AniFriday pt4 (November 29th 2013)
Here we are. I’ve finally made it back to the world of blogging anime and animu for fun and hobbies. And it feels good to be back and productive. For this week, I’ll be a bit more focused on fewer anime, as I’m in the process of making up for a three week deficit on multiple anime. Here are the anime I’ll be covering in order of appearance.
- Tokyo Ravens eps 6-8
- Coppelion eps 7-9
- Ms. MONOCHROME eps 7-9
Fear not, there’s more to come. And that includes Valvrave as well. For now, let’s see if these three shows are still worth watching.
Well this episode was a bit of a downer. Not to say it was sad, I was just a little bored with all the fujoshi stuff, the baiting and the usual cliches. Natsume’s plan to expose her “male flesh” to help convince other students she’s a guy has somewhat backfired. As her and Harutora now appear to be flirting behind everyone’s backs. As if the potential gay relationship isn’t enough, there’s the whole “being related” thing, and the fact that he’s her familiar. They’re just crossing all sorts of boundaries on this little expedition, in the eyes of the school. I guess the pressure has just been building up too much for Harutora, because he starts complaining about always spending his days studying or in classes, his only two destinations appearing to be the school and his dorm. So he proposes he and Natsume go and do something on their Sunday off. Of course Natsume freaks out in her head, because this constitutes a date in her eyes.
Meanwhile, one of the girls that caught her and Harutora together in the stairwell overhears this, and no doubt plans to stalk them on their “date”. That day though, things quickly get awkward and little gets done, until they end up unknowingly wandering into the hotel district, the LOVE hotel district. Meanwhile, they notice that they’ve been followed by some nosy girls from their school and decide to hide in a hotel so … so as not to be seen in the love hotel district.
Oh dear lord, it really is just washing over me how stupid this is.
To make a long story short, there are misunderstandings, Natsume escapes though without her reputation being terribly sullied, but Harutora ends up being begged a creep for seemingly spending a few lonely hours in a hotel room with his very young looking familiar. I find this ironic since the show likes to pic and choose its battles. Sex with a young familiar bad. Sex with cousin, potentially OK. Sex with dude, A-OK. Demon sex, too kinky. The episode isn’t a total wash though, as we see at the end some of the potential villains, and learn why Harutora and Natsume’s homeroom teacher lost a leg. That lat bit is full of interesting dialogue and the sort. But the rest of this episode I’d damn near classify as trash. What a waste.
Please let this episode be exponentially better than the last. Seriously. I may have accepted episode six more if it at least had bikinis in it. Regardless of that, I won’t allow it to affect my opinion of episode 7. After all, it looks like Touji is going to get some necessary screen time. And if he doesn’t have some drama, then he’s just a boring waste of space hidden behind a handsome face. Well that’s more like it! In true shounen battle anime form, this show whips out some action right when students are taking a test. It’s the complete opposite of the fluff show that was episode 6.
The beginning of this episode is basically Harutora being tortured by his cousin, as he tries to study for their big exam. I really don’t understand the logic behind Natsume not even allowing him a meal during his studies. I never saw starvation as a good tool for focusing, or the retention of information. Then again, this show has dropped the “logic ball” quite a few times in the short span of its airing so far. The middle portion of the episode is generally lost to me, because much of it involves a bunch of organizations and names I’m unfamiliar with and can’t attach faces to. I will say that learning of Ohtomo’s prestigious past does shed a little light on the situation. But the old man we first saw last episode, known to the government as ‘D’, but known to us as Master Doman, is causing everyone a fair bit of trouble. It’s the clearest thing I could make out amongst all the political talk and name dropping. And they can at the very least foresee a new terrorist attack on the horizon. Right at the time of the practical exam for the students.
The exam has several levels of significance in this story. Of course for Harutora and the other students (aside from Natsume), they need the exam to progress academically. For Doman’s agent of destruction for this episode, it seems to be a convenient time to spread chaos. Though I’ve yet to figure out the purpose of such actions. And for one more reason, it seems to have a bit of significance for Touji, who survived a major spiritual disaster two years ago. This event gave him the spiritual abilities he needs to attend this school for shaman and exorcists, but it has nasty side effects. The main one being that he’s apparently half ogre. A surprising affliction for a pretty boy to have. And of course all this comes to a head during the exam as Doman’s agent unleashes a series of spiritual disasters across the city, including right at the sight of the practical exam.
