2015 Fall new shows 2

October 6, 2015 1 comment
Heavy Object begins with a lovely view of Earth from orbit.

Heavy Object begins with a lovely view of Earth from orbit.

We’ll start this second installment with Heavy Object, which starts with a rather long explanation about where the world is at now that giant superweapons (objects) do most of the war-raging, and how it’s effected the geopolitical climate (profoundly).  Then we move to an object base in Alaska where two cannon-fodder, er, soldiers named Qwenthur (my heart sinks when I think about typing that name all season) and Havia, slack off from their duties to talk about their lives, and the lot of cannon-fodder, er, soldiers now, and to hunt game.  We also meet the object pilot (driver?  The things don’t fly), a remote but not unfriendly girl who I’ll just call Princess, also the soldier’s superior officer, and a cranky old tech lady, and they all talk more.
It’s an information episode, but not a bad one.  There’s the occasional “as you know, (insert infodump here)” but most of the time the important points are introduced naturally through the banter.  The show makes one serious wrong turn when the Princess is being nearly crushed to death by her restraints and Qwenthur confronted with perhaps touching her boobs, but otherwise he pushes the naughty thoughts away and works with the situation at hand.  As for the princess, she might be more melancholy than aloof, because she hints (or maybe knows, if that bit at the end was a flash-forward) that the object she pilots, or drives may be no match for second-gen, more specialized models.  And there’s the concept that, cannon-fodder aside, the objects do all the fighting now and so innocent people tend not to die in wars anymore.  Enough interesting material to keep me watching.

Not sure what's going on here.  Probably some magic stuff.

Not sure what’s going on here. Probably some magic stuff.

Gakusen Toshi Asterisk has plenty of info to feed us too, but it’s not as smooth.  After we see a girl get probably killed in some back-alley magic sword MMA battle, we get our first infodump, about kids with special powers, and then we see them in action as our hero, first-year transfer student Ayato, leaps up trees to a window to return a handkerchief, where, of course, a tsundere girl (Julis) is changing.  That leads to thanks and a duel on school grounds which is interrupted by student council prez Claudia, which leads to our second infodump and stage two of Ayato’s harem-forming.  Then Ayato’s standard-issue bro/sidekick introduces himself and we get another infodump and a confrontation between Julis and some idiot.  Oh, earlier someone tried to stab Julis with a laser or something.

Ayato makes his first friend at his new school.

Ayato makes his first friend at his new school.

It sounds pretty bad, but apart from the exposition it flowed well enough.  There’s nothing we haven’t seen before: Ayato has a mission, maybe, and so does Julis.  There’s an unfortunate boob-grabbing scene.  The school has tournaments with other schools and all the students are ranked.  But maybe the familiarity helps it go down more smoothly.  And once the show settles in they’ll probably ease up on the infodumps.  And I liked the homeroom teacher, who carries a nailbat with her during class.  I hope we get more of her.  An adequate first episode that, based on the material, could have been a lot worse.

Ikki's floor at dawn.

Ikki’s floor at dawn.

Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry … did I just watch the same show twice?  Well, we get Ikki, the “weakest” magic user at his magic school, but with great will and fighting ability, catching a girl naked in his room.  She’s Stella, a tsundere princess who decides they will fight a duel even though they’re opposites in terms of ability.  Turns out Ikki makes up for in determination, practice, and guile what he lacks in magic powers.  Oh, yeah, they’re going to be roommates!  Hence the room confusion.  You think the school would at least warn the two kids first.  Anyway, they make up their differences at the end and now the story, whatever it is, can commence.
There ARE some differences between this show and Asterisk.  In Cavalry it’s the powerful girl (Stella) to enters the school and not the main character; he’s already there.  Also, Ikki’s power is low and Ayato’s is unknown, at least early on.  Asterisk’s story is maybe darker.  The homeroom teacher in Cavalry doesn’t carry a nailbat, well, I’m assuming, and we’ve yet to see if Cavalry has a flirtatious SC prez.  Cavalry is a little more ecchi as well; speaking of which, Stella’s underwear was black, Julis’s was white.  But, jeez, the similarities!  Hapless hero sees pink-haired tsundere princess in her underwear, is challenged to a duel where the princess is surprised by his ability, in a school that has magic battle tournaments with other schools but hasn’t done well recently, and all the stuff about things to prove.  I think Cavalry has the edge there, with Stella’s desire to stop being treated like a genius and instead be actually challenged.  Like Asterisk, it’s not bad for what it is, could be worse, etc.  Take your pick.  I may pick neither.

