Home > Episode by Episode > AniFriday pt6 (December 13th 2013)

AniFriday pt6 (December 13th 2013)


 

Man, it has been a tiring week.  It’s not easy for me to keep up with all this anime.  And I can’t help but think I’ve brought this upon myself.  I mean, if I would actually not f*ck around and watch everyone of these shows consistently every week, then I wouldn’t have to worry about these long tiring “catch up” sessions.  Then again, there’s something to be said about the joy of watching a show in spurts like this, as if I were renting an anime DVD from Blockbuster or the old local video rental place back at home.  Ah!  Memories!

For now, I hope you guys appreciate the effort and attention to detail I’ve put into watching and analyzing these shows.  At this point in the season, and the year, I’m really learning to appreciate what has been a very interesting year of anime.  A surprising year.   And maybe even in this post here, that only covers mediocre to average anime I’m currently watching could have moments that are memorable, or that perhaps will last and reverberate forever throughout anime history.  It’s unlikely as hell, but it could happen.

This week I’ll be shaking up things a bit by adding manga to this AniFriday post, because… well because “why not?”  The name AniFriday doesn’t really mean anything, I can barely get these out on time, and I’m pretty damn sure someone’s already using the name Manga Monday somewhere.

Here are the series I’ll be covering in order of appearance:

  • Valvrave eps 18 – 21
  • Ms. MONOCHROME ep11
  • Tokyo Ravens ep10
  • Coppelion ep11
  • Naruto ch657 & 658
  • One Piece ch729 – 731
  • Bleach ch560 & 561

If anyone knows a way for me to link to different sections within a blog post to make this quicker, I’d appreciate it.  For now, enjoy the presentation!

Valvrave

Episode 18

The trend of sh*tty parents in anime continues. I’ve been trying to ignore the parallels between this show and Gundam SEED for awhile, and it’s not easy. All this talk of ultimate beings, neutral countries, kids taking up arms for themselves, and even some of the Valvrave designs remind me of SEED in ways. Though I will give Valvrave credit for at least having more passionate relationships than SEED. For all the political maneuvering, violence and wacky pseudo-science that permeates this show, it looks like romance\love may be the factor that truly determines this show’s direction. After all, doesn’t this whole show basically revolve around L-Elf anyway?

The main thing we learn in this episode is that the parents of the children of JIOR sold their kids out to science before they were even born. In their quest to save JIOR citizens before leaving to go back to the Moon, Haruto and the other discover some of their parents. And what a surprise, we learn that the main pilot character’s parent is a sh*tbag that only cares about their job/science. It’s almost like anime is telling us that you can’t be outstanding unless you have sh*t parents. It’s a cruel, but not unexpected truth to learn that all the JIORan children have been manipulated to be these “ultimate beings”. Haruto of course sees it as a curse, and is appalled at his predatory nature towards normal humans, while his dad sees it as nothing more than the natural order of things. Haruto isn’t so much a child to him, as a living manifestation of his life’s work. That’s why I’m sure Haruto’s old man is pretty bummed out that his life’s work wants to destroy his life’s work.

As for L-Elf, the royalists have unknowingly lead him back to the woman of his dreams (his haunted, haunted dreams), the tortured loli we’ve been seeing throughout the series is in town, and when he learns this he makes a line straight for her. Now that he has New JIOR, he has a place to her take her away to, unlike his last attempt three years ago.

It seems that Dorssia has a very interesting history, and I’m enjoying learning more about it. But it’s not like anyone’s on vacation here. From the looks of it, it’s time to go for everyone who wants to leave Dorssia. I’m now just wondering how many will actually make it.

Now that this show is relinquishing some of its secrets, I’m liking it more and more.  It’s still a terrible show, but at least there’s enjoyment to be had.

Note: if I don’t start seeing more Saki soon (and I don’t mean in that little boy’s body either), I’m going to start to get pissed.

Episode 19

This show isn’t holding back on the deaths of little girls or grunt soldiers.  And to see an episode where it actually looks like L-Elf is going to die is something to take note of.  Add to that the fact that we finally get some real answers to some of the show’s biggest questions, and I can say I was a very happy camper watching this episode.  It did have some minor faults, and I am sad that the cute little girl that was the love of L-Elf’s life had to die so suddenly.   But none of that ruined or lessened the entertainment I was having.

Things are interesting now too.  You have to imagine that with the Magius totally revealed to the major parties in this story, that L-Elf and Haruto will make an attempt at them as soon as is possible.  That is of course unless the Magius come after them first.  And then there’s Saki, stuck alone with A-Drei I wonder what part she’s going to play now?

