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Annotated Anime Roundup: Winter 2014 Week 10

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Rabbit got your tongue?

Hello and welcome to the Annotated Anime Recap, your weekly roundup of hot Japanese cartoons! We got delayed today because we simply couldn't dictate our recaps. A rabbit had taken our tongue! That's what we get for thinking Japanese hell would be a fun place to spend the weekend, I guess.

This week we've got the full crowd packed in, with the latest from Hozuki no Reitetsu, Sakura Trick, World Conquest Zvezda Plot, Saki: the Nationals, Yowapeda, Tonari no Seki-kun, Pupa, Onee-chan ga Kita, and Engaged to the Unidentified!

Karen Mead

Yowapeda Episode 22

Aaaaaaaah

So you're perusing this week's Annotated Anime, minding your own business, when you scroll to the main body of the post and expect to see a screenshot featuring handsome young men on shiny bicycles, when OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? THAT'S NOT A BICYCLE!

Yeah, so, mean biker kid Midousuji is basically an escaped Titan who got lost somewhere on the way to Wall Maria, and watching him do anything is creepy as all hell. Credit to the animators, because the way he moves is genuinely menacing and unnerving. His horror-movie style seems completely out of place in the super clean-cut world of Yowapeda, but that just makes it more effective I think. I find it difficult to believe that the adult organizers of the InterHigh would let the guy stand on stage and freak everybody the fuck out for like 20 minutes without physically removing him from the premises, but hey, it's TV.

Just in case you didn't hate Midousuji and thought he might be one of those "nice" Titans, we learn he told Imaizumi once during a race that his mother had died in order to sabotage his performance. On the face of it, it seems odd that Imaizumi would actually believe that, but as a card-carrying sociopath, Midousuji is very convincing. I know we're all supposed to hate this guy and be rooting for him to get his ass kicked and yeah, mission accomplished. You have successfully manipulated me, Yowapeda. Now if you can only cover the first leg of the race in fewer than 10 episodes, maybe we'll be on good terms again.

 

Tonari no Seki-kun Episode 11

High Drama

Best thing about covering Tonari no Seki-kun: Having an excuse to watch each episode twice.

The "mountain climbing" scheme, using a classmate's back as the mountain, is kind of brilliant; not only is it funny visually, but using a classmate as a prop is so very Seki-kun. The best part though is how onboard Yokoi is: this episode is the first time she outright admits to herself that she wants to watch Seki-kun play his games rather than listen to a boring lesson in class. The best moment is when she and Seki-kun both run to the window when the bear gets tossed out, like it's mutually understood that they're both on Team Playtime now. Team Playtime 4Ever.

 

Engaged to the Unidentified Episode 10

Kobeni is serious

Kobeni tries to backpedal out of the admission that she "likes" Hakuya, but no one is buying it. Other than that futile effort, I appreciate how smart Kobeni is; making up with Konoha with the cake cleared the air for everyone (while subtly reinforcing that Hakuya is MINE, bitch), and giving Hakuya the matching handkerchief was a great way to soothe his insecurities without alerting Benio and Mashiro. It's a nice change of pace to see a main character who's so sensible; she's not a super-genius, but she has good judgment where people are concerned without ever crossing the line into being outright manipulative.

I'm kind of annoyed that this episode focused in large part on what Hakuya is going to get Kobeni for White Day, and the episode ended without telling us what he got her. Of course that will probably be the plot of the next episode, but I do feel like things could be going a bit faster lately. I can only hope a date is in the near future-- with Mashiro, Benio and probably Konoha wearing huge sunglasses and fake mustaches and spying on the happy couple, but of course.

 

Brittany Vincent

Pupa Episode 10 


Chronologically, it at least appeared that this episode of Pupa lines up with last week's. I didn't actually expect to get to see Yume going ballistic on the guards and soldiers in real time, and of course that didn't happen, but we do see the aftermath of said attack in the form of severed limbs, guts, and blood strewn all over the floor. We get a little hint of what she can actually do in the form of glowing gold eyes as she apparently rips a soldier in half and leaves him to bleed out on the floor, but it's all so heavily censored you can't even enjoy the carnage.

Meanwhile, miraculously Utsutsu is crawling down a hallway with all his organs, though he's badly injured. He's tended to by a woman in white, who I assumed to be his mother, and she takes him into her arms for a healing embrace. We're hurtling toward the end of the series and I still have absolutely no idea what the end result will be. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to where we'll be next week in the show?

[Get confused over at Crunchyroll!] 

Onee-chan ga Kita! Episode 10 

It's Valentine's Day, and time for all the chocolates the girls furiously got busy creating to go out. Unsurprisingly, Tomo-kun ends up with plenty of different chocolates from all the girls who apparently dig him. Honestly, this episode was pretty uneventful, but it made me hate the jerk who calls Tomo-kun "Dyed" a little more. Why in the world would his locker be stuffed full of Valentine's Day chocolates when he's basically a waste of space and oblivious to female affection? So dumb. Only in anime, or The Big Bang Theory, which I abhor. 