Owarimonogatari, the latest of the Monogatari franchise, is the first anime this season that I’ve been looking forward to.  And I sat back and pushed the button thinking I’ll do a quickie thing on a typical episode, like I always do.  But episode 1 at least is a 48 minutes long, and, yes, it’s all talk.

The Monogatari series has some new scene titles.

The Monogatari series has some new scene titles.

After a brief explanation about Euler’s Identity and a statement that the latest story will be about math (and I got worried) we start the story with Araragi and Ougi Oshino stuck in a classroom where time has stopped, and Ougi’s already in full Monogatari-girl mode, explaining, expounding, speculating, and insulting poor Araragi.  I had forgotten about Ougi, but she fits right in.  We move to a flashback (actually, the first bit is a flashback too) where Araragi is forced to preside over a class meeting about who cheated on their math exams (Araragi got a 100 BTW).  A painful retelling of the story, with Ougi’s questions scattered throughout, and you wonder just who the hell she is and who’s side she’s on.
Which I guess is the point.  She comes off as already knowing the answers, guiding Araragi through his memories, to the moment where he lost something of his humanity, for two different reasons that the show gives us, both of them legit.  She’s like a psychologist in that respect, but also one willfully curious in an adolescent way, or interested in how Araragi will react to the truth he’s been hiding from himself.  At any rate, I don’t trust her.  But I am curious about the next event (the return of a certain student), how Hanekawa is involved, and what Senjougahara felt about that class meeting.  And about Ougi, of course, though 48 minutes alone with her in a classroom was too much.


Though Shaft does some nice things with the classroom.

2015 Fall new shows 1

October 3, 2015 Leave a comment

For reasons I’ve forgotten I watch episode one of the season’s new anime shows, except for sequels of shows I never watched, or disliked, shows that don’t interest me, or ones I can’t find.  Because of my schedule these days the reports might be more sporadic than usual.  I follow the order given by Random Curiosity’s preview page, and according to them the first show will be, not including Diabolik Lovers More, Blood (that goes under “sequels of shows I never watched”), Lupin the Third … but I can’t find it yet.  So what the hell, I’ll do Lance n’ Masques.  Note: to start every review I like to include an image from the first couple of seconds of each show.

We start the season with a close-up of tasty onigiri!

We start the season with a close-up of tasty onigiri!

Lance n’Masques starts off with a cute little girl exercising in a park somewhere until she makes a rock climbing mistake and begins to plummet to almost certain death.  Fortunately, a despondent looking guy with a growling stomach and a lance hears her cries and rescues her, makes a romantic speech, kisses her hand, etc.  The girl, Makio, is entranced.  We then see that this poor lad, named Yotaro, doesn’t always have the same success with his rescued maidens.  What’s more, he’s a heroic knight (part of an organization) but his even more heroic knight father doesn’t even make the ceremony.  Anyway, Makio takes Yotaro to her mansion home, feeds him, etc.  And so we get the basic premise: he will be the girl’s knight, more or less.
It took a while before I could figure out where this show was going, it was so clever with cutting to other scenes (some princess types, maids, and a girl horse are looking for him), but it settles down to be a sort of “Yotaro the combat knight” setup, except the girl is only six and not tsundere, and there are darker overtones concerning the father.  Not sure I want to keep watching, but it looks nice and the characters are cute.  The mysterious father is compelling, as is the whole Knights of the World organization.  So I’ll probably watch another episode to get some background.

Dramatic disrobing begins.

Dramatic disrobing begins.

