Winter 2013 pt4, and things have improved to just average.

The long march continues with Gj-Bu.

gjbu1-1

Based on episode one this is a club where everyone sits around doing nothing. Well, they do plenty, but nothing together. Why they’re together and a club we may or may not find out, such is the loose nature of the series so far. Kyouya, now nicknamed Kyoro is your hapless harem male lead whose job it is to react to everyone else. He’s not even of use as an alpha male, begging one of the girls to take care of the giant spider. Why Kirara, so tall, accepts him as dominant I don’t understand. As for the girls, each one gets a bit to show off what they’re like. Shion is a genius but clueless in practical matters. Mao the president is pint-size, childish and grouchy. Megumi is polite. And Kirara is tall and eats big hunks of meat. It’s leisurely paced, slow might be a better word, or it may have seemed that way because none of the gags were all that funny. The best bit was when Kirara started munching on what can only be described as “manga meat.” This one is on probation.

Guess what Manabe's thinking.
Guess what Manabe’s thinking.

Kotoura-San might be worthwhile. Kotoura is a girl who can read minds whether she wants to or not, and we discover this is a curse. We start with an extended flashback of her early childhood where she blurts out truths she overheard without knowing the damage they’ll cause. This leads to a whole bunch of unpleasant scenes of her losing her friends and breaking up her family, who just can’t figure out how she knows all these embarrassing details like the affairs they’re having. It’s partly affecting; her family, especially her mother, seem especially blind to what’s happening here, and her her mind-reading seems a tad selective. After all that sadness we’ve got a withdrawn, bitter Kotoura … and the show shifts to romantic comedy. She meets a boy named Manabe who doesn’t seem to care if she can read her thoughts, and the romance begins. More selective mind-reading here. She constantly wonders why this foolish but funny boy is being nice to her. Can’t she tell? As for Manabe, he’s more worried about the dirty thoughts that fly through his adolescent mind but not too worried, and we get some comic moments out of that and undoubtedly more. Maybe it’s that he accepts himself as being like this that allows him his carefree attitude. That said, Kotoura comes to accept him of all people awfully quickly, but then she can read his mind, can’t she? Right.

'Bridge, we have a magical girl sighting off the starboard bow.'
‘Bridge, we have a magical girl sighting off the starboard bow.’

On to Vividred Operation, a completely routine magical girl show, complete with cute mascot character except the magic comes from technology and the chipmonk or whatever is our heroine Akane’s genius-scientist grandfather whose last experiment went a tad awry. Akane herself is average: plucky, cheerful, with an understandable fear of heights, which sounds like a bad thing for a magical girl except she loses her fear when transformed. The acrophobia was probably inserted to demonstrate her courage in riding her sky bike (which looks fun as hell to ride) off a ledge to save her friend Aoi, whom I assume is going to get magical too or at least turn into this show’s Tomoyo. Akane gets a lot more interesting when she gets determined about something, her face going from worry to anger and determination, and that helps rescue this episode from complete mediocrity. In fact, the episode starts forgettably but improves considerably when the bad thing shows up and Akane gets motivated. On the other hand, the subsequent magical girl transformation scene and the annoying amount of crotch shots in general turned me off. Still, worth another episode or two.

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2 thoughts on “Winter 2013 pt4, and things have improved to just average.

  1. Kotoura-san is my favorite new show so far. Not brilliant, but likable. It seems that she reads people’s thoughts mostly when they conflict with what they say – when they are being hypocrites/liars. Or even if silent, when trying to hide the truth in some way. Not consistently, though…
    I wonder- wouldn’t it be especially hard on someone if they had trouble distinguishing thoughts from utterances? When her mother left her, did she really say “you shouldn’t have been born”? or only think it? I mean, I don’t know that the story-writer intended that way, but it would explain why poor Kotoura had such a hard time learning to adapt.

  2. I understand that the show needs to use license in what thoughts we see and what we don’t see. The trouble is it means we only see the ones that are important to the story and I imagine in Kotoura’s day-to-day life she would get an abundance of different thoughts, certainly hostile ones, but also ones of pity or sympathy.

    I thought her mother had said the words out loud, but she could have simply been thinking them. That leads me to another problem not only with this but with all mind-reading stories: how often to we utter words in our head? Hardly ever. Can she sense emotions, or the impulses behind things? Can she sense pain?

    Okay, it’s a little unfair to go that far with what’s supposed to be a silly comedy, but the painful first half of the episode made me think about it.

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