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Annotated Anime: Winter 2013 Week 4 - JAPANATOR






Annotated Anime: Winter 2013 Week 4


12:05 AM on 01.24.2013
Annotated AnimeAnnotated Anime: Winter 2013 Week 4 photo



DOCKING! 

No time to waste on preamble, present your gigantic forehead for lip-to-cranium contact!

Also recaps of Bakuman, JoJo, Senran  Kagura, Sakurasou, Amnesia, Tamako Market, Maoyu, Inferno Cop, AKB0048, Sasami-san, Space Bros., Vividred Operation, Psycho Pass, Little Busters!, Robotics;Notes, and the grand return of Haganai (aka Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai)!

DOCKING!

First Impressions:

Amnesia

Tamako Market

Vividred Operation

Maoyu

Minami-ke Tadaima

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai (and Jeff's expert breakdown)

 

Jeff Chuang

Vividred Operation Episode 2


And just like that, docking is explained. It's not a dirty tag on your favorite image gallery; just an innocent, highly advanced expression of technology as consciousness of two adolescent girls combine to form the equivalent of gattai-COS-MOS, yielding a hammer of considerable size.

Vividred Operation continues its high-octane opening act when Aoi and Akane, now fully realized magical girls, fight the Alone. The girls explore their new powers, along with the conventional military fighting alongside, in a weird tandem of fighter planes, ship side cannons, loud explosions and awkward apologies on the deck of an aircraft carrier. Common sense is kicked to the curb and then some.

Things get dramatic when the two magical girls actually try to dock, something goes wrong--possibly because the strength of their friendship is not enough? A quick flashback to two years ago explains to us why Akane adores Aoi, and why Aoi might seem the more childish of the two, all over some tomatoes. Meanwhile the mysterious "black ranger" juices the beaten Alone with more magical power, forcing the docking issue between Aoi and Akane.

Needless to say, it all ends well as Akane and Aoi's friendship get a power-up when they shouted "Vivid Red Operations" together. So is this it? Are we going to see how the four girls manage this tricky business of befriending each other in order to unlock various grown-up forms of themselves in order to defend their home?

Maybe. With the opening act out of the way, it's good to see that Vividred Operation has delivered what we expected: a new twist on butt-kicking magical girls, a new twist on high-power aerial-fights involving hot steel and hotter character designs, and more up-skirt camera shots than flying girls doing barrel rolls over a flight of F-35s. The execution is there; the production value is there; it's exciting, and just predictably enough to be comfortable. It's time to see will this series take us to its promised utopia or leave us disappointed as yet another trope-filled but ordinary cash cow.

[Dock with Vividred Operation on Crunchyroll & Hulu!]

 

Josh Totman

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou Episode 15


It’s time for everyone to leave Sakurasou for the time being while the teacher is away. This sounds a bit odd to me but whatever.

Jin has already moved to Osaka to pursue his dreams and left poor Misaki alone. So she doesn't want to go home, Shiina can’t go back to England, and Aoyama can’t go home either. What to do? What to do? I know we will all go to Sorata’s parent’s house! It’s OK to have three females for a sleep over right?

It seems to me that the focus of the show is more about Sorata then anyone else. Shiina, the pet girl in the title, is almost an afterthought to everyone else’s stories. I mean, I really don’t seem to care that she is there or if she doesn't understand things. Frankly at this point she should have gone back to England. I’ll actually be upset at the show if Sorata ends up with her. He should be with Aoyama more than anyone. She at least has a head on her shoulders, sweet, caring, and has a drive in what she wants to do. What does Shiina have? World class art skills and...and...female parts? I’m drawing a blank on anything else she could bring to the table.

Move on Sorata to the better waifu. You know I’m right.

[Awkward moments at home at Crunchyroll]

 

Tamako Market Episode 2


Love is in the air at the market and my love for this show is growing.

After an uncertain first episode with me, the second episode has started to win me over. The moe I was looking for really started to show this episode. I caught myself smiling a lot at the cuteness. Not helping was that it was a Valentine’s Day episode which could have been held off for a couple of episode to be actually closer to the day. Ah, no matter.

I’m also really getting into the characters around the market. Everyone has such personality and is unique. It’s definitely a place I would love to go shop if I had the chance. Maybe even open my own shop there. I can dream can’t I? The whole market gets into the Valentine’s Day spirit in many different ways, but Tamako’s dad seems against the whole thing. Don’t worry; he comes around in an adorable way then fights with the shop across the street about copying it. Again, it’s adorable.

There are a couple of things I took away from this episode; there will be a Tamako in bunny outfit figure out at some point, Anko is way too cute of a name for a little girl, and I would totally buy my tofu from a Japanese man with an afro.

