Coppelion ends the way it begins, with a hopelessly messy and silly story taking the life out some effective moments.
There’s a few things that the show has done well, believe it or not. Up to now, the running theme that the girls are artificial humans, dolls, created to do mankind’s bidding without any thanks or recompense, had been bandied around a bit by Haruto and the crazy girls, but it simply felt like an unanswerable dilemma that was getting in the way of the overall story, whatever that actually was. But e12 has a very good scene between Shion and Kanon. The latter, who had been crushed twice by boulders, finds herself alive (which at the time was funny), in pain, and without any hope, and begging for her own death, but her artificial genetics are preventing that. It’s a perspective on their lives we hadn’t seen before, and it feels more real than, say, Haruto’s petulance. So, naturally, her sister drags her off to attack the good guys in that giant spider. That’s more like it.
Yeah, the spider’s encore was ridiculous again (though good to watch). As was the train nearly getting blown off the rails, undergoing sudden stops and starts, all while Taeko was performing a delicate C-section on the pregnant lady. Oh, and there was that water tank that just happened to be collapsing when the train passed underneath it. If you like that sort of thing, the final two episodes didn’t disappoint. Also, where did everyone go at the end? And what happened to the leader’s job, or that assistant, or when did Ibara’s arm heal up? And how can the crazy sisters repent if they’ve got serial killer genes? The more I think about it, the more oddities keep coming to mind.
I’m willing to allow a few nutty things in an anime show with serious themes, it often makes watching more fun, but there was a disconnect here. We saw it in episode one. The realistic art and the grim tone set us up for a certain type of show, then they plunk three under-equipped schoolgirls in short skirts down into it, two of which shouldn’t have been there. The sheer idiocy of that, and the weird events that followed, meant that we couldn’t take most of the serious moments, er, seriously. Just as well, as they were mainly maudlin tales anyway. It’s a shame because the action scenes were often very good, and there were a few interesting things they managed to get across to us. But not enough.
Coppelion had plenty of problems but the ending was adequate. Galilei Donna‘s finale was one of the weakest I can think of.
Both Galilei and Coppelion had some effective action scenes in it, so I thought there’d be a wild chase or two, some dramatic turnabouts and cosmic lightshows when the new source of energy is revealed. Instead the big scene happens in a courtroom … Okay, I thought, this is where Hazuki is going to show off her mad lawyer skills. After all, she spent the much of the series threatening to sue or prosecute people. Instead, all she does is sputter at the lies the bad guys are using as testimony.. Maybe she has a point; this is a weird courtroom.
The judge is asked by the prosecution to make a judgment then and there, with no deliberation. When mysterious testimony for the good guys shows up Hazuki starts grilling Francesco even though he’s not on the stand. Then Ferrari shows up and hijacks the whole thing. The judge doesn’t seem to mind. Their mother turning around and becoming good again wasn’t so bad, but when she does they play that heroic music they only use for big, positive events, and my heart sank. No big battles would occur. And so, Francesco is led off in cuffs in spite of the fact that he wasn’t even on trial, and then, the WTF of the episode, Roberto shoots him.
Why? WHY? Because Roberto wanted to seize control? Because Francesco knew too much? Because Roberto had a change of heart? Because they couldn’t work him into the episode any other way? I’m flabbergasted. This is plotting on the level of Allison to Lillia, and any of you who experienced that mess knows what I mean, and I don’t make the comparison lightly. Honestly, if I missed something important let me know. ANYway, after that, there’s more sketch hunting. The world energy crisis seems to have been forgotten, temporarily. Damn, this show had some potential, too. Hozuki, cute little girl-genius, could be have attracted a lot of young viewers to root for her, but I don’t think even young people could handle the unlikable sisters, Roberto’s blood-lust, or it’s overly simplistic way of showing a world crisis. A shame, too, because it looked good and, like Coppelion, had some exciting, well-done action scenes. Well, goodbye to the two biggest disappointments of the season.
The worst thing about watching this Kaiki arc of Monogatari SS is that dour cello music that plays throughout. While not the worst piece of music to listen, especially in the holiday season, it sticks in my head long after the episode.
