Welcome to another edition of Annotated Anime, the weekly recap that got a story all about how its header got flipped (turned upside-down). It'd like to take a minute (just sit right) there, to tell you all about when...I got nothin'.
Oh wait, we do got somethin'! Recaps, that's what! Sweet, sweet recaps of Humanity Has Declined, Muv-Luv Alternative, Kokoro Connect, Yuru Yuri, Accel World, Gundam AGE, Sword Art Online, Tari Tari, Dog Days, Hyouka, Nakaimo, and Space Bros.!
So get readin'! The recaps aren't flipped (turned upside-down), so that's a non-issue.
The Akari Who Leapt Through Time Episode 11
Holy rum raisin. Season two of Yuru Yuri has been pretty good thus far, nothing massively new and exciting but very much more of the same. This is a good thing in case you were wondering, but it's safe to say that I wasn't expecting to be blown out of the water by either of the remaining two episodes of this show.
Boy, was I wrong!
Now I know that the episodes are usually pretty weird. You can't really say that they feature 'normal' goings on. However, this is probably the first episode where we get to see some actual fictional plot device as Akari ends up being whisked into the past by a time machine they happened to find in the clubroom closet. She ends up alone in the past, one year previously and the day before she would actually start school. While she initially panicked, it quickly turns into a chance to change her future, but nothing she does seems to go the way she wants.
That might be a little too much like a film synopsis, but I'd rather you check the episode out than have me state what happens if you haven't already seen it. All I can say is that the episode is masterfully written, melding a good amount of comedy with plenty of reason to actually care for the characters involved. That's right, Yuru Yuri gave me all these feels and I can't cope.
[These schoolgirl shenanigans can be observed for educational purposes on Crunchyroll!]
Space Bros. Episode 23
Oh Space Bros, I knew you wouldn't leave Phoenix behind! I'm glad we actually get a reasonable excuse for the mix up with who had made it through to the next round, but it certainly feels like a deliberate plot twist and not a clumsy excuse for suspense. I've had plenty of that from other anime, thank you very much! While Nanba waits for his flight to Houston, he managed to make some money dressing as Santa, so the episode is pretty much a must watch.
It's going to be really interesting seeing everyone gather in America, especially how everyone will act around those that were not in the same tests together. Also to see if Nanba actually mans up and gets things rolling with Serika, but one thing at a time I guess. It was also nice seeing Hibito show up at the end of the episode and spouting a clumsy line that shows his feelings on Nanba's progression. A week of feel good anime, it seems!
[Space pugs can be found on Crunchyroll!]
Nakaimo Episode 9
Finally, we see the mysterious self-professed sister candidate. Yuzurina first met our acquaintance during Rinka's arc as a visiting member of rich people we see grilling Shougo. Now she is Shougo's new neighbor, planning to attend the same school once she graduates from middle school in a few months. As far as using the voice acting as a guide, Yuzurina is the voice that clued Shougo in from the first episode. But is she really his sister?
Most of this week's episode is having Yuzurina observe and excite the situation a little. Shougo's harem is pretty much established at this point. At one point the teacher (full with her one-piece swimsuit with teddy bears on them) walks in on Shougo and three girls on top of him, and three other girls stands in the gallery. I'm not sure what is really going on besides that, yes, another DNA test is being ordered, and yes, looks like Seri-san is hiding something.
Yuzurina's position is simply too obvious and the facts line up somewhat conveniently, which makes for good foreshadowing in my book. At the same time, she adds something that the show is missing, albeit all that simply means now we have a normal harem mechanics at work, nine episodes later.
[Sniff for women on Crunchyroll!]
The Ambition of Oda Nobuna Episode 10
Finally, the historic reenactment of the battle at Anegawa is being set. Nobusumi and the heir of the Azai seat of power get their quiet moment of double gender-swapped union in matrimony, although it is a definite surprise to see Azai Nagamasa being actually a well-endowed woman. Almost as surprising is to see the cross-dressing Nobusumi calming Nagamasa, and how he escapes to deliver that historical double-tied bag to Monkey.
