Those silly shows again

Look behind you! It’s a ghost!

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon 19 finishes up its story arc, I think. Well, at least the five duels were concluded and interrupted. First we get a history lesson from Master Scarred (cloak-girl) about how Catherine, Anne and Henry VIII all got whisked off by fairies at some points in their lives, which is linked somehow to Carlos I of Espana, but Tenjo can’t stop thinking about Master Scarred’s butt. After that look at the remaining battles. Tachibana dispatches the wolf in bloody fashion with the aid of a banana peel, I forget how Honda got away from Death-guy, and that third girl uses “flat chested evasion” to get out of a jam. In short, none of them lose, so Toori doesn’t have to fight anybody. I thought there would be at least one.

It’s not looking good for, er, whatsherface.

Meanwhile Toori and Horizon have their date, the concept of sadness and loss is discussed, robot to human. Meanwhile Shakespeare reminds Toussaint about his literary failings and now we’re supposed to guess which childhood friend she or he is. Suzu and whatshername decide to get that safety pod of theirs moving, And just when I thought the episode was getting a little too normal, turns out there are two Master Scarreds, a good and evil one, naturally. The episode ends with Tenjo doing a double, no triple take. As for me, I’ve gone beyond ever being surprised by this show.

Binbougami Ga! 7 brings us a new character, Rindou Ranmaru, your typical delinquent type. We meet her in a bewildering scene where Ichiko is temporarily mistaken for a shoplifter, prompting a bizarre speech by Rindou where you aren’t sure if she’s insulting Ichiko or the cops. At least, *I* was confused. Early on Ichiko confuses her for another god of misfortune, but she’s very human, and we learn how much throughout the episode, which proceeds to lose some energy along the way because of it. The overly stern dad who wanted a son, etc. It turns into another example of Ichiko learning to care about something in spite of herself. We even get a girly makeover scene, never mind the forced gender expectations this reinforces and the fact that Rindou is a lot more fun when she acts like a thug, and that some boys might actually prefer her that way. Never mind. She’s looks like a good fit for the show.

At least we know what to expect from Chizuru.

Yuru Yuri II 7 is pretty good, much better than the last one. We see all the characters’ sisters as they interact. Most of them are very nice and patient people, sometimes exasperated by their siblings’ behavior, but you have to feel glad for the girls that they have such people in the family. We get everyone from little Kaede and her adorable interest in Ayano’s boobs, er, well-being, to Tomako, Chinatsu’s older sister, who has an adorable crush on Akari’s older sister Akaze, who has a rather disgusting crush on … Akari. Okay, most of these sisters are as nuts and lustful as the main characters. This is all fine, except now I have a whole new batch of characters and I have to remember who has the hots for whom. I wish this show came with a scorecard.

I can’t blame the show if I can’t figure out all the cultural references.

Apart from Horizon, I take the most notes for Joshiraku, and not coincidentally they are the two shows I have to least to talk about. So (prepares notes), we start with Kukuru depressed, which leads to Christmas which leads to spending too much to boost the economy. They sing an ode to cheer Kukuru up, that religious woman shows up and gets slugged, a miracle occurs, then another, and now Kukuru’s happy but Marii’s depressed and turns into a demon and the only way to get rid of her bad vibes is to rub her boobs. On to part two, in Harakuku and Back-Harajuku which leads to the use of the word back, then tongue twisterscome to life and then on to crepes (there is a Miyazaki section in there, too) and Marii’s problems with ordering and eating them. Finally it’s skin types, including Marii’s big sister skin, then tattoos, “Skin Arranger!” and giving Genkyou goosebumps in a number of confusing and unpleasant ways. Not the best episode.


Four very silly shows

Let’s start with perhaps the silliest.

A lot of fighting in Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon 17. Five of our numerous heroes wind up in a spell that pits them against some of England’s finest, and if any one of them loses the winner gets to challenge Toori, who’s still on that date of his. Let’s see (checks notes) … Futaya fights Sir Walter Raleigh, while Masazumi meets some death-thing … I think those battle are still ongoing as the episode ends. Ulquiaga meets Nicholas Bacon, Naito the sleepy witch meets Hawkins and Cavendish in an underwater battle (where she can’t speak her spells. Oh, No!), while Malga meets Drake, a werewolf, though they have tea first and discuss the fact that Joan of Arc might have been saved from burning by a unit of werewolves, which passes for a conspiracy theory in this show. We also learn that his wife is a serial killer. Oh, and that other girl faces F. Walshingham. And one other, on the soccer pitch. Well, whatever.

