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Annotated Anime: Summer 2013 Week 4

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The fist of justice

Welcome to the latest installment of Annotated Anime, Japanator's heroic weekly Japanese cartoon recap! We've concentrated our power into a steel-hard fist of justice, delivering sweet synopses straight to your face! Since it's late, we'll skip the sermon. You know what you did.

While you reflect upon your trespasses, check out the latest recaps from our crack team of anime-watching dweebs, with both the best and the rest lined up for you! Head on below to check out Day Break Illusion, Railgun S, WataMote, Danganronpa, Hyperdimension Neptunia, Attack on Titan, Free!, Servant x Service, High School DxD New, Love Lab, Fate/kaleid liner, and Uchouten Kazoku!

Tell us what you think of the week in anime in the comments! On the off chance you haven't even started on summer's offerings, see the staff's First Impressions!

First Impressions:

Love Lab

Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA

Day Break Illusion

Gatchaman Crowds

Servant x Service

Genshiken Season 2

KINMOZA

WataMote

Danganronpa the Animation

Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen

Uchouten Kazoku

Free! Iwatobi Swim Club

Jeff Chuang

Day Break Illusion episode 3


After recalling and confronting the memories of Fuyuna, Akari flees her new beneficiaries and wander upon another Demonia. What happened in episode 3 really defines the tone and nature of Genei Taiyou that it at least gave me a reason to keep watching.

Not only did Akari took up her magical sword to protect the Demonia, she found that she was able to listen to what the infested victim was saying, and in the process relief the victim's pains. This episode of Day Break Illusion revolved around the victim that Akari protected, who preyed on little children. For protecting the Demonia, Akari was thrown into the school brig (if you can imagine such a thing), but she remained determined to not repeat what happened with Fuyuna.

In terms of the production value, the episode felt average, although the depiction of these battle scenes are kind of otherworldly. The result was kind of a strange look--a tentacle-infested pirate ship with a guy on a noose, the mast spilling out black fluids, and tentacles warps in from the dimension walls. This week's Day Break Illusion also introduces us to a couple new cards and their characters, and the Fool/Magician combo seems powerful.

[Catch Day Break Illusion on Crunchyroll]

 

Servant x Service Episode 3


There are three main segments in this week's Servant x Service. The first has to do with laying the groundwork on Lucy Yamagami's weakness, and the funny parallels between the Ichimiya siblings. The second has to do with a wardrobe malfunction (about Lucy's chest). The third has to do with Hasebe not having Lucy's mail address (but it ends up being about Lucy's chest).

If there's anything remarkable, the ship-prone viewer might start feeling it for Yamagami and Hasebe. There's a fair amount of laughs, and while the longer-acting jokes were fairly predictable, Yamagami naturally created the situation for Hasebe to put in the punchlines, so the jokes generally feel effective. You do feel sorry for Yamagami. You do feel that Hasebe isn't such a bad person after all.

However it still seems that one too many jokes in Servant x Service crosses the sexual harassment line. I'm not entirely sure how to feel about it, although Hasebe does make a fourth-wall-ish comment to address this. Maybe at this point Servant x Service is still okay, because this is a fictional depiction of something that isn't so hostile.

[Count the alphabet with Servant x Service on Crunchyroll]

 

Josh Totman

High School DxD New Episode 3


I’m not saying its swords, but it’s definitely swords.

If we haven’t driven in the idea that these Excalibur swords are the main focus, let us talk about it even more. We are only three episodes in and I am already starting to get tired of hearing about swords. That and how sad Yuto’s past was with the swords. There is even recycled animation of Yuto’s past in this episode too. I think we can all say that we get the idea that Yuto hates Excalibur.

Moving right along, the holy girls that they were fighting at the end of the last episode make short work of Issei and Yuto. Not really surprising since they have holy swords and all. Damage done to a demon with a holy sword is quite powerful. A tiny scratch can have the effect of a killing blow. After a bit of banter, we find out that the holy girls would like to see the swords destroyed as well if they cannot be recovered.

So in normal plot direction, they join forces for the greater good of both houses. No one wants to see these swords in the hands of rouge angels. Then, at the end of the episode, we get another small hint of new enemies. By the next episode, we should understand more about these two new men.

 [Sword talk at Funimation]

 

Salvador G-Rodiles

Hyperdimension Neptunia Episode 2


Luwee’s goddess is by far one of the most vulgar characters in Neptunia: The Animation at the moment. If you mess with her two sisters, then you are in for a thrashing that’s out of character for a person that’s a parody of the Nintendo Wii. Then again, I love how she’s the opposite of being a family-friendly person, since it’s a nice little poke at Nintendo’s beliefs. For now, I think she has become my favorite character in the series. In a way, I can see why she’s emotionally reserved at times. Blanc is not emotionless; she’s just holding back her immense anger.

