Spring 2014, Week 9: Highlights of the Week

Well, I guess there wasn’t really a chance that this week could live up to Week 8, which was by far the best week of the season, but life rolls on…welcome to week 9!

Gochiusa

Assertiveness is important at all times. #AnimeLifeLessons

selector infected WIXOSS, Episode 9: I’m really impressed with this show these days. Unlike other Mari Okada works I’ve seen that start off well and then capsize in the seas of melancholic overload, selector infected WIXOSS seems to have gotten most of the bland angst out and is moving into some seriously twisted stuff. We pretty much knew what the twist was last week, but hearing it from Yuzuki’s own mouth and seeing Hanayo act so convincingly in her previous master’s role really twisted the knife. The upshot of this episode is that life is about to really start sucking for Ruko now. As a Selector without a wish, she’s in an ideal place to shut down this messed up system, but the path she’ll have to take to do that? Yeah. She has to defeat countless Selectors in countless battles, crushing their wishes and destroying their lives. By defeating them, the ecosystem of girl->LRIG->girl will eventually grind to a halt. Time to stop the Madoka comparisons, kids. There isn’t going to be an easy out for Ruko like there was for Madoka. If she wants to change the world, she will have to become a villain, just like Iona. Also, I just want to note that I’m really fascinated by the way Okada is weaving in the same characters in different roles. Akira’s still around (not my catch), and Hitoe, Yuzuki and Hanayo are all in different roles than they were before. I’m hooked.

selector infected WIXOSS

Also, apparently WIXOSS also does cinematography. World literally turned upside down on Ruko.

Fairy Tail, Episode 9: Good Fairy Tail is alive and well! It was true: as soon as we got that stupid underground arc out of the way, the show went back to what makes it good–battles with actual stakes. Erza one of my favorite wizards to watch in battle, and seeing her go two ways at once with Minerva and Kagura is pretty awesome. Milliana being brought in, despite the fact that I hate the way Minerva uses hostages so casually, raised the stakes of the fight even further, and the revelations about the Eclipse Project now lend more weight to the entire Magic Games. That’s the Fairy Tail I know and love. After nine weeks, things are finally getting started!

Fairy Tail Episode 9 Erza Fighting

Haikyuu!!, Episode 9: I haven’t had a good rant in my weekly highlights for a while (since I gave up on commenting seriously on (Mahouka, that is), so I figure now’s as good a time as any to get back in. Sorry, Haikyuu!! but you had your weakest episode of the season this week, so let’s talk about why. It all basically comes down to the fact that Asahi was a bland, boring character whose journey back to the volleyball court failed to move me in any sort of way. Basically, I think they took way too much time to get Asahi to a place where he would call for the spike. It doesn’t help that he really hasn’t been around too much and that they’d been hiding what actually happened to make him quit, so his about face fell pretty flat. All he’s been is a big, cuddly-looking bundle of melancholy with a sort of sad backstory (that’s all his fault). That’s not the type of character that has ever worked for me (Nagi no Asukara‘s Miuna is another example), so I hope he’ll show some more personality going forward. That’s the problem with defining characters by one moment of their life or one characteristic: it makes them very one-dimensional, and if that one dimension isn’t one that’s particularly likable (for me, being melancholic isn’t) it’s kind of hard to really care about the emotional journey that they are going through.

Haikyu!!

JUST SHUT UP AND PLAY VOLLEYBALL YOU PLEEB

Love Live! Second Season, Episode 9: Okay, now listen. I understand what suspension of disbelief means. I understand why it is necessary to enjoying most fiction. And I, as it happens, am actually a pretty easy buy in when it comes the general necessity of ignoring the logical or presentational absurdities that come with the anime medium. But this episode of Love Live! smashed through my suspension of disbelief so badly that I was left with no other option but to laugh at it. As soon as the dramatic music starting playing with Honoko, Kotori and the other girl who has been kind of irrelevant this season facing down the snow, I lost it. Their lines were so hyperbolic for the situation, and the dramatic music made it seem like their walk to the school gate was the most valiant act to have ever graced the screen. And then! Oh, man, and THEN! The whole school shows up and SHOVELS A PATH THROUGH THE CITY for them? Bahahahahahaha nope. Sorry, I can’t buy that. It’s just too much.

