AniFriday Issue #23: July 25th, 2014 (Star Platinum/Jonathan Joestar wants you deep inside his body!)
I will refrain from going on a rant this week. Instead, I’ll just say that I’m having a lot of fun with anime right now. Especially since I’ve started narrowing down and finishing off lingering series. Ao Haru Ride, Argevollen and Glasslip are gone. Tokyo Ravens and Chaika are almost done. It’s a whole lot more satisfying than what I have to deal with when it comes to manga. The impression is being given that mega manga Bleach and Naruto are ending, but those lingering final battles are going to last a long time. And if they aren’t f*cking amazing battles, it’s gonna leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouths.
There. Nice and short. Here are the anime & manga I’ll be covering in order:
- Stardust Crusaders ep15 & 16
- Tokyo Ravens ep21 & 22
- Chaika the Coffin Princess ep7
- Akame ga Kill! ep3
- Hajime no Ippo ch1059 & 1060
- Naruto ch685
- Bleach ch589
Now then, for the reason behind this post’s not-at-all erotic title – Stardust Crusaders! Fell a little behind, so I got two episodes to cover this week. Which is awesome! I wish I could marathon this entire arc!
Poor, poor Polnareff. He’s got a long way to go to make up for getting Abdul killed. Then again, I think it’s fair penance that he gets attacked in toilets like this. It’s also entertaining as hell. And for a while now, I’ve suspected that mangaka for this series is a fan of horror material. Some scenes just have a knack for being ghoulish and creepy and suspenseful. About the only time you feel remotely safe is when Jotaro shows up to kick some ass. I had heard of this moment when Jotaro has Star Platinum suck up someone else’s Stand. It’s kind of famous, like the scene from Part II where a creature is materialized and starts murdering people. It’s something you have to see to believe. But the most unbelievable thing in this episode is that Hol Horse is still alive. What a sh*tball!
Oh well, with the old hag defeated, it will be interesting to see what pops up next. This show is just full of surprises, and though some may say parts of this arc are getting long in the tooth, anything that allows me to see more of this insanity is just fine by me. It’s the reason why I’m not in a huge rush to see parts 4 and 5 adapted towards animation. The fight with DIO is a legendary battle from what I’ve heard, and there’s still a few memorable and wacky characters we’ve yet to meet along the way. Oh goody~goody!
Man, the Joestars have it rough this time around! I had fun watching Joseph haggle for those kebabs, but sh*t quickly got super serious when we find out the guy haggling for the kebabs is a Stand user, of course sent by DIO. Enya quickly meets a painful death at the hands of a flesh bud, and the dumb old hag dies believing still that DIO never betrayed her. Even as it’s DIO’S own flesh that is killing her.
Then there’s Steely Dan… *sigh* See it’s names like this that made it take so long for me to even try JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. Having characters and Stands named directly after famous bands is a novel and unique idea, but also it’s f*cking weird! Hell! Band names most of the time don’t make sense by themselves! They make even less sense in this context! For better or worse, even if you’re not familiar with the band, Steely Dan’s attire and hair style clearly places their time period of origin. And I gotta say, I still like the flamboyant and silly get up. The real problem is that this guy is a coward, and has a Stand to match his personality quite well. Without knowing it, Old Man Joestar gets “infected” by this microscopic Stand and has to pay all sorts of painful prices for the mistakes of others.
I don’t even understand how Steely Dan’s Stand works, since I can’t make any sense of it at all. Apparently, the pain and damage Steely Dan takes is duplicated and multiplied by the Stand in the person it has entered. But it looks like the little bastard is just playing with nerve endings. It shouldn’t be able to actually physically hurt someone like that. it should be able to of course instantly paralyze and murder someone that way though. And the solution to this problem? Pretty nonsensical as well. Locate the thing with Hermit Purple, and send Kakyoin and Polnareff’s Stands in to kill it. Meanwhile, Jotaro is stuck shadowing Steely Dan making sure he doesn’t hurt himself too bad and cripple his grandfather. I swear. People stay f*cking with Jotaro, and those people are the dumbest human beings to walk the Earth.
