Dimension W 11 starts with the aftermath of the Loser/Chrysler fight, and now Loser has all the numbers and is probably invincible or something. Meanwhile, Lwai fills Kyouma and the rest about how he’s actually a robot controlled by what’s left of himself back home, and he’s fine with that. So is Kyouma, so the show makes a point to tell us, and I suspect it’s supposed to be a touching, breakthrough moment for him, but the show never really established his issues, because the big final story arc depends on him not knowing their source …
A little disappointed that so much of the backstory is made via a memory shared by Loser which everyone is forced to watch. Too convenient; this show has proven it can do better than this if it wants to, but there’s only one episode to go so maybe it was a timesaving decision. Worse, the memory also had a lot of pseudo-scientific bullshit about possibility factors mixed in before Seanmeyer got all evil and started killing people. The memory didn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know. Loser lost his wife, Seanmeyer is evil, and Kyouma was there. What I’m afraid of is that they’re going to take all those weird possibility theories and toss them around, with light shows, while Kyouma gets his memory back. No, wait! I forgot that we’ll probably start with Loser meeting his lost wife, now a gigantic octopus thingy.
Koyomimonogatari 10 brings us Yotsugi, in search of something that can’t be found by searching for it, not only an interesting riddle but one you’d expect from this show. The conclusion, brought to us by Hanekawa again, was a pretty clever one, even if I had sort of guessed it midway through. While I wonder at Yotsugi’s motives for doing this (WHY was she looking out for Araragi?), the idea that she was in the first place was kind of nice, reinforced as it was by Araragi’s comment that people who have unfettered moments might have people looking after them to thank.
#11, maybe the weakest yet, has Araragi asking Yuzuru (after she beat the crap out of him) about Yotsugi. Land one punch and she’ll tell you, and the show spends the rest of this short time with Karen figuring out what Yuzuru actually meant by that. That it means a refusal to answer Araragi’s question I can understand, but Araragi’s attempt at going through with the fight out of some courtesy I can’t figure out. But the episode DID have Araragi and Karen in a bathtub full of puddings, so that’s something.
Gate 23, with its triumphant 11.5 hour raids on the capital and the Jade Palace, is not as fun as it could be. We see the JSDF prepare and implement their attacks, and apart from a few moments when they appear outnumbered, nothing goes wrong. They secure gates, they paratroop, they launch missiles on dragons, while Zorzal looks more flabbergasted by the second. The only interesting bits are Tyuule’s advice,” where I have to remember that she’s not on his side, nor the JSDF, but working purely out of revenge against the empire. I wonder how the show is going to treat her next week?
The raid on the Jade palace is a little better because, for me at least, there was more at stake. I wanted to see Bozes and her troops defeat the imperial troops, or at least survive. That they do, thanks to the JSDF, in ho-hum fashion, but Bozes then spices things up by galloping to the capital to rescue Pina, and nearly getting killed. As for Pina, she’s still stuck down in that cell, hopeless and useless as ever, and our heroes, Youji and the fantasy-fetish girls, are still riding in that jeep.
Finally, Teekyuu! 81 slips badly to an SPG of 3.75 as Yuri accompanies Annenkov to a mixer full of monks and encounter a vengeful bathroom spirit. Maybe too much time setting up the scene.
KonoSuba 8 … I don’t know what the hell happened. What were all those dolls? Why was Aqua behind the door? And you know, it didn’t matter much. Our heroes are sent to exorcise a bunch of spirits by Wiz, a nice but hapless servant of the demon king. There’s lots of running around in fear (those dolls WERE kind of scary) and jokes about peeing. It could have been dismal but once again the direction and voice-actor work kept it afloat. Also, I’m happy to see that Kazuma got another skill and they have a decent place to live now. Living in that cold barn all this time was depressing to watch.
