It's that time of the week again! Time for Annotated Anime, the weekly cartoon recap that is gladly conformist when it comes to the part of "this world"'s culture that is incapable of disliking maids. 'tis true, sirrah!
Three weeks in, the winter season is in finally in full swing, with all the old favorites and new stars having rolled into regular broadcasting. What that means is that we've got a nice, fat slate for your enjoyment, piping hot, including the latest episodes of Pet Girl of Sakurasou, Psycho-Pass, Magi, Robotics;Notes, AKB0048, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Maoyu, with special guest Inferno Cop and less-special guest Mangirl!
In case you're still hankering for more after the healthy helping below, we had words to say with shows just-departed, as well as newly-arrived.
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou Episode 14
Damn, this about sums up this week for Sakurasou. It’s not often that I succumb to this much emotion in a romantic comedy. I truly felt bad for everyone this episode except for the teacher. She’s going to Australia for New Year’s so she will be fine, but everyone else is having a dilly of a pickle.
The thing that sucks for me the most is that I want everyone to succeed. This, as we all know, will not happen in these types of shows. From what I can tell, the count between males and females are off by only one. That sucks. That means one girl is not going to get to be with someone when this is said and over. My feeling is that Aoyama is the one that will not succeed which breaks my heart. Personally I like her more than Shiina. Shiina doesn't even know what an emotion is let alone be able to act upon them. It drives me insane the complete and utter uselessness of her. She is more of a choir than anything else. Aoyama should win this just for the sake of normalcy.
I can’t really say there is any real winners this episode except at the end when Sorata reads his latest gaming submission. But be sure that I will still be with them for the whole stent of this thing, whether I like it, or not. Probably like.
[It’s snowing at Crunchyroll]
Psycho-Pass Episode 12
If you haven't been watching Psycho-Pass, drop everything that you're doing and get caught up now! After last week's intense and brutal ending, I was getting quite worried about where the show would and could go next. They went exactly where they should, into the arms of Yayoi Kunizuka.
Yes, are are right. I haven't run an update on the show for quite a bit. After the third and fourth episode my interest started to slide, and then I had some issues actually streaming the show. I can say that I've been an idiot. Since the show returned from Holiday break it has been on fire. Like, hot hot fire.
They teased a few things about Yayaoi's past in previous episodes, but really only gave her nods, and used her potential "relationship" with Shion as enticement. When they started off with the whole rock & roll background thing, I started rolling my eyes at it a bit, not knowing how well they would incorporate it and play it out. As each player's motivations come up the surface, I can confidently say that they are developing each of them wonderfully. I am enthralled.
As much as this episode was about Yayoi, it gave as much background on Nobuchika and Shinya. Heck, seeing Sasamaya in action was quite rewarding in its own. The episode also worked in the way of building up suspense, in not knowing the effects of all the things that went down in the last episode. Has Akane's Crime Coefficient gone off the charts? I seriously can not wait until the next episode. Maybe we'll finally get some Yuri action!
[Drop what you're doing and head over to Funmation to get your Crime Coefficient checked]
Magi Episode 14
See? I told you I didn't drop it!
Jumping back into the thick of things, Alibaba confronts his older brother one final time, and succeeds in ejecting him from the throne. With the kingdom of Balbadd king-less, Alibaba declares to his audience (Sinbad, Kougyoku and others) that he intends to get rid of the current monarchy. In its place, he announces that Balbadd will be reborn as a republic in which the citizens will govern themselves. Everyone present is rather shocked, especially Princess Kougyoku, who had visited with the intention of marrying the Balbadd king. Thanks to some quick persuasion by Sinbad, she pulls back and agrees to inform her father of the changes in government.
Alibaba announces to his people that they must stand on their on two feet, as they've done up until now. The response is overwhelmingly positive, and the citizens of Balbadd seem more than a bit pleased that the hellish days of the past are long behind them. Unfortunately, it looks like some of the more magical folk who've been watching things unfold in the shadows aren't so keen on letting things go.
An overall solid installment, episode 14 opened with a tantalizing look at Mor kicking ass in high budget fashion. Unfortunately, she's largely absent from the events this week. On the flip side, Alibaba finally takes charge and it's good to see him being the authoritative bad ass we all know he can be. It feels like Magi's finally settled into its groove, so hopefully the next few episodes do justice to the source material.
[Catch Magi over at Crunchyroll]
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Episode 14
I love the highly scientific method of live snake used to test Santana's corpse.
Okay but now, Rome! JoJo meets his even cockier match in Caesar Zeppli, you got it, the grandson of Will A. Zeppli. They find each other annoying, however in particularly Caesar just does not think Joseph's ripple is up to snuff. The battle was fun to watch, although, I am slightly disappointed in the show for the slight panty shot they had when the girl Caesar was controlling was fighting Joseph. It felt a bit out of place.
Mark, from the German army, comes to bring them to where the statue men are located. On their way the men wake up and completely wreck the soldiers inspecting them. My fingers can't help but feel strange watching that scene. What is even more rough to watch is half of Mark talking to Cassar.
Pillar Men are awake now. No time was wasted in showing that these are a whole different league compared to what we have seen before.
