Hello there, and welcome to this week's edition of Annotated Anime, the weekly recap that's brought to you by conspicuous Tekken Tag Tournament 2 product placement. If I were in charge, that would be an Idolm@ster cabinet. Sadly, I'm not, resulting in a tragedy for the ages.
You know what's not a tragedy? Our recaps, of Nobuna Oda, Sword Art Online, Yuru Yuri, Space Bros, Dog Days', Muv-Luv, Accel World, Humanity Has Declined, Eureka Seven, Hyouka, Moyashimon, WHO IS IMOUTO?!, Tari Tari, and Kokoro Connect!
Muv Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse Episode 9 & 10
Wrapping up the briefing from last episode, the Argos test pilots are going to be involved in a war-time exercise with the help of the USSR pilots. Of course, this leads to a fair amount of derision from the experienced soldiers, but Yuuya's main concern is that the Scarlet Twins were not at the briefing. Afterwards, Yuuya spots Cryska laying into the punk asses that gave her problems the night before. When Yuuya talks to the girls, he finds that Cryska doesn't remember what happened the night prior. Strange indeed.
Tensions remain high at the beginning of the operations. The rest of Argos team helps Yuuya remain calm, but few things can truly prepare him for the BETA attack. It doesn't help that the USSR didn't provide enough front line troops to cover Argos team. I smell the scent of betrayal in the air, as the Kremlin tells the USSR to not provide support. When a bunch of BETA break off and try to ambush the soldiers, Yuuya pipes up and offers support in the form of his experimental weapon. Despite some initial reservations, the Zhar leader realizes that her team was sent out to be sacrificed, so she listens to Yuuya. After the support team withdraws, Yuuya fires the new weapon, which decimates the entire legion. Mission complete!
When everybody comes back to base, the USSR pilots are still surly and refuse to admit that Yuuya did anything of note. To be fair, they are looking pretty wrecked. It really bugs Yuuya, who requests to go hand-to-hand with the BETA. He's damn near pitching a fit. He manages to get through to Yui, who decides to take his request into consideration during scheduling. Unfortunately, now Yui is bothered.
While on forced leave, the USSR commander meets up with Yuuya, giving him a speech about his immaturity and how it could lead to the death of many. Yuuya attempts to argue back, but finds himself at a loss when she reveals more info about the Scarlet Twins. We also get a bit more insight about the connection the commander has with her unit, as they view her kind of like a mother.
When the BETA rear their ugly heads again, it seems that Yuuya will have to sit out the fight due to technical issues with the rail gun and the 94 Second. To make it worse, the Japanese government refuses to send out any of their engineers. The TSF company's rep and a USSR military guy recommend sending out Yuuya in the 94 Second, despite the problems. Hmm, that seems a bit suspicious… Yui seems to think something is up too, as she decides to sortie out in the 94 Second. Despite some initial objections, he realizes that Yui would be the better pilot for this test. Unforuntately, the TSF rep overrides Yui and forces the entirety of Argos team out to battle. That's even more suspicious. When the battle starts, things at least start off well. Yui gets dismissed to go out and assist Argos team, but then things get bad. The BETA begin an underground assault right next to the base. That…can't be good.
Humanity Has Declined episode 10
It took about ten episodes, but I've finally warmed up to the Fairies. Why? Because they're effing adorable this week, that's why. Our Protagonist recounts her first meeting with the heirs to humanity's present, and finds herself largely nonplussed. If she were in fact aware of her circumstances as the star of a Japanese cartoon, she'd likely discern the Fairies' subtext, which, as we've covered before, is as an analogue to modern society, particularly of the otaku persuasion.
It's telling, given just how past-humans, our Protagonist included, are totally OK with humanity "retiring" from the stage. The world is largely at peace, and everyone just seems content to live day-to-day until all the big people just fade away. Is it a commentary on Japan's lack of faith in the endurance of its institutions, or something about the birthrate, the "Lost Generation", herbivore men, and First World Problems. All things told, likely something from all of the above.
And what does Humanity Has Declined have to say about otaku this time? Nothing especially new, I figure, despite once more emphasizing the lack of restraint and impulsiveness of otaku. To a director grown up or influenced by the work-till-you-die ethic of pre-90's salarymen (I'm being presumptuous here about Seiji Kishi's worldview, mind), that is certainly a long way to fall.
