Welcome to another edition of Annotated Anime, the weekly anime recap that just finished reading The Secret Life of Dogs, and found it a much more enlightening read than it had ever expected. All we wanted was to keep it from pooping on the rug, and suddenly here we were safeguarding the integrity of space-time!
Of course, the times we're not making sure the continuum doesn't go all to hell, we're watching sweet cartoons and writing about them, including Muv-Luv Total Eclipse, The Ambition of Oda Nobuna, Yuru Yuri, Gundam AGE, Space Bros., NakaImo, Sword Art Online, Humanity Has Declined, Tari Tari, Moyashimon Returns, Joshiraku, Eureka Seven AO, Dog Days', Hyouka, Kokoro Connect, and Accel World!
Muv Luv Alternative - Total Eclipse Episode 8
Aww yeah, the episode begins with some actual combat in the USSR. Jump a couple of weeks later, our favorite test pilots arrive at one of the largest bases in the USSR. The guys and gals so close the front lines, does this mean that they'll finall get their taste of combat? Not yet. For now, there are more pieces of equipment to test. The latest weapon. while powerful, doesn't favor Yuuya's TSF, which surprisingly doesn't lead to a fight when Yuuya points this out to Yui. In fact, we find out that Yui did not want to test out in live combat, but was forced into it by the UN and the Japanese government. She even tells Yuuya to dump it if it gets in his way. It's nice to see these two finally getting along.
We hear from the rest of the test pilots that they're having a hard time dealing with the Soviets. They don't seem to be helping any of the new arrivals. Yuuya sees this first hand when a group of punks surround the Scarlet Twins while he's looking for the barracks. Turns out they're Georgians and Kazakhs left behind by the Russians that escaped via Alaska. The creepers threaten to rape the girls before Yuuya arrives and nails one of the punks. Before things can escalate, the kids' commanding officer arrives and tells them to knock it off. The next day, both the Soviets and the test pilots find out that there's a massive group of BETA on their way. The Argos pilots are paired with the rather rude commanding officer from the day prior. This should to be amusing.
Alright, so it looks like things are about to get more serious. Well, things have never been completely light-hearted, as there's always the knowledge that most of the world has been besieged by the BETA and humanity is slowly losing. However, it'll be nice to get back to the action from the opening of the show. There's also the fact that those young kids were experienced front-line pilots. Hmm, young kids in this show? Piloting against the BETA? Ruh-oh, this DEFINITELY won't end well for them.
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE Episode 44
My oh my, what wonderfully idiotic things await us this week in AGE? Well, for one we ALMOST have Zeheart redeem himself from the Ezelcant cult. He confrtons his leader about the actual plan of picking only the "superior" of the Vagan. However, all it takes is Ezelcant falling over and showing symptoms of space blood-cough disease and the sucker not only decides to stick it out, but decides to take up the mantle. We also see that another one of Vagan's greatest pilots is woken up from deep sleep. Hell, if they woke up all of these jokers at the same time, maybe they'd be more effective in this war.
Oh, there's also the little nugget of Flit getting put back in charge of the defense of Earth. His idea? Execute the Vagan prisoners. Suitably psychotic from wacky old genocidal Flit. Thankfully, Algreus is not an idiot and doesn't have prisoners of war killed. This sparks an argument between grandpa dynamite and Asemu, which of course leads to Kio getting involved. They all babble incoherently about emotions in battle, pirates getting involved, and UNDERSTANDING. Ugh.
With the familial arguments out of the way, all the major parties head out to La Gramis, the Vagan's major battleship. Zeheart pushes one of his subordinates to search for the EXA-DB and finds out that they ran into a mysterious mobile suit that is rumored to be the guardian of the EXA-DB in an asteroid field in the Earth sphere. Oh, what a coincidence. Zeheart goes out in the Legilis to investigate and test out the Legilis and voila, he runs into the suit. Oh yay.
Eureka Seven: AO Episode 16
Come on, BONES, don't blow this... you've been working so hard at making this show not suck anymore, so for Christ's sake don't screw up! This week was especially disappointing, because I'm asking all of these questions about plot details and seeing a lot of useless scenes that go nowhere that I can't help but notice that Eureka Seven: AO's story is starting to spiral into shit... again.