Koyomimonogatari 8 has Ougi and Araragi going up a mountain to visit a ruined shrine, and the big question this week is: how was it moved there? It used to be somewhere else, and its current presence has stuck things out of balance (mostly corrected by Shinobu, I believe), but that’s not really important. The answer, or punch line, as Araragi likes to say, comes from Sengoku, pre-snake form. I was going to ask “why her?” but it just occurred to me that Ougi and Araragi had talked about snakes before. But this scene happens before Sengoku’s troubles … Oh, well, call it foreshadowing.
Episode 9 is livelier thanks to no creepy Ougi but rather Shinobu. Twelve minutes, more or less, on donuts, with hints of trust and love thrown in. Very sweet, and it made me hungry for donuts. What’s more, we had a Dagashi Kashi-type lesson about donut holes, and I learned what a torus is. The answer (possibly, because Araragi ate the evidence) comes to us again from Hanekawa, who’s on a beach with a suitcase and her two-tone hair, so late in the chronology.
Dagashi Kashi 8 brings us three stories and more things I didn’t know about. The first, where Tou tells scary stories taken from Super Scary Story Gum and Kokonotsu pokes holes in their logic, is pleasant enough, especially with Saya’s scared faces. Also, I like typhoon stories even if it’s just people sitting around telling scary stories. The second one … Kendama isn’t a dagashi, but it’s arguably the most successful story of the three, because Saya shows up and is cool. I think I’m developing a thing for Saya … No Saya in part three, so it’s the weakest, besides, I didn’t get the fortune telling concept. But it had the episode’s best weird moment, when a fantasy Tou as girl meets a handsome Hotaru as boy, with those same crazy eyes of hers. That and the crab.
Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya o Mezasu 9 gives Yuka another crisis, even though she had one earlier with the unrequited love business. Considering how confident and genki she is normally, I was happy that her crisis wasn’t that she fucked up all the time (just a little–rookie jitters in the audio booth) or outright sucked. No, she was good from the start, just not good enough by her standards, and everyone else has been trying so hard … After that it was just a matter of coaxing her back into the booth and set up the next crisis, either to do with Koruda’s brother, whoever he is, or Kai because being the organizer is not very interesting unless you get a show like Shirobako, which this isn’t.
Koyomimonogatari 7 starts with “Platinum Disco,” so I was in a good mood to enjoy another trivial little episode of this Bakemonogatri-lite series. As you could guess, the person with a question this time is Tsuhiki, about her tea club-mates’ refusal to listen to reason and accept that there is no ghost-kid who signed up as a member. She tries to stab Araragi with a tri-color pen a couple times for good measure. The answer to her question, or rather, her object of rage, is pretty clever and it does make you wonder just who is doing the deceiving here. Kanbaru helps out this week too, but she’s more subdued, watching poor Araragi mine the books at her house. I’m trying to remember: has Araragi solved ANY of the mysteries in this latest series, or has he always turned to some girl or another?
Gate 20 turns back away from Youji and company’s flight from the assassins to show us Sherry and the dove diplomat Casel’s flight from Zolzal’s (or should that be Tyuule’s?) private stormtroopers, the, er, Oprichnina. At the end of which they wind up outside the Jade Palace. Japanese soil right now, with Sherry shouting out to Sugawara for help, forcing him into a rather disgusting decision, but it’s for a good cause, right? Not just to get certain fanboys watching to get excited, or course not. Too bad for Casel, dragged away with no one wanting to marry him. Last episode I was grumbling that we were spending time in that silly magic town, but now I want to go back there. Oh right, Lelei’s not there anymore. And we’ll have to get this current crisis sorted out before going back to the main characters.
KonoSuba 7 is a bit of a letdown. Kazuma dies again (at least this time it was less embarrassing) and meets another goddess, the perfectly sensible Eris, who actually feels bad for him and is set to send him to a comfortable life in modern Japan, when he realizes he actually misses Aqua and the other goofballs. One of those stories. … Well, he’s set to move on in spite of that, but Aqua calls him back and of course his life is miserable again. And it’s winter there now. It’s still winter here, by the way, and I’m getting tired of it. Not that that has anything to do with the show.