So it’s settled. Natsume is definitely dead. And Harutora is a non-factor until his friends can rescue him from the Onmyo Agency. But something is very off. As the good guys seem to randomly be coming together for a final counter strike, it feels a little too orchestrated. They may not know it, but there’s another level of manipulation playing out here.
The most bitter part of this episode is seeing harutora unable to deal with Natsume’s death and his own grief. At the beginning of the show, we see Suzuka trying to bring her brother back to life, and Harutora helped pull her down from that path, but now it’s his choice and he can’t handle it. It’s hypocritical for sure, but I can’t say it’s not a real response. This isn’t about allowing someone to pass on, this wasn’t necessarily inevitable. This is a case of seeing someone’s life being ripped away right before you, and you not being able to do anything about it. I would like to know more of what actually motivates the bad guys in this show, the people involved at this level don’t seem like the typical fanatics that have so often been encountered in this show. Do they really just blindly believe that Yakou’s resurrection will bring about a new golden age, or does the person behind all this see some other good in his actions?
What an awesome eleventh hour plea from Kon! It seems a lot of Kurahashi’s plan was riding on Harutora’s grief and a lack of trust in his skills. but at the very end, it was Kon who showed up when he most thought about throwing his trust and fundamentals to the side. The rest of this episode was mostly set-up for all the fights that are about to or have already begun to take place. And it’s fun as hell to watch as well. I still don’t think the whole story has been told as to why the bad guys are doing all this. Genji Kurahashi is still an incredibly hard person to read. We still don’t really have a clue as to why he’s so dedicated this.
This is the end of seeing Tokyo Ravens in the AniFriday spot. Next time this series pops up on my blog, it will be my concluding thoughts on it, as there are only two episodes left.
Chaika the Coffin Princess
I never knew this show was the fantasy anime I always wanted. I’ll get into those details once I’ve finished the show, but I can’t ignore how much I simply enjoy this show. You just sit down, relax and watch. Progress is made this episode. The heroes are given the location of another of Emperor Gaz’s remains, and while it’s no small feat finding and getting to them, it all manages to play out in the span of an episode. The barriers to success being Lord Gillette and his team, who seem to be chasing down Chaika no matter what, and a very bitter magical fog. Starting with Gillette and his team’s incursion again into Chaika’s quest. I find it interesting how Toru can so clearly identify him as a possibly impassable obstacle. I wonder if it’s the combined skill of his team, or if he really fears the noble’s swordsmanship? It’s also interesting to note that he did not use his “Iron Blood” spell before the fight, too. Perhaps he knew he wouldn’t have time for it? Maybe. Their duel was a quick and questionable one at that. But it does seem that they would have been overwhelmed eventually if not for Eliza’s help. She sure is a wildcard. It’s strange how you can completely forget she’s around, then you see her and think, “oh yeah, they have a giant monster on their side.” It makes for an easy out of some tough situations, but it is balanced out by the fact that she eventually wants to fight Toru to the death, and that she doesn’t do anything against her own will. Hence why she’s definitely a wild card.
