AniFriday pt2 (Tokyo Ravens & Blue Steel ep4; Ms. MONOCHROME & Coppelion ep5)
I’ve learned that I need to stop giving myself deadlines. I need to stop worrying about crappy CG. And I need to stop naming these posts after days of the week; it really exposes how easily my schedule is ruined.
So this is the standard “get to know your new surroundings” episode. All the crazy intro crap (not to say it was a bad thing) is out of the way. And we get to delve into the real world of this story, though it’s obvious that it will only lead to an innumerable amount of new questions. All that acknowledged I was still entertained by this episode. It’s true that it’s very similar to being just another Naruto or Harry Potter rip-off, with a very similar set-up. But it’s not making any missteps so far.
Harutora and Touji start their first day of school realizing that this abnormal place is really quite – abnormal. And Harutora is having quite the time adapting to the new pace of things. His cousin, Natsume is ever vigilante in taking up for him, while at the same time pressing him hard to get up to snuff. Something that I’m sure won’t happen for a long time.
I couldn’t really find anything I disliked about this episode, aside from the feeling that it’s all very familiar, and borders on being generic. Natsume has a rival named Kyouko Kurahashi, the heir to the super prestigious Kurahashi family/clan. She’s the b*tch/jerk of this show so far, and it’s explained that she shares a strong rivalry with Natsume because of their similarly high level skills and historic prestige. Though the Tsuchimikado family has fallen often since the genius Yakou perished, they’re still quite well known. It’s actually the Kurahashi clan that remains top dog now, with Kyouko’s grandmother being the principal of their school being a piece of evidence of that. I actually like the unnecessary antagonism that she brings to the show. Usually I’d complain about a character like her, because they generally are a pain in the ass when that’s completely unnecessary, and when it puts others in potential danger. Here, so far she’s just a jerk in class. And I can deal with that.
Then there’s Kon. Oh man. What an awkward character for me to deal with. A fox spirit familiar’s of Harutora (who is a familiar himself), Kon is ADORABLE! but I immediately got an awkward vibe from this, as I felt it was a way too easy set up for yaoi/pervy shouta humor, and even worse – doujinshi of the pervy sort. And I was spot-on. As eventually, Kon drops trough in front of Harutora, because his master asked him “how his tails works”. First of all, how stupid a question is that? Kon is a demon, so I’m guessing normal anatomy and rules of physiology don’t count or matter. Also, if they do matter, a tail is just an extension of the spine, often used for balance, or in this case eroticism and cuteness. And then of course this leads to the played out gag of Natsume walking on the two in an awkward position, as Kon looks like he’s trying to show off his tiny demon butthole to her cousin.
Awkwardness about Kon aside, he’s a fun character to have around for now. Cuteness aside, he’s impressively ready to “cut a b*tch” the moment they insult his master. And this ends up causing trouble, leading to a showdown between Kyouko, flanked by her big mouth and giant knight-like familiars, and little Kon, being physically backed up by Harutora himself. I think I’m looking forward to this fight. After all, this type of show will live and die by its spots of action. It will take more than incest and innuendo to keep it going.
Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova
I could not have enjoyed this episode more! I knew something spectacular had to be done when the crew of the 401 were given such stupid odds. This ENTIRE episode was nothing more than a well orchestrated battle of wits and tactics. I LOVED IT! I got chills as I thought of enjoying those wonderful episodes of Legend of the Galactic Heroes, plus the excitement of a good shounen battle manga reveal.
Much of the enjoyment I got was from the payoff of paying attention to the little hints as to where the episode was going, without really knowing how it was going to be resolved. Gunzou is a classic example of a person who is always thinking several steps ahead. If his opening gambit works, then fine. But he’s really betting on his ability to manipulate his targets/prey into the perfect situation. Early in the episode, we see the fast battleships and their mental models, the flamboyant and aggressive Kirishima and the reserved, analytical Haruna, completely decimating Yokosuka’s defenses. As they do so, we see Haruna categorizing, analyzing and recording some of their words. While Kirishima finds this pointless, Haruna strikes me as a bit of clever girl in the way she calmly takes in this information. The two of them still slaughter everyone anyway, but it’s an interesting mental note. And those words, and especially Kirishima’s flippant attitude towards them come back to haunt them in the end, as they both begin to understand the words a lot better when faced with death, or for them – termination.
