Annotated Anime Late Edition: Winter 2011 Week 9


Welcome again to your Late Edition of Annotated Anime, the Japanator weekly anime recap that thinks 2011 has been a banner year so far for crazy-lady faces. Case in point shown above.

Ewww! And I heard from folks who read the source material that that scene was toned down from the book.

You know what isn't gross, though? Recaps! Specifically, recaps of Wandering Son, Kimi ni Todoke, GOSICK, Dragon Crisis!, A Certain Magical Index II, Infinite Stratos, Dream Eater Merry, and Rio - Rainbow Gate!

That's a substantial nightcap for a Wednesday evening, especially after the Early Edition banquet! Look at it this way though: tomorrow is Thursday, which means it's Friday in Japan, which is when Infinite Stratos comes out! And then a day after that is Fighting Friday, the only battle anime recap that can take a Bleach filler episode and bring something good out of it!

Brad Rice

Wandering Son Episodes 6 and 7

These two episodes, when viewed back-to-back, created a mighty interesting dichotomy of things. The play arc ends in episode 6 with the cultural festival taking place. Maiko-chan shows up to visit Maho, causing a bit of a scene at the school.

Previously in the show, Maho popped up in conversation here and there, but they never bothered to hit home about how big of an impact on Maho's life Maiko is. It's her whole reason for becoming a model. Her popularity seems to be equivalent to Taylor Swift. If she showed up at your high school to visit someone, you'd flip the shit, right?

But none of that is really conveyed, and it's disappointing.

Instead, we get a rather odd screaming session in the haunted house by Mako and some of the other kids to calm their nerves before the play, which took up the second half of the show. Ultimately, things turned out fine after an initial stumble by Mako.

The defining moment for me with this episode was at the after-party, when Saori gave Mako flowers she received earlier in the show, and tried to play it off like it was no big deal. Very tsundere, for sure, but it showed that their relationship was taking a step in the right direction.

Episode 7, meanwhile, proved to be a much more shocking one. Shu's face is suddenly breaking out in pimples, so he turns to Anna for help. Understandable, considering she's often around, and Shu and Maho's relationship isn't the best in the world.

The twist of it all: Shu ends up asking Anna out. Knowing how things had been going up until this point, this seems to be a total left-turn for Shu's feelings. It certainly opened a rift between him and Takatsuki, and it seems as though Shu is starting to realize he's not going to be happy with his decision.

Then again, with the way things have been going, I can't really say how things will end up. Truth be told, watching Shu and Anna together, they could easily make a good couple for a long while.

Wandering Son has been visually and emotionally pleasing, but it still feels as though there's a high barrier of entry to the show, not having read all of the manga. For those who haven't read any of it, I don't see how they've continued to watch. It's the show's glaring critical flaw. I can't say this is unheard of, because Akira operated in the exact same fashion: you were supposed to have read the manga going into it. It's unfortunate, but perhaps a second viewing once Fantagraphics has put out the manga will change my perspective on the show. 

[Watch Wandering Son on Crunchyroll!] 

Kimi ni Todoke episode 8

Dare I say it? Is Rage ni Todoke finally over, and I'll be able to enjoy my beautiful Kimi ni Todoke once again? After much hand-wringing, Sawako realizes that all these preconceptions she's had about Kazehaya and her relationship with him are imperfect, and she should instead just talk with him. Of course, that's where the episode leaves off.

Backtracking a bit, we're actually treated to a nice montage of the festival's preparations to the show's opening song, along with a fun scene with Sawako's Black Magic Advice Corner. I'm surprised the show didn't actually spend more time with this section, because it could have made for a fairly strong filler episode, and give us a bit of a break from the tension of Kazehaya and Sawako's not-quite-a-relationship.

But, Kent of all people had to butt in once again and say his piece to Sawako. Thankfully, this time it sparked realization within Sawako, as opposed to doubt.

So yeah, next episode is titled "Confession." About fucking time. Let's see how they can screw this one up! 