Why exactly is Naru piloting another Nirvash again? Like, seriously: what is going on with her and Truth?! I think I'm being pretty lenient in excusing her sudden turn to the Dark Side, but I can't take much more of this super-detailed-yet-still-telling-me-nothing way that this spin-off has been structuring its episodes. There's a lot of talking about Secrets and Scub Coral and Quartz and all that stuff, but it's like no one knows what the hell they're talking about, and no one really cares so long as we tack on a fight sequence at the end of every episode. There's an attempt to make this anime look as mature and serious as Evangelion or RahXephon, but 75% of the show is just name-dropping and jargon that no one can understand on top of unexplained motives that will more than likely go largely ignored. The last three episodes were so good, too! You took a three-week break from airing this anime, and this is what you show us?!
Is Ao honestly having another breakdown?! Is Truth honestly still relevant as a villain? What the fuck has he done in the last ten episodes?! On top of that, the twist this week where everyone but Ao remembers Team Goldilocks is just more shit for me to stress out over (like anybody cares about Goldilocks, anyway). I'm not asking this in a fit of rage, but because I'm genuinely baffled at BONES' sheer audacity: Why throw this in?! I have too much on my fucking plate to try and sort out what's good and bad about this show, and you put this shit on me?
Much like how I was roped into finishing No. 6 in hope of some closure, I feel Eureka Seven: AO might pull another fast one on me and skip out entirely on wrapping up any loose ends... and I'm dumb enough to stick around and watch it.
Joshiraku Episodes 5-7
Tari Tari Episode 8
Things aren't looking up for Sawa. It seems things are going a bit tougher for her than previously imagined: her recent dieting has been revealed as an attempt to get under the weight limit for a prestigious riding school, and even if she meets hit, her height puts her at a supreme disadvantage at reaching her dream. Not to mention that her old school dad just doesn't get it as he constantly pushes her to study at a university is totally ruining her vibe (but at the end of the episode, wouldn't you know it...).
A few parallels between Sawa's troubles and the rest of the gang in the whole "Choir Club vs. the vice-principal" affair are drawn. There's a whole lot of single-minded, biased antagonists in Tari Tari, though more so than anybody else, every time one of the brainless, mean-spirited Vocal Club students come onscreen to look down on Konatsu or Wakana or Sawa, it makes me want to punch each one of those stuck up bitches in the gut. Worse than any grown up who isn't hip with this generation is a peer who thinks their above anyone their age. Gobbling up any hate that seethes from their terribly misdirected vice-principal's mouth and using that power to stop what is basically a group of friends from doing something they get more enjoyment out of than anything in the world to them is just downright despicable. Sawa taking them down a peg this week was a good start, but I hope for full retribution against these sluts come the final episode.
Tari Tari is great at making sympathize with characters and quickly making me loathe certain others, and that polarizing dynamic is what's making this shape up to be such a great show. On top of this being a Sawa focused episode, there's some scenes with Badass Wien acting all cool and awkward and stuff. This show definitely needs more Wien. More Wien, less bitches.
Hyouka Episode 18
Hyouka certainly is a better show when it spreads its mysteries out over a few episodes. Whenever the series goes back to doing separate incidents each week, it never fails to make me feel like my time could've been spent watching or doing something else. For what it's worth, the anime handles it subject matter flawlessly, but what else can be said about these tame, boring high school mysteries with no sense of danger, risk, or urgency. I've said it in so many different ways before in previous AA posts, but this anime is just a way for KyoAni to tease its audience and jerk off its terrific presentation to the most basic and safe story situations. Stop screwing with us, dicks!
Chitanda and Houtarou this week were adorable together. The way everyone was concerned for Houtarou when he was leaving for the library was pretty funny too, and we finally get to see our lazy main character say that he's curious. Even if you don't include this week's mystery, this was a good episode all-around. Of course the actual plot this week was rather morbid and foreboding when the final piece of the puzzle is revealed. What are we supposed to make of Ogi? Was he really smiling about what I think he was smiling about? Most of the mystery-of-the-day episodes of Hyouka really push my tolerance sometimes, but this week honestly floored me with the implication of foul-play belonging in this anime... the same anime that took such a trivial thing like a student smoking in a classroom and dealt with in the same, serious manner as a scene from an Encyclopedia Brown novel.