The other thing that bothers me is that there are only two episodes left in the season, and the action seems to be slowing down even more than usual. We start with Kaiki discovering a note telling him to back off, and long speculation as to whether Gaen sent it, which is unlikely, but if not her, who? So he calls Senjougahara for our first real conversation which boils down to her telling him she doesn’t know who could have written it. On the way the two seem to be almost flirting again, and we get to see Senjougahara projected on the side of a building, Blade Runner style. At one point she even takes a pill! I’m going to write that off as Shinbo being playful rather than try to analyze it. I’m tired enough.
The other big conversation was with Hanekawa, looking adorable in her two-toned hair, and the two agree to exchange information. WHAT information they have to exchange I have no idea, and the show managed to put it off until next episode. Instead we hear what she’s been up to, and, not knowing the full context (maybe next week) it makes little sense. She’s trying to fool people into thinking she’s still out of town. Did she come back specifically to talk to Kaiki about Nadeko? What could she add? So we have what she’s going to say, plus the mystery of the note, and meanwhile the actual business at hand (Nadeko) is nowhere near completed. How they’re going to wrap this up in two more episodes is beyond me.
Do I really have to write about Coppelion 11? I can’t even figure out what’s going on anymore. The highlight of the episode was not Haruto’s brave death, because who cares, but the fight against the giant robot spider with the evil sisters thrown in. It was fun and nutty, and some of it was filmed so that we appeared to be there with the characters. In fact, the first time Ibara shoots at the underbelly and it loses control was a terrific moment, all violence and noise as the monstrosity passed by and we wondered exactly what happened. It works similarly to later scenes where the guys in hazmat suits and shouting, discussing, and bickering offscreen while we watch something else. The show can do a good job delivering to us the mood of crisis situations where too much is happening at once. Alas, too much IS happening. We got that spider fight, then we hop to the train, then to this part of the tracks and that, and where did the crazy girls go? Hell, where did Ibara go? Oh, don’t get me started on Aoi’s newly-discovered SUPER-POWERS! Or the spider crashing into the building where the 1st Division guy was kept … Geez.
NouCome finishes after only ten episodes. A shame. It’s the show I’ve laughed at the most this season, and joins Love Lab as a 2013 example of silly concepts rescued by execution. Love Lab might be a better show, it’s certainly more tasteful, but NouCome deserves some credit for its excellent voice actor work and the sense of timing the script and direction had. A shame, too, that the finale wasn’t up to par. They had to get Ouka to cry to clear up a challenge, and took half the episode. They built up some nice tension with the final “ERABE!” partly because it threatened to destroy the harem, partly because it allowed Kanade to make an ethical choice, but after that they had nothing to do but go crazy and have snow falling at the water park and lots of chasing around involving all the characters, including ones you had forgotten about. The end leaves us the possibility for a second season, and I will certainly give it a try, but chances are it would have further explain what’s going on, including all those gods, and that would take the fun out of it. Still, it deserves a chance to prove me wrong.
Kill la Kill 10 continues as before. Computer guy Inumuta is rather easily defeated, so they have plenty of time to start the battle with Jakuzure, which, so far is also predictable. Bad guy does something outrageous, hurts Ryuuko, who gets her suit to do something even more outrageous, and wins, well, at least the first battle. The only bits of plot to worry about is that her suit is evolving too quickly, says Mikisugi. What will happen then? Will it go berserk? Will Ryuuko? We also learn that Mako is Ryuuko’s source of calm and healing, so now I’m afraid for her life. It would not be inappropriate to kill her off, sad as I would be to see her go.
I am still having problems enjoying Nagi no Asukara, for a couple of reasons.
First, we have what is essentially a fairy-tale world but with “realistic” modern-day characters living in it. Some of it translates well enough. There’s a mutual suspicion between the people above and below the surface that disrupts the personal lives of individuals. This is no different from certain combinations of real-life countries or cultures, and it’s also nothing new. But the fairy-tale world gives us constraints I don’t like. For me it comes hardest when I see all the people below sacrificing their next 50-100 years to a slumber ordained by a head priest I don’t really trust, anyway, and I’m not crazy about that god, either. I must be the growing mistrust in any sort of faith in deities, buts every time I watch Hikari raving against Uroko, or his father, I smile. Even the suggested solution, restoring the festival, is a bow to this belief system. I can accept that this is the world the story is about, so shut up, but then I want to start analyzing every little bit of it. Well, I’ve wanted to do that ever since episode one where they were cooking breakfast underwater. You give me a show with “real” characters. no matter how fanciful, and I’ll start looking for reality everywhere. Would everyone in town agree to this hibernation, apart from the kids? And is it going to get cold all over the world? Could they relocate? No one seems capable of thinking about anything but the place right in front of them.
