This Week: Kill la Kill, Nagi No Asukara, Miss Monochrome, Coppelion, Non Non Biyori, Gingitsune: Messenger of the Fox Gods, and Gundam Build Fighters.
I have a pile of snow outside and at least two of these shows are in active winter-like conditions, so that was kind of a fun synergy this week.
Kill La Kill (episode 10)
On the one hand, I’m glad that at one point during this episode I thought to myself “Someone really should be selling tickets to this event, they’d make a killing,” and low and behold the owner of the TV store in the slums manages to start charging for electricity time.
On the other, well, they really do have the poor folks over a barrel since this is such a big deal for how their society functions that it is something everyone wants to see.
Houka’s performance in his match does not really surprise me; even if as raw entertainment it is not as fulfilling, it is thematically apt. His is a kind of robotic thinking where they know stuff but are not as prone to extemporaneous problem solving. So too does Houka freeze when a vector of approach arrives that his research had not prepared a ready made answer for, rather than make a go of trying come up with a response on their own. Particularly after his own little grandstanding speech on the value of psychological damage and unexpected attacks, which optical camouflage certainly provides, but again that requires no actual problem solving on his behalf. The whole “he was in it for the data, not victory” thing is a nice attempt of saving face, but realistically and appropriately rings hollow.
This comes back to Ryuuko then, who as a consistent thematic point has touched on the nature of recklessness previously, and she flat out mentions it several times here as her only option between the Houka and Nonon fights. The band leader herself responding in kind with her own recklessness, where she reaches a height higher than where Satsuki stands, is also something ringing loudly. I can see her failure potentially resulting in Satsuki punishing her harder than any of the others, as that is some incredibly brash action from someone who has known her for the longest time. Nonon is not following the notions Satsuki was speaking of as a child to her regarding structures of sand, concrete, and the mind.
Aikurou making phone calls to trigger man Tsumugu about Senketsu evolving too quickly seems appropriate, as all of those acquired life fibers (and particularly the high quality influx from Gamagoori) should certainly be resulting in… something. SoonTM.
Nagi No Asukara (episode 10)
Hikari kept saying “Hold on a second” a few times during this episode, and I can’t say I blame him in the least.
I’m in the same boat as him, where we seem to have suddenly ramped into way too many things happening at once for what was before a more methodical pacing.
So in the span of roughly twenty minutes we’re hitting the notion that the demise of all humanity will arrive in mere decades because the Sea God is going to be unleashing this bitter cold ice age vengeance. And the notion that the mermaid people can just hibernate through it via the ena. And elderly folks tossing out doom phrases like “if you wake up before I do.” And people like the high priest of the village using weasel words like “apparently” when referring to how this sleep thing actually works, even though as the high priest and this is a religious matter… you’d think that he would know possibility more about it than that? And as a religious matter due to surface folks not following rituals or whatever, shouldn’t that have made the Ofunehiki so much more pressing? Because at the moment it feels like “neener neener neener, our mermaid people didn’t tell you surface folks at the meeting that Armageddon was at stake from what has been going on.”
…except by Tsugumu’s grandpa’s commentary, we have a whole climate change angle with this as well, where something may be actually enjoying the saltflake snow, and it may just be a bad change for humans. In which case, perhaps the Sea God isn’t involved at all?
…and Kaname drops the “What if we are already asleep and this is all just a dream?” bomb. While also pulling the ear tearing move of telling the girl they like that they like them with a delightful straight face because it was super convenient for him in the doomsday scenario. In such a situation Chisaki has has no real means of responding appropriately with any of their own agency because the timer is up against the wall, so her feelings or ability to process this information has not actually been respected by him at all.
…While we have little kids on the surface saying lines like “how do you keep precious things precious?”
…What the heck was this episode, even? I mean, if it actually turns out this is a post-apocalyptic tale, it would be quite a turn of events. But I feel this was at least two episodes of material here just being rushed through and we still have more than a dozen to go.
Miss Monochrome (episode 11)
Ru-chan, the ocean is not a place for Roomba’s to be playing a game of Chicken.
Speaking of games of risk, it seems we’re getting to the core of how Maneo has been able to keep getting these Producers to give Monochrome the time of day at the auditions: Take them out drinking, out of his own pocket. This can not possibly be easy on his wallet, particularly on convenience store pay.
This said though, the dedication seems to be paying some degree of investment dividends. Monochrome fails the ramen tasting test, but aces an unrelated nutrition analysis, leading to the Producer to… actually recommend her for another associated gig. Where she… is really awesome at nutrition analysis and meal presentation, but can not actually cook a palatable meal. Which has all of its own little theme regarding what folks are willing to eat even if it is really beneficial for their diet and look otherwise fantastic.
And she still gets recommended for another gig by the same Producer again due to her energy beam capabilities and… her task as an Illumination Master actually goes really fantastically and everyone loved it. And there’s no crazy punchline stinger. Sure she may not have been seen by the crowd herself, but she actually accomplished a job given to her by a Producer with excellent flair.
…So now what do we do?