The second half of the episode is the part where I found something to really like. It’s a dark truth residing in the show. To retrieve the legendary remain from their next target, Chaika, Akira and Toru have to traverse a dense and foreboding fog, that is clearly magical. And when things go pear-shaped and Eliza has to save them again, it’s Toru who suffers the consequences. The fog is imbued with a nasty spell that tricks and controls those that inhale it. For a moment, I was actually shocked when it was said that Akira had died, but the longer the illusion went on, the clearer it was. It also helps that we got to see Eliza, Akira and Chaika watching from the safety of a barrier. That cleared things up quite a bit, too. The illusion we saw, was one of Toru and Chaika happily living together and searching for the remains. But as they got the end of their quest, Gillette showed up and whisked her away to marriage and the last remain. Leaving Toru actually crying and chasing after them perpetually. Thankfully, he wondered close enough to the barrier for the others to capture him. From there they devised a plan using Chaika’s magic to bully their way to the source of the magical disturbance, destroying the evil fog making machine. And of course, once that machine goes down, so does the fog revealing our latest hero. The newest hero to be tracked down is a wreck and has the saddest story of all so far. Despite gaining riches and esteem, a friend has betrayed him and stolen his wife. Now he lives in that valley amongst the fog, making others relive his pain until they die. HARSH! Thankfully, once confronted this bitter motherf*cker just relinquishes the remain and goes back to being a lonely, broken piece of sh*t in the valley.
The reason I find this episode so interesting is because it begs more questions more clearly than most. The overall question still remains: what is Chaika going to do with her father’s remains. And the answer remains the same, but no can seem to believe that she just wants to bury her dead, super evil and powerful father. Either the task seems too simple and innocent, or they can’t seem to fathom someone throwing away that much value. Even Gillette is taken aback by the innocence of it all. The big question is, what does this task mean to Toru. For everyone else, it seems pretty simple. Chaika wants to gather and bury the remains, Akira wants to faithfully help her brother fulfill his purpose in life, Eliza wants to have fun and eventually kill Toru. But Toru can’t seem to face up to what he really wants, despite it being laid bare for all to see. He cares for Chaika, and not just the conflict that she brings. If he really did just crave conflict and a use for his skills, he would have left her for the other Chaika already. Also, he wouldn’t be so worried about their opponents and would likely be cavalier and reckless in his approach to combat. Whether it’s romantic, or a just an attachment and need to protect, Toru is bonded to Chaika.
Now then, he has a lot to answer for when it comes to Akira. She’s not giving up her place in line to have his babies without an actual fight.
There’s also still the question of what happened to the heroes, and why do they have such varying fates. All of them should have been able to retire happily. But we’re learning more and more that they don’t seem to lead simple, happy lives once they reached their ultimate goal. Perhaps the issue of a curse isn’t a far-fetched possibility?
Akame ga Kill!
I’ve heard various complaints about this show being shallow, predictable shounen fluff. But I disregard those opinions as people who just don’t like the genre at all. When it comes to this show, as long as the blood keeps on flowing, I’ll keep watching.
The premise may be simple enough for me, but I come to this genre for good fights, not philosophy. Leave that for the other genres. I watch anime to have fun. This episode gives us a decent introduction to Mine, the pink sniper. Three episodes in, I’m getting a much better understanding of the group and their purpose. It seems everyone has their own ancient relic that they use as a weapon somehow. Though it seems all their personalities (and colour schemes) are quite different. Also, they lead very dangerous and active daily lives. They start off their day this episode f*cking up a bunch of assassins, and indeed no quarter is given. The main focus of the episode though seems to be to better understand Mine and her relic. They run around town, save a girl, see some people being crucified and left for dead to bake in the sun, and kill a corrupt official and his guards. All the time forming a better bond and understanding between the hero and our pink sniper friend. And you know what?
They still hate each other! HA!
Well, at least they have a healthy respect for each other’s abilities. A pretty straightforward episode.
Most notable in this episode, we finally get a real peek at the emperor and the prime minister. It’s quite incredible the amount of unquestioned trust the emperor places in the prime minister. A child’s cruelty can be so easily manipulated to do horrible things. The man sentenced in this episode will be ripped apart by bulls, and his wife likely raped and murdered, or if she’s lucky – raped and enslaved. Not a nice way to send a man to his very painful death.
Hajime no Ippo
“It was stupid to expect anything from him.”
