Welcome to another week of Annotated Anime, where we do do a battle mode change, though our mode switches from "usually" to "watch cartoons". Royal.
As per our royal cartoon-watching mode, we viewed the latest in animation from Glorious Nippon, including Accel World, Dog Days Prime, Moyashimon Returns, Gundam AGE, Muv-Luv Total Eclipse, Sword Art Online, Humanity Has Declined, and Brad Rice's anticipated return with Kokoro Connect!
Moyashimon Episode 5
Its harvest festival time at the university. This brings with it tons of food stalls, free produce, and an angry mob of house wives. It’s an absolute terror to see so many house wives on a mission. With the words free and produce put together, these house wives turn into super women able to gain the strength of ten men! The university even has the football and lacrosse teams to help out in keeping the mob subdued, but it is to no avail. The house wives on a mission make quick work of them and get to the stalls.
Meanwhile while that is going on, our main ragtag group is preparing a stall of their own. An alcohol one at that, but I didn’t know that you could just sell alcohol in Japan without a license? I might have to look into that later. Anyway, Misato and Kawahama are up to their old tricks on trying to make a quick buck. The stand, you see, is a tequila stand. So today’s lesson in fermentation is all about tequila. At which I was totally lost in whatever he was saying. Even the characters in the show were dumbfounded as well so at least I wasn’t alone.
All in all this was a bit more enjoyable of the episodes so far. We still don’t know what will happen to Hasegawa except that she just arrived in Paris. Other than that we are still left in the dark. Oh well, maybe next time.
Microbe Theater: Pulque
[Festival time at Crunchyroll]
Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse Episode 6
Argos Team ends up in the West Indies for a combination environmental test and a photo shoot to raise the moral of the people. Considering how many cute pilots ther are in this show, I'm surprised they didn't do this sooner! Even better, the Scarlet Twins are along for the ride. Hoo boy, that'll probably cause more than a couple of conflicts.
Despite the ridiculous antics, there is some character development here. Forcing the Scarlett Sisters to participate gets them to at least interact with the other pilots. Cryska coming down with … also lets Yuuya and Yui bond a bit more. When Yui busts her ankle, we see her crack that frigid facade just a bit. Then again, her subsequent flashback reminds us why she's as distant as she is. When Yuuya picks her up, it does end up being quite a cute moment between these two. Watching their budding feelings is quite amusing, as Yuuya is dense as stone and Yui is just as clumsy. The episode ends with Yuuya taking a walk in the rain and discovering that the raft has gone adrift.
With about half the series done, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. We've seen how brutal the show is willing to get, so I'm waiting for the episode to come where we start seeing named characters drop like flies. Considering the distance these guys are from the front lines, I understand that it's not going to happen quickly, but with only a couple episodes left, I'd like to see some more BETA action.
[You can watch Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse over at Crunchyroll!]
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE Episode 42 & 43
Just in case you didn't know, the pilot that Kio faces off against is Girard Spriggan. You know, since the show reminds you of this several times in the span of five minutes. She's a Federation pilot that defected when Luna Base turned traitor and she has it out for the Gundam. Since Kio is "fighting his own way", he can't even touch Girard and her smoldering rage. We get a flashback that reveals her real name is Reina, that she was a test pilot and she fell in love with a fellow test pilot that died because of a faulty X-Rounder system that got pushed too hard. Blah, blah, blah, she blames the Federation for being dicks, she turned coat and now she's fighting with the Vagan.
Things get so bad for precious lil' Kio that ol' daddy crank Flit has to hop in the new armored AGE-1 to help out. Well, after Fram comes back he definitely needed the assist. In this fight, you have a genocidal old man, a hypnotized young girl, a vengeful woman and a young boy that refuses to take out his enemy. It's a field of morons with nary a likable person in sight. Spriggan has a freakout that every X-Rouder on the field feels. Zeheart and Asemu join the fight, so there's a good three-on-three going.
Oh yeah, there's a war going on here. Almost forgot! Algreus lets Flit know that the ground assault ain't doing too well. Flit recommends using the bomb they brought along if things go even further south, as they can't let the Vagan have the Luna base. I've got to tip my hat to Algreus, as he's at least trying not to resort to the missile and is trying to keep the base intact. He gives his troops a chance to take the base before detonating the missile. They manage to get into the base, get into a back-up communications room and let the Vagans know that they're toast if they don't submit. THAT'S how a leader works!
