Posted on 23 January 2013 with categories: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

This episode poked fun at so many shounen cliches, before many of them even existed. Remember Dragonball Z? How it had the longest five minutes ever? This episode also had one minute that was much longer than usual, only for the characters to debunk this later because the character in question got distracted.

Or the part when Jojo bluffed himself out of his own death. In most shounen series this would feel like a complete cop-out because there are so many fights that end with just parties retreating without resolving anything. In this case it manages to pull it off though: before in the series nobody other than Dio retreated, and if Jojo didn’t bluff his way out, he would have died without question.

And then there was that incredibly silly part where Jojo played fake, like a child. It was so ridiculous, yet hilarious that it ended up working. In fact, all of Joseph’s ideas were just crazy in this episode, from grabbing a bunch of steel balls to attack with (oh, the symbolism….), to trying to use freaking dynamite again (not to mention how that dynamite was just shrugged off by that other guy). Also, did Jojo just get engaged to both of them?

By the way, I love the narrator in how incredibly cheesy he was in this episode. And this was to the point that he became awesome again: he just felt so sincere in his 80s cheese straight from an old cartoon, only taken even more over the top. Especially when he tried to comment on how Jojo was trying to run away while playing dead.

So next up will be the training arc. Be wise, Jojo: turn it into something interesting. Make the characters more powerful while also being as fun as you’ve ever been. Don’t get lost in your own exposition like this.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 22 January 2013 with categories: Chihayafuru

Awesome, Chihayafuru is back! More addictive Karuta, and the two new characters will definitely bring in a new dynamic that will keep the series fresh here. Karuta was just a simple card game, and yet this series made it exciting beyond belief.

I do have to voice two major concerns at this point though. First of all, there was the animation. Unfortunately, it’s clear that the second season either lacks the budget of the first, or a lot more scenes are outsourced. In the first season, every hit on the mat packed a punch. Here though, there are a lot of awkward movements, rushed drawings. It does not look as polished.

Second of all… the series composition has changed people. This time there are two people doing it. The first is pretty much new: after writing one of the Stitch series, she did a bunch of episodes for the first season, and she adapted half of Sakamichi no Apollon. The second one though… is behind the mess that was Persona 4. In fact, she did the series composition for a lot of different series, none of which I liked. For Chihayafuru, it is the original material that shines through, but I’m really scared about them keeping the balance, which was done so well in the perfectly paced first season.

So far though, the two new characters still need to get introduced, and the problem with them is that they’re initially very unlikable, so they need a lot of time to warm up. With that in mind, the past two episodes did a very good job. The girl in particular is already developed and has quite a few different sides, playing off really well against Kana. Meanwhile the new guy will probably play really well off Nishida. It’s an interesting idea here to have this guy show off a different style of Karuta.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on with categories: Zetsuen no Tempest

So, after last week’s recap Zetsuen no Tempest is back for real. And it has already started building the intrigue by hinting at stuff that might or might not be true but when true could mean one heck of a baffling plot twist. The thing is that in this episode, it presents two theories that both are completely inplausible.

So previously, it was established that only a mage of exodus could have killed Aika, in order to be able to escape Hakaze’s web. This episode presents us two mages: Yoshino and this wimpy kid who can’t control his powers yet. With the information we have right now, there is no way in which any of those two could have killed Aika. Yoshino may be crazy, but he’s not crazy enough to just kill his own girlfriend. That wimpy guy too: he can’t even control his powers yet.

So… someone is hiding something… either the wimpy guy (sorry, I can’t remember his name right now while typing this) is putting up an act in order to get close to the Mage of Exodus… which is pretty likely considering he just bumped into her (although that could have been one of the trees as well…). Or Yoshino is a complete bastard who murdered his own girlfriend for some kind of really, really important reason. It’d explain why he is not as mad as Mahiro for her death. It would not explain his ties to the army, his oblivion to Hakaze’s crush (which was an awesome plot twist, by the way).

Also, new OP and ED. For the OP… I don’t like the OP. It’s a song that is copy pasted from all other ops out there, and in a bad way. The ED is a bit cheesy, but it works. But producers, come on. You’ve got such an awesome soundtrack. Then why skimp on the OP and ED?
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 21 January 2013 with categories: Psycho Pass

Now this episode marks the time for Psycho pass to take a more in-depth look at its setting. In the first half we got to see what it’s like to live in this society, and now this series really starts to question it, and it does so in quite an interesting way. It’s not like the Sybil system is currently evil now, this episode looked at it from quite a few different angles and perspectives. I really liked that.