[Heart shaped mochi at Anime Network]

 

Senran Kagura Episode 3


Being a heterosexual male, I enjoy this series for the deep story plot and rich characters.

Let’s see if I can fix that sentence; I enjoy this series for the deep cleavage and rich amounts of fanservice. There I fixed it. It’s no surprise that this series is lacking on almost everything except the amount and size of boobs in it, but even I struggle a bit to keep watching. The amount of fanservice is just keeping me afloat in the barely watchable range.

Our focal point this week is Ikaruga and her family issues. We get the entire back story we need on her with the exception of the jealous girl from the dark shinobi side. Out of all the things so far in this series, the dark shinobi story is the thing that is getting to me the most. What the hell are they? We know that they have some beef with our girls but what is it and why. So far they have only tested out girls out and that’s it. So our recipe goes; add one fight scene with a dash of what’s to come next week and repeat. All I’m going to guess is that we will have a huge battle towards the end of the series. We will build our characters up each episode while revealing one (or two) new bad girls until we have an all out clothes busting war. At least we have an explanation about the clothes and why then explode.

[More sushi rolls at Funimation]

 

Hiroko Yamamura

Pyscho-Pass Episode 13


After making us wait a whole episode to see the impact of Akane's friend's murder, I 'm a bit let down. Probably a case of building up worst case scenarios in my head, but a bit more misery would have been nice. Akane isn't unaffected, but somehow she's ended up pretty much unscathed, just like Shinya's hair. Has it even moved once this season?

Some explanations for the reason the Dominator didn't work on Shogo are brought forward, and many suspected imperfections in the Sybil System are confirmed. I myself had been wondering why detectives and investigators were needed, when drones could do all the work. The stink of corruption leaks from the head office…

Perhaps the biggest reveal of the episode is that Masaoka is Ginoza's pops! Does anyone else know this? Does his arm have any super powers? I hope this sets up something interesting, but my money is on Ginoza's Crime Coefficient going berserk pretty soon.

Hopefully we'll see some more impact from the murder of Akane's pal. The whole scene was so brutal, and nicely done, that I don't want to see it go to waste. A fun episode, but a bit downhill from the last few. I didn't like how everything just seemed ok again. Also, the animation looked a bit sketchy this episode.

[Get your Crime Coefficient checked over at Funimation]

 

Eric Koziol

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Episode 15


This episode can be summed up in one word: Balls and wedding rings. Caesar starts of thirsting for revenge for the Mark's death. While his bubble attack manages to do some damage, he is quickly taken out of commission. Joseph finds this opportunity to launch his new skill — balls! While he doesn't win the one minute bout Waamu promised him, JoJo does do some damage which allows him to save himself along with Caesar and Speedwagon by promising to Waamu that he'll be able to beat him in a month's time. Waamu and Esidisi make deals with him, signed with poison carrying rings tied to JoJo's heart and throat.

JoJo's cockiness got him into a bit of trouble this episode. His quick thinking allowed him to save the day, albeit at a heavy price. Initially frustrated with JoJo, we can see Caesar beginning to have some respect for the rowdy American. Poor Speedwagon needs a vacation. I really enjoyed how there was a bit of action tied into a huge setup in this episode. Of course now comes the training time. I'm excited to see how they handle it in the anime.

 

Chris Walden

Space Bros. Episode 40-41


Throughout this whole "Hibito is in serious trouble" arc, I couldn't help but think that everything would end well, Hibito would be a glorious space hero and NASA and JAXA would have their fair share of applicants because of it. Now? Now I'm not so sure. I think I'm still leaning towards Hibito being just fine, but at this point I think anything could happen. I already mentioned a few weeks back that I'd personally have killed Hibito on the moon for a swift strike to the feels, and I wouldn't at all be surprised if that happened. It's NASA's and JAXA's involvement in the project that is making me think otherwise. 

Speculation aside, what a couple of episodes! I was seriously on the edge of my seat, and seeing Mutta turn up to hear the latest on his brothers situation was seriously touching. Interesting that they didn't cut to their parents for an extra punch, but maybe it's another hint?

Gah, back to speculating! We keep hearing about Brian, as well as his older brother that survived him. Are we going to see that scenario again? Will Hibito use his flare to prove his position and get that rescue team in the right place? Will we get another cliffhanger? Excess use of question marks? Oh, just give me the next episode already! 

[Space pugs can be found on Crunchyroll!]

 

Little Busters! Episode 14-15

Okay, let's deal with episode 14 first. It sure is a Key show, as they deliver a quick blow to the emotions. I mean, sure, compared to everything else this show has given us, shadows and mirrors and whatever else is a little out there. Still, it doesn't stop them dancing on your heartstrings, as an ample dose of childhood back story and beach scenes showed that, hey, I really do care. Fancy that! Better yet, it seems Nishizono will have a bigger role to play from here on, so that's pretty cool too. 