Mike LeChevallier

GOSICK episode 9

I think it has become an unspoken requirement that the bulk of shows I cover must display a girl encased within a box. This season I am still (yes, still--I can't believe it either) reviewing Dragon Crisis!, a series that also features a birthed-from-a-box (suitcase, actually) female. The difference between other box-bitches and the one who materializes in this underdeveloped yet quietly successful, comedy-wise, outing of GOSICK is that she's not a main character but apparently specific to an arc, as well as that she's happened upon by one of the most consistently sincere-within-his-idiocy heroes to recently appear in this genre of anime. That the saving grace of "Blue Roses Bloom in the Cannibal Department Store" is the endlessly mood-shifting, high-pitched spaz-singing, kimono-wearing, abruptly ill, deathly-afraid-of-needles antics of Victorique continues to support the argument that our favorite dwarf detective is the only great thing about this story as a whole. She also takes residence in a life-size dollhouse amongst a hedge maze, and you just can't not love that.

Opening with a scene between Avril (glad she's back) and Kujou playfully conversing about nonsense shopping for his sister (!) and concluding with a forced cliffhanger (Kujou ostensibly being abducted), this episode, believe it or not, manages to maintain a steady tone throughout its entirety. Though the "mystery" doesn't begin to become realized until near curtain, the writers do a nice job of allowing events to unfold entertainingly while simultaneously keeping Victorique and Kujou separated. I figured the only way any splitting up of key protagonists would be successful is if on one side we see Victorique moe-ing it up, and on the other an exhibition of dumbass Kujou at his finest. Though the dialogue itself continues to be somewhat of a notch for the negative tally, the staff manages to deliver on both accounts here. Victorique's quirky asides are hilarious, and Kujou's effortless forays into moron-mode cross the boundaries into slapstick so often that, in my foreseeing of them, I can accept the payoffs when they arrive minus a grain of salt.

As of now, we know little about the case at hand. Bizarre things have been taking place within Sauville's capital, Saubreme, specifically around a local department store, Jiangtan, that possesses the famous blue rose gemstone. It just happens to sell faux paperweight versions as well, which is what Kujou originally goes there to procure, but he is curiously directed to the real one by a shady clerk. There's also subtext involving some breed of "vagrant demon" who devours children after hanging them from their innards/skin. Later we meet a coin-snatching street boy who hysterically refers to Kujou as "Chinaman" and a batshit old woman who fits the description of the child-eater to a T, but, per usual, they could just be red herrings. The people who run Jiangtan seem to believe that Kujou is someone other than who he appears to be, and they basically tell him to fuck off the moment their paths converge. Kujou being Kujou, on his way to the exit, he haphazardly brings the elevator to basement level (he can't even press a correct button, I guess this is why he prefers the library stairs to meet Victorique) where he discovers a heap of creepy mannequins along with, that's right, a box girl.

Grevil is also in Saubreme attempting to whore himself to city officials, and he only agrees to assist Kujou with his disturbing findings because he knows he can't impress them with his solitary investigation skills. Not surprisingly, when Kujou opens the box for the Inspector and Jiangtan's overseers, the girl has *gasp* vanished (why the hell would she go back in the box?)...but not vanished vanished, merely hiding 20 feet away in the very same room. Feh.

Lucky for us, this episode is fortunate enough to contain some of the best non-serious Victorique material to date (what was that substance on her palms?) I once again have to commend the vocal performance of Aoi Yūki, which unstintingly delights each and every week. With Kujou on his own for the moment, I'm longing that he's allocated some moments of redeeming Kazuya badassery in the next installment, as currently, he's the very definition of lame.

[GOSICK is simulcasting on Crunchyroll.]

Dragon Crisis! episode 9

Does anyone happen to recall the conversation I had with my then 11-year old (he's 12 now) wise-beyond-his-age neighbor Caleb regarding episode 20 of Heroman? Well, seeing as how "Mirror of Truth" was filler at its absolute worst (unlike that Heroman outing), I invited Caleb to watch and dissect it with me for your bemusement. Caleb had just lost his shit due to his sister breaking his DSi, and he had not seen an episode of Dragon Crisis! since the premier. He was a bit testy to say the least.

