This is the week of funny faces, except in Gangsta. Gangstas don’t make funny faces.
Prison School 1
Last week I mentioned this show in passing, and said it would either be hilarious or terrible. The first episode ended up being the former. Prison School uses its swift pacing and contrast of ideas to create a comedic experience matched by only a few other anime. Anime comedy has a history of being overdrawn out with gag scenes lasting minutes, but Prison School doesn’t suffer from this problem. It packs as many jokes as possible, and has many chapters worth of manga content within a single episode. The music of the show would be typical of an epic action adventure with a large orchestra and choir. Paired with the characters’ serious attitudes it creates a disparity between the mood of the show, and how the characters interpret the events. Prison School humors the audience through the contrast of how the show is presented to how the characters see it. This contrast is bolstered by show’s the character designs, and facial expressions. Every joke is accompanied by ridiculous facial expressions, and the design of many of the characters betray the comical nature of the show. All the other animation in the show is elegant and precise. But whenever a boy gets punished by the student council, he is insanely deformed. In a way, Prison School is a gut-busting adventure because the audience gets to revel in the boys’ misfortune. Misfortune they truly deserve.
The only disappointing fact about Prison School is it is taking away the second season of Shirobako. The director of Prison School is Tsutomu Mizushima, who also happens to be the director for Shirobako. P.A. Works is looking to make a second season of Shirobako, but due to Mizushima’s busy schedule it will likely never happen. So essentially I am losing Shirobako for Prison School. Not Worth.
God Eater 1
Ufotable’s remake of Fate/Stay Night. The main protagonist, Shirou, has to learn to value his own life. In the past he had let people die around him, and he was powerless to help them. The guilt eats at him and now whenever he sees someone in danger, he rushes to help them regardless of the circumstances. No matter how powerful the enemy, Shirou will not abandon someone in need. Shirou is so charismatic!
Joking and extrapolation aside, God Eater’s protagonist, Utsugi Lenka (Renka?), feels like a carbon copy of Shirou from Fate/Stay Night. It’s difficult not to make comparisons, because he speaks in the same manner as Shirou. This is a terrible thing. Shirou’s dialogue was by far the worst part of Unlimited Blade Works, and Lenka doesn’t even have Rin for fun banter. Again, Ufotable’s greatest boons are their visual style and action choreography. The aesthetic of God Eater is unique, and makes the characters pop out of the screen. They are outlined boldly and not always in black. This creates an effect as if the character is on a different plane of existence than the background and enemies, drawing the audience’s eyes. This allows the audience to follow the fast paced action easily. The only downside is the disconnect between the world and the characters. It feels as if the characters are plopped in a world they don’t belong to.
God Eater is the type of show I expect from Ufotable nowadays, action oriented, but with some terrible writing. Hopefully they can prove me wrong, as I continue to watch.
Boring episode with tons of exposition of Tomori’s sad story. I try to empathize, but the stories Jun Maeda writes are always so distant from normal human life that it is hard to connect with his writing. In the end he is only trying to play on our feelings of pity for those who have had worst lives than us, not connect us through our similar emotions to create an understanding of the character. It also doesn’t help that this story comes in on the second episode. How am I supposed to grow attached enough for me to care what happens to Tomori or her family. Especially since the brunt of the harsh story falls on her brother who only receives a minute of screen time. Oh and lets throw in an extra sob story for the archery captain who doesn’t have enough money to help his sick parents. So sad.
The comedy of the episode needs to take notes on Prison School. It falls into anime comedy pitfalls of being overdone and repetitive. The only thing I appreciated this episode was the visually busy opening and P.A. works great background work. A huge downgrade from the first episode.
Rokka: Brave of the Six Flowers 2
The pacing slows down as Nashetania and Adlet travel across the world to meet the other Braves at the rendezvous point. They leave behind the Egyptian town of Piena and move through many different environments. Each place they passed by felt distinct, expanding the world without having to spend time talking about it. The conversation between the two pushed into Nashetania’s backstory unnaturally. I felt like they forced the subject to move toward her story, rather than it being naturally stumbled upon. But it was needed exposition because of the way they introduced one of the new Braves, Goldof. Nothing else in the episode stood out to me. The action in this episode was lackluster in comparison to the first, and everything just felt generic.
Durarara x2 14
Luckily for me, Mika had a mid episode exposition recapping many of the major plot points of Durarara. Putting together many character relations I have seen to help me understand what’s happening. Durarara switched focus to Seiji Mika and Namie this episode, the crazy love triangle. Only in anime is there a boy obsessed with a decapitated head when he has two pretty women lusting for him. Still have no idea where the rest of the show is headed though, which is part of Durarara’s charm.
Gangsta is proceeding along nicely, continuing the one job an episode trend I anticipated. The thing I find most interesting in this show is Nicholas’ varying nature. He obviously searches for fights, reveling in defeating strong enemies. But every other character that knows him, sees him in another light. The soft side of him is often showcased in the show, but the reasons on why he has become this man intrigues me. The audience gets to share Alex’s perspective as the newcomer, knowing little of the city and the groups inhabiting it. Whenever she sees the cold blooded murder, we feel her guilt and nausea. But we also learn about Ergastulum and the tags through her. Eventually, Nicholas’ past will be shown to Alex, and the audience will understand what Alex will be going through. We will be experiencing the same thing through her, and it is a natural way to have exposition about Nicholas’ past.
Another episode of exploring the guild hall and getting to know the NPCs. Normally I would reprimand a show for having all of its side characters be infatuated with the main protagonist, but Overlord makes it comedic. Momonga asks for each NPC’s opinion of him, and through that question we learned of each of their personalities. They all ended up praising their ruler, but the faces Madhouse created for them as they answered were humorous. The comedy subverts the power fantasy ideals that so commonly plague MMO shows.
The main feature lacking from Overlord is tension. Momonga hasn’t actually done much yet, and the show watches like a slice of life comedy with fantasy elements. World building can only be entertaining for so long without any conflicts. Fortunately the teaser for the next episode foreshadowed a new enemy coming to challenge Momonga.