Hey, welcome to Annotated Anime, the weekly anime recap augmented by the power of SUBTITLES. Yes, our newest site feature allows us to place slightly smaller text below the headline, for an extra dose of snark, info, humor, puns, or maybe just a simple P; Can't see it? Make sure you've actually clicked into the story! Savor the suspense!
But hey, you know what else has subtitles? The latest in this week's anime! And we watched that, all with a P: on our face! Come on down and look at how we found the taste of Sword Art Online, Humanity Has Declined, The Ambition of Nobuna Oda, A Little Sister Is Among Us (aka Nakaimo), Kokoro Connect, Tari Tari, Eureka Seven Ao, Hyouka, Accel World, Dog Days Prime, Yuru Yuri, and Moyashimon Returns!
Humanity Has Declined episode 9
There's a lot to read into this week's exploration of the rise and fall of Random Fairy Island Civilization, but seeing as it's about the most direct addressing of the concept of "humanity in decline" yet, much of it is fairly clear on its face. It's a parable on everything from the foibles of monarchy to the environmental impact of genetically modified crops, and perhaps at a subtheme level there's something in there about self-restraint and how fairies (read: otaku/modern people) don't have enough it.
But that all pales in comparison to Mai Nakahara's stellar deadpan performance this week playing our Protagonist. More than any other moment so far, she carries the episode almost entirely, and pulling it off properly was absolutely vital. Praise be.
[Praise be to Mai Nakahara on Crunchyroll]
Accel World episode 20
The crisis calls it a round as the Nomi vs. Haru matchup reaches time out, though not before Haru goes all Evangelion-berserk due to the influence of the Chrome Disaster armor he still apparently has bits of stuck in him from the last story arc. A confrontation with Chiyu leads to little info regarding Nomi and even less regarding why she showed up to heal the asshole in the first place. With little recourse, Haru plans to contact Scarlet Rain, the gun-toting Red King loli, to get her to teach Taku about the Incarnate system and give the pair a leg up on Nomi next round. Haru is then framed for the camera Nomi planted in the girl's locker room.
I have to say, for its various annoyances this arc, Accel World has made me hate Nomi. I loathe his smarmy, dirtbag face with an intensity I haven't felt since my hatred of Megatron for killing Optimus Prime back when I was, like, eight. That's an achievement! Most of the time when we say we hate characters it's usually out of dissatisfaction, irritation or frustration rather than genuine animosity. Most folks who "hate" Shinji actually just want him to man up. They usually don't want to cave in his face with a crowbar. Not so with me and Nomi. If I lived in Accel World, I'd probably walk up to him while he was occupied cheating on a test, then strangle the little punk.
Anyway! Next week, MAIDS!
[Cook up disturbing revenge fantasies against imaginary junior highschoolers from the far future on Hulu]
Moyashimon Episode 8
This didn’t really feel like a normal episode. It seems that the serious part of the story is overtaking the silliness. This is also taking the fun out of it.
So much so that they forced in the lecture right in the middle of the show. It’s fine to put in the educational part but they simply just cut off what was happening. Our three musketeers were bicycling along the acres of grape fields talking about how they grow them. When, all of a sudden, they are hit by a car. Then we cut that off to the educational part. Really? This is how the director saw this to be a good idea?
Let’s quickly move on past this. So our boys are still trying to find Hasagawa with no luck. Well, their luck is about to change. Remember that they got hit by that car in the last paragraph? The woman driving it asks them to help her out as waiters at a party that is being held at her grandfather’s place. Guess who is there? That’s right, Hasagawa! Shocking I know, but we don’t have many episodes left to play around. During the first course of dinner, we have a “what goes with sashimi” fight. The gentleman that is trying to marry Hasagawa tries to make the appeal that there is a salt that goes better with sashimi then soy sauce and wasabi. I would have beaten him where he sat... Also saying that there is a white wine that goes with sashimi too. Actually there might be one that stands up to sake for this but I’m not going to get into it. Either way, he was trying to defile the Japanese food and our musketeers were having none of it. Needless to say, our gang tells Hasagawa what is going on and that they are there to rescue her. We will wait and see how this pans out in the next episode.