I’ve heard of Black Jack and read a little of the manga, but not enough to make an opinion of it.  All I have to to on is its legendary status.  When I mentioned Young Black Jack to someone, she wanted to know if he had his scars yet.  Yes, so one of the most interesting things about him is still unexplained.  What we get instead is medical student Hazawa, dedicated to his work even while the 1968 student rioting is going on all around him.  He’s dragged to help with an accident and decides to reattach the limbs of a young boy, even though he’s never operated before.  There follows a tense OR scene in some back-alley clinic and the boy’s father cheating him out of his pay; apparently this show’s going to be full of moral issues.
Don’t know if I want that.  I wasn’t crazy about the first episode, either.  The moment we saw the boy’s bike get stuck on the railroad tracks we knew what would happen for the rest of the episode.  The “Please, save him!” and “I can save him!” business went on for too long.  The surgery scene was better, though it was repetitive with the Maiko the possible love interest talking about how fast and good he was over and over.  On the good side, the 1968 riots setting had my interest, and I didn’t expect BJ get cheated at the end, though, if he’s going to growl about the father bartering his son’s life for money, BJ ought to remember that it was he himself that set the exorbitant fee to save the limbs in the first place.  Also, the characters were an odd mix of modern people with Tezuka’s more cartoonish drawings.  The art also jumped from modern and stylish to old-fashioned …  Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but it adds up to a show I don’t really want to watch.

Bright lights and a silly voice-over that actually invokes Clarke's third law introduces us to Hackadoll.

Bright lights and a silly voice-over that actually invokes Clarke’s third law introduces us to Hackadoll.

Hackadoll is our first short of the season.  We meet three incompetent AIs (the genki leader, the sexpot, and the slovenly little underachiever), the least distinguished of long list of them, who are sent down to “advance” some poor woman foolish enough to install the app.  The unnamed girl is subjected to a “component analysis” that requires torturing lights and the AIs going through her stuff and humiliating her in various ways, until, I assume, she kicks them out.
Well, it’s only 7.5 minutes.  Also, it’s done by Trigger, so there’s a craziness at work here that other studios couldn’t provide.  Apparently it’s been created to promote a genuine app, and I admit I’m a little tempted to try it now just to see if it’s as strange as the girls are.  As for the show, I don’t know yet.

A montage of nasty monsters to start Kagewani.

A montage of nasty monsters to start Kagewani.

Then I watched another short, Kagewani, where a professor named Banba Sousuke goes off in search of nasty things and ignores his lectures, though we barely see him at all in this episode.  Instead we watch six or so minutes of three guys faking a Youtube video get chased and mauled by a real monster.  Sousuke shows up at the end, fingering a mark on his face and grimacing as he reaches for the victims’ camera.

That's two down ...

That’s two down …

The biggest impression of the show is its weird style.  The characters look like cutouts placed on a background, and most of the time if they, say, move their heads, it’s shwoop all in one movement.  That takes some getting used to.  But the artwork is blurry but rich and sets the appropriate mood.  The chasing around got tiresome after a while, though; I kept waiting for the prof to show up.  So it’s looks like a routine monster hunter story told stylishly but with little budget, and each episode is barely long enough to generate any sort of terror.  … Maybe.

Itoshi no Muca starts with a view of ... somewhere.

Itoshi no Muca starts with a view of … somewhere.

To finish this installment I found a show that’s NOT on RC’s preview site: Itoshi no Muco.  Muco is a dog and we spend a lot of time watching her amuse herself by chasing her tail, admiring her shiny nose, and especially pulling strings on towels, rather too much of the latter, actually.  Her owner is a glass blower named Komatsu who is both bewildered and amused by Muco’s antics.  They’re later joined by Komatsu’s buddy Ushicou, for more low-key antics.  And the whole thing clocks in at 12.5 minutes, most of it towel string-pulling.
That aside, it’s not bad.  Muco is a cute happy dog, and the show is not played up for slapstick.  Since her master is a glass blower I expected broken vases everywhere, but Muco knows enough to stay away.  And while Muco’s the star, the show manages to spend enough time with the humans that we learn enough to make me interested.  Komatsu seems naive at running a business, and Ushicou seems unsavory but not a bad sort.  A passable 12.5 minutes.  Don’t know if I’ll write about it every week …

The finale finales of Summer 2015: Jitsu wa, Seiyuu

October 1, 2015 2 comments
Fathers can be terrifying.

Fathers can be terrifying.

