The Return of the Recap 9

Presenting this screencap without comment.

With the fall season just about to start, I ended up getting something new to distract me from the banality of everyday life. Seeing as I’m the only one in the whole aniblogosphere who plays sports games other the Football Manager, I bought FIFA 13. In typical EA fashion the launch was botched and their servers being under maintenance has been rather annoying. You readers probably don’t care about stuff like that, so it’s on to the slim pickings that made up the last week of the Summer 2012 Anime Season.

Currently Airing

They’ve been running for 14 hours.

Sengoku Collection

This series wrapped up its last episode with a battle episode. Where the other two 2-part stories had been the weakest of the episodes so far, this final episode really confirmed Sengoku Collection‘s place as one of the surprise shows of the year. In the first half of the final episode, Nobunaga and Mitsuhide combined to defeat the team of Soun, Yoshimoto, Kotaro and Sessai. After that, Nobunaga and Mitsuhide run across the city after the latter said she didn’t want to be without Nobunaga. That chase is really a fun epilogue that showed how well all of the characters sent from their original world had adapted to modern society.

As for reviewing it, I do admit that episode 18 does weigh on my mind a lot when thinking about this series. As an anthology of stories, there are inevitably going to be some that are better than others. I already mentioned that the 2-parters were the weakest episodes, and those had far more time to build characters than some of the other stories, but they are still necessary for they are the 6 episodes that serve as the sole continuous plot. At its heart, the stories all had one thing in common, adapting to new surroundings.

For some that meant pursuing new dreams, for others making new friends or financial opportunities. At the end of it all, even with the sadness of the 18th episode, it was still a fun ride. I genuinely feel at the end of the day that the world is better for this collection of stories having been made. (90.2/100)

Who knew that you could conduct job interviews while having the candidates binge drink?

Space Brothers

Mutta’s great job interview continues in two different phases. First, he has his chair messed with causing him to fall on his back just as it was about to begin. Fortunately, the real interview was taking place that night at Texas Roadhouse. This product placement heavy episode means that I’m pretty sure they researched this location in putting that scene together. It makes sense that if these astronauts are going to risk their lives with these candidates that they should get to know what they are really like with their guard down. Of course, that eventually leads to the cliffhanger. Mutta with beer in hand has wandered over to Azuma to begin a conversation. How will it end?

All of that effort just for it to be resolved this easily?

Kokoro Connect

The TV run of this series ended this week with one of those very special episodes that in ways captured the awkwardness of high school years, but at the same time felt like it was too easy. In brief, Taichi spilled the beans on what was happening. The age changing thing then became random affecting all of them in retaliation. Iori’s mother then has problems with her 2nd husband. Heartseed #1 then re-enters the scene and ends the aging effect, but also offers Iori a chance to go back in time to redo anything, which she turns down. They then resolve the problem with Iori’s mother and everyone lives happily ever after, or do they?

The first thing that comes up when thinking about how this was contrived is the fact that Iori had never talked to her mother about her own happiness. I can actually find this believable. However, the fact that her mother was then able to easily turn the situation around knowing that Iori wanted her to be happy seemed far too easy. I did also like Iori’s doubts at the end of the episode over whether she loved Taichi. As for the downside, there was still too much dialogue in the beginning that felt like lines a writer was projecting onto a character rather than something a character would actually say. Now to wait for the specials.

This is what passes for drama in the 2nd season of Dog Days; being addressed by one’s given name.

Dog Days’

As terrible as it is to say, this ended with a whimper. The humans all go back to Earth after receiving items from Flonyard. Cinque is forced to think about both Millhi and Becky romantically, but not to the point of making a decision. In a sign that perhaps minimal effort was put into making the characters back on Earth realistic, Becky reacts to Cinque calling her Rebecca in the same way that calling a girl by her first name in Japan seems to be a marker of closeness between two people. Also, Cinque was hardly ever doing nothing when he was back on Earth.

As for the series as a whole, there really wasn’t much this series did to distinguish itself. Each episode seemed well produced enough, but the overall story was constructed in a way that meant that there was nothing really happening. It can all be summed up as Cinque spends his summer vacation with Nanami and Becky in another world and they have various fun adventures. There was just no chance that this series could either do something exceptionally well or badly at all. It’s just average. (70.09/100)

Final Summer Series Average

Season Rank Year Rank Change Anime
1 2 - Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita
2 3 - Sengoku Collection
3 7 ↑1 Kokoro Connect
4 11 - Moyashimon Returns
5 15 ↑2 Uchuu Kyoudai
6 20 ↑1 Hyouka
7 21 - Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate
8 26 ↑3 Dog Days’

Next week’s seasonal ranking will look a little strange as far as the yearly rank is concerned. The 2 best episodes next week will appear to be the best shows of the year as this is an average, so I may just wait a few weeks to put them up.