Microbe Theater: Different wines
[Never salt your sashimi at Crunchyroll]
Yuru Yuri S2 Episode 9
Studying! Bread baking! Ice cream! Sure seems like a regular day in the world of Japanese school kids, at least if all this anime I've seen is anything to go by. However, it seems like (for the most part) Toshinou Kyouko is stepping aside so we see more from the many other girls in this show. Good for you guys, I guess, but Kyouko is and continues to be the best character in this show. In my opinion. Opinion, right there. Opinions.
Anyway, even with Kyouko eating bread/being asleep for most of the episode, it doesn't mean that the show grinds to a halt or anything. Back-up best character Sakurako is there to provide something interesting amongst the study sessions, and there may even be a few tantrums in there too. She was in 'small' company, so there was also a strange lack of boob jokes. Chinatsu has a pound cake. Chinatsu had a pound cake. Chinatsu still creeps me out. Her eyes, more than the rest of the characters, seem to stare right into your soul. I'm on a horse.
[These schoolgirl shenanigans can be observed for educational purposes on Crunchyroll!]
Eureka Seven: AO Episode 17
So what happened last week with Eureka Seven: AO? I don't know. I was pretty lost with motives and reasoning and, quite frankly, caring enough to actually give constructive criticism last week in Annotated Anime, as you can see here. I just wanted to write a lot of naughty words and yell about cartoons.
So then, what happened this week with Eureka Seven: AO? Ummm... good question. I still don't know. I know that Scub Coral, when used by Naru, can bring a human back to life inexplicably. And it's not hard to deduce that Naru and Truth are "fighting the good fight", bringing down those who oppose Secrets and Sub Coral because it's actually good for Earth and humans. They're just misunderstood, and Generation Bleu is actually doing more harm than good.
The problem is that even though most of the audience knows this (basically because this was already addressed over 50+ episodes in the original Psalms of Planets Eureka Seven), yet there's still that grey area, when seemingly Team Pied Piper is actually good, Truth/Naru are actually terrorists, and Ao is still a young kid who hasn't really changed that much, despite all that's happened so far. My issue is that none of these things transitioned well enough for me to understand why I should be rooting/understanding why Naru is "evil", or why Ao is still really weird and remembers things no one else has heard about. The show is throwing out all of these twists, but nothing fundamental has changed since Eureka showed up.
With that said, seeing how this series is now introducing alternate dimensions, I can't help but feel a bit curious. I mean, listening to Han talk about the Johansson Scriptures this week was pretty interesting and actually thought-provoking, and if something could be worked out to help tie this all together in a few episodes, then I frankly can't find any fault in that. As it stands, I'm skeptical that this will end good... way more so than any sci-fi anime I've ever stuck around long enough to watch. Of course, I do have a huge love-hate relationship with this series, so I guess I'm sticking out until the end.
Tari Tari Episode 9
It's Wien's time to shine this weeks as the Choir Club dons on their sentai costumes to earn some extra cash for their grand musical at the school festival coming up. Even though the gang is still struggling with writing songs for their play, Wien takes this odd-job with the utmost seriousness, coaching his friends and taking the role of the Red Leader... much to everybody else's less-than-enthusiastic feeling on making fools of themselves.
Of course, similar to Wakana and Sawa-focused episodes from the past, there's a bit more to Wien from when he lived back in Austria. Acting as an older brother and looking out for those younger than him was something Wien believed in after watching old Gambaraijer tapes from his grandpa, and it's revealed that one of the younger boys that look up to Wien, Jan, is the Pen-pal he's been writing to all these episodes so far. Wien strongly believes in being a superheo kids look up to, and over the episode, the rest of the club realizes this too. It's great to see that Wien is actually a really great guy, as opposed to staying "the weird foreign one". But I gotta admit: it is a tad bit creepy to write a hundred letters to a seven-year old boy, Wien...
