This Week: Kill la Kill, Nagi No Asukara, Miss Monochrome, Coppelion, Non Non Biyori, Gingitsune: Messenger of the Fox Gods, and Gundam Build Fighters.
With the midseason hump behind us, we begin our descent down for wherever loops these rides hope to go pursue before the autumn finales.
Kill La Kill (Episode 7)
Well a Fight Club was certainly one way to drill through a large number of Club President challengers in short order. Which, given Satsuki’s disposition at the end of the episode, was her entire goal for allowing Ryuuko and Mako to run such an operation at all.
Arguably, she likely always knew it would come down to the two of them butting heads at the end. The direct result of whatever would happen at that destination was far less important than the journey they would take to get there, allowing an ample purge to proceed entirely within the rules of the academy while at the same time without Satsuki’s hands visibly touching the dials.
This episode has given us the largest direct insight on the kinds of differences that exist at the various levels in the social pecking order. Often mentioned or alluded to, and now here for all to see. And as is routinely the case in rags to riches stories, what we see is that things are certainly lonely near the top. Genuine croquets and cutlets though!
The way this society is structured is something I think is essential to keep in mind, particularly during and after this episode. The status level of the students at the academy feeds directly into determining the entire fabric of their family life. Their households, food supply, even friends. We always knew that, we just get to see how the other half lives while ideally considering one further point:
The Fight Club created by Ryuuko and Mako to raise their own standards of living and “game the system” as it were are wholesale bulldozing the lives of everyone and everything in their path.
They are evicting countless families.
Mark Twain had a quip I think is appropriate to remember in all this: “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
And a whole lot of naked people have been throttled down the ladder, for good or for ill, so Satsuki can hold her election plans.
Nagi No Asukara (Episode 7)
Easy Ofunehiki come, easy Ofunehiki go. Don’t lose your head all in one place.
Or something like that!
A cornucopia of classmates human and mermaid alike finish rebuilding the previously destroyed festival centerpiece and need to, well, convince the feuding leadership between the shore and the sea to actually let the festivities occur. While I don’t really find the paint by numbers fight between the respective leaderships all that interesting (though there are extremely good reasons why we in the conflict resolution and mediation field never ever intentionally set up a room the way it was here, with such a wide gulf and oppositional seating, to say nothing of moderator placement), I do find the petition drive leading up to it to be something to reflect on.
The kids have bunches of signatures, with most of the remarks we get to see able to be bundled up along the lines of thinking the festival would be a nice thing to see because they were under the impression that it was not happening. The general population of the people on land would like to see the festival continue. Their problem then, as is often the case in situations like this, with a collection of old men who have buckled down and are unwilling to budge on much of anything while holding all kinds of grudges and being passive aggressive (and then aggressive-aggressive) towards each other. Nothing new there, but I do hope an angle comes from it that could get me more invested in that, as for the moment we barely even know any of their names let alone can really consider them as characters.
In other news, Uroko-sama actually gets off the floor and unleashes a torrent of nautical hell for his trouble. He has had these consistent hints of holding quite a bit back in-between his eating, drinking, perversion shenanigans and his more foreboding words of direction. Now we have our follow-through regarding some of the things he may actually be capable of, and as even that involved a lot of holding back and interruption I am sure he has plenty more to show regarding his power and what even the Sea God plans for the future. The question then is who or what it would be directed at, and why they deserve it, which if I had to put a guess on it would likely be just the thing to come back around in time for a mid-series finale.
Miss Monochrome (Episode 8)
Someone needs to link me up with the contact information for Manager Maneo, because that is a man I want managing my life and all future employment prospects.
Such speed and earnest fervor in acquiring new lines of work for our idol, even when otherwise stocking soda cans behind the convenience store freezer.
Truthfully, I was surprised Monochrome’s color scheme was not used as a part of some giant crash sequence or checked flag misunderstanding when she picked up the Race Queen gig. It was what I had expected the show to do when they started going that direction, and then it subverted that. I gotta stay on my toes if I ever wanna outrun all those race cars myself, I suppose.
It’s unfortunate our Manager had to apologize so much to the producer for Monochrome’s behavior; the second and third placed racers themselves seemed pretty alright with how things turned out!
The idol commentary on the ability of famous idols to get grand coverage for the things they do is certainly timeless in its ability to induce idle frustration. Plenty of folks out there in the world are doing Awesome Things every day without due coverage or an interesting telling of their stories, even if they would be far more rich of a tale to tell. In many respects, that is also the kind of show we are watching.
Monochrome went to Mars and back, but there was no buzz and it doesn’t move the needle regarding her popularity.
Coppelion (Episode 8)
Well Thanksgiving is in a week, so we may as well start breaking out more of the other members of the Coppelion project family.
That one of them has superhuman strength capable of hurling multigallon drums of waste and smashing support beams with their bare hand doesn’t really bother me. That her sister has been genetically spliced with electric eel DNA and thus can shoot energy beams is not really throwing me off my rocker either.
We are already rather far gone as it is.
As if acknowledging there is a dire level of material we really have available to work with and the consistent issues the writing team has with feeding exposition over staging actual scenes, this episode has a measurable uptick in the amount of fanservice on offer. Butt shots, crotch cameras, and the like are far more prominent and engineering their display to the viewer becomes the primary blocking of multiple scenes. It is though the production team has come to terms that this may be one of the only options left in the tank for them, as the show has thoroughly imploded in its attempts at drama, intrigue, or sociopolitical commentary.
