AniFriday Issue #19 (June 27th, 2014): Chaotic Neutral vs. Neutral Evil
Had to adjust my AniFriday schedule a bit, even if it meant pushing back the post a whole week. I just couldn’t allow to call this series AniFriday, and all my posts go up late on a Saturday night… Damn you JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure! But I won’t dwell on that.
I will say, it feels great to be in a groove with a couple of series again. Tokyo Ravens is fun as hell, Chaika is damn near my favorite thing to watch right now, and even though Stardust Crusaders has been a little stale for a bit in my opinion, it’s still better than most shounen battle material I’ve watched or read this year. As for the manga, I’m pretty much hyped for everything except for Umi no Misaki, and you’ll see why. I don’t know what it needs more of. Perhaps more tits and/or plot – wait! That’s the same thing isn’t ?!
Here are the anime and manga I’ll be covering in this post, in order:
- Stardust Crusaders ep12
- Tokyo Ravens ep18
- Chaika the Coffin Princess ep4
- Naruto ch681
- Bleach ch585
- Hunter X Hunter ch342 – 344
- One Piece ch750
- Team Medical Dragon ch105
- Umi no Misaki ch6
Well that was two scoops of gross and annoying. I’ll give Nena points for creativity and that’s it. After that, I just want this abomination to disappear. I was reminded of why Joseph Joestar is my favorite Joestar of all. The Trickster in him never died. And poor Polnareff, ever the fool. You would think that’d be Grandpa Joestar’s job, but that would be wrong. Then again, if you were about to mount some gross fat, disease spewing Stand user, then I’d be traumatized, too.
Note: does that creepy old lady remind anyone but me of a much older Tomoko from Watamote?
I thought the outing of Natsume’s gender would be more of a nuisance than the giant distraction it actually appears to be. From jump, the talk isn’t about the the close call the team had at the hands of another Twin Horned Syndicate spiritual disaster. It’s all about everyone now knowing that Natsume is a girl. The nice part though is that in the end, the students could see the forest for the trees. They were grateful to Natsume and the others for saving their lives during the most recent attack. Though I don’t exactly like their logic for forgiving her, saying that since their lives were saved, they’d forgive her for the deceit.
Why the hell is this that big a deal after all?! She went with family tradition and that was that! She wasn’t in a romantic relationship with any of you! She doesn’t owe you an apology for cross-dressing! That’s ridiculous and overly sensitive! Also, if she hadn’t have saved them, does that mean they’d just ostracize her and treat her like sh*t anyway? Of course it does! I’d take their shallow apology and tell them to shove it up their ***holes!
Moving on, Kyouko herself is getting over her sense of betrayal. And Suzuka, of all people, is there to help her through it, though the more I think about that scene, the more I think about the sh*t tier harem this show is trying to form. It’s clear that Kyouko has figured out that it was actually Harutora that she made her promise and memories with, and not Natsume. I question how clear her memory could be if she could mistake the distinctly blonde Harutora with the raven-haired Natsume, but the show’s moving on and so shall I. I’m just glad that we move on to the more pressing issue – Onmyo Agency, and the various alliances between clans is breaking down fast. I dare say there is a coup in the works, and Tsuchimikado family appears to be on the wrong side of it.
We’re treated to an impressive magical battle and a slight flashback as Tsuchimikado household is attacked by government agents, apparently seeking the Raven Coat that may be in Harutora’s father’s possession. A daughter of Zeus versus a very talented barrier expert, then the stakes are raised even higher as one of the Twelve Divine Generals shows up to end the fight. The only solace after this event is that Harutora got a message from his father saying everything is OK.
Probably the biggest surprise in this episode is finding out at the end that Doman isn’t the big bad here. It was was safe to assume so in the previous episode when we see Genji Kurahashi put down Amami, but it really looks like Doman was only being used as a sort of distraction. We learn this much because his reincarnated form comes back to greet Jin Ohtomo in the hospital. He’s not there to finish off Jin, but to congratulate him on besting him in their rooftop duel. For short time, it appears he won’t be the enemy, but a valuable informant to Jin. It’s a pretty nice reward, though the visit I’m sure has shortened Jin’s life a bit.