Other than that, we find out something terrible is about to happen to the vice-principal's High Vocal club in this week's cliffhanger ending! Ohhhh nooo!
Hyouka Episode 19
Do you remember Hyouka's first mystery? With all of the new things going on with the Literature Club lately, it's kind of easy (and funny) enough to forget the story behind the "Hyouka"anthology... not to mention that the hidden meaning behind the title is what proved to Chitanda that Houtarou is indeed the best person to help her solve mysteries. So it's kind of fitting that, while our two main love interests sit together alone in the clubroom one day, Houtarou is asked to accompany Chitanda to light incense, as we suddenly remember about her missing uncle. Of course, despite the grim subject she asks him in a burst of nervousness while blushing, prompting the two to sit in awkwardness for a moment. Maybe it's not too late to rule out these actually two hooking up sometime soon. Is that honestly even possible in a KyoAni series?
In this weeks episode, we see Chitanda trying to prove to our chaste detective that he doesn't give himself enough credit with his talent at making tight theories, and the two are now involved in an "important contest", as Houtarou put it himself. Now I don't know if it's a good thing that he's more open and out of his bummer-self from episode one, or if it's extremely frightening the range and control that Chitanda's merciless curiosity has put him through... enough to break his spirit and change who he was and what he stood for. Perhaps it's not that dark of a personality change, but Houtarou certainly has become more involved and enthusiastic over the last few episodes.
The game he and Chitanda played this week is just nothing short of brilliant. There are some crazy conclusions the two reach from one little school announcement, and more amazingly so given how little they had to go off of. This episode is more of an exercise in perfecting what makes this show addictive, and to see how comfortable these two have become with not only creating a grand story from nothing, but also in tolerating each other to do some critical thinking and keep it based in reality (maybe a bit too real, as shown in the final scene) makes me want to give a huge kudos to the creators for such a smart, well-mannered show.
Next week (as revealed in the preview), I'm strongly looking forward to getting back on track to another huge mystery that the club tackles again. Granted, all that's happened between Satoshi and Houtarou from the school festival will be sure to make this a more competitive bout this time around, but still...
Nakaimo Episodes 6-7
We got two episodes back to back this week for Nakaimo, making up part of that 2-week break. The first one finishes Mei Sagara's story arc. Is she the sister? Clearly she is not the one we're looking for.
What we do understand now is her motivation: Sagara-senpai is Shogo's sister's long-time friend, as clued in by the quick flashback before the OP. Strangely enough, Shogo doesn't feel betrayed by the strange turn of events and instead helps her turn her sister cafe around. In exchange we got to see Tsuruma in some evocative cat maid gear (must be one of those new nekomimi toys).
In episode 7, we finally move into the story for the vice president character, Rinka Kunitachi. This character plays out much like a straight-faced tsundere type, so she seems a little underwhelming compared to the other girls competing directly for Shogo. More interestingly, Mizutani proposes a DNA test--something that probably could resolve all of Shogo's doubt for our regular cast. The tough part is that he now has to collect cells and bodily fluids from the girls, resulting into running into the very obvious joke, au naturale. If you must know, it was the pee joke that stuck around.
To me the most enjoyable part of Nakaimo is the over-the-top nonsense the characters sometime say. This week we got a bit of it in episode 6 when we're dealing with the sister cafe, and some more in 7 regarding making babies and the DNA testing. I can put up with the relatively dull student council vice president, in exchange, even if she's the bombshell cutie that this show doesn't quite have as a main attraction.
A few months ago when Nakaimo just started airing a friend said to me that a threesome can be the solution to Shogo's problem. More and more likely that seems to be the persistent solution to all his problems; at this rate his sister will never be found before the season is over.
Lastly, is it me or is the censorship sort of uneven? When Mizutani rolls around Shogo's bed buck naked, you could almost see everything. In contrast, a darkness blankets both Tsuruma's and Sagara's underwear when they deals with those funky cat tails. I don't really get this.
