Since there was no Koichoco episode to write about this week, I figured now was as good a time as any to revisit the weekly roundup posts that were never popular here in the first place. Why would anyone go here for this stuff anyway, but I digress. Summer typically isn’t a good season for me to watch lots of series and I don’t think I missed out on much from last summer. Combined with the fact that I evidently have an extraordinarily bad history of voting in the Anime Power Rankings which I have been tracking my own votes throughout the year, I could throw in running rankings as I do these posts if it becomes a regular feature.
1. Sengoku Collection
I don’t think I’m overreacting when I write that the 18th episode is probably my favorite single episode of the year. The thing with Sengoku Collection is that it is a bunch of stand-alone episodes with only one overarching plot and featuring gender-bent Sengoku-era historical figures who are designed in the most moé way that the designers could think of. The latter part undoubtedly explains its unbelievably poor rating on MAL (6.22).
Now onto this week’s episode. The art style of the backgrounds in Sengoku Collection is usually pretty standard with a trademark watermark that is slipped in at specific points in the episode to fit the mood of what is happening. This week, all of the backgrounds were done in pastel. The character this story focused on was Otani Yoshitsugu, who suitably is wrapped in bandages as she goes about her daily life as a factory worker in a vague Scandinavian city.
The episode’s main theme is about luck and ends in an incredibly depressing way. Yoshitsugu finds a four-leaf clover, then has a terrible day at work. She sends off a letter to a writer she admires named Angel and then proceeds to give up on having any hope at all. She then receives a reply back about how lucky she was in receiving Yoshitsugu’s letter. What follows is a story about how small bits of fortune can pull two people out of despair as they write to each other. However, the hope turns into a desire to see each other, which ultimately leads to more suffering for the both of them.
All in all, it’s a very Buddhist-oriented story, even down to Yoshitsugu’s apartment number (404) in the episode. However, from a more general perspective, I thought it was an episoe that really captured some of the despair of modern life. The mail allowed these two people to talk to each other, but the cost of meeting in person proved to be too much.
2. Kokoro Connect
In this week’s episode, Heartseed got involved again as he forced the five main characters to choose between them who would die in Iori’s body. There were two parts of this episode that I really liked.
The first is the character of Heartseed. I think his role of contriving scenarios between his five pawns is purely a reaction to events playing out in a stereotypical way. He even says it is getting too boring before he launched Iori’s body off of the bridge. Just thinking about it, the episode began with a confession for Yoshifumi to Yui which came out with hope for the former even if he was rejected. Then, Taichi confessed his love to Iori after telling her that all people put on masks depending on the scenario. Overall, it was all a little too cliche.
I think Heartseed is merely playing the role of producer on the reality show that is Kokoro Connect, at least as far as a completely scripted reality show can go. The cast isn’t being cooperative in the goal of trying to entertain him, but judging by how the conclusion was drawn out, he has a genuine sentimentality to see them become characters showing their feelings in cliche dramatic circumstances. What he wanted was a drama involving all 5 of his characters, and not a high school romance where characters were predictably pairing up.
Also, Taichi playing the Yuji Everylead role has the perfect foil in Himeko. She continues to call him selfless to freakish levels, but her questioning why he would immediately volunteer to die in Iori’s place is a very valid criticism of that type of character. Taichi even comes out and says that he is selfless for his own good which leads to Himeko saying that he suffers from a gentle form of insanity. Perhaps there’s that expectation that being selfless leads to rewards for that character, but having that be the only defining trait of a person isn’t rational at all. In fact, it probably makes him the most broken of all.
3. Rinne no Lagrange
The quality of what I watched quickly fell off a cliff when it came to Lagrange. In this episode, Dizel and Vilagiulio have a contrived conference to discuss the conflict between their two nations in an elevator. There was really no point in having negotiations though as Dizel is convinced that the only way they can survive is by destroying the other. They did make clear that Madoka was the key element either way in determining how events unfolded in the future.
There was also a more thorough introduction to the character of Yurikano. Vilagiulio’s younger sister, who last week was seen trying to choke Madoka to death, but is instead another empty shell genki girl of a character controlled by Le Garite, with her memories completely erased. Then it ends comically with the Jersey club wearing disguises to try to talk to Yurikano some more. This wasn’t a particularly memorable episode to be honest.
