AniFriday pt5 (December 6th 2013)
It feels good to get this done. I survived bad and inconsistent internet, no internet, bad holiday driving, and a list of chores responsibilities and errands, just so I could get a chance to watch these shows. It may seem a little too grand for the subject of watching anime weekly, but as a hobby, I take this surprisingly seriously.
Here are the shows I’ll be covering this week in order:
- Tokyo Ravens ep9
- Coppelion ep10
- Ms. MONOCHROME ep10
- Valvrave ep17
- Kyousougiga ep1
With a phase 4 spiritual disaster brewing, and several of the Twelve Divine Generals putting their efforts towards containing it, things get a little divided as the last remaining ogre on the loose decides to make a break for it into the city. It ends up being Jin’s responsibility to hunt it down. He summons his bike (which I didn’t even know was a familiar) and gets ready to head out when Natsume decides to tag along, too. She has a very good reason for doing so though. The ogre can’t seem to resist her dragon familiar’s sexy dragon scent, so it’s the perfect lure for something they’re trying to chase down.
As they head out, we see the rest of the plot slowly start to meld together. Touji has just awoken out of his punch induced coma, and finds the school’s principal by his bedside. She doesn’t waste any time informing him of the situation, in her own nice old lacy way, of course. Harutora’s dad (why do we never see this guy?!) has loosened the seal on Touji’s ogre, on orders from the old lady herself. The goal is to trust in the young man’s heart and skills in trying to tame the lethal ogre, and use it to help him as he becomes a skilled exorcist.
It’s an interesting idea, with plenty of risks. As she points out to him, one of the Twelve Divine Generals already harnesses the power of ogres for himself. Though his methods are much crueler than this one. Its the ‘Ogre Eater’ Renji Kagami, of course. He’s not necessarily the greatest of role models, but still he gives Touji a decent idea of what he may be capable of doing.
There are high hopes being placed upon him. And the old lady (I’ll remember her name eventually) has enough faith in Touji that she lends him one of the Tsuchimikado familiars, a brilliant horse named Yukikaze. Before Touji can leave though, he has one more moment as one of his fellow studens (Tenma?) funs up to him to give him Harutora’s staff. He tells Touji that he’s glad he’s able to see Touji again after the ogre incident, and look at him, and act normally around him. It’s a nice moment that helps remind Touji that he hasn’t lost all of his friends because of the ogre inside. He and Yukikaze then shook off into the air to help his friends.
Getting back to the chase for the giant ogre, Jin and Natsume are well on its tail, and look to capture it before it gets out of the large park, and into the city. But their efforts are hampered by the guy behind all these spiritual disasters, the sullen looking man known as Mutabe. Interesting that Jin recognizes him on sight. He’s forced to prioritize taking Mutabe down, and loaning Natsume his familiars, so that she can take down the ogre on her own. This is happening at the same time that they run into Harutora and Kon in the middle of the street. The crow familiars scoop up Harutora and place him on Jin’s bike with Natsume so they can all give chase.
The ogre has now made it just into the city, and Natsume won’t allow any more progress, as she sends her dragon familiar and Harutora after it to slow it down. Kon tries to help, too, but she just ends up getting swatted around comically. It doesn’t seem like they have enough firepower though to bring down the demon beast. That’s when Touji shows up in his ogre form, riding Yukikaze as tosses Harutora his staff, imbued with his ogre power. Their combined attack is enough to knock the ogre to the ground, where Natsume then vanquishes the ogre once and for all.
Hmmm. Not bad!
With the students enjoying their victory, eyes watch them from a distance. It’s the ‘Ogre Eater’, apparently the other spiritual disaster has been handled, and he’s taken notice of Touji’s ogre, wondering if it’s just an ordinary ogre, or the legendary one that was used during the spiritual disaster two years ago. Though his musings are caught by Ohtomo who threatens him while warning him that he may have cast several harmful spells on him while he wasn’t paying attention. Their little meeting is interrupted by Jin though, who reports that Mutabe killed himself during their battle. And HIS conversation is interrupted as well, by an even bigger event than anything that’s happened during the day so far. Ashiya Doman! Ashiya Doman has reappeared! And he rides right up to the kids after their victory and tells them that he’s impressed, but notes that they’re still young and naive. He anxiously awaits the day when they’ll switch to his side, and then he disappears – in a most dramatic and unnerving way.
The conspiracies and plots continue though, as the very last scene shows Ohtomo’s replacement receiving a talisman and thanking the dead Mutabe.
End of episode.