Anyway, so far so good.  I think I’m finally getting what the point is of much of the story and its elements.  The Magius are alien body snatchers and vampires that don’t have bodies of their own.  JIOR highest echelon has known of them for a reasonable amount of time now, and have used their latest generation of kids to try to breed an immortal hybrid race with their technology and genetics.  The big problem in the show, is that the Magius aren’t content with coexistence from the shadows.  As their power grows, they seek to overtake and control humanity in totality not just from an Illuminati-like position of power, but through the totality of human existence.  L-Elf has just lost his lady love (a woman he’s spent all of a few hours in his lifetime with), and is probably a bit unstable right now.  Haruto has just recently learned the origins of his immortal vampire body, and is himself determined to completely crush the entrie system.  It seems he and L-Elf may finally be in the same boat and on the same page once L-Elf overcomes his grief.  And in the meantime, everyone has to worry about Dorssia (now decidedly under the control of the Magius) attacking Module 77 and their pals on the Moon in New JIOR.

Got it?  I hope so because I’m sure that from here out most of this stuff is just going to get more complicated and bloody.

Episode 20

To.  Sh*t.  That’s what’s happened and is happening to Shoko’s plans, and the hopes of New JIOR.

For a short while, things have been looking up for our cast of immortal pilots and students.  They were able to at least repel one of the Phantom ships that was stalking their home on Module 77, the scientists had returned to see the students, in turn uniting some parents with their children.  The additional benefit then being the they were able to see the Valvraves and give them an upgrade in sortie longevity.  And while the Valvraves were gone, Shouko and the rest of her diplomats were hard at work turning the tide of public opinion in their favor.  Their efforts had turned out well enough that they even got 80+ countries to condemn the Dorrsian attack on them.  It seems like a “duh” moment, but in the world of international politics, getting people to agree on what is right and wrong is not a simple, nor easy thing.

The problem is that their one little mistake has come back to haunt them terribly.  Leaving Saki behind has given Dorssia the opportunity to erase all their work and public image in one stroke.  By publicly executing Saki, only to then show her wounds heal and her revive; they’ve damned trust in New JIOR irreparably.  It’s a terrible position for Shouko to be put in, as she didn’t even know about these abilities.  There’s a lot of clean up needed.  And that’s if it’s even possible to clean up this sort of mess.

There are plenty of loose threads that spell bad news for New JIOR as well.  It seems that the Magius hierarchy has gotten tired of them, and is making a play to get rid of them once and for all.  And Shouko’s faux execution can’t be the end of that plan.  Then there’s the mysterious disappearance of the scientists that have just arrived on Module 77.  Even the reporter that came to interview everyone has gotten a hell of a tip off as to the violence that is incoming.

And all this comes at the worst of times, as Haruto is focusing his sword at the Magius and Phantom, an enemy he can’t even currently see, let alone track.  And L-Elf is still deep in mourning (in his own way) over Liselotte’s death.  New JIOR’s sharpest sword is blunted, and its sharpest mind is foggy with regret.  It seems as though Haruto is just stuck in limbo, while L-Elf is just content to die.  And I get the feeling that if they don’t get theirselves together soon, there are going to be a lot of dead bodies soon.

There does seem to be some pieces of hope though.  Dorssia has suddenly become quite unstable thanks to the fighting between the military and the Valvraves.  And H-Neun’s earrings were salvaged, including the one to his good friend X-Eins that has Cain’s traitorous words recorded on them.  The main hope here has to be that Dorrsia, or at least parts of it will lose enough faith in its leadership that they decide to help New JIOR, or at least become enough of a distraction that they benefit the Valvrave pilots and leadership in some way.  Other than that, it looks like this story’s heroes are mere steps away from being checkmated by the Magius.

Episode 21

That was a sh*t storm and a bloodbath wrapped in a genocide!  Holy crap!  I’m regretting everything I was saying in the previous episode.  The Magius were far closer to their checkmate than I thought.  It’s known at this point that both the Dorssian Fuhrer and the ARUS president are under Magius control (or are actually Magius), and here we see them work in perfect unison after Cain’s plan went through.  Everything executed (no pun intended) so perfectly that I had trouble figuring out just who exactly was in on the deception.