Love Live! 2

Maki may be best girl, but I think Eli’s the prettiest of them all.

Soul Eater NOT!, Episode 9: The last two episodes of the show have offered me nothing of interest at all. Ever since the actually gut-wrenching ending to episode 7, Soul Eater NOT! has basically just meandered around pointlessly. It doesn’t really have the charm that, say…Gochiusa does, so although it’s late in the game I’m dropping Soul Eater NOT! The cameos are gone, and so is the fun. Plus, I’m already watching Hunter x Hunter (LOL no comparison) and Black Bullet (cuter lolis, better action) on Tuesdays, so I’m in no need of something else to watch. I’m totally disinterested. More blogging time awaits!

No Game No Life, Episode 9: Okay, Sora is back. It was nice to see Shiro get some screen time all on her own, even if it was dominated by Sora’s absence even more than it is when he’s actually around. It’s also incredibly convenient to have a sibling relationship that is almost telepathic and have Shiro be a super genius, because it’s a built in “reason” for Shiro to do totally absurd things like play a game she can’t even see. However, unlike Love Live! this week, No Game No Life has done a good enough job of building up her skills, so that such craziness actually doesn’t break my suspension of disbelief. I should also note that I like Jibril’s little hypothesis at the end regarding Sora. I like the idea that, deep down, he’s actually just a scared kid (probably true) putting on a brave face and putting up a great act as an über-confident game master. I wish we got more of that kind of vulnerability from Sora, and as a set piece in a joke.

No Game No Life

Hitsugi no Chaika, Episode 9: That was a surprisingly serene episode from this show after the dorkiness of the past two episodes. A lot of reflection and backstory came out this episode, and I quite liked a lot of the details therein: Toru not being suited to be a saboteur, the fact that he was never praised by Hasumin, the fact that one’s own memories can be used for magic…Chaika came at the concept from a lot of different angles and came up with a nice message. Memories are important, whether they are bad or not. It plays into the theme of identity that’s floating around. Toru’s thought on killing the bandits, “It didn’t make us feel better,” also offers a nice resonance with White Chaika’s mission, especially when juxtaposed against Red Chaika’s quest for revenge. It shows that Toru really is in the right place, being with Chaika. It was also really nice to see Toru and Akari banter and play together a little bit in the water; it adds layers to their relationship beyond the simple hero worship we’ve seen from Akari and the dismissiveness of Toru.

Hitsugi no Chaika

Ping Pong, Episode 9: It’s a shame there are only two episodes left, but they will probably be the best two episodes of the entire show. I’m kind of hoping they still have some money left in the animation coffers, because I’d love to see the visuals do justice to this wonderful story. There was a lot of “sports” this week, but we finally got the best part of Ping Pong there at the end with Peco. He’s really grown up in the last year since he lost of Kong, and I love how, facing defeat, an career-ending injury and his best friend, he pushes himself. Peco’s frankness about his friendship with Smile got a few sniffles out of me, and I cannot wait to see this friendship clash in the final episode. It’s not uncommon for close guy friends to compete at the things they do, but the depth behind this friendship makes it more than just two high schoolers playing playing each other. And if it sounds like I’m ignoring Kazama, well, I am. I think he loses to Peco, not because Peco’s the hero, but because Kazama doesn’t actually know who he’s playing for. He tells two people two different things, and that kind of sums his character up. Kazama has built himself to satisfy everyone but himself. He can’t win, ideologically, against Peco. But I’m not certain of it, because this Ping Pong has shown how brutal it can be. I know what I think will happen, but I’m not certain of it. Not by a long shot.

Ping Pong the Animation

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