How could you name this chapter, “The Wind God’s Full Power” if he’s getting knocked around the entire time?! This isn’t even close to competitive. Ippo’s only hanging in based on this being his specialty, and he’s still being out-classed. Whether it’s due to his physical or mental beating, he’s not sharp enough to stay on top of Gonzalez, and he’s slowly drowning because of it. Sure would be nice if Coach Kamogawa could think of some sort of strategy aside from punching harder and faster. Then again, at this point, I don’t really see a weakness for Ippo to exploit. Gonzalez is fighting on the verge of madness, but he’s still skilled and cognizant enough to fight at the highest of levels. The only possible hint is that his trainer mentioned how Gonzalez used to not worry about the damage he was taking. Is it possible, like the Wooli match, for Ippo to sneak in a body blow that could shut him down enough to allow hope? Then there was the mention of that psycho Sawamura. Though they share a similar demeanor in the ring, Sawamura could be predicted because of how much he favored and relied on counters. Gonzalez is looking like a god of chaos right now. The word counter hasn’t even entered his mind, he’ll just instinctually take an opening and punch THROUGH IT! If anyone has any other ideas, I’m all for it. I haven’t figured out his weakness, yet.
“Pisses you off, don’t it?”
Gonzalez lacks patience! Despite all that rage, Metzli mode is a weapon with a timer. It’s only a matter of time before that perfect balance tilts towards madness, and he loses his discipline. And that appears to be what Ippos’ weapon is in this match. Instead of the dogged offense that he put up against Wooli, to find catch him off his guard with one good punch. It’s his annoying stamina and endurance that curbs the mentality of Gonzalez. Gonzalez has so little respect for Ippo, that he’s worried about looking weak while beating on him because his barrage has yet to knock the stocky little Japanese fighter out. It takes no time for Mashiba to notice the widening punches from Gonzalez, and Ippo is right there to witness it himself. If Ippo doesn’t hop on this chance now, he may not get a chance to see it again.
You know, it sure would have been nice if we could’ve seen his fights with Ricardo Martinez before this, especially since they were both losses. That is what normally would have happened. They are title bouts! It can’t be that hard to find them, even in Japan. Sheesh! Just another reason why I think Coach Kamogawa isn’t the best, or smartest coach.
” ‘…when he stumbles, you want to help him…’ was it?”
Kaguya’s done quite the inconvenience by separating Naruto and Sasuke. In a sense, heaven and earth are being moved to get them back together. Even Obito, one who has in the past openly and easily slipped through dimensions, marvels at what she’s able to do. Obito and Sakura are finally given the chance to hunt Sasuke down, using the stored chakra in her forehead and the Mangekyo Sharingan of Obito’s. Every world seems to be its own pointless, hostile extreme. Hell, they found a world that was just a sea of acid! I almost wondered why she didn’t send Sasuke there, but then I remembered that she’s trying to capture their chakra for some reason.
In the end, they did find Sasuke and just barely managed to keep the rift open enough to have him slip into their dimension. But there’s still one more leap to make, and I think Sakura’s out of chakra….
“I… I got so… moist.”
“…I think you meant to say erect…”
Nice to see some of the old pre-Arrancar stuff pop up again, including the spirit cannon, Urahara again, and ….YORUICHI! HOLY SH*T, IT’S BEEN FOREVER!! I’m so glad to see her again! I could complain about how long it takes for my favorite character in the series to show up again, but for now I’m just grateful! I really hope she goes up to the Spririt King’s palace along with Ichigo, Chad… and that other person. On the other end of things, we don’t’ get to see how the battle at the palace is going, but we do get to see a little of what’s going on between the remaining shinigami and Quincy. It seems that that weirdo Quincy who can kill people with her his blood even made one of the other Quincy into a zombie that can do the same thing. As if this series needed anymore twisted characters in it. Then again, my favorite twisted character has stepped up to the plate to handle this battle. Oh Mayuri… it’s been too long since I’ve seen you twistedly breakdown an opponent in the way only you can do.