On top of this, while this show has never really been particularly well animated, a number of clear shortcuts were taken this week when it came to physically moving folks around on the screen. Proportions are all over the place and there was a time when the Ozu sisters were laughing where I had to rewind and check to see that, indeed, it was two frames being swapped back and forth very quickly.
I think if Coppellion kept the backgrounds and some various incidental animations (smoke, etc), and just had the dialogue play over it like some kind of sound novel with pictures, it probably would be functioning better as a program.
Monogatari Series: Second Season
Still on hold for this week.
While the Shinobu arc did wrap up in the most recent broadcast, Daisuki’s announcement of delays in getting the episode operational meant that my ability to view the whole arc in my usual movie-like burst as a part of my weekend was thrown for a loop. I did not want to start the first episode of the arc without knowing the last part would be there as well, and by the time that was all sorted out I would not have been able to approach them in a manner that fit into my schedule without having to nudge other series off.
As this coming week is starts the Hitagi arc rather than another franchise summary episode, I will merely tackle the Shinobu series of episodes when we meet here for this write-up series next time.
Non Non Biyori (Episode 7)
Summer break is over and Kazuho overslept. Nobody is surprised.
You know that feeling when one is back in school after a holiday and everyone is just a little hazy, rusty, and not otherwise entirely on the ball? This episode felt kind of like a television entertainment version of that sensation, and for all I know that may have been wholly intentional.
Without a teacher, the class is left to do various kinds of quasi-constructive things in the room on their own. Some cat’s cradle, some clay art modeling, and so on. It doesn’t really go anywhere outside of generating the most emotion we have ever seen out of Suguru, but then again the characters themselves are really just stalling for time as well. The next sketch, the middle portion involving Renge and Hotaru caring for the rabbits, felt kind of off as well. A bunny prominently smirking at the characters with a full screen camera shot before leap jump kicking the door shut on them seemed at least a little out of place in a rural series that has not really been doing much in the way of straight up “cartoon” animals.
The third bit involving Kaede and her country candy shop brings us back in line at least. Wares nobody buys, television shows she feels out of touch with, justifying losses she’d rather not be making but things are worth it in small ways. I was hoping we would see her again, as she brings in both another adult voice and fills a more snark oriented humor vector.
Gingitsune: Messenger of the Fox Gods (Episode 7)
We have come out of the multi episode tunnel of Satoru’s exposition, which is a definite plus for me. I was not really enjoying what the show was doing there for a while.
Now we have Yumi’s boyfriend Shouhei, the Amamoto family in general, and monkey business hijinks.
It might not be much, but I’ll take it.
In some respects this felt like an episode that could have come far earlier in the series.
We would not have all the character intros of course, but it has the sense of an early show “world building of the week” episode in visiting the shrine and dealing with the situation there. If Makoto and Gintaro had come here themselves around, say, episode four after the turtle and lion dogs, the monkey heralds would have felt like a reasonable extension. Especially as we already handled Yumi and Shouhei in the first episode, and it would have given Makoto and Ginataro more direct character development time. It does not feel like an “episode seven of twelve,” and the series even has to have Makoto remind herself that most of the other human characters can not see entities like Haru and Gintaro. It’s a small thing on the whole, it just feels a little wonky for where we are, is all.
The actual monkey antics and associated humor was very reliant on poking and prodding folks until they gave a giant exaggerated anime overreaction, which I can’t really say much about either way. It is not my preferred kind of humor, and I would not want the series to become reliant on it, but for monkey characters going for generating raw reactions via their shenanigans I’ll allow it because it is wholly functional for that purpose and what they were going for.
Gundam Build Fighters (Episode 7)
Looking back on it, this was a rather busy episode.
The qualifier tournament finals conclude, the cast heads to the beach and a holiday inn with their prize, Mao is back, Sei’s mom keeps trying to hook up China and her son, landsharks try and take the inn, and of all things our heroes need to fight an Apsalus III mobile armor.
And practically everybody in this world still seems to know Mr. Ral.
Sei and Reiji needing to utilize the newer Strike model, which is more orientated for continuous and multifaceted midrange engagement over the previous one which excelled more at extreme close or single shot distant ranges helps them in more ways than one, which is certainly nice for them. Our builder claims he is working on a new model for next time though, which I find kind of a shame as it means we will be rotating this one out rather quickly. On the other hand though, I do appreciate how the crux of the series allows for a consistent flow of refinement, upgrading, and replacement of the primary hero units in a way that would be really out of place in a more traditional Gundam entry.
Seeing the mobile heavy armor pop up for a showdown was quite something as well, as I haven’t watched The 08th MS Team in so many years. It’s a quirky looking specimen in the Gundam arsenal, with their thin spindly legs all extended and such. Seeing the kind of absurd havoc that titanic beast is capable of unleashing was fun to see again.
Our narrative may not be challenging, but moments like this are among the key reasons I look forward to watching this series every week.
Hangers is a weekly series containing my passing thoughts on currently airing anime productions. Opinions, as always, are subject to change.