Dimension W 8 … Well, of course those guys on the plane aren’t dead; they spent too much time introducing them last week. And I still can’t figure them out. They’re mostly a bunch of cynical bounty-hunters who would turn on each other in a second, but, apart from that one American guy doing a number on the other one (and that feels more like a personal issue rather than cold-blooded business), they spend a lot of time cooperating and bailing each other out. Well, occasionally they’re left behind, but no one’s doing any killing yet. Meanwhile Kyouma and Mira innocently drive up the road on their own, oblivious to the fates of the others, until a couple of them show up. They’re cuddly and cute so you know they can be trusted.
I’m still trying to get how this island works. People left there start waking up when the collectors show up, animated by new potentialities, and tend to get swallowed by that blue thing when they do, if they’re male. Salma was swallowed up, but there he is lying on a couch–albeit near death. It grazed a collector and he’s also in a coma. Coils aren’t supposed to work but they seem to be working fine. Kyouma, Mira, and the cute diggers go through a dead zone, where Mira stops functioning, and apparently Kyouma also nearly dies as well, no idea why–but they make it through. However, it doesn’t feel as though the show is just making shit up as it goes. There seems to be sound logic in this invented world, and my confusion over it is partly because it doesn’t want to tell us everything yet, that and I’m forgetful.
Episode 4 brings us back to Araragi helping to clean Kanbaru’s room, way back when, and follows it along with the usual come-ons and Araragi taking a bath and hearing a tale about Kanbaru’s father seeing a girl’s reflection in the water. When not part of a flow of larger things these little episodes seem inconsequential, even trivial, or rather, I should say that the regular story lines are littered with little trivial things like this story but we don’t really notice. Not that this new series isn’t fun to watch, they just don’t bear the same collective weight that the previous series do. But who cares? We have Kanbaru doing her thing and that’s good enough for twelve minutes.
I liked episode 5 better. Nadeko goes to Araragi’s house for a party to wrap up the Kaiki business. And among the blushing, underaged sweetness that is Nakeko we get a discussion on how rumors spread, while the popcorn metaphor takes us from a party to a movie. Then it’s Kaiki at the donut shop with Araragi and Shinobu, another little conversation that would have inserted itself before, after, or in-between that scene from Nisemonogatari, like a little digression before the characters take up the main theme again. It’s sort of fun to imagine these conversations snaking around the ones we’ve already seen.
While episode 6, in one way, ties in with the concept of rumors in episode 5. The tree that no one had noticed before was going to be chopped down because it’s scary, no one had noticed it before. Hanekawa comes up with a lie that the tree’s wood was used to build the dojo, so it would be disrespectful to pull it down. Not really the same as Kaiki’s theory of troubled hearts being the easiest to lie to, but the people in the dojo were in an unsettled state and thus perhaps more willing to listen to a lie. Araragi points out that maybe they had now made the tree an oddity–nice touch. And we have Karen physically and verbally abusing Araragi, and teasing us with fanservice, to open the episode.
I waited too long to get back to Dimension W. After two weeks the interesting mystery they were working on is completely lost on me. But I suspect I might have been a little bewildered anyway. The coils and Dimension W, not to mention the strange water, managed to keep an alternate reality alive. I suppose I don’t have to really understand that part, and the business about long-lost daughters didn’t interest me very much anyway. I will say that I think they could have taken another episode for this arc and made it feel less rushed. Also, I continue to be impressed by what an excellent plot tool Dimension W is.