The assaults from the “true” Yakou devotees doesn’t seem to stop though, as Souma makes her return, this time in search of Natsume.
My qualms with some of the show’s logic and morality aside, I’m enjoying this struggle quite a bit. Learning that Genji Kurahashi is pulling the strings here leads to a less random, more calculated and intense sort of game of wits. There are some serious heavy hitters getting involved now, and it appears that even the Twelve Divine Generals themselves are going to be split down the middle. That’s fine by me, because I would love to see Zenjiro cut loose against someone of his own caliber. We’re on the verge of a full-on civil war in Tokyo. I wonder how many people in the story realize that?
Chaika the Coffin Princess
This episode was so good that I just couldn’t stop gushing about it! I think I’m really starting to fall in love with this so far simple little show. Here’s a little sample of what I wrote, the rest of the post will be in the link attached to the picture just below my thoughts on this show.
Watching this episode, I was a little bit surprised at Chaika’s reticence towards conflict. I know she doesn’t want it, but she seemed extremely apprehensive given her life goal is to retrieve those remains. Good grief, I wonder how much farther she would have gotten if not for Toru and Akira? In contrast, I do admire Toru’s professionalism. He’s trying to be nice and respectful while attempting to balance his need to be efficient and opportunistic to do his job as a saboteur. I’m sure he didn’t want to incite conflict either, both because he was saved by the same woman he’d have to fight to the death, and because she is supposed to have a dragoon on her side to match her skill and its easy access to magic. By the halfway point of this episode, the group is already in a very awkward situation, probably hoping they could assume the role of scoundrels and thieves again so that they may more easily obtain their goal.
After seeing the group search through the mansion with nary any security around, I couldn’t help but get the idea that a few things were afoot. For one, seeing all the security, all the pictures and no sign of the dragoon gave me a few theories.
- The dragoon is the mansion.
- The dragoon is the cat that roams the area.
- The pictures are being used to spy on everything they’re doing in this abandoned abode.
- I have no idea where the hidden remains could be, except behind a picture, under all those statues, or under that projector in the middle of the garden – but that’s too obvious.
- The dragoon is dead and the master of the mansion is somehow still using its magic.
“I rewrote it.”
So this is all just a case of a clingy mother who felt betrayed by her kids? I can believe it! (No pun dattebayo pun intended.) I have my own overbearing family members, and I could definitely believe a mother could do all this. The problem I have is the same annoying problem I have with a lot of stories in shounen. There’s always some master plan that had to be conceived by some mastermind to preside over the entirety of the story, even long before the main protagonist could have even been conceived. In Naruto’s case, it’s Black Zetsu. A being that has got to be the greatest jutsu ever created. He’s immortal, practically invulnerable, capable of incredible thought, and long term planning. He doesn’t appear to be able to use chakra, but he can sure as hell take it away. And so far, he’s been the walking deus ex machina for the entire show. His presence is probably even more miraculous than all of Sasuke’s upgrades throughout the show.
And he’s been one hell of a nuisance, the rewriting of shinobi history, especially the Uchiha’s is probably the most detrimental thing Black Zetsu has done. His fanning of the conflict between the Uchiha and the Senju clans has broken up a lot of families and killed more people than can be counted. And just when I thought there was an explanation (a poor one) for why the Uchiha are such a consistently sh*tty clan of a-holes.
How much y0u wanna bet this fight just comes down to somebody needing a big hug?
