Tiger & Bunny 3

Tiger and Bunny are followed around by cameras to capture their “camaraderie”, and while neither one is interested in it, their jobs depend on perpetuating at least on the surface that they don’t hate each others guts. One thing’s for sure, but this episode’s end, they learn they can work together, and their powers even complement each other – a fact that made an otherwise stale ticking-time-bomb dilemma a little more interesting.

But at the end of the day, it’s still a ticking-time-bomb plot. Also, while I’m sure overt racism wasn’t intended here, so far the only two black dudes with any screentime are an effeminate fop who wears lipstick (but at least is still a hero, even if he is a “flaming” one), and an elevator repairman who set the bomb. When asked why he suspected him, Tiger said he just “looked like your classic bad guy”. That can’t be true…he didn’t have a twirly mustache! Yeah, the guy’s body language was a little off, but still, three eps in and this series’ depiction of minorities isn’t much better than that of early Tintin books.

That unpleasantness aside, I also hope future hijinx Tiger and Bunny get into show off a little more of the awesome, huge, futuristic city they inhabit, rather than them just being holed up in an elevator shaft. I’m surprised Apollon was able to hold an audience for what was mostly a bunch of exterior shots of the tower with lots of sirens blaring and little else. I’d be all for a superhero reality show, but watching superheroes aid in office building evacuations doesn’t exactly get my juices flowing. Rating: 3

Hyouge Mono – First Impressions

I’m a bit late getting to this series, but it was worth the wait. Hyouge Mono is perhaps the odd-man-out out as all the rest of my Spring watchlist takes place in the present or future. This is the friggin’ sixteenth century we’re dealing with, and I have to say it’s awesome. The extreme formality, the excessive exposition, the life-and-death staring contests, they’re all brilliant. I saw some excellent Noh theatre last month and this recalled that old-fashioned but gorgeous manner of speaking.

What is so curious is how modern the show feels, despite hardly ever betraying its proper time. True, the enormous ship might have been anachronistic, as probably were the guns (my knowledge of Japanese history is sketchy at best), but I’m talking more about the smooth jazz opening and bossa nova ending, as well as the Final Fantasy-esque score that complemented the spectacle nicely. Probably my favorite qualities of this series so far is the kaleidoscope of funny facial expressions and those long, tense silences.

Our protagonist Sasuke is quite the character – imminently watchable. He’s also a bit of a tea otaku – he goes to pieces at the sight of some well-regarded piece of the Tea trade – much like Oreimo’s Kirino would over some eroge. In this episode, it was an admittedly-splendid teakettle. I also like how his Lord is always challenging his devotion and mettle – partially for his own amusement, but also because Sasuke is constantly striving to straddle the role of a warrior with what is perhaps his true self – a hopeless aesthete. I look forward to seeing him wrestle that duality in future. Rating: 4

The World God Only Knows II 2

Well...that was easy. It seems almost like Katsuragi’s heart isn’t in this one (well, his heart isn’t truly into anything but games), as his great scheme to conquer the schizo-tsundere is nothing more than a really long date. They manage to separate her feminine and masculine selves by sharing an ice cream cone, but when she duels with her cuter side, they’re – not surprisingly – evenly matched.

So the opening sequence only shows three women, but the first is dispatched in just two episodes? Granted, this arc really couldn’t go any longer without getting quite annoying. Speaking of annoying, Elcee remains an earsore – which brings us to the big post-ending event: another demon girl appears, named Haqua. Perhaps she is the reason there are less girls to conquer this season: I’m eager to learn what she’s all about – and if she’s more tolerable than Elcee. My guess is she is. Rating: 3