Home > Episode by Episode > AniFriday Issue #21: July 11th 2014 (it’s gonna be a very busy, very loud summer)

AniFriday Issue #21: July 11th 2014 (it’s gonna be a very busy, very loud summer)


Oh man!  Summer season is here!  And like furniture store or car lot with a crazy owner, I’m trying to clear out all the old inventory as quickly as possible.  I should change the borders of my blog to wacky, wavy inflatable flying tube men to get the full effect across.  That said, I’m still enjoying what’s on my plate at the moment, even if I’m anxiously trying to get through it to move on to new projects.  I’m getting the feeling that I really will miss Tokyo Ravens and Chaika when I’m threw with both shows.  Each is showing more heart than I was expecting in their own unique ways.  Other shows I’m watching are only going further down the road towards their crazy realm of bullsh*t – I’m looking right at you Stardust Crusaders!  And other shows say they’re ending, but it really feels more like their last world tour, as opposed to their last concert, Bleach and Naruto – I’m now staring at both of you!

Here are the anime and manga I’ll be covering this week, in order:

  • Stardust Crusaders ep14
  • Tokyo Ravens ep20
  • Chaika the Coffin Princess ep6
  • Ao Haru Ride ep1
  • Hajime no Ippo chs 1055 & 1056
  • Naruto ch683
  • Bleach ch587
  • Team Medical Dragon ch106
  • Teppu ch5

Stardust Crusaders

Episode 14

F*ck!  This episode was just gross!

It’s disturbing enough when you see a dead dog on a pike as you enter town.  I take that as a warning and just keep moving, even if that means I have to sleep on the ground in a cold desert.  These morons go right into town, immediately see a weird dead body and freaky ass weirdo people and don’t leave town?  F*ck that!

And then we get these Stands, and so often these things seem broken as sh*t until you know how they work.  It appears that way for so many Stands.  It’s not really something you can fix, else you lose the cool mystery of Stands.  But man, when I learned that you had to let so old b*tch stab you and then some evil death fog f*cks with you, I just got a little deflated.

You know what were the bright spots for me this episode?  Seeing Jotaro to take time out of his day, and money out of his pocket to kept that damned hot ass school uniform re-fabricated!  That is classic JoJo stupid and awesome at the same time.  And then, as they’re riding through hot ass Pakistan, Jotaro actually brags about it being 100% wool! Ah hahahahaha!

And then there was that moment of seeing sh*tbag Hol Horse show back up and get served!  For one brief moment, I was happy to see that old woman do something.  Everything else she did, the freaky dog murder, the cock roaches and lizards crawling on and out of people, the woman with engorged and itchy acne colonies on her face – F*CK ALL OF THAT!  I couldn’t run away from this episode fast enough!

Finally, I’m happy to see that annoying little girl go.  It was always awkward having her around.  I wasn’t sure if she was working for DIO, and I never liked having her around when she was getting all hot and juicy for Jotaro.  Glad to have that awkwardness out of the story.

Tokyo Ravens

Episode 20

………hmmm

An action series is never supposed to have such an extended period of piece as this one.  So it was painfully apparent from the beginning that some major was going to happen, or that we’d be losing a character.  We got both.

The fireworks festival was hinted at being a big event since the halfway point of this show.  Suzuka especially was excited about it, and for a ridiculously extended duration, the identity of Hakuto was being played with.  There was no way to deny that Natsume had concocted that familiar to get close to Harutora.  It was just a matter of admitting it.  Then after all the quaint and romantic moments in the festivals, it’s all forced crashing down.

I’d like to believe that Natsume isn’t dead after all.  It seems like such a painfully unfair life, to be isolated and commissioned to live a lie.  It was her this entire time that was hounded by fanatics, and threatened at every turn.  It was she who put forth all that effort to live up to a standard that was never meant for her.  On the other hand, I don’t like seeing characters brought back to life, even ones I like.  Her staying dead would yield a lot more respect for this show.  Though permadeath isn’t a common thing in shounen battle series.

Right now, it’s up in the air where the show goes from here.  All the secrets are out, and there’s not much time left in the show.  There’s gonna have to be a confrontation now.  There’s still too much unsaid, un-addressed and unaccounted for.

Chaika the Coffin Princess

Episode 6

I’m really enjoying this show.  It’s exactly what I wish that terrible show Sacred Blacksmith was.  Though the harem elements seem to be getting stronger as the show goes along.  In the conclusion of this mini-arc with Red Chaika and her crew, we see that you can work with a mercenary, but you can’t trust them.  And that loyalty is a valuable and rare thing.  And the scariest lesson of all is that when a woman wants a man, she may do whatever she feels to get him.

Here I was thinking the exchanges of Chaikas was going to be handled by Frederica, but she’s much more of a wild card than I thought.  When Gillette’s men attacked, she was no where to be found.  But the two groups ended up working together and getting the job done.