The dimension doesn’t do much in episode 6; instead we get a lot of plot threads set up. Prince Salva-Enna-Tibesti-Kiss-Shot-Heart-Under-Blade (wait, that’s not right, just call him Salva), a big jerk from Africa, comes to Japan to secretly challenge people who won’t be scared into some event on Easter Island. We find out his motives at the end, the rest is Kyouma being befriended against his will by who appears to be Salva’s younger brother, plus we meet Tsubaki, Kyouma’s sister and apparently the only person he’s afraid of, and there’s talk of him finally wanting to face his dark past and the memories he’s suppressed. We also get hints of Mira’s unknown origins, which Salva might actually know. It’s all setup for now, and I’ll be sure not to wait two weeks before I watch the next episode.
Teekyuu 75 scores a 3.214 SPG, off their best work but not bad. In it, Yuri and Kanae hike in the mountains and Kanae nearly dies but no one, not even those involved in the show, know how.
#76 slips to 3.33, as all the girls together decide to diet. You can figure out how THAT’S going to turn out.
Midway through this post I realized that with my more limited time there’s no way to catch up if I write about every episode, so I will say even less per show than I was before. At least until I get all the way back …
Koyomimonogatari‘s short form is in a way a sort of relief after all the other monogataris out there, but I suspect I’m saying that because I’m still in a desperate game of catch-up. On the other hand, I’m not sure I want what seems to be the case after episode 2, that is, a small mystery that is wrapped up in thirteen minutes. I’m used to the bigger mysteries, and whatever oddity they had available. Episode 2, like #1, has no odditty at all, just some oddly-located bouquets of flowers that suggest a tragedy but in fact indicate nothing of the kind, maybe even the opposite. The speculation by Araragi and Senjugahara feels like its wasted, somehow. Well, the talk might not amount to as much as before (and monogatari talk can amount to everything and nothing at the same time), but it’s Senjugahara and Araragi doing the talking, so there’s fun to be had anyway.
Episode 3 confirms my suspicious: I don’t think we’re going to seen an actual oddity in this latest series, just a lot of mysteries with different things behind them like reverse logic or natural phenomena. But at least this time we get Mayoi and Hanekawa. We also get a mysterious sandbox (I’m always a little taken aback when a strange presence like Mayoi can be weirded out by another strange presence) which isn’t so mysterious after all. I admired Hanekawa’s usual sensible logic: if the cause isn’t supernatural or outside interference, it should be completely natural. Also, we get trademark lines from both girls. I’m still a little sorry we aren’t getting a bigger story, but I’m happy enough with that.
At first my heart sank when I watched Dimension W 2. It looked like this Loser fellow was going to be the first of a series of Kyouma captures, a “villain” of the week, but happily he not only escaped but will probably somehow help Kyouma in later adventures even though his motives–revenge against, er, Tesla I uess, might work counter to Kyouma’s. Still not sure who Kyouma is working for, well, for Mary I guess. But we learn something else is bubbling in his brain, what with that special unit he once belonged to and seems to be the only survivor of. He can’t be sympathetic to Tesla even with his odd friendship with Schuman, and he hates coils… Well, the accidental release of Dimension W on that curator is as good a clue as any. Too soon to tell, and the show is having a good time teasing us with things like “Numbers.” Wait for next episode. Oh, I have it right here …
Episode 3 was for settling in and getting the situation stabilized. Mira gets a place to stay and interacts with the local kids, meanwhile Kyoma is off learning about numbers, and we start putting two and two together. Nice touch having one of the kids be related to a Tesla CEO. A decent enough episode for its type. Episode 4 is the best of the lot. While ghost legends mixed with murders aren’t exactly new to say the least, here we have the concept that the ghosts come from dimension W. This newly-discovered dimension is becoming a handy plot tool; you can create all sorts of different phenonemon and blame it all on the dimension. This week it’s ghosts and victims, and it’s by no means sorted out yet. We got one layer of reality resting on another one, and people who straddle both whom we call ghosts. They’re also nasty, so that makes it more fun.
Oh god, Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R begins with an idol song.
