Spring 2014, Week 7: Highlights of the Week

Welcome to Week 7!

The Irregular at Magic High School

It was the least bad episode yet, but they insist on including painfully awful lines like this. In other news, magic battles (FINALLY) next week!

Fairy Tail, Episode 7: Fairy Tail continues to be the most disappointing show of the season. It totally lacks any sense of tension, as the impulse to add in comic relief when it’s not needed kills any momentum the show manages to build up. The Garou Knights lack any sort of threatening presence on screen, and even the one fight from the tournament (Gray’s battle with Rufus) we have seen was pretty bland. I don’t know what happened, but the recipe that was working so well at episode 175 seems to have gone sour.

Nisekoi, Episode 19: That was a great fight. Really. It’s not often that you see such a realistic depiction of someone thinking one thing and then saying the exact opposite because they’ve been hurt. And the fact that we got to see it from Raku’s perspective…well, you tell me the last time you saw a harem lead exhibit that much emotion, internalize that much pain and actually strike back, rather than just taking it with a, “Huh?” Raku’s got some problems as a character, but every now and then he acts like a real person. This episode also was the first time that I wished Onodera and Marika were not such intensely archetypal characters, because I think I’d like to see Chitoge beat out actually people for Raku’s affections, not just cardboard cutouts. I’m genuinely going to miss this show when it ends next week, but I think it’s selling well enough (and the manga continues to be popular enough) that a second season might be on the horizon. Cross your fingers with me, and #TeamChitoge!

selector infected WIXOSS, Episode 7: Somehow, this turned into my second episodic write-up of this series. And I didn’t even think the episode was that special…

Hunter x Hunter, Episode 130: I’ve ranted on forums. I’ve ranted on Twitter. I’ve ranted on Reddit. And now, time to rant on my blog. WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? Do people just not have ears? Do they not have emotions? Do they not have any sensitivity or appreciation for build up and suspense and emotions? When you call for the Gon vs. Pitou fight to come sooner, you are asking for the same sort of emotional disconnect between feeling and action that made Frozen‘s “Let It Go” feel so weird in the context of the movie. Not to mention the fact that Megumi Han, who plays Gon, was busy turning in another phenomenal performance, one that rivaled her brilliance in episode 116. Sure, you could see the budget saving, as frames were reused multiple times and stillHunter x Hunter Episode 130 Magic of Despair Title Card frames where all over the place. But how does that matter when I could literally close my eyes, listen to Gon’s agonizing voice and FEEL the emotion so intensely that I was brought to the verge of tears just through the sheer intensity in just one human voice? How does that matter when I’m sitting here typing, remembering that performance and tearing up again? How does that matter, when skipping over Gon, as he tumbles farther and farther and farther into his own guilt and despair, would render the fight so clamored for totally impotent? Hunter x Hunter has never been a show where fights were for style; it’s always been about fights with meaning. And dammit if this isn’t going to be the most meaningful fight we’ve seen yet in this series. We’ve seen the titanic clash between the giants of human and Ant power, between philosophies and ways of life. Now, the internal emotion of a single human being will be put on display, materialized in blows. And you want to SKIP a single second of that pressurization of the human soul? So you can have your flashy battle? Gah.


One Week Friends, Episode 7: Holy crap, sometimes this show makes me so happy that I want to cry. Everything about this show just works in absolute harmony with everything else: the aesthetics, the music (which was especially great this episode), the characters, the dialogue, and those gosh darn small moments. One Week Friends excels in the small, in the minute and trivial, and in picking out the hidden importance of those moments. Small lines Hase can no longer keep himself from saying, small lines Fujimiya says without realizing that she’s basically proclaiming her love back to him, small moments like when Hase shows up on the roof, because of course that’s where she’d be. It’s all so small, and all so beautiful. Unlike Hunter x Hunter, which is stomping around with the monumental, One Week Friends is just being little. And it’s really amazing to see.

Hitsugi no Chaika, Episode 7: Something about this show…I watched this episode twice. The dream sequence was like 10x funnier on the second watch. I really don’t know what’s going on with me and this show, because my head can see the minimal effort drawing and the lame plot line for the episode and yet my heart still tells me I LOVE this show. I do hope they come back to Simon, because I thought there was some legitimately compelling stuff in his story and his very, very interesting relationship to the remains of the late emperor. As Gillette says, there seems to be a lot more to the downfall of the Gaz emperor than we’ve been given so far, and Chaika does continue to impress me with its ability to weave meaningful information in with nonsense like Toru’s dream and Frederica’s intrusion on the fight. I don’t know where this is all going, but I love the heck out of this show just for being itself.

Hitsugi no Chaika Episode 7 Chaika Cute

No Game No Life, Episode 7: That was a pretty good set-up episode, as far as set-ups go. I’m sure the NGE buffs are thrilling over getting their reference, but I think it’s a pretty week reference these days. Overused, as it were. I can’t decide whether the show itself actually likes humanity or not. It’s kind of a interesting meta-puzzle I can run in the background while watching the real show (the one that loves panty shots, making fun of Steph and showing naked girls) bumble around.

No Game No Life

Steph explains how I feel about NGNL.

Ping Pong, Episode 7: Let’s take a week off of looking at the story and characters (we all already know how good Ping Pong is on that front) and take a look at the music in this show, which is fantastic. The OP and ED have been good from day one, and this week we got the crazy intense music during Sanada’s confession/challenge to Kazama and the sweet riffs at the very end of the episode as Yurie speeds around in her car, going home to find the flowers she put in Kazama’s bathroom relegated to the hall. Probably maybe probably the best OST of the season. And man, it’s those moments of visual storytelling like the flowers in the hall that make Ping Pong what it is. We don’t have to have someone tell us what that means: we already know. When a show can just put something on screen, for us to connect with our own experience…ah, man, that’s good stuff.

Ping Pong the Animation

Cat’s out of the bag.

Mekaku City Actors, Episode 6: It took me a long time to get around to this episode, but I’m glad I watched it. There is some really interesting backstory hanging around this show. It’s really a shame that the structure is such an utter mess, because I’m starting to get the feeling I could really like this. To be clear, I’m not asking for a traditional narrative. Splintered narratives can work, sometimes more effectively than a straightforward one. Mekaku City Actors may even be one such show. But the overall effect right now is not a good one, because things still feel disconnected, not merely mixed up. There’s no intentionality behind the abstraction of the story; it’s gratuitous. Also, I really liked watching past Ene and past Haruka.

That’s all for this week!Gochiusa

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