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Annotated Anime Early Edition: Winter 2011 Week 8

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Welcome again to this week's Early Edition of Annotated Anime, Japanator's weekly coverage in cartoons from across the pond. We hit hard and hit it all, like a shotgun blast to the face, followed up by being tossed down an elevator shaft.

This early afternoon brings double-doses of Freezing and Super Robot Wars OG as Pedro plays a little catch-up, as well as recaps for GOSICK, Index, Fractale, Wandering Son, and Kimi ni Todoke.

And as a special guest, we've got Jeff's recap for the new (yes, new!) episode of OreImo and its TRUE ENDING!

What are you waiting for, then! Get in there and read, and then tell us what you think of the week in anime, and that includes the true path for Kuroneko!

Brad Rice

Realization ni Todoke Episode 07


Finally.

 It's taken a while, but people are finally getting sense smacked into them. Kurumi smacks some sense into Sawako. Pin smacks some sense into Kazehaya. Even Ayane smacks some sense into Kent. It's all pretty refreshing because, despite the continued misunderstandings, it looks like things are on the right track to succeed.

Sawako and Kazehaya's realizations are pretty straightforward and expected. What I found interesting within this episode was Ayane's talk with Kent, where she pointed out to him that he's pushing the Sawako train forward (either towards him or towards Kazehaya) so that, in the end, he can say "what a good guy I am!" The realization genuinely shocked Kent, as I guess he never realized just how self-serving his motives are.

Otherwise, it's the usual baby-step pace for an episode of the show. Oh, if only these episodes were an hour long!

Wandering Son Episode 5


Episode 6 wouldn't load for me on Crunchyroll, so all you wonderful people will have to wait until next week (hopefully) to be fully caught up with my Wandering Son recaps.

In this episode, the clusterfuck that was to be the rest of the script-writing story turned out pretty okay. Saori, in her moody bitchiness, sat off in the corner while everyone worked on the script, essentially making the story into theRomeo and Juliet play it was going to be, with the gender roles reversed. 

"Oh, woe is me. This play will never live up to the great artistic message that I had intended to portray!" Life's tough, Saori. Learn that you're not going to get what you want all the time. And everyone else likes the script, including Shu, so just keep your mouth quiet.

We get a new character here, which adds a bit of interest to Saori's plot: a rather obnoxious boy from Saori's church, who considers himself Saori's love, barges in and calls out Shu as "that cross-dressing boy." In front of everyone. Which, of course, gets Chizuru's motor running in that sort of way.

Skipping ahead to the play itself, roles were selected, and in an interesting twist, Romeo and Juliet will be played by Saori and Mako. The way the scene was done, all the way up through Saori's selection, honestly guided you towards a Saori and Shu pairing. There was such a desire on Saori's part to be with Shu, that it was a foregone conclusion that he'd be her male counterpart once she drew the part of Romeo.

Now that she's unhappy with the pairing, Saori intends to take on the role of Yoshiyuki Tomino for this play, vowing to "kill them all," referring to all the characters in the play. Sure, Romeo and Juliet die, but the apothecary, hand maidens, and even the bushes in the background. I can't wait to see how the rest of this play unfolds!

[Watch Wandering Son on Crunchyroll!]

 

Jeff Chuang 

OreImo Episode 12 TRUE END

More OreImo? Well, we all knew that there will be four more episodes to follow up on the TV airing last year, and the first of the four is here. I will do my best to give you the breakdown but I think for a lot of us, the next four episodes are exactly what we're looking for.

Well, to be fair, maybe only the next three; OreImo 12 TRUE END is largely rehash of the last episode of OreImo 12 TV, when Kirino begged Kyousuke to buy her that eroge the night before she had to leave for America. It turns out that in the TRUE END, she does exactly that, rather than to stay in Japan.