Sword Art Online Episode 6 & 7
Episode six picks up right where five left off as Yoruko plummets to her death at the hands of the mystery assassin. Kirito gives chase but fails to catch up as the killer uses an item to teleport out of the area. After doing some more research into the matter, he and Asuna stumble upon the truth; Yoruko and Kains were never dead to begin with. They faked their deaths to draw out those responsible for their friend's murder. Crazy things ensue, but Kirito and Asuna are able to get things under control. All is made right in the world and our two heroes share a moment together, hinting at bigger things to come.
With episode seven, we're back to smaller adventures as Kirito goes on a quest with a female blacksmith named Lisbeth. He's seeking a new sword and agrees to help her find the materials necessary to make it. Lisbeth begins to fall for our hapless hero (of course), and the two of them get caught off guard while fighting a giant dragon. Trapped in a giant hole with no way out, the two spend the night together and it becomes increasingly obviously to Lisbeth that she's fallen in love with him.
A new day begins and our heroes manage to find the materials they're looking for. The giant dragon once again reappears and Kirito uses the chance to hitch a ride back to the surface with Lisbeth. The two manage to make their way back to town and Lisbeth makes a baller sword for her crush. Just as she's about to confess to Kirito, she learns that her best friend Asuna (derp) probably has a thing for him as well. Poor, poor Lisbeth. Fortunately our plucky hero isn't a complete idiot and realizes the blacksmith has feelings for him. He comforts her as best he can before promising that he'll totally swing by when he needs new weapons.
It was a solid episode overall, but having read through half of the first novel I can't help but feel as though the anime staff should have stuck to the original order of the books. Although I'm enjoying these short side stories, it's kind of hurting the series to have these standalone episodes where girls fall in love with Kirito back to back to back. Spacing them out and maybe slipping them in between longer arcs probably would have been a better way to get the point across.
I'm still having a good time though and I can't wait until we finally hit the main story.
The Ambition of Oda Nobuna Episode 7
Taking a break from the previous several episodes, the main characters spent most of the time walking around the now-abandoned old capitol of Japan, Kyoto. The Miyoshi Three has evicted the local Ashikaga forces and left the city in ruins and at the mercy of bandits and soldiers doing the same thing as bandits. That is end of the Muromachi Shogunate. Nobuna plans to march into Kyoto both to overtake and to restore order, so that leaves Monkey to scout out and find Himiko, the religious leader or figurehead, located in the city.
Unlike how historic events unfolded, Ashikaga Yoshiaki survives the burning of Kyoto. Like history, however, the arrivals of the first Europeans make their mark in Nobuna as a missionary and her young cohort meet Yoshiharu and company. Unbeknownst to them, the current Empress of Japan, Himiko, runs into the group as she escaped from some bandits. The encounter lasted for only a day as Himiko returned to her mansion at the end of the day, while Nobuna's army finally reaches Kyoto despite the Miyoshi's plotting. In essence, this episode was spent showing us these new characters they just introduced.
For those of you keeping score at home, the "harem" aspect of the show expended almost by a third this week, and there are more little girls in that group than ever, with Himiko and Bontenmaru (better known as Date Masamune). Perhaps that offsets losing Nobuna's brother, whose hand in marriage Nobuna promised for Asai to get rid of him. Out of the bunch of Nobuna's immediate enemies, it's clear that Hisahide is the main enemy, but we won't know when we will see her or that foreigner, Louise Frois, again.
The most important part of this week's Nobuna is seeing Nene again, who only briefly appeared in the very beginning of the series. Nobuna has promised Monkey the prettiest girl in Japan, and I guess here she is. It's good to note that Hideyoshi Toyotomi's real wife is also called Nene.
[See Nobuna blush on Crunchyroll!]
Nakaimo Episode 5
After a long break for Koshien, the "guess the sister" show is back with a focus episode on Mei, the senpai who runs a sister cafe. With the situation between Miyabi and Konoe resolved, it's nature we're moving on to the other girls.