First off, we see the reporter that was interviewing the students before “mysteriously” pop into a Phantom ship full of people being drained.  What is live broadcast to the entire planet is gripping scene of people (including the missing scientists) being drained of their runes into a vegetative state.  This sends everyone, including all the diplomats at the meeting between New JIOR and ARUS into a panic.  The students who don’t know about the Valvraves’ “side effects” are puzzled and turning on each other, the ARUS people are scared and panicking, and the ARUS president takes advantage of this to instigate a purge.  Soon soldiers are gunning down any and every student they can find.  Whether fleeing or pleading, bullets planted in them.  It’s a massacre that brought back not too fond memories of the End of Evangelion movie.  Though I think this episode might have been more violent than the infamous movie itself!

The immediate plan is to get all the living students they can off the module and on to ships to escape the newly allied militaries of Dorrsia and ARUS via a nearby mass driver.  And the plan goes reasonably well until the last of the three ships gets to the mass driver and is damaged, slowing down its time to launch significantly.  The crew turns on Shouko when they’re hailed by the ARUS president offering safety if they hand over Haruto.  And they definitely go through with it, despite Shouko’s pleas.  Haruto is hailed and comes to help the students and is ambushed.  When he’s shot, Shouko runs to his side only to be shocked when he comes to life.  The combination of the ignorance to the Valvrave’s abilities, the deception of the Phantom, and the fact that Haruto has just lost a very specific and important memory along with his recent revival all combine to turn Shouko completely against him, doubting his very identity.  Poor Haruto and even L-Elf are shoved into a capsule and sent right into the arms of a Dorrsian mech.  Shouko then tells the Valvraves to stand down and give up.  UGH!  This scene gave me bad memories of a similar one in Code Geass R2, where Lelouch’s allies betrayed him.

All would have been lost if not for Kyuuma, who would not sit back and let this failure to happen.  It’s his leadership that protects the shuttle Shouko’s on when the ARUS president betrays them.  And it’s his efforts that save Haruto and L-Elf at the cost of his life.  The guy died determined to not see Shouko and Haruto’s romance end that way.  And he had one of the better deaths (perhaps the best) that I’ve seen this year.

DAMN!  Just when I was praising him for being a solid and supportive character!  I should’ve known he’d die the “senpai’s death”.  Hell, everyone was calling him senpai when he died!

I gotta say that despite the massive amounts of stupid this show seemed to rely on, this was a memorable and somewhat infuriating episode.  I can’t complain too much about how the kids of New JIOR did though.  They had practically no leadership or protection or training for this situation.  There’s no way anyone should have suspected them to act rationally under these circumstances, and it’s pretty much a miracle they’re not all dead.   Though most of them are dead.  This was a perfect deception in the waiting the entire time.  The trip to Earth may have netted the show’s protagonists more info, but in exchange for that and some scientists  they raised the ire of the Magius and gave them the perfect instrument of destruction.  The distrust and chaos that her exposure caused shook the security of New JIOR to its core.  There’s nothing left now.  And to be honest, they sort of deserved this.

YES, I’M BEING THAT *SSHOLE.

The leadership of JIOR was genetically engineering immortal students that would feed on humans for survival and power.  They did this in secret, they gave them weapons, and they sacrificed their own children for this aim.  And there’s no telling what was actually desired by those in power.   Sure, Haruto’s dad says they just attached weapons to the Valvraves for military funding, but that doesn’t mean the military wouldn’t do this to rule the world.  The world of Valvrave of all worlds seem to be one where you can’t trust or rely on adults for sh*t!  I’d say that Dorssia was almost justified in their invasion.  It’s understandable if you think about even a portion of the information the higher-ups might have been given.  And though it sucks that the students, the most victim of victims in this case have to suffer, there was almost no way to avoid this.

I was amazed at the level of violence in this episode.  I know to a lesser extent that it had already been shown in this show, and that the students were easily and brutally killed (who can forget the gas attack).  But this seemed to be on another scale of hopelessness, brutality and intimacy.  It’s hard to see where the remaining students go from here.  The entire world is against them, and they don’t have much in the way of ammunition or protection.  Even the Valvrave machines can only do so much.  And there’s going to have to be time for honesty among what’s left of the group.  The secrets are no longer secrets, and there’s a lot that has to be explained by those that are left.  A choice will have to be made by those that are left.  Will they stay human, or take the benefits that come with entering a Valvrave?

Ms. MONOCHROME

Episode 11

Wow!  It’s starting to look like Ms. Monochrome not only has ambition, but is finally learning how to properly apply it!  Too bad she still doesn’t know how to handle the nuances of going about her tasks though.

