Home > Episode by Episode > AniFriday Issue #8 (Janurary 3rd, 2014)

AniFriday Issue #8 (Janurary 3rd, 2014)


Happy New Year guys!  The year of 2013 is behind us, and it’s time for everyone to move on to bigger and better things.  Well that’s the idea at least.  In truth, it takes effort to move forward and dump the baggage you’ve become so comfortable with.  Even a burden can seem like a welcome comfort when it’s all you know.  The easy thing about this medium and the commitment to it is that you don’t have to stick with anything.  The same applies to me.  I could dump a series at any point, though I do make it harder for myself by believing there’s some sort of commitment that comes with watching a series.  That’s a reason why some of these shows on AniFriday have kept getting commentary and coverage.  It’s silly, but that’s why right now, I’m especially happy to dump some burdens.

On the flip side of that commitment, I’m going to attempt to have more diverse coverage of manga in these posts as well.  So I hope all that are reading enjoy the small extra bit of commitment I’ve given to these manga.  Not just shounen and seinen, but shoujo, sports, josei, fantasy and maybe yuri will hopefully all get representation at some point.  Think of it as a sort of New Year’s resolution for AniFridays.  Now then, let’s get started on 2014.

Tokyo Ravens

Episode 12

I’m not totally sure that the tiger is actually Harutora’s spirit animal.  It seems that he’s got a tortoise watching over him.  That’s right.  Slow and steady eventually gets Harutora to the finish line, or in this case it gets him to understanding that Natsume has been stalking/crushing on him the entire time.  But I guess we’re putting the cart before the horse here.  There’s an actual plot going on here aside from this ever complicated bit of love geometry going on in the show now.

This episode takes place outside of Tokyo, as the students of Onmyo prep are escorted to a training camp.  Harutora and Natsume are gleeful on the trip, as whatever intense spiritual exercises they’ll be partaking in, they won’t be nearly as torturous as what they’ve had to endure the past couple of weeks under Suzuka’s care.  Too bad for them that the rabid little tsundere is there and waiting, apparently invited along for the trip by their homeroom teacher.

The camp itself isn’t bad, as the students learn to master manipulating simple familiars for everyday tasks.  Harutora of course sucks at it, while Natsume of course excels, mostly.  Things don’t start really moving until Touji shows up late to the camp.  He’s been with Harutora’s dad, getting the seal on his ogre adjusted.  And when he returns, he has a lot of business to take care of.  First he confronts Suzuka privately, asking if she recognizes the ogre he turns into, since it was the one that her father (who was head of the terrorist attack two years ago) used in the past.  Though what he really wants is an alliance with her to help protect Natsume from the Yakou devotees that hound her.  The proposal falls apart though when Suzuka sees the devotion Harutora has for Natsume, as Touji’s proposal of having Suzuka perform experiments to see if Natsume is the actual reincarnation is utterly rejected by him.  It’s a shame too, because it looked like Natsume was seriously considering it.

The conversation is overheard by their teacher, who ends up talking to old lady Miyo through her cat familiar.  They discuss the Raven Coat that the kids wanted to use for their first experiment, and a rumour he overheard about the one inside the prep school being a fake.  This seems to get the old lady’s attention.  And it’s not a good reaction either.  This is compounded when she hears cryptic news from Harutora’s father that she has “shadows in her stars”.  Perhaps that means that there’s a spy or (another) turncoat hiding within the school.

The next day, Natsume is left pondering her situation, as the conversation she overheard between Suzuka and Kyouko has made her ponder more seriously her relationship with Harutora.  Touji pushes her to confess her feelings, but that seems like an unlikely leap of courage for her.  Meanwhile, Kyouko is being too nosy and too much of a busybody again, and is confronting Harutora.  She blames him (which is true) for Suzuka rejecting their offer of an alliance.  Things get weird when Suzuka runs in to shut her up and goes on about how Harutora is still in love with whoever the person was controlling Houkuto.  Kyouko comes to the conclusion that if that’s the case, then only Natsume would be capable of such a thing.  Harutora quickly rejects that though, saying that it wouldn’t make any sense since Natsume’s a guy (not really), and has no motive to do such a thing.  That afternoon, on the bus heading back to Tokyo, Harutora does finally take notice of the ribbon Natsume wears around her hair.  The same ribbon Houkuto promised she’d kiss him for….

End of episode.