[Make babies and see who gets pregnant first on Crunchyroll!]
The Ambition of Oda Nobuna Episode 8
What I expected out of this week's Nobuna is the eventual turn of Mitsuhide, to lead into the events that will finally end Nobunaga's life. What I didn't expect is a cooking contest. I certainly didn't expect the mayo.
Meanwhile around the Old Capitol, Hanbei, Katsuie and company are busy fighting the remaining forces, with Hisahide and her elephant troops making a tough stance. The mysterious masked lancer (the mysterious part is ironic by the way) makes an even match for Katsuie. Nobody, however, is a match for Hanbei and her tactical genius, who trapped the large mammals with fire, leading the way to Oda's victory.
One more thing I didn't expect: Nobuna wore a pretty kimono as half the episode was spent middling around the city of Sakai and conducting business meetings, trying to make money to sell Imagawa Yoshimoto as figurehead to the Kyoto government. To do so, the merchant factions bet their takoyaki monopolies. The resulting cooking contest turned Nobuna into an excited narrator and maker of suggestive ero poses. Too bad the warring period predate the invention of mayonnaise by a couple hundred years.
[Fried takoyaki with mayo served with Crunchyroll!]
Sword Art Online Episode 8
I actually finished reading the first volume of Sword Art Online in Japanese this past weekend, allowing me to actually have some foresight this week.
This week we've finally jumped into the main storyline, much to my delight. Kirito manages to get his hands on an incredibly rare piece of meat but lacks the cooking abilities to properly utilize it. Fortunately for him, his old pal Asuna is more than capable of making a mean meal out of it and invites him over for dinner. The two share a peaceful dinner and they decide to partner together for the time being.
Things aren't quite that simple though, and Asuna ends up getting tailed by one of her bodyguards from her guild named Kuradeel. Being a borderline stalker, he demands that Asuna return with him to their homebase. Naturally she refuses, and Kirito decides to step in. It's much easier for an outsider to deal with the problem, avoiding any kind of in-fighting between guild members. The two players engage in a duel and Kirito wipes the floor with Kuradeel. Beaten and shamed in public, Asuna's bodyguard retreats and the pair go on to explore the next dungeon. Kirito reflects briefly on how much easier it is to take on monsters when he has somebody watching his back.
Our almost-couple stumble upon the boss door and peak in, finding a giant horned demonic monster staring back at them. Ruhroh.
It's pretty awesome to finally start digging into the meat of the story. As an adaptation, the material was handled well this week in part due to Hiryouki Imaishi's involvement via Trigger. The fight sequences and even the small details, I.E Kirito rolling into a wall after being slapped, are packed with nuanced movement. In fact, despite having no idea they had a hand in the episode prior to watching, it became extremely obvious a few minutes in.
Can't wait to see how they handle the next few episodes. Bring it on!
[Catch the online action via Crunchyroll]
Dog Days' Episode 8
There is no sign of another war game at the moment, but Dog Days Prime continues to deliver the laid back fun that we are all used to by now. The only major thing today was that there was a jewel thief on the loose, which happens to be a godlike being.
I think that Cinque is on a roll with his illegal actions, since he ended up standing too close to a bunch of teenage girls while utilizing his magical adult form. It's a good thing that they don't mind, otherwise Cinque is going to have to be careful on where he uses his new powers. At least any drama related to him is flushed down the toilet, which we can thank Millhi and Rebecca's girl talk for that. However, I never understood the concept of having characters tell secrets that even the audience isn't aware of. In my opinion, I find it a bit pointless, considering that the information was meant to be kept a secret from Cinque.
Even if we know the secret, it's not going to affect the impact of the character finding out. In fact, it will get us hyped up for that big moment. Based on the pacing so far, I doubt that Dog Days Prime is going to break into another war anytime soon. Though I am expecting a grand finale when the series decides to deliver the proper set up.
[Uncover the secrets kept from Dog Days Prime at Crunchyroll]
Kokoro Connect Episode 8
From other sites around the web