The exam location becomes a disaster area as a giant ogre appears, and then becomes even more of a disaster as one of the Twelve Divine Generals shows up. A real loose cannon by the name of Reijn Kagami, also known as the “Ogre Eater”. He’s also a bully, taking as much time to antagonize the students, as the ogre. In the end, Doman’s agent is able to cause more damage and free the ogre while Reijn screws around. To make matters worst, all these spiritual anamolies are causing Touji to lose control of the ogre inside. A royal mess it is. A royal mess. Given what little experience I have with them, the Twelve (or Eleven now) Divine Generals are your classic collection of eccentric and unstable elites that you find in most any manga dealing with violence and organizations. That said, Reijn is a needed shot in the arm. This show needed more mayhem and less teenage intrigue. And these spiritual disasters and this crazy badass are just the sort of things to wake me up. Now then, hopefully they do a better job explaining all these other organizations later, and stick to the cool action.
This is becoming quite the elongated arc. I knew the business with the loose ogres and Touji were gonna have to come to a head, but Touji’s little arc turned out better than I had hoped.
With the ogre escaping last episode, and another one on the loose, the entire city’s magical defense forces are on high alert. They’re searching every nook and cranny for what are admittedly huge creatures that don’t seem to blend in anywhere to anything. Good grief! Failure to find these huge, fantastic creatures makes me wonder if Tokyo is a city, or a continent! In the midst of this insanity, we meet another one of the Twelve Divine Generals, Zenjiro Kogure, a guy who looks like he could carry his own series. If you want see a hero in their prime, I assume it would look something like Zenjiro. And for now, he doesn’t seem to be the same level of arrogant and quirky that the other generals were. The best part though, is that he’s able to reign in an a-hole like Reijn Kagami.
While the big guys are on the job, the students themselves have their own recovery to make. Harutora tries to do his best to explain Touji’s situation to everyone, even though we see in his own flashback, that Touji can be incredibly dangerous with the ogre’s influence. Touji himself was supposed to undergoing recovery measures, but for some dumb reason his staff allowed him to walk right out of the building. This complicates things quite a bit because now we have two full-fledged ogres and a half ogre roaming the city. To deal with the real ogre problem, an idea is formulated to use Natsume’s dragon to lure out the ogres into a trap. Zenjiro will be her personal guard during this mission. And initially, the mission goes very well, until Doman’s agent once again intervenes, fudging up the capture ceremony. In the meantime, Harutora takes off to find his buddy, and catches him thanks to the helpful of a stranger, another one of Doman’s agents. Meeting his long time buddy at the site of the practical exam, we see their past come to a head, as it appears that Touji doesn’t necessarily mind the ogre’s presence, nor does he seem to want to fight its influence. But Harutora is able to get under his skin and get through to him. The confrontation basically adds up to “you’re too good a guy to be a bad guy, so cut the act”. And in execution, I really like how it played out. I imagine that this is also only a preview to more of Touji’s badass powers and maybe another eventual confrontation between friends down the line. Touji’s ogre powers certainly don’t seem to be under control at the moment.
OK, that was a pretty decent episode. I like that the show is exposing more of itself to us, and that we’re seeing plenty of interesting new characters. Though all these powerful new characters do make me worry this show may pull a Bleach, and give us way more characters than we can possibly care about. After finally catching up to this show, I can happily say that my opinion of the show has improved. It’s not much of an improvement. I’ve gone from general ambivalence to tepid excitement, but I am actually looking forward to the next episode.
Note: I thought it was pretty cool when the show showed off its giant talking crows. I honestly wasn’t surprised to see such a creature in this universe. Crows are often revered for their intelligence. So in a world revolving around magic and the impossible, giant talking crows don’t seem like much of a stretch.