Malga attacks England’s justice.

They’re the usual type of battles. The Brits have the advantage at first but the Musashis or Japanese or whatever later pull out some stunts of their own. A couple even win, or at least draw. Ulquiaga, though temporarily stymied by the fact that Bacon is actually a fairy, has the battle spell canceled out, when a spectator “snaps out of it.” Naito defeats Hawkins by using his jets and the air trapped in her cleavage to breath out some spells. Drake has England’s justice on his side, but Malga gets bailed out by Tachibana, who claims that only Spain can beat Musashi up. The other battles are ongoing. This is better than the Olympics! No, it isn’t … Oh, former Cloak Girl is going to show Tenzo something amazing next episode.

Just a giant cat fighting a giant … whateveritis.

Underneath, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita might be just a critique of modern technological and consumerist culture using a fanciful setting, but episode 6 buries us under so much weirdness that you can’t see the allegory, just slime that turned into a giant cat fighting a shelled creature composed of fairies, whichis fine with me. It’s also clear that the creators never saw the original Star Trek movie, not that it matters. And beneath it all, what was the point of this story? The possibility that mankind has declined because we lost our ability to explore, to leave our warm homes, like P-Girl and O-Boy did? Have mankind become soft and complacent? And is that supposed to reflect on our own situation now? Even after we just launched a rocket that launched a hovering thing that dropped a dune buggy on another planet? Well, I don’t think we’ve declined yet. And as I said, the episode had too much fun in it for me to pick it apart looking for clues. I wonder if the creators would want me to, anyway ..

Yuru Yuri II 6 goes to Comiket for the usual scenes of Chinatsu freaking out small children with her inappropriate Mirakurun battle cries, and on the whole everyone manages to have a good time, even Yui. The mock mirakurun show that starts the episode off looked exactly like, er, that other anime series a few seasons ago. I can’t remember the name now. It had that one girl and that other one, and … forget it. Anyway, the YuruYuri thing was funnier. The last bit with the conversation box might as well not have been there.

Speaking of giant cats …

Joshiraku 4 … Not really notable for anything much except Marii takes more abuse than usual. First Genkyou keeps slugging her in order to prove a point about wearing glasses. They discuss the balance of glasses-wearers to non, a cheap shot is fired at the artist, hot pots, and nipple-touching also enter into it. Done with glasses for awhile, they board a train (we are never told where they are going) and there’s a lively talk about how to cure nausea. Some fun is had when they get off outside Comiket and we can play “spot the character” with the cosplayers, who are all walking out of the building as if in a trance. Come to think of it, Marii suffered no abuse in this section. It’s Kukuru who gets sick. In the last section, about what the moon looks like, she is abducted by a rabbit who then apparently smells her ass. We also learn the diameter of both the moon and the Tokyo Dome, but I’ve forgotten it now.

Lots of shows, most of them silly, or at least surreal

Hatsuyuki Rendezvous 5 livens things up with some surrealism.

I had dreaded this moment when Shimao used Ryuusuke’s body; it was almost as troublesome as I had feared. Shimao gets a pass for fumbling around in this new body of his by the fact that he had been drinking, but you wonder what was going through Rokka’s mind as this guy she hired who likes her starts weeping, asking for her to make a bouquet, etc., especially since she has some feelings for Ryuusuke. When things settle down it gets better. Maybe Shimao getting classes and cutting his hair isn’t a bad look for Ryuusuke (which is all I really care about. I still consider Shimao to be an interloper), and Rokka, reminded of meals with her husband, enjoys the one she has with Ryuusuke/Shimao, not knowing the possible reason.