The tearful scenes for Nobuna this week are a little moving, mostly because you aren't sure what will happen as the plot has strayed from history in a big way. It's very good to see Danjo being a helpful member of Team Oda already, although for this major battle everyone pinched in, including Ieyasu, Hanzo, Nene, Zenki, and Goemon's rugged men (I guess they didn't all die rescuing Dousan Saito). Mitsuhide has her one moment of tsundere in order to make up for all her wrongdoing in the previous Honnou-ji event, but it was mostly a Nobuna episode as far as all that romantic drama goes.
Of course, all this action boils down to a cliff hanger as tries to Nobuna escape via the skin of her teeth, her various retainers busy holding back their enemies. How will Monkey fare? Even with modern technology and tactics, will history be on his side?
[Camp the chokepoint on Crunchyroll!]
Sword Art Online Episode 10
Bow chicka wow wow.
As fate would have it, hundreds of players come to spectate Kirito's big duel with Heathcliff, much to the former's chagrin. The battle appears to be pretty even and our hero moves in for the finishing strike, only to find himself defeated after feeling as though time itself had stopped. It's clear that Heathcliff used some kind of underhanded trick to turn the tide.
Forced to join the Knights of Blood, Kirito finally opens up to Asuna, revealing to her the truth as to why he avoided ever joining a guild. A year or so after failing to save Sachi and co, he still holds himself responsible for their deaths. Asuna assures him that there's nothing to worry about; she'll be the one protecting him. The next day, Kirito goes out on his first assignment, a training exercise with none other than Kuradeel. Despite their differences in the past, Kuradeel apologizes for his behavior and the two of them follow their instructor out into the field.
Stopping for a lunch break, Kirito notices that Kuradeel isn't digging into his food. A terrifying realization hits him all too late; the drinks were spiked with a paralyzation item, forcing Kirito and his commanding officer to the ground. Kuradeel mercilessly kills the other player before turning his attentions to Kirito. It turns out that our slightly insane bodyguard was a former member of of the PK guild, Laughing Coffin. Kuradeel slowly digs into our hero's HP until a sliver of life is left, when suddenly Asuna saves the day with a fury of quick strikes. As soon as she noticed a player signal disappear, she rushed to the scene as fast as she could.
Unable to finish him off, Kuradeel siezes the opportunity only to find himself with a sword through his body via Kirito. With the traitor dead, our couple share a tender moment together and Kirito tells Asuna that he wants to spend the night with her. Back in town, the two finish dinner and Asuna takes her clothes off, making the mistake of thinking Kirito meant sex. Wacky romantic hijinks ensue and the couple end up having sex anyway. Huzzah! Asuna proposes that they both hang back from the front lines for a while and Kirito agrees, suggesting they buy a house on one of the lower levels. He asks her for her hand in marriage and all is right with the world!
Yeah. Like I said, episode 10 covers a huge amount of material and while the pacing jumps around a lot, I was fairly impressed they managed to squeeze as much as they did into 24 minutes. For those of you wondering, the novel explains that there's a system in place for sex, though it's locked away under system menus. Basically Akihiko Kayaba made sure everything necessary was in place for a long, realistic experience in SAO.
According to episode listings, this big arc should be finished around episode 14. In the meantime, next week promises another short story, though this one as actually quite important.
[Catch Sword Art Online over at the Crunchyroll]
Accel World episode 22
I think Accel World is trying to turn me into a cat - or rather, catgirl - fancier, and in a more intense sense than simply liking "the nekomimis" would imply. Why else would Blood Leopard, the Saber-voiced stoic, wearing a maid uniform in real life and Celty's jumpsuit on the internet, have such an appealing Duel Avatar, what with its vampiric leopard shapeshifting and general "felininity"?