The other problem is with the characters. In episode 10 Kaname confesses to Isaki, thus complicating the love triangle by making it a square, and I could not care less. I also couldn’t understand or care too much about why Manaka was so shocked when Hikari suddenly hugged her. I don’t care who winds up with whom, only that they’re letting adolescent emotions get in the way when their town is facing the worst crisis it’s ever had. Episode 10 DOES have some nice little scenes of people taking stock of the situation, including the little girls. Kaname’s confession is a consequence of it as well. But there’s a disconnect between the high-schoolers’ crushes and the big picture that makes it hard for me to care about it. The big picture, for all its faults, is more interesting.
Let’s get the stupid things in Coppelion 10 out of the way. First, Ibara and Haturo manage to stalk the Ozu sisters and listen in on their conversation, yet the Ozus are completely oblivious to Aoi’s shouting and whining. Really, that’s the only thing in the episode that stuck out. Some of the rest was silly, but silly in an entertaining way in an episode full of fighting and chasing around. In fact, Aoi’s reluctant confrontation with the Ozus led to some funny moments, particularly the chase in the swan boats. Aoi is useless enough and Shion nutty enough to get away with it. That the radio was picked up by a guard who just happened to be the father was a stretch, I could forgive it in the heat of the plot. As for the giant robot at the end, well, why the hell not? They’ve tossed in everything else.
At the end of Kill la Kill 9 I wondered a few things. Mainly, is this going to be the format for the foreseeable future? Every week Ryuuko takes on another high-ranking student council member, she gets beaten up for most of the episode while we get the odd side scene about the bad guy’s background and whatever, then comes up with a strategy, or counterargument to the bad guys’ philosophy, or both, and wins. That will last three more weeks and I believe this show’s running 25 episodes. Even if you add in an extra episode or two to further develop a villain you still won’t get there. Besides, it’s too predictable, anyway. So what we’re basically waiting for now is the twist in the plot that will send things out of control. As for episode 9–predictable. I’m a little surprised that they’re going straight to battle two without any fuss, since we don’t know much about the new villain. Expect lots of flashbacks, or maybe that plot twist.
Coppelion 9 wasn’t all that ridiculous. Plans are made, forgotten resources (the granny) come back, seeds are sewn for the big finish. Not bad. The only nutty thing was the pregnant lady asking if the team could rescue a 1st Division soldier, the baby’s father, who really isn’t all that bad. Oh, and Aoi just happened to meet him while she was captive. How they’re going to recognize him when they’re all wearing gas masks is not explained, but it’s a problem the show’s had all along. It’s too hard to care about victims when you can’t even see their faces. The rest of the episode is about putting the plan into operation, that is, reviving an elevated train and using that to get to the rendezvous point, okay, that’s pretty ludicrous too. Meanwhile, the wacky Ozu sisters are back, purely evil and insane characters that make the legitimate, moral questions Haruto asks pointless, but whatever battle they’ve got in store now will wait until next week.
Galilei Donna feels like a filler episode, or maybe a “Kyoto in the winter” travelogue. The only story business worth speaking about was Anna’s continued treachery and her growing conscience, but these things were already known about and expected; we’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop. On the other hand, it’s nice that they were able to find one of those sketches without any bloodshed or sacrifice. The scenes with gramps were disgustingly touching. But what got me slamming my head against the table, Kuroko-style, was that the Goldfish was flying around like nothing had happened! I mean, it was trashed last week. It got shot at and fins and rudders flew off, and it crashed in the frozen tundra somewhere, and this week, almost first thing, we see it floating happily in the sky, maybe singing a little song to itself, like nothing had happened to it. Argh.
So Kill is routine, Coppelion and Galilei are more-or-less inane, it’s up to Kyoukai no Kanata to raise the bar for this viewing day, and it does.