Here we see our little wanna-be famous android undertake the important task of auditioning for jobs.  It’s the down and dirty part of the business where you have to apply yourself and really try to impress someone else in order to convince them to take part in their valuable project.  First we see her audition for the role of a food reporter – sounds exciting!  And over and over again we see how the other girls fail miserably at their tasks.  And this is where Ms. Monochrome’s nature comes into play.  She’s able to describe the ramen placed in front of her in excruciating detail, but because she’s an android she cannot actually ingest or taste the food. It’s an oversight that should get someone punched in the face, and she’s disqualified because of it.  Her next undertaking is auditioning for the role of a health conscious chef and dietitian.  It’s a very nice job.  But once again her nature helps and fails her, as her robotic skills manage to put together a beautiful meal, that unfortunately tastes like garbage.

It looks like this whole endeavor will be an abject failure, until she gets a role strangely suited to her needs.  She’s able to use her robotic pyrotechnics to manage a light show on a romantic night.  It has nothing to do with idol work, and no one can even see her from behind the trees and bright lights, but it seems she’ll at least help some people get laid.

Tokyo Ravens

Episode 10

Ah!  The beginning of a new school year in the world of Tokyo Ravens!  Fresh beginnings!  New starts!  Interesting new characters who you’re anxious to learn if they’ll be mean, nice or neutral the main character!  Do many new possibilities!  All hail the entrance of the new character!  Say hello to the lovely –

Suzuka Dairenji?!

Are you kidding me?!  She’s not a new character!  She’s a returning psychopath!  She tried to raise the dead and I though she killed several government shaman (though those deaths were never confirmed on-screen)!  She should’ve been executed a long time ago!  And now she’s roaming the school as the academy’s class representative for the new freshmen?  Oh this is leniency if I ever saw it!

Anger placed aside, whether you love her or hate her, Suzuka Dairenji is the focus of this entire episode.  And she wastes little time reminding us, Harutora, Natsume and Touji that she hasn’t been mind wiped, nor has she forgotten anything.  She’s still the same entitled, angry, testicle threatening b*tch she was before.  She casually but quickly begins making trouble for Harutora by outing him as her first kiss, a kiss that was stolen mind you.  And that lone act sends the entirety of the student class into a frenzy that haunts him for the remainder of the episode, and possibly the remainder of the season.

Moving past the annoying highschool hijinks, there is a reason why Suzuka is here after all.  She has been given a second chance with probation, and been sent to this school for reeducation.  Though there is a seal place on her abilities for the three years she attends this academy.  Though she’s not exactly declawed.  Natsume is terrified that she’ll be seen by Suzuka and exposed seeing as how she was clearly fighting the talented girl in a priestess outfit months ago, but she parades around the school in the guise and uniform of a male now.  In the end, it appears she’s merely a target of Suzuka’s, and her real identity won’t be exposed just yet.

The real conflict is within Suzuka.  She still feels guilt over killing Harutora’s familiar, an even that was clearly traumatic to him.  And things are cleared up when he invites her to eat together at a fast food place after school.  There they air out their differences, and Harutora maturely and carefully handles the position with her by forgiving her and being honest.  He reveals to her that his familiar was being remotely controlled by someone, so it isn’t actually dead.

I’m interested to see how Suzuka fits into the overall narrative.  Right now, she appears to be being positioned as an ally.  She’s still arrogant as ever, but clearly repentant over her actions to try and resurrect her brother, and she felt terribly about how she hurt Harutora.  And if it weren’t for her persistent threats to cut off Harutora’s balls, I might find her a more comforting personality to have around.

Before I forget, there was a new character who showed up this week that was actually Harutora’s senior.  A sort of presence-less character whose name I never caught, she seems to have a fondness for Kon.  Other than that there’s not much to say about this episode.  It was cute, gave us an update on a character that could have been gone forever from the narrative, and adds another dimension to the high school idiocy of the show.

Coppelion

Episode 11

I’m rooting for this show.  Amazingly, I want Coppelion to have a good ending.  In these final episodes, its homestretch, its hitting home on the values that it so poorly tried to convey early in its run.  I’m feeling the emotion, the frustration and the pain in this series as I see these last survivors and the Coppelion really give their all to survive even when they’ve literally been abandoned by their own government.  And the show doesn’t hold back on the obstacles.  The amount of roadblocks the protagonists have had to conquer to get to this point has really been overwhelming.