Meanwhile, Ryuusuke wakes up in never-neverland, which we eventually learn is a page of an unfinished Shimao sketchbook and meets a small, young, perhaps idealized pixie-Rokka. They go off in search of a missing prince (Shimao), and from this we can perhaps assume that Shimao in his life wanted to become Rokka’s prince, but in his own mind was too immature to do so. In MY mind, too, but let that pass. To be fair, we all have these childish fantasies of what we could become. Ryuusuke scores points for being taken aback but not freaking out. I think he realizes that through the fairy-tale images and speech he’s seeing Rokka and Shimao’s relationship from a fresh angle, so he’s interested. Even though he’s unaware that Shimao had taken him over. All in all it’s a refreshing change to this series that had been spinning its wheels before, but will it actually help it get out of the mud? When Shimao leaves Ryuusuke’s body will they fall back in?

Okay, Horizon time. Let me look at my notes. Let me add that I take more notes for this show than any other, and I still don’t know what’s going on.

This makes about as much sense as anything else in the series.

We start with a feast to celebrate the contract with England. Not surprisingly, it involves lots of meat. The wolf-girl takes care of the vegetables during the opening bit. Tenjo and Cloak Girl, who have began to get along awfully well, are greeted by Milton, a crow, who is then spotted and shot down (symbolically) for something tainted, about the meat, I believe. Talk then turns to the meaning of a symbol found in London where people have vanished and become “lost ones.” A line through a circle, i.e., the London Underground. “Avalon” is also mentioned, but I don’t remember that stop on the line. Tenjo and Cloak Girl are told to test the new bath and upon leaving are accused of being suspicious. And then Asazumi is told to instruct the other girls at the party about what this thing called sex is all about.

This scene also includes an anteater.

The next part actually makes sense. Horizon doesn’t want her emotions recovered if it will cost lives. Sensible, especially since her emotions are WMDs. Toori wants Horizon to have them back and suggests a date at the festival to change her mind. Then the one emotion she DOES have, the Lype Katarrippi, goes missing. Sigh. Tenjo and Cloak-girl have an intimate bath and later talk about Double-Bloody Mary’s execution again, and the start of the Armada war. Then, because one bath scene is not enough for this show, the girls all jump in. Masazumi needs a new spell protection, or something, and a mouse is suggested, but she gets a baby anteater instead. Finally, it’s festival time. Shakespeare (Thomas, not William) sits next to Glasses-guy in the comiket hall and signals the start of something ominous … The sky turns red, and I guess we’ll get more battling next week. You know, I think I’m beginning to understand little bits of this show.

Tortoise’s delivery is too slow for ghost stories.

Polar Bear’s Cafe 18 isn’t much, but is it ever? The ghost stories section felt like a missed opportunity to let us know what all these animals are actually afraid of, but apart from Llama’s ghost zebra, none of them held up too well. I would have liked to hear Mandrill’s story, but he’s forced to stop … Part two isn’t much better as it’s just more whining from Panda about having to work all the time. Though I suppose it’s amusing that he considers lazing around as normal behavior but lazing around at the zoo as work.

For Binbougami Ga! 5 Ichiko gets turned into a little girl. This should be all sorts of fun, but unfortunately when she tries to hide from Momiji it means staying with Keito’s family, so a lot more poor happy people scenes. At least this time Ichiko keeps her mouth shut, and since she’s in little girl form the family cuts her more slack. Even worse is her reaction to this family–irritation, well, at least with Keito. I wonder how many episode it’s gonna take before she says “Can this be love … No way!” The only decent moment was the comparison between Momiji and tiny Ichiko’s bust size, and the “Over 9000!” bit they do with it. And, sigh, it’s a two-parter. So expect more of the same next week.

Free food is involved.

This week, on Moyashimon Returns 5, we learned all about pulque, which I first learned about watching Anthony Bourdain puke it out in his old Food Network show. It’s seen as no less disgusting here. I don’t know why the line outside the fermenting cellar crew booth is so long. Maybe because it’s about the only food at the festival which doesn’t have soy in it. Some of the other stalls looked pretty interesting anyway. Anyway, the lectures by men and microbes push aside the other story arc–Hasegawa is still gone. I was a bit let down that we didn’t get any farther with that. The highlight was the battle: the football and lacrosse clubs try to keep order against an army of housewives set on free produce. They didn’t stand a chance. There wasn’t any reason to devote so much time this part, but this show tends to wander. It’s one of its charms.

