AniFriday Issue #12 (February 14th, 2014)
It’s been a little bit more than rough past couple of weeks. So I have to be honest. I havne’t been much in the mood for anime. All I’ve craved is peace and quiet. Instead, it feels like there’s a chaos demon following me around. Still, I haven’t given up. I may be terribly behind on my anime, but I haven’t given up. Instead, I’ve focused on taking time out of my day to read a little manga. So forgive me if this AniFriday is not only late, but a little bit manga heavy. And there’s no lovey-dovey stuff in here either. I’ll save the Valentine’s or anti-Valentine’s posts for later. For now, here’s what I’ve been up to during these annoying winter storms and my own personal “blue” period.
Here is the material I’ll be covering this week:
- Nourin ep2
- Wizard Barristers eps 3 & 4
- Sakura Trick ep2
- Naruto ch663 & 664
- Bleach ch567 & 568
- Hajime no Ippo ch1040, 1041 & 1042
- Team Medical Dragon ch96 & 97
- Mission! School ch1
- Umi no Misaki ch2
Man… is this anime about farming, idols or panties! Better yet, am I watching Nourin or Baka to Test to Shokanju? The pedigree on this show is clear as day, the opening animation and music, the explosive color pallette, the character designs and the surprising amount of quality – it all points to one man, Shin Oonuma. The same awesome guy who directed Baka to Test to Shokanju. And importantly, the same director who did such an outstanding job directing Watamote. I fear that I have no choice but to watch this show, not just for the director, but because this second episode showed real promise that it could be a quality comedy/parody show. Getting past gushing about the episode, this show really seems to have stated with this episode, and not the first one. We see Kosaku, Kei and Minori do their best to introduce the new retired idol to their farmers’ life. And it looks like things are going to have to be pretty basic, because she appears to have come to this school with absolutely no tangible knowledge of farming. The one clear thing is that Ringo has taken a liking to Kosaku, and she likely knows he’s the one who has been sending her those vegetables. It’s been immediately established that she has a rivalry forming with Kosaku’s CHILDHOOD FRIEND (that title is like having a championship belt) Minori. But the real brilliance of this episode came with the whole panty scene that completed the episode. I really, really thought it was brilliant, inspired comedy. It had great parody, outstanding use of Japanese silliness, and an awesome and dumb twist. It’s very early in the year, but it’s also one of my favorite scenes so far in it. I can only continue to hope that this show keeps this up.
I still have major issues with how the logic and legal system in this series work. But the more I watch this, the more I understand why thinks work this way. There’s serious prejudice going on in this world. It’s like pre-civil rights America in a way. Though magic users are said to have the same rights and responsibilities as humans who don’t have magic powers, it’s not nearly a true statement when practiced. The fact that Hachimitsu can not hold public office, simply because of his newly awakened magic powers, despite showing himself to already be a more than capable prosecutor proves the prejudice that slinks through this world. And when I see stuff like that, I get royally pissed off. I’m glad to see that it pisses off Cecil as well. I don’t hate her naive, optimistic and active personality. It doesn’t bounce around enough to annoy, as characters who lack focus usually do. Instead she’s a young, driven and focused character who has tremendous potential for growth.
The way the story plays out leads us to not only take notice of that corruption, but of an underlying theme of corruption as well. We’re lead to believe that a young promising magic user was killed in court two years ago, and that maybe the rampage he went on at that time was not of his doing. That leads me to believe that another magic user or users had set him up, and taken him down. The only thing we’re missing right now is a motive. Why set up this kid, ruin his life and kill him, especially if it only makes magic users look bad in a public forum? Couple that with the underlying threads of prophecy (can anyone tell a fantasy story anymore without this crap), and it looks like we have a radical faction promoting and seeding war in the background.
Cecil and the Butterfly firm may have much more to worry about than they thought. All that I’ve said seems to point as well to the rival law firm to Butterfly, the Shark Knight firm… Shark Knight? Are these law firms or guilds from the Fairy Tail anime? I just don’t feel like I have enough evidence to point a finger in their direction. And unlike this show, I feel like waiting for substantial evidence. While I’m sad to see such a sad story come to such a brutal end, I did like this episode. Aside from the stupid stuff with the familiars (are all familiars pervy and ugly?), we learned a lot even as more questions are dumped on the viewer. And while I think this show still jumbles too many damn elements, I can’t really blame the show for trying to be the very best it can be.