Not bad.  If I have to deal with the high school hijinks, I’d much rather it be handled in this way.  I have to really love a show to put up with nonsensical garbage and goofiness, and Tokyo Ravens is not at that point for me.  Here, much more of the episode if focused on not just the plot, but in the development of relationships amongst the cast.  We’re actually see the group of people who actually spend most of their time together, start to come together to deal with a common problem.  The freaks and zealots that haunt Tokyo now, seem to mostly have an interest in Natsume and her perceived connection to Yakou.  And after the crap that happened at their schools last practical test in Tokyo, it’s not surprising that Touji would see the need to go about things more intelligently.

What I’m now wondering, is where is exactly did Touji get this idea from?  Did it just organically pop into his head, or is there an influence behind him (Harutora’s dad or old lady Miyo)?  I’ll guess  time will tell.  There’s still so much more to worry about in this show, that I can’t really focus too much on a bunch of kids playing Survivor.

Ms. MONOCHROME

Episode 13

Well that’s cute, if not much of anything else.  It’s pretty bad when a Christmas miracle is needed to get someone ahead, but you can’t complain well the mysterious benefactor is Santa Claus.  It’s so creepy how he goes about all this, too!  Some old man just shows up, lifts up an apron to tell her that she’s going to get a CD deal!  Who does that?!  Ever?!  Ms. Monochrome, being the most naive thing ever created of course takes him up on his offer, and her manager couldn’t be happier with this big break, too.

It’s amazing!  She records, gets a photoshoot and even gets CDs printed in a real factory.  All because this old guy just thought her hard work deserved to be rewarded.  The whole crazy ride culminates with our prospective idol doing an impromptu performance in the middle of a shopping square.  And though she does a good job, it appears she goes unnoticed aside from the eyes of her manager and her Roomba pet.  But she does hear clapping when done.  One little girl was impressed with her performance and decided to cheer for her.

Everything ends that Christmas Eve, as her and her manager vow to work harder towards reaching her goal of becoming a super-idol.  All while Santa Claus (the old guy who helped Monochrome to begin with) flies overhead on his present dropping route.  It’s a pretty cute episode, though I found it far from moving.  And that could pretty much sum of my view of the show as well.

Coppelion

Episode 13

The ending for this series was quite a bit more open-ended and uplifting than I was expecting.  Still, that doesn’t make up for this series being not very good sometimes and bad at others.  Click on the link below to get the full review on this series.  I’m done now, and wash my hands of it.

Valvrave

Episodes 23 & 24

I plan on doing a full review of this series in time, hopefully once I’ve knocked out all of my End of Year Faffery posts for 2013.  For now, I’ll just say that this show has done well to leave an impression, both for better and worse, on the anime community.  I suppose my only disappointment with this series is that it failed to be incredibly good or bad show.  That is to say that I fear that it may not be memorable with the passage of time.  Sure, there are great and terrible moments sprinkled throughout the series.  But as a whole, will it be remembered when people think about the year 2013 in anime?  That somewhat weak ending certainly doesn’t help its case.

Bleach

Chapter 563

GEEZUS Superstar! Die already! It’s like Kubo thought Majin Buu was
an awesome idea and put him in this manga, but made him a luchador to
different. I don’t mind heroes being tested, but this is just
ridiculous. I’ve spent the last five chapters of this manga just
being dumbfounded by this guy. I don’t even care to know how his
power works any more! Just die so we can move on with the plot!

One Piece

Chapter 733

Oh man! It looks like it’s curtains for Rebecca’s dad, Mr. Soldier.
We’re getting ever more flashbacks, and that’s a generally a bad sign.
Top that with the fact that he’s leading a super dangerous mission,
and he’s falling apart, and you can see where I get my pessimistic
feelings from. Before Ace’s death, I would have never pegged this as
an arc that could end badly, but after that I’m not so sure who is
going to die.

The Class D battle has ended in a mess. WTF happned? Did a puff of
smoke just come in and give everyone a heartattack.? I’m betting on
Suleiman standing up from all of this, he just seems like someone
whose story needs more telling.

Also a small note: Good God those fairies are strong! That’s freaky!

Naruto

Chapter 660

Well, it looks like Madara’s wasting little time in absorbing all the
tailed beasts. Even as he attempts to wrestle Kurama and Gyuuki away
from their jinchuuriki (effectively killing Naruto and Killer Bee),
but he’s even going about absorbing Shukaku whie he’s doing it. It’s
almost like he’s trying to win a tug of war while eating! And the sad
part is that it doesn’t look like he’s having any trouble doing it.