Oh! And before I forget – my God this was a ridiculously long and impossibly complicated plan! Some of it just doesn’t make sense to me! What would have Black Zetsu done if Madara had not bitten off a chunk of Hashirama’s flesh (totally not gay)? That giant statue would not have been possible, and I don’t see how the back end of this plan comes together. Sure the tailed beasts seem almost trivial at this point of the story, but they weren’t so trivial when it came to getting to this point. I’m gonna go ahead say Black Zetsu is full of sh*t, and that he’s been nothing but a trickster and instigator this entire time.
“I am grateful.”
This battle has been raging on for so long that I forget what the point of all of it is? Was it really Yhwach’s goal the whole time to take out the Soul King? That was definitely Aizen’s goal after all. Though we know so little about the Soul King that I can’t imagine how things would play out was the Quincy king got there. And given the math he’s given us – 6000 seconds divided by 60 equals 100 minutes! That’s a huge gap in time! Yhwach has an hour and a half to plow through any resistance and enter the Soul King’s palace. And despite losing some very powerful lieutenants, their forces still outnumber the Gotei 13’s captains and it’s questionable as to whether anyone below the Soul King’s palace can challenge Yhwach himself. For now, I’ll call it a coin flip until I see just how the Quincy lieutenants stack up against their opponents.
It is nice to see the “second tier” talent like Ikkaku, Yumichika and Shūhei survive. I’ve long wanted to see those three break out from under their captains and show their true potential. Ikkaku is a beast who probably long ago should have been promoted to captain, especially with his beast of a bankai. And Shūhei always had the look of a badass and potential breakout talent. If I don’t see them kick ass now, then I don’t think we’ll ever see it happen, especially for Shūhei.
Hunter X Hunter
Chapters 342 – 344
“The author of that book is… Don Freecs!”
DON FREECS?! What the hell?! Is this Ging’s dad? Grandad? Ancestor?! At the very least, the idea that this guy could actually still be alive would lead us to believe that at least one person has managed to get their hands on humanity’s ultimate prize, some form of immortality. How fitting that Gon would find himself at the end of a long line legendary men, a freak of nature like his dad had to have come from somewhere.
Speaking of Gon, it’s been a minute since we’ve seen him, even longer since we’ve seen him in action as he seemed to sacrifice his very future to help put an end to the Chimera Ant crisis. For awhile, Gon was nothing short of a barely living corpse, and even now he’s likely nothing close to what he used to be. I don’t doubt that Gon is gonna have to start from scratch, he’s not even able to fell the presence of nen. So sad as it may be, it looks like it will be an extended period of hiatus from action for Gon. The beginning of this arc is showing that Leorio and Kurapika, two people that fans of the series have been screaming to see again after their own extended hiatuses. And I’m happy to see that neither of them has lagged behind, as Leorio has improved himself to the point of being recognized by the highest of his peers, while it seem sadly that Kurapika has only gotten darker in his time away from the others. Even sadder is that it seems he’s been doing almost nothing but spinning his wheels during all this time. Until now. When it comes to Kurapika, it seems that we’ll finally be able to see him go full bore again. It’s kinda scary and cool to his wrath (that sounded pervy).
Then there’s the presence of the big guns and all the maneuvering in this arc. That brings up a slight annoyance that I have with this series at times. Aside from the art, which at moments has waned horribly (respectfully due to the mangaka’s health), this series sometimes (oftentimes) forgets the storytelling rule of “show it, don’t tell it” when it comes to exposition and world building. I know there’s a ton of lore to go over in these chapters before we move onto the action and suspense, but this amount of text is ridiculous! There’s practically walls of text covering the page, and it’s bad enough that the verbal banter between people in this show is its own form of verbal chess. The amount of dialogue that goes into some of the politics and their negotiations is a pace and attention killer! I would honestly have liked the mangaka or the editor to have looked at these chapters and come to the conclusion that they could have had one of the Zodiacs summarize these parts and moved on.