[Fall even further, herbivores, as you watch on Crunchyroll]
Accel World episode 21
This time it's training for Taku as he and Haru manage to loli-love Scarlet Rain into spilling details about the Incarnate system. Thankfully for all involved, they skip over Taku's training (since we've already seen Haru's), and just get a briefing on his childhood baggage.
Instead, Haru goes on some live-action Matlocking to find out how Nomi's doing the matchlist Haxx0ring, accompanied by...a maid. Speaking with Saber's voice and manner, who has a net avatar of a red leopard-head lady wearing Celty's jumpsuit.
I think I'm in love. Or, I would be if the girl didn't speak in internet acronyms, like NP ("En-Pee") and so on. I bet if she was familiar with English she'd be saying OMG (Oh-Em-Gee) and LOL (El-Oh-El). I say "facepalm", and drag her out of the damn chatroom.
Dog Days' Episode 9
And finally, we have begun the next round in the Flonyard War Games! The tensions are heating up for Biscotti as Eclair is having trouble with keeping her cool. Rico attempts to assess the situation, but Eclair fights back and repels the young maiden. Are my eyes deceiving me? No they are not. It looks like Leo is going to commence a one-on-one challenge that will put Eclair's honor at stake. Will this be an easy victory for Galette, or will the goddess of victory be on Biscotti's side.
Characters going through problems in Dog Days Prime? There is no way that these issues going to linger on, since this is the kind of series where everyone focuses on interaction and fun recreational activities. At least we know that Leo can still put up a good fight against the all powerful Oversoul.
Round one was definitely a nice turn of events with Eclair and Rico both learning a valuable lesson at the end. Though I am mostly waiting until Adel and Valerie join in, since they are currently the strongest contenders for now. However, there might be a chance that Cinque and Gaul's Hero Crystals might even out the odds.
[Go toe-to-toe with Dog Days Prime at Crunchyroll]
Yuru Yuri S2 Episode 10
It seems that Sakurako and Himawari are getting even more of the spotlight, as this episode was more or less entirely theirs. Sure, there was the whole Chinatsu and Akarin thing, but really, who cares about that! We have the perfect tsundere relationship going on, so grab some popcorn and enjoy it! Wait, we see them as children in this episode? Are they trying to kill me? Freaking adorable!
It was far from the main focus of the episode, but what little we did see of Kyouko and company at the hot springs was just fantastic. For those that may have jumped into Yuru Yuri from this season, we have already seen the school trip in a previous episode from the first season. However, instead of simply being a 'what did the other girls do in the meantime' episode, they play it off as if it never happened. The author of the manga has actually made a comment about how she doesn't want the girls to age, so there's a bit of endless eight-ing going on, I feel!
Picking up duplicate gifts was a nice nod back to the first season, but there are a lot of little throwbacks to older episodes too. Did you notice the can that Akarin rolled down a hill with? It was in the forest that Sakurako and Himawari were walking through, at around 5:20. Very cool!
[These schoolgirl shenanigans can be observed for educational purposes on Crunchyroll!]
Space Bros. Episode 22
We finally get to hear about who won rock-paper-scissors to get the guaranteed trip to Houston, and as expected, Nanba didn't make it. However, it seems one other spacebro (plus the other spacegal) had made the cut, and of course the show was going to make us wait until right at the end to reveal that to us. Of course Nanba made it through, but what was really surprising was that it seems that his Phoenix Wright-looking buddy didn't make the cut. I'm sure it'll be explained, but I'm going to guess that it was due to his reaction to the comments about his family in the simulation.
I doubt that we've seen the last of him though, as I'm sure he'll be a spacebro eventually. However, for the time being, Nanba joins Serika and Reiji as the luckier members of his group. The anime certainly doesn't show signs of finishing any time soon, so unless we're getting a season two, I'd expect this one to run past the usual 24 or 26 episodes. Not that I mind either, as I'm still enjoying it!
[Space pugs can be found on Crunchyroll!]
Sword Art Online Episode 9
Well the shit hit the fan relatively fast this week, as Kirito, Asuna and Klein bump into a military squad on their way to try and beat Gleam Eyes, the giant boss monster from the last episode. Our crew arrives to the boss room just in time to see the pushy squad leader killed. As luck would have it, teleportation items don't work in this particular room, meaning it's kill or be killed. Asuna freaks out and rushes in to try and save the survivors, but there isn't much she can do alone. Kirito and Klein charge in after her, working together to push back the beast. Kirito pulls back and is forced to his his unique skill which grants him the ability to use two swords at once. If you were wondering what happened to the sword Lisbeth made for him a few episodes ago, here's your answer.