Then there was episode 15. Sure, you can wrap it up with "it's all for Rin's sake!", but let's be honest, it was just an episode to get the fanfiction rolling. Bro love, cross-dressing and harems, you'll find them in this episode! I'll admit it wasn't terrible, but Little Busters! is definitely best when it's stuck in a nice, meaty sob story. Make me cry, dammit! 

[Wafu! Nano desu Crunchyroll]

 

Bakuman. 3 Episode 15-16

Episodes like these make me really wonder if an animated version of PCP would be fun to watch. It certainly seems like it would, but it might just have a level of extravagance that only makes it work properly in the Bakuman universe. We certainly got a lot of manga-style segments for the big build up to the final showdown, which was nice I guess. 

Crow succeeds, probably because Nizuma is an awesome character and Mashiro/Takagi don't seem to do much besides scream about making their manga better. It was a great arc for sure, one of the best Bakuman has to offer, so it'll be interesting to see how the rest of this series plays out. I can't see it ending completely at 26 episodes now, so I figure we'll see a season 4, even if it turns out to be 12 episodes or so. 

Better yet, we could have a Hiramaru spin-off for Otters. That would probably be the best thing. 

 

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai Episode 2

Yes, I am still in love with this show. It has just the right amount of goofiness, plot and Shaft to keep me hooked. On the same point, I can perfectly understand that some people are going to hate everything about it. To each his own, but I'm having a blast!

Honestly, I don't think anyone besides Shaft could have handled something like this. It's hard to tell just where the story and Shaft meet; where the goofiness is coming from and just how much of it there was in the source material. But man, the details. The scenes in the MMO were fantastic, and watching Sasami run around trying to salvage her room from the three sisters had me crack a terrifying grin.

Something I want to point out is just how neat the background music is. The tune that plays from 8:45 onwards (and will likely recur from now on) fits this show perfectly. It has that erratic sense to reflect the spontaneity of the show, and has the right vibes to represent Sasami's fascination with tech. Shaft seem to also be building their bank of voice actors. We got to hear Yoshinoya-sensei from Hidamari Sketch in this episode, but while a lot of them have appeared in Shaft anime before, there are a reassuring number of newbies. Yeah, I like this show. 

 

Kristina Pino

Haganai NEXT episodes 1-2


Woo, another Haganai series! Since it's a close continuation of the first one, I didn't have to write another first impressions piece here. 

NEXT picks up more or less where the first season left off, except now Kodaka is being a bit more defensive about Sena regarding Yozora's mean-ness. He even went as far as proclaiming to Pegasus in a hilarious bath scene that he'd do his best to protect her as much as he can.

We learn that Sena's a bit more deep than everyone gives her credit for and actively dislikes the treatment she gets from Yozora. Meanwhile, Yozora has seriously and straight-faced apologized to Sena twice in as many episodes. If this is going to be a theme/trend, then I'm all for it. Some of Yozora's treatment toward Sena last season seriously went too far after all, like that one scene that she was stepping on her. 

The animation has much improved, so huzzah for bigger budgets. I also like that we're being introduced to some new characters, like Maria's big sister. I didn't like her at all, though. It's another obvious bully character that is being shoved into Kodaka's face, and he looked visibly annoyed when she started spouting her "Maria's so stupid!" lines at him. Though really, if the overall theme of this season is going to be "don't be a bullying jerk," then I guess that can only be a positive thing. Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing how things develop.

Besides that, we're back to the awesome parodies and gags, like episode's two "yaranai ka?" that I absolutely enjoyed. I also noted a few references to the "My x Can't be y" anime title references, or just ultra-long title parodies in general. Keep it real, Haganai.

[Catch Haganai NEXT simulcasting on FUNimation]

 

Amnesia episode 3


I wasn't really sure whether I'd keep watching this show, but the cliffhanger after episode two killed me and for now, I've got the time. 

Sad Sack wakes up after her fall off a cliff to Shin giving her a kiss and taking her around. He tells her he knows her secret, and starts trying to explain her life to her. Meanwhile, Orion is completely not present, and what we saw or she remembered from the first two episodes is nullified by what everyone is saying to her. People's attitudes are a little different as well, like her boss Miles Edgeworth who is suddenly some kind of enthusiastic fan boy.

I like this element of confusion as a member of the audience because it helps me identify with a character who is otherwise a complete blank slate. Usually, these characters aren't too relatable even when the goal is for you to infuse your own personality onto them, but in this case you're being actively afflicted with confusion and dazed by the disconnect she's suffering from. I'm looking forward to seeing what it is that happened that Orion was trying to call out to her at the end of this episode. 