Jitsu wa Watashi wa 13 left me with burning question: did Youko’s dad really get his memories erased by the flying hammer of forgetfulness?  I like to think he didn’t; that would show a genuine change of heart rather than then just a silly plot device.  The series had plenty of those already, really too many for my taste.  It’s not like Nisekoi, where you could tell the cheap tricks (walking in on an innocent but suggestive scene, etc) were being used deliberately and with cruel glee by the winking creators.  Jitsu wa is just an average show.  As for the finale, they made the important points clear: that Asahi would do anything to keep Youko’s secret, and Youko doesn’t want Asahi to sacrifice his own happiness to do so.  All the rest was cheap tricks and fru-fru and some nice seiyuu performances livening up something otherwise completely forgettable.  That’s all I need to say about this show.
Last of all, it’s the end of Sore ga Seiyuu!.  After the big convert last week you might have thought that the series was finished, but the characters made an impassioned plea on the webcomic to watch the final episode, even if there was no more story to tell.  Turns out there was, and it’s quite a big one.  We never got around to Futaba’s yearly assessment.  Now, you’d think that not only the roles but the Earphones radio show and concert would make this a formality, but it’s drilled into Futaba’s head that Aozora has let go such seiyuu before.  And you know how Futaba deals with pressure.
The assessment scene is interesting in that Futaba is crushed down by questions about her future and her motivations, and yet she doesn’t manage to say what the episode had set her up to do: she’s good at playing small boys and she’s come a long way.  Instead she spouts a few banalities about her wanting to be a seiyuu for a long time.  And in the end, her assessment is “postponed,” i.e., she’s sort of on probation, meaning she has another year before she can feel secure, but at least she hasn’t been fired.  Given her character it’s a reasonable outcome.  This show might be happy and cute, but at least it never gets unrealistic about its subject matter.

This week's life advice.

This week’s life advice.

So all the girls pass little milestones and are happy for now, and the series actually ends.  Will there be another season?  I’d like to see one but I was a fan of the webcomic already, so I’m a little biased.  I didn’t like the drippy “try harder” speeches, and I thought the celebrity seiyuus, though welcome, were pretty much wasted since they did little more than say words of advice, well, apart from Yui Horie and Hiroshi Kamiya.  They could have had more fun with the celebs.  In fact, the webcomic is sillier and more fun, with more anecdotes about daily life and strange work events, and I wish the show had done more of that.  If they DO make another season maybe Futaba and her friends will be a little more comfortable and the show can relax a little.

Seiyuu and show creator Masumi Asano sums it up for us.

Seiyuu and show creator Masumi Asano sums it up for us.

Finales: CC, Charlotte

September 27, 2015 Leave a comment

Classroom Crisis has a suitable ending that is rousing enough for the low-to-middle expectations I had of it.
Most of it jumps between two different scenes going on more or less at the same time.  To start with, we get an odd bit where Mizuki stops Iris from going off on the new rocket, saying she’s not fit to fly it, etc.  Then the lights come on, workgirls come in to prep the rocket, and Misuki does a full 180 and practically begs Iris to fly it.  Right before Iris was about to reveal her big secret.  Then off they go (both girls), to rescue Nagisa.  The actual rescue scene is briefer than I would have liked, but appropriately tense.  Having some music that sounds like they stole it from Sidonia didn’t hurt.  Then they develop the love triangle a bit, and Nagisa starts making bold pronouncements from the rescue craft, to the other scene, the CEO meeting.
While we’ve been jumping from space to corporate offices, it’s fitting that the action finishes here.  Kaito does his “Don’t dump A-TEC” speech to a skeptical group of suits who grow more interested by the minute, especially when they get live footage of the rescue.  The only argument against was “This new rocket is great in theory, but let’s see you test it first!”  After the CEO does his “hum-hum, we voted down A-TEC last meeting, hurr hurr,” Kaito does something he should have done in episode one.  He resigns.  Why this hadn’t occurred to him earlier I don’t know, apart from the well-being of his students.  But then I can’t believe he could be so dumb as not to know that the new, tested engine is Kirishina’s property.  What an idiot.  Nice timing then for the revived Nagisa to tune in …
As for the show as a whole, Kaito’s character sums it up.  Ambitious, starry-eyed, attempting to be inspirational but seemingly blind to reality.  Also, he tried to take on too much.  In the show’s world, it’s okay because it’s fiction and we allow it if we buy into the story, but for this show, it tried to juggle too many things and dropped too many balls.  When did they suddenly come up with this new rocket design?  What was the whole point of the Iris/Nagisa identity switch, really?  Well, I’m going to give the show some credit for trying hard.  I don’t think they copped out on anything they put into the series, they just couldn’t handle them all.  It had some fun bits, not least the idea of small company turned giant and working to squash the independent spirit that created it in the first place.  Overall, not bad, but not great either.

