Tokyo ESP 3, Aldnoah, Akame and SAO2 4

Episode one of Tokyo ESP was dark, episode two was goofy. With #3 they try to mix the two moods with interesting results.

Goofy stuff near the start.
Goofy stuff near the start.

After rescuing a girl named Murasaki while she was trying to rescue the flying penguin (from whom?), Rinka begins to think that there might be something to this superheroing business after all, though I also appreciated her first impulse–using it to make money–it has a Spider-Man vibe to it, as well as the hints of responsibility that, well, you know. At the time we think she might be caught in Azuma’s altruistic, optimistic vibe, but then we see Azuma get down and dirty with another batch of people who kidnap Murasaki, and we see that things aren’t as cut and dried as we thought.

More serious by the end.
More serious by the end.

And by the end you might wonder where the optimism went. Both of them are personally involved, both for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and because having these powers makes them targets. That’s why they’re preparing to storm the yakuza lair. Sure, they might have done it anyway, but it wouldn’t have been so urgent if they hadn’t already met Murasaki. Elsewhere, it’s an effective episode; I’m excited to see the battle next week, and I wonder what that fish Murasaki absorbed is going to do to her. And Kuroi has yet to make her face turn; she’s such a bad person in this episode that I wonder how they’ll do it, unless the others will simply take her in, warts and all, because she’s one of them. … Nah. The show’s too goofy for that, I think.

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We have some shifting morals in Aldnoah.Zero as well. I think Rayet is the one I’m going to pay attention to. She has the most interesting story. She’s basically a traitor, of the willing daughter of a traitor, and when her boss kills her father and the other rats, she does a 180 and joins the good guys, though she’s keeping her background a secret. So first of all it’s kind of fun to watch her interact with people who were enemies a day ago, not to mention a princess her side tried to kill but who is alive and being nice to her, while Inaho tells her that her father are the real enemies. So she’s working with revenge, guilt, and her father’s poisonous upbringing bashing each other around in her head.

Meanwhile, the bad guys blow up the city.
Meanwhile, the bad guys blow up the city.

The other characters’ stances are sillier. So far all the Martian noblemen have proven themselves to be high-talking swine, though I’m still convinced Cruhteo has a face turn coming. Slaine is interesting but his decision to “take revenge,” i.e., screw up the Martian invasion by invading it, feels suicidal to me, which might be what he’s after. The good guys are all basic types right now, except for Inaho, who looks and acts like Robotics;Notes’ Kaito–inexpressive, more going on inside his head then you read on his face, which makes him dull unless he’s doing something brilliant on the battlefield, like he does in this episode again. And I should mention that among all this good and bad characterization this was another fun episode with a lot of good moments, though the mecha battle near the end confused me a little.

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I suppose you could talk about the morality of Akame ga Kill, but I don’t see a point since it’s come down to “We kill them or they’ll kill us.” Not much to say there. Episode four has Night Raid going after Zank the Executioner, who started hearing voices while doing his job and now lops off the heads of everyone he encounters. So Night Raid kills him. Basically it’s all to fill us in on the Imperial Arms, of which there are 48, of which Night Raid owns six, no, seven now. Also it’s an excuse to show Akame in battle, and she doesn’t let us down. Okay, now that they’ve done all that it’s time to get the overreaching plot started again. Apart from a bit with Najenda and a dying rebel, there’s been little going on with that.

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Sword Art Online 2 4 has Kirito logging in to GGO for the first time, discovering he’s a girl here, and getting leers by half the gamers he passes by, an interesting comment on girls in games in general, but it’s quickly forgotten as the gods of convenience intervene and he meets Sinon, who just happens to have the time (though she doesn’t, it turns out) to give Kirito and us an infodump on what goes on here, and a tour to boot. Kirito gets to show us just how adept he is at dodging when he challenges an in-game game for the money, and how lousy he is at firing a gun. I’m probably the 100,000th person to use the “bring a sword to a gun fight” line, but since the OP has him battling with just his laser sword, it seems the show doesn’t care. And it looks like Sinon’s getting interested in him, another discrepancy with the OP. Not a great episode, but I guess we need the information for future use.

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