Week in Review, 12/29 – 1/4

hikaru sometimes gets it

Shit’s deep, man.

I thought I watched more anime this week than I apparently did. In my defense, bit of a weird week with New Year’s Eve breaking up the work-week and then a massive blizzard shutting my workplace down early Thursday and canceling Friday entirely. You’d think I would’ve taken advantage to watch a lot of anime but apparently I didn’t. I also haven’t actually watched anything from the new season either, and I’ve even got Buddy Complex on my hard-drive!

Hikaru no Go, ep. 45 – 47

So, Waya, Ochi, and Hikaru make it, which wasn’t at all surprising. Isumi doesn’t, and he quits being an insei early and quits his study group, too. Anyone with half a brain saw all of this coming, though, so even if it bums me slightly since I quite like Isumi, I don’t feel too broken up over it. He better not disappear completely, though, since I ship him with Waya.

Sai is starting to get fairly irritating. It feels borderline blasphemous to say so, since he’s been pretty vital to the show from the start, but as it sinks in that Hikaru is moving forward while he by his very nature cannot, he’s starting to get irritating. I didn’t mind so much him being kind of naggy and childish earlier in the series when Hikaru wasn’t very good at go himself, but its gotten old. Sai’s running commentary has also become fairly superfluous, although this is true of most of the running commentary by characters in the show – its all the same stuff over and over again. Snore.

On a different matter, I will say I’m impressed with the subtle changes to the character designs for many of the characters. When flashbacks are shown to earlier in the series, its easy to see, but its been handled in a gradual manner so that it was never a sudden change. Basically, the character’s are slightly lankier and have less roundness to their faces (Akari, for her part, has a bit more of a bust, too). It isn’t so easy to handle characters aging across a series visually, so thumbs up there.

Macross 7, ep. 11 – 12

More space vampires zapping people’s energy, more singing at space vampires, more Basara being a bit of a shit, and Mylene playing the least convincing Lynn Minmay ever for a movie. The good news is that we get the best scene in the show so far when Mylene and Basara are in the Valkyrie when the space vamps attack, and Mylene gets why Basara keeps singing at the vampires even though they don’t seem to bother listening. Its a genuinely well-directed moment, as the visuals are allowed to convey Mylene’s dawning realization.

Basara, though, is, as I said, a bit of a shit throughout much of these episodes, and, honestly, he always has been. I think this tends to get overlooked by viewers, because the focus ends up much more on how Basara is an odd duckling. However, a lot of Basara’s oddities are, when fully reckoned with, asshole moves – refusing to sing in the studio when Mylene lines up a rental, being petulant when booked for venues he disapproves of, telling Mylene she’s stupid and childish constantly… and when you consider it, Basara’s determination to sing at the enemy marking him as a weirdo in such a society as they have seems curiously out of line with the veneration of Lynn Minmay by that same society. Sure, sure, people could say, “It was different then!”, but the collective sighing and eye-rolling when Basara and Mylene start singing at the vampires when they attack during the filming of the Lynn Minmay story feels like much more myopia than could be possible.

So, Basara – pretty much an asshole only rendered weird by ignoring past history and overlooking that he’s being a crappy person.

On the other hand, Gamlin’s interest in Mylene is super-creepy and smells like pedophilia. So, uh, yeah, love triangles, woo! (Admittedly, Basara is hardly a point in a triangle thus far, honestly, as he has shown little interest in Mylene beyond being a decent human being, and that seems a pretty low standard for romance.)

White Album 2, ep. 1 – 6

Hmm. Now, if I’d managed to watch this whole thing before midnight on the 31st, there does seem a strong possibility it would’ve been one of my most-enjoyed shows of 2013. However, I did only start watching it the 30th, so that chance ended up being wholly out of the question for a working person unless I felt inclined to sleep deprivation (which I rarely feel so inclined to).

White Album 2 isn’t exactly groundbreaking thus far, although perhaps at this point having a male lead who isn’t a soppy dishrag or a complete asshole counts as ‘groundbreaking’ (why is it that these are our only options? how disheartening is that?). For the most part, there’s still the standard types (pervy male sidekick, aloof dark-haired girl, light-haired school idol girl), and the story itself is pretty basic. Where White Album 2 succeeds is in execution – I might not ever feel like gushing about a particular character, but their interactions with one another and the goals they work toward together are enough to endear one to them and their concerns and heartbreaks.

I find myself pulling for the OT3. I like watching these characters together as a group; they seem happy and to be genuinely interested in one another, and in the well-being of one another. Is romantic competition at all fun when the character involved just utterly loathe each other and are loathsome themselves in their odious and jealous actions?

WA2 is probably what I was looking to get out of Golden Time. I really liked Toradora! a lot, and was hoping for something similarly involving in Golden Time, but found my hopes utterly dashed. WA2 seems to have satisfied that craving so far, though; here’s hoping it keeps it up as the emotional screws begin to be applied.

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