The large group of undeveloped side characters give their opinion.

The undeveloped side characters give their opinion.

Charlotte‘s finale goes a long way toward redeeming the series.

The E.T. ability.

The E.T. ability.

Since they only had 25 minutes for Yuu to remove all the abilities in the world, they didn’t waste any time.  We spend all our time with Yuu as he goes from one place in the world to another, quickly picking up the ability to identify users and efficiently removing them, one by one.  While he does encounter some interference, he’s gained enough abilities by now to get through them.  Part of the fun is that we don’t know exactly what he’s picked up, so when he encounters some new threat it’s a surprise to see what sneaky trick he’s got to counteract it.  While I think in real life the users would band together more efficiently and get governments and other powerful people involved, the show makes it makes his success plausible, even with mundane things like getting on aircraft.  They even think about those people whose powers haven’t awakened yet.  Turns out Yuu’s picked up an app for that too.
And while he goes around doing what he promised to do, he’s also slowly cracking up.  We are reminded of his earlier breakdown when Ayumi first died, except there’s no Nao around to keep an eye on him.  The question of whether he’ll turn and use his powers badly occurs to us, and to Yuu, but there’s that ring of flashcards he still keeps with him which reminds him of a promise he no longer knows the reason for.  At the beginning of the series, and even after his first crackup, he might have broken the promise.  That he keeps it now shows us how much his friends and sister have redeemed him.  And, at the very end, when we see the price he pays for his mission, I felt it was sad, but not hopeless.  He still has his friends, and even if he doesn’t remember who they are, they know who HE is.
An excellent episode, really the best the show could have managed under the circumstances.  There wasn’t time to show much other than Yuu, and his adventures and slow breakdown were paced almost perfectly.  His rescue near the end by a girl about Mayumi’s age was a nice touch.  And any quibbles, like how Shunsuke found him, aren’t worth pursuing.  Maybe the episode felt a little too relentless, but I don’t think there was any room for the silly comedy the series could lapse into, not until the end, but there the characters have bonds to remake.  I frankly hadn’t expected such an optimistic finale, but I think Yuu earned it.  As for the series as a whole, this episode lifted it from good to very good.  If I had a complaint about Charlotte it’s that it wasn’t as consistently good, early episodes in particular.  But I feel much better about it now.

Twelves: Charlotte, Jitsu wa, Seiyuu, and Biyori: Repeat finale

September 23, 2015 Leave a comment

After all that happened last week it was a probably necessary for Charlotte 12 to be a sort of healing episode.  We watch Yuu slowly rehabilitate while at least one other ability user blames him for letting Kumagami die, the idiot.  But it does place a sense of responsibility on Yuu and leads to his big plan to fix things, a ridiculous plan, but even so …  Along the way we get to see some loose ends tied up.  Misa says goodbye to her parents and to Yusa, and leaves (the two best scenes in the episode).  And Yuu confesses to Nao.

Nao's overjoyed reaction.

Nao’s overjoyed reaction.

And off he goes to take away everyone’s ability.  No idea how he’s going to do that, and no one around him seems to know, either.  But he considers it’s the only thing he can do, and wants to make sure the abilities can no longer take people away from each other.  You could argue that people find other ways to hurt people all the time, but that’s not part of the show, I guess.  My question: is this mission going to destroy him, even after they set up a romance with Nao if he succeeds?  Is he going to sacrifice himself?  While he seems of sound mind, he might have some residual guilt that drives him to it.  Anyway, I’m interested to see how it will turn out, which is a good result for a penultimate episode.
Jitsu wa Watashi wa 12 bumbles toward a big finish next week using the one or two plot things available to it: Youko’s father and secret, and Aizawa’s third point of the love triangle.  They set it up nicely enough.  I was taken by surprise by the sight of big bat (father) flying Youko away even though we had gotten the foreshadowing before.  In the time before that I was ready to strangle Aizawa for interfering, but at the same time I could understand her pain and confusion.  And as it turns out it was more entertaining than the alternative: Asahi reaching the roof to find she had already given up and left.  At least this way we get a giant bat, and Aizawa has a direct way to make amends.