Back with the mobile suits, everybody pairs off and their fights begin again, only this time with more babbling. They barely even notice when the Diva slices open part of the docking bay and the ground troops begin the assault within the base proper. Spriggan has another X-Rounder freakout that manages to to affect every other mech with an X-Rounder pilot. Spriggan takes control of all the bits from the surrounding mechs and starts to dominate the entire field. As Asemu is the only non-X-Rounder, he tries to take out Spriggan, but Zeheart sacrifices the arm of his suit to protect his subordinate. The fatal shot is fired by Flit, who is able to get a lucky shot off while Spriggan is focused on Kio.
Thanks to the threat of giant plasma missiles, the Vagan submit with the request that the soldiers be allowed to go free. Fram and Zeheart leave while ruminating about the death of Spriggan. Oh, and Second Moon has arrived in the Earth Sphere, meaning that there'll be more Vagan fun times ahead. OH YAY.
Dog Days' Episode 5
There is a dirty crime at foot in the second part of Dog Days Prime's peaceful episodes. And by dirty crimes, I mean that someone is going around mugging people of their clothes in the middle of the night. Unwilling to see her majesty get her hands dirty in this petty crime, Violle decides to take the case. She will also be joined by Nanami and the two members of Genoise that did not appear last week.
The mystery wasn't anything out of ordinary, but the episode was okay for an episode where Cinque is not present. Based on the identity of the culprit, I am hoping that they decide to expand more on the demons/monsters in the world, since we only got to see one during the first season.
As we reach the turning point in the case, we get a saving throw by Millhi and Leo. It is unfortunate for the mystery gang, except that the main monster might have escaped if the two royalty figures were not present. They also get extra bonus points for dressing up as samurais as they deliver their own roll call.
[You can protect your clothes from robbers in Dog Days Prime at Crunchyroll]
Sword Art Online Episode 5
Looks like we got ourselves a good ole' murder mystery this week on Sword Art Online. Ruhroh!
In episode 5, we once again jump ahead in time, this time at a point in which Kirito has likely bumped into his old partner Asuna quite a few times. She's now the vice commander of the Knights of Blood, a top guild that battles on the front lines of SAO. We discover that that are Sleep-PK's who attack sleeping players and force them into duel's that can result in death. Having seen the bandits that exist in the SAO world last episode however, this doesn't strike me as all that surprising.
A man in armor is hung from the top of a tower and impaled with a sword before dying, but Kirito and Asuna are unable to find the culprit. A woman named Yoruko steps forward and reveals that she was about to head to dinner with the recently deceased, a former guild-mate named Kains. After some investigation, it comes to light that she and Kains were members of a now disbanded guild that had essentially left their leader to die due to an item drop. The problem? There's no in-game way of killing a player within a town outside of the aforementioned Sleep-PK's. Toward the end of the episode Yoruko starts to have something of a mental breakdown and is killed from behind by a dagger. Oh shit.
Episode 5's pacing was significantly slower than the last few weeks, but nonetheless shed a little bit more light on the type of world that SAO is. It's quickly becoming clear that human players are just as dangerous if not more than the monsters themselves. I was kind of thrown off guard by the random ass shots the episode seemed determined to throw at me, but it's still nowhere near as bad as your average TV anime these days so it's not such a big deal. I'm only at page 100 of the original light novel, but I've yet to bump into any of this material. Nobody spoil what volume this stuff falls on!
[Catch Sword Art Online over at Crunchyroll!]
Kokoro Connect Episodes 3 to 5
Once the show got past the novelty of body-swapping, these next three episodes delved into the meatier substance. Throughout the episodes, we watched as Taichi, our noble protagonist, disarmed the insecurities and weaknesses of all three girls, and made them fall in love with him.
The show took a much more humanistic approach, treating the body-swapping as a means for these weaknesses to reveal themselves. It's hard to explain away someone switching into your body and finding you alone in your room, crying.