The sheer stupidity of this show sometimes. I swear it does stuff just to do it. Last episode, everything went to hell when the 1st Division got ambushed by Haruto and the others. Ibara ended up getting blown to bits by a tank shell, and it took some decisive action from Haruto to salvage her life. Ibara’s so badly injured, that when they get back to Planet, he needs to give her her blood to survive. It’s a good thing all the coppelion seem to have Wolverine’s mutant healing factor, or the stupidity to come later in the episode wouldn’t be possible.
Speaking of stupid, it’s impossible for Aoi not to get on my nerves at this point. She stacks up so badly to her teammates that it can’t be helped. She’s a blazing idiot, who seems to forever be failing at something. She’s so unreliable that I have to wonder how bad the crop of coppelion out there are if she’s chosen for this mission above others. She better have some super ability, like purifying hazardous waste with her urine or something to justify her presence here. There’s a scene where I’m actually conflicted because I want to be nice to her character, but logic dictates that to be impossible, because everything is literally her fault! She locks herself in a storage room, and while Ibara yells at her Taeko tells her that Ibara probably feels responsible for her injuries, because she got captured. And for a moment, I wanted to say that that wasn’t true. Honestly the tank did all that damage to her. But then I rethought about the utterly retarded way she got captured and decided that it’s right that Aoi blame herself for everything, because she’s a royal f*ck up! Ugh! She’s such a horrible and annoying character!
Moving onto other, possibly greater levels of stupidity, we’re also left to watch the pregnancy crisis play out. It already staggered my mind that a pregnant woman would exist in this wasteland (like it understandably does for everyone in the show). What gets my goat, is all the dumb things that happen around it. The international conference is still going on, and that idiot prime minister STILL refuses to spare one g*ddamn helicopter to get her out of that radioactive wasteland! It makes NO sense! And since we’re on the subject of stupidity involving the conference. The crazy old man in the white coat from the 1st Division was captured while Ibara was being saved. Haruto interrogates the old maniac and learns that the 1st Division is planning on setting off a bomb inside the sarcophogus, a highly, highly contaminated giant Zone. The 1st Division basically plans to use it as a giant contaminated grenade, to spread contamination across the country and possibly ruin it forever. This knowledge is given to the prime minister in the hopes that he’ll send backup to stop the 1st Division. He does NOT. Again he steadfastly holds to putting up airs during his precious conference, while a plot to destroy Japan is unfolding under his very nose. This is the kind of terrible leadership that gets officers executed, and royalty beheaded. This is his “let them eat cake” moment. My only hopes for this jackass now, are that he dies a horrible B- movie death before the end of this series.
Back to the pregnancy thing, with the baby very, very soon to be in the world. There doesn’t seem to be much the cast can do except wait things out in the clean environment of Planet. But no! That doesn’t push anything forward and it makes too much sense. Instead, the only recently recovered Ibara decides to have most everyone travel in a trailer, outside Planet to go to some hospital further in town.
HOW DOES THIS MAKE ANY SENSE?! If Planet was clean and safe enough for Taeko to perform surgery on Ibara, then it’s certainly capable of handling child birth. The attempt to make it to the hospital has already been tried too. And that was snuffed out by an attack from the 1st Division. They’re most definitely wanted people now. And Planet is most definitely being scouted around the clock so as the 1st Division knows the exact moment they leave. All those maniacs want are one of the coppelion. And now this trip is playing right into their hands.
The one decent twist in this episode is seeing the other members of Haruto’s unit blocking everyone’s way to the hospital. I really don’t know what the hell any of that is about. And I’m so tired at this point that I don’t know if I care anymore. GEEZUS!
Note: I don’t know if I can take this! I don’t know if I can take anymore! GEEZ!
The narrative is picking up quickly in this show. We’ve just met the Ozu sisters, and already they’ve exposed a lot of what makes up the Coppelion program, and what’s wrong with it. The sisters are unstable as hell, and have taken sides with the 1st Division, meaning that the country no- according to the sisters, the whole world is in trouble. It’s the Ozu sisters who have been moving around all the contaminated waste, blocking in the trailer at every turn. Their hatred of humanity and their plight in life has definitely turned them ugly.