In the intermission, there is some plot and character development.  Though it is minimal.  For one, Red Chaika is getting quite warm fuzzies for Toru.  She sees a strong, “take charge” guy who could be of use to her, and she doesn’t hesitate to bargain for his services even as his hostage.  She makes  compelling, logical (relatively) argument, too.  She tells him how she has a clear goal, can pay him more money, and can guarantee him more conflict- the thing he says he craves the most.  And Frederica is around for his, posing the question even more clearly to Toru.  He says he doesn’t want to betray White Chaika because of his code as a saboteur.  I wonder if her’s just making excuses?

Something else we see, is the power structure of the kingdoms in the wake of the wizard king.  It appears that there are a lot of problems to address, but not many people willing to work together to address them.  All we here is a leader from each kingdom bitch about their problems and their problems alone, acting like children – or like a bunch of college students more enamoured with getting their idea and will across, than actually working together with others for a solution.  Though the only reason this relevant to the immediate story is because these same fools are the ones who called off Gillette’s mission to capture Chaika.  They don’t even believe she’s real!  That’s ridiculous!  It’s like when I was watching Game of Thrones and that awesome battle where the Crows were fighting the Wildlings, and giants on mammoths started showing up and attacking.  One of the officers started freaking out and denied that they had any giants.  All I could do was yell at the screen and say, “They’re right there, you f*cking moron!  They’re right in front of you!”  I guess I shouldn’t just assume that things would be better in politics just because one type of evil was removed.  There’s always human corruption.

The two groups end up rendezvousing again, this time in the middle of a town square.  Red Chaika makes one last attempt to win over Toru, but he still denies her.  It’s funny, I was for sure that the aggressive Red Chaika would try to kill her rival during the exchange once she had her blad returned, but actually the battle was happening behind the scenes as Akari was tracking down the other teams sniper/magician.  Though she escaped.  It wasn’t over though, as while Toru, Akari and Chaika left the town, Red Chaika and her team were there again to head them off and demand the remains.  The only change this time, is that Red Chaika asks them to work together to gather the remains, but that she would still kill White Chaika.  Of course, Toru rejects the offer and they fight off their aggressors, but Toru is clear that they can’t keep doing this.  It will be interesting to see what kinda solution they come up with.

Overall, I like how things have gotten more complicated as this show has progressed.  It’s not just a matter of learning more and meeting more people, there’s something more intimate being built here between Toru and Chaika.  He clearly turned down a better deal for loyalty and his code, but I’m not convinced this was a purely professional decision.  I don’t know if it’s love, or a desire to protect her like a child, but it’s making him stay.  I also like this angle with the misguided, unrequited love Red Chaika is developing for Toru.  It poses and interesting question.  would Toru actually be better off with Red Chaika.  The same quest would be getting done, with more strength and a better leader.  Red Chaika’s warring ways would also better quench his desire for battle, and to fulfill his skills.  If they were together, would victory be more assured?  Perhaps more importantly, could there actually have been any love if they had met first?  There’s no telling now, but Red Chaika’s desire to find out for herself is sure to lead to more bitter battles between these two groups.

Ao Haru Ride

Episode 1

What a cute show.  But I already know that now is not the time to watch it.  There are already several shows like this one I should be watching first.  And I don’t see anything particularly unique about this one.  It’s all very plain, and coy and standard in many ways.  And if I was to give this show a chance, I’d have to do so relying solely on how much I like the characters, because I don’t think anything else would really grasp me.  Now if this show gets a crazy amount of hype while I’m busy doing other things (much as Toradora! did before I ever gave it a chance), then I may change my mind.

Click on the pic above to get my full thoughts on the subject.

Hajime no Ippo

Chapter 1055

“What the hell is this supposed to be?!”

Ippo just can’t catch even the slightest bit of a break this fight! Just as he’s started to employ his most dangerous technique, his opponents transforms into his most dangerous state. It’s also generally not a great sign when a loved one who isn’t there is shown fretting from a distance over her opponent. It doesn’t mean Gonzalez is doomed, but it points towards Gonzalez getting f*cked up.

It’s funny how Martinez runs across Gonzalez’s girl at this moment. A clear sign of something pivotal to come, right now though, it appears that Gonzalez isn’t the least bit intimidated – he even scoffs at the technique and shows no fear at taking it head on. Oh Ippo, if you can’t beat him here then I can’t imagine you not losing – brutally.

Chapter 1056

“You’re like a boxer from out of the stone age.”

Gonzalez does not give a f*ck!  I have never seen a more obvious example of someone not giving a damn about your cool thing in a manga.  And the worst part is that I think that even while Gonzalez is going nuts, he still appears to be completely clear and lucid.

At this point, I’m still completely unclear how this is going to play out.  Gonzalez is playing such a dangerously insane game that it doesn’t make sense why his coach would allow him to go loose like this.  My only guess is that he, like Gonzalez doesn’t respect Ippo’s game.  As Gonzalez put it, Ippo’s a boxer from the stone age, and even his likely brutal Metzli style of street fighting is probably more sophisticated.   Gonzalez’s style, skill and experience give me the feeling that even in a chaotic situation like this one, he’s got the edge.

And still, we haven’t heard a peep from Coach Kamogawa.  I’ve said before that he has one round to figure something out.  These exchanges are already way too dangerous.  If someone nails a punch in one of these situations, their head should explode!  That’s right!  A punch lands, and the head shouldn’t exist anymore!