Besides this week’s greatness, aka Blanc, the reference to a certain iconic Nintendo game was well done with Neptune’s unfortunate disaster. Actually those two things were the highlights of episode 2. Also, Neptune’s scene when she defended Blanc from the press was pretty fun. In all seriousness, I’m surprised that I am enjoying this series more than I was expecting to.

David Production may have still used the same animation trick with its fight scenes, but Blanc’s battle had its share of great moments. Thankfully, the main goddesses have been keeping the series entertaining so far. Though I'm hoping that the younger sisters and the other supporting characters will have their time to shine as well.

If there’s one thing that I’m weary of, it’s Trick’s obsession with younger girls. Instead of letting it get to me, it will be some nice fodder when he gets taken down by the goddesses -- besides White Heart's great beat down. Back to the main story, we are currently unsure of the nature behind the mysterious relic that was unearthed by Magiquone during episode 1. Judging from all of the shady things that are happening, Gamindustri is going to be in peril soon. However, we might have to go through a Vert episode before the real conflict begins. 

[You can curse your lungs out with Neptunia at Funimation]

 

Brad Rice

Love Lab episode 3


In this third episode, our two opposing forces come to a head: at a student council meeting, Love Lab research is given out to all the council members -- the result of sabotage by Eno. By the time we reach the council meeting, our two sides have come to a détente, but the materials got distributed anyways in a classic paper mixup.

So, what we see here are the two sides -- Eno/Mayo and Maki/Riko -- come to each others' defense, paving the way for the two sides to produce even more powerful love research in the coming episodes.

I'm happy with the pacing of these episodes if only because it allows the characters' relationships to settle a bit more before jumping ahead to joining forces. Sure, they could've crammed this into episode 2, but we knew it'd get to this point sooner or later anyways. So now, the general council is behind the Love Lab research, and the girls can go on unfettered. 

Will they find that the soft and silky skin of a maiden is infinitely better than a a man's? We'll just have to wait and see what they find out.

 

Elliot Gay

Attack on Titan Episode 14-15


Nice to have you back in one piece, Attack on Titan. Neither of these two episodes were particularly action-heavy, but in terms of overall pacing, 14 and 15 do a great job of bringing some consistency back to the series.

We finally get our formal introduction to the badasses of the Recon Corp, and a better look at Levi and his unique brand of persuasion. The whole court sequence lasts a single episode, giving the whole thing a meaning that was sorely lacking from another similar scene from a few episodes back. By not drawing out the content, the show manages to regain its footing.w

Episode 15 continues to to develop the world and cast a bit more, this time bringing us our first real look at the hilarious Hanji and her obsession with experiments. Her scenes are the star of this week's episode by a long shot.

The production tends to be pretty hit or miss in some places (still frames all over your face), but for the most part these were both very competent episodes. Having already caught up with the manga, it's nice to finally be able to look forward to new Attack on Titan episodes again. Come on Wit. Don't let me down.

[Catch the fight over at Crunchyroll]

 

Free! Episode 2-3


It feels like KyoAni's really gotten a grasp on what they want Free! to be at this point.

I know a lot of folks were expecting this to be K-On! with half naked dudes, but I'm happy to see that it's much more than that. There's a real focus on the swimming element thus far, and the main characters are actively working toward a goal. I found the humor to be hit or miss in this first episode, but there's some really fantastic moments in episode two and three. Rei is a great addition to the core crew, mostly because of how calculating and technical he is. Combined with his overall ineptitude at swimming, and I think we have a winner.

At this point you're either on board till the end, or you've already given up on Free!. For those of you still here, sit back and enjoy the ride.

[Swim with the fish over at Crunchyroll]

 

Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya Episode 2-3


Much to my chagrin, three episodes in and I'm still enjoying Prisma Illya quite a bit. It's stupid and silly, but it hits all the right Type Moon beats.

The battle against Rider, while not particularly well animated, was a fun throwback to Fate/Stay Night. Illya's complete lack of magical skills makes for some great situational humor where she has no idea what's going on or what she's supposed to do. 

As the characters make sure to point out themselves, Miyu's appearance and subsequent transfer into Illya's school is as tropey as it gets. That being said, it's used for the purpose of humor so effectively that I don't even mind. The final scene of Illya meeting Miyu right outside of her house is silly and improbable, but hilarious. I also love the card collection element which reminds a whole lot of my favorite magical girl show, Card Captor Sakura.

I'm greatly looking forward to seeing what the next class card is going to be.

[Be a magical girl over at Crunchyroll]

 

Brittany Vincent

Danganronpa Episode 3



Following Maizono's untimely death, the students must debate who took the pop idol's life. This episode follows the process and the somewhat bizarre dealings around it, as well as showcasing what happens to the culprit. The killer is revealed, and though normally I'm recapping the entire episode, I feel this one might be best left to you to watch and guess along with yourself. If you haven't already played the game or followed along in a Let's Play, it might come as a bit of a surprise. Let's just say you want to pay very close attention to the "code" on the wall Naegi discovers when investigating the crime scene. Is it even a code? Better think about it.

