Week in Review, 1/21 – 1/27

afro ken creator

Don’t forget, bros – Tamako Market ED single hit streets this past Friday.

Yes, I’m doing this the day before the end-date on it, but I can promise you I won’t be watching any anime between now and to-morrow anyway. It’s more than a feeling, bros.

AKB0048, episode 16

The clear highlight of this episode was the brief shot we get of Megu and Sae; I had assumed the show had completely forgotten about Megu, as she isn’t mentioned nor is she seen in episodes fourteen or fifteen, so this was a pleasant surprise. However, it still seems she’s now firmly ensconced, unsurprisingly given her non-neon hair hue, as an also-ran. Speaking of hair colors, how come the current successors mostly have actual hair colors? I mean, sure, they aren’t the main cast, but they’re not exactly nameless classmates, either. Curious!

I like Mimori; she’s always struck me as slightly slier than the other cast-members (her intentional tearing of her clothes in episode fifteen bolsters this impression), even as she clearly is a very caring person. I suppose it wasn’t shocking that she placed in the voting, but as she’s not been a very big player in the show it was still a slight surprise.

All the fuss about the voting was hilarious – they really have to handcuff the briefcase to the person transporting for fear of tampering? I, too, was amused that even the emcees for the event apparently are successors!

Lastly, meant to mention this last week, but that Yuuko’s real name is Hikari makes perfect sense. I don’t often look at a character and their name and think, “Oh, perfect.”, but I did here.

Witch Hunter Robin, episodes 11 – 26

Don’t want to say too much since I plan to write a review for this show; I liked it as a whole, although some of the material in the second half was silly and didn’t make a whole lot of sense. My overall impression is that Sunrise ultimately thought it was a more intellectual show than it really had the heft for, but there’s some decent coverage of deeper ethical questions here. Perhaps most notable for current anime fans is that WHR operates on a similar system to Madoka Magica when it comes to the ultimate fate of magic users, in that Craft Users apparently all are fated to become Witches over the course of their life (although unlike with Madoka Magica, the distinction is fairly arbitrary, even if the end result – you are killed by former would-be comrades! – is the same).

P.S. Amon sucks.

Afro-Ken OAV

I… don’t even know what to say about this odd little number. Its basically a commercial for a mascot character, Afro-Ken (and her/his buddies), but it undertakes its task in a rather odd fashion. When we meet the creator about a third of the way in, though, it makes sense that this is what we get for a commercial – he seems a bit off himself (although endearingly so due to his sincerity). Someone asked me, “Should I watch it?” and I had to say that I wasn’t really sure. There’s little in the way of flow, and there’s not really anything substantive here, nor is it consistently entertaining. At the same time, its less than half an hour long, so, well, why not? Probably worth it if only for the interview with the original creator and the prospect of CG dog-mammoth things with afros frolicking in fields. Its the sort of thing that has to be seen to be believed, ultimately.

Also, the OP is pretty great.

Sailor Moon R, episodes 1-2

I have *never* seen Sailor Moon R subbed. NEVER. I watched it as small child after school every day in its DiC form, and then a few years later again when it surfaced in the 6:30 a.m. slot on UPN. And when I couldn’t watch it on those mornings because I was in the morning session for a swim meet, one of my close friends dutifully recorded it for me on the same rotating set of two VHS tapes. I even have one of these still, although it doesn’t run terribly well – the case is cracked, and the magnetic tape itself has had quite a work-out from endless recording and re-recording. (By the way, this was my standard for collecting anime in middle school – I taped airing shows, carefully labeled the tapes, and very, very rarely bothered to buy the commercial releases, which, well, makes a lot of sense when you consider that my allowance was about $2/week.)

I was leery going in since more “traditional” magical girl shows such as Precure tend to leave me cold these days given the sheer volume of disposable filler per season. While I didn’t find these episodes nearly as thrilling as I know they were to my eight and eleven year old selves, I nevertheless enjoyed watching. The first arc of R is one of oft-forgotten subsections of the Sailor Moon universe, so I was in particular eager to re-visit that. The Doom Tree arc was the only anime-only story arc in the Sailor Moon anime, as Toei stalled for time while Naoko Takeuchi wrote and drew more manga from which Toei could adapt (Sailor Moon was originally only supposed to consist of the first story arc). You can kind of tell just from these episodes, as there’s a clear limit of scope to these villains – they hang out in their own interdimensional space with their evil tree, with not even the tiniest indication of there being a larger picture.

Anyway, T minus eleven episodes to finding out if I recall the ending of this arc accurately or not.

Tamako Market, episode 3

Well… I can’t say I found the presentation in this episode any smoother than in the previous. Look at how shy and socially awkward Shiori is! She practices thanking Tamako for something in the bathroom at school! This is the point at which people start calling me a crab, but I find the obvious route so tiresome in shows. And is the coffee shop basically the non-alcoholic equivalent of the bar in Bartender?

Put even more harshly, Tamako Market is smelling an awful lot like a harem show right now, except instead of a milquetoast boy fixing the problems of girls, its an overweight and self-important bird.

Now, if I follow this up with saying that I still like Tamako Market, I’m sure it’ll invite disbelief from readers. I *do* like it – I just think that its beginning to set itself into a boring, overdone pattern and I think it’d be unfortunate if it got stuck there. There’s a good cast here,  and a great setting; let’s try to steer out of the “girls have problems, let’s handwave ’em off” rut. If next episode is about dealing with some issue Kanna has, I’m going to be punching computer screens, folks.

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2 Responses to Week in Review, 1/21 – 1/27

  1. Fencedude says:

    Next episode appears to be about Anko being adorable.

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