We get three fights going on early. Izumi is squaring off against Miroku over Akihito, though we’re not certain why, yet, just that the boy has something special about hm, er, apart from being half demon, that is. Meanwhile, Hiroomi and Mitsuki are battling some big monster thing, but I’m not sure why. Finally, Mirai is rushing to be at Akihito’s bedside before he turns into … whoops, too late! This all happens on rooftops, building lots, and in the sky, and while we switch around we get a little more idea of what’s going on and why they’re fighting.
And then all the scenes are done with, with only the monster being defeated. Akihito’s gone off and others go to find him until they stop because it’s making little sense to them. Izumi delivers the big line, not really a surprise, but it obviously comes as a shock to Mirai, who had once managed to calm Akihito out of his demon-ness, and everything more or less stands still while we get some backstory. That the SWW and the Nase’s don’t like each other much is already obvious, but why they’re fighting over Akihito was still a mystery, at least to our young heroes who have been kept out of the loop. It boils down to him being actually really really powerful and nasty, and if his demon side prevails, he’s going to get nastier yet. Wait, that explains why you might want him dead, but both sides seem to have additional plans for his corpse. I’ve been rooting for the Nase side, not least because Miroku’s such an ass, but I’m no longer trusting their motives as much. At least not Izumi’s. Happily for us, neither do Mitsuki and Hiroomi now.
Meanwhile, Mirai finds her quarry and crazy demon, would-be boyfriend, and sets about killing him. What’s surprising about this scene, well, one thing, (the usual dazzling visual effects are no longer surprising, just great to look at again) is that she looks quite capable of doing it on her own. Hiroomi had mentioned before that only she could do it, though I can’t remember why, but I didn’t expect to see her have little trouble slipping through his attacks and inflicting damage on her own. But more surprising still is that she is resolved. Yeah, we had a crying in the bathtub scene earlier where she got sorrow out of the way, and there are a couple of times during the fight when they cheat and show us the real Akihito face behind the train track one, causing her to waver, but those are just lapses. Mainly she is relentless in what she is trying to do, even removing her glasses before the assumed final strike, maybe to cause the Akihito inside less pain. A very good scene in a very good episode.
Kill la Kill 8 is basically a setup for the Big Fights we’ve been expecting since the beginning, though we didn’t know it at the time. All we knew was that there would be a huge resetting of authority in the school and everyone, including the four devas, have to fight for it. So it would be battle, battle, battle, right? Wrong! We get get a lot of pointless battling between nobodies in the background, but Ryuuko doesn’t fight at all. All she really does is provide us with a flashback to her father’s death and duck for cover as the Automotive Airsoft Club tries to ambush Gamagoori, who is the only main character who does any fighting this episode. And we learn a few things about him. He’s devoted to duty to the point of assisting even Ryuuko when she needs it, he was inspired by Satsuki the way they all seem to be, he’s a masochist, and he doesn’t know what to do about Mako, either. Story-wise, the show decides to get to the big battles starting next week, figuring, I guess that they had done enough prequel, and the story is loose enough that it doesn’t matter. I wonder if this will be the setup in the future, a scene where we flash back to each of the deva’s stories and they they duke it out with Ryuuko?
Coppelion 8 isn’t as ridiculous as some of them, if you ignore Ibara whipping out that cable out of nowhere, or that grenade going off before the Ozu sisters were going to shoot her, or chaining the sisters up when one of them can snap street lamps in half, or the Railgun impersonation. Even the sisters’ motivation for joining the 1st division was perfectly logical considering the circumstances of the Coppelion’s existence. No, the glorious WTF of this episode was that the sisters have serial killer genes! Okay, even if the scientists didn’t know it at the time, they know now, yet they still sent them off on this mission, and even if they sent them off before they knew it, they took no steps to stop them. Haruto treats it almost as an “oh, by the way …” and saunters off to help while the sisters are in the process of nearly killing everybody. Well, he’s bitter too, just not insane, so maybe he doesn’t really give a fuck. As for me, I don’t really give a fuck about the wind that’s now blowing, or about much anything else in this series. Oh, Aoi’s still in that silly storeroom. I wonder if they’ll give her something to do, one of these days?
