I'd be able to construct a better story than Phi Brain. Someone died because Kaito didn't do a puzzle? I know this is hardly the most realistic of shows, but let's consider having a script in the next episode, okay?
Also, Freecell x Pinochle doujins confirmed for Comiket 82.
[You could watch this on Crunchyroll, or you could do something more fun, like chew gravel]
Medaka Box Episode 7
Ok, I have to admit something. I just spent about 30 minutes complaining that I didn't want to watch Medaka Box anymore in a podcast just before writing this. As of this episode I take it all back. Episode 7 was full of some serious comedy. I think the point has been stopping looking for stuff thats not there and just enjoy this silly show.
The whole dynamic of the group is starting to gel pretty well, and Im actually liking the characters. Don't know anything about Shiranu? Well Zenkichi doesn't either, so who cares? The show is comfortable filling some pretty silly anime stereotypes, but has quite a bit of fun throwing jokes at it.
The first half of the episode dealing with Mogana Kikajima is just fantastic. Her addition as a character has really got me interested again. What did you guys think? Am I just way too high right now, or was episode 7 seriously funny. Something I'd like to see is an episodes more like 6 where both halves relate to the same arch. I'm hoping that the team will start to tackle issues that span more than one episode soon.
For now, Medaka Box is some good times. Is it me, or is the show also starting to look a bit better?
[Cheer on the treasurer over at Crunchyroll]
Kore wa Zombie desu Ka? of the Dead Episode 7
Something important finally happened this week on Zombie desu Ka? of the Dead, and boy is it a doozy. The episode started off promising enough when Haruna and Yuu swapped mana or something as a result of last weeks megalo fight, so hearing Yuu being able to talk and seeing Haruna quiet for once made for a really interesting and funny episode.
Of course, all that doom and gloom that loomed over the series finally reared its head as our new villain Chris was introduced. Albeit it was a bit obvious that this girl was a potential bad guy from the start of the season, there's still a very estranged relationship that was formed by her and Ayumu, so not only is deception involved in this conflict, but Ayumu is responsible for her becoming even more feared and powerful thanks to the ring given to her from last week.
Personally, I really enjoy Chris as an antagonist. Not only is her tragic curse of being a boring middle-aged male teacher only when she's sober only funny enough to fit in the Kore wa Zombie universe, but it's also sad in a way when she talks about growing older.
Oh, and Kyoko is coming back, too. Awwww yeah.
Eureka Seven: AO Episode 6
Okay, so things turned out a little better than I expected for the new Eureka Seven: AO this week. Big whoop. Actually, I'm kind of excited to see where BONES is going with their new villain, who wastes no time fucking around and infiltrating Generation Bleu at the end of the episode, but I'm getting ahead of myself...
The first portion of Ao chatting with Chloe this week initially was stupid to watch, as all it proved was that Ao never knows the right things to say and "can't understand what it's like" to be a pilot. Of course, there's this "ah-ha!" moment when Ao, after talking about Team Goldilocks now-late leader Bruno, realizes his place on Generation Bleu: the other pilots lack the feeling of helping civilians, thinking of their duty as "just another job" for them to take, while all the constant questions of why Ao is on the ship is due to Ao's lack of taking action.
When Ao finally realizes that he has to force them to respect him by saving all their asses fighting the Secret (the one that they began to fight without Ao's help because they didn't consider him any help), he goes out there, defeats the Secret, kick some ass and shows why he's on Generation Blue: because he wants to help protect people, something that the other pilots are passionless about. That's the kind of thing I was looking forward to in this series, and with next week looking to be a new game changer, this series is improving at a great rate.
Hyouka Episode 4 & 5
There was something unsettling about these last two episodes of Hyouka, but I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it was because Bach playing in the background just set me off and immediately reminded me of the Death and Rebirth/EoE DVD Menus, or because Satoshi, who actually got a lot of screen time and things to give his thoughts on, has a really chilling way of talking to Houtarou. In fact, the two really feel to have this animosity between them at times... moreso than just the two joking around. The odd thing about it is how cheerful Satoshi is all the time, and how it throws off Houtarou's sulking.
It doesn't take long for Houtarou to deduct a correct theory about the Hyouka... well, actually it takes almost an entire episode, but with all things considered, we get through a relatively major plot development very early on in the series. The next episode has the club confirming that yes, Chitanda's uncle was expelled from school for being the frontman of a protest, though it wasn't really as luxurious as future classmates would remember it by, instead he was more of a fall man, someone to take the blame.
In an interesting double whammy, the odd name "Hyouka" is finally revealed to be a pun, and Chitanda also finds out what it was that made her cry all those years ago. As great as it is to see these questions answered, it effectively leaves us completely lost as to what the next episodes are going to be about. There must be more to this mystery than what was solved, right? Of course, it was all but confirmed by someone who literally helped write the book, so for now the Classics Club has to go on that alone.
Of course, there are questions like where Chitanda's uncle is now, is the librarian telling the whole truth and what exactly was written in the first volume of the anthology for the club? It's kind of crazy how in a couple episodes, I'm left at a lost as to what could happen next in a show about a mudane, boring high school life.
Hiiro no Kakera Episode 8
Well, this was another episode of "bla bla bla," then Tamaki has a bad dream, then she goes and gets possessed for a few minutes, and both Mahiro and Takumi walk out on her. Whoops?
In any case, grandma is still baffling me with her complete non-involvement with what's going on. What's up with that, obaa-san?
The situation for Tamaki has become rather pathetic. The guys are all upset they didn't die trying and have to live with some kind of failure, while this girl is trying to understand what's going on with nobody bothering to help her. Not even her grandmother who is supposedly handing the mantle over to her as the previous Tamayori princess. No tips, no notes, no classes, nothing. She just rolled her granddaughter in when she was in dire need of assistance; too little, too late. It's a bit unfair towards her, even if she is kind of dumb.
[Catch it on Crunchyroll]
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