LagrangeII 3 (15), Yuru Yuri 4, Horizon II 3, Driland 3

Rinne no Lagrange II 3 (or 15) doesn’t tell us anything that we haven’t already guessed, but it tells it in the show’s usual, entertaining way.

C’mon girls, cheer up! It can’t be all bad! Well, it CAN, but, well, nevermind.

Olympics are starting soon, and I’ve been hearing endless reports about corporate greed, police-state mentality, missiles on houses, etc.; meanwhile little Kamogawa is hosting an intergalactic conference for chrissakes, and the rest of the world doesn’t seem to care. There are no superpower reps throwing their weight around, nothing I can see is cut off from the average townsperson or tourist. Everyone’s having a good time apart from Lan and Muginami, worried about their brothers and warring galactic empires, as I suppose they should. Asteria is worried too after seeing the data Lan gave her involving the experiments they ran on her. But she thinks if she can prove the Vox’s power can be used for peaceful purposes then it won’t be used for war. Absurd, especially after hearing Lan’s brother talk about “no mercy,” but for us it means we get to see Madoka undergo the same psychic stress test Lan underwent! Yay!

I’m not sure I understand exactly what happened during the test but it was fun to watch Asteria get suggestive with Madoka to raise her, er, stress levels. After that I just enjoyed the light show. Yurikano’s ghost or something appears but this time she’s really pissed off, and nasty-looking glowing red mecha appear, there’s something like a tumor in the sky … not the most cheerful cosmic light show I’ve ever seen, but fun to watch nonetheless. Too bad it all goes away before we get any answers apart from “opening the Rinne is BAD!” Well, that’s one opinion. Next week looks to be lots of dark talk between the princes and a lot of sister-angst.

Yuru Yuri II 4 … I don’t know why but one of the things in the show I find the most funny is the Nishigaki/Rise combination. The former goes off on a happy story about explosions and the latter responds with something we can’t hear. Maybe it’s because the explosion stuff is usually funny and topping with a girl who makes no noise at all is just absurd enough to get me going. Or something. The other thing that made me laugh was how Kyouko managed to eat the rum raisin ice cream she had given Ayano, who had been treasuring it ever since. There’s some moral there, maybe about eating gifts when they come to you. Or something about unrequited love. Well, who cares? I suppose the gas mask bit went on too long, but I liked the noises the voice actress made when their characters wore them. Three funny bits. That’s a pretty good episode.

A more straightforward episode of Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II than usual. The biggest scene had to do with Bertoni negotiating the sale of meat to the Brits before the Spanish Armada invades, which we learned earlier will be upon the execution of Double Bloody Mary (Marys Tudor and Stewart combined–can’t wait to meet her). The negotiation for time are complicated further by a school festival and the fact that the meat will go bad in two weeks. At one point, after some spectacular bowing, the two parties actually switch sides. Eleven days, meaning the meat must be consumed in four. This is the sort of exciting content I watch anime for. Earlier, Tenzo and cloak-guy meet again and go to tidy up a graveyard by ordering little rodents to clean up the swords stuck in the ground as markers. And they talk about Double Bloody Mary, the execution, the fact that she couldn’t pull out Excalibur Caliburn, you know, Brit talk. Oh, cloak guy trips and is revealed as a busty blonde. Elsewhere, Suzu(?) hears a loud bell in London and is later appointed to be ambassador, or something. What else? … Oh, in Spain we learn that Munshige’s severing of Tachibana’s limbs has allowed her to lead a normal life. Back on Musashi, Toori is at least wearing a loincloth now. As I said, pretty straightforward for this show.

I’m going to give Tanken Driland one more episode. The lesson this week was about valuing your comrades, something which Wallens doesn’t agree with, so guess who gets stranded in a spider web? Well, Pollons does too, but he’d do it no matter what the lesson is. What few moments of fun there were to be had were fizzled away by bits like Pollons taking forever to pull the trigger, or stupidly going off after something that everyone (excluding Mikoto and Wallens, who really ought to know better by now. They just stand around.) knows is a trap set by something nasty. We get a new character next week, so I’ll hang around just in case.

