AniFriday pt3 (November 8th 2013)
I’m expanding AniFridays and making a few changes as well. Ars Nova will get the weekly single blog post treatment from now on (hope I don’t regret that), while Valvrave is now joining the AniFriday group. Also I’m adding Hajime no Ippo: Rising and Gundam Build Fighters (since people keep asking me if I’m watching it) to the group as well. Hope you guys enjoy.
This week’s anime in order of appearance.
- Valvrave ep16
- Tokyo Ravens ep5
- Ms. MONOCHROME ep6
- Coppelion ep6
- Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova ep5
I have to say that my feeling towards this episode are almost the complete opposite of the feeling I had for the previous entry. I never suspected that the adorable little amnesiac would be a sacrifice in this way. I assumed that she would be important to the story in some way via whatever secrets she held in her shattered memory. The twist was that she could not conjure anything because there was nothing for her retrieve. Piloting the Valvrave requires runes/information, and for some reason Marie was a valuable though flawed source for such things. In a way, she was an open valve that could not be shut off once tapped into the alien technology. Unit 1 would literally rip the memories from her in order to power itself. The little fairy inside the machine tells her herself. And once L-Elf’s fractured plan forces her back into that machine, everything became clear before going dim again ever so quickly. With everyone else on the ropes again, it’s her – not Haruto that rises to the occasion, using her unrestricted potential to save everyone just before flaming out into a husk herself. It was an incredibly cruel end.
Putting that dark/shining moment aside for a moment, things do get ironed out thanks to Marie quite well. With Dorssia using their knowledge of the Valvraves and their tech to their advantage, they actually have machines that appear to be on par with all the units aside from Unit 1. Though they have similar problems to the Valvraves, in that their massive amounts of power output per unit, forces them to have very low sortie times without support and extra energy packs. The machines don’t overheat, but once depleted, they are done without switching out a custom power pack. It once again shows how very, very competent the Dorrsian military is, and how brittle a shield the Valvraves are. And even with everything in the plan going right, they were still going to have a tough time completely escaping. It’s a stain on L-Elf’s luster, as we see his old comrades are more than capable at this point of unraveling his plans. I feel sorry for L-Elf sometimes. He’s surrounded by idiot kids that, while easy to manipulate, are generally unstable and unreliable. Then he has his own personal walking hemorrhoid in Haruto, and the anamoly known as Cain stalking. It’s a good thing that the Dorssian political climate is actually still somewhat unstable, as the rebel Royalist forces (hinted at for some time) finally make their presence known. Only time will tell if they can be trusted or useful. Because at this point, they’ll need all the help they can get just to survive another day.
Overall… I dare say it was an excellent episode, that gave me something to think about as I saw Marie literally sacrifice everything to save her friends’ lives. It makes you think about the importance of memory and having a past. If this show had only come a little harder a little sooner, maybe I wouldn’t have demoted it like this. As it stands now though, it’s too little, too late. Still, I may have to make special consideration for this episode when the year ends…
We really are gonna ride this whole “Natsume is a boy” thing all the way aren’t we? Well, I’ve dealt with far more annoying things in an anime than this. It looks like Harutorra is getting along just fine with the majority of his class due to have one of those laid back aplogetic personalities. No one is prepared to deal with his humility. Not even Kyouko who honestly seems way more preoccupied with her rivalry/crush for Natsume. Which makes things a bit complicated in the whole love triangle because well, there’s a lot of stuff that just gets in the way. Natsume of course is really a girl, living life as a guy because of some stupid tradition (that’s right, I’m judging). The Kurahashi family was once a branch family to the Tsuchimikado clan, so technically everyone in this little love triangle is related. Though I think at this point with them being distant cousins and Japan being surprisingly relaxed about that sort of thing, it’s not too bad. Then there’s the whole screwy childhood promise/friendship thing, where it’s made pretty clear this episode that Kyouko is remembering a promise Harutorra actually made as a child and not Natsume, who she remembers as a boy, but who was probably not living as one just yet. Oy! Then there’s Kyouko’s insistence at the end of the episode that Harutora helps her get hooked up with Natsume, even though Natsume thinks it’s the two of them slinking off together to flirt.
