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Annotated Anime: Summer 2013 Week 7

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Welcome again to another installment of Annotated Anime, the weekly Japanese cartoon recap that presents to you....mice, the Breakfast of Champions*.

While you get your chow on with some hot weekend food, why not thrill to the latest insights and analysis from our crack team of anime recappers, including Chris Walden with Rozen Maiden and Genshiken, Pedro Cortes with The World God Only Knows and Sunday Without God, Brittany Vincent with Danganronpa, Uchouten Kazoku, and Watamote, Hiroko Yamamura with Gatchaman Crowds, Salvador G-Rodiles with Hyperdimension Neptunia, Josh Totman with High School DxD New, Jeff Chuang with Day Break Illusion and Servant x Service, and yours truly with A Certain Scientific Railgun S and Majestic Prince!

Pedro Cortes

The World God Only Knows - Goddesses Arc Episode 4-6

Tsukiyo is the first confirmed gal to have a goddess inside her. After dodging some deadly projectiles, Keima manages to get a kiss from the reclusive astronomer and force Vulcanus out. Keima takes her back home and the two remove the cursed blade from Kanon's body. However, a defensive spell cast by Apollo has put Kanon's body into a frozen state that requires yet another goddess to remove. 

Next up is trying to deal with Yui, whose aggressive tendencies might be a sign of a Goddess possession. Since she's acting like the protagonist in an eroge, Keima decides to mix things up and act like one of the heroines. He goes all in, cross dressing, changing his vocal patterns, the whole shebang. Turns out that Keima's hunch was right, as Mars is within Yui. After an amusing fake kidnapping, he manages to complete the reverse-conquering.

After Yui is Shiori, who has seen Keima in the arms of a "man" and in the midst of cross-dressing. Clearly, not a good set of circumstances for somebody with a tight schedule. What I like most here is that we get a lot of time in Shiori's head. Her snark is quite amusing and I wish we could get a little more of it. Anyway, Keima does his thing and Minerva is revealed.

Having an over-arching story for a season is turning out will for TWGOK. As amusing as the individual conquering arcs were, it's nice knowing that things were actually going somewhere. I thought that retreading previous gals would get boring, but I'm liking the spin it's put on Keima. Having to balance all these girls at once has put Keima at a disadvantage again, especially with Yui. At least he's getting really good at dodging large objects.

 

Sundays Without God Episodes 4-6

With AI's father dead and buried, Ai and company fix up an old VW bus to start traveling. They hit the road, but find a sleeping boy in the back. The kid has been drugged, so getting info out of him is a bit difficult. After a longer snooze, the boy wakes up and says his name is Kiriko. They offer to drop him off near his town, but after the van starts having problems, they have to actually hit up Kiriko's town, Ortus. The problem? It's a town made up of the walking dead. With two Gravekeepers in tow, this is not a friendly area. That doesn't stop Ai from finding a way to get everybody inside using her adorable charms. They tell AI not to go outside, so of course she finds a way to run out into the street at night. She gets a warning about the darkness the city harbors. You know, besides all the dead people wandering the streets. 

Kiriko finds Ai wandering the streets and drags her back to the hotel with Julie and Scar, but not before he tells AI that he's one of the dead. Even worse, he's an amalgamation of five different people who were torn apart to make a child. Ick. It also explains the people who look like part of a gang started by Harvey Dent. Once again, Ai's gosh-darn good nature gets her places, as she gets an audience with Ulla, the princess of Ortus. The two hit it off, despite the princess's having her eyes and mouth sealed. The evening before the van repair is completed, the city goes under martial law to accept a group of living people who want to emigrate to Ortus…which means that they'll have to die. Ai decides that isn' right and runs off to tell Ulla.

Instead of an innocent princess, Ai sees Ulla kill the living with merely a glance. Ulla is the goddess of death that Kiriko spoke of earlier. Julie and a red headed teen save her from an accidental death. Ai figures out that Ulla is not aware of her powers, as she's consistently surrounded by the dead. Despite Kiriko's objections, AI heads back to Ulla's room and lets her know that she's been lied to her whole life. Thing is, she had already figured out that her gaze did something to people that saw her, as well as how hard Kiriko and the elders worked to hide some big secret. The find use Kiriko as an intermediary to hug it out. When Ai heads out, she bumps into Scar and Julie, who are staggering toward the castle. Everybody heads down to a hidden chamber, where a baby is stuck in suspended animation. Revealed to be Ulla's twin sister, Scar walks over and is able to not only grab the baby, but wake it up from its slumber. With yet another person in tow, Julie, Scar and AI depart Ortus.