Sore ga Seiyuu! 12 is not the finale, in spite of its big finish, closing credits over the concert, and lack of a preview.  At least that’s what online sources say.
It moves predictably.  Ichigo tries but can’t hide her ankle sprain from the other girls, but insists it will get better.  After this week’s big celeb cameo speech (Yui Horie again, looking even frumpier than before.  She must have a great sense of humor to allow the show to tease her like this).

Yui Horie eats melon bread.

Yui Horie eats melon bread.

Futaba puts her own, uninjured foot down and insists Ichigo tell the staff.  Naturally, everyone pitches in with solutions for her to perform without straining the ankle, and all goes well.  The concert almost sells out, too.
In a way I think it was a blessing, at least for Futaba, for Ichigo to injure herself.  Instead of falling into her usual pre-show jitters, she instead has to concentrate on new choreography and getting Ichigo through the concert.  Nothing like a minor crisis to take you mind off unimportant stuff.  And so I managed to relax while they performed.  The worst thing that would happen would be for Ichigo to hurt her foot again, and I suspect the audience of fanboys and girls would forgive her if they knew the truth anyway.  But what about next week?  Probably something lighter and sillier, more in line with the original comic, which is more of a series of anecdotes rather than a serious story anyway.
The final moments of Non Non Biyori: Repeat say something about what the show is about, and my expectations while watching it.  After the closing credits they return to a shot of the characters sitting under the blossoming cherry tree, a shot they had given us just before.  We wait for something to happen, someone to stand up or say something, but all we get are floating blossoms and the sound of the wind.  Then the show switches to the clouds above, and we wait, and nothing happens.  The scene fades away.  And nothing could make me happier.
In fact, the whole episode felt slow, calm, and deliberate, moving at the pace of the countryside, maybe more than any other episode.  Renge and Hotaru drop by the school, then everyone goes digging for bamboo shoots, which they prepare and eat.  Then they kill time before the whole gang goes out to do hanami, cue the slow fade.  The time-killing scene was a perfect example of a moment that would be deadly in some other show but feels, necessary (and amusing) in this one.  First, it’s all the girls, then Komari and Hotaru decide to make tea.  Renge runs after a butterfly and Natsumi follows.  Now, no one’s in the picture.  Suguru wanders in, looks around, wanders off.  Finally, Komari and Hotaru return with drinks.  Throughout, the camera hasn’t budged, as if was showing a moment of human life in the country the way a documentary would film a nest with birds.
The show was always at its best when it turned away from gag scenes and showed the characters interacting with the rural world around them.  Not that the gag scenes were always weak, but they were inconsistent and things you could find in a lot of shows.  I think in its second season, Non Non Biyori focused more on its strengths, and, curiously, I think I enjoyed the characters more.  Renge didn’t need the help: she’s as great as she was in the first season, but this time I got to enjoy the others more, even Natsumi, who stopped being such a brat and became more of a wild tomboy with obvious affection for Renge.  It makes me a little sad to see the series go, but I also wonder if any good would come from a third one?  Well, why not?  There’s still plenty of things in the country that they haven’t shown us.

One more of Renge.

One more of Renge.

Finales: Rokka, Gate, Shimoneta, Teekyuu5

September 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Rokka no Yuusha ends, for now, but not without a big belly laugh at our expense.



As for who the fake brave was:  I KNEW IT!  I KNEW IT ALL ALONG!  I KNEW IT EVEN BEFORE THE SHOW HAD STARTED!  I KNEW IT BEFORE THE BOOKS WERE EVEN WRITTEN!  I AM A GENIUS! …  Okay okay … It will be a little hard to write this since I don’t want to give it away, but I will mention that the culprit was revealed through more facts we didn’t know anything about, making this a lousy excuse for a locked room mystery.  I also want to add that I didn’t come into this series expecting to spend … how many episodes was it? … with all the characters sitting around trying to solve a mystery, with a handful of decent but brief fights thrown in.  If I had known, I might have spent more time paying obsessive attention to every single tiny event, not that it mattered anyway, since the show was deliberately not telling us enough to solve the mystery.

Oh god ...