Our hero manages to defeat Gleam Eyes by himself, though he nearly pays the ultimate price for it. Asuna throws herself into his arms and the two players share a touching moment together. Klein heads upstairs with the rest of his guild members to activate the stairwell to the next level. Asuna reveals that she's indefinitely taking a break from her guild so that she can party with Kirito. Read as: I love you and I don't ever want to let you go.
Unfortunately, things don't go so smoothly and the leader of the Knights of Blood, Heathcliff, requests a one on one duel with Kirito. If he wins, Kirito is forced to join the guild. If our hero wins, he and Asuna get to go off on their own.
This was another fun episode with some really smooth action and dramatic music. I was a little saddened that Gleam Eyes wasn't quite as evil-looking/terrifying as he was in the comics, but the showdown was still entertaining. They're moving some pieces of dialogue around and speeding things up a bit, but on the whole this latest SAO arc has been following the 1st novel pretty well.
Here's to hoping that they don't spend one entire episode on the duel next week.
Also, YAY MORE LISBETH.
[Catch Sword Art Online over at Crunchyroll]
Moyashimon Episode 9
It’s a full episode of story this time. Not too shabby of an episode either.
We are still in France this episode and we get a little brief update right at the beginning. The overview of it all is still getting Hasagawa back to Japan. Which, that, I didn’t think that it would take this long. It’s been a steady so far, but it just hasn’t gotten up any higher as the series progressed. I find myself emotionless while watching it. I’m in cruise control from here on out to finish this series.
The food and learning is nice from the series, but it just isn’t enough to carry the series. Not even the rescue story is enough to help out at this point. It’s just not as fun as it use to be. *sigh*
Let’s just hope that it starts picking up and a grand finish a waits.
Microbe Theater: Yeasts in the cave
[Couples hold hands at Crunchyroll]
The Ambition of Oda Nobuna Episode 9
The most dramatic episode yet, this week's Nobuna have us wrapping up the battle with Hisahide and the possibility of betrayal of Mitsuhide with the showdown at the burning temple of Honnoji. What isn't quite right is the abduct of Monkey, which results in Nobuna heading out with a rescue party, into the trap of a sniper-assassin.
In retrospect a lot happened within the episode, which contributes to the ebb and flow of the story this week. Thankfully the rest of the strange men and women that Monkey met at Kyo all contributed a little bit in rescuing and defeat of Hisahide, who surrenders to Nobuna when she valiantly returns to Kyoto both to save Mitsuhide and to save the city. The main Oda army left Kyoto to reinforce their homelands when the word of their enemies joining hand, leaving the city vulnerable. That is when Hisahide confronted Mitsuhide in an ambush, and in her defeat she sees the possibility of a better future for the likes of outcasts like her.
If you overlook a bunch of little things, I'd say this week's Nobuna is actually kind of moving. Perhaps all of this is too much for just 22-or-so minutes, so things felt a little crammed, but it turned out okay.
[Change history on Crunchyroll!]
Nakaimo Episode 8
Imagine the scenario: you are the heir of a mega-corp, you are enjoying a brief reprieve after a long day of work, and just catching up on the latest financial news on TV. Behind you is a beautiful woman doing naked gymastics in your bedroom. Welcome to the life of Shogo Mikadono. Sadly, what I just described comes from a late night, otaku-pandering, not-really-your-sisters harem sort of anime. And perhaps that's why Nakaimo is still sort of watchable.
And yeah, week's Nakaimo isn't that miserable. Shogo again tried to trick the girl in question, student council vice-president Rinka Kunitachi, using a borrowed phone and a little raccoon strap. The double-date with Ikisu, Tendo and Rinka is a nice change of pace, although that zombie shooting game is both very cool and took a turn for the strange when the couple was shot with a strange gooey substance.
Actually, what saved this week's episode is how Rinka decided to take a 180 and make a move in order to get with Shogo by half-stripping in the club room. After forcing her to confess to the circumstances that lead to her earlier interruption over the PA, it seems Rinka finally warmed up to him. Believe it or not, she wanted to ditch her existing fiance because it would have tied her to a corporate family not to her liking. It's kind of ironic when Rinka's parents easily let it go when Rinka is now going after Mikadono.