With the second arc completed, I see the three episode pattern here. It's not a bad idea to link things together this way, as it gives stories time to actually complete, but that is completely dependent on the story. What I found very interesting and was never mentioned again were the multitude of dead gravediggers outside Ortus. I'm quite curious what happened there, but it's left behind to focus on the city of the dead, itself a solid idea in this messed up world.

 

Josh Totman

High School DxD New Episode 6


Well, that takes care of this arc.

Last episode the grand battle with Kokabiel was just getting underway. Now, it’s all over. It wasn't a short fight by any means and I am not trying to down play it. There were some powerful attacks used and a bit of hand to hand fighting, but nothing to really write home about.  In the end, there wasn't really a winner because the white dragon appeared and pretty much ended the fight.  There were, however, some secrets disclosed during the fight that I won’t really spoil for you. A bit shocking actually.

Anyways, the white dragon took care of Kokabiel like a mom with a bratty kid in the mall. It was not even a contest between them. Issei and his red dragon did kick a little butt before this by the power of desire to suckle the president’s orbs of fleshy goodness. Ah, the power of a man’s libido. It truly is a sight to behold. Besides all that, red and white had a bit of a friendly chat about fighting sometime down the road. In the second arc maybe?

We do get a new knight for our little group of chess pieces though in Xenovia. We also get to find out who the mysterious guy with Issei is now. He goes by the name, Azazel.

 [Man power at Funimation]

 

Salvador G-Rodiles

Hyperdimension Neptunia Episode 5


Well, I didn’t expect for things to progress so fast all of the sudden, since the other younger sisters were able to achieve their transformation as well. While the reasoning behind the awakened power was justified, I felt that it was a little too soon to implement a dramatic episode. For one, the four sisters’ personality wasn't conveyed well, due to their tendency to hide behind the shadows of the main goddesses. The other reason is that we didn’t get the chance to learn about their main traits. Then again, the folks that played the Neptunia games probably had a stronger connection than I did, since they're already familiar with the personality of each character.

On the positive side, David Production managed to have a bit of an impact shot with Rom and Ram’s ice attack that gave Arfoire a good smack in the face. Sure, the impact could’ve been held a bit longer to give that whamming feeling, but it’s at least a decent start. Uni’s moment was a step up as well, since anti-funnel accuracy was a nice nod to the Gundam franchise – unless if it was an unintentional reference.

Despite what I said about the sisters earlier, they were able to stand out a bit during their rescue mission, so I’m hoping that they’ll be more active during the later episodes.  Before I question the ending, I’m going to assume that the Share energy that was created by the sisters played an important role in allowing the goddesses to survive the anti-energy explosion. Either way, Neptunia: The Animation still holds my attention, and our new guest seems like she’s going to be the center piece for the next arc. Hopefully, the pacing of the next arc won’t ruin the momentum this time around. 

[You can save Neptunia: The Animation from Arfoire's grasp at FUNimation

 

Chris Walden

Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen Episode 6


It really depresses me that the first episode was such a mess. Yeah, I know, I'm still going on about that. But just think; how many people dropped this series because of that pacing? I was certainly pushed to the edge, and there are many people that will judge on a single episode.

Now, I'm not saying that this show is by any means a masterpiece. It isn't. However, I am really enjoying my time with it, for reasons I haven't quite sussed out yet. There's something about the art style and this new pace that seems really charming, and while there really hasn't been much going on in the grand scheme of things, it's interesting to watch.

The Shinku dual-body idea is pretty neat, but it's hard to see what the point of it all is when she spends her time drinking tea and fighting with Suigintou. I'm sure there is a reason, and I'm sure we're about to see it, but even so I feel kind of hooked. 

Anyway, putting my money on new-Jun being the creator of Kirakishou. There's something about sending a build-it-yourself doll kit of yourself to your creator that has me all kinds of time paradox excited.

[Dollfie 2.0 has advanced previews on Crunchyroll]

 

Genshiken Nidaime Episode 5-6


I'm still a little worried that this is Genshiken: The Hato Chronicles, but even I can't say that with much complaint. He sure is getting a lot of screen time, but I'll be damned if it isn't resulting in some hilarious scenarios. However, I sure would like to see some more out of those other new members some time or another.

