Friday, November 1, 2013

Autumn 2013

This week: an analysis of Mako's character in KILL LA KILL, developing the racist schoolgirls into characters in NAGI NO ASUKARA, enjoying the level of detail in the setting of SAMURAI FLAMENCO, and pretty much hating the Galileo aspects of GALILEI DONNA.

Best episode of the week: KILL LA KILL

Anime trending up this week: NAGI NO ASUKARA

Anime trending down this week: MAGI: THE KINGDOM OF MAGIC (S2)


Perhaps the most damning or damaging aspect of BlazBlue: Alter Memory, at least from the perspective of newcomers to the franchise, is that the setting is still an esoteric enigma.The anime has done little or nothing to explain who the characters are, what these organizations are doing, where the story is located and what they have in relation to each other.The story just goes on choo-chooing ahead without a care in the world for the audience, a confused mass who are left trying to piece together a puzzle with the pieces locked behind closed doors.I'm beginning to wonder if there was a prerequisite course before watching this anime that consisted of playing the game and beating it with every character, but even then, I figure you'd still have no clue at what's going on with the lack of exposition and explanation going on.This anime is slowly becoming a mess, so hopefully the fighting picks up so that I can ignore these mounting deficiencies.

COPPELION (Episode 4)

The fact that Coppelion takes itself seriously is the best thing going for it.Having the characters, and the anime itself really, straight-face the entire countdown sequence, from knowing that the old man had EXACTLY 10 minutes to live, with a timer no less (and let's disregard age, weight, exposure, other acute or chronic medical conditions, etc. that would obviously change the 10 minute window) and shooting him with the medicine when the girls themselves have no timer or stopwatch to know when the times up, was nothing short of brilliant.Like, just doing that gives Coppelion me a reason to watch it.And let's not forget the other classic moments of this episode, like shooting down a stealth bomber with a single surface-to-air missile, the high speed chase through a golf store for 1 minute (to be fair, the store was probably 1-2km long), and the phony emotional overkill.Although Coppelion doesn't intend itself to be a hilarious anime, I can't help but find myself laughing at this more than any other anime this season.As long as Coppelion can continue to be a beautifully drawn trainwreck of an anime, I'll have a reason to keep watching it.


Shifting the focus away from Satellizer and Kazuya and toward Elizabeth and Amelia has taken Freezing's story in an enticing new direction.While the first season was adequate in its story, taken from the perspective of Kazuya and Satellizer, the sequel has branched off to form something new and exciting without starting anew.The plot of Freezing Vibration certainly draws from the original and from Satellizer's character, especially since it was her data that was used for the Mark IV experiment, but it's the major characters in this story arc which is what make it interesting.Had it been Satellizer and Kazuya spearheading the storyline, it may have been decent and interesting but their characters would feel like those shounen heroes who do everything to fix every little problem no matter their relation to it.With this storyline on Elizabeth and Amelia, it has shown the importance of this E-Pandora project to people besides the main protagonists.Furthermore, it's shown through the eyes of characters who have a more significant struggle or conflict with the project than Satellizer or Kazuya.In fact, by taking this sequel in a new direction with all these new characters have aided in making Freezing one of the better sequels I've seen in an anime, in terms of improvement over the original.I figure as this story continues, the perspectives will blur as Satellizer is making herself more important in these recent episodes, but for the time being, I love the new direction Freezing Vibration is taking.


If Galilei Donna wasn't revolving around Galileo Galilei like the Earth revolves around the Sun and asserted its own independence in its story away from this historical figure, then I'd wager a bet that this anime would be better.Really, the whole aspect of Galileo Galilei as a central theme seems decent but it doesn't really carry any significant weight in the anime nor have a dire impact that makes it meaningful.To put it plainly, it's inconsequential that there's anything to do about Galileo in this anime.Why not choose Leonardo da Vinci or Alexander the Great or Ghengis Khan or King Arthur?At this point, it seems arbitrary that there's anything related to Galileo in this anime.You could make an argument about Hozuki's engineering but, unless Galileo was a blackbelt in karate, I don't see how Kazuki's specialties relate at all to this theme.And this whole 'Galileo's Secret Treasure' plot reeks of a horrible Hollywood screenplay, further illustrated by throwing in evil organizations and sky pirates to make the anime slightly less boring but much more off-topic.And to make it even worse, now there's some sorta magic behind everything, too.Ugh.Maybe trying to ignore or overlook these distinctive 'Galileo' details will make the anime slightly better but the story is hardly the selling point of this anime.

GINGITSUNE (Episode 4)

The addition of Satoru Kamio isn't exactly what Gingitsune needed.Sure, it was necessary to establish a male presence in this anime beyond Gintarou but, by introducing a quiet, introverted and completely featureless male lead to counter Makoto's character, I feel that Gingitsune has performed subtraction by addition.Satoru's character is completely underwhelming and boring, a tedious collection of anime clich s like dead parents, unfriendly foster parents and a supernatural ability that paint his character as unremarkable as black text on a white background.And Haru's no better either.Haru's character immediately undermines the role of Heralds in Gingitsune, turning the respected and revered position into a childish mockery of something sacred.While Gintarou is calm, calculated and intelligent, Haru is a whiny brat who shows his immaturity through harassing his new caregivers and ignoring his best friend's wishes.What should've been a boon for the series with the addition of a new successor and a new herald has instead has been a bust.It's going to take some time for the series to recover from this event, especially if it detracts or distracts from the excellent chemistry that we saw between Makoto and Gintarou.