Nobody in this episode actively questioned the Sybil system, yet everyone talked to each other as if they did, to try and reassure each other. Akane in particular did bother her time to question that system, but rather actively challenged her emotions by reliving her memories, going along with the system. In this episode she was shown that her crime coefficient does not rise really high, but in the end, what does this mean really? She is a great asset to the flawed Sybil system.

Also, take note: this episode had a small bit that played at the end of the ED, which is rather important. In this episode we’re introduced to who is probably the one who manages the enforcers and the entire police. I already like her character: I like her dialogue and how she is trying to manage the Sybil system without things going out of control. And at the end of the episode a connection between her and Makishima was revealed, which should hint that her hidden agenda could become really interesting for the next few episodes.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on with categories: Robotics;Notes

Ah, and some more of the different storylines are starting to connect more closely. This episode reaffirmed that the bad guys in this series were basically trying to annihilate the entire world, but this episode showed that the final episode of Gunvarrel contained quite a number of big hints that these plans were in the works. So yeah, Frau’s mother knew what was going on, and tried to stop it, using the same kind of subtle messages that that dead guy whose name I forgot has been showing. My guess is that he knew what happened to Gunvarrel, and tried to be even more secretive, hence why these hints were even more obscure.

The solar storm thing by the way is something that really shows that this is from the same creators of Steins;Gate: the world won’t be destroyed because some giant thingy of doom will explode, no: it put some extensive background into why this will happen with the magnetic storms. It found quite a clever way to put these in by not fully having the characters explain what would happen, but to show a file containing the details. This will be something that you need to pause your browser for in order to fully understand, but I find it a very nice addition there.

Also things just got real here. The solar storms happened at the end of this episode. What I didn’t expect was that at this stage, this series would ask even more questions: which bugger managed to hack into Frau’s twitter account? It probably has to do with the cheater subplot, which will probably get a lot clearer in the next few weeks. I actually like that a lot: the series has managed to balance all of its different subplots quite well. Probably the only one who doesn’t really fit is Subaru: what’s his point in this series? He hasn’t really done anything major, other than help a bit with the robot building.

Oh, and I just realized: the solar storms and the robot building are of course linked to each other because it’s the solar storms that will make all robots go out of control. Next question: why is the main robot of this series special here?

Al for the characters, Frau went through a lot here, even to suicide attempts, although it seems that she was stopped just in time. We also finally got to see her younger version, which always is a great way to flesh out a character. It’s clear that the second half of this season will be a lot heavier in terms of drama, and yeah: with Frau the creators again did a very good job.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 18 January 2013 with categories: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo

Whoa! The writing in this episode was even better than usual. It was to the point that the episode felt like it took much longer than the usual twenty minutes, so much did the creators manage to put into it, and the creators managed to significantly develop three major relationships at the same time.

The thing with this episode was not necessarily the characters hooking up: all of it had it coming from miles ago. It’s just… the characters just kept talking. And talking. About their feelings, about the feelings of others, about what to do, what they’re struggling with, and it was all in great detail. It’s probably something personal (in real life I’m also very occupied with these kinds of issues at the moment), but it really hit home, and it was quite thought-provoking for me. This all was with great voice-acting so I really loved this episode.

What I do hope for the next couple of episodes, is that Nanami will find her own guy, instead of sticking with Sorata. At this point she has to notice that it’s not going to work for her. I know that the love triangle will make for some easier drama, but it’s so much more interesting if she also manages to find someone for her own. Her role has been second choice for the enire series, only saved by her good characterization, but this episode really showed that she has an excellent character, who really feels a bit wasted in her current role.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 17 January 2013 with categories: Magi

Magi uses its three main characters in an interesting way: episodes in which all three of them are active are quite rare. First they all travelled separately, then Aladdin lost consciousness for an entire month. It’s quite interesting, actually.

Now, as for this episode… the politics… Alibaba sure came with some ridiculous ideas. It was definitely creative, though and I have to say that I did not expect this. If the rest of this series will focus on turning Balbadd into a democracy and the challenges that come into its way, it’s going to make for a pretty interesting conclusion.