The ghost caller posing as Shougo's sister kept calling Shougo despite having that situation resolved regarding the special cell phone that Konoe owns. This time, the "sister" makes references to the call she supposedly made during Shougo's dad's funeral. The problem became that she would call Shougo in the wee hours of morning, making him losing sleep. And for some reason it seems that he always want to take the call, at the cost of his energy level.
Perhaps that was just the plot to get Shougo to take a nap at Mei's secret hideout, perhaps not--the big twist at the end of this week's Nakaimo is seeing that special cell phone at the hideout. Perhaps even more important is seeing Mei's motivation for running that sister cafe, and perhaps that she has to close it! It's not easy to be the manager of such an establishment, I suppose. Doubly so when you are an abandoned orphan who was brought up by benefactors we don't know. It's totally making Mei an eligible "sister."
I thought the scene when Miyabi and Shougo went to Mei's cafe was great. The waitress-sister was kind of spot on; just a little ham-fisted and artificial but otherwise perfectly honest.
[Find your sister on Crunchyroll!]
Moyashimon Episode 7
Another stale episode...
It’s the end of the harvest festival and all the food stalls that didn’t sell everything in the day time have to try and get rid of the rest of the food at night. This is the festivals philosophy of nothing goes to waste. This is good because you don’t want the food to rot if you can still feed it to someone. Our main group is wondering around waiting for the results of the booth challenge to see who was the most popular and had the most profit. Low and behold, our booth would have won if it wasn’t for our two owners using the school’s memorial tree to make the alcohol. So they get a 20 day suspension instead. Good job, guys.
Anyways, the boys of the group are the ones that get to go to Paris to find Hasagawa. Oh, and pick up some cheese and wine while they are at it. The guys realize quickly that Paris is an expensive place. It’s nice to eat the good stuff but just watch the prices on the menus. Quickly they start to run out of money and the search for Hasagawa intensifies.
Do they have any luck finding her? Nope, not yet. We are going to save that for later to draw out the story some more. There better be a bigger pay off in the end then just bringing Hasagawa home.
Microbe Theater: Microbes are everywhere
[Overpay for food at Crunchyroll]
Dog Days' Episode 7
Now that Adel and Valeri have joined the cast, today's episode represents the mayhem that one can have with a demon lord and a legendary hero. For what was supposed to be a simple task turns out to become a chore that sparks up our current scenario.
I am afraid that I can't talk much about this week's episode, since it happens to be illegal. Too bad for Cinque, because these words shattered his very being when they came out of Rebecca's mouth. At least his role call with Gaul was rather flashy.
Thanks to the aftereffects caused by the mice spirits, my main question about Hina has finally been answered. Considering that Ranma's director is behind all of this, I am not too surprised to see these segments pop up more often during this season.
As for today's highlight, Valeri has one heck of a sweet ride on his side.
[Don't worry, it is not illegal to watch Dog Days Prime on Crunchyroll]
Yuru Yuri II Episode 6-8
To catch up with all the anime I'd missed, I had to have a makeshift marathon. However, watching three episodes of Yuru Yuri in a row is quite worrying, for me at least. Shows like Squid Girl start off so well with me, until eventually, by the end of it, I've just had enough. Of course, this is just me, but it was enough to worry me that I'd come out of the triple-bill of Yuru Yuri with a sour taste in my mouth. Luckily, this was not the case.
In fact, I think that it is possibly the three strongest episodes we've had so far. Not to say past episodes were bad, but it seems that they're starting to make throwbacks to the original series. We see the return of 'Comuket' and Kyoukos resulting shenanigans, and leaving Ayano at home by the phone was a very nice touch. I could do without the drooling twin, but hey, I'm being picky.
It may have not been a jaw-dropping moment like you'd expect to see in Hunter x Hunter, but the proper introduction of Akari's sister in the most recent episode was one of the strangest I think I've outright seen, let alone limited to Yuru Yuri. We already knew that with the twins there are some odd family relationships in this show, but... that takes the biscuit. Stalker sister, get!
[These schoolgirl shenanigans can be observed for educational purposes on Crunchyroll!]