It was an eventful episode, and you can definitely see it following the trend of sticking to the game like glue. I realize its being identical in so many ways to the game could in itself deter potential viewers, but I feel in that way that's why the show works. Devil Survivor 2 attempted the same, but the characters and situations weren't nearly as memorable. I'm still very enthralled with Danganronpa, though, and I'm ready for the big revelations to come along.



WataMote Episode 3 



WataMote continues to dole out second-hand embarrassment, but with a heaping helping of heart. It's a rainy day, and things aren't going her way. She forgot her textbook, her umbrella broke in the blustery wind, and school is so unbearable that she fakes sick to come home, tries to catch her brother's cold to avoid school the next day, and ends up spending her weekend in bed with it instead.

If anything can go wrong it will for Tomoko, but she also misses out on the good thanks to get crippling anxiety. A couple of male high school students wait out the storm with her at a bus stop, are fully exposed to her weirdness (poop jokes and all) and notice her umbrella suffered the same fate as theirs. One of the students buys Tomoko an umbrella while she's in the restroom and leaves it by her while she's asleep. Of course, she thinks she's stealing by waking up and using it. Who could possibly want to be nice to her, right?

The third episode was an interesting mix of me wanting to hug Tomoko and shake her to get her back to her senses. This was a more relatable and less manic episode than the series has proven itself to be so far, and I'm curious to see what's next. Ganbatte, Tomoko!

[Get socially awkward at Crunchyroll!]

 

Uchouten Kazoku Episode 3



After the fast-paced adventure that was the last episode, it's interesting to see things somewhat toned down. The Kyoto Fire Festival is just about upon the human world, and that means the tanuki have special celebrations to attend to themselves. They take to the skies using "leisure liners" to take their party elsewhere, but the Shimogamo family find themselves without one.

Yasaburou is asked to find a vehicle that can get the tanuki clan up into the skies, and you can imagine how well that might turn out, especially when it's revealed the exact vehicle for use for this particular situation was given to Benten by Professor Akadama. Yes, that Benten. Cue hijinks while the Shimogamo tanuki try to persuade her to loan out the liner so they can have their own special party in the sky.

It feels a little too early for filler, but that's how this episode tended to feel. I'm looking forward to things picking up next week. And I want to know why Benten acts the way she does. I'm ready, anime. Show me the way.  

[Take to the skies over at Crunchyroll!]

 

Josh Tolentino

A Certain Scientific Railgun S episodes 14-16

One of the things I dislike about anime is the way girls tend to fall in love with a guy for seemingly no other reason than that the guy is the main character. There are a lot of reasons for this, such as male leads being written as audience stand-ins (common in visual novels and dating-sims) and other such things, but the end result is a girl that ends up looking like she'd devote herself to a potato - if the potato was wearing a protagonist's badge.

Railgun S solves that problem, and the last three episodes in particular have managed to retroactively justify and give actual heft to all the cliche romantic interactions between Touma and Mikoto seen through three full seasons' worth of anime. In light of the last three episodes, everything feels like it makes sense.

Of course, Railgun S' specific solution to the romantic-empathy-problem is hardly one to emulate, given that it took something like 15 (of 16) episodes to set up (not to mention however much side material makes up the original manga source), but the end result is frankly sublime, and when it's all over, we totally see what Mikoto sees when she sees Touma: her hero. As such, now is absolutely understandable why she'd fall for that spiky-haired, nun-touching putz with a crazy hand.

Taken solely at my word that sounds rather sexist, what with Touma just coming in and pretty much solving her problem, but the genius of it is that nearly all of Railgun S' run has been spent showing us just how intractable the issue had become. From the horror of Mikoto's meeting the Sisters to the helplessness of watching them brutally murdered by Accelerator, and the frustration of seeing her try again and again to stop the slaughter. She blew up buildings, hacked computers, broke curfew and who knows how many laws, ignored her friends, fought a crack team of mercenaries (including another level 5), and still the killing went on. 

By episode 14, Mikoto's hit rock-bottom, on the verge of suicide-by-Accelerator in a last-ditch attempt to mess with the plan, when this dumbass arrives. The voicework by Rina Satou really sells it, breaking at just the right points in her lines to show a confused teen at the limits of hope (and sanity), shifting effortlessly from sarcasm to rage to desperation and then tearful relief. Even Accelerator gets better at acting the psycho, with Nobuhiko Okamoto having more leading roles under his belt to help deliver the complexity of Accelerator's motivation.

Top-tier animation and choreography from J.C. Staff also makes the fights of the arc look completely balls-out insane. Comparing these to the same sequences from the first season of Index season is like comparing a Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm boss fight with a filler arc from the Naruto anime, so great is the difference. 

But let's not go too overboard with praise. Once again the arc is rendered largely humorless, and to my disappointment there was nothing in this remake that managed to top this lovely frame from Index. So yeah, there's that.

[Feel the glory of watching a dude righteously punch another dude in the face real hard with FUNimation]

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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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