AniFriday Issue #15 (May 23rd, 2014): Victory Through Anti-Hype
I dare say that I’m almost getting back on schedule. I may be two days late posting this (killing my thought out defense that it’s Friday somewhere when I post these), but at least I’m almost regularly watching anime and reading manga now. I’m still in the process of figuring out where I’m at in regards to the current anime world though. In the process of doing this, I’ve tried taking up a little show called Captain Earth. Let’s see how this goes, because I’m not exactly in the mood for a super robot show right now.
Here are the anime and manga I’ll be covering this week:
- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 3 Stardust Crusaders ep8
- Captain Earth ep1
- Naruto ch674-677
- Bleach ch578-581
- One Piece ch748
- Hajime no Ippo ch1052
- Team Medical Dragon ch100
- Fairy Tail ch384 & 385 (don’t get used to seeing this series)
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
Dio’s goons never take even the slightest rest. While the last Stand user was pretty unique and insane, this one seems to take inspiration from somewhere, mainly the horror franchise Chucky. At their Singaporean hotel, the group splits up with Joseph Joestar and Avdol sharing a room, Jotaro and Kakyoin sharing a room, and Polnareff and the annoying little girl getting their own separate rooms. And it takes practically no time from the moment Polnareff steps into his room before he’s attacked by one of Dio’s Stand assassins.
This freak’s name is Devo the Cursed, and at first I was for sure he was going to be the guy with two right hands, but really he’s just a freak. I guess things were gonna be predictably weird from the moment Polnareff discovered Devo’s absolutely idiot (or brilliant) hiding place. The weirdo hid in the fridge (I don’t know how, those places are tiny), but left all the items that were supposed to be in there out in plain sight. I say this may have been a brilliant move for two reasons; the hiding spot was so stupid that it may have distracted Polnareff from the weird doll that was sitting on his night stand in plain sight. The other reason is that all those beverages that were left out were used to nearly kill Polnareff later.
The fight itself was decent, and helped remind me about one of the important things about using a Stand that I had forgotten – they can only see through the eyes of their Stand master. So when Polnareff was strapped to the BOTTOM of his bed and left flat underneath it, it nullified all that speed and accuracy of his Stand. Devo’s stand, the freaky-ass puppet, was surely going to pick him to death and then electrocute him if not for Polnareff’s clever and fortunate use of mirrors.
Moving into the next episode, the team of buff, sexy heroes is faced with a new issue. Joseph Joestar uses his Stand to find out what Dio is up to, using a TV instead of a camera this time. It gives him and Avdol quite the shock, the message telling them that Dio has sent a traitor into their midst. The message seems to point to Kakyoin, but I’m betting that that little girl has been hanging around them. She may not be a Stand user, but she may be a snitch.
Overall, it was decent JoJo’s. It’s hard for anything not to be a let down after the last episode.
I apologize if this comes off a bit rough and quick to judgement, but I don’t like this show. I see where the comparisons to Star Driver come from, but to me it’s so far not as beautiful, stylish or sexy. And the main mecha for this series looks like a Transformer. I don’t find anything inspired in this show so far. Then again, I’ve seen a ton of Gundam and super robot shows with this style of set-up, so I understand that I could always just be jaded or crestfallen on the genre.
Shows like this start off so nebulous and mysterious that it’s hard to give a meaningful summary of the events. We have the hero who has lost his dad, doesn’t seem to care, or at least seems ambivalent towards his foster father. He seems to be retreating from the world based on the strange events of his past, all the while the world is making a strange turn for the scary and dangerous. He wanders back to the site of his most important and traumatizing memories, only to be lead like Alice through the “rabbit hole” and into the seat of a power, literally. Some of this is very reminiscent of other series I’m quite familiar. Most of the sequence involving him wandering into a secure location to receive his power reminds me of what Takuto had to do in Star Driver. The mysterious mute girl (boy?) reminds me of a well-worn trope from most any series that tries to be even slightly mysterious. And finding a mysterious girl in a bubble deep down at the bottom of some super secret facility reminds me of other series, too, most notably Fafner.
I’m not exactly saying that this series is dead to me or anything. Like any source of entertainment, it can tread old ground. So long as the piece of media I’m experiencing still manages to be fun and engaging in some way, I can a reason to keep watching and even recommend others do so. What I am saying is that this show has failed to engage me with its first steps.
Things start as a nice return to form fight, with Naruto and Sasuke taking positions and starting their battle with Madara in earnest. This reminds me of the some of the previous kage level battles from Naruto, as we have so incredibly strong and stupid powers at first, but at a basic ninja level. There are no giant monsters, overpowering techniques at first. Then again, with shinobi of this level, how could you tell if something was overpowered or unfair. Madara has a technique named Limbo that creates a doppelganger of himself in another dimension, and it takes the combined efforts of those two to stop the technique. I can’t deny that seeing Naruto and Sasuke working together at full power again made me almost giddy.
It does suck that a jerk like Madara can still escape their techniques and even manage to steal one of Kakashi’s eyes – his Sharingan eye -like taking candy for a baby!
When it’s all said and done though the first phase of this final, final battle ends with Team 7 back together completely, Kakshi’s eyes regenerated by Naruto’s Jesus powers, Obito is blind and should be dead, and Madara on the verge of victory, as he now has a perfect pair of eyes, and even a third f*cking rinnegan sharingan that triggers the great Infinite Tsukyomi technique!