Quick ones: Natsuyuki 3, Horizon II 2, Driland 2

So what we’re going to get with Natsuyuki Rendezvous is a slow, internal process, where the living wife and/or the dead husband slowly let go of whatever is keeping him around, allowing Rokka to move on to another love if she wants. Or maybe it’s Ryuusuke who’s going to undergo something, or most likely all three. The point is that it’s going to be a quiet process, almost unnoticed if we didn’t have internal monologues to listen to. And it’s going to be slow. And everyone’s going to go around in circles for episode after episode. Precisely what happens in episode 3. Rokka is nursed back to health and shows some affection for Ryuusuke, while at the same time thinking how much she misses her husband. Ryuusuke is making moves where he thinks it’s appropriate, but who knows how long this will take. Shimao is reduced to being a crying, wheedling child. This could all take awhile. On the other hand, Shimao is begging Ryuusuke to let him borrow his body, just for a time. So we’re going to get some scene where Ryuusuke nods off in the flower shop, probably in the near future. In other developments, Shimao has somehow acquired some telekinetic powers. That’ll liven things up. Otherwise this show is in danger of becoming unbearable.

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II 2 … er, let me look at my notes … We got glasses guy losing a fight with Shakespeare, briefly interrupted by the question “How do you get all that power?” which prompts a lecture on literary criticism. And does glasses guy remember the 13th Mutsugorei Academy? He does, but apart from Shakespeare’s sad memories of the place we learn little. As a last resort glasses guy sends a signal and the Musashi starts making big wide turns until an invisible ship fires on it. A “cargo ship” where all the fighting was going on nose-dives into the ground, nearly killing some kids. I have no idea what monk kid and hat-man were doing there. So the Brits hold a meeting … so we turn to Espana where they’re handing out treats to children and elves. Everything settles down. The brits aren’t allowing anyone near the crashed cargo ship, which is reduced to catching fish to survive, I think. People talk a lot. Glasses guy and one of the countless winged girls talk about their recent defeat in a conversation rife with theatrical metaphors. Oh, apparently GG has to kill Aoi to lift his new curse, you know, that Macbeth stuff. And finally a bit with a nice guy who gets letters from orphans, when he can extract the from between the sleeping Lady Juana’s boobs. A touching moment, actually. Not the boobs part.

I still think Tanken Driland is a charming show, I’m worried that I might get bored by the straightforward children’s formula. It’s time for the show to assemble its team, and so we get Pollon, a brave hero/hunter who screws up everything, but his heart’s in the right place. The three set out to rescue a fairy village from giganto birds, which are actually kind of cute, and after all, they need to eat, too. But if you hit one it vanishes in a puff of smoke, so obviously they’re evil or something. It goes the way you’d expect: Pollon, low on self-esteem at the moment, manages to save Mikoto from the boss bird by screwing up. Happy ending and a new team member. But I found him kind of annoying. I don’t mind the character designs for this show (though I won’t argue with anyone who does), but Pollon’s bugs me, especially when he puts on his embarrassed, aw-shucks face. Not enough for me to drop it though. Not yet.

The season’s weird shows: Jinrui 2, Horizon II 1

We may be more accustomed to Jinrui wa Suitai shimashita by episode 2, but there’s still plenty to make our heads spin. During Watashi’s visit to the mysterious fairy factory she gets separated from her grandfather and then Assistant and is left to her own devices, meaning we get more bureaucratic speech by the UNESCO director, now a factory manager, a man who can’t be happy, it seems, unless he’s assigned to posts and given the chance to connive his way up, not that he’s met any higher-up in the factory. This leads to what seems to be a main theme to either this story arc or the series as a whole, a critique of mass-produced food in general, I think, but since the factory is now run by what looks to be processed chickens, maybe the social commentary took a left turn somewhere. So we get a skinned, headless chicken with a kazoo voice talking about taking over the world, while Watashi adds her usual sarcastic commentary. Or it’s all an allegory on how bureaucracy breeds corruption, since Assistant throws the chickens into a panic by filming them, exposing them, so to speak, while Ave Maria plays in the background. Which brings up a religious angle, since the Poor Girl (as I’ll call her) lives in a cathedral (impoverishment of faith, whatever that means?) and is blessed by the chickens falling through the stained glass. Let’s not even mention Assistant’s Goreyesque alphabet, or Watashi’s hair. Er, this post degenerated into trying to give the show superficial meanings. Sorry about that.