I’m disappointed in how terribly obvious Haruto’s death was telegraphed.  There was really no reason for Ibara to feel that sense of dread other than the fear the writers put into her, but Haruto at least did every last thing he could to help before he expired.  And it’s nice to see Aoi actually be useful in this show.  It really is such a rare thing.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that she has as overwhelming a power as she has.  Even the head of the 1st Division surprised me.  I can understand his hate, even if it is wrong.

As exciting and entertaining as this episode was, I’m gonna hold back my thoughts for the next and final episode.  I’m quite surprised that I really made it this far.

New Entry: MaNGa!

Trying something new this time.  I’m gonna see if I can squeeze in some manga related talk into this already massive post.  Don’t worry, if I like this it will be adjusted and improved in presentation and scope.  If I don’t like it, it will disappear quickly.

Naruto

Chapters 657 & 658

It’s all about Madara all the time.  Even for someone as strong as Madara, a man with literally only one peer, he’s still steamrolling his opponents at a ridiculous rate.  What previously would have been a nightmare scenario for the entire ninja world, the combined force of all the tailed beasts, is now a mere demonstration of how powerful the Naruto world’s ultimate villain is.  I find this a tad ridiculous, but Madara’s plotting  is being appropriately rewarded.  Even his staunchest foe and rival, Hashirama Senju is reduced to merely melting into his hands and merging with him.

One Piece

Chapters 729 – 731

I don’t know if all the insanity in this arc is a good thing or a bad thing.  On one hand, the hype behind this arc (especially in chapter 730 with the arrival of Big Mom) is so amazing and bloated and sudden, that I had trouble not shaking in my seat from excitement.  On the other hand, there are so many pieces and subplots and characters, that I worry about even a proven talent like Oda bringing it all together in a timely and sensical manner.  I don’t know if I’ve seen this much insanity and name dropping since the siege of Navy HQ (that really is one of my favorite arcs ever illustrated).  So it’s a little overwhelming right now.

My fears put aside, this arc really is improving and finding its direction.  I was worried early on that this would be too quick and messy of an arc, but I’ve really come to enjoy how dark and tragic and chaotic it has been.  Usually when the Strawhats win, they win big.  If everything goes as they hope, this will be their biggest victory ever.

Bleach

Chapters 560 & 561

Allow me to congratulate Bleach on at least putting together what appears to be a good, exciting fight.  This Quincy is a unique and strange one, I was not prepared for his professional wrestler gimmick, nor the ridiculous danger he would be to the shinigami.  So far he’s taken out a badass lieutenant and two captains in pretty surprising and brutal fashion, even though both of the captains looked pretty badass in their attempts to take him down.  That’s huge!  And all that just turned out to be hype for his eventual confrontation with Renji – who looks cool as sh*t!  He’s obviously powered up a lot in his training with God.  I really do hope this is the long awaited payoff to cool characters like him and Rukia being fodder for some many, many chapters.  I’ve liked both of them since Bleach’s earliest days.  It’s only fitting that they get a chance to shine in this last arc.

Well that was a lot of work, I probably bit off more than I could chew by trying to finish all this material by Friday.  But it looks like it was all worth it.  I won’t say anything I saw this week was particularly memorable, aside from that slaughter of kids in Valvrave (which I don’t really want to remember).  I will say that I had a lot of fun with all the manga I got a chance to read (a rare thing); the Valvrave mini marathon was quite entertaining, as I believe the show is really proving how entertaining it can be; and that I’m pleasantly pleased by Coppelion’s progress up to this point.  It was always apparent from the beginning why they would hold that show’s release back in the wake of the somewhat recent nuclear disaster, but these last couple of episodes have really hammered on government cowardice, greed and incompetence, along with an institutional crisis in safety management.  It’s so grating that I’m almost surprised the production wasn’t scrapped totally by the government.  Here’s to hoping that art will continue to be allowed to tell its story and reflect real life in the coming future.  In the end, I do feel like Coppelion (average anime or not) will be good cautionary tale of what can happen when humanity gets both ambitious and lazy.  But I’m down preaching for now.  I appreciate all those that have stuck around through this extended weekly post.  And I hope you come back again next week.

Have a good one!

Further Reading:

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  1. December 14, 2013 at 13:12

    Man I don’t know how you manage to keep up with all these series. Aces man!

  2. Iron Maw
    December 15, 2013 at 22:42

    Just quite note, Suzuka didn’t kill any of the government agents, just stole their spiritual energy for the ritual. That’s probably what help lessened her punishment.

  1. December 19, 2013 at 23:26
  2. January 9, 2014 at 03:08

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