Annotated Anime Roundup: Winter 2014 Week 12


The Devil's choice!

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Today's complement of exclusive offers for discerning mortals includes the latest recaps from Yowapeda, Tonari no Seki-kun, Saki: The Nationals, and a double header of Hozuki no Reitetsu! Get your comment cards ready to swipe!

Karen Mead

Yowapeda Episode 24

Racing Naruko

My bad guys, I said last week that this episode was going to be about Imaizumi and I was wrong. In my defense, I'm not paying as much attention to this show as I was at the beginning....is that even a defense?

I mean, I can deal with the fact that these guys have incessantly long dialogues while they're supposed to be biking their hardest, and I can deal with the fact that everything is super-duper melodramatic all the time; that's kind of what you sign up for when you watch a shonen sports anime. But what I really don't like is the ridiculous time dilation; most of the action in this episode takes place over the course of one kilometer, and it's not even over yet. At the pace these guys are going, shouldn't they cover 1km in like a minute, if that? What bugs is that there's no reason for it -- this could have been 25 km, which would have been believable for the massive half hour of screen time it's going to get.

Anyway, Hakone makes a declaration to Sohoku that is basically "We are the best team," then Sohoku is like "It's cute that you think that," then Naruko proves he's faster than anyone because he can lower his wind resistance to nil, and Tadakoro proves he's faster than anyone because he has awesome lung capacity. Meanwhile, the guy who named his pecs should maybe get them looked at by a doctor, because they seem to twitch like a pair of Xenomorphs is about to bust out of them. I'm so ready for this "first leg" of the race to be over; I want to see Manami-kun's Magical Wind Sprite Boy act again, and if Onoda will be able to channel his inner Love Hime power to beat him. Hey, remember Love Hime? I miss Love Hime.


Tonari no Seki-kun Episode 13


My bad again: I wrote last week's annotation on the assumption that episode 12 was the final episode of this show. Frankly I don't know what I was thinking, because if last episode really was the end I should have written a Final Impressions instead of an annotation, so I was totally in violation of Japanator law there. Let's just assume I was drugged on Little Debbie's Snack Cakes last week (Nutty Bars!), because this show is still on and sometimes it's really nice to be wrong.

This episode marks the return of the tiny robot family, who seem to have a special place in Yokoi's heart. Meanwhile, the pool setting has created a very important precedent: we now know that it's possible for an anime to have a pool episode without it degenerating into cheap and annoying fanservice. Okay, there was that one panning shot of Yokoi at the beginning that showed her slender thighs, but I'll give them a pass on that because Yokoi's hotness should be appreciated by all and sundry. Anyway, Yokoi's dedication to the tiny robots continues to be adorable, even if she seems increasingly unhinged over it.

For those of you keeping score at home, this was the second episode where Seki-kun gives Yokoi the "A-OK" sign at the end of the OP instead of the "One more time," gesture; I'm pretty sure that only happens in episodes where Yokoi is taking whatever the game of the week is far more seriously than Seki himself is. I hope it happens at least one more time so I can confirm that I'm right about this, because it's nice to be right occasionally too.


Jeff Chuang

Saki: The Nationals episode 12

That look

If mahjong is a game where for people fight for one person to assert her will, then Saki puts her foot down, in a spectacular way. Although, now it makes some sense as to why she did all that just to draw and discard. Himematsu's Kyouko figures stuff out after the match, but Saki's Plus-Minus-Zero habit came back in a pretty amazing way.

At the same time, the prelims are just that. The eliminated teams take this opportunity to enjoy their time off until the individual tournament. Does this means more Miko fanservice next week? Toyone seems to have taken it very hard, although this lonely girl's attempt to get everyone's autograph is really charming. Hopefully this won't be her last "koushien."

It's also interesting in terms of how Kyouko and Saki will meet in the next round, since Himematsu and Kiyosumi both advances, as the first and second place winners. It seems that Saki still has some demons to fight, in more ways than one.

[Watch Saki: The Nationals on Crunchyroll]


Josh Tolentino

Hozuki no Reitetsu episodes 11 and 12

Shows like Hozuki no Reitetsu can't exactly afford to have off days. For something so low-key and breezy in the middle of season full of extremity and audaciousness, a bad episode is a ticket to getting dropped for a show that's more of a barn-burner.

Then again, can a show as low-key and breezy as Hozuki no Reitetsu ever really have a bad episode? Saying episode 11 was "forgettable" is like saying a certain day's strip of Garfield or Dilbert was "forgettable". Hozuki is a comic strip, mainly, though as far as I'm aware it's not actually based on a standard 4-koma. It's actually in that respect that its approach rambles as it does. It's more interested in portraying mythic figures as utterly normal people, sprinkling in historical tidbits as a bit of intellectual crunch, than it is in actually delivering a punchline.

There's been plenty of that historical crunch in the last couple of episodes, at least, complete with a visit to the Inch-High Samurai, or Issun, who gamers may remember as the Navi-analogue from Capcom's classic Zelda-analogue, Okami. As ever, it pokes holes in the way all these "children's stories" are actually quite brutal, even sinful. Heck, the normally heroic saga of seeing Issun trick his way into a marriage gets him a tour in the kind of hell where medicinal herbs are grown from your corpse...while you're still alive. 

Really now, it's kind of impossible to get huffy at Hozuki no Reitetsu for being a yawnfest at this point, so instead it's better to concentrate on the takeaway, which is a fun look at exotic (from my point of view, at least) myth.

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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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