KILL LA KILL (Episode 4)

What would Kill La Kill be like with Mako?I shudder to think of what the series would be like, but after watching the fourth episode of this phenomenal anime, I'd like to entertain the thought for a moment.Imagine if this anime were entirely Ryuuko on her own.Well, maybe not entirely on her own since Senketsu goes wherever Ryuuko goes, but it's not like he's always conscious or always speaks.The story would remain virtually the same provided that Mako and her family provide shelter for Ryuuko and that Ryuuko has saved Mako a couple times though those sequences are largely inconsequential to the overall plot.Ryuuko would probably do fine without Mako's character too, though you'd have to wonder how long she could go aloneeven though you figure she likes her current persona, calling herself Ryuuko, Kantou Vagabond and Guitar Case Drifter at one point.So really, what does Mako add to Kill La Kill?Well, the obvious answer would be the comedy which Mako provides a constant, pleasant level throughout.Her delightful presence makes Kill La Kill a comedy anime whenever she's around, much more than the dramatic, climatic, ecchi masterpiece that it is when she's in the background.But is that it?Is Mako only there for the laughs?Is she really that empty of a character?

What I find when analyzing her character is that the real value of Mako's character is that she provides the charm in Kill La Kill.It's her endearing, personal nature, her constant friendliness and support that makes Mako an essential aspect of Kill La Kill.No one else comes close to providing this charm and innocence to what is otherwise an indecent anime.And to compound this, she's also essential in how she aids Ryuuko.Her presence is the only encouragement Ryuuko has in Kill La Kill, something that is indispensable, something only a character like her can provide.This is where you find the most value in Mako's character and where she finds her role in the story and to Ryuuko's character.To imagine Kill La Kill without Mako would be incomplete.It would be impossible.And even in a crude, clowning episode like this, entirely humorous with striped panties, nosebleeds and nonsense, Mako continues to make her key presence felt and continues to make herself a meaningful and fundamental character in Kill La Kill.That is exactly what we should see in Mako's characterif only we weren't laughing so hard at her zany behaviors.

KYOUSOGIGA (TV) (Episode 3)

Though we've only seen The Four Divines for a couple of seconds on a digital video screen, I want more of them.They don't seem like the most interesting or remarkable characters in this crazy franchise but they look like a quartet of characters that are fun, entertaining and a wonderful addition to any comedic scene.Hopefully Shouko's request for help from this is just a simple teaser of what to expect since those four characters look to be a positive addition to an outstanding anime.


Why can't heroes just say "no"?Why can't they stick to their original plans and continue on their predetermined journey?Why do they stop at every town, abandon all their plans and help solve every problem that present itself on their way?Like, I just want to see someone do that oncejust once is all I'm asking for.Why are they stopping here at this dank, dreary village to save a handful of children when there are bigger fish to fry, like maybe addressing that war going on in Magnostadt or figuring out what Judal is up to?Then again, introducing logic to a shounen anime like Magi might make too much sense.


Please, no more recraps.Please, use these limited opportunities to animate more of the Monogatari series instead of reusing old footage in various capacities to retell stories that we already watched.And I don't care if it's mainly stills and low-quality animation like the original Nadeko arc in BAKEMONOGATARI, I just want more fresh material from the Monogatari franchise.So please, no more recraps.


Although I am enjoying a majority of the cast in Nagi no Asukara, I believe the two racist gradeschoolers are my favorite characters.Miuna and Sayu were originally two characters who provided a change-of-pace in the first couple episodes, providing instant humor when they'd unsuccessfully bully the underwater folk, especially with their adorable and unintimidating appearances.However, with the fourth episode shedding some light on the familial situation for Miuna (complex relationship with family-friend Akari) and Sayu's own struggles (depending on Miuna for support), these two comedic characters have quickly shown considerable depth and purpose beyond berating Hikari and friends.Having these simple background characters connect to everyone else in the intricate relationship web not only strengthens the series overall, especially in terms of developing this story beyond a simple tale of 'forbidden love', but shows how the two distinct societies separated by the sea are inseparable from each other.Miura's character illustrates this point alone, not to mention how her character connects with five others, too.However, beyond these points, the two little girls are still the funniest characters in the anime and that alone is enough for me to like them the best.Giving them a sincere backstory and providing sufficient context to the story is just a nice, little bonus to go with these two sweet, enjoyable characters.


The physical setting of Samurai Flamenco is rather unadorned and lackluster; a modern, urban Japan without superpowers, superheroes or the supernatural.However, Samurai Flamenco has one of my favorite settings this season due to the elaborate and thorough details documented in every hero show that Hazama recites.Not only are these details vitally important to the story and the characters but the complexity of these hero shows and how they relate and seem to build off each other provides a uniquely stimulating setting to Samurai Flamenco beyond its physical environment.Sure, there might not be monsters or youkai or aliens or anything to differentiate it from the overabundance of modern, urban Japanese settings but the thought and detail put into the hero shows in Samurai Flamenco makes up for any deficiencies that may or may not be observed.It may not be the most interesting or the sexiest setting this season but the attention to detail and the thoughtful use of the setting in Samurai Flamenco makes it one of my favorites.


So how exactly do these two dimensions work together?According to the explanation we were given in this episode, the physical environments of the two worlds are the same but the living beings in each cannot interact with each other.But what does that entail for buildings?Does one character building a home in one dimension mean the others see floating boards flying around and nails hammering themselves in?What about weather?Does the weather in one dimension match the other?And what about food?If someone is eating something, does that mean food magically disappears in the other?I'm really at a loss for how these two intertwined dimensions work with each other when we're given no context or experience to understand how they work or how these people know these dimensions work like this.What I would like to see to address this issue is for the characters (or even one) to visit the other dimension to better understand what it's like and how the two depend on each other.However, considering that no one has ever crossed from the youkai dimension into the human one doesn't bode well for what I'd like to see, so maybe we'll get a walkie-talkie or radio or something later on.

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