Though I do have to call out the pair on improper use of gaming slang. "GG" is for when the match is over. You should have said "GJ" (for Good Job"). Example!
Either way, that's a sweet aside to the two juicier bits of the episode, the most plot-relevant of which involves Haru looking up Wikipedia on a hunch and finding Nomi's secret - he's using old, illegal, pre-Neuro Linker brain implants to cheat and hide from the Brain Burst matchmaking system. In true "this is an action show fashion", he doesn't go to the authorities and have the jerk expelled, but instead uses it to force a final to-the-death-uninstall fight, with Nomi and Chiyu vs. Haru and Taku. Given how much I dislike Nomi I'm hoping, however unlikely, that once the battle is over someone still finds a way to get the little prick expelled.
That said, the revelation of this secret raises some weird questions, or rather plot holes. How exactly does having a hidden internet access implant become an advantage? As far as I remember there wasn't anything particularly "stealthy" about the ways those implant chips worked versus Neuro Linkers besides the natural absence of the visible "collar". Unless you're using some kind of proxy, ala the remote challenger from Okinawa during Snow Black's aside, having a secret router doesn't hide your presence except from people you don't know have it on you. You're still connecting to the network, which can be logged. But hey, shonen action show! Roll with it, right?
The other juicy bit of showtime here leaves a slightly disturbing (and tangy) aftertaste, mainly involving Chiyu explaining why she's hooked up with Nomi. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but it basically boils down to her acting out and going "Hey it's just a game, don't take it so serious, we're still friends IRL, here touch my boob. C'mon, DOOO EEET, isn't that better than silly games?"
Honestly I can sympathize with her. Haru does take the game far too serious, but I'm not sure if joining forces with someone actively bent on griefing the poor piglet is the way to convince him of his folly. And didn't she join Brain Burst in the first place to try rekindling their childhood friend trio? Way to do the opposite.
[Two routers, one catgirl fancy. On Hulu and VizAnime]
Humanity Has Declined episode 11
Serious business abounds, with nary a trace of Humanity Has Declined's dry wit and canny subtext. I'd be inclined to call this the weakest episode of the series so far, in fact. Mind, despite being a grey comedy for most of its run, shows, especially fairly complex ones, are permitted divergence, but to be frank I can't quite see the point here. Is it a commentary on bullying? School? Borderline sociopathy?
And to get into the whole bullying drama thing, I have to say that I can't fully sympathize with Our Protagonist. Bullying happens, certainly. And it hurts. Teens are complicated and do a lot of stuff that feels counterproductive to what they want. Evangelion has taught me that there really are people who have extreme difficulty forming relationships, even when it's the thing they want more than anything else in the world, but sh*t, man, the girl could at least make an effort to give back, rather than push away time and time again with all the cynicism and paranoia of that loner kid you're convinced will either pass through high school unnoticed and unloved...or come into class one day with a gun and a mind to pull the trigger. Too soon?
About the only humor to be had is to see Our Protagonist's first attempt to reciprocate the social connection backfire when she finds her newfound friend to be a clingy nutball, but that's not exactly encouraging, either. Is it a statement on the futility of giving back? I hope not.
At best I can see this as a belated origin story, one that explains how Our Protagonist goes from this thoroughly unlikeable Ice Queen to the witty, dry, sharp, eloquent, utterly loveable "diplomat" and confectioner. Let's hope that this is what will go down, shall we?
[Make friends...please. Or just watch and facepalm on Crunchyroll.]
Tari Tari Episode 11
Well, that's a bummer.
The musical is finally shaping up, and Wakana is slacking with that masterpiece. It's much harder to write a song than Wakana first thought, and now that she's pressured by the always loud Konatsu, things are starting to look up for the club.
Of course, before things even really start, they're put too an end thanks to the big bombshell this week: the White Festival is cancelled due to school remodeling. Although something in the works was obviously brewing these past few episodes, I never considered how all of the students in the school were affected by the loss of the event. For the Choir Club, it's devastating news, especially for Wakana and Konatsu.