Which we did see a little of, admittedly. In fact, the skit with Yoshitake fooling Yajima that her sister was actually a super-nice guy had me grinning plenty. I should probably mention that while I initially disliked Yajima for her stance on Hato and his crossdressing, I do enjoy how her character has evolved. I still wish she'd get more of the limelight, but hey, we're getting there.

Can't help but feel bad for Madarame though. He sure has found a fun group of ladies to spend the beginning of his adult life with.

[The fujoshi club is chilling out on Crunchyroll]

 

Brittany Vincent

Uchouten Kazoku Episode 6


The most surreal anime series of the summer rolls on with its sixth episode, and it's a lot more complicated than meets the eye. This episode saw Yasaburou and Benten (Satomi) together, though Satomi was a little different this episode. It's extremely obvious Yasaburou is in love with the woman he met all those years ago and this was a nice reprieve to see the two of them alone together for a bit, until the strange old man from Satomi's club joined in on the fun.

Yasaburou ended up becoming quite chummy with him, which was a bit jarring. This is a man who was partially responsible for killing and cooking his father. And why is Satomi so completely upset, anyway? Perhaps she could be feeling some sadness over being forced to cook and eat her friend, but who knows? Her feelings are quite cryptic, and perhaps that's one reason I want to know more about her despite how prickly she can be.

The episode was a nice change of pace, so hopefully we'll see more of this quirky "couple" in the episodes to come. As always, Uchouten Kazoku is a slow burn, with deep roots in the surreal. It's hard to say, but for many reasons this might be one of my favorite episodes yet, if not just for the focus on Yasaburou and Satomi.

[More wonky relationships at Crunchyroll!]

 

Danganronpa Episode 6


After the trial for Chihiro's murder, Aoi ends up seeing Chihiro's ghost on a late-night run for donuts. Weird? Not too much, considering the events that have unfolded thus far. Now Monobear has decided to open up the third floor of the school for exploration as well, and things are about to get even hairier. It's revealed that the "ghost" of Chihiro is actually a weird computer program known as Alter Ego, programmed by none other than Chihiro himself. Alter Ego has a particularly interesting effect on Ishimaru, and after a pact to keep anyone from seeing Alter Ego on their own, the laptop and the program go missing. Talk about suspicious.

The next morning, a hammer-wielding psycho attacks some of the students, namely Yamada, the latest murder victim. The bodies miraculously disappear, but are eventually found in the art room. What's going on here, hmm? The gripping murder mystery marches on, and as it's demonstrated time and time again, no one is safe. Who do you think will be on the chopping block next?

 

Watamote Episode 6



Love is in the air on this episode of Watamote, though it's between Tomoko and dating sim bishounen. Yes, somehow she's gotten it into her head that staying up late and playing these games nonstop has made her cuter. What it's actually doing is preventing her from bathing and attracting ants so that by the end of the day after a long, awkward day at school she's covered in ants and repelling nearly everyone she sees. Our dearly demented high school student takes the bizarre interactions from the male students as flirting, and her newfound "cuteness" goes to her head in some very jarring ways. At one point a veritable army of ants is marching out of her hair down onto her entire body. Gross. 

Tomoko still wants to see fireworks with someone though, and she still hasn't found anyone. It's a depressing search through school to find someone, anyone to watch them with her, and she finds herself at the top of an old apartment building she apparently used to frequent with Yuu. A couple of middle school students have the same idea, or so it seems, until it's revealed they made the trek to peep at the "Hotel Fantasista" next door. Tomoko engages in some peeping with two middle school boys and is enjoying herself. Doesn't that count as a happy ending for our heroine, though?

[More peeping at Crunchyroll]

 

Hiroko Yamamura

Gatchaman Crowds Episode 5


Man, the part of Gatchaman Crowds that's before the opening credits is starting to get to me. I feel like they have been told to ham it up as much as possible until the music starts, then actually kick into the real story. I'll have to wait until next week to tell you if my theory is correct, but ma, the first few minutes are rough on the senses.

Like I mentioned last week, the show has been a bit of a surprise for me. While I enjoyed the first episode, there were some really grating elements. They haven't all disappeared, but the show is a heck of a lot more interesting. The idea of the people in Hundreds being every day folks, letting GALAX and CROWDS go to their head is quite irritating. It kind of mirrors what you see every day of people letting their ideas flow while hiding behind a keyboard.

One thing I've noticed is how little the show has been about, or shown the actual Gatchaman team in action. It's a Gatchaman show without Gatchaman. I'd really like the to get to the point of JJ and OD soon. While the GALAX and Rui's story is interesting, I'm needing a little bit more action and suits. I also need some freaking God Phoenix.