Me: Wow. I could have had sex four times during this episode. Give me my 23 minutes back, DEEN.
Caleb: I'm not even going to do the mathematics on that one; I don't even care. I'm about to slap the face off my sister for smashing my DS. And you, too.
M: Hold up. What did I do to warrant your wrath?
C: You subjected my already distraught mind to further bullshit that I lack the capacity to handle right now.
M: LIAR! You once watched Tekken three times in a row, and I quote, "for the soothing dysfunctionality of the experience".
C: I was high, man. I was so very, very high. Also, how dare you reference that stupidity here.
M: How dare I? We are supposed to be discussing the episode. Get with the protocol, child.
C: Die. Dude, I don't know any of the new female characters, but they look generic as fuck. Everything about this show screams giant deluxe cone vanilla plain.
M: No arguments there, although one of them used to have wolf powers. Every once in a while, out of left field, Dragon Crisis! manages to work in a good joke or a well-executed action scene. Those moments are exceedingly rare as of late.
C: I don't understand how all these skanks want Ryuji's nuts. What the hell did do to deserve that surplus of poon?
M: Nothing, really. He technically saved Ai, but only through pure luck. The guy he was fighting just gave up and apparently killed himself mid-battle.
C: He couldn't bare to stay any longer in the poorly crafted universe of Dragon Crisis!
M: If things don't pick up next week, then I'll feel the exact same way.
C: You won't drop it. I know your OCD will take over and force completion of the series.
M: Well, the next chapter preview depicted a new dragon powwow of sorts...so I'm holding out hope until this ship hits the bottom of the ocean.
C: It seems for this über filler outing they went with an over-recycled cliche horror movie theme, took Ryuji out of the proceedings and literally tied things up in the final two minutes with no apparent detailed explanation for any of the magical crap we just saw go down.
M: The masked, star-eyed axe murderer looked like he walked out of some 80s anime produced by a studio that was pennies away from bankruptcy; his design was totally uninspired.
C: It was inspired by shit.
M: Everything was just lazy to the level of making me nauseous. When Bianca reached her hands inside the cursed Lost Precious painting and literally scooped out Rose, Eriko, Ai and Misaki after Ryuji stabbed it Chamber of Secrets style...man. That was the single most retarded thing I've seen all season. Even the most horrifyingly atrocious filler episodes move the main story along in some way, be it character-centric progression or a change of setting. This was just a steaming pile.
C: Whoever the chick with the short black hair is, who kept screwing around with her cell phone charm, she needs to be mentally evaluated and soon.
M: She'll never change. Misaki continues to be the saddest creeper-stalker around. The fact that she was so afraid of announcing her love for Ryuji, something everyone in the vicinity was already fully aware of, in order to escape the axe man's mirror trap, reveals that she is not only psychotic but also an idiot.
C: I have the feeling that my IQ dropped several points after being exposed to this nonsense. I'm going to try and duct tape and/or superglue my DSi back together now.
M: Wait. Quick equation. Do my intercourse math. 23 divided by 4. Begin.
C: Eat a dick, Mike.

[Dragon Crisis! is simulcasting on Crunchyroll.]

Josh Tolentino

A Certain Magical Index episode 21

Oh? An entire episode dedicated to people being serious and going about plot-important business? No interludes with Kuroko vowing to protect Biribiri's chastity (until Kuroko can take it for herself, of course)? That means things are really getting critical.

As the greater plot has moved along and Index has built its increasingly off-kilter world, it has settled (or tried to settle) into a sort of Guy Ritchie-esque pattern of disparate characters going about their individual adventures and all contributing in their own way to a larger of the whole "MAGIC! versus SCIENCE!" conflict. That's the only reason I can think of to explain why so many characters so rarely meet. Who'd have thought that a single phone call would be the only direct interaction between Touma and Accelerator in nearly thirty episodes? Despite their having had a big ol' battle the last time around, neither actually recognized the other? It's incredible, and not necessarily in the best of ways.