What is up with all these mentally unstable and destructive magi running around? This time, Cecil is tasked with defending a serial killer who has taken out 15 magi. She’s understandably conflicted about the situation, but her boss, Ageha, is more than right in telling her that she has to do her job and defend him to the best of her ability. It turns out that things (as usual) reach much deeper than she’s seeing. I honestly don’t understand what’s going on at the moment in this story, but I think that’s to be expected. Somehow, the conspiracy running through this world involves the lawyers, cops and even criminals in this world. It’s really strange. What’s also strange is the involvement of one of the detectives that we’ve seen in this story since the opening moments. Shizumu is hiding it, but it’s clear that he’s a magi in the police force. It makes for a pretty interesting dynamic, since his partner Quinn is openly hostile towards magi. Yet, he seems like a stand up guy, who has protected her life more than once. So why the hell is he working with serial killers? Why is Cecil and her goal to free her mother so damned important? As we see, she’s steadily evolving and learning and using different forms of magic. How the hell does this tie into her being so sought after by a rival firm, and the predictions in that “holy” book for magic, the Grimoire 365?
If this show is doing anything well, it’s layering the story. Elements like Natsuna’s perceived rivalry with Cecil, and Moyo’s ability to scare the sh*t out of me with her murder face have hardly been addressed. I hope they don’t make this story so complicated that they have trouble wrapping things up in a satisfying manner by the end. Through four episodes though, I gotta say that I find this show very easy to watch. The only difficult areas for me are the incredibly dumb legal situations that happen from time to time, and the abject prejudice that just pisses me off in general.
This show is completely and totally boring. And I don’t know why aside from the fact that it fails to make me care about anything it does. It feels like it wants to be a cute and funny yuri show, but it’s not funny. The cutest just feels like it’s there just to be there, and that’s doubly true for the yuri parts as well. I just watched the episode, and I’m trouble remembering what the first half was about. ….. Oh yeah! Basically, two of the girls are on awkward terms because of a miscommunication they had the night before. Essentially, the pair of Kotone and Shizuku are not on great terms because Kotone (who is staying at Shizuku’s house for “reasons”) said some stuff that was interpreted as callous and opportunistic, while also stealing a kiss from Shizuku while she was half-asleep. In my mind, the events seem like a blur, because there was so little that was memorable about it. Somehow though, the episode seemed to last forever. Everything is cleared up when the girls talk, fall on each other, and kiss. The kiss of course is contagious and triggers the main couple of Haruka and Yuu to kiss. End of story. Ugh!
The second half is punctuated by Yuu’s problems with school work. She constantly charms Haruka into letting her borrow her notebooks and wholesale copying her work. Yuu doesn’t seem to be learning much, nor does she seem to care about her schoolwork. Haruka is at first happy at the thought of her best friend (girlfriend?) falling a year behind, so she can treat her as the target of her Imouto fantasies. Though that’s shattered when it’s brought to her attention that she won’t be held back a year, but dropped out of the school entirely. And thus begins Haruka’s frantic and desperate attempts to keep Yuu from leaving her – I mean dropping out of school. I will say that this segment was somewhat decent, yet still pretty bland. The laughs were being pushed harder here, but they mostly failed to amuse me at all. I suppose the only highlight was seeing Haruka nail Yuu’s training after so many attempts. She basically figured out that the trick to getting Yuu to remember stuff, was to make her study in situations she’d find memorable, that lead to the two of them studying alone and kissing in between each question. And from the looks of the test, it may have worked. I want to stick with this show, because I want to believe that it has the potential to be somewhat decent. But it’s so clearly an ecchi show (a poor one) trying to masquerade as something else. All the kissing, the thigh shots, the breast shots; it all feels pushed. This show could probably be more tolerable if it focused less on getting boners and more on good jokes and/or decent character interactions.
Forget the hate, or the fact that I’ve much always prefered Hinata to her. Sakura is doing a hell of a job, even going so far as to manually massage Naruto’s heart with her own bare hands! Not very hygenic, but it’s getting the job done until he truly expires. There’s no escaping death after having a tailed beast ripped from your body. At least you can’t do that by yourself. Thankfully, Naruto just has to get to his dad who conveniently still has half of Kurama within himself. Though it looks like that will likely mean the return of Minato to the land of the dead.
