#1: Yahari Blahblah – 09: The main character’s pessimism: I’m really surprised at how well that has been done in this series. It really has depth: he’s not just wise-cracking his way through the series, nor is he wallowing in self-pity. He is who he is, and he is happy that way, even though his life could be so much more fun if he didn’t think the way he did and he wasn’t so cautious in avoiding disappointments. And even that part gets developed in this episode. This is the first light-novel adaptation with a stupidly long title that I actually liked, but even then this has exceeded my expectations.
#2: Majestic Prince – 09: The plot in this series is nothing special. The characters still show off their clichés. The villains are boring, the setting is standard. Yet why do I like this? Why do I find the characters so enjoyable to watch? Why do I find their quirks funny? What’s going on here?
#3: Hunter X Hunter – 83: What I really like about the Chimera Ant Arc is how well it explores the ants themselves, and how they gradually learn from their mistakes. They’re smart… for ants. That unfortunately is also why I don’t yet consider this to be the best arc of the series so far. At this point the ants have nothing on the Spider Troupe yet and the fights still are boring. Will that change or not?
Wtf of the week:
Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z – 09 & 10: What on earth did I just watch? What was that? Why, Japan? Why!?!
Valvrave the Liberator 10: Oh boy. I’d like to talk a bit about the series from the “Code Geass”-school, or to be more accurate: the products of Ichiro Okouchi and Hiroyuki Yoshino, because I’m deeply concerned with what these two are doing. Hiroyuki Yoshino may not be involved in Valvrave, but the general trend is definitely visible. The two of them are prolific writers who get assigned to do the series composition of a lot of high-profile original anime, yet their philosophy favors sensationalism over everything else: they write series with shock value in mind, while at the same time having storylines that don’t even bother hiding that they’re ridiculous.
I say that it comes from the Code Geass-school, but I believe that this started with Mai Hime and Mai Otome. Mai Hime was actually a very good series that actually did a very good job at shock twists, but something happened in the transition to Mai Otome, which started to sacrifice good storytelling and likable characters for said shock twists (really, what happened there just did not make any sense!). Ever since that point, our lovely duo proceeded to write original scripts that just threw in shocks for the sake of having shocks, even though they are either really convenient, or just didn’t make any sense at all (and before this point they didn’t do that: these are the guys who wrote Planetes, Overman King Gainer, the adaptation for Angelic Layer) and indeed Mai Hime. A downside is that they use that to also drag down some really good directors in the process: Tetsurou Araki, Goro Taniguchi, Matsuou Kou, even Shoji Kawamori (in a less noticeable way though, probably thanks to Shoji’s ego). They’re all brilliant directors, but none of that brilliance shined through when they had to work with these guys.
So yeah, the rape. Let’s just say that I disagree with how it was used here. Valvrave is supposed to be this fun over the top and crazy series. With this, you just made it way too serious. I understand that they wanted to show that Valvrave can turn people into monsters. But don’t try to combine that with a student council election. That’s very bad use of irony, not to mention that I find that it looks very much down on rape and rape victims. With this episode this series also really started to take itself seriously. Why? Also, I glimpsed at a few of the reactions people had after this episode. And god. It’s times like these where I want to disassociate myself from the anime fandom…