Happy Thursday everyone! It's time for another installment of Annotated Anime, the weekly animated recap that in one screenshot managed to describe the Japanator staff's daily activity. Just take away that "And also" part and you've got whole scheduled down pat!
But, between exaggerated reaction faces, we also managed to stuff our mind-faces with Japanese cartoons, writing them down here. Let's take a look at our menu, shall we? We've got heaping helpings of Gundam AGE, Muv-Luv Total Eclipse, Yuru Yuri, Phi Brain, Space Bros. Nakaimo, Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, Moyashimon Returns, Dog Days Prime, Eureka 7 AO, Hyouka, Tari Tari, and Natsuyuki Rendezvous!
And don't forget our latest First Impressions writeups on this season's new offerings!
Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse Episode 4
Yuuya faces quite a few problems when he's forced to pilot one of the Japanese TSFs. He has trouble getting adjusted to the controls, which causes additional friction between him and Takamura. Things get worse when a joint exercise with the Soviets becomes proves disastrous for our cocky main man. Takamura seriously dresses him down, calling him talentless. What's interesting is that Yuuya admits his faults with the TSF, at least to himself. He's not unaware of his faults, it's just his utter distaste of Takamura and the Japanese people as a whole (shown in a racist-tinged flashback) clouds his judgement.
While walking around the base and trying to clear his head, Yuuya runs into Inia, one half of the Soviet TSF team. The little gal takes him back to her quarters to try and cheer him up, but Cryska walks and in and apprehends Yuuya. He's tossed into a secret Soviet jail and is about to face some of their good ol' fashioned interrogating, but he's saved by the Argos team coming to pick him up. On the way back to base, they tell him that Takamura had to pull some strings with the UN to get him back. Once again, she tears Yuuya a new one, though we can understand why she's sensitive to his carelessness.
I'm glad that we got a bit more insight on Yuuya's racist opinion of the Japanese. It didn't make a lot of sense until we saw what he had to deal with growing up. While it doesn't really forgive such a narrow point of view, at least we have context. Not only that, but when the entire human race is threatened, you'd expect people to drop their petty beefs. What we actually see is that there's still a ton of issues between countries, especially with the Soviets. We know those guys are up to something, though who knows what at this point. Anyway, it looks like Yuuya's going to clash with Takamura next episode, so we'll see him get a slice of that ol' humble pie.
[You can watch Muv-Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse over at Crunchyroll!]
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE Episode 41
Despite the conflict edging toward the Federation, Asemu isn't quite sure that things are going well. Zeheart and Fram go out to fight Kio and the AGE-FX, but the pigtailed assistant decides to do the fighting herself. Kio proves to be more than a match for her, but his insistence on peaces IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIGHT puts him in a predicament. Lucky for him, daddy Asemu flies in and pulls him out. Kio and Asemu follow Fram back to Zeheart, where the conflict from the second age continues again. Oh yeah, and their hackneyed dialogue is back as well. Asemu tries to convince Zeheart that Ezelcant is a wack-a-loon, but the zombie ignores the advice and keeps fighting. Things look bad for Zeheart until Girad Spriggan, the green-haired Federation defector, comes for the assist. The next episode seems to be about Spriggan and why she defected.
Well, at least we're getting some serious combat now. On the other hand, we have Kio and his idiotic adherence to not killing pilots costing him time and the lives of his fellow soldiers. If he focused on just tearing through the Vagan instead of carefully removing the heads of the mechs and blowing up the bodies, then the conflict would be over much faster and with less casualties on the side of the Federation. Instead, he wastes time fighting a pretty princess robot and has to be saved by his pirate father.
Also, why does Fram have to pilot a unit that looks like a magical girl? Hell, it even has a baton with a laser ribbon. Throwing in peach-tinted robots that perform gymnastic acts in space is not how you get girls in Gundam. The best thing I can say is that the episode was animated well and the fighting looked a lot better than it has in weeks. Months even. Hopefully the bump in quality keeps going for these last ten episodes. That may be too much to ask for, but a fan can wish.
Yuru Yuri II Episode 4
Ayano doesn't cease to bring oodles of tsundere action into this show, does she? It may have only been for a few key moments (getting excited over some tissues and a tub of ice cream has its limits, I guess), but plenty enough to keep you sated. Makes you wonder how Kyouko hasn't noticed though. I mean, she's an otaku, it's in her blood to notice these things, isn't it?
I was going to say that this episode may have slowed down in comparison to the other three we've had thus far, but then that happened. Seriously, just give me twenty minutes of Rise being carried by Nishigaki-sensei and I'll be more than satisfied. I wonder how Chitose can even survive...
[These schoolgirl shenanigans can be observed for educational purposes on Crunchyroll!]