[Chocolates abound at Crunchyroll!]

Sakura Trick Episode 10

It's snowing this week on Sakura Trick, after an eventful New Year's celebration and the jovial relationship play between the girls on the previous episode. Haruka thinks it's a great idea to go outside and "enjoy" the weather (which is, consequentially, a lot of snow) so the girls divide up into teams that go out and one that stays in. The girls enjoy a nice lunch in the snow, even though it's too cold to eat, and what results is a nice reflective bit that seemed a little different from the usual yuri fare. There was still plenty of kissing, though. Don't you worry about that. And judging from the title of the next episode, someone might be getting an eyeful of our favorite yuri couple -- perhaps a senpai? We'll see!
[Get caught up on the latest yuri kisses at Crunchyroll!]

Jeff Chuang

Saki: The Nationals episode 10

You could be a Higurashi character

Last week, we saw Toyone play chase-the-riichi with the top Osaka team. This week, we see Toyone play with lonely tiles as she takes first place in the last half of the final match in the prelims. Is it cheating when a Saki character possess more than one special powers? Answering that question would be admitting to that it isn't cheating at all to have powers, so maybe it is okay? And to some extent that's why Saki is such a fun watch. The game of concentration, gamesmanship and luck transforms into something closer to super hero battles, at least in terms of depicting it as an anime or manga.

To cut to the chase, Toyone's backstory comes out this week. The girl who grew up way in the boonies of Iwate got scouted by Miyamori's new mahjong coach, studied the game by herself in front of a TV, because there were no kids her age she could play with. For those who've seen shows like Non Non Biyori, I guess now you have another cue about Japan's declining birth rate. For those watching the show for mahjong, all that means is Toyone can also quickly get a naked wait going, and pulls out a tsumo at that. It's a complementary power to her riichi-chasing-riichi ability because it opens up her game both fast and slow.

The fact that Toyone may have two powers only compounds that she was able to hide both of her abilities from the scouts of the other teams. To top that, she just snatched the first place lead at the conclusion of this week's Saki, pushing Kiyosumi into third place. And we haven't gotten to Eisui's top player yet!

[Watch Toyone let loose her lonely powers on Crunchyroll]

World Conquest Zvezda Plot episode 10

Yep

Life is peachy when you're laid back underground organization trying to conquer the world, and your opponents are just a few crazy masked women who doesn't seem to actually be all that interested in stopping you, partly because you are so laid back. Unfortunately that all ends once we take out the "laid back" part of the show. With Asuta's dad now in charge and dissolving White Light's primary role as Zvezda's nemesis, Kate's gang gets routed out of their hideout and promptly gets in trouble everywhere they go.

And it seems more and more that Kate's conquest may come to an abrupt end. The group loses their ability to transform steadily as the udo generator explodes with their base. Relying on emergency energy packs, Kate and team slowly retreat to the location of their backup generator, losing General and Roboko in the process. Asuta's dad puts the youngest White Light agent in charge, while making White Falcon his personal henchwoman. White Robin, at the ambush of the second udo generator, turns back and protects the Zvezda guys because clearly now White Light is working for the bad guys.

The events detailed in this week's Zvezda Plot are all a little too serious to take it with the usual brevity. I think there's still a lot of humorous bits planted in, especially when you consider it along with anime like Jin-Roh or the plethora of Sengoku-era shows that play with the same warring-state motifs. The sarcasm still laces the script if you look closely. Clearly meant as a multi-part arc, maybe the next episode will have this week's punchline.

[Conquer the world on Crunchyroll and Daisuki]

 

Josh Tolentino

Hozuki no Reitetsu episode 10

Did you know that a nickname some news writers have for the US Supreme Court is "The Supremes", after the classic pop group? I bet you did. What does that have to do with this show about office workers in Japanese hell?

Quite a bit, as Hozuki arranges for a get together between Enma and the other Nine Judges of the Afterlife. Yes, it's dinner with the rest of the court, and they're all cutely jealous that Enma gets top billing in all the old screens and woodblock prints depicting Asian Hell.

Unfortunately, Enma gets that attention because he's biggest. And he's biggest because he's a tubby sumbitch, which incidentally leads to this week's B-plot, involving Hozuki finding ways to torture everyone at the office into getting fit. With O-koh's help, the weight loss initiative turns into a tour of both the hot and cold hells.

I've heard rumblings in some circles about Hozuki no Reitetsu being intensely boring, but I'm having fun so far. It's just really low-key in the way that, say, Dilbert is low-key. It's certainly sedate compared to the unrelenting intensity of Attack on Titan, but Hozuki is fundamentally a daily life comic, and doesn't have as many other crutches to lean on to bring in other audiences. Lucky Star had cute girls, Servant x Service had shipping bait, Nichijou was simply bonkers, and Nichibros was more satirical. Viewed through that lens, Hozuki no Reitetsu's a much purer girl than that other crowd. 

And hey, what else show could've taught me about how important having family to mourn you is when it comes to the afterlife?


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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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