I suppose in retrospect this week's plot feels forced, but the end result was entertaining enough. Rinka is definitely the least interesting character in Shogo's harem in my opinion, being just a straight-up oujo-sama type. I suppose Tendo still has something hidden up her sleeves as I suspect the story will turn that way next week.
[Get your own voice-changing cellphone on Crunchyroll!]
Eureka Seven: AO Episode 18
Why is it that the teenagers that pilot giant robots are the ones who are the most mentally unstable?! It's fucking psychotic to imagine it's justifiable to aim a giant blaster cannon at your innocent people because they're trying to stop your crazy ass from starting a war, Elena. I think lately more and more GR anime are trying so hard to be real and grimdark that a lot of those studios forgot that it's the robots that make the series interesting. Yeah, sure teenagers are stupid and would likely react with feelings and hormones if under the stress and pressure of saving the world every week, but that's boring and surprisingly predictable to watch now.
Does it make sense that Elena and Fluer are going nuts this week? Well, I guess so... but it's so goddamn boring and stupid to watch teenagers act all shitty and then get their way. I feel like I could enjoy this series a lot more if I knew the whole story leading up to the original Eureka Seven, if I knew how Generation Bleu becoming terrorists would affect between now and the future, if I knew how exactly this would all tie up in the end. It's the act of waiting to see if this will all make sense in the end that'll bug me for the next few weeks. I want nothing more than to see loose-ends from the first series to be tied up thanks to this show... but right now it just seems to me that this is nothing more than to make the mythology of the universe way more complex and convoluted than necessary.
Tari Tari Episode 10
Vice-principal Naoko isn't just a hard-ass bitchy teacher... she's a hard-ass bitchy teacher who won nationals. Before, I just thought that she was crazy dedicated to making singing not fun, but now her determination to make things not fun are backed up by a fucking award. Boooo!
There's a lot of groan-inducing moments this week... like when Wien chases that thief, or when Naoko acts all tsundere around Wakana, or pretty much anytime the Western Shopping District Rangers are onscreen... okay, scratch that: the part when Wien starts singing is pretty hilarious and awesome, but his stupid speech before that was super lame. My point is is that aside from learning a bit about the vice-principal, this episode was just kinda boring to me.
We find out Naoko wasn't always all that bad and actually has a heart too, surprise surprise... but I guess hat died along with Wakana's stupid mother. I'm still baffled by how P.A. Works expects me to be content with storytelling like this. No teacher in the world who takes singing so seriously would be this cruel to students who also love the same thing. I fail to see why the vice-principal is acting like Dr. Claw trying to take the fun out of singing, and the worst part is that I'm afraid that she'll have a heel-turn come the end of the series! Even though she's a bit too mean to be believable, the last thing I want is the vice-principal to become miraculously nice. Ewww, can you imagine that?!
Hyouka Episode 20
The tension between Chitanda and Houtarou is getting unbearable! At this rate, neither of them will be able to ask the other one out: Chitanda is too uptight (which is a crucial MacGuffin in this weeks episode) and Houtarou probably won't ever come out of his shell. Plus, he doesn't really seem like the type who dates...
So I guess as the two freeze together in a shed, the best thing to do is to throw in some more awkward, sexual tension. Don't get me wrong, it's cute and funny to see these two try and tip-toe around the fact that they're in such a dirty situation and to see them brainstorm an overtly complicated escape is kind of silly and unnecessary, but still entertaining to see unfold.
I'm just personally disappointed that this week's mystery only really took place in a couple locations... here I was thinking that the focus would be on Jummonji and her shrine, though I guess that's for another day to come into place. Satoshi getting a victory over Houtarou proved him to maybe be a bit more cocky about his detective work, and on a separate tangent... seeing Ibara with a ponytail was fucking adorable.
Kokoro Connect Episode 9
In this episode, Taichi finally "gets it," and swoops in to save the day with the realization that everyone is better off if they're together rather than stuck off in their own worlds. It takes only a bit of convincing -- Aoki invites Yui to a love hotel -- for people to fall in line and things to return to normal.
Well, except for Inaba.
She gets a visit from Heartseed, who threatens to have her burn down "that place" that's precious to her. Naturally, she falls in line at the end of the episode, and that's that. But now we're digging into what is in Inaba's dark and mysterious past, which we will likely see splayed out for everyone by the end of this arc. The final arc, if anything, might try to pair her up romantically with Taichi, because he gets all the bitches.
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