In a way, I want to agree with some speculation that Sad Sack is seeing flashes of the future, but in this episode there were so many contrasts that I don't even know. Apparently she wasn't supposed to be too familiar with Kento, and apparently it's Shin's fault she fell, but did he really kill someone, or is he going to kill someone? Or is she still in a comatose state and some third party is inducing some of these illusions? 

[Amnesia is simulcasting on Crunchyroll!]

 

Josh Tolentino

Maoyu episode 3

Potatoes are fucking awesome, and it's a good thing that Maoyu recognizes that fact, as well as the spud's influence on civilization. It's no wonder that folks at the time considered it miraculous, and why it was such a disaster to lose them during Ireland's great famine (though that could also be a lesson in curbing dependence on the potato as well).

Just as well, recognition of the church's role in medieval education is also a big plus, though in real life much of the learning would be propagated by monasteries rather than convents, and likely require conversion or membership, either in the church itself or with some connection to the gentry, rather than willfully propagated to the peasantry. In a way, if Her Majesty (now more conveniently named the Crimson Scholar) were a nun rather than a noble her job teaching highborn kids would make a tad more sense. Then again, this is fantasy-land, and Maoyu spices up its medieval base with enlightenment-era innovations, so populist leanings with regard to learning are definitely not out of the question.

On the plot front, things are heating up and the stakes are rising, as Scholar and Hero court powerful organizations in their attempt to make the world a better place. While the most intriguing at this point are the Merchant Costers, which have a clear agenda that might not necessarily jive with an attempt to actually end the war (they profit the most from its continuation), the most sentimentally appealing is the church, if only because its representative is another of the Hero's former party, the Lady Knight. 

Why? Because I'm a real sucker for Lady Knight characters. From my beloved Lady Agrias Oaks (Final Fantasy Tactics) to the stoic Dame Ravness Loxaerion (Tactics Ogre) to the noblesse oblige-obsessed Glycine Bleumer (Sakura Wars 3), to Aveline Vallen (Dragon Age 2), to, er...Leina Vance (Queen's Blade), lady knights combine the badassery of knighthood with the classiness of being called "Dame" (oh Dame Judi Dench) and the gap moe of that inevitable moment when a dame's dignity is undermined by her inexperience with ladylike behavior and/or the romantic advances of heroic player-controlled studs. Even without the gap moe moments, Lady Knights are awesome, much more so than any non-knight princesses.

The Lady Knight also introduces a very mild romantic triangle element to the mix, though given the Scholar's natural grace and poise -when not trying to experiment with goodbye kisses, at least - I doubt it'll turn Maoyu into a crass harem rom-com. If nothing else it'll at least serve as a catalyst to push the relationship forward, ideally into a stage that feels more natural and less awkward in its intimacy. I hold the Holo/Lawrence chemistry in very high esteem, and I can only hope the Hero/Demon King dynamic takes on those attributes.

[Winter's classiest fake-European JRPG show airs on Crunchyroll]

 

AKB0048 episode 16


And you thought the election ended in November! Silly wota, these are the General Elections, where you elect your favorite space-idol! And what's more important, a mere politician, or an idol whom you worship? 

Don't answer that.

Voting fever hits magical future-land as successors and understudies both battle over the rankings. The specter of idol infighting is less acute than in the previous episodes, but it's clear that some of the characters have misgivings about the competitive nature of the contest. For them the ideal idol is mainly cooperative and communal. But, of course, that secretly runs counter to the AKB48 scheme, which is designed to hook otaku into obsession, one or two fanboys at a time, causing them to declare their Tomochin or Acchan or whoever their own personal savoir-spouse.

Instead, AKB0048 doubles down on the sci-fi plotting, with Chieri's openly villanous father pledging previously withheld support, with the natural motive of harvesting power from the Kirara phenomenon. 

A thought exercise: If he succeeds and turns idols into batteries, will there be any idols left in the world? It doesn't seem like an entirely stable plan.

 

Robotics;Notes episode 13


In good order, we get an episode largely dedicated to the conspiracy theory questions we've been wanting to ask all along 

The next Kimijima report reveals some rather hair-brained shcemes for world-end triggers, including a hilariously accurate solar flare that has little chance on happening in the first place, not to mention in as convenient or coherent a matterfirst off, any "largest solar storm in history" would hit far more than a single area of metropolitan Tokyo. Realistically speaking, a powerful flare would likely send whole continents into the shadows.

Further, why in the nine hells would Aki just want to use the monopole magnet as a crummy engine? Just selling it to your favorite quantum physicist would problably generate enough revenue to keep the dream alive, albeit with a new leader. They wouldn't need no fancy rock.

[Catch the absurdity of a monopole that looks like a bean with stars in it on FUNimation]

 

Inferno Cop episode 5


 







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