Oh god …

And after they do get it sorted out, the show throws us a curveball by giving us another brave with the crest, meaning they’re back where they started.  A lot of people at that studio are snickering right ow … At least the barrier is down now and they can say “Fuck it!  Let’s get on with fighting fiends!” which is what most of us signed on for.  So stay tuned for next season, whenever it is, when the team will spend five episodes arguing over what to have for dinner.

Rokka might not get a second season, and I couldn’t care less.  Gate IS getting another one, and I’m happy about that.
The season one finale is more of a setup for season two.  It’s mainly the dark elf Yao going around trying to find a green person to help her clan rid their home of that fire dragon.  She finally meets Lelei after getting taken in on a false charge and Lelei takes her to the head green people, who say “Sorry, no.”  A question of borders.  They don’t want to have to explain themselves to the Diet again.  The only help might be Youji, if she can find him.  The story goes no farther than that, we’ll just have to wait for January.
I’m looking forward to it.  The show has already introduced some new side characters, more green people whose names I didn’t catch, who are sympathetic to Yao and admire Youji.  In fact, the show takes maybe too much time setting Youji as some sort of great hero.  Pina seems infatuated with him, the soldiers respect him …  Maybe the show is enjoying the contrast between his reputation and the well-meaning doofus that we know.  Well, he’s a good character, full of good qualities but seemingly unaware of them.  Really the best thing in the series.  The fetish girls weren’t bad, they have all staked out roles in the show, though I wish the world they come from was a little more fleshed out.  For instance, I kept wondering why Tuka didn’t have more of a reaction to Yao, who’s a fellow elf?  They could have done something there.  What’s the deal with Elbe’s border?  It seems like they just threw in fantasy things when the show requires them, and not because they wanted to create a believable world.  Well, maybe next season …
As I expected, last week’s Shimoneta was the true finale.  Episode 12 was just a filler episode where the gang are invited to a health resort and confronted by a villain named Black Peak, who, actually, wasn’t all that bad and lousy at Rock-Scissors-Paper to boot.  All he really did was steal their clothes and make them wear black underwear, no biggie in this show.  The episode felt introspective at the end when they discover an old, hidden monument to lewdness, and we are reminded that our heroes have a long way to make Japan free for dirty jokes again.

Our filthy heroes.

Our filthy heroes.

Even with the struggle only partly over, do we NEED a second season?  Probably not, but I’d like one.  In terms of storytelling and comic timing this was the best show this season that I watched, and the only one that made me laugh out loud at least once every episode.  I loved how most of the girls had a slightly crazy look about them, even at calm moments, Kajou’s sort of a wink-wink, Otome’s flat out crazy.  Otome became my favorite partly for this and partly for Satomi Arai’s trademark perverted voice work.  Okuma was a typical harem lead in a lewder-than-average harem, but managed to get his straight-man asides in without interrupting the flow of the story.  So if they want to make a second season and continue their struggle against morality, I’m up for it!  No jokes, please.

One more of Otome,

One more of Otome.

And, last but never least, Teekyuu!!



But there’s season six right around the corner!  Tears of joy!  THE GREATEST ANIME SERIES EVER is not leaving!  And they finish up season 5 with an excellent SPG of 2.73.  The story this week involves Kanae’s grandma who’s going to undergo Tommy John surgery.  She’s a rapper too!  Good finish all around.  I can rest easy now.

Laplace finale, CC 12, Seiyuu and Biyori Repeat 11, Teekyuu 59

September 19, 2015 1 comment

Rampo Kitan: Game of Laplace is the first show of the season to finish, and it does so in no better or worse fashion than the ridiculous final story arc permits.

Nice visuals, however.

Nice visuals, however.

Namikoshi’s nefarious plan to create an explosion of twenty faces for society to deal with is near fruition with his own death.  Meanwhile Kobayashi is there too, ready to jump off the tower with him.  This was my first disappointment.  Kobayashi is a smart, resourceful kid, and I was hoping he would plan some countermove, even if it meant simple debate.  Instead, he agrees with everything Namikoshi says and, in that cheerful fashion of his, prepares to kill himself too.  Meanwhile the social network of god that Namikoshi made is turning everyone who could hinder Akechi and Hashiba from getting to the site, but nice interference by bag-head guy.

No thanks.

No thanks.