A nice conclusion to this mini arc. We’re given a peek at what these talented kids are capable of, at least as a team. And overall, the show does a good job of showing what it can do to entertain its viewers – to entertain us, as well. But the main point of this arc seems to be to show us and the students in this show that there’s still very much more to learn. Doman seems to be playing a very clever game with the old lady, using his pawns and his power from the shadows.
Well into this show now, and I can say that I’m entertained, though not impressed by this show. It seems to have decent characters, cool characters, adorable characters, and even one or two funny ones. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a well rounded action anime for boys and teens. It in no way reaches the level of today’s standards for excellent action animu (see: Hunter X Hunter, JoJo, Naruto and One Piece for that), however, this is a good starting point. Ironically, shows like this (if they last this long) don’t really get memorable or great until their third or fourth cour, or even later. So in the beginning, a lot of long running action anime based on manga and light novels have to set up all the building blocks, while still remaining exciting long enough to get the audience to the pay off. Naruto had some great moments, but didn’t really grab me until the second part of the Chuunin Exam. One Piece didn’t grab me for a long time, until the Strawhats clashed with Arlong and his Mermen.
The reason I’m saying all this, is to show that I’m willing to view this show on a slightly different, more extended scale than I would most anime. What I’m looking for here is not a complete show. In 13 to 26 episodes, I’m not looking to see any significant progress in the story. What I’m looking for are interesting characters, good action when it calls for it, and I’m closely judging the pacing of the show, since that is THE major problem for a show like this. When a show rips through its material too quickly, or ironically, tries too hard to not do that, it can lead to a very shallow, bland, pointless show (see: the Bleach anime).
Enough of that, I was entertained. And I can’t wait to see what happens next week in this show of conspiracies, demons, magic users and cross-dressers.
Nothing is ever simple in this world, is it? The plan is simple and laid bare to all involved, but circumstances and ability aren’t always calculable. Then again, I’m not terribly sure how well Ibara thought out this little plan of her’s. Regardless of my misgivings, the characters aren’t real and can’t here me; so it’s best that we get to a better subject.
The diversion team quickly sets out on their mission in an APC, first thing in the morning. And first thing in the morning they run into the Ozu sisters while going through town. The girls command the soldiers around them to shoot the vehicle, and when it passes by they see white smoke coming out of it, thinking they’ve damaged the vehicle. I don’t know how much any of you have with the military, or just military tech; but automatic rifle fire isn’t going to do jack to an APC. It’s whole purpose is to protect its cargo from that sort of thing. Shooting an APC with rifles is like throwing a grenade at a tank – IT DOESN’T WORK. Which is why I’m surprised the soldiers at least seemed to fall for it. All it really was was Ibara letting out white smoke from inside the vehicle to signal to the repair team that they can make their way to the substation and fix the power lines. Up to this point, it really does feel like Ibara’s plan is progressing incredibly well.
Meanwhile, super pregger Ibuki is well into childbirth, as her water has just broken. She’s of course with the repair team, as they make their way to the substation. It looks like it’s finally time for Taeko to shine, and do more than talk to animals.
Back at the park, Ibara, Haruto and Aoi have abandoned the APC because… reasons *ahem* – and decide to stall the Ozu sisters in their current location. Haruto as we’ve been shown previously, has been very busy, and deploys a new weapon he’s built to stall and confuse the Ozu sisters. Their little bombs (more like grenades) that have been shot up into the air and spread across the park. They emit electrical impulses that mimic those that people naturally give off. And while it does a good job initially of confusing the older electric sister, it ends up being horribly underused to point of uselessness here. Instead, the Ozu sisters get bored of the diversion and decide instead to head the girl off by going to a location they know they have to go through, surprisingly smart for these homicidal bimbos. To counter this, Ibara volunteers Nosense (I forgot for awhile that he was even tagging along with them) and Aoi to act as bait. Given Aoi’s horrible history with the twins, the two won’t be able to resist the girl they so relentlessly bullied during their time in school. And Ibara’s right, as both girls quickly give chase. It’s as if they’re stupid, or don’t even remember what they just said. Sheesh!
The diversion is quite successful until for some reason they stop on a pier, where Aoi hides in a pedal boat swan. This may have been reasonably smart, if not for the fact that a large treaded robot was standing right next to her boat. Once sniffed out, the younger Ozu sister wastes no time beating the hell out of Nosense, causing him some pretty bad damage (cosmetically at least). The infuriated Aoi finally gets the nerve to stand up to her nightmarish bullies after seeing her closest friend (they are both losers after all) in “mortal” danger. And how does she stand up to her aggressors? By flying.