In Kyoukai no Kanata 8 they begin to aggressively push the story. It looks like a good one, too, if I could figure out exactly what happened.
Not sure what that first bit with Izumi and whoever she was meant, nor that bit where she reported to whoever HE was. But it apparently all has to do with the calm, we are told many times by many people, which is a bad time for yoomu because they’re weakened and become easy prey for people like his best friends. Worse, Akihito’s only half demon and no one really knows about them, so be doubly careful, Akihito, okay? Akihito is too busy falling asleep and having nightmares to pay much attention, so everyone else looks out for him, though I haven’t the foggiest idea what that train scene meant, if he’s actually down with a fever at Ayaka’s place.
Actually, a lot of scenes take place in trains or other forms of transportation this episode, and they usually end unhappily. There’s that odd scene with Izumi, another one with Mitsuki and Hiroomi, which comes after one between Hiroomi and Miroku, where the truck blows up. And Miroku and Mitsuki ride in a car. There were a lot of trains in the Hollow Shadow episode, too, but why trains? I watched all this and the only things that sort of made sense was the fact that the Spirit World Warriors want to snatch Akihito, while the Nase team, who has interfered on his behalf before, stand in their way. And Akihito’s about to, er, demonize again, and while I figure it’s only healthy to let your demon loose every now and then, I worry for Ayaka’s nice shop.
About 4.5 seconds per gag in Teekyuu 31. The episode felt longer, more introspective, maybe because it was a heartwarming flashback on how this character met that character and joined the tennis club.
Nagi no Asukara 7 made me want to punch a few of the characters, and Hikari was not one of them. But is that a good thing?
I’m talking of course of the adults, the fat pigs who live both underwater and on the surface, and who insist on insulting each other and getting into fights over agreeing that the Ofunehiki should be started up again, which is what everyone else wants. I would also like to punch, for the record, that deadbeat priest who has great power given to him but seems to want to make Akari and Hikari miserable just to prove a point to their father. This isn’t the first time, either. Remember the attempted molestation of Manaka in the first episode? The man ought to be kicked out of his cushy job.
Now, with that FIRST batch of people (I believe the shitty priest is supposed to be comic and eccentric), I’m supposed to feel that way, especially when they break the statue the kids worked so hard to make and that they had all been admiring an hour before. And it’s a problem. This is beginning to feel more and more like Tari Tari rather than Hanasaku Iroha. The Big Plot they’re pushing is pushing the little ones to the side. Remember, they’re also trying to tell a love story, I think, though the triangle(s) haven’t made themselves clear yet, but most of these scenes barely stand out with all that shouting going on.
The stories come together with Hikari’s family, and they’re doing all right with that. Akari loves a surface guy, an old basic plot, but improved when we see it through the eyes of the father, and especially Hikari, who’s hot-tempered but young and malleable enough to change his mind. This still isn’t very new, but the creators are doing well with it. Unfortunately, other than the dynamics of this family, and, by extension, Itaru’s, everything is turning into a “kids want to put on a show but the mean grownups won’t let them” story, or a “gee, can’t we all just get along?” story, and I’ve seen too many of those already.
Coppelion 7 isn’t all that bad if you don’t count the ridiculous things. I can get the leader (who claims he isn’t) of the 1st Division deciding to stick all the waste into the sarcophagus, as they call it, and then blow it up to cause all of Japan to get radioactive. That’s just evil genius thinking and appropriate, especially with his evil laugh and tattered cape flying behind him, but who’s going to do all the lifting? There’s a lot of waste to get in there and even a handful of coppelions would take a long time to haul all the barrels, even with those evil crazy girls we see at the end helping out. But I can forgive that one in terms of plot. What’s harder to understand is why they separated blood type by school grade. Did it ever occur to any of them that Ibara might need a transfusion before? Why on earth would they do such a stupid thing? And finally, Taeko is able to perform delicate surgery to save Ibara’s life, yet the thought of delivering a baby in perhaps the cleanest, safest place in Tokyo freaks her out entirely. They hadn’t thought they wouldn’t have to deliver a baby out here, she says. Just like they figure Ibara won’t need a transfusion. Other than all that it was a pretty good plot-building episode.
