Beginning one’s Christmas shopping is probably a good idea for those who actually celebrate or are condemned to go to a celebration at some point in the next 6 weeks. For the most part, it’s been a week of trying to cram in those unfortunate Secret Santa series that I will be writing on around the holiday. It could be worse I suppose, but I’m judging that entirely by a writer for another blog go off on streams of obscenities as they watch another episode of Sword Art Online.
Currently Airing Top 5
In order to guarantee a spot in my top five each week, it helps to have an episode based around a larger idea. Jormungand concludes the Japan arc this week with one such idea.
Cultural corruption is at the center of the story of the SR squad. Tojo had become cynical about what was happening as the organization became ever more violent in accomplishing its goals. Hinoki at the top found himself ill-equipped to stop the organization from changing. The end result culminating in the end of the SR squad in simultaneous attacks in Japan and Jakarta. After it was all over there was a melancholic meeting of the two in the Bahamas. Hinoki’s life was actually a series of lies built on one truth that Tojo thought was a lie. As for Tojo’s path leading back to Hinoki, I think Koko probably has a big say in that.
This week’s episode was the landing on the moon, but it was still something much more than that. It was both a story of how important an event can be to a nation and how Hibito is so resistant to that pressure that he is able to have fun on the moon. At the same time, that brings worry to Mutta as he is about to head back to Japan and face being the older brother of the guy who acted like an idiot on the moon. This episode felt like it did a great job balancing the portrayal of great event in history while allowing each of the characters to still feel like people.
Sukitte Ii Na Yo
Mei’s character gets put through an emotional rollercoaster in this episode. I get it, she’s new to this sort of thing. So the feelings of jealousy as Yamato’s modeling schedule pick up are fairly predictable. Fortunately, the secondary characters are given a chance to step in as friends. As Asami and Aiko tell her, sometimes you have to express your feelings as actions rather than words. The episode ended brilliantly in that regard. Though Mei hasn’t said she loves Yamato, the kiss probably conveys that more than anything.
I think this show is just about beginning to find its feet in what it is trying to do. The fact that they are still working on the case from three episodes previously was a nice touch into the lives of these detectives. It also turns out the new case seems to be linked to the case that caused Kougami to have his psycho pass clouded. Basically someone or some group is providing people the means to commit gruesome murders. About that last part, the episode ends with the plasticized murdered body of a girl’s high school student made into a statue. The interesting bit of that scene for me isn’t the body itself, but the reaction of those who discovered it. To them it was just an odd place to put a piece of art. Once again the world of Psycho-Pass shows that ignorance is a virtue and knowledge is punished.
Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!
A bit of a sad story this week as Rikka’s past comes into focus. Her act is but a coping mechanism for the fact that she felt terrible about her actions around her father’s death and her mother’s abandonment. Personally, I thought this was the best episode in the series to date. I still worry about how the fact that this suddenly seems to be turning into love born out of sadness rather than the slapstick comedy that came to define the series in the early episodes. Having it suddenly break down into 3 separate stories of sad romance, a youthful one-sided love and slapstick between Dekomori and Nibutani seems wrong thrown into one series.
The Rest of the Week
Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo
The other major romantic comedy of the season concluded the Nanami arc with the realization that she doesn’t have to try to do everything and she can rely on others. Therefore, Mashiro duty can return to Sorata and we can all return to the love triangle we were used to before. Oh right, the sad story of Misaki and Jin. I think that one may require the use of a blunt instrument to get the two of them to talk to each other about their feelings. One simple conversation could do it, but this series is going to go for something contrived isn’t it?
The thing with these Key visual novel adaptations is that each route starts out well enough before concluding in awful contrived messes. Then the story moves on to the next girl as though nothing had happened in the prior arc. As Komari’s arc ended farcically last week, she is relegated to a minor role within the group. This week, the Haruka arc began and Kanata has something against her. Oh God, this feels like something vaguely like the Shiori arc in Kanon. For an opening episode of an arc this did a good job in setting up the characters and conflict. Now check back with me in 3-4 weeks when this story collapses in on itself.
Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb
It was all Yuno all the time this week. She has her poster design selected by the teachers to go up on the school’s website to advertise the cultural festival. Personally, I liked Miyako’s 3D design, simply because of the fact that she managed to make it in such a limited amount of time. Then, Yuno goes off on a lunch date with Arisawa, and they just talk and that’s about it. I think with Hidamari Sketch the Yuno-centric episodes are the ones that most blend into the scenery. It’s almost like Yuru Yuri if every episode really starred Akari.
