This Week: Kill La Kill, Nagi No Asukara, Space Dandy, Pupa, and Gundam Build Fighters
I have yet another snow storm heading my way, so I certainly hope my power doesn’t fail while I write all this weekly anime stuff out!
Kill La Kill (episode seventeen)
When she is all dressed up for the Cultural and Sports Grand Festival, Ragyou Kiryuuin looks a lot like Reala from the old Sega Saturn game Nights into Dreams. I do not happen to think that is really relevant in any way to anything the show wants to deal in, its just something that struck me when she made her entrance.
Something that does seem quite a bit more relevant: I remember when I mentioned Satsuki was very much like a righteous paladin in her taking control of the situation when Ryuuko went all monster berserker during the Naturals Election. Well, now she has done gone and crucified her mother on a symbol of her own making. So… there is that.
This comes back around to the notion that Ryuuko really has not been much of a heroine in what is supposedly her story. Most of the traditional heroics really have been performed by Satsuki, right down to even thematic trappings like her white clothing and having what are essentially Knights of the Round Table… except not really round since she still very much recognized by her team as on a higher level than anyone else. Ryuuko is often reactionary and with situational goals, while Satsuki has been preemptive and the initiative taker. All of Satsuki’s prior actions, as varied as the king of the hill matches to the Tri City Raid School Trip, have played into the notion of preparing and honing her forces capabilities against her mother.
While she may not have been aware of the alien conspiracy until rather recently, Satsuki did likely consider that something was very much going on behind the scenes. Certainly, she would have had to have been introduced to the capabilities of Life Fibers and such somehow to integrate them so much into the culture of the academy, complete with its own R&D lab.
Given the compliments by Ragyou’s secretary, it seems to have been originally intended as making the life fiber clothing popular with youth demographics, which Satsuki likely saw some kind of purpose behind. And we haven’t really touched on what ended up happening to her father, who introduced her to Junketsu as her wedding dress and we haven’t really done much else with him since in the narrative. If this has been “the point” as it were, that the true heroine of all this is truly Satsuki right down to statements of now being in open rebellion, well… it’s been a really long and winding road, but, I sort of would like that to be the case. That this is really her story.
Meanwhile, I think the notion that Senketsu is spliced with some of Ryuuko’s DNA robs him of some of his earlier characterization. When he was stolen that one time and was put on by another student, but locked up and resisted so as to allow no harm to come to Ryuuko? Now that comes off less as a conscious “I don’t want to hurt her” desperation move and more of someone else just not having the right keys to the car.
Nagi No Asukara (episode eighteen)
Mostly a pretty quiet episode of doing some meandering around our re-discovered undersea village, now with just a covering of that salt-flake snow from nobody being awake to shovel.
I didn’t even necessarily mind Hikari’s outbursts to Miuna about how things aren’t normally like this, since it would be quite a bit of a strain on his own mind as well.
What does kind of irk me is the continued “The adults weren’t lying, right?” stuff about everyone hibernating and/or being dead. If it does not turn out that large swaths of the villagers have in fact died, I’ll be more surprised, such has been the general handling of dialogue and theatrics surrounding this topic. I mean, we already had a big costumed funeral-like procession when other nameless kids succumbed to the hibernation way back when, for instance. Hikari and Kaname, meanwhile, were folks that were cheating on the fasting rules back during the festival preparation five years ago. So I’ve sort of been writing off the village for some time now, admittedly, as the program hasn’t really been too subtle in this department.
Miuna gaining ena could be followed up by other mixed background individuals gaining it as well, in turn seeking out the sea they could never be a part of before and in turn recolonizing or repopulating it themselves. It would work well with the imagery of her going through the town as a sort of outsider “invading” it, even adding herself to the height chart.
My feelings on Manaka’s rescue I figure need to be paused until we see what is actually done with the move of forcefully removing her from the graveyard of sacrifices. I will say, the notion that she had been down there for so many years but we just barely got here in time before she would potentially drown feels kind of cheap. But, given the more forlorn look of Uroko-sama at the time, perhaps the kids have doomed their village due to Hikari’s “I’ll never change” mantra he recently re-upped and that impulsive hotheadedness coming around to bite him in one of the worst ways imaginable.
Space Dandy (episode six)
Episode Director: Michio Mihara, Animation Director: Michio Mihara, Storyboard: Michio Mihara, Script: Dai Sato
So this week was essentially the Michio Mihara Variety Half Hour, which is pretty noteworthy as this is roughly the most number of higher level production hats they have had to juggle simultaneously on a professional work outside of Shin Chan.
And, perhaps most appropriately given that background, we swing things around to a literal war over underwear and vests.