Phi Brain Season 2 Episode 16
Phi Brain, come over here. Don't worry, I'm not going to hurt you, just sit over there. No, over there. Good. Now, come a little closer. A little closer. I just need to tell you something...
Oh, calm down Phi Brain. You know you deserved that. How many times do you have to take a good idea and ruin it? I mean serio-, look at me. Look at me when I'm talking to you. LOOK AT ME. How many times? Where are you even getting these ideas, anyway? I'd be less bothered if you just produced the same old rubbish, but why do you feel the need to take a good idea and vomit all over it?
It's not funny. Stop laughing.
Do you enjoy it? Are you getting some sadistic pleasure over knowing that people are actually watching this? We've known for a long time that the second season was only given the go-ahead for the sake of merchandise and the doujin market. Just give it up already. One or the other, it's your choice. I've invested the time to watch 41 episodes of your sorry excuse for a show. Forty-one! I think it's about time you actually give something back to your watchers, and I don't mean more of the regurgitated efforts we've received so far. This is your final warning.
[You could watch this on Crunchyroll, or you could boil yourself]
Space Bros. Episode 17
I think it would be pretty easy to just fill this recap up with green card jokes, if I'm being honest. Still, that aside, we've had yet another good episode from our bro in space. Not bad really, considering they've been trapped in a box for the past 5-6 episodes. Completing blank puzzles and becoming somewhat of a Sherlock is pretty fun after all.
Though to be fair, I think we're about at the end of being able to watch the same kinda thing. There's some drama going down in one of the other pods, and we haven't even heard from the other one in ages, so let's find out about those guys, please? Perhaps someone went nuts over the alarm in the third pod and it's now a crime scene. That would be cool.
[This show is blasting off again via Crunchyroll]
Nakaimo Episode 3
"You're a huge pervert, aren't you?" And she's not even referring to the main dude in this show. A more serious question, another girl asks: "[B]ut where does romantic love start, and where does platonic love end?" And it's the guy who warns: "Don't wear my underwear!"
Episode 3 continues the trend in NakaImo where the lines sprouted out by the characters does all the lifting. They're simply deliciously outrageous, and sometimes I wish more anime took the direct route. Shougo is a straight man and he does not beat around the bush, either. Let's take a sample.
"Good morning, Shogo-kun." "We should get married." "Making a child seems like a rather complicated process, so we should begin practicing immediately so we do not fail..." "We are here to teach you to like women instead of men." "I'm surprised you have a sister complex, but I think it's better than just loving men." "Last night, I went to sleep wearing your underwear... Your underwear was warm." "If you make eye contact with Mizutani-kun, you'll make him pregnant!" "This is my delicious roasted soft-shell turtle with plenty of garlic." "Be sure to add lots of special viper and scorpion virility flakes. We even have some condensed seal extract supplement drink." "But, Kannagi-san, you have such a tight butt." "If you're hot, we should take off our pajamas." "I want you to learn to love girls." Lastly, "So you do want to make Mizutani-kun pregnant!"
Anyway, the line that best describes this episode is: "That's not even realistic!" When Shogo helps rain-drenched Miyabi home, he discovers Miyabi's special shampoo bottle and confronts her for being his sister. Strangely enough, she doesn't quite deny it, but she doesn't confirm either. It's one of those ripe-for-misunderstanding scenes common to harem romances, but knowing this show we might get an 180 from this the first scene in episode 4. I'm not going to even guess what ridiculous things these kids will say next week.
[There's a sister on Crunchyroll!]
Moyashimon Episode 3
I don’t know about you guys, but I am feeling as if I am missing something here. The series just seems to be flat. There is no spark or excitement to it like in the first series. As of right now I feel that I am just going through the paces then watching it and being informed and entertained. Sure hope something comes along soon to snap it back into place. I’d hate to see a good show like this rot instead of ferment.
Well then moving right along to the meat of the story we have...we have...not much going on. We do get to learn about miso balls and how they work on making miso. It’s kind of interesting to know. Hasagawa is still mulling over whatever research she is doing. It must be important to hold off on marriage if I am reading the signals correctly. Let’s see, we have some liquor store business knowledge dropped on us as well. Basically, how these small liquor stores stay in business compared to the big supermarket stores. Having worked a retail position for more than a decade, I have full knowledge on how both sides work. So it was nothing really new to me. The big thing thou is that we figure out what that doorway they have been looking for goes to. Then we find out it’s nothing special.
In a nutshell, we were all over the place with this episode but yet it still seems to tie itself up pretty well. I still don’t really have any idea on where this one is going in the end, but it better hurry itself up if it wants to keep the viewers attention.