Other than that, it looks like Orochimaru’s crew is the only bit of resistance left against Madara’s force. And it looks like Naruto’s distant cousin is Sasuke’s only hope, though I don’t know how much longer she’ll survive, even now with all the damage she’s receiving. Her healing factor can only stretch so far. I feel that she’s either likely to die from her injuring, or by sacrificing herself to resurrect Sasuke, similar to how the old lady from the Sunagakure saved Gaara. I’m only worried now about Madara, having practically reached the full power of the legendary sage, and Orochimaru and his plans. Don’t misinterpret my love of Orochimaru as a character. He still seems to be a threat, and possibility of saving Sasuke’s body to take as his own is still a very real motivation. He’s been quite the shady character for a very long time, and the whole in his heart hasn’t really been addressed like the ones of other characters who were formerly a threat (again: see Gaara). But I do want to see him live through this. My one problem with all of that though is that his greatest weakness has always been what this show relies on the most when it comes to power. Those damn mystical eyes of the sage, the Rinnegan and Sharingan. He’s never been able to overcome Kage-level wielders of those abilities (mainly the Sharingan), so he is a TERRIBLE match for Madara! I’d like to think that Itachi was the second most powerful Uchiha that ever lived, and he utterly decimated Orochimaru in battle. Man, I’m seeing a lot of death flags right now, and they’re not even for the people who are actually dying right now.
Sage of the Six Paths Madara may have made his first big mistake. Spitting out powerful weapons like he just did only adds precious opportunity to a side that looks like it’s already defeated. It’s a bit weird that two knuckleheads who can hardly use chakra get those weapons, but Guy and Rock Lee are mostly all the allies have left. And I’d love to see Rock Lee open the gates again after all this time. I see that the obvious has escaped no one in this manga. Orochimaru is quickly marching towards a very weakened Sasuke, and you can’t help but wonder if he’ll take the opportunity to seize a new body, as he’s wanted to do for over five years now. No one’s really sure what’s gonna happen to Sasuke at this point. My favorite part of the chapter though was seeing the little flashback between Minato and Kushina. You know Minato’s time is up. Hashirama is gone, Tobirama is completely incapacitated, and I’m sure Sarutobi-sensei’s last moments will come in front of Orochimaru. It should be only fitting that Minato give up his borrowed time on Earth to save his son. The only tricky part is that he’s gonna have to accomplish this in front of Madara. Wait a sec! I just remembered, aren’t Ginkaku and Kinkaku stuck in that gourd? Perhaps that’s how Naruto will be resurrected?
This is what they call in the fighting game genre, a bad match up. In the end, that Quincy (whose name and presence isn’t even worth remembering) had one trick that when it failed, failed hard. I couldn’t be happier to see this chapter. Ever since I first saw Rukia, I had hopes that she would be a true badass female character. And I love how her zanpakutou has matured into the beast it is now. She actually has the ability to freeze anything she touches, blood, the air, the ground, she just imposes her will on the environment. It begs the question of whether she now has the strongest ice-type zanpakutou.
Well this is disappointing. Here I had hoped that Rukia would have defeated an opponent of high quality on her own, yet this a-hole resurrects for no reason, and starts freaking her out. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind Byakuya being around, but I am sick and tired of Rukia having to be saved. Geez. This really makes me wanna go back to reading Fairy Tail, even though I told myself I wasn’t gonna do that until Bleach or Naruto ended (time constraints). At least Fairy Tail knows how to let the women handle their own business. I want to say something about this Quincy’s abilities, or the setup, but this chapter has just deflated me.
Hajime no Ippo
Chapters 1040 & 1041
It’s a very simple, simple plan. It’s almost insulting towards Ippo really. Alfredo is making Ippo focus on his outstanding left, expecting that Ippo won’t expect the cocked and ready right to come in and finish him off completely. Miyata sees it, Coach Kamogawa can feel it. The important part is Ippo’s awareness of it. He needs to show that he is above being an instinctual fighter, and that he can read an obvious game plan. He’s now fighting at the highest of levels. There’s no way this fight is going to stay this simple and calm. Honestly, I’m just waiting for this hidden side of Alfredo’s to be unleashed. I think Ippo is going to be in for the in-fight of his life.