After that, we actually meet Komugi, your typical air-headed clumsy genki middle-school of the doctor’s daughter variety, meaning no one minds if she slaps heating pads on elderly patients. She also works as a small-time idol for pharmacutecials. The story is routine. Odd event in the sky, rescues a bizarre bunny who tells her to be a magical girl and wear an embarrassing outfit. She gets blackmailed into it, and rescues the world from monster #1, in convenient card-form, collect them all!
Fortunately for everyone the show knows what it’s about. We will watch (if we do, and I haven’t decided) because the show finds entertaining variants on the magical girl genre, or if we think the girls are cute. As for the latter, yeah, they’re cute enough. For the former, well, the first half was the usual, the best part being Komugi’s concert before a bunch of geezers. It gets better when, er, I’ll call him Pyon for now, starts his sales pitch. Komugi, who had been using a normal girl voice before, starts using suspicious, lower-pitched “huh?” moments. I also liked how the voice-over gives us a full, scientific explanation of what happens when Komugi transforms. I had always wondered about that. The monster this week was a bore, but I suppose first monsters usually are. All in all, not bad for what it is. I might keep watching it for cheap laughs.
It hardly feels like I should introduce Koyomimonogatari since Owarimonogatari just ended. But episode one starts earlier, when Oshino was still in town and Shinobu was still skulking in corners. I don’t know what this new series will cover but episode one, unless it’s actually a preview episode I got (it’s only 15 minutes), is sort of a throwaway, about an ordinary rock which was stuck in a shrine box and now people worship it. Hanekawa is curious about it so Araragi asks Oshino, who says something cryptic, which leads Hanekawa to the discovery.
It took me a moment to figure out why Araragi didn’t tell us from the start, but I realized this was Hanekawa’s mystery, not his. The usual wordplay: “Is the stone an oddity because it’s being worshipped, or is it worshipped because it’s an oddity?” The usual witty visual bits.
Can’t find Rainbow Days yet, so skipping to Ooya-san wa Shishunki!, about a lad entering an apartment building only to discover that the landlord is a middle school girl. If that wasn’t enough for his lusts, the girl next door is pretty hot, and an adult. But why a middle-school landlord?
It’s about three minutes or so, but unlike other shorties it feels cut off, like an episode could be longer if it wanted to be. As it was they barely got started before time ran out. Hard to give an opinion because I couldn’t get a grip on it.
Dimension W stars Kyouma in a future world where they’ve discovered a new dimension and are siphoning power from it. Unlimited energy! It’s stored in things called “coils,” though “bolts” might be a better word. Some people use illegal coils, and Kyouma tracks them down and takes them away in the film noir part of the city. On one mission he meets Mira, an android, who needs the coils for her dad, sorry, creator, who invented the damn things in the first place. Then it gets confusing.
Let me see, are these illegal coils simply regular coils that people have hacked for their own use? Or were they created using illegal energy extractors? Either way, and despite the fact that people use them for criminal acts, I think I’m on the side of the illegal coil people. This Tesla company seems to have a complete monopoly on the technology and monopolies or complete power of any kind isn’t good for any society. Mira’s dad was apparently screwed over by Tesla so I hope the show will explore this idea farther. Meanwhile, Kyouma is fun to watch, and he wears his hard-boiled image without making it look stale. Mira is a lot of fun too, and it looks good. So political and social issues aside, this show could be fun to watch anyway.
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar starts with a fantasy RPG team of newbies showing their lack of talent for beating one goblin, and we learn that it’s not a game and they could die. After that is a flashback to them waking up in Grimgar and being told how things work, basically join a guild, kill monsters for money, or die. A week’s training and they’re off to really suck at what they’re doing, meaning they’re hungry and bickering a lot. That’s it for this week.
So I guess we’ll watch them get better? I don’t know how many weeks I want to spend on them not being very good before they improve. Maybe the goal is to have them learn why they were sent here? I don’t really care. The general tone makes me feel like we’re probably going to watch more than one of them die before this is over, and unfortunately it won’t be the loudmouth character. Also, the episode wasn’t much fun to watch anyway. Along with their failures they spend a mealtime listening to the loudmouth sexually harrass one of the girls while the others just roll their eyes. I don’t really like these people, so maybe watching them die won’t be so bad after all. Doubt I’ll get back to this one.