Space Bros. Episode 19-21
It still baffles me how a laid-back show like Space Bros. can continue to keep five people in a box, and still manage to make it fascinating. I mean, it's chugging along slower than The Bog arc of Kaiji, with relatively little going on to support it, but I'm fine with it. I'm not sure what I'd chalk it down to, but perhaps character charm mixed with the genuine curiosity of where the show is headed has something to do with it.
The past three episodes have seen the teams coming together like they should have long ago, enjoying themselves before the inevitable decision they have to make. Choosing to decide who is selected by playing rock-paper-scissors seems like a very fitting end to the simulation, and certainly better than the strict score system from the other group. Still, while we know that the selected two are through no matter what, I get the feeling that everyone will be showing up for the next round nonetheless. Also, holding the simulation inside the JAXA facility was a nice touch!
[This show is blasting off again via Crunchyroll]
Humanity Has Declined episode 8
Humanity Has Declined finishes off its take on Endless Eight by going to six, but sparing everyone weeks of rage by instead delivering an abridged, highlight-reel-with-commentary version of the six most important recursions in our Protagonist's little banana-induced time loop. Seeing as she practically spells out what happens by the end of it, I won't bother going into too many details, but suffice it to say that she meets her Assistant, and he is exactly as she expected--except when he wasn't, which is the point where we can attempt to infer some subtext, which of course is part of the fun in this silly series. Time to squeeze blood from this stone, yes?
Throughout the whole of the episode the last one, is the question of whether a person can develop a "personality" and sense of self in isolation, without the influence of the other to push and prod one along. And the question behind that question seems to deal with the role the expectations of others in that formative period.
As with much of everything else in Humanity Has Declined, there's also a bit of meta in here. The expectation, time-loop character-building shortcuts employed by the fairies, aren't meant as commentary on actual human beings, but seem more directed towards the state of protagonists in the various fictions we nerds enjoy, particularly the ones starring the generic nice-guy leads, growing up absent parents and bloated with introspection. Is this so-called everyman (everyboy?) the result of a protagonist grown in a vacuum?
For better or worse, Humanity Has Declined declines to offer an answer. Its own "Protagonist" is more a narration engine than a true paragon of texture, and in an almost bitter irony, the version of the Assistant that does have a personality - the Assistant that wears a red shirt, holster and cowboy hat - is a grating little punk. She - and by extension we - end up picking the introspective, blue-shirted mute instead.
[Pick your poison/protagonist at Crunchyroll]
Accel World episode 19
A largely unnecessary arc ends in a appropriately silly manner, employing the most blatant deus ex machina to yet grace the show, raising questions that it just stops short of stating outright will never be answered. Like, for example, how Megumi has gone all this time being a "former" Burst Linker without anyone knowing.
I could go on, but I would only get exasperated, knowing that Megumi, "having forged her own story in that world", will not be coming back.
Erk. If nothing else we got to see a cool robot, meet Okinawan kids that are cuter than they have any right to be, watch Brain Burst's little-known monster-collection aspect, and learn just how much it'll suck to be a Burst Linker living in the sticks.
Next week, back to the Haru/Taku/Nomi/Chiyu fight, which we frankly shouldn't have left in the first place.
[It's Nidhogg, not Nick, you philistine! Also watch this show on Hulu.]
Kokoro Connect episodes 6 and 7
I'm glad to see that Kokoro Connect isn't going to fall off the face of the earth after one story arc. Now that the body-switching mechanic has been run into the ground, our teacher-possessing alien overlord has decided on a new trick: unleash the kids' inner desires. At random times, a voice will ring in someone's head and they will have the uncontrollable urge to do something.
Whether that be strip naked and take the boy you've been eyeballing to pound town, or shove your face full of sweets and hole up in your room. The two are not mutually exclusive desires, y'know.
These impulses are somewhat one-dimensional, with Taichi wanting to save everyone or Yui hiding away from just about everyone, but as the arc continues on it should prove interesting. Inaba already understands the game: if everyone doesn't do something interesting, evil alien overlord will force their hands and possibly cause someone to jump off a bridge again.
But I'm just hoping for "post lewd sexual photos on the Internet." Just as long as it isn't Aoki doing the posing.
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