GOOD GRIEF! We haven’t even gotten very far in the story, yet.
The episode itself was rather average, but it had some good points that I enjoyed. None of those being the crazed Yakou follower who kidnaps Natsume and contorts his face in ways that make me wonder if he’s a demon himself. They really got across the vibe of a stereotypical zealot in this episode. It was creepy how quickly he went from calm, rational business man, to “MWUAHAHAHA HAA! I LOVE YOU NOW WATCH ME MURDER YOUR FRIENDS WITH MY TOYS FROM HELL!” I don’t usually toss this phrase around very often, but I think he needs Jesus…. or a lot more calm time with Buddha and a Zen garden. But his presence was effective however, in showing some of what Natsume has been going through at this point, and how needed Harutora and Touji will be to her safety. It appears that she’s not very safe at school at all. I would say that that’s highly incompetent, but it’s actually par for the course in this type of story.
What I did enjoy about this episode was seeing Natsume’s dragon familiar. Yeah, I know it’s a minor thing since it showed up for like thirty seconds to behead a demon that turned out to be a fake, but I love those flying snake-like dragons. The way they move and look is just cool to me. I also like how the show isn’t getting hung up on the pettiness and misunderstandings in these early episodes. Too often I see a show where characters interact, fight over nothing, and hold a grudge for way too long. Here, Kyouko and Harutora tussle, Harutora loses quickly, and everyone moves on. Hell, he even gets more respect from his fellow students just for having the balls to stand up to her. How I wish real life was like that. Too often people are too happy and quick to play the comedian, and use your moment of failure for their entertainment and benefit, with no thought to how you feel. So I guess aside from the magic, demons and crazy hair styles, the understanding between human beings is unbelievable as well.
Overall, not a lot to say about this episode. It did a decent job of character development and interaction. The fight wasn’t much to speak of, but it does show a little of what the team is capable of and how they need to improve. If I know my handbook for these type of shows, I’m just waiting now for a clan of evil insiders to be revealed in the school, there to be some sort of tournament and Harutora to show that he has a dark side. Though that’s kinda hard to believe if you just look at the guy.
This week Monochrome takes us on a tour of her various jobs that she’s doing, or willing to do to further her career. Of course most of them are ridiculous, like when she takes a job as an extra in a drama tv series, but ends up ruining a scene by jumping out of a burning building with her Roomba pet, instead of the actual star doing so with a child. Or they can be mundane, like when she’s washing dishes at a restaurant. None of these further her career, which makes me wonder how her manager was able to procure her a spot on a prank TV show for idols.
The crew and host sneak up on Monochrom while she’s “sleeping” in an attempt to scare her, she’s of course been informed of this ahead of time because reality TV is fake (duh), and it would ruin the joke if they couldn’t even get in her apartment. She’s informed before hand to feign surprise as hard as she can, which somehow gives her the idea to not actually be there, but to have her hologram there instead. You know, a fake. This of course scares the sh*t out of the crew and host, who runs the hell away. And again Monochrome has done nothing to further her career.
And another five minutes of my life gone. At least that ED animation CG is pretty awesome.
Well sh*t! The 1st Division has proven to be a hell of a problem so far. Though this show’s lack of skill in comedy just makes Aoi’s capture by these guys rather painful. I suppose the alternative to her predictable Looney Tunes-style capture would be material that ultimately wasn’t that important and would have lengthened the episode, but at least I’d get the feeling the show tried to work something out. If Aoi had been the one to take the tank shell, then I think I may have laughed, because she just annoys me. Oh yeah, the tank shell. I’m getting ahead of myself.