It may sound bad, but you have to admire the strength and
determination of Madara at this point. He’s effectively ressurected
from the dead, and yet he using this new found gift and power without
a moment’s hesitation and to full effectiveness. With every new
development, he appears to grow stronger, while the best of the Ninja
Alliance appears to weaken. It’s getting to the point now where it’s
like the the shinobi fighting against Madara are trying to stay above
a rising water level. And it looks like a lot people are about to
“drown” at this rate.

I didn’t forget about Shukaku and Gaara though, I like how we get a
little backstory to Shukaku here. Even though it’s a clear sign that
he is about to fall, it’s nice to see some reconciliation and closer
between the jinchuuriki and the tailed beast that haunted him so.
There’s respect there between the two parties. And that’s touching.

Umi no Misaki

Chapter 1

I should have paid more attention, rather than just admiring the panel
work. But the plot basically so far is that some dude decides to
sightsee at some island. Runs into a pretty girl who offers to show
him to a beautiful spot on the island that even the locals don’t go to
very often. While admiring the scenery, a gust of wind (those are
very active on this island) blows the hat off the guy’s head. Since
the girl loaned it to him so her could better cope with the sun and
heat, he goes to get it, but ends up falling off a cliff. He slowly
sinks into the ocean, only to be saved by the girl.

There’s something fishy going on that I can’t quite place. The girl
he meets saves him, which is a pretty amazing feat since the boy
himself seemd to have been knocked out by the impact, yet she dives
down there and drags him to shore. She’s already shown herself to be
in pretty good shape, as she was able to scale the hill that lead to
the cliff pretty easily. I had however chalked that up to her being a
native that was used to exertion, while he was a city slicker who was
more used to walking sidewalks.

I picked this manga totally at random, so I have no idea what genre it
fits into, nor what tropes to expect. I like to go in blind to most
of material so I can get a solid, genuine reaction. It think it’s the
most fair way to go into a series and judge it. So far, I can’t say
that I’m terribly interested, but that’s because the show has done so
little to reveal any of its cards. Is it pervy? Very slightly, and
only in the way you would expect from the most bland and average anime
or manga. Is it a mystery? It certainly is to me. I honestly don’t
know what’s the point of any of this? Is it a romance? Could be.
The guy seems to be interested in the girl at least, but just because
she’s even slightly nice to him doesn’t mean anything romantically.

It’s rare that I leave the first chapter of a manga with such a
neutral response. I still like what I see, but it doesn’t really
merit much of a response, yet.

Teppu

Chapter 1

This woke me up quite nicely. It’s a pretty simple first chapter, but
it strikes the right cord. Here we have a chick who is incredibly
talented at anything she does physically. A natural athlete amongst
athletes. To everyone around her, her talent and attitude torwards it
portrays her as arrogant. Inside her own mind though, she’s just
lonely and bored. I’ve seen characters like her before, but I don’t
think I’ve sen them as the main character in anything so “active”
before.

The real kicker for this episode comes when she meets the girl who
will change her life. That girl (eyebrows so thick that I thought she
was a dude) and one other are attempting to start a mixed martial arts
club, and something about lil’ Miss Thick Brows pisses our main
character off. They end up sparring, then getting interrupted by the
big bad karate club and its prodigy leader. There’s some back
history, and then the main character walks off – only to find out
later that lil’ Miss Thick Brows has bloodied her nose.

Oh! It’s on now!

I like this for a very simple reason. A unique concept (application
of real mixed martial arts) added to good action illustrations gets me
super excited. I am already a huge fan of Hajime no Ippo, so a new
anime of its style and callibre would make me happy as can be. I hope
I haven’t set my expectations too high on something this new.

Watashi ga Motete Dousunda

Chapter 1

NO!  Just no.  I can’t do it.  I’m sorry dudes, but this sh*t won’t fly.  I’m just not down for this whole reverse harem set up.  It seems that all the guys are there the standard set up of pretty boys with personalities that don’t seem to fit any real guy.  Though a small part of me does want to root for the girl.  Plus I think I want to avoid the situation of commenting on a show that rewards a girl for losing weight by giving her popularity and her choice of penis.  Perhaps it’s an overreaction, but it’s one that I’m comfortable with.

With all of that out of the way, I can say it’s been a decent couple of weeks since the previous post.  I welcomed the quiet and calm that came with it, even though like many others on the internet I was pounding out my end-of-year and best-of-year posts.  It was nice to reflect on the past while simultaneously not having to worry about the future.  That small blissful time is gone for now.  And I’m now looking forward to positively moving forward with this blog into the unknown future.  I hope you guys will join me.

Further Reading:

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  1. January 17, 2014 at 02:47

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