The teams look they they will finally collide in the next episode, and I'm quite interested to see if they are going to battle, or team up. Is the enemy Katse? Is GALAX the root of all evil? What the heck was MESS? I need my answers soon! While mystery is great ad all, if these build ups don't pay off soon, I might not be able to hang on anymore. Next week is where I'm going to hate it or love it!

[Who is fighting who over at Crunchyroll]

 

Jeff Chuang

Servant x Service Episode 6


It's not surprising that this week's Servant x Service lacks the punch from last week, but instead we got some more dirt on the mysterious stuffed animal boss character, and surprisingly, Miyoshi. She's kind of a major character right?

I think the story will be helped drastically as more of these background material comes forward to pad the basic structure of boobs and slacking at work that makes up the bulk of the jokes. Of course, when you have something as ridiculous as a walking and talking stuffed animal as your boss, sometimes you got to wonder if it's a metaphor for something more. Maybe it really isn't? Servant x Service is that kind of a show.

Still, this week's jokes are more about setting the stage for future laughs than having a riot today. Hopefully this patter of intro, build-up, and a nice punch work out for Servant x Service. The cliffhanger this week came from an unexpected direction, so I hope the show doesn't get our hopes up for nothing.

[Catch Servant x Service on Crunchyroll]

 

Day Break Illusion Episode 6


As expected, Seira's episode has her being all hard-boiled about kill Daemonias, and the story ends with her crashing and coming to terms with her bitterness for the victims she slays, and reconciling with Akari. It's also kind of expect that we see this via the exploration of Seira's backstory in a roundabout way. Day Break Illusion is still playing by the book.

The cleverness of the writing comes in how a present-day situation mirrors Seira's own story, where she ends up slaying a girl in a disposition similar to hers. The alpaca plush is Seira's new friend's, Haruna, starry hairclip, except in this case Seira saves the victim instead and sparing Haruna of living on, carrying that pain.

Sure, this is not some new territory here, but it's good to see that Day Break Illusion isn't a complete cop-out. Only if the visuals and animation would show at least that much excitement and originality.

[Watch Day Break Illusion on Crunchyroll]

 

Josh Tolentino

A Certain Scientific Railgun S episode 17

After the epic conclusion to the Sisters arc, Railgun S settles back into the familiar, somewhat daily life-like rhythm that's reportedly a big ol' filler arc. And even if this next series of events were canonical, it certainly feels like the start of a filler arc. 

Mikoto and Kuroko seem to be gearing up to go on some kind of study excursion, and....things happen, but only in the strictest sense of the word, i.e. "events occur". The episode is pure downtime and setup, catching up with all the girls, including Uiharu, Saten, Konori, that chick with the the pet snake and air powers, the other girl voiced by Hana Kanazawa who's probably part of something sinister, the Misaka Sisters, and a last check-in with the ITEM girls for some boob-envy gags.

While it's amusing to see Frenda play the "Kuroko" to Mugino's "Mikoto", all in all the episode is largely flat. Simply checking in to see what everyone's been doing while the plot played out last week isn't enough.

[Catch Railgun S on FUNimation!]

 

Majestic Prince episodes 15-18


I sure am glad I ended up taking a lengthy break from recapping Majestic Prince, because watching three episodes of this stuff in a row feels like finding an unexpected piece of candy in your pocket, right before you're about to start on the commute home from work: a burst of short-lived, insubstantial energy after a lot of stress.

Just as I was happy that Majestic Prince seems to have found its true voice as a mashup between a mecha show and a super sentai program, the show's also found its forte: high-octane CG  battle scenes. These weeks are so chock-full of colorful beam-spam and large-scale mecha engagements that make Macross Frontier look like amateur hour that I can easily forgive the continuing flatness of the characters and the simplicity of every moment that doesn't show a giant robot discharging a huge energy gun.

Seriously, just that huge fight against the boss-level alien would cause priapism in mechaphiles. You've got the Blue one chopping up baddies while dual-wielding a spear and a sword, the Yellow one aiming a giant laser cannon from orbit, and then the Red one stabbing the shit out of it to pin it into the ground for a kamikaze run by the Rose one*. Genuinely lovely stuff. 

[Catch up with three weeks' worth of princely fun on Crunchyroll]

*Yes, I know all their names, I just feel it's more appropriate to refer to them by color. 

 

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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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