For once, we see some people with the predictable side effects of living in this environment. Thanks to their leader, we know for sure that they live up to their name of ghosts. They’re dead men walking, which makes me wonder how the hell they survived this long, and when they started to deteriorate. And even after kidnapping Aoi (an easy task, I assure you) I wanted to believe they were redeemable. And I wanted to understand them, but they just couldn’t stop shooting at people and being bastards. They may be an abandoned division of the Japanese SDF, but I didn’t feel bad when Haruto, the boy Coppelion assigned to help the girls, starting killing them.
Also, how naive of Ibara to assume that Haruto’s work was to clean up waste. They really kept her team in the dark. I was starting to get the feeling that this episode was punishing the girls for their naivete. They by all rights should all be dead by now, whether or not they have super healing abilities. It makes all the pointless idiocy of the prime minister stick out, because his actions don’t add up to anything resembling sense. If the Coppelion are so expensive and valuable, how does this old a-hole get the idea to pointlessly throw them at soldiers with a tank and military rifles? If he’s so afraid of the 1st Division, then why didn’t he send in actual military, or order more of the Cleaners to come through and do the work. If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s willful ignorance and stupidity. It’s the reason I’m still talking about someone who didn’t even show up in this episode. His actions were so dumb, that they had no choice but to reverberate.
With the episode come and gone, the questions we’re left with are what the hell is the 1st Division doing with those barrels of low-grade waste, why is the water treatment plant filled with it, and is Aoi ever gonna prove herself useful for anything aside for making my ears bleed?
Also, an interesting bit of development is seeing the disgust that Haruto seems to have for humanity. Is it his training? Is it the actual repeated act of killing people? Is it the journey he’s taken through humanity’s biggest mistake? It’s probably all of the above. And I wonder if his fellow Cleaners hold the same views? It could be a dangerous powder keg in the future. There’s been more than enough sci-fi stories detailing what happens when something created by humanity, does not respect it. It usually ends up going to war with humanity.
Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova
There’s not a lot of the 401 in this episode, and for good reasons. Iona is almost completely spent, and practically incapable of defending herself from the Fog should they be attacked again. Also, this episode isn’t about the crew, who is still awaiting the prized vibration warhead. It’s about a young, lonely girl and her new friend.
I had thought that the little rich girl Iona and Gunzou had met at the cemetery, and who had also found and saved Haruna, was just the daughter of some important politician or military officer. But this girl is far more than she appears, not only is she a genius, but she’s almost as artificial as the mental models! And the whole time, she’s been living in this prison/sanctuary of a mansion. The girl who appears to be an orphan is actually the only remnant of a successful experiment by her “father”, a genius Japanese scientist. When he had run into failure after failure in trying to create weapons to best the Fog, he decided to take the more than unconventional route of creating a human who could do it for him instead (a pretty roundabout solution to the problem indeed). And of all the crazy the many experiments he created, she was the only one to survive nearly this long, though it seems she does so with great aid. The reason she takes such an interest in Haruna is because she has no friends, she’s denied outside contact with people because of her top secret status and the government’s fear of her abilities.
It’s all pretty sad, but ironically Makie has hope in the mental model Haruna. Even with her sandwiched between scared humans and the opportunistic Fog, it seems there’s still a little bit of light in her life. Now it’s just a question of whether Kongo scoops it up, the humans snuff it out, or Haruna finds an alternative.
While the episode itself was slow and highly expository, I still got plenty of joy and entertainment out of it. Makie isn’t nearly as annoying as I worried she’d be. She’s adorable, and the story spun for her is one I think most anime fans can latch onto. It doesn’t hurt that I’m a dad and any story like this is bound to tug at my heart.
I’m interested to see where these fissures in the Fog lead the story. Takao is long gone and now that Kirishima is but a door stop and Haruna is on the verge of turning turncoat for a sickly little experiment. Kongo may still have the advantage, but she’s bleeding soldiers at a terrible rate. How much longer before she changes her strategy or her opinion?
Now what happens when the 401 swings by Iwo Jima with all that firepower, enough to even make a Fog ship take pause? It seems this world has a few more mysteries to unravel that even the Fog doesn’t know about.