K – 09

In a 1945 flashback to Dresden, Germany, Adolf Weismann demonstrates the power of an ancient “slate” by presenting a lab rat with godlike powers that commands the other rats. When the allies bomb the city, his sister is killed, and he eventually retreats to the airship Himmelrieich, where he remained unaging until it was destroyed in the incident with Scepter 4. Usagi gets to the wreckage first, and the Golden King has him in state. Meanwhile, someone claiming to be Tatara’s killer contacts Suoh and provokes him into breaking out of Scepter 4’s headquarters. Awashima and Fushimi cannot stop him, and Homra is waiting for him. Suoh knows the killer is at the school on the island.

So, no Shiro, no Neko, and no Kuroh this week. Instead we focus on the other Kings, specifically the top four. The first, Adolf Weismann, only wanted everyone to be happy. He started this whole technobabbly process of creating humans with superhero powers. His most apparent power seems to be immortality, though he’s unconscious in the aftermath of the Himmelreich‘s destruction, after decades of hanging up there, tending the broken heart he suffered when his sis died, and cultivating a legend about himself. One thing’s for sure; dude’s a weirdo.

As for the second King, it’s apparently in his interests to make sure Weismann isn’t snatched up by Scepter 4. We’re not sure what Munakata can do about it, being the fourth and therefore presumably less-powerful King. Meanwhile Kukuri, Mishina, and the other classmates keep bringing up someone none of them quite remember, but who is at the tip of their tongue. Were their memories of Shiro just an artifice? Finally, Tatara’s mysterious, fox-masked killer calls Suoh (on a toy phone, no less) to gloat. After simply sitting around for eight episodes, Suoh, King #3, decides enough is enough, and springs into action out of concern for the members of Homra.

Rating: 6 (Good)

Zetsuen no Tempest – 09

Samon successfully convinces Mahiro that Hakaze is only bones now, and is speaking to him from the past through the magic doll. Mahiro doesn’t care though, and will use the talisman anyway unless Samon grants the wish Hakaze couldn’t – to find Aika’s killer and bring him to him. Samon considers it a reasonable requests, and orders Tetsuma to investigate. Yashiro tells Hakaze what has happened, and when she mentions not having a line from Hamlet to say, Yoshino remembers when Aika told him why she quotes Hamlet. He tells her it’s too tragic, so she tells him about The Tempest, which had a happy ending. Yoshino attacks Mahiro, and begs him to rejoin his side to try to bring Hakaze back. If he does, he’ll tell him who Aika’s boyfriend was. This sways Mahiro, who agrees to hear him out, but only until Samon can get him Aika’s killer.

We know a little more about The Tempest thanks to Wishbone (who might’ve done Hamlet too, we just didn’t catch that episode), but not much more than the fact it involves a mage on an island, and, well, a tempest. But darn it all if our preoccupation with Hamlet and its connection to this story totally distracted us from the obvious: this story isn’t one or the other: it could go either way. Yoshino doesn’t want to end up in a duel with Mahiro over Aika, and she doesn’t believe a second girl – Hakaze – should be so easily abandoned to fulfill Mahiro’s selfish, immediate thirst for revenge. Of course, Mahiro has the gun, so Yoshino uses those flash bombs he hoarded to shake things up.

With one word – “boyfriend”, Yoshino is able to turn the tables a second time in as many episodes. And with Samon cursing the Tree of Genesis for everything that doesn’t go his way, it really makes you wonder, is logic and nature really still on Hakaze’s side, even though she’s dry bones in the present? Why not? Sure, things are complicated, and it will take a lot to nullify those bones, but as long as there’s magic in the world, and someone willing to stand and put his own life on the line to save her, Hakaze, the mage on the island, has a chance to return home and exact revenge upon those who wronged her. And Mahiro can get his sister’s killer and the name of her boyfriend…though who knows how he’ll take the latter revelation.

This episode may just be three guys yelling at each other while holding weapons while a half-naked girl lies on a distant beach (and another guy fights tanks with a spear) but good God was it powerful. It not only sports a ton of mythic resonance, but elegantly, effortlessly transfers the power to choose the fate of the world from the hotheaded trigger-happy vengeance junkie into more calm, collected hands, precisely because said junkie is so hotheaded, his knowing who his sister dated carries the same weight as the opportunity to face her murderer. Here’s hoping for that happy ending where he learns both, Hakaze is saved, and the world isn’t destroyed. It even takes a hearty jab at its own characters‘ (over?)use of Shakespeare.

Rating: 10 (Masterpiece)

RABUJOI World Heritage List

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 09

Shinka unilaterally decides the club will perform a flashmob battle. The fall semester is nearly halfway gone, and Rikka has been avoiding Yuuta ever since she spent the night. Rikka believes the “overseers” planted a “dark anomaly” in Yuuta, making her heart race at the sight or thought of him. She and Sanae call him out one night to “defeat” him with, but fail. Shinka picks up on Rikka’s behavior, takes her aside, and tells her she’s in love, then crafts opportunities for Rikka to get Yuuta to respond. The third attempt, when Rikka nearly falls off the roof of the school, succeeds when Yuuta rescues her resulting in a passionate embrace.