But I digress. Important things are happening! Aleistair boots up FUZE=Kazakiri, the  secret-weapon SCIENCE!-based angel and lady with the crazy face in today's Late Edition header. Accelerator starts to realize that Academy City ain't exactly an above-the-board sort of place. Oh? And has your entire existence not been big enough a clue? Sigh. At least it leads to a semi-cool moments, wherein our young white-haired antihero tosses an entire building at another building.

Sadly, the moment is demoted to semi-cool because, J.C. Staff, when you want to animate a skyscraper hitting another skyscraper at high speed, you don't show it just bouncing off like a cardboard box. You show the damn disintegrating. You did it in season one (kind of), do it like that. Sigh again.

Thankfully, someone messes with Accelerator's lolita again, and gets his face caved in by a shotgun grip for his trouble. It balances out.

Infinite Stratos episode 9

Ah, this show is all about the jelly, and boy is it good. Rin and Cecilia show off yandere jelly and try to worm their way back into harem prominence. They might have succeeded, with Rin scoring some almost-CPR and Cecilia receiving an oily back-rub from Ichika, a man whose mere presence apparently causes spontaneous ovulation in all women.

Sadly, the two are ultimately unsuccessful, because this episode opens with said man getting a nude morning armlock from his new husband, Laura, as well as a swimsuit exhibition from Charlotte, whose new nickname is "Char". Dammit, I'm dying again.

Did I mention this was the swimsuit/beach episode? Well, it is, and all the pent-up fan-service energy that has been carefully repressed through nearly the entire series just bursts out like so much French cleavage. Seriously, how did anyone seriously believe she was a boy?

As for Houki? Missing in action, but she's getting her custom IS, which is likely to catapult her into a level of exposure that, in my opinion, she doesn't deserve.

[Watch Infinite Stratos legit on The Anime Network Online]

Dream Eater Merry episode 9

What happens when you get two hot lady Dream Demons together to play superhero? In Dream Eater Merry, it seems you get a plot twist that serves to undermine their resolve!

This week Engi gets the downer news, because it seems that Dream Demons, upon taking a host, attach themselves to the host's hopes and dreams. Killing the Dream Demon, as Merry has done unintentionally and Engi has done by keikaku, kills the dream, as well.

So remember, kids: If you're depressed, are a NEET or hikkikomori, or can't get motivated without some sweet, sweet pills, blame a Dream Demon and/or the jerks that went and killed it.

Oh, and speaking of hopes and dreams, who has them? Isana has them! Who helps Isana work on her hopes and dreams! The school guidance counselor! Guess who's evil!

Hint: The guidance counselor is evil, possessed by Mistleteinn. He's planning to kill Isana's dreams.

Next week we finally interact with Kawanami, the girl who only drinks coffee and is possessed by the Dream Demon with X's for pupils. For the record, Merry's pupils are rectangles, Engi's are triangles, Mistleteinn's are upside-down peace signs. She has a gun of some kind.

Rio - Rainbow Gate! episode 10

Plot importance instead of Rio nonsense? Perish the thought. Plot importance is Rio nonsense! Today's lesson: What is a Roll Ruler?

A Roll Ruler, apparently, is almost a demigod, a dealer with so much power that they can alter the world around them, Haruhi-style. Be it transporting people to other dimensions or making sure that the house wins (and vice-versa), Roll Rulers, well, rule. Good thing they're so unambitious that they'd rather be casino dealers instead of taking over the world. Maybe a Dream Demon killed their dreams or something.

Rio proves her worth in a battle against the mysterious Joker, a gate holder who is clearly her mom, but no one must know. Minori Chihara finally earns her lunch money, saying more lines than ever before (a whopping three paragraphs' worth!) this episode as Dana, the mysterious thirteenth gate holder, adding to Rio's stock and setting her up for a showdown with Rina.

Let's hope this last stretch is appropriately ridiculous. I'd hate for Rio to end on a serious note.

[Watch Rio 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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