Another big change in the episode was when Kyousuke, following a more likely scenario, missed the last train home from Akihabara. Those midnight sales can take a while! In desperation, Kyousuke begged another well-equipped otaku and got a hold of his bicycle through pure desperation and out of the other's kindness. A long cycle ride back later, Kirino went back to her gaming self and revealed to us the same stuff that we saw in episode 12 TV. 

The last big change was how it ended; the new semester begins at school and we see Kuroneko calling Kyousuke "senpai." With that, our true end begins. I think I like this; a OreImo without the bratty little sister and with a lot more of Kuroneko? It is a change I can believe in.

Fractale Episode 6


Clain and company continue on their journey this week, but they take a pit stop this episode. Naturally, Phryne also takes the first opportunity to undress and skinny dip in a pool while some suspicious dude took stalker shots of her. The rest involves a lot of awkward angry faces and Enri yelling "Ecchi" the whole time. 

It's probably one of the least memorable episode until the final moments, when Phryne retrieves the stalker photos. It turns out that the anonymous stalker was stalking Clain, and he may very well be related to him.

Again, Fractale goes into exposition mode this week as it explains that even among the Lost Millennium, people have different ideas as to how to fight the Matrix-Fractale. The new group of ML this week, for example, tricks Fractale-addicted refugees into getting their nanomachines removed by pretending to vaccinate them. That, and random shooting of people who then got angry from being tricked.

The anonymous man had his own version of charity, too, as he tried to build from scratch a relay antenna to get signal to the Fractale-addicted--those who were displaced from the network when the various relay balloons were destroyed. Like Clain, the man collected antiques (but it's still futuristic technology to us, just not so far-fetched) and he was able to build things up from scratch. During the climax of the episode, the anon turned it on and showed us the full power of what the Fractale can do.

In the end, it feels like the episode was suppose to be charming, but it ended up being a bit too incoherent. I had a hard time getting into it emotionally or caring how suddenly the mistakenly-lecherous old man is actually a very nice guy. Still, it was good to see more of the Fractale setting play out, it's vast and surprisingly creative.

[Watch Fractale on FUNimation's video page or via Hulu. The stream is free and legal, so use it!]

Josh Tolentino

A Certain Magical Index episode 20

Well, I guess this is what happens when J.C. Staff decides things need to get real raw all up ins. By "this", I mean, of course, having someone mess with a man's lolita. Specifically, Accelerator's loli. And here you thought he was evolving into a tsundere anti-hero. Granted, he is still evolving into that, but he's having a lot of murderous fun doing it, apparently.

And by "fun", I mean shooting a lady's face off with a shotgun, then tossing her down an elevator shaft and licking the blood spatter. All the while going on with his high-pitched, prepubescent "heeheheeehee" laugh. Yeah, he's still crazy. And to think he was hanging out with Index not minutes before talking about alternative interpretations of The Ugly Duckling. Academic discussion in Academy City?! Who would have thought it could happen?

Meanwhile, Touma carries Last Order all cute-like (arms crossed under shoulders, like one might drag a body Metal Gear Solid-style), only to run into Vento, the other crazy person of this story arc. She fights with a hammer that hits the crucifix swinging from her tongue-piercing to project a multidirectional attack. What is it with Catholics and their roundabout fighting styles? Agnese also had that staff she abused in various weird ways to activate, and now this. Is it some commentary on Catholic guilt? I might buy it if Index were a more sophisticated show, but...nah.

Pedro Cortes

Super Robot Wars OG - The Inspector episode 20


With the death of Daitetsu, his young first mate is put in charge of the Kurogane while Rätsel takes the Hagane. The Hiryuu Custom goes back to the Earth Cradle to attempt to stop the fighting, but Archibald and Aguila clearly don't have that in mind. Wodan Ymir is shown as the last line of defense in the Earth Cradle, as he guards its original master and waits to face off against Sanger. 