This seems to be a perfect world, where a guy who white knights -- stands up for them and swoops in to save them -- for these girls wins their hearts over, all without being selfish. He shows a rape victim that getting kicked in the balls can defeat her foes. He tells the girl that he loves he'll always recognize her through the masks she wears. He breaks down another's barriers by showing her that she's just worrying too much.
Also, protip: If you want a girl to fall in love with you, tell her you've masturbated to her before.
Now, the show seems to be moving on the right track.
And then episode five happens. I really have to salute the creative team for what proved to be an incredibly powerful and moving episode. As soon as Taichi gets a confession out to Iori, Heartseed takes over and has her jump off a bridge. Now, at the hospital, the group has a half hour to decide who will die with her. They talk it out, and bring Iori back into the conversation by switching bodies with her as she rests on the OR table.
It leads to some really touching moments, and brought tears to my eyes. If anyone needs a reason to watch this show, these three episodes prove it.
Now that this arc is over, though, I wonder where the show will go from here. It seems like everything's been returned to normal, unless something major pops up in the group. Well, there are 8 more episodes to go, at least!
[Kokoro Connect is available on The Anime Network]
Accel World episode 17
This week Accel World does do a battle mode change, as Taku finds out the truth behind Haru's evil-face lashing-out-because-he-has-once-again-lost-self-confidence-blackmail-rape antics, and opts to make like the noble soul he is: by griefing Nomi into giving up on using Brain Burst to win at life.
Tough luck with that, because Nomi's a exploiter, using the Incarnate system to use wallhacks, aimbots, and item duping/stealing. Gaming terms ahoy!
Good thing Haru also uses the same, and also has a jetpack (which is cooler than his lame wings), plus the power of JUSTICE. And friendship. As expected, Nomi eats it, but this arc wouldn't be complete without a showing from Chiyu, and she's on Nomi's side. That's the problem I have with this episode, right there. Yes, it's expected that Nomi wouldn't go down easily and that Chiyu would likely play a part in it, rather than yet another Brain Burst secret-system MacGuffin, but the show has displayed nothing regarding Chiyu's motive. Nomi threatened her with the prospect of pethood, but has in turn done nothing to give the threat substance.
I suppose being afraid of enslavement or rape would be a compelling motivator, but for a person who knows next to nothing about Brain Burst and had yet to take the game as anything serious, she didn't seem likely to cave to the revelation of Haru's losing a single match against a dirty cheater. Simply put, Chiyu had no reason to obey him or act as the spoiler in this fight.
That said, Snow Black in a bikini. Undressed by her friend who's apparently really down with her pal dating the fat kid. She's a great buddy.
[Wonder about the effectiveness of hollow rape threats on Hulu]
Humanity Has Declined episode 6
Killer Death Cat has spoken! And his revelation? That this is the third series this season to make overt videogame references, though this time in the decidely mainstream Dragon Quest vein, what with the sword/shield/cape costume and slimes. It's light, but telling. Are games in the meta sense properly legit as an anime meta-topic, and not just raw adaptation (ala the Tales series)? If they are, I may find myself enjoying a lot more shows that don't "deserve" to be appreciated.
That said, games aren't the focus of today's episode. Actually, not much is the focus of today's episode, or even this arc, as it careens from faires to videogames to hikikomori to loneliness to sentience to...moe moe space probes? Best interpretation of space exploration ever!
Humanity Has Declined has taken a shotgun approach to commentary these last couple of weeks, and has so far held a bit off the cynicism. Besides the adults being pretty gung-ho about ejecting a couple of well-meaning anthropomorphized space robots into space for no discernible reason other than it being a sign of Humanity not being in fatal decline, there's not actually that much evidence that anything in this arc is the cause of Humanity's decline, in this world or the other.
I suppose the old chestnut of immersing yourself in videogames and shonen tropes as a form of escaping the outside world is commentary of a sort, but that theme in itself is such a common trope of videogames and shonen (and anime in general) that to bring it up is cliche.
Ah well, we'll always have Killer Death Cat and its eternal battle with the deadly giant Nautilus.
[Watch the struggle of Cat v. Sea Crustacean on Crunchyroll.]
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