The gang sucks it up, though, as the five decide to go with it anyway and make the damn play. Maybe they'll get the nation to join hands and stop that big, bad ol' foreman, making him see the error of his ways before giving Wakana a medal for writing the greatest song ever conceived.
Hyouka Episode 21
Now it makes sense why Houtarou and Satoshi are friends: they're both selfish know-it-all's who love to over-think things.
The case of the mysterious chocolate wasn't really a tough nut to crack... I knew whodunit from the beginning, and most of our protagonists knew it from the beginning, although things getting sadder as time went on doesn't help make it easier to watch. The pain from everyone involved was overbearing: Houtarou doing and saying anything to hide from the truth, Chitanda feeling guilty for betraying her best friend, Mayaka trying to smile over the whole situation, and Satoshi...
We knew all along about the relationship Satoshi and Mayaka have, and knowing that he was responsible for the crime immediately puts the audience in an awkward position similar to our characters. It's the work of KyoAni's subtle storytelling: shifty eyes and nervous body language make for some telling signs, and if we don't know the whole story why Satoshi just can't accept Mayaka's offer, then automatically we can only assume the worse.
It's a really well done story that perhaps would have benefited from a less happy ending, though the fact that this show doesn't have to rely on cheap mysteries alone to keep the viewers on edge is a testament to how wonderful it's become. I'm really curious about how everyone's going to act in next weeks episode, especially since Chitanda hinted towards... something with Houtarou that day. Oooooo doggie!
Dog Days' Episode 10
Just as I was getting excited for the next war, Pastillage's old timers are leaving the games to the youngsters. Curse you, Dog Days Prime, why must you come up with an excuse to keep Adel and Valerie from participating in battle? But wait there is more! The battlefied gets filled with one-one battles ranging from aerial bullet-hell fights to a duel that transcends generations.
Millhi must be one daring princess as she takes Rico with her against Cou and Becky, which is an unfair advantage for Biscotti. For one, Becky has her Yugioh and Magic the Gathering cards while Millhi only has her Saber-like arsenal. However, Rico refuses to give up in the face of danger. In the midst of chaos, a mysterious individual makes a dashing entrance. Seeing how she did such a great job in concealing herself, it did not take much effort to figure out her identity.
Since everyone happens to be so likable, it's hard to choose a side to route for in the current war. Never mind, all of my money is going on Pastillage. Sure we have Cinque and Gaul's Hero Crystals, but Pastillage has the flying magical gun squirrels! And as much as I want to route for the main hero, I do my best not to associate myself with those that commit illegal actions.
Find out next week if Pastillage will reign supreme as Flonyard's number one kingdom!
[Take flight into Dog Days Prime at Crunchyroll]
Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse Episode 11
With the BETA set to attack the main base, the Soviets issue an order for retreat. However, that also includes everybody in the experimental weapon hangar. Hmm, do I sense betrayal afoot? Yep, especially sense we find out that the Soviets never filled up the holes from the last BETA attack.
On the field of battle, Argos team and the Soviet grunts are ordered to stay away from the base of operations. While Argos team gets the order for retreat, the grunts are told they have to hold the line. What a bad way to go. We'll see if they whole group listens to that order or they go with Yuuya.
Since Yui figures out that things aren't right, she ignores the evacuation order and heads to the hangar to destroy the weapon. While she finds an tech who also ignored an order, she discovers that some Soviet has messed with the self-destruct mechanism and can't destroy the gun. To make matters worse, several BETA arrive at the end of the episode and pop their head into the hangar. Hoo boy, that's going to be a rough time for Yui and tech whose name I can't remember.
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE Episode 45 -47
Oh AGE, how do find ways to disappoint me? You've already lowered my expectations to sub-Earth levels, how can you make me like you less? It should be impossible!