The old crone also sends Seolla and Ouka to try and take out the Hiryuu. Right when Arado is about to grab Solla, the boosted twins attack him and ground his mech. This is the trigger to finally snap Seolla out of her brainwashing. Lamia comes in for an assist and helps them defeat the aggravating Machinery Kids. Unfortunately, they aren't able to save Ouka, who gets recalled by the crone.

Super Robot Wars OG - The Inspector episode 21

The episode starts with a flashback to the space colony Elpis and Archibald's terrorist attack that killed Rätsel/Elzam's wife three years prior. With that context, we jump back to the imminent attack on the Earth Cradle. Many a grunt gets exploded in a heroic mecha showcase that features the SRX robot reappearing in its badass, super robot glory. Also, Inazuma Kick. 

Wodan and Sanger begin another fight while the Kurogane goes into a Gurren-like drill-mode and pierces the Earth Cradle exterior. The old crone Setme is shown deep in the Earth Cradle, working on Ouka and enhancing her piloting abilities at the cost of destroying her personality. 

 

 

The heroes make it to Archibald's platform and they begin the epic boss fight. After Archibald tries to take Rie hostage, Räster frees his brother and finally kills the maniacal terrorist. Ouka's remote-controlled mech clashes with Latooni, Shine, Arado and Seolla deeper in the Cradle, leaving them scattered and damaged. The episode ends when Doctor Cero arrives stating that he'll end Ouka's pain.

 

 

With the end of the show lingering a few episodes away, I can see how things should wrap up. The heroes dealt with Archibald and now the Ouka sub-plot should be done soon. Give it another episode for that and Wodan/Sanger fight and they'll be able to go deal with Shadow Mirror and the bloody Inspectors!

[Watch Super Robot Wars OG over on Crunchyroll!]

Freezing episode 7

If I hear one more de arimasu…

Satellizer and Rana face off against two upperclassmen and are promptly defeated. Well, considering they're coming off a brutal fight I suppose it wasn't an awful performance, but they go down too fast to really enjoy the fight. 

Oh, and Satellizer has her throat partially cut. Cue flashback sequence where we find out how tortured Satellizer's life was. She was taken in by a rich family when her mother grew sick and was abused, mentally, physically and sexually by her brother. It certainly explains the whole "don't touch me" angle.

Flashbacks also mean that the main character gets to pop right back up no matter how catastrophic their injury previously was. Both Satellizer and Rana come back and return their ass-beatings in spades. Student council president Chiffon comes and stops the fight, revealing that she's no slouch herself. The episodes ends with the girls dragging Kazuya's unconscious ass back to the clinic as well as an ominous prediction for the future.

Freezing episode 8

Rana's pretty blatant attempts to seduce Kazuya only annoy more each episode. It's a damn shame that she's the hand-to-hand character, since that's usually my favorite type in these types of shows.

Anyway, it's prom time and they're looking to crown the Pandora Queen. Last year's queen was Elizabeth, the head of the third-years and a gal who seems to hate wearing bikinis in pools. Elizabeth orders her people to leave Satellizer alone, but they of course ignore her and form their plans. Satellizer and Rana predictably argue about Kazuya, and the milquetoast wonder picks the blonde.

The bitchy loli from last week comes back and challenges Satellizer to enter the Pandora Queen contest. This means that all the girls come out and wear progressively (and ridiculously) revealing outfits until Satellizer comes out in a surprisingly classy white dress. Despite being ridiculously shy on stage, the crowd reacts to her moé. She, of course, wins. After another attempt by the bitchy loll to embarrass Satellizer, Kazuya activates his freezing field and the two leave.

Under normal circumstances, this would've been the last straw for me. Besides some decent fanservice, there is NOTHING of redeeming value in the episode. Trite, cliché, tired, long-in-the-tooth, Freezing really has devolved into some pretty awful stuff. The only thing keeping me watching is Satellizer herself. While a pretty typical tsundere, the combination of a decent design and the voice of Mamiko Noto keep me interested in her. Everybody else can f*ck off. Especially Rana. Ugh.

