Week in Review, 4/10 – 4/16

ideon 8b

I make no excuses for my taste in anime.

Well, Easter was today, and Lent ended Thursday; I consumed probably twice my body weight in baked goods and Funyuns over the past forty-eight hours. Unfortunately, it seems like not touching Funyuns for such a long time has ruined my body’s ability to absorb MSG at anything like a satisfactory rate. That I love rice crackers makes this issue all the more tragic.

Anyway, have this song which has nothing to do with anime or anything else in this post:

Space Runaway Ideon, ep. 6-9

Anticipating slim pickings for spring, I figured it was high time I started up on Ideon a couple weeks ago, and I’ve been quite pleased to discover (so far!) that this isn’t a case where the reputation outstrips the quality of the actual show. These episodes don’t really do anything, exactly, that the first five episodes hadn’t already done, but they continue to build the themes of the show. Oh, and they add dinosaurs in one episode, easily catapulting this into the premium tier of mech shows, sort of like how that one episode in Sailor Moon R with dinosaurs made that entire season worth watching. Other than the dinosaurs, though, what really sticks out for me at the moment is that Karala and Kasha very much feel like forerunners of Dianna and Sochie in Turn A Gundam. In particular, I find Karala to be a genuinely fantastic character, easily the standout of the cast. Her curiosity and her willingness to pursue answers and question the circumstances as everyone else around her understands them makes her thrilling to watch.

Granted, as much as I like the show, it isn’t all smooth-sailing. This is, like most mech shows of its vintage, plagued by sexism. It is probably most irritating in the case of anthropologist Sheryl. She frequently makes very sound suggestions, only for the show and other cast-members to behave as if she’s totally unreasonable… only for things to often play out such that they probably should’ve listened to her… but there’s never an acknowledgement that she was right all along. This is the sort of show where male characters get very huffy and shout-y at female characters, tossing around the accusation of hysteria even as the female characters are the ones typically remaining calm. Maybe the show will turn this around and demonstrate that it was doing this knowingly, but I don’t really trust 80’s Tomino enough to think that this will prove to be the case.

Starmyu Season 2, ep. 2

I must admit that I’m not entirely sure which rendering of “Starmu/Starmyu” is the official one for the English language release – I could swear that Funimation used one for S1 and Crunchyroll is using another for S2… If I were a better blogger, I’d probably double-check it… in my defense, Funimation’s website reliably crashes my browser enough that I don’t feel up to chancing it at the moment…

I appreciate that Starmu is taking it’s silly premise and dialing up to even sillier heights this time around; I also thoroughly love that their method of retaining the third years past their expiration date is to come up with some totally ridiculous tradition which will keep them around for the duration of the season. And of course lovable doofus Hoshitani totally didn’t notice that this was a thing his school did, so of course we’ve never heard of this tradition until now even though it was going on exactly as the same (allegedly!) in his first months as a high school student.

After puzzling over what the hell could’ve happened to Inumine (had they simply forgotten he existed at all???), his entrance, and his method of re-introduction, made me happy. He was probably my favorite supporting character in the first season, and I did truly wonder if they’d forgotten his existence prior to the re-appearance. Giving someone like Hoshitani a fellow traveler in cheery cluelessness oddly enough helps to cut the potential irritation he can cause, as it means instead of being the only person who is capable of somehow pulling things off while being a space case, and therefore being uniquely special, he’s apparently in a situation where unobservant idiots can succeed.

I’m still a little weirded out by the huge improvement in the visuals for the dance sequences, to be honest. They could be pretty terrible last season, but I swear that was part of their charm. Now it all looks pretty decent and competent. What the fuck? Thank goodness some of the distance shots in this episode were hella awful, as it put me much more at ease.

Seven Mortal Sins, ep. 1

“Wow, this is pretty bizarre… Hmm, they’re putting a surprising amount of effort into animating her fluttering hair as she falls. Haha, whoa, that censorship, reminds me of Valkyrie Drive as streamed by Funimation! Haha, wow, this is… wait, is this censored because we could see her butthole otherwise? Wait, this isn’t a short??? Uhhhhhhh dropped.”

Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys, ep. 1

At first I was a bit disappointed that this turned out to be a short, but on further reflection, I don’t know that a full twenty-minutes would really do it much good anyway. One does have to appreciate the fact that this is a show where the title tells one exactly what the plot is yet doesn’t run to half a paragraph to do so – light novels, take note! I enjoyed the opening bit where there’s the contrast between a pretty standard monologue by the heroine involving cherryblossoms accompanied by shots of said cherryblossoms, then a cut to a shot of the school gates, covered in graffiti and looking on the verge of falling apart. It’s a good way to catch the attention of the audience.

As for the content of the show… well, this will be about a girl beating up her male classmates, although not so much in the old tsundere routine approach, thank goodness. No, instead she’s attending this school in disguise in her twin brother’s stead (it would seem he couldn’t because of some injury), and it’s an infamous high school where everyone is in competition to become the top dog by kicking the crap out of the rest of their class. Soooo kind of like a reverse Armed Girls’ Machiavellism buuut without the transphobia, homophobia, and aggressive misogyny.

…I kind of want to try the game now.

Kado: The Right Answer, ep. 2

I’m not sure I knew what to expect with Kado in the first place, but it certainly isn’t what it’s turned out to be – more specifically, I suppose, I wasn’t expecting it to be any good. This second episode continues to methodically develop the situation, and while I could do with a touch less of people ooh’ing and aah’ing about Shindo’s totally amazing negotiation skills, it has a pretty deft touch otherwise (in fact, this is part of what makes the gushing regarding Shindo grating, as its completely unnecessary and if anything detracts from the show’s careful work).

I do think it would’ve worked better to have used less 3DCG in making this, though – it’d be much niftier and striking if they used it solely for the otherworldly elements, such as the massive, mysterious cube which plops down next to the airport, or if Yaha-kui zaShunina in his initial use of a humanoid physical form had been 3DCG and then when he adjusted his communication style had likewise shifted his appearance to be more like humans. It feels too bad that the commitment to utilizing this animation approach will likely keep some folks away who would’ve given it a go otherwise. (I can understand that the 3DCG visuals as they appear generally in current TV anime can be visually off-putting, and its totally valid to not want to subject oneself to it – I, of course, fed on a diet of fine visuals such as seen in Weiß Kreuz or third generation rips of Zetsuai 1989 as a young fan, so I basically can’t be driven off by visuals no matter how appalling they may be.) (I discovered a few years ago that Zetsuai 1989 and it’s sequel are only available as digifansubs at this point in a roughly 100 pixel by 200 pixel format, and I still don’t know whether to feel happy or sad for newer anime fans.)

Sakura Quest, ep. 2

There were a few funny moments in here (the differing reactions to the bugs, for example), and I like Sanae a fair bit, but I found myself pretty bored throughout this episode. Yoshino’s shtick got old reallllly fast; it is also clearly not going anywhere. That I have enjoyed a grand total of two shows from P.A. Works makes it hard for me to see the point in attempting to persist in this case. Dropped!

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