Let’s start with the finale: Dantalian no Shoka. It tries to wrap things up as best they can, while obviously appealing for a second season.
The Professor and Raziel turn out to be bad guys, trying to disrupt postwar peace conferences by turning Londoners into zombies, which is both laughably silly and a lapse in imagination by the creators. Zombies? C’mon! Huey and Dalian try to interfere and Huey’s wounded. There follows scenes with the lady in that other world, finally coaxed to exit, though she fails, another phantom book, and an intervention by whats-his-name and his sluttish flunky who we met a long time ago. What I liked the most (apart from the usual, occasional, striking visual moments) was the Professor’s desire to release the dangers of phantom books in new formats, like newspapers, in order to reach more people. Rather slow thinking, since newspapers had been around for a long time before, not to mention other mass-produced printed matter. Why didn’t he free himself from books before?
So we’ve finally learned the dynamics and rivalries of the various biblioprincesses and their keyholders–at the end of the series. I do hope they get another one. There was plenty of things to laugh at, like many of the stories, but the visuals and soundtrack set an excellent mood. It could go from dark and somber, or warm, to blazing with light and energy. It was always a treat to look at.
Right, I think I’m ready for the new season.
Fate/Zero, as you probably know, is the most eagerly anticipated show of the season. It’s predecessor, Fate/Stay Night, was one of the first anime series I watched, so this prequel has some resonance for me as well. Nevertheless, I wasn’t a huge fan of the earlier series and have never followed the entire story, which either makes me the wrong person to review this series or the perfect one. What’s more, I’ve forgotten much of what I saw, only got annoyed when I’d see figurines of cute chibi Sabers for sale. “Damn it, that’s not Saber! She should be scowling and swinging her sword! THAT’s Saber!” There are some things in Fate/Stay Night that you don’t forget.
Appropriately, the opening episode is a long one, and much of it is spent with dour men making dour pronouncements about their goals or trying to figure out what everyone else is in the Grail War for. It’s talk-talk-talk, Emiya with Iri, Kariya with his father or a young Rin (Hi Rin!), and that annoying kid. Clans plot and nab artifacts while the soundtrack plays an unending dirge. And what the hell, it mostly works. That is, if you’re watching this show seriously and not a casual viewer who just turned on the TV or downloaded the file out of curiousity. If you’re not a fan, I don’t know how you’d take it. But if you are, everything you need to know is patiently talked out, to the point that we don’t get any Servant appearances until the very end, and, of course, Saber has the last line, the one that gave me a chill even with how much I’d forgotten:
We’ll have to see how the show works out when it gets to the battles, but episode 1 tells us at the very least that the creators are taking this seriously.
Then there’s C3, or CCC, or “A show I will probably drop early on.” Our hero, Haruaki, gets a metal cube in the mail. He sticks it in the basement. That night he discovers, as male teen anime boys so often do, a naked alien girl eating his rice crackers in the kitchen. The next morning his best friend Konoha drops by, sees the alien girl wearing Haruaki’s shirt (but where did she get the panties?), and hilarity ensues or is supposed to. You see where this is going already. It’s only a little refreshing that Haruaki isn’t terribly surprised by any of this, and neither is Haruaki. Haruaki, apparently lives in a place with lots of spiritual power, so that’s why his father sent him the cube/Fiya. And Fiya’s got a curse to work off by making people glad she’s there, or something like that. This is explained to us through dull monologues. If this isn’t bad enough, the rest of the episode is all about Fiya trying to fit in and be helpful but making a mess of things, and flashing her panties (and WHERE did she get those?) a lot. Sigh, let’s move on.
Hunter X Hunter looks harmless. A kid’s show where 12 year-old Gon goes off to take the hunter exam, and to find out why his father liked hunting so much. “Being a hunter is so great that he was willing to abandon his own kid!” We meet future members of his gang, who don’t like each other, but they team up to save a drowning sailor, etc etc. We get the tearful goodbye scene, the cynical rivals bit, components of your average first episode. And that’s what this show looks like: average. It’s also a little slow-paced, but I cut slack for first episodes. More worrisome is that Gon is dull, and Kurapiko speaks his/her lines so slowly that I lose interest. There’s some hope for Leorio. Yeah, nothing really bad about it, but nothing that makes me take notice, either. I’ll probably drop it soon.
Bakuman II starts right where Bakuman ended (well, apart from the fake opening, good enough to have me checking the file’s name), with Hattori at the door, introducing Miura to the boys as their new editor. Apart from introducing new characters (their assistants) and reintroducing old ones (Hi, Niizuma! Your new buddy Hiramaru looks like fun!) the episode throws a lot of new things at the boys. Salaries and budgets, they actually have assistants, the annual New Years party, all things that working mangaka deal with, well, maybe not always the party. They take it in stride and occasionally utter lines about how determined they are. In other words, their surroundings and expectations are different, but their aspirations haven’t changed.
Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinashai! has two high school classes battling old-school, using non-lethal weapons, like Baka to Test meets Dog Days. The fight is one of those where one character will turn the tide and introduce herself, followed by someone else retaliating, then introducing HERself, and on and on. I stopped scribbling names midway through when I realized they weren’t going to stop. They also had four really good warriors, a guy who confesses to a girl three or four times, imcompetent commanders, armies switching sides … I suppose this episode was to give us a taste of what is to come, but I found it hard to care when I didn’t know anyone. I can guess that Yamata (the confessing boy) is the main character. I just don’t know about this. I’ll wait for it to settle down.