I’m gonna ignore Sakura’s useless action of powering up and attacking Madara only to get stabbed and owned. Seeing that moment to me is just sad. Unless she does something miraculous like poisoning him without us knowing it during that moment, then I just see it as wasted, thoughtless effort.
The important things that I draw from these chapters is that this battle is as close to victory as it will ever be for Madara without he actually winning. With the Infinite Tsukyomi activated, most of the living world is just a bunch of zombies – corpses living in the matrix. Only Team 7 and some of the resurrected kages were able to escape the genjutsu and are still able to fight back. There’s also the matter of learning that Yamato is attached to the God tree that has newly resprouted since the genjutsu’s activation. This comes as no surprise to me, or probably most anyone else whose paid attention to Part 2’s narrative. What else is Madara gonna do with a kidnapped shinobi with the life giving powers of Hashirama himself? I don’t know what significance he holds for the story at this point. I’m unsure of how important he is to the God Tree after all that’s occurred so far. But it seems a safe bet that he will be a crucial part of breaking the genjutsu.
I am a bit worried at one thing above all else though. Ten Ten has found a scroll with the Sage of Six Paths legendary items on it. We all know that Ten Ten is adept (I won’t call her a master of anything) at using scrolls to summon weaponry. I fear they’re going to make her a key part of sealing Madara with her ability, and I don’t in anyway want Kishimoto to make up for a decade plus of writing useless, terrible female characters by using Ten Ten to help save the day. To hell with that!
The conclusion of Zaraki’s fight with the Quincy Gremmy was a little bit of a disappointment, as it appears that this would have ended in a stalemate if not for Gremmy’s silly decision to make a body that could kill him. It’s almost like witnessing the solution to a bad riddle, or a quirky word play. It never did live up to my hopes as a test of Zaraki’s strength. In a way, it feels as though Kubo didn’t have the imagination to find Zaraki a good opponent.
In the wake of that battle, what we get is kind of a crazy skirmish to get in position around Zaraki. The shinigami of his squad merely want to be near their inspiring leader, though they’re quickly murdered by the female quincy knights who see Zaraki as a ripe fruit, ready for picking. Meanwhile, we see the other shinigami captains making plans to protect their most powerful warrior, even as other quincy soldiers get in their way. Which is why it’s really nice to see Ichigo pop up at the end to clear things up. Of all the shinigami returns to the Seireitei, it’s obviously Ichigo’s appearance that is the most exciting and important. I’m anxious to see how Ichigo deals with his newfound reality of being everything to everyone. Quincy, shinigami, hollow or human, it’s of no matter to Ichigo. He’s just here to save his friends.
I’m gonna have to call this group of idiots, Team Stupid. To imagine that all these blood thirsty savages, murderers, sellswords and scumbags would all flock to the side of the Strawhats thanks to Usopp. I’m sorry, he’s now called GOD USOPP to everyone on the island! I’m a bit short on words right now because I’ve just had so much fun with this arc. Just when you think the narrative is going to take a predictable turn, something crazy pops up.
Hajime no Ippo
This is just f*cking hopeless. I think it’s a very astute observation that the last time things were this bad against Woli, the annoying, super agile jungle boy. When that battle was done Coach Kamogawa stated outright to his rival coach that he would never allow Ippo to fight him again, knowing that in the end, his protegee would not have the skill to compete with Woli once he was fully tempered. But here they find themselves in that same sort of situation. The difference here is that Ippo’s not being outperformed physically, but mentally. What Gonzalez has done, has been to take a clever, yet methodical game plan into the match. He’s stuck with it, and used his skills to maximize its effectiveness. What is essentially happening is that he’s used his punches to mentally train Ippo into a very predictable pattern. While deffensively, Ippo she’s a vast, foggy and unsafe landscape to traverse on his way to his opponent, Gonzalez is able to focus on a confused and predictable Ippo who fears all of his options. Gonzalez just waits for Ippo to run down a very narrow and straightforward path to him – and his fists.
If Coach Kamogawa and Ippo don’t fight a hell of a lot smarter immediately, they may not last much longer, let alone mount a counterattack. I’m honestly seeing a second loss in Ippo’s future. It’s a scary reality at this point.
Team Medical Dragon
Gunji’s simple surgery is amazingly the perfect counter to Asada’s incredible talent. From the beginning, his strategy of appealing the “common man” may have been the perfect one. He’s exposed how Asada’s talent and high standards, and the high standards of modern, progressive medicine can be scary to the other doctors who perform procedures. Even the one doctor that Asada has taken pride in raising, Ijuuin has taken a liking to Gunji’s safe and secure practices. With Asada saying that he’s going to UCLA, and Gunji recruiting supporters right from his team, it seems that Kato’s goals are just going to dissolve right in front of her.
I’ve actually been reading Fairy Tail sporadically on the low for a long time now. I don’t know what it is about this series that made me fall out of love with it. It’s something that I care to address later, probably after the manga completes. But I’m under no circumstances saying this is a bad manga, and there’s quite a bit about it I enjoy. One of those things is Lucy. Every time I see her shine, she shines brightly. And while Erza is hype and badass as hell, Lucy seems to be the one that inspires the most feelings out of me. I won’t spoil too much, but her latest turn in the manga really touched me, and hopefully the sacrifice will be a meaningful one. And even if you don’t care that much for Fairy Tail, at least take a look at the female character designs. Not only are they more attractive than anything from Naruto, Bleach and especially One Piece, but they’re generally better characters than most of all the women from those series, too.