Having said that though, there is one thing I realized this episode: Magi is a series based on middle eastern folklore, based on modern ideals. The slavery already was one hint for this: sure, it’s something terrible and all, but back in those days people just found it normal, and were more preoccupied with their own survival. Then this episode with Alibaba’s sudden decision to turn an entire monarchy into a republic overnight. It is that this series suddenly revealed that there are other republics in this world, but still: it just does scream “freedom! equality for all”. Idealistic and inspiring indeed, but historically accurate? Err… Not to mention breaking off an arranged marriage in those days. I’m not saying that this was bad or anything, though it did catch my attention.
Rating: 4/8 (Good)

Posted on with categories: Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

How big is the soundtrack of this series anyway? This episode added italian flavours, and better middle eastern flavours than what Magi has been dealing to us. And in the meantime I just keep hearing more tracks I haven’t heard before. Also, is it just me or did this episode bring in yet another ED? Seriously, the producers from David Production… I love these guys.

Anyway, this epiode was meant to introduce a whole bunch of characters: the main antagonists (for real this time…. right?) and we finally get to see the guy who has been appearing all over the promotional material in this series: Zeppeli’s grandson. The latter especially was done with that great sense of humour, and I loved how it used the ripple for all kinds of bizarre effects, from slinging spaghetti to putting a dove in a woman’s mouth. Especially the latter…. how do you think of it?

And yeah, the creators did a good job of making the three new villains even worse than the previous one, making them look like a walk in the park in comparison. The trick will now be to keep up the momentum. My biggest fear is that they lack the humour that some of the other characters in this series have, because of how crazy the jokes here… it’s a large part of why this show is so incredibly entertaining now. They need to be more than just another stronger version of the same bad guys.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 15 January 2013 with categories: Uchuu Kyoudai

I had been spoiled about the cliff-hanger of this episode (seriously, try to keep things like that out of the shoutbox; you know who you are…), but neverthelesss. : what an episode. And to think: this airs on sunday morning. Think of all the traumatized kids here. I mean, nobody died yet, but still, this was heavy stuff here. Also, an entire episode in which Mutta didn’t appear.

Here, you can really see the benefit of realism. You have series in which characters have all their bones in their bodies broken, limbs cut off, or cough up blood like crazy. But in this series, you really fear for the characters’ lives due to how meticulous it has been in portraying its characters: they feel real, making any danger to them so much more tangible. Especially since this episode also was a big chunk of atmosphere of Hibito trying to save both himself and his partner, all the while that this episode kept dropping hints that his oxygen tank was about to burst.

And it did, while both of them were still far from being saved. Heck, how long is Hibito going to be able to survive like this? And this brings me back to an awful feeling that I’ve had since this series took so much time into building up Hibito’s launch. I originally thought that something would just go wrong there, but heck. Are the creators seriously planning to kill off Hibito? Holy crap man. I mean, I can see the creators actually go through with that with all of the build-up they’ve done!

And I’m already going to give a warning for next week: really try to keep spoilers to a minimum there. Something tells me that that is an episode you do not want to be spoiled about…
Rating: 6/8 (Awesome)

Posted on with categories: From the New World

And with this episode, we come back to squealer. The Queerat with a surprising intelligence. This episode confirms it: he’s not exactly evil, but he is clearly trying to use the gods for his own gain here. I actually really like his character, and how he’s this guy who on one hand can’t be trusted, yet on the other hand is very useful.

But this episode came with another very interesting revelation here: the queerats are trying to copy human culture. Like, the culture the humans left behind when they started getting the cantus. This episode showed this even more, by showing exactly how much of these queerats there are in one colony (tens of thousands), and by throwing some traditional Japanese armour on them. It might very well be possible that Squealer also caught one of those snails, and if he did, the information he got out of it could prove to be very dangerous. Like, this episode was only the tip of the iceberg. Note that he talked about colonies he “merged with”. Something tells me that he just captured them by force.

Also, the queen story becomes more shocking again. It’s like this bizarre combination between an insect society and a human one. With ants for example the queen also never leaves the nest again, but this really takes it a step further when she’s forcefully kept alive, just to produce offspring. It’s a huge moral dilemma: she’s needed because she is the only one who produces children, but in the meantime she also attaks and kills everyone.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

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