4. Space Brothers
This week’s episode was more sentimental as Makabe finally got his team to start acting like normal people and Mutta had the rest of his team make udon from scratch. I thought it really captured some feelings well. The embarrassment as a kid of having your personal heroes be known by no one was eventually redeemed as Mutta finally found a group of people who knew who Sharon was. That said, this episode could have happened 6 weeks ago without any problems.
All that stuff I said about Satoshi being an interesting character last week was pretty much thrown out the window here. He’s essentially turned into a character on a personal crusade to try to solve the mystery of the school festival all on his own. That despite knowing that he isn’t up to the job. There was also Hotarou’s nice attempt at blocking Eru from entering curiosity mode, and Mayaka also continues to struggle without friends in the Manga society. Maybe dressing in Vocaloid costumes in this universe makes one a prick, who knows?
Not on the APR Ballot
6. Humanity Has Declined
This episode was largely about criticism of relying too much on technology and of hikkikomori. I really wasn’t feeling this episode too much to be honest.
7. Moyashimon Returns
The harvest festival begins in this episode. Apart from Kawahama’s insane knowledge of Mexican liquor and the bodies of American football and women’s lacrosse players being thrown around by housewives, there wasn’t much else.
8. Dog Days’
Nothing of note happened in this episode devoted to side characters and how they conveniently get disrobed. If this is escapism, I’ll stick to the real world.
Emperor J’s Updated Average of Anime Power Ranking Ballots
|Season Rank||Year Rank||Change||Anime|
|1||2||↓2||Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita|
|4||10||↑1||Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate|
|6||13||–||Rinne no Lagrange|
To Heart 2: Dungeon Travelers
Yet another installment of the epic To Heart 2 franchise is set in an RPG world which is as non-threatening as possible. For the most part, it plays true to each characters archetype in trying to get the attention of the most legendary of Yuji Everyleads, Kouno Takaaki. Surprisingly, this OVA was completely relevant to one of my misguided purchases at Otakon last week. Trapped by the desire to look at something that looks so visually well-crafted, but is really just obvious pandering. I could not turn my eyes away as my wallet quickly became emptied. At least watching this cost significantly less. (63.98/100)
The Epic of Zektbach
This is such a surprisingly mistitled entry. At 30 minutes, it is such an epic that it feels about 20 minutes too long. Basically, the action revolves around this attractive female warrior Shamshir who can cut people up really easily because she can see The Matrix I guess. Isn’t it a little too late to be making references to that movie without irony? There’s a thinly-veiled plot where she becomes too powerful to be controlled by the state so she becomes the enemy of it, but it’s given about 4% of the attention that the scenes of people being cut open and/or being rendered as 1s and 0s is. (37/100)
Netrun-mon the Movie
If you ever get the temptation to watch this voluntarily, there are better past times to enjoy, such as trying to count the blades of grass in a park or successfully figuring out the answer to the question “Who is IMOUTO?” I mean, I don’t even know why this got made in the first place. It’s a mess that begins with a pair of talking ducks on a rescue mission that ultimately culminates with magical girl attacks and mecha. 30 minutes of pain, and the worst thing I’ve watched this year. (12/100)
Yu-Gi-Oh!: Pyramid of Light
Not much better for this either, which considering it had probably 100x the budget of Netrunmon makes it more appalling. The plot of this movie is about how Yugi has some cards that basically break the children’s card game because he can get infinity attack points. Fortunately, a guy from 5000 years ago seeks revenge for being defeated by Pharaoh by further breaking the card game with new cards that are ridiculously overpowered. Then the story basically collapses into silly nonsense which is easily lampooned. For the record, just watch Yugioh: The Abridged Movie instead. It’s at least three times as well written even using the same source material. (16/100)
If this is the only post that marks the return of weekly recaps, then so be it. This is just a little insight into what I watch in a normal week apart from the fact I hardly ever watch 3 terribad shows in a week. If you want to see more of this, please let me know in the comments. I can’t guarantee that over 1700 words a week will happen though.