Neither side can remember how or why it started, and there is only one remaining representative of what I’m sure were quite proud species who are left to battle so routinely they can set a clock to it. That’s fine, it’s whatever, as I already was going into this episode with a sort of Shin Chan mindset to just kick back and consume. I found Meow’s pillow talk to be very endearing though, right down to the cadence swings in his voice as he tried talking about just getting away from all this war and heading to Boobies. I hope we get an episode that can be focused around Meow’s love life or something. Pillow Talk Meow seems like too good of a thing to let go to waste as just a one off. At least make it a two off.
The peace conference bit naturally interested me quite a bit, since peace studies makes up a large chunk of what I worked on in graduate school. One of the biggest obstacles they tend to have in reality is sides feeling like their opposition do not have enough investment in seeing it through, or that there is not enough being given up by their opponent in order to feel comfortable in their commitment towards achieving the peace. The notion of two sides needing to transfer their most prized possession is certainly an extremely simplified level of personal investment, but it fits the nature of the conflict and what it was about while also showing that something seemingly so simple as this exchange brings with it an immense number of personal and historical hangups that were very difficult for the sides to really overcome. So, you know, I enjoyed the small but I felt pretty robust little handling of that.
And then we all went space surfing on a planetary destruction wipeout.
Pupa (episode five)
Credit where credit is due: I actually understood some of the justifications behind the censoring mechanics this week.
A mother taking a box cutter to her baby and then showing some of what that handiwork led to is a subject area one can easily go “You can buy the home video release if you wanna see the whole thing.”
In a move that honestly does not really help matters when it comes to how confused and jumbled up the timeline of this narrative has gotten to be, we switch gears yet again and move towards following Utsutsu and Yume’s mother around during the pregnancy of her daughter years ago. On the one hand, that is quite useful to see, while on the other, I’m not sure about this really being the right time or place for it given how many plates it is already trying to spin.
In either event, Yume being born with a full set of teeth is certainly noteworthy in the sense of it being plenty unusual and definitely unnerving for a mother who was already more than psychologically freaking out about her child and considering it a monster. Then of course massively multiplied by baby Yume’s ability to get back up again after being carved up by mommy. But I’m not really sure what it really means for, well, anything. Perhaps something about Utsutsu’s unwavering defensive love of his sister being greatly misplaced, but to what end? How that they’re over a decade older, is she some sort of sleeper satanic larva agent or… something?
It somewhat raises the issues, but rather than giving them a bit of the harder push it probably could really use right about now it jumps off to lines of “pain tells me that I’m living in reality. I don’t need soft kisses.” dialogue and I can practically hear the pop-punk mall rock lyrics crawling out of the speakers.
Gundam Build Fighters (episode eighteen)
Aila gets something sort of akin to an accidental double date, and gets to go all Aww Man, Having Friends Is Pretty Great. Reiji (and everyone else for that matter), finally gets a (fibbed) name to call her, which in turn allows Sei to nerd about about “Aina” being the name of the primary female lead in 08th MS Team.
How much of that would come from Aila actually having seen any of that program as a part of her training is anyone’s guess, but, I’m sure history and notion of that name befitting someone from another side of the war is going to come around at some point. Having Sei and Reiji needing to fight her in the tournament later seems all but assured.
While the younger set essentially gets the day off for sweets and gunpla watching, we did need an actual fight for them to watch. To that end, I thought the match between the Renato brothers and Tatsuya / Meijin Kawaguchi made for some pretty good entertainment and pyrotechnics.
Since neither one of them are primary enough characters (though certainly Tatsuya is moreso), one could reasonably expect the narrative would be able to do interesting enough things had either of them won the fight. Likewise, the Ruins field plays well to needing to utilize and consider the environment more, which made for the best showcase of the GM Sniper K9’s abilities. A lighter, streamlined, and more efficient design than the models of essentially anyone left in the tournament, I enjoyed seeing how it made use of its backpack accessory for things like mobile artillery and the deployment of 1/144th scale Zeon infantry figures. Some folks like Ral think it’s improper and against the spirit of gunpla fighting, but, I figure it’s fair game for those trying to do more of a control gameplay style that comes at the expense of many other features on the mobile suit proper.
I have to say though, I’m just as confused as Sei when it came to the EXAM System implementation. The Trans-Am feature from Gundam 00 he originally mistakes it for would have been a lot easier to work with, as that is merely a temporary unit overdrive with a massive machine exhaustion drawback once time has elapsed. The EXAM System has a rather, um, peculiar feature that would be difficult to fit into a gunpla.
Hangers is a weekly series containing my passing thoughts on currently airing anime productions. Opinions, as always, are subject to change.