FLYING?! Oh come on! Now I look like a complete fool for complaining about the older Ozu sister’s electric powers being too ridiculous! How advanced is the technology in this universe?! How on Earth are they going to explain the need to fly?! Hell, how are they going to scientifically explain this one? Does she float like Magneto, using magnetism to levitate? Does she have a devil fruit like Donquixote Doflamingo, and she just attaches magical strings to clouds to do it?! Ah! And the power isn’t even unique to her! The younger sister can fly, too!
*sigh* I must move on, or the rest of this post will be completely capitalized.
Moving on, we learn that the older Ozu can’t really participate in anything at the pier because of her electric powers. Carelessly used, her special ability could catch water and electrocute her – an ugly death to be sure. That leaves the younger sister to give chase, as both she and Aoi find swan paddle boats and take part in a slow and ridiculous chase scene.
In a different part of the park, Ibara and Haruto discover who is the father of Ibuki’s child when they see a group of soldiers discover one of their radios. One of the soldiers, lingers to listen to old lady Aoyama guide Taeko through Ibuki’s labor. Ibara is quite sure he’s the right guy. Though the time she takes to confirm it does get them all in trouble, as the older Ozu sister and the other soldiers discover them talking. The Ozu sister takes Ibara hostage to flush out Haruto, and when she does, he’s stripped of all his weapons and electrocuted just like she was. She expresses disappointment in her superior officer and his siding with humans. And Haruto expresses a surprising amount of tolerance for humans when he says that he just can’t help but support him, it’s in his genes. The rough encounter ends, when Ibuki’s lover takes a rifle butt to the Ozu sister’s head and helps them escape. In the meantime, Aoi’s chase with the other Ozu sister comes to an abrupt end when Nosense snipes her paddle boat from the side of the river, blowing her out of the water.
Back at the substation, the repair team is done with their work, but has run into a vexing problem. They’ve repaired the power line, but there’s not a bit of power being relayed. It has to be the substation, a collosal task for Gennai, but Ibuki’s father finally steps up to the plate saying he’ll fix whatever’s wrong at the substation. He admits that he’s worked at a power company before, no doubt the nuclear power plant that contaminated this entire region.
The repair team finally comes back together at an arboretum in the park. With Nosense showing up just in time to make up for crippling lack of firepower that Haruto’s loss of weapons has caused. Beating back their aggressors is only shortly celebrated though for two reasons. One the wind has steadily been picking up this entire time, shortening their deadline for fixing the power and escaping this city. Reason #2? The 1st Divison soldiers have a GIANT MECHA SPIDER CHASING THEM! Dude!
End of episode.
Alright, that was pretty good. Things moved along at a steady pace. And despite my shock at seeing one of the coppelion fly, it’s not something that I found too crazy, nor did it hurt my enjoyment at all. I did honestly laugh at some of Aoi’s scenes, especially the paddle boat swan chase. I had no idea the finale for this show was going to be so action packed. What I thought was going to be a heavy-handed, depressing and atmospheric romp through a poisoned hell (sounds pretty cool when I say it like that), has turned pretty much into Michael Bay’s The Rock. And right now I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I just know that this is the show presented to me now, and that I’m having some fun watching it. It’s not that shocking a turn, it doesn’t ruin the show for me, and it doesn’t make the show less genuine. It’s just not what I was expecting. And the silliness of this show and its drama has helped me lighten up on my criticism of the show. It almost makes me wish that this show’s atmosphere were more clearly defined in the beginning. There’s no need to dwell on it now I guess. It could be worse.
Looking towards the next episode, I can only imagine that someone’s death has to be on the way. Anime nowadays has a habit of killing off old people, as if they’re disposable shields. And Ibuki’s father looks like a prime candidate for the “death watch”. Another reason for my slight pessimism about lives being spared is that the wind seems to be a hungry beast, warming up for a vicious, poisoned charge to wipe out anything that’s living in the city. I guess you could say that in the end, the wind is the show’s Big Bad. Yes, that’s right. I’m blaming the wind for everything! I bet you the wind plotted it all from the beginning! He’s like Aizen from Bleach (yes, I just gave the wind a gender). He planned this year’s ago, and has a plot to overthrow the world’s balance for his own benefit. I bet you the wind is the Vice-Principal’s father!
OK, I’ve gone too far with my crackpot theories. Though if what I said was true; I’ll give this whole series a 10 out of 10!