Zeheart battles SID, the giant unmanned mech built by the EXA-DBs knowledge. The fight doesn't go well for Zeheart, despite the incredible enhancements inherent in the Gundam Legilis. Asemu arrives and helps Zeheart survive the fight and manages to destroy the EXA-DBs center. Wow, he finally did something of use! Well, not quite. A tiny bit survives, along with SID's core. Hmm, that wasn't ominous whatsoever… While he doesn't get anything out of the encounter, Zeheart babbles about finally mastering the Legilis.
Jumping back to the Earth sphere, the Federation prepares for the imminent attack on the Vagan's fortress. Kio acts all mopey about war and gets a necessary heads up from Seric about saving his enemies. The little shit should listen, but we know he won't because of UNDERSTANDING. He even gets a new upgrade for the FX, but the ingrate just mopes and refuses to use it. Everybody hops into their bots and prepare to head out into battle.
Things get complicated for everybody right away. First, one of the surviving pilots from the beginning of this age goes out in a random super weapon to take out the Gundam. Next, fat man Zanald refuses to acknowledge that Zeheart is Ezelcant's successor, DESPITE HEARING THE OLD MAN SAY SO. Finally, the first of Kio's team dies when the Vagan attack earlier than Flit or Algreis thought they would. The Diva prepares a counter attack, but Seric gets caught on the Vagan spaceship after destroying the crappy super-weapon. He tells the Diva to fire anyway, so yet another competent pilot dies when the Diva opens another hole in the Vagan's defense.
Kio runs into the brother of the girl who died on Second Moon and the two duke it out. When it looks like they might be able to talk it out, Zanald destroys the guys ship to attack Kio. The little punk ass activates the FX Burst mode and nearly kills Zanald, but he stops and lets the Vagan escape. Why? UNDERSTANDING.
You know, I'm going to save all the bitching I want to unleash for the FInal Impression piece that will go up in about three weeks. You can guarantee that there will be fire and flames and I will fry this stupid show. For now, I will let it sink in that the main character let a villain go right after the guy killed his friend. Not just any villain, the same guy who caught him earlier and poses a threat to his whole cause and wants him dead as well. Yep. Figure that one out.
Kokoro Connect Episode 10
Finally! Resolution! Revolution! Romance! All the things we've been looking forward to with this arc. The "desire unleashing" aspect of things has really toned down, and the lesson here is that these kids need to loosen up and actually express what's on their mind. As an aside, I can't help but wonder if this is a comment to all of those people in Japan who are too "closed up" about showing their emotions.
Well, Nagase and Inaba have a fight over who loves Taichi. The nice thing is, they actually have an argument about their feelings and misconceptions, and come to a mutually beneficial conclusion by the end of the episode. Then, by the end, we even get a confession scene!
All of this is too much for my heart to bear. What I continue to enjoy about Kokoro Connect is that people actually confront their feelings and do something about it. They don't just endure. That is a terrible quality to celebrate -- simply enduring through pain and suffering without attempting to do anything about it.
Moyashimon Episode 10
It’s time to air the dirty laundry.
Hasagawa and Marie finally let loose their emotions. This is another one of those episodes where nothing funny happens. I was coming into this show a more of a comedy with educational elements just like the first one, but this time it has turned completely into a drama at this point. There are no educational segments this time around. Nothing that would even be considered that except at the very end of the episode.
So in a nutshell, Hasagawa confronts her, what was, soon to be husband to clear the air on how she feels. The entire back story that we have seen so far finally makes sense and by the end we have about 85% closure on this part. On the other hand, we have Marie and her father. We find out that her father can’t drink alcohol which Marie was not aware of. That has to be tough to be a wine maker and can’t even drink it. Makes it even harder to get it right if you can’t taste your own product. Marie is fed up with her father’s lack of trying new ways that she wants to have it out with him. Unfortunetly, this will have to wait till the next episode. *le sigh*
Microbe Theater: Intestine bacteria
[Catch gastro at Crunchyroll]
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