The episode is mostly a game of hide and seek, and eventually tag until they are both taken down. It takes an ultrasonic grenade, a tank shell and a megaton punch, but they’re both finally taken down and tied down. During the battle we learn that the coppelion have incredibly short and unstable lives, with a mean lifespan all but impossible to determine. It’s this knowledge, overheard spoken by Haruto and the Vice-Principal, that allegedly sets off the sisters. Well, that and the fact that their both direct clones of a serial killer. Apparently, when the Coppelion are “made” many mental traits from the person they’re based on carry over. So in many ways, they are the exact person they were created from, except with super abilities and a dog’s life span.
The thing in this episode that really takes the cake for me isn’t the stealing of the tank, it isn’t the stupidity of making a pair of clones out of a serial killer (I’m assuming they found out after the fact), it’s not their super durability to even a tank shell; it’s the fact that they gave the elder sister electric powers! What the flaming hell is that for?! Sure, you could say that there may be some need to power something up on the trip, but I doubt that. She’s part of the “Cleanup Crew”. Their job is to kill undesirables, a gun could do that better and more efficiently. This is clear proof that they’re experimenting the hell out of these girls. They’re not just made for reclamation and scouting of contaminated areas. They’re an easy gateway through the land of human experimentation. I wouldn’t be surprised if the government has plans for their eventual military applications. It’s far too tempting to not be tried.
The episode ends with further problems as well, as the a strong change in wind is now bringing super contamination from the Zones to low-level contaminated areas. That means anyone who isn’t a coppelion when the wind blows by dies – instantly! This is an interesting new wrinkle in the narrative, and something I look forward to seeing play out. It will also help distract me from the retardness that is this pregnancy arc.
Now this is a valid reason for leaving town posthaste! With that damned wind sweeping through town and killing everything it touches, I guess even a secure bunker like Planet will end up a contaminated dead zone at this rate. It’s funny, things seemed to be so slow, mysterious and leisurely. And within the period of a few days, the entire area has gone to sh*t. It seems the presence of the coppelion (especially the Ozu sisters) has exponentially accelerated the death of this place.
The solution to this approaching death, and the encircling one known as the Ozu sisters is a surprisingly simple one. Though it’s in no way secure or easy to pull off. The plan is to fix the train system so they can leave town above the contaminants in the city. That’s already gonna be tough enough by itself, but they also need to keep the 1st Division and the Ozu sisters off of them. This will be handled by a diversion team that is relying on the eldest Ozu sister’s electric abilities to lead them off the repair team’s scent. And every moment of this preparation seems to bring more problems and complications. First the pregnant chick gets more contractions and Taeko is super nervous about delivering the baby. Then the pregnant chick wants to bring the father of the baby along, who is some jerk from the 1st Division! And then they want to bring along all the livestock! Are they evacuating, or going on vacation?! I thought this was an urgent dangerous mission!?
More annoying than the pregnant chick and all her requests are her father, a jerk who is quick to complain and demand things, but doesn’t actually do anything himself, nor does he willingly give information. They’re embarking on a mission to fix a train powerline, and he seems to know a ton about electricity, but he won’t tell them anything! JACKASS! Though given the eldest Ozu sister’s powers, I have a feeling that she’ll be just as involved in getting that train moving as anyone – just my guess.
There are some positive overtones of needing to be helpful or necessary, as opposed to not actually being any of that. The robot No-sense is whining more and more about being left behind, and not actually being alive. But by the end of this episode, he’s decked out in mobile combat gear, thanks to Gennai. The old lady the girls saved early in the series makes another appearance, volunteering to walk Taeko through being a midwife. This came just as she was getting bored and about to leave the government facility she was staying at. The woman has apparently handled countless childbirths, and she couldn’t be more happy and alive to assist in another one. Even Aoi gets her ass out of that closet and joins the group, leading to a nice scene with everyone on Planet as they celebrate their last night at the facility.
This was purely a transitional episode, but not one without some entertainment value. It is interesting to see the team come together in the midst of all this death and stupidity to form a plan, and pull hope from the eventual jaws of death. It’s a rare moment of competency from this show. I do still find that show’s issues with drama and emotion aren’t shaken this far in the story though. There’s almost a soap opera-like amount of complication being added to the story at this point. And when it comes to stuff like No-sense’s problems with being left behind or never leaving the compound, I find that they come off as flat and weak in execution. Sure No-sense may say the things he needs to for us to consider him more human, but he just doesn’t do it. That voice, the crappy, quirky design of his, and the fact that no one really seems to care that much or notice him that much. Even Aoi, who ends up interacting with him a lot in the past two episode seems way more occupied with herself than his concerns. At least, they show that they listen by giving him an upgrade, but if he’s going to be the emotional x-factor for this show, then he’s failing. I feel nothing for that bucket.