Terribad

Who said there couldn’t be violence against women in a slice-of-life series?

Prayers

This pretty much rips off Macross in the worst way possible. Gone are the mecha and proper character relationships. Instead, it’s replaced with a post-apocalyptic section of Tokyo (Shibuya to be exact) where battles for survival are played out in musical battles to damage an opponent’s brain. That’s silly, and completely fitting for terribad.

Listen to my song for it will be the last thing you ever hear.

Where the classic unintentional comedy kicks in is especially during the first episode where the OP protagonist Shouko literally destroys the minds of a band led by a gyaru singer with a song whose lyrics consist entirely of “La” repeated. That songwriter must have been paid by the word. The second episode is pretty much the same, only with a token childhood friend character thrown in and the band made up of gothloli cosplayers. Plus there’s added slice-of-life material in a shot of a guy carrying a club dragging a woman. There’s a very good reason they only made 2 of the 4 scheduled episodes of this. It’s rubbish that had no business being made, and all involved should be ashamed of themselves. (24.6/100)

9 thoughts on “The Return of the Recap 9

  1. Kokoro Connect: This series turned out to be both more and less than I expected. When I first read what the concept was, I thought it would be a pretty stupid comedy series. It turned out that the various “heart seed” phenomena were vehicles for character growth, remembering what was important, acknowledging your true desires, and seeing (literally) through another’s eyes. Unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to the new expectations I had for it. As you suggest above, the solutions don’t always flow meaningfully out of the premise, which can diminish the whole experience.
    Nevertheless I’m quite glad the series was made, and that I watched it. I don’t know if Kokoro Connect is unique in delivering this sort of dramatic story about growing up, infused with a supernatural twist (thought in those terms, Ano Hana was in the same genre), but it did manage to avoid an outright Harem ending, which is where I feared it was going at times.

    • I agree that it is good that it was made. It started getting too intelligent in its writing for this cast. They are fascinating still, but I think Taichi should not been as much in the center of events.

  2. The second Dog Days series can’t be understood standing alone. It’s part of a trilogy, and really only can be understood in context.

    The first Dog Days series was abnormal; everything we saw was part of a crisis caused by Leo going crazy. One of the jobs of the second series was to show us what life is like in that place when there isn’t any crisis. That was a big thing.

    It was also intended to introduce Rebecca, Nanami, Couverte, Adelaide, Valerio, and Isuka. And to develop them all, and everyone else, so that by the end everyone is close friends.

    All of that will make more sense once the third series shows up, because I’m certain we’re going to see a crisis that makes the first series look minor by comparison. It’s going to take the full efforts of everyone we’ve come to know and like, working together. And I think it’s going to require sacrifice. And once we come to that, it’s going to be a sacrifice that the audience will feel, and care about. (My guess is that the three kids won’t be able to come back again.)

    If they had tried to pack all those character introductions, and all the character building, into a single series along with the crisis and its resolution, it would have felt rushed and it would have failed dramatically. So they decided to do it in two, and took their time. As a result, it doesn’t feel like anything important happened in the second series. But it’s created a lot of foundation upon which the third series will build a story.

    • I think it would be unfair to dismiss the 2nd part of a trilogy as a stand alone series. It just seems that you are also dismissing the season as a whole simply because it’s transitional in nature. It tells a complete story in my opinion. Not one that captures the imagination exactly, but one I think is probably better executed than the first season. That idea of an ending sounds rather cliche though.

  3. Am I the only one slightly miffed at Kokoro Connect’s non-conclusive “go out and buy the very expensive BD’s if you want to know what happens with the Inaba, Taichi, Iori triangle” ending?

    In my opinion, the series started really well, but the arcs got progressively less compelling. I felt Taichi was a very mediocre protagonist. I know he’s meant to be a blank slate that the viewer can project himself to, but I just didn’t feel that he had any personality that one could grab as a viewer. How Inaban likes a non-entity like him is a mistery.

    • It worked with Bakemonogatari as the BDs got snapped up like mad. It would make a good half-season series, unfortunately that format doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere.

      • Yeah, I know that its worked before, but Bakemonogatari’s episode 12 had a feeling of closure to it that I feel Kokoro Connect lacks at this point. It was somehow a more respectful point of the narrative for the production team to stop using one medium and starting on another.

  4. Pingback: Lacking Context in the Middle of Nowhere | Lower Mid-Table

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