Microbe Theater: Miso history
[Miso balls are at Crunchyroll]
Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate Episode 3
Ummm...yeah, so I was pretty good up until the last half of the episode. This started off with us establishing more of the direction of where this election will be going. Why are we doing this, how are we doing this, and what will our outcome be. Pretty simple stuff, really. We also get visited by the current student council president. He comes in to offer help to Oojima’s campaign strategy for the preliminary election. Since we know that he knows how to win an election. It goes into straight forward detail on how the whole process works, so for those of you who like the political stuff this is basics 101. For the rest of us, including myself, this is starting to be a small crash course in it. I’ve never been one for politics and I don’t plan to start either.
The comedy in this episode is either subtle or over the top. But they do seem to manage to make it funny at the right moments. They don’t try and break up the serious parts with blatant humor. This is fine by me overall because it seems to keep up with the pacing of the show. Now the parts that are already starting to get to me normally come at the end of the episode. I am getting too many what the @$%# moments without any explanation what so ever. Now I know they are there to make me want to find out what it means but come on! I’m not getting any closer to figuring out the last one and now you drop about three more on me?! Throw me a bone in the next episode to at least one of the questions, please!
Sword Art Online Episode 3
We skip ahead a few months as the stranded players have finally begun to find their footing in the SAO world. When last we left our hero Kirito, he had put on the mask of the villain in order to keep rumors of shady beta testers from spreading. With things having stabilized, our anti-hero finds himself teaming up with a group of kind-hearted high school students who really seem to appreciate his skills. For the first time since parting with Klein, Kirito feels comfortable enough to formally join their guild. In particular, he bonds with a girl named Sachi who he promises he'll keep safe.
Having raised enough money to purchase their own house, the guild leader heads off while Kirito and the others go to grind for some cash. They bump into a treasure trap which results in the entire group getting killed, leaving only Kirito alive. The guild leader commits suicide upon returning and our hero is left devastated. Months later and Christmas has rolled around. Kirito is in search of a special event boss that is rumored to drop an item that can revive dead characters. He bumps into Klein again, who buys time for Kirito when they get assaulted by a rival guild.
The boss monster is slain, but Kirito discovers that the item only revives players within ten seconds of their in-game death. He passes the item to Klein who in tears begs our hero to stay alive and make it to the end.
This was another solid, albeit depressing episode. I've actually started reading the novels and have come to understand that these first few episodes have actually been adapted from some short stories in the second volume. I think it's pretty cool that they're tackling the material in chronological order as it adds a little bit more to the game world.
Bring on the next episode!
Dog Days' Episode 3
We are at the bottom of the night, folks! Pastillage's new hero is unleashing some bullet hell upon the soldiers of Biscotti and Galette with no hope for both sides to retaliate. It's going to take on heck of a miracle to save both kingdoms, except that they cannot escape the wrath of Yugimon the Gathering as Becky sets off her trap cards and instant spell cards.
After the war comes to a close, Cinque decides to give Becky and Nanami the tour of his favorite areas to go to in the realm of Flonyard. Taking the furry ears and tails into account, Nanami and Becky end up getting the urge to pet the people that they are aligned with during the games.
So where is the conflict in Dog Days Prime? Well there isn't any, unless you want to count the competitions as one. Does it actually matter? Not really.
If Dog Days Prime decides to focus on the competitions throughout the entire season, then I would not want it any other way. The addition of Cou's faction manages to liven things up, and her obsessive crush on Becky is rather amusing. Once the resting is done, I look forward to the next round of the war.
[You can challenge Dog Days Prime's bullets of hell right over at Crunchyroll]
Natsuyuki Rendezvous Episode 3
The game between Ryusuke and Atsushi heats up as Rokka is in a vulnerable position. Between fits of fever and consciousness, the man and ghost ramp up their psychological warfare to win Rokka's love. Man, Ryusuke can be such a dirtbag, I love it.
Like the first two episodes this one nicely mixed some comedy elements with tragedy. The scenes of Atsushi stomping at the air, and Ryusuke teasing him that's he's not able to stomp on anything was pretty priceless. I ere ally like how the series shows some dirty dating attics. Come on, we've all been there. Doing some research on someone to try to win them over. Too bad it blew up in his face!
Actually, it should have blown up in Rokka's face so she'd blink.
Can Atsushi really take over Ryusuke's body? His ability to control physical objects may make him a more formidable foe than I first thought. Please let the body snatching begin! More painful awkwardness!
[Laugh and cry at the same time over at Crunchyroll]
Eureka Seven: AO Episode 14
The first half of this series was wholly unnecessary. It was almost as if the writers of this show were struggling each week to make an interesting anime, and then eventually struck gold with the inclusion of Eureka last week. It's really saddening how sloppy this spin-off has been handled, and now that we're actually getting somewhere with Eureka Seven: AO, I just want to move on and pretend the terrible moments from the last few months worth of build-up, because this show is getting preeetty good.