Let’s see what’s going on in Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon II. Has it lost any of its nonsensical edge in the months since the first season?

Nothing’s changed much.

I forget exactly what was going on. Horizon was rescued and now they were all going to fight a war, maybe. We start with a big battle involving baseball players led by the Vice Chancellor (don’t ask me of what) who has a lot of bunt metaphors going for him. Someone else brings testament arma to the edge of the territory (don’t ask what territory) some power is negated, but Naomasa comes in with a big mecha, only to be countered by Fusae Era, and her own mecha, Byakko. Someone tries to stop the battle by doing an impression, but she bombs and it’s back to fighting. There’s an interlude where someone learns what sex is and later uses the word improperly in front of a young woman and a girl who’s a ghost. Then I lost track, partly because I had no idea whose side I should be rooting for. Later, Tres Espana Alcala de Henare’s third officer, Gin Tachibana (so I wrote) battles Masazumi, so Horizon whips out her deadly sin armament the Lamentations of Sloth, so Juana whips out Idle Disgust and sets it into overdrive. Everyone starts glowing in the parts of their bodies which disgusts them, until Toori (naked) distracts Juana but is blasted by the roof, but is caught by that bandanna guy who’s stealing secrets. … And the ship escapes, which, I now recall, was the point of the whole thing. But next thing you know they’re in British airspace and getting threats by Ben Johnson (dark skinned and with tits) and some creepy guy, and now we got ANOTHER inane battle, only with British overtones, like the “Great Backhand of Justice,” and we close with the boy with glasses about to have a verbal battle with Shakespeare. And that’s only what I bothered to write down.

Horizon finale. The last post of the year is also probably the silliest

Looks like I’m wrapping up the fall season and the old year in one post. It feels wrong to finish it with this show when there were so many great ones this year. 2011 is the best anime year I’ve ever experienced. I mean, just off the top of my head: Madoka, Steins;Gate, Hanasaku Iroha, Tiger and Bunny, Wandering Son, Usagi Drop, Mawaru Penguindrum, more Natsume and Working!!, Chihayafuru, and a whole bunch of other shows just off the top level but still fun to watch, really too many to mention here. For me, Madoka was the show of the year, with Penguindrum and Steins;Gate right behind it. So for this post … well, while if we remember the quality shows, let’s tip our hats to the silly and incomprehensible ones as well, like Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, shows which often made me smile even while I wondered why I was wasting my time.

The last line of the series sums up my thoughts nicely.

Let’s see … The invisible wall is lifted and Toori and Horizon get to hug, and Horizon pushes a button and becomes a member of Musashi Ariadust Academy, meaning she’s under Musashi’s protection. But as the pope points out, not until she can get there. So there’s a bit of a chase, Toori/Horizon get off the ground thanks to that talking red bouncing ball thing, which up till now in the series hadn’t done a damn thing. That leaves Curry Guy and Flying Grinning Winged Naked Man as the two most useless characters. But their ship is still being tailed and they’re about to get zapped by another big weapon, so it’s time to get some of of Horizon’s soul back into her, namely “Lype Katarripsi,” a big gun and even that isn’t enough until she starts to sing a song about letting her pass. Letting them escape would be a better lyric, but it works anyway. Getting some emotion back means she gets to cry cute, so we get some lovey-dovey talk from Toori. After that it looks like it’s going to be all about tying up plot points and partying (Curry Man, at least, helps with the food). But there’s still plenty of time left, so they toss in a warship attack by Muneshige’s WIFE, to show she can beat the good guys, and since she can, her husband, who is stronger, must not have been 100% on that day he lost. Which is a pretty lousy excuse, but at least it proves she loves her man. She’s got some ODA warriors with her, the 6 Tenma Army, or 5 Great Peaks … whatever they’re called, they attack using sports implements, and as everyone races to battle stations: end of episode, end of series. EXCEPT! We’re getting another season … thankfully, not until next summer. Just enough time for me to forget about this one, not that I was paying much attention anyway. And with THAT, I think I’m finally done with the fall season. Happy New Year!