When the hell did I start liking this show?! I guess when I’d heard the awesome ED theme about 20 times, and when it started featuring Mike Tyson and Hulk Hogan. So I guess I started liking it now! The funny thing is that this show isn’t funny. It’s just cute and wacky, and I guess that’s all I ask for in a show that runs about three minutes at a time. This time around, we see Ms. Monochrome take a liking to another aspect of idol life, the meeting and greeting of fans. What confuses me though isn’t that she decides to go back to her job and shake the hands of customers she mistakes for fans, it’s that some how this practice leads to professional sports! What the hell?! So we see her go through various sports, whooping ass and collecting belts along the way until she finally returns back to her job bedazzled in championship wardrobery.
This show is getting pretty damn exciting in its second half. There’s quite a bit being lost in this episode. But I think we’ve gained a stronger understanding of the overall situation.
On the JIORian side, Haruto is having a hell of a time dealing with the reality of a comrade’s death. With adorable little Marie now an empty husk devoid of intelligence or life, Haruto can’t seem to wrap his head around piloting a machine that’s so lethal and parasitic that it not only kills its opponents, but its own pilot. L-Elf is far too prepared and intelligent to let something like that go unnoticed, and he has his contingency for the problem. In the meantime, he informs the crew of their new alliance with the Dorsian loyalists, and anti-government faction from the old regime that wishes for them to take out a infamous sub in exchange for supplies.
On the Dorssian side, H-euns puts his own personal plans into work. His friend X-eins has been summoned by Cain to an infamous location that he’s heard no one returns from. Strangely enough, nobody in the show knows just how true those rumours are. All that H-euns knows is that he doesn’t trust Cain, and he knows he’s not human. So while the Valvraves fight off the military whie L-Elf and Haruto take out the sub, he ventures to meet Cain before his friend arrives there. This definitely one of those episodes that’s intimately connected on all sides, as we see both sides of the plot discover connecting ends of the same conspiracy. L-Elf and Haruto discover that Dorssia has been using runes themselves, harvesting them en masse on their subs for some purpose. H-euns infiltration has netted him the most key and damning of information. Not only does he discover that the person known as Cain isn’t the person he knew from before, but he even sees the leader of Dorssia, the Fuhrer in a almost catatonic state amongst the “alien vampires” we saw at the mid-point of this series. H-euns has connected the dots, but the fact that he knows all this information and that Cain is hunting him makes him already a dead man. His friend X is saved for the mean time, but he’s no longer a part of this series.
As for L-Elf and Haruto, they have another conflict, as Akira and Raizou are away on a mission to find Saki, they’re horribly short on Valvrave pilots. L-Elf quickly elects to have Akira’s older brother, Satomi pilot Unit 1 knowing full well at this point that any student from JIOR will be able to pilot a Valvrave. He’s already seen how disturbed Haruto was attempting to pilot Unit 1. He won’t have a whiny coward piloting Unit 1 any more when he can just rotate students in and out of the Valvraves more safely and reliably. Somehow, L-Elf lets Haruto pilot it anyway, though he warns him that he’ll use him up until he’s a husk like Marie. Haruto doesn’t care, preferring to be the shield to all the other students, rather than safely manage his own risks in the Valvrave, his complex about being a monster taking over again. And for now, it looks like once again Haruto’s “skill” and L-Elf’s intelligence have averted danger.
End of episode.
Details I didn’t cover in that extremely abbreviated synopsis were that A-drei is ex-royalty. X-eins and H-euns were quite close and Cain seemed to be a much more supportive guy in the past. Also, the alien vampire dudes seem to be not just lording over the human world, but leeching off of it and are poised to take over. It appears that the major leads of Dorrsia and the Alliance are now in their clutches, with their hosts poised to enter them. It really is a case of body snatchers here. And that gives another hint at why someone like Haruto has those powers. This is all leading me to believe that JIOR was using its highschool students to create fake alien vampires. But why the hell would they do that?!
As usual, when it comes to Valvrave I’m extra tired after watching an episode. I was hoping to watch more, a lot more (I’m a month behind). I heard some crazy stuff was happening (which says a lot about this already crazy show). For now, I’ll just end things on a hopefully optimistic note.
Note: I wonder if H-euns was recording that conversation the whole time he was with Cain? If you noticed, he did click one of the earrings on his left ear. I can only imagine it was for gathering some form of audio evidence.
Note 2: it seems to me that L-Elf is getting increasingly frustrated with his inability to pilot a Valvrave. He’s not used to being powerless, and it looks like its starting to eat away at him. Afterall, I can only imagine how annoying it must be to rely on a idealistic moron like Haruto.