Naru does some crazy shit, Generation Bleu finds themselves in trouble, and Elena is about to tear some Coralian ass up. I'm getting a crazy Evangelion vibe with this latest episode... Secrets seem more menacing given their revealed motive and now Naru is acting all badass around Ao and shit.
A great episodes can't end without a twist, so having Naru become a pseudo-bad guy was perhaps the best way to not only set up next week, but also to mix-up the relationship between her and Ao, which is awesome. Oh, and there's a new ED, too. It's pretty sick.
Hyouka Episode 14
Bitches everywhere! Why so many bitches?! Why can't Mayaka just catch a break?
Well, she kind of does after this week on Hyouka. It seems all of those barters Houtarou made while doing nothing all day end up serving useful, as he's conveniently downgrades to flour, the final ingredient Mayaka needed for the cooking competition. Way to go, gang! We also see more of Mayaka and Satoshi acting cute together. D'awwww.
During the episode, Chitanda also is taught how to manipulate someone into helping you by the pro, Irisu... other things she was taught: how to seduce. Nice. It'd be interesting to see how all of the missing items from the last few episodes figure their way into the next episode, and perhaps it may be this anime's biggest mystery yet. But on the other hand... I wouldn't put it past KyoAni to screwing up when choosing who the culprit is. Still, I can't say that I won't regret sticking around until then...
Tari Tari Episode 4
Even though not much happened this week in Tari Tari, it was still somewhat refreshing to have an interesting episode not centered around Konatsu. Plus, I guess this anime isn't shy about putting Sawa in a bikini the entire time either, so there's always that.
The inclusion of the mariachi band Condor Queens was an odd spin on the kind of music I expected from the series, and even though this was just a thinly-veiled beach episode I'm still really glad that we see some progress in even the male characters and how they're just a little bit less useless compared to last week.
The only problem I had this week was Wakana. Let's hope she grows up by episode five, because when even the foreign exchange student fits in better than the hot, silent, mature bitch then that sets up for some groan-inducing drama scenes that I'd rather avoid in future episodes...
Accel World Episode 15
Bonus points to the show this week for the adorable Metal Slug ripoff. That said, I'd hardly think a game like that, even in VR, would be the sort of thing I'd try to lose myself in after a particularly awful week. By the looks of things, this is Haruyuki's most awful week ever.
What weirds me out about it, though, is that he doesn't seem to think it was. He still puts his lowest point in life at about episode 1, pre-Brain Burst, pre-Snow Black. I don't really buy it. Sure, being fat and bullied is kind of a miserable default state of affairs for anyone, but after all that's happened to him since, hitting that kind of low now should feel worse, right? He has a girlfriend, a guild, a game, two best friends, and internet status, but now he's being blackmailed under threat of violence and/or rape upon his childhood buddy. That's kind of worse than having your lunch money being taken every day.
Then again, his ego is still incredibly fragile. Minus points to the show this week for Nomi literally "taking his wings away". After everything that's happened one might think Haruyuki'd be more resilient than that by now, but again he's equating his self-confidence with his gimmick, as if he'd never actually grown from being blessed with a girlfriend, guild, and game.
It's probably for the best that he gets a chance to talk to his virgin Brain Burst matchup, Ash Roller, for a pep talk and/or team-up.
[Lose your wings, your lunch money, and your dignity on Viz Media and Hulu]
Humanity Has Declined Episode 4
Good satire goes down easy, mocking without making the mocked feel like they're being made fun of (or better yet, having them enjoy being made fun of). It's a little early to say whether Humanity Has Declined is truly good satire, but by now I think I have an idea of what I'd prefer to see from the show. That is to say, I'd like it not to bring out the fairies too often. Yes, I said it.
Why? Well, the fairies are Humanity Has Declined at its most blunt, angry, and polemical. As the "current-humans" of the show they clearly represent the end result of whatever moral/ethical/creative degeneration the show thinks otaku are suffering from. They may as well all wear signs that say "This is YOU, nerds!!" around their necks.
That's not to say the fairies aren't fun or enjoyable (again, good satire), when trotted out too often they risk becoming tiresome, even offensive (insofar as you can be insulted without feeling insulted).
Why do I bring this up when this week's episode barely featured them? Because this was a proper way of using them, popping them out in the middle to show that there's a statement to be made, then sticking them in at the end to rub a little salt in the wound. It's a tragicomic version of Bakuman, assuming Bakuman were about two twits letting their manga's pandering and narrative boondoggles get too far out of hand. And all with such sparing use of color and backgrounds!
Can the show continue to manage satire this easily and so cheaply (to animate)? I don't know, but I do know I want Miyuki Sawashiro to recite a list of comic book genres to me forever. Take me away, Y!
[Have Miyuki Sawashiro read you a list of comic books on Crunchyroll]
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