Galilei Donna 6 isn’t much better. The good girls, the bad guy and the pirates all descend on one hospital for one purpose or another. We get a lot of morality speeches and a cautionary tale about giving away your birthday feast to some beggars who are only going to steal stuff when you’re dying, anyway (and why the feast? Wasn’t there any other food in the house they could have given him?). So now we know Materazzi’s motivation. We later get to see what he’s learned when he just starts shooting people in the hospital because there are too many people in the world, anyway. A lot of other people in the hospital were wielding guns. Where did they go? A side note comes from those two Cicinho stooges and how they were saved by their boss, so have unswerving loyalty to him. I guess Roberto thinks that way, too. The moral dilemmas (We’re cold! Cut off the life support systems on the upper floor!) pile higher and higher for poor, distraught Hozuki, and when she snaps and acts her pendant decides to put on a light show and save the day, and finally Hazuki gets her medicine. Amazing that the girls knew which jar of medicine to pick, but that’s hardly the most ridiculous thing about this episode, or this series.
Last week’s Monogatari SS, with that beautiful artwork panning by why Shinobu gave a rather sad monologue about part of her life and someone she met, and how they were pulled apart, felt elegant and dignified. As for this week:
While we get back to the worrisome plot in episode 19, the whole thing is made livelier by Ononoki, Shinobu and Mayoi being in the same room. Araragi, the old pervert, considers it a dream come true, while we watch with big smiles as three of the oddest characters in the entire series go at each other while they try to figure out what to do about that void. My favorite bit must have been when Mayoi comes to and starts ordering the other girls around, and they actually obey her–for a moment. But the girls biting Araragi wasn’t bad either, or how one will start giving a speech while the others strike poses and more or less freeze. A lot of fun to be had in these scenes.
Alas for our fun, the void returns, and while Ononoki transports them away again, it seems that the spiritual link between Araragi and Shinobu has been broken, which presents us with something interesting for the plot, as in order to rescue her from wherever she is they may have to confront the void, rather than running from it. But it also must feel very sad for Araragi, since he’s at least temporarily lost a part of his soul, not to mention a lot of his super vampire powers. I, for one would feel very bad about losing the vampire girl who hung out in my shadow and took baths with me. I guess we’ll have to see what that girl who knows everything who isn’t Hanekawa says about it.
In Galilei Donna 5, the hunt for the latest sketch is more of an excuse for the girls to interact with people in a town in the Netherlands which has been cut off from the main supplies of fuel, I suppose because it isn’t efficient for them to lay pipes or something. Anyway, we meet Ludger, who leads a pack of rebels, and thus we get a nice, dull moral battle from him and Hazuki. Meanwhile, Hozuki befriends a boy named Theo, a fellow gadget freak, and later his would-be girlfriend Karen. It’s all rather lighthearted for too long, so you’re just waiting for the tears to flow, and they do near end, but only after Ludger had decided to sell out and doom everyone to certain death. This was so unbelievable, such a complete turnaround for the character, without a hint of foreshadowing that it pretty much pulled the rug from other the tragic events that happened after. A shame. Theo and Karen were decent characters who deserved better.
Coppelion 6 continues the show’s trend of having interesting things to say, along with a compelling setting, and screwing it all up with the action. In this episode we once again wonder what the hell Aoi is doing on this mission in the first place, as she goes out of the sanctuary and immediately gets captured by the 1st Division, who apparently want Coppelions. They don’t explain why, so it’s intriguing … but you know the reason will be inane or trite. Then Ibara, of all people, proves to be as stupid as Aoi, falling for that “Go ahead, shoot me!” line and getting blindsided by a different soldier. Later she nearly gets caught again because she has apparently forgotten everything she once knew about hostage situations, or combat.
The interesting bits come from the leader of the “Planet,” who both rails at the society that put him in that situation and then abandoned them for fifteen years, and supports the girls in whatever they do, and at least isn’t as stupid in combat as they all seem to be. Haruto, the Cleanup Crew guy, isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, either, but he gets to force home the concept that he and the other Coppelions were raised and used by the same society who made this mess in the first place, a position which works well against Ibara’s equally strong faith in humanity, even when it nearly gets her killed. As I said, there’s some nice stuff bubbling under the surface here, but it’s being so badly handled I don’t really care too much.