I guess at this point, time alone will tell how this is all going to play out. There are threads I’d like more explored, like the initiation of the Coppelion program, the disaster’s prelude, and especially the whole clone aspect of the program, and the people chosen for it. I want to see that eerie moment when a clone comes across its original in this show. But sadly, none of that may be brought up. Right now, the show is firmly, firmly set on an action course, not a course full of exposition. So it will be interesting to see if this show makes time for it as the end of the show gets ever closer.
Ms. Monochrome desires props to be more like a popular idol. Almost gets sued for being a vocaloid who wants to use a leek as a prop (Miku Hatsune would rip out her voice box). Ms. Monochrome ends up working at a farm, reaching an enviable level of fulfillment. And again, she’s no closer to be more successful.
Well that was retarded. Ms. Monochrome seeks attention by being a race queen and ends up winning the race. Ms. Monochrome then ends up trying to climb mountains for attention. She ends up climbing Mount Olympus… you know, the one on MARS! Ironically, it’s very true what they say: in space, no one gives a damn what you do. OY! I don’t even know what to say here.
Uh… a flashback episode?
Apparently Ms. Monochrome and Kiku were rivals far in the past, until the aliens showed up and nearly wiped out humanity. Kiku proclaimed her and Monochrome eternal rivals before death. And Monochrome sat awaited for her to be reincarnated, eventually – ENOUGH!
I’m not explaining this! It’s ridiculous! Long story shot, we see how things come full circle for Ms. Monochrome, as she ended up following her idol path, even though her memories from the long ago past had faded. I guess I shouldn’t be upset at the show for trying to explain things, even if they were explained in the dumbest way possible.
Overall, I think I did a decent job catching up on a ton of missed anime this week. Getting sick and then going on vacation and having NO access to the internet for about four days really put a hurting on my anime watching schedule. It’s not like I’m complaining about being on vacation mind you. It was a hell of a lot of fun! It’s just not so fun to come back to a lot of work, coupled with the fatigue of driving many, many miles. In short I didn’t have the energy, nor opportunity to do much for awhile. I’m glad to make even this much progress, though I’m not done catching up, yet. So I’m sure you’ve noticed that I don’t have Valvrave on here this week. I didn’t have the time nor energy to catch up on it, though I will be caught up next week for sure. Also, I may have one or two extra series added to these posts as well, because I just can’t stop watching anime. So even this late in the season, you’re gonna see new series added to these posts.
As for the shows I’m caught up on in this post, Tokyo Ravens is hovering on the border of interesting and bland. If it doesn’t faff about too much, then I can see it being an entertaining series along the lines of Blue Exorcist. If it’s bland, then I’ll just shove the show into the purgatory that is “Shows I’ve watched once and will never watch again”. Coppelion, I’m learning, is just a bad show. Ironically, the show I thought it’d become is the show I’m somewhat craving now. All the attention to atmosphere and detail that I saw in the first episode seems gone now, replaced by action and forced nonsense and drama. I expected this show to be more reflective and descriptive. I want to know what the coppelion think of their environment. I want them to describe how it affects each and every one of their senses. But this show seems much more focused on humanity, than nature as a whole. And I’m not even impressed by what they’re doing with the humanity that they’re focusing on either. As for Ms. MONOCHROME, there isn’t much to say about such a short, dumb piece of fluff that the show is. That show needs either much sharper comedic writing, or a damned narrative. Because right now this short, predictable crap isn’t cutting it.
Well, that’s it for now. I’m just glad I made a deadline again, even if it means I had to cut a few corners. Next week, look forward to Valvrave, these shows and maybe one or two surprises. Now then, I’m gonna get some damn rest! This Thanksgiving food really takes a toll out on you! I need to take another nap…