[Watch Freezing on FUNimation and Hulu!]

Mike LeChevallier 

GOSICK episode 8

Well, that bridge is burned. Anyone who still harbors complaints regarding the supposed simplicity of GOSICK's mysteries can just about put a gun in their mouth and call it a day right now. With the conclusion of the Gray Wolves/Cordelia's innocence arc, the writers drop so many 180-degree turn plot-bombs and character twists within the running length that not one previous theory I heard regarding the Chaos at the summer solstice festival was even close to being correct. The question is, though, did the various rug-pulling tactics employed by Team BONES work out for the best dramatic effect possible? My answer is a halfhearted "kind of."

Literally, inside the first two minutes of "Howling Echoes From the Kingdom of the Past", Victorique pieces together the uncertainties revolving around the deaths of two out of the three men who accompanied our main pair into the village. In a choice that, I have to be honest, feels like a cheap shot, the outsiders were mere artifact thieves who ventured into the village to procure some valuable loot (case in point: the urn they "accidentally" dropped in holy water--they were testing if it was real gold via float-check). While the last episode spent its entire second act building up evidence that someone residing in the Gray Wolf village, namely Elder Sergius, was behind all the murders past and present, this current outing throws all prior leads out the window in an unrestrained wtf-fashion. It turns out that one of the three men had murdered the other two because of some pointless quarrel that has absolutely nothing to do with the murder of Elder Theodore, which is what the majority of the loyal audience actually cares about. I won't delve too deep into how Derrek pulled off the slaying of his ex-companions, but I will note that a simple stray acorn leads Victorique to the truth. If you're going to commit multiple homicides with her in the vicinity--hell, with her in the same township, you've really got to be OCD about destroying any minuscule traces of evidence.

As for the Cordelia Gallo case, the manner in which Victorique reconstructs the puzzle of her mother's framing is so outlandish that the only way it could play out effectively on screen is with wordless flashbacks of only the murder scene, heavy music overlay and speculative narration. To actually show us a young Herminia receiving her death prediction from Elder Theodore, and the following disturbing emotions that lead her to kill the unsuspecting fellow is obviously too much to ask. That being said, the sequence when Kujou tricks the unstable, perpetually eye-scratching maid into admitting her guilt by wearing a ceremonial mask and mumbling some "traditional" magic phrase into her ear was admittedly dim-witted yet hilarious all in the same instant. I especially enjoyed the abrupt entrance of Grevil a bit earlier in the episode, and the fact that he had hired Mildred to report Victorique's movements to him was revealing. Either he truly does care for her in a brotherly way, or he could be somehow reprimanded by an unseen force if harm was to befall her.

Any fight scene that takes place not only surrounded by flames but also upon a collapsing bridge is bound to be a winner, and I found myself entertained by the climactic one here. Herminia's combat style is like a retarded version of the blind shamisen assassin Sara from Samurai Champloo's "Elegy of Entrapment" two-parter; she swings a spear wildly, slicing up Kujou as he stands in front of a squealing Victorique. Eventually Theodore's premonition comes true, as Ambrose pushes Herminia to her death in a struggle at the age of 26 (when she was 6, Theodore said she had 20 years to live).

In the end, the chemistry between Kujou and Victorique, although cloying at times, is what holds this series together through its misshapen mysteries. To learn that Victorique asked the Elder the same question as Kujou regarding their relationship is a nice touch, and fuels my admiration of these two oddballs even further. The next episode seems like there's going to be a whole lot of moe going on, so I guess I have to start preparing myself for possible concurrent 'dawww-ing and rage.

[GOSICK is simulcasting on Crunchyroll.]


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Josh Tolentino
Josh TolentinoManaging Editor   gamer profile

Josh is Japanator's Managing Editor, and contributes to Destructoid as well, as the network's premier apologist for both Harem Anime and Star Trek: Voyager For high school reasons, he's called "u... more + disclosures


 



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