I moved the weekly recap to be released on Thursday to fit the Summer season schedule. The summer seems to be lacking in stand out shows the spring and winter seasons had. What I have heard was good are sequels to shows I have not seen yet, so I have been disappointed with this season’s harvest so far. There are still a couple more shows I will be watching, but pilot episodes have not been released. Most notably, God Eater, and Prison School. Prison School is either going to be god awful with lots of cringe humor, or hilarious. It all depends on the execution of the crude humor in Prison School’s manga.
Another story by the writer of Angel Beats, and Clannad. Jun Maeda stories generally contain sad narratives with lots of drama and crying. I tend to dislike his work and find them emotionally manipulative rather than compelling. The characters more of a caricature than a reasonable person, not to say his stories don’t have any merit. Even when the characters are lifeless, Jun Maeda’s focus on the themes of love and family can be heartwarming to watch.
Charlotte starts off with a lot of unwarranted exposition dragging the pacing of the episode at the beginning. It picks up afterward and we find that our main protagonist, Yu Otosaka, is a jerk. He uses his limited Lelouch eye powers to cheat, lie, and risk other people’s lives for what he desires. As the episode continues, Yu’s powers are discovered by a student council president of another school. The chase sequence of Yu was dynamic, and portrayed Takajou’s power of teleportation without use of extensive exposition. Why couldn’t they have taken this approach to Yu’s powers as well? After being caught by Tomori and Takajou, the show finally reprimands Yu for his shameful actions. Exhibiting a satisfying fight where Tomori beats up on Yu. Yu comes home to the most adorable little sister, Ayumi, who talks to herself in third person. At times I found her annoying, but her cuteness made up for it and I didn’t stay frustrated for long. The small talk between Ayumi and Yu seems to allude to another one of Jun Maeda’s sob stories. The rest of the episode was just Yu coming to terms with transferring to the new school and again being punished for endangering Yumi, the school madonna.
As usual, I found Jun Maeda’s characters irritating to watch, but did like P.A. Works’ execution. The background art of P.A. Works is always admirable, but I was particularly amazed by the fluid animation of the action sequences in this episode. The comedy is a bit lackluster, based on gags and reactions, but there is a lot of room for growth in Yu. I am not exactly interested, but there is enough potential to keep me watching.
Gate: JSDF 1
I have been looking for a good fantasy adventure anime recently so I picked this up. I didn’t have high hopes, because I typically don’t enjoy the stories A-1 Pictures adapts. Gate didn’t betray my expectations, and had a terrible first episode. Twenty minutes were crammed with exposition and constant talking to explain the situation with the other four minutes dedicated to the opening and ending. The main character is an “ordinary” otaku, more obsessed with Doujinshi than saving human lives, and remembers to share the fact with the audience incessantly. Any serious moments with tension in this episode were instantly ruined when Itami Youji speaks. And the comedy Gate is going for doesn’t make up for it either. The music isn’t bad, but it conflicts with the tone of every other aspect of Gate. The slowly building percussion and choir accompanying the opening of the gate was delightful to listen to, but the color scheme and writing didn’t support its grave nature. Most of the fighting animation comprised of random monsters dying and bullets being fired with glory music in the background. Not very compelling or fun to watch. I might end up watching one more episode if I am bored, but I will likely drop this show now.
I wasn’t expecting much from this show, but I am pleasantly surprised. It doesn’t have phenomenal animation, but the atmosphere of Gangsta fits the mafia centered plot. The constant chill music full of soft trumpets and snaps, combined with bright, Italian city filled with dark alleys perfectly fit the tone of the show. Manglobe did not hold back in implying any sexual and gory scenes, and fully understands the rule of show not tell. The two are mercenaries / hitmen doing any jobs for mafia and grandmas alike, and none of that was explained. I also loved how Gangsta showed us Nicholas’ disability in hearing, by first having multiple scenes where he only grunts and uses body language. Then after I think he is a mute, the chief tells the new guy, Nicholas is deaf. Small, understandable exposition, clarifying the fact. Not taking up too much screen time, because the audience already assumed something similar from the clues given.
Gangsta also uses excellent shot framing, showing the loneliness of Alex before she is freed from service. She is trapped, unable to escape the walls that bind her. And I am intrigued by the other two characters as well. I want to figure out what the tags on Nicholas represent and how they came to be hitmen. I will definitely be watching more of this, and may end up doing episodic write ups similar to Unlimited Blade Works.
Durarara x2 13
Durarara, known for its many separate plot lines coming together at the end. Too bad I have no idea what’s going on at the moment. This episode was full of exposition and characters I don’t remember anything about. Breaks within a season does not fit Durarara well, but to be honest, I don’t think I would know what was going on in this episode if I watched episode twelve yesterday. Izaya going crazy over his love of humans and stopping a girl from suicide was amusing, but I have no idea how it will effect the greater plot line of Durarara. I probably will keep watching this, because sometimes it has some mindless fun.
Rokka: Brave of the Six Flowers 1
Another foray into the fantasy adventure genre to find something satisfying. Rokka has an imaginative Egyptian aesthetic, mirroring their architecture in the city shown, while also using hieroglyphics as the basis of art for any myths within the world. The CG can be a little jarring, but sometimes it is utilized well. Japan computer graphics have been a lot better lately. I hope Ufotable shares their secrets with other anime studios, improving the quality of hand drawn and CG art integration.
The idea behind the show is very straightforward, six heroes will be chosen to fight the demon god. The lengthy exposition in the middle of the episode was not needed, because the plot is so simple. The princess even says “everyone in the world learns that story” before proceeding to tell the same story to Adelt Mayer. Very redundant considering the prologue of the episode contained similar information.
As for the characters, they look very distinct, but their personalities aren’t too intriguing. Nashetania seems to be the standard disobedient princess, while Adelt the regular cocky youth. Though, I did enjoy how they introduced him, running into the tournament without a care. It’s an introduction conveying his personality instantly. Words like “I am the strongest man in the world” only come with a certain arrogance. The actual fight itself was enjoyable, but I wish they had a wider shot of the scene to show the movements of each of the three fighters. Because the audience is only able to see one fighter at a time, it is more difficult to discern what is happening quickly enough to have a true back and forth. I am still craving fantasy adventure, and will definitely be watching more of this show.
The stuck in a MMO show of the season, Overlord has a lot of bad predecessors to overcome. And so far, it hasn’t fallen into the biggest traps of MMO anime, wish fulfillment and power fantasies. Other than the questionable groping scene where Albedo moans insistently and begs to be “taken”, Momonga is contemplative of his situation and doesn’t indulge in their obedience. The first half of the episode is full of nostalgia. Momonga reminisces about all the fun times he had with his guild members, a sentiment I can relate to. I still remember the guild I played Guild Wars with, and it was a somber day when I finally quit. There wasn’t much action in this episode, but a ton of world building and introducing of characters. I like how they didn’t blatantly introduce each character individually and at least tried to hide behind a ceremony of the guardians. I don’t even mind the computer graphics monsters because it is inside a video game. I look forward to exploring the rest of the world, because Momonga’s guild hall is already enormous.