MANGIRL! episode 1
My apologies for the poor quality image. I watched it on Nico Nico and it was taking me longer to get a good image than an episode is. So! A four minute episode! I can fit this in every week! I thought. No thanks. To use the nomenclature "What is this I don't even."
I've actually been slow to write about MANGIRL because a part of me is worried I don't get it. There might be jokes that go over my head because my Japanese isn't perfect. However it just made me want to bang my head against the desk. It's just dumb. It feels cliched, forced and basically no different from the last anime I watched before I just didn't bother anymore, Lucky Star.
I don't know what to say. It's just girls! Running a manga company! They are stereotypes! Buy some product, why not!
MANGIRL is available on NicoNico. New episodes come on Thursdays in Japan and only stay up until the next one shows. It's four minutes, maybe you can enjoy it. I could pick my nose instead, though.
Maoyu episode 2
Maoyu, aka Late Medieval Living for Dummies, continues its edu-taining journey through agricultural innovation and feudal society this week with brief primers on crop rotation, serfdom, and what taking on highborn students can do for your community influence.
If that sounds a bit light on plot, that's because it is. Her Majesty's main goal of finding a third path for ending the war is about as vague as they come, and is ironically the only course they have for which rote RPG stereotypes play no guide. Naturally, that's probably the aim, and it's working so far.
The fun here is in the small touches, like how nobody yet has a proper name. We've still got the Demon King (I really want to call her "Evil Lord" instead, it seems more appropriate to the videogame-motif), The Hero, and now the Head Maid, Big Sister Maid, and Little Sister Maid. For the latter two, I wonder if their "names" prior to being taken in were "Big Sister Runaway Serf" and "Little Sister Runaway Serf". This show is like watching a gathering of Persona-series minor NPCs. Expect cameos from "Young Detective", "Spacy Girl" and "Mysterious Fox".
Also fun is the way they're building up the Hero's character. Her Majesty was always the main draw, but like most anime protagonists, he ran the considerable risk of being just another Nice Guy (heh, that would be his "name" in this show) viewer stand-in. But with what few scenes we've received Maoyu's painted a good picture of a highly capable guy, genuinely converted to the cause, but facing a crisis of the "I'm Level 99 But Have No Crafting Skills" sort (that name sounds like a future light novel).
If there's been any weak point here it's sadly been in the romantic department. It's not a disaster by any means, but the affection between the two just a little more awkward and forced than in Spice and Wolf. Yes, it's entirely fair to make those comparisons. However, it's certainly getting smoother now that we've hopefully moved beyond the "Wow, boobs!" phase, and we've plenty of time to let it blossom.
[Rotate your crop to Crunchyroll, lest the tubes lie fallow]
Robotics;Notes episode 12
I had initially thought Robotics;Notes to be a standard-size season, but now that I know better I'm going to withdraw my "pacing issues" complaint. Robotics;Notes has a lot of time to do what it needs to.
That said, when episode 11 ended on hints of a pretty tense exchange between Misa and Kai over the Kimijima Conspiracy, I'd have hoped the show wouldn't just drop the thread and switch over to developing Jun. The swinging between subplots is still a little hard for my liking, especially now that they're slowly being knitted together.
In any case, this episode's good enough as a standalone character development story, examining the roots of both Jun's robo-phobia and her relationship with her grandfather. It's touching and hits the right notes, but there's just one thing that irks me about it: It feels contrived. Why? Without spoiling things, Jun and her grandfather's Big Drama is all rooted in the sort of misunderstanding that would be cleared up in a matter of days had there been any hint of parental involvement in either of their lives, not let to fester for years on end. The only way it's plausible is if Jun were an orphan or her parents hated her grandpa.
Make no mistake, anime drama is highly reliant on the absence of parental guidance, but for whatever reason this incident stressed that a little bit too much.
[Tell Mom and Dad about Crunchyroll FUNimation's Robotics;Notes stream.]
AKB0048 episode 15
Ah, variety shows, that humiliating/hilarious aspect of Japanese TV. This was all inevitable, even if real-life AKB48 didn't have a variety show, because getting on TV is the thing when you're trying to be a celeb in Japan. If you can't get humiliated in front of millions of geriatrics as they eat breakfast on Sunday morning, you won't make it as an idol. More or less. Even Idolm@ster did it, and their idols don't even exist! Also, it's cheaper than animating concert-scene CG dance sequences.
And so, this week live television antics are the manner through which the young understudies further their careers and also Learn A Lesson about Hard Work, Determination, and the Demands of Stardom. And Boob-shaped Pudding.
Lastly, is it just me, or is there something ironic about a show based on AKB48 having a large faceless corporation that fails to mass-produce idol power?
Inferno Cop episodes 1-5
Inferno Cop is what happens if you combine Ghost Rider with Axe Cop and animate it with the budget you'd normally spend paying for an MMO subscription. The flaming skull head of the former and the hilarious idiocy of the latter. I'm embedding it here because it's all on YouTube, comes with English subs so bad they only make it better, and is probably the only short anime worth watching in a season full of them.
Also, ending theme is sung in German.
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