The Earth is pretty much ruined and yet Subaru meekly accepts a future as a fisherman. Kona also got a much fuller introduction as a sort of combination between Daru and the otaku-aspect of Nishijou Takumi. Kai continued to be insufferable and it actually is beginning to feel as though his only point is to provide exposition now. This whole story feels like it is moving along too slowly for my taste.
Zetsuen no Tempest
Most of this episode was spent in the past as Aika managed to play the superior manipulator between Yoshino and Mahiro. I actually thought there was one amazing moment that unintentionally captured the problem this series has. Aika mentioned that in any situation, Yoshino would act normal and not stand out in any particular way. He has problems with romance as a result, but it also captures the fact that a main character was intentionally written with no outstanding features. Yoshino is plain no matter where he finds himself. The angle between Aika and Mahiro could also have been played up more, were it not for the fact that they’ve already killed off the former. It did just enough to avoid the drop pile this week.
To Love-Ru Darkness
Lala loves her sisters and doesn’t want them to fight. That took up about 4 minutes of the episode. The rest of the episode consisted of a couple of minutes of pondering where the yet-to-appear Tearju was. The major contributor to content however was Lala’s useful inventions that somehow become sexual props, and Momo having delusions. Once again, I have to lament the fact that I believe there is a good story here that the creators have so little faith in that they pile way too much on to appeal to people who want the white blur to go away.
Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankeinai yo ne!
This week’s episode of Oniai features the square root of fuck all happening. The younger fiance of Akito is introduced and is parried repeatedly throughout the episode into just being seen as a little sister. That leads to conflict with Akiko throughout the episode, which is more tedious than anything. After a day of conflict, they eventually team up to take Akiko’s view on brother-sister relationships. Unfortunately, they also took no advantage of the one chance to completely destroy Akiko’s character by having Arisa be too weak to stick with convictions. Onward this series continues with nothing happening.
Hayate no Gotoku Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
This franchise does absurd comedy very well. Serious stories done seriously; not at all. So this week the story moves to pushing the cast to actually getting to Las Vegas. It all ends up being rather contrived, sadly. That’s not to say there were parts of this episode I didn’t like. The quiz on the tragedies in Fumi’s life was pretty funny. She’s so high strung about everything as the cast all answer questions about how her parents’ marriage fell apart. That was legitimately entertaining.
Updated Average Ranking of Fall Series
|Season Rank||Year Rank||Change||Anime|
|1||2||–||Sukitte Ii na yo|
|4||17||↓3||Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo|
|5||18||↓3||Zetsuen no Tempest|
|7||26||↓2||Hayate no Gotoku: Can’t Take My Eyes Off You|
|8||28||–||Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankeinai|
|10||31||↓1||Hidamari Sketch x Honeycomb|
|12||38||↑2||Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!!|
|13||39||↓1||To Love-Ru Darkness|
|–||–||–||Seitokai no Ichizon Lv. 2|
Jormungand continues to rocket up the yearly rankings and is now on the verge of cracking the top 5. Otherwise mediocrity continues to rule the day for the rest of the season.
You’ve noticed that I’ve actually linked to Crunchyroll there. Yes, this can be enjoyed for the price of zero dollars and your time (unless region locked). I thought so much of that fact that after watching this, I am debating whether to send an invoice to Crunchyroll for the time I spent watching Catblue Dynamite.
There are just so many ways that this disgrace to animation fails. This is essentially a cell-shaded CG animation from 2006 that was made by one person as far as I could tell. That one person probably thought that the animation used in the game design school commercials that air over here was the pinnacle of CG animation as well because that’s what it looks like.
But wait, it gets even worse. The voice acting consists of people who were probably just told to read lines off a piece of paper without being told where it was being used. There was no attempt to even make it look like the voices were synced, a problem even the Godzilla films managed to solve by the 1980s. Yet the sound effects are fine, even though they consist of stock sound effects that make no sense.
As for the story, there isn’t much of one beyond trying to string the terrible set pieces together. There’s also a bit of bromance going on between the two human characters, but I couldn’t care as they were being shot at. My only advice for people wanting to watch this is to see how much utility you get out of staring at something boring for 40 minutes and halve that for preparing to watch this.
First Instance of Female Nudity: none!?