Coppelion (episode 11)
With how much The Wind is the enemy in this series, you’d think we were watching a television length reimagining of aspects from The Happening.
The Iron Spider sure wasn’t much of an opponent, at any rate.
For how much that giant mechanical hulk of metal was shown running around in the trailers, you would think the team was going to get more use of it than about half an episode. But, again, this is in keeping with the whole overblown and worst possible lessons from modern Hollywood this series has been so enamoured with, where you show a potentially exciting bit in the advertising that is actually from near the end of the piece that is far less interesting. Like many an overblown secret weapon then, it basically comes down to a video game miniboss battle of “Go for the weak point. Weak point closed? Go for another weak point to open that weak point.” End scene. Aoi is somehow simultaneously capable of not realizing a button is behind a sheet of glass while also being some kind of… Earth goddess energy bubble?
They figure that is enough excitement for one day then, as we switch from action mode into “emotional” mode. Which is to say, rain everywhere, loud music telling us This Is The Part You Should Be Sad During, and folks trying to give platitudes on science, the human condition, and all the rest. I honestly forgot that the current Prime Minister was even a character in this show, given how little they’re kept us in the loop regarding what is going on at that conference such a big deal was being made far earlier in the season.
We’ve lost some characters then, with at least a few more potentially on the rocks, and… I can’t say I mind all that much. Fewer folks running around will ideally slow down the number of rapid smash cuts and shaky cam to try and desperately cover up the animation.
…Aw, who am I kidding.
Non Non Biyori (episode 10)
Two episodes of autumn , and we’re straight into winter break.
It makes sense from where I am sitting due to the amount of snow outside my own residence at the moment, but, it would have been nice to see a little more of that season before transitioning on.
Given, the majority of this is not even so much a “winter” episode as it is more using the framing device of hiking off to see the New Year’s’ sunrise as a means of delivering a flashback episode for Kaede and her babysitting Renge. Candy Store is my favorite character in this production anyway, so I’m more than willing to enjoy watching her trying to take care of a crazy one year old who can be calmed by fur seal calls.
A larger point about this show I suppose I’d prefer to write about this week is that as far as Girls Doing Things series are concerned, I could see myself rewatching this in the future. I probably would not rewatch Lucky Star for instance, even though I liked the show well enough, got many of the jokes, and even laughed at them. But I feel I would probably pop on Non Non Biyori again at some point. It feels a lot like Polar Bear’s Café to me in some respects, in that it has slowly played warm character humor with small bursts of achievable mania and would likely hold up to time better than something like the more reference heavy Lucky Star.
Gingitsune: Messenger of the Fox Gods (episode 10)
I was wary when I realized this was going to be a Satoru focused episode again, given the track record for that previously.
But I think this all came out rather well this time around, all things considered.
Admittedly, I still find it incredibly weird that we are near the end of the show and we still have characters saying things like “You’re living at the shrine now, right?” and “Oh, this is the student council president.” It is mildly jarring, but I have no real sense of how much time has actually elapsed.
We get back to Satoru and his whole kendo thing then, from his bullying for getting to leave practice early for shrine duties and his captain looking out for him with swell arcade dates, family dinners, and moonlight conversations. Intersperse that with the whole “goals for the future” conversation Makoto’s end, and it was a pretty pleasant time all around. I would have liked to see this episode sooner though, I suppose. It feels like a mid season episode designed around character building for a lead figure, rather than one that is supposed to be guiding us towards the looming final end credits.
I hope the idea that there potentially exists a random character at the school who can slo see spirits is not just some thruway line, because that could be kind of a fun way to wrap this all up in the end with a shrine visit and they see Gintaro and such.
Gundam Build Fighters (episode 10)
The World Champion loses in an incredibly minor bout and was a character we really didn’t know too terribly much about previously, and so while everyone is shocked and amazied I… don’t really care.
It doesn’t really make a big difference given that a character like this often does not tend to go very far in a tournament fighter series. Much like the same way they keep parading around “Nemesis,” it is just a cheap attempt at an easy façade of drama.
Which isn’t to say the episode was terrible on the overall though. The whole Olympic Village style setup and the ballroom reception with associated meet and greet was a solid way to showcase a number of World Tournament folks in quick succession in a natural and appropriate environment, which I actually like quite a bit. It feels right, rather than as shoehorned in as these scenes can often be. Likewise, I’m in support of any environment where Ricardo Fellini gets drunk and rambles about in-betweening animation from The 08th MS team.
Am I wrong for thinking there is a massive conflict of interest for the Plavsky Particle System Engineering folks to be able to field their own tournament fighter? Given the amount of money that seems to be pumped into this sport from around the world, and the fact the functions of the Plavsky Particle is essentially a black box as far as outside research can figure it out (which is itself also an ethics issue), I see no possible way that would fly. Any victory or loss would have huge questions behind it being rigged either way, and I can’t imagine it would be worth the scandal unless we somehow warp a model robot fighting game into a Take Over The Planet affair.
Hangers is a weekly series containing my passing thoughts on currently airing anime productions. Opinions, as always, are subject to change.