This is one of the episodes that I rather not explain and just tell you to watch. The thrill of this episode isn’t immediately evident, it’s a slow calculated build up that leads to a nice, exciting showdown at the end that could only be something you see in anime. It’s the kinda thing anyone who loves mecha anime, or military drama can appreciate.
How are all these people really still LIVING in this super contaminated place?! I was amazed enough that there was a child running around in this place, but now we have a possible TEN month long pregnancy going on here. On top of that, we’ve got old, forgotten military running around the city, and only recently attacking people. I don’t get any of what’s going on here. To make matters even more suspicious, the dad and his pregnant daughter almost looked like they were trying to escape from their home. At the very least, it seems the father isn’t confident in their surroundings, despite it appearing to be the cleanest, safest part of this wasteland by far.
Adding to the already high frustration and confusion levels of this episode. There’s the *ss-hat prime minister, who strikes me as the charismatic but actually obnoxious and ignorant jerk that usually gets elected. And though we’re told he’s a reliable guy who the country owes a lot to for her service in keeping Japan afloat after that massive disaster, he just comes off as a scared, childish buffoon here. Letting his fear and emotions taking control of decent sense, and ordering the three girls (one of whom is badly injured) to hold off some crazy soldiers with rifles and a TANK while he takes their support to be bodyguards for his conference. I’m sure he thinks he has a valid reason for prioritizing the “ghosts” of 1st Division over anything else, including the life of a pregnant woman, but I’d be perfectly fine kicking him off a cliff at this point – no matter what comes up afterwards.
I will admit, the insanity of this show has kept me just interested enough to keep coming back. I was for sure that another episode full of forced drama would convince me to drop this show. But at this point, I want to know what’s going on with the 1st Division. I want to know what’s going on with Planet. And most importantly, I want that pregnant lady to get out safe and sound.
Also, I’m quite anxious to see what this group of cleaner/assassin section of Coppelion has in store for the story. I’ll give this show credit, it never stops weaving mysteries and showing more layers.
Ah yeah, we’re in a groove now. It seems that our little Monochrome is going to be a series of failures and triumphs. This time she just wants to be popular enough to have her fans scream at her very presence. Just like the past episode with the nendoroids, she gets what she wants, but it doesn’t help her career at all. But it was worth it to see her scare the hell out of a bunch of kids.
I knew I should have been more diligent last week and watched these episodes sooner. But surprises are surprises, and you’re never really prepared for the unforeseen. I’m just glad that I got to watch these episodes eventually before the end of the week.
It does feel a bit better without the useless BlazBlue hanging around my queue. And as the Fall season pushes forward, the expectations are starting to give way to actual entertainment value, or lack thereof. Ms. Monochrome has been accepted as pointless but mildly entertaining romp through the land of anime. It’s brevity really being its only saving grace. Tokyo Ravens is looking to be a decent shounen battle anime style of series; with rather nice modern animation and a decent mystery to keep things interesting. Though I feel we’ve not even scratched the surface of what this show is really about, yet. Ars Nova is my favorite show that’s not being produced by former GAINAX employees, and I’m really considering moving up to full-on solo blog post status. I’m getting that much out of it, and it does have some interesting themes that aren’t necessarily unique, but do give me something to think about. Plus I think it’d be fun to poke a little more fun at it. Even pushing the terrible CG aside, there is some pretty stupid stuff going on in that show. And then there’s the recently demoted Coppelion, as I said earlier, it’s just interesting enough to keep watching. And I really could keep talking about it in full solo blog post detail if I wanted, there’s quite a lot to think about there. It’s kind of a not good show, but not terrible. And it doesn’t help that I keep subconsciously comparing it to the hallowed Kino’s Journey (don’t ask). But I do feel that I at least owe the show a fair chance at completing this latest story arc. It would be interesting to see if this show can really turn itself around.
As for the rest of the week, man I’m behind. And I’m going to be quite busy on the night I usually watch KILL LA KILL and Golden Time. So I can only hope I can get everything out of the way and on time. I hate being off schedule and behind.