Naruto

Chapter 683

“I had the same dream as you …once.”

No complaints here.  After all, how the hell can I complain about Obito being resurrected when just about everyone else has been, too.  I mean hell – the first four Hokages are walking around on the Earth now!  Though what Naruto, Sasuke and the others are walking on is anyone’s guess.  Right now, Kaguya is just freely hopping dimensions in a way that reminds just how truly annoying Obito was when he did it.  But that correlation is a good thing.  Obito knows that despite being resurrected he doesn’t actually have long to live, much like Guy before his demise, and that his expertise with this type of jutsu could be the only way to reunite Sasuke and Naruto.  After all, Kakashi is now Sharingan-less, there can’t be much he can do at this point.

It’s also nice that Sakura is being useful again.  I forgot she had a mass of chakra stored up in her forehead, just like her Fifth Hokage mentor.  I guess I just assumed she used it during the battle for some reason.  With her joining in, it really will be a picture perfect moment once they get Sasuke back.  And Obito would have done something good for those that he once shared a kindred spirit with.

Bleach

Chapter 587

“…nothing’s gonna come of you sitting around and worrying about it!”

You shinigami bastards aren’t doing a great job of  protecting the Soul King now are you?  That Yhwach just waltzed his ass right up there!  Given how ridiculously strong the Zero squadron I wouldn’t normally be worried, but Yhwach is no ordinary opponent, and I have a feeling that Ishida is especially necessary for this mission.  There’s some trippy bullsh*t about to go down.

Back in Soul Society, I do enjoy having Chad back in the picture and looking badass as ever (I wonder who his opponent will be).  He did talk some sense into Ichigo, not wasting anytime allowing him to wallow in his own sadness.  And with Mr. Hat & Clogs back in Soul Society, I don’t doubt that Ichigo will make it to the Soul King’s abode without issue.  It is literally just a matter of time now.  In the meanwhile, let’s enjoy these rousing battles between shinigami and Quincy!  Woo!  Go Renji!  Kick that cock-headed fool’s butt!

Team Medical Dragon

Chapter 106

“…no matter how much normal person pushes himself to the limit, he’d only get disappointed in the end.”

A strange, almost foreboding chapter this is.  Gunji Kirishima, just how fragile are you?  How bitter are you underneath that mask?  The upcoming batista surgery for the politician is here, but all I feel is uneasy.  It seems as though Gunji’s aim is to snipe at Asada, knowing that a head-on confrontation would immediately get him destroyed in a match of skills.  Yet, it is starting to appear as though it’s a mistake to include Ijuuin on the team then, since he’s worked so closely with Asada and has such sharp eyes.  Then there’s that infamous warning that Ijuuin gets from the politician, warning him about other politicans.  And he does include Gunji in that discussion.  He warns that everyone like him eventually “snaps”.  Granted, this old man is also an old fool who can’t even pause his smoking habit long enough for a surgery that determines whether he lives or dies, but he does seem knowledgeable on the subject.

Is Gunji’s ultimate fate to explode in failure?  And is it Ijuuin’s job to witness that before he sees where he should truly be using his skills?

Teppu

Chapter 5

I really don’t know what direction this manga is taking.  And by that, I don’t exactly know what choice Natsuo is going to end up making when she does finally partake in MMA.  Will she really be part of a club at school focusing on it, or will she do her own thing under someone else’s tutelage?  This Karin chick sures seems like a real go-getter.  A quirky but fun personality, and the skills to really whoop ass!  Natsuo’s aversion to being around personalities like Ringi’s also  makes me think that she’ll lean towards Karin as a trainer/mentor.

Focusing on the chapter more so than the future, the grudge between Sanae and Natsuo has gotten really nasty.  I thought it was a nice moment when Karin came across them and just decided to watch them brawl, but I shared her worry that Natsuo really would demolish Sanae.  In the end, Sanae’s anger would have meant nothing, and she likely would have been a bloody pulp on the ground.  I won’t be surprised when the two of them meet in the MMA ring.  I’m that sure of that direction.

I also enjoyed seeing the realism of the atmosphere when it came to watching an actual local MMA match.  The arena wasn’t crowded at all, but there still seemed to be a good reaction from the crowd towards the participants.  I also loved the attention to detail with the actual strikes and holds.  There was a panel where Karin went in for a submission, and you just KNEW what she was going for by the body positioning.

It may have not been the most beautiful moment of the chapter, but it was the most memorable for me.  I used to be a really big MMA fan, but my work schedule doesn’t allow me to actually catch any of the matches anymore.  Still, the love of a good match is there.  It’s a very similar feel that I get from reading Hajime no Ippo.  I see something and I understand and anticipate where it is going.  This mangaka is doing a good job emulating that, the differences being the focus on a different gender, a much less likable protagonist, and a slightly more realistic approach to combat.  Though it’s still quite early in the manga to say how realistic it may be.  I won’t put it past this series to throw in some super moves, the females already appear stupidly strong.

Further Reading:

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