Forget what I said about Ippo not relying too much on his instincts, that was brilliant! I had completely forgotten about that classic moment from Ippo’s earliest days. Even Miyata had to laugh at what happened, seeing as that same tactic stunted his counter way back in the day. It’s a clear sign that Alfredo’s cheap tactics won’t cut it here. Ippo’s just too damn tough. Gotta say. That was a great moment. Glad to see more chapters of Ippo pop up for me to read. They just seem to appear at random sometimes. I maintain that this series is one of the greatest action manga ever created. And more and more over time, it creeps up my super secret list of favorite franchises.
Team Medical Dragon
Interesting. We’re really seeing the opposing teams start to mingle and play games. Even Asada is being directly attacked with this offer to go to America. It’s an amazing offer. And while Asada seems flippant about it, it’s not something he can just ignore. Alone though, it doesn’t seem too compelling an offer for Asada. But when his rival informs him that patient they recently saved died once his care was handed over to another department, the hospital’s shortcomings have to sting at least a little. That was a moment that Asada was so proud of, and then to see that hope literally become a corpse….
Hmmm, there’s a lot to think about in this chapter. Asada isn’t big on prestige or acclaim. But to see a patient’s care fail right after all his hard work, that’s a totally different bitter taste. Let the mind games begin in earnest.
It’s crazy how a failure to save a patient can show just how talented someone is. Even though a patient died after being under his knife, it’s clearly not Asada’s fault. Though it’s made quite clear that the patient would have survived if Asada had used simpler techniques. The shock of the UCLA offer has time to wash over everyone in Katou’s team. And they all come to a similar conclusion. He’d be better off somewhere else, where his skills could be matched. Katou is left wondering when she became so secure in a wild card like Asada. He’s always seemed detached from the normal world, and completely devoid of roots to any one place. What Miki says about Asada seems almost counterintuitive then, as she points out how much he cares for the patients currently under his care, and even for the people around him, especially Ijuuin. What he mistakes for cold guidance, Miki notices as a calm caring hand. All this of course only makes her feel worse, as Gunji’s words seem to be digging deeper and deeper into her psyche the more she talks to people about Asada. There’s no doubt that she’s lost faith in her connection to him.
I’m actually glad this crisis of confidence has come around to Miki. She’s seemingly fallen into the background for far too long in this series. She has a very deep and intimate connection with Asada
I’m tempted to place this with my pervy posts, there sure are a lot of panty shots. But it seems that this manga’s heart lies elsewhere. It’s a simple, wacky manga set-up. A small boarding school full of deadly, brainwashed girls is attacked by an elite military team and destroyed. The girls persevere though, and are transferred to another school where its sh*tbag principal (who is way too into S&M) caves into bribery and sex games. And at the center of this is poor Takuya Ishikawa, our standard bland, loser of a male protagonist. At first glance, this seems way, way too close to some harem set up, ghough after one chapter, it feels more to me like a cross between Noir/Gunslinger Girls and Full Metal Panic. The illustrations are decent, if unremarkable, and the same applies to the comedy. So I hope this little manga picks things up quite a bit in the humor department. I’ve watched all seasons of South Park. It’s gonna take a whole lot more than some old guy in a gimp suit to shock me. Still, it’s a decent enough set-up and concept, and there are nice panty shots, too. I’ll keep reading this a bit longer to see if it actually turns out to be anything memorable.
Umi no Misaki
Dragon god? What the hell am I reading? This place that Nagi has visited is weird, but the weirdness is so subtle and hard to pin down that he wouldn’t be able to convince a soul of its validity. Last chapter this moron fell off a cliff, only to be saved by the girl giving him the tour of the cape, I think her name was Shizuku. It’s no small miracle that either of them survived, since he easily fell a hundred feet into the water. Yet both of them are alive and well. The only effect seems to be Shizuku’s slight exhaustion. Before she seemed to be in amazing shape, easily scaling the rough terrain that Nagi struggled to traverse on the way to the cliff they eventually fell from. I chalked that up to her just being a native who had been conditioned by the terrain and atmosphere of this wonderful place. But on top of that, she seems really strong anc capable of swimming like a mermaid. And then there’s the strange story she told Nagi about some dragon god, that oversees the island and its inhabitants. For now, I’ll just chalk that bit of information up towards the native religion and lore, but I’m still quite suspicious. The other odd thing was how a pair of old residents showed up, and Shizuku suddenly seemed to have to leave very quickly. Well, this manga is still pretty. And it still pretty regularly throws in the sexy fanservice. So that’s enough to keep me coming back.