Oh! I guess I talked more about the big wigs not the big guns here! When I talk about the big guns I’m talking about Ging and Pariston. Ging is a complete asshole! It’s just not something that you can separate from his character, but much of that seems to come from him just being brutal and unapologetic in honesty of feelings. On the other hand, it’s also clear as day that he’s the epitome of a Hunter X Hunter in base attitude and physical fitness. When he wants to, there’s this powerful imposing force weighing down on the room. When he lets that go, that classic confident Hunter swagger comes into play. It’s almost Jedi-like, the way he plainly lays out how he’s going to handle a situation. The world is his wide-open oyster. Pariston on the other hand, is very similar yet juxtaposed in his presence and ways to Ging. He’s probably my favorite character right now in the series. I don’t know if you would call him chaotic neutral or neutral evil when it comes to the moral codes of characters. He seems evil, but it seems more like he has a almost unworldly and twisted need to crush the things he loves. It seems that if the world is his oyster, then he wants to see if he can crush it or pry it open; it doesn’t seem to matter so much if he succeeds. He’s so strange, yet looks so plain that I find him fascinating. I don’t quite understand what he’s up to, especially when it comes to being a part of this new group that Ging decides to confront, and even if the series does explain it to me, I don’t think I’d totally understand anyway. I find that idea too fascinating.
Well, here’s to hoping that we’ll be in the dark continent very soon. The stuff spoke of here is the stuff you’d expect to be the reward at the end of One Piece. Right now, I can’t imagine a challenge greater than the one the Hunter organization is facing now. It will be a three way battle between them, Beyond’s forces and hell on Earth itself. A hell that goes well beyond even what the Chimera Ants could give us.
“Oh? And exactly whose big brother might you be?”
AH HAHAHAHAHA! This is glorious to watch! Seeing Sabo start to wield those flame powers helps heal the very painful sting of Ace’s demise! It’s like a type of second coming!
Not much else has changed since the last update though. The Colloseum Army, the people who were captured and turned into toys and are now seeking revenge, is stampeding through Donquixote’s forces, the Strawhats are stilling kicking ass, and the dueling pairs are starting to form. It’s nice to see all this chaos come together. This arc has been hilarious, exciting, tragic and fun; I’m very much looking forward to the explosion of feelings the finale will bring.
Team Medical Dragon
“I feel like…
…a mother who can’t part with her child.”
This is so sad! Katou looks so crushed! It is nice that she’s accepting his feelings amicably. It was a wonderful moment.
More clearly though, we’re seeing the rise Ijuuin as his own doctor. It’s not so much that he’s ambitious, but anxious to excel in his craft. He goes so far as to make a very bold request to Gunji when he asks him to be the primary assistant for his next surgery. It’s a request that Gunji is quick to remind him is very forward given his recent scolding. Still once they get to see Gunji’s newly acquired patient, the dirty old man who can’t stop breaking rules and grabbing nurses’ asses, the situation is quickly cleared up. It looks like this patient is an excellent, and at the same time terrible, candidate for a batista procedure. His habit of never stepping down from his bad habits has wracked his body to the point of it being almost inoperable under normal circumstances. Now it looks like Gunji will be using Ijuuin’s excellent eyes and hands to help him with a very delicate batista procedure.
I wouldn’t say this was a great chapter, but it had a touching moment.
Umi no Misaki
“The questions you have now are not easy to answer with words.”
Oh f*ck you lady! I hate that crappy excuse! Rinne is asked by Nagate about all the weird crap on the island, including her being in the ocean in a robe to “purify” herself. And her only response is to tell him the quoted line I have above the collage. She’s not even trying! She’s not even attempting to use words! Just try it woman! Try it!
The art in this series is still very appealing, the story so far is not. Sure there’s mystery, but it’s not an intriguing one. The girls are cute, but uninteresting. The scenery is nice, but it only pops up a little bit throughout each chapter. *sigh* I certainly hope this gets a hell of a lot more interesting soon. These weekly chapter readings are not working for me right now.
- AniFriday Issue #18 (June 13th, 2014): there’s no “I” in team, and there’s no creepy monster in my mirrors anymore