Holy sh*t, I love this show! It’s so creative, imaginative, grand and beautiful! And there’s a tragic undertone to it all! I don’t know if I’m even able to fully grasp it on a first watch! It’s instantly one of the most fun things I’ve watched this year! I can see why it’s an aniblogger’s dream of a show. This show and Samurai Flamenco have received an amazing amount of acclaim, and while I can’t speak for the latter yet, the appeal immediately comes through for this show. There’s so much to take in and analyze! There’s so much imagery to wonder over. I kinda have a sensory overload going right now! I’m gonna try to word a synopsis for this, just to help me grasp what’s going on.
So there’s a reclusive monk with the ability to make his illustrations come to life. It’s an awesome ability, but not something the townsfolk embrace. Regardless, they leave the guy alone, after all he spends his days far away from people in the mountains above town.
All this peace and boredom is shattered though, is fated to be shattered when one of his illustrations comes to life on its own, a little black rabbit with red eyes. It still remains an illustration, but it watches him perpetually. The rabbit isn’t the only thing watching though, as a tapestry of of a buddha has been watching this whole time as well, and it sees the rabbit’s perpetual gaze, infatuation, and eventually love for the monk. She summons the rabbit to her dimension, offering her the chance to borrow the buddha’s beautiful body, so that she can have a chance to tell the monk she loves him. But once that is done, the black rabbit must return the body to the buddha. Why would such a deal be struck? Because the buddha specializes in seeing the future, and she believes that the little black rabbit’s confession will do him good eventually.
In a whirlwind storm of passion, the little black rabbit, whose name is Koto confesses her love, and hangs around with the monk, who eventually develops feelings for her as well. They eventually form a family, using his ability to bring drawings to life to make it so. He creates three children, and for a time they reside in the mountains happily and peacefully. But this is only for a time, it’s not happily ever after. Eventually the townsfolk complain about the monk’s strange family, and he’s given a warning to do something about them by the priests of the town. Koto comes up with the brilliant/crazy idea of going into the painted world that he’s created with his drawings. It’s agreed upon, and the family disappears into the painting, not to be bothered again by the discomfort of other people.
In the monk’s painted world, known as Kyoto, the Mirror City, it’s a virtual paradise. No one stays injured, nothing stays broken, as everything in the world is magic. For many, many years the family lives in peace, and everyone seems to be content with it. Well, everyone except for the family’s youngest child and son, Yakushimaru. While his siblings are content with life and its stability here, Yakushimaru’s human side nags at him over the strangeness and of this world and its never changing nature. In the meantime, Koto has been having ever more recurring nightmares involving the destruction of their happy little world. The reason for this is her fear over breaking her promise to the buddha. The monk is well aware of her fears, and they decide to do something rash about the problem. What is that rash thing? I have no idea! It just looks like they high tailed it out of the Mirror City, possibly never to be seen again, but the monk did leave Yakushimaru something, his beads, or a pair of beads. Again, I’m not terribly sure what they’re for. But they’re precious to Yakushimaru, who when he’s grown is called Myoue.
Things continue normally for hundreds of years, until a sudden lightning storm appears in town, centering around the city’s central tower. Myoue races to the tower, fearful what strange phenomenon is afoot. What he finds at the top is a mysterious girl with a hammer and pair of belligerent ghosts. The girl’s name is Koto, and she’s here to find – her guardian?
End of episode.
This show is like the definition of a fairy tale. It’s so fantastical, imaginative and ridiculous that it sucks you in almost instantly. None of it makes sense, and none of that matters. It’s all about being happy or not. That’s a fairy tale to me. Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned, but I won’t care if the ride to understanding it is as fun as this first episode.
Well, that’s it for me this week. I was honestly hoping to get more anime knocked out, especially Valvrave. But time constraints, and the energy to watch this anime made sure I couldn’t just power through that series.
Overall, it was a fun time though. Tokyo Ravens is consistently decent, with plenty of enticing strings attached to it, designed to draw the viewer into its world. Coppelion is getting more fun to watch as it spends less time being slow, overly dramatic and angsty. At this point, it’s almost just dumb fun to be had. Ms. MONOCHROME is a lesson in just not caring about what you watch, so much as finding the time to just relax and see something stupid. Valvrave may prove to be as entertaining as I started to hope it would be early in its run. And though it will never reach the heights of Majestic Prince in my opinion, it may still prove to be a memorable series in the end, for better or worse. And finally Kyousougiga, a show I was hoping to start watching on my off-time on vacation. It’s horribly overdue, but I’m glad I’ve given this show a shot. I’ve got insanely high hopes for this show already. That can’t be a great thing. Sheesh! How can I be stuck with an overabundance of pessimism and optimism?
- AniFriday pt4 (November 29th 2013)