Meanwhile, Namikoshi prattles on with how the victims will rise up and strike back against their aggressors, as if this was a good vs. bad situation (well, the show indeed has always made it out to be–another disappointment), and I began to get bored, in spite of the dazzling visuals.  I was also trying to figure out why the hell Namikoshi wanted Akechi to shoulder blame for rescuing either him and not Kobayashi or vice versa.  So Akechi shows up, there’s more of the usual talk, and Akechi makes his decision.  Namikoshi and Kobayashi are both happy with it–untl Hashiba ruins everything by being heroic.  The wonderful, godlike, social virus program has been outdone by a completely expected act by a side character.
Too many things like that prevent this series from fulfilling its potential.  I loved the look of it, the evocative imagery, especially the mannequins they would use to suggest outsiders that introverts like Akechi and Kobayashi can’t afford to recognize unless they get in their face.  Could have done without the death-butterflies, though they looked pretty.  But the show had problems with equating revenge and justice, and the fact that hate makes more hate no matter who’s side is right.  Oh, the show tried to show it was wrong, but in saying at the end that the program’s aftereffects have led to a calmer city, the show tells us what side it’s on.  Also, I would have liked to know more about Kobayashi, or at least watch him talk about horrific things with that happy voice of his, or maybe I want to figure out if he’s actually a boy.  I couldn’t read him as one.  Sadly, that is what I’ll take from this show.

Classroom Crisis 12 does a nice job of aligning all the pieces for the big finale next week.

Good!  Now do an evil laugh.

Good! Now do an evil laugh.

Nagisa’s crisis is not finished, but extended; the stab in the back was just a prelude to more unpleasantness, and it looks to be great fun because Yuuji hasn’t just had a breakdown, he’s transitioned into full Crazy Mad Scientist mode.  Not only does he gloat and drool and spout revenge things, but he’s going to stick Nagisa in an improvised rocket/suv and shoot him INTO SPACE!  And the rocket will land on top of A-TEC’s last ditch demo!  Excellent mad scientist work.  And still, Nagisa infuriates him further every time he opens his mouth.  I think Nagisa might be enjoying this a little, stab wound, kicks to the side and punches to the head notwithstanding.
Meanwhile the good guys work for a while on locating him until Kaito tells them to go back to their rocket, because of something Nagisa was working on.  Seems odd to me, too.  That leaves Angelina to track him down.  A visit to Coldwood construction firm, where she allies herself with Ibra, their boss, and there’s a nice fight scene after, nice because we get to see Hattori, er, Angelina fighting in a rage for what’s been done to Nagisa.  The character has developed a nice combination of kindness, bitchiness, and badassery through the episodes.  Too bad they can’t stop the rocket in time.  Well, not too bad, because now next week A-TEC will launch their rocket and rescue Nagisa, hopefully with Iris on board.  All she got to do this week is fail flight simulations (stupid rocks) and mope a lot.

Ryoko Shiraishi, ladies and gentlemen.

Ryoko Shiraishi, ladies and gentlemen.

Being mostly a silly comedy, Sore ga Seiyuu 11’s big crisis is Ichigo’s twisted ankle, and that comes at the very end.  The theme this week, so they say, is Taking Care of Yourself, and it’s mainly over halfway through, thanks to celeb cameo Ryoko Shiraishi and her cough drops.  A more fitting theme would be Going at your Own Pace, which is what Futaba is trying to do and tries to remember when she sees Ichigo and Rin racing ahead of her.  Shiraishi helps there thanks to a unpleasant vocal cord anecdote (the manga had another vocal cord story going, but I don’t know if the the show wants to go there).  It also shows while Earphones try to sell tickets to their first concert.  I wonder if the theme will continue next wee, with Ichigo’s bum ankle and all …

Save the email!

Save the email!

No crises in Non Non Biyori: Repeat 11 at all, which is how it should be.  Instead, we get a mixed bag of little sketches.  Komari wants to send a cell phone message and makes me wonder exactly when this story is supposed to take place.  She barely understands what dot.com means …  Then we watch Renge making New Year cards while Kazuho tries to peek, and then we get a closer look at Hotaru’s maturity.  As usual, Renge steals the episode, but I sort of liked Hotaru at home, too, acting like the fifth grader she actually is.
Finally, Teekyuu! 59, while feeling a little off–I think it was because Marimo’s mother was in it–but had a ration of just under 3.00, which is excellent.


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