Why is it I have so little to say about the shows that are finishing up this season? Let’s see. There’s a sweet conversation between Araragi and Senjougahara, a reaffirmation of their love that made both happy in their particular crises and maybe added a little twist to the duel between him and, er, Seishiro, the first one, over who is Shinobu’s #1 minion. Senjougahara says she would dump Araragi if a better qualified man came along, because there is no such thing as an absolute bond. You have to work to keep the ones you love. Yet that’s pretty much what Seishiro claims to have with Shinobu, even if she even refuses to appear before him. Meanwhile Araragi learns that Senjougahara AND Hanekawa are in danger, but I guess you have to work for one love at a time …
Not sure what tossing the sword into the fight was all about. Was she upping the ante? At any rate, it’s made ironic because the sword never gets to strike a blow, thanks to Araragi’s sneaky thinking and one of Oshino’s charms. Not that it was the point. Seishiro is melting, and FINALLY Shinobu comes out, to both say goodbye and devour what was left. As if she could only come out when she knew the matter had been settled and was past her influence. At least she was nice about it. And after that I presume Araragi showed up as Hanekawa’s hero in her story, tattered clothing and all, and we’re left to ponder the last conversation, this one with Ougi, where he claims that his odd relationship with Shinobu doesn’t do anyone any good at all, even Shinobu. Yet he has no intention of stopping it, even if he could, just as he can’t stop with the other weird females in his life. As for why he explained this to Ougi in the first place, early in the morning of his college entrance exams, the show never really answered any questions about its featured character, did it? That’s okay. And next comes a movie, where we’ll get some Araragi backstory and yet walk out of the theatre even more confused than before…
One Punch Man finishes up as expected … heh.
One thing the show has done very well is depict the fights, and they saved the best for last. The Saitama/Boros battle was spectacular; tons of great visual bits, great hits, blinding explosions, yet you could tell at every moment what was going on, who was getting hit and where his body was thrown. To make it more interesting it appeared for a while like Saitama was losing … well, I don’t think any of us believed that. The question to the end was when would Saitama throw his punch. At only one point did it lag, when Boros started bragging about how superior he was, and, as usual, Saitama told him to shut up. Saitama reflects the anime fan in all of us who doesn’t need all the talk and wants to get to the hitting. Meanwhile, the other S-rankers dispatch the remaining powerful bad guy in satisfying, if occasionally dysfunctional fashion. Glad to see Silver Fang get the last marble.
That done, the show starts working on the inevitable second season, setting up rivalries and so. Genos is warned about Metal Knight, his possible arch-enemy, though he’s supposedly a good guy. That celeb hero Sweet Mask shows up to dis everyone in S-rank who was there and had done the fighting. You can imagine how that went down. And Tornado probably has a story arc coming to her, too. And so it ends. While Owarimonogatari was my favorite show this season, One Punch Man was the one which made me smile the most in anticipation. They took a superhero idea that seems extremely limited, stuck it in a comic story, provided enough strange characters at the right times to keep our interest, and gave us good commentary about the superhero business, not to mention great fights. No way there won’t be a second season; I’m looking forward to it.
Finally, the last two episodes of Teekyuu!, THE GREATEST ANIME SERIES EVER!
It’s a shame that all the girls couldn’t be around for this two-part story about Marimo, Tomarin and Kondo going on a space adventure. Also, the SPGs were 3.21 and 3.6 respectively, a little slide. I blame it on a three-second speech by Kondo in #71, and there was, believe it or not, a PAUSE in #72, yes, a PAUSE! Happily, the show has a chance to get its mojo back. The next season is right around the corner! I won’t have to kill myself yet!