Akasaki Chinatsu voices Shinka. She also voiced Oribe Yasuna in Kill Me Baby!, which wasn’t the best anime in the world, but her strong, flexible, energetic voice was the main reason we watched it. The running gag was that no matter how many crazy methods she used, she’d never quite achieve her goal, much like Wile E. Coyote. This week, Shinka channels Oribe once she realizes the blatantly obvious: Rikka has well and truly fallen for Yuuta…like a ton of bricks. Shinka’s schemes come straight from shoujo romance manga, but this time, she finally succeeds. And all it takes is Rikka almost falling off a roof!

Yuuta, for his part, is your typical passive male lead who lets half a semester of awkwardness pass before his harrowing rescue of Rikka. Rikka mistakes her feelings for some form of sorcery, and we’re not even sure how sincere she is in that skewed interpretation, considering her Chuunibyou is a coping device, not just something she does for the hell of it (like, say Sanae, until she gets a tragic backstory…). Deep down, of course, Rikka knows the true reason why Yuuta makes her face red and her heart race; she just afraid and needs a little catalyst, which Shinka helpfully provides. She and Yuuta aren’t out of the woods yet (nor are any of the couples this Fall :P), but it’s a hug in the right direction.

Rating: 8 (Great)

Winter 2013 Season Preview

It’s getting colder, which means turning up the thermostat, donning extra layers outside, having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, and most importantly, a fresh batch of anime. Looking towards January, we see From The New World most definitely continuing for thirteen more episodes, and Zetsuen no Tempest is still a question mark (it may end, or pick back up in another season).

Other than that, there’s a sequel we’ll be watching, Chihayafuru 2, and we’ve taken the most cursory of glances at eight other new series for a total of ten for the Winter months. We have no idea which ones we’ll like and therefore stick with for their entire duration, but it’s a diverse group, with lots of different genres and studios represented. Also, lots of really really long titles.

Definitely Watching

From The New World
(episodes 14-25)

Zetsuen no Tempest
(episodes 13-24)

Probably Watching

Brain’s Base (Romance, Shoujo) – 7 Jan

Arve Rezzle: Kikaijikake no Yoseitachi (OVA)
Zexcs (Action, Adventure, Mystery, Drama, Sci-fi, Thriller) – 2 Mar

Chihayafuru 2
Madhouse (Drama, Game, Sports, Josei) – 12 Jan

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
Arms (Adventure, Fantasy, Romance) – 5 Jan


SHAFT (Comedy, Romance) – 11 Jan

Maybe Pile

Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru sou desu yo?
(Don’t Problem Children Come From an Alternate World?)
Diomedea (Fantasy, Supernatural) – 12 Jan

Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru
(My Girlfriend and Childhood Friend Fight Too Much! AKA OreShura)
A-1 (Comedy, Romance, School) – 6 Jan

Vividred Operation
A-1 (Action, Sci-fi) – 11 Jan

Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited – Hyoubu Kyousuke
Manglobe (Supernatural) – 7 Jan

End-of-Month Rundown – November 2012

It’s a day early, but what the hay…we’re in the ninth week of the Fall season with four weeks remaining. It’s been a very good season: about a half-point better than Summer. Four series have consistently scored 8 (Great) or higher. It’s hard to gauge whether it’s the best season of the year, since we used the old rating system in the Winter, but we know it’s very close.

We’re also no longer sticking with shows that can’t consistently score a 6 (Good) or better – something that will continue in the Winter. In that respect, Girls und Panzer just barely passes muster.

While cumulative ratings have dropped for most series, consider that normalization due to larger sample sizes, not a regression of quality. Of the eleven series we’re watching, it’s likely From the New World and Zetsuen no Tempest are the only ones carrying over into the Winter, so there will be a lot of finales to sort through, and it’s still too early to predict how well they’ll handle them.

We’ll also say at this point that there’s no series we’re watching that we’d have dropped in hindsight; everything is fully meeting our entertainment needs…though Muv-Luv was certainly floundering there for a while.

12. Muv-Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse – 21/24 (5.714 ▲), (.72 RTI) – After a three-episode slump, Muv-Luv roared back with a vengeance, with a bloody assault on the UN base…by other humans

11. Girls und Panzer – 7/12 (6.000), (.40 RTI) – The series has balanced awesome tank battles with pretty good character sketches and slice-of-life. Miho is torn between her family’s strict stance of victory at all costs and simply enjoying what she does and the company of friends who have her back

10. Btooom! – 8/12 (6.750 ▼), (.44 RTI) – Himiko is ever-so-slightly warming up to Sakamoto, now that she knows he was her wife in the virtual game. Sakamoto’s plan to leave the island seems doomed to fail, what with all the surveillance

9. Jormungand: Perfect Order – 19/24 (6.857 ▼), (.28 RTI)This season seems to be about giving all of Koko’s members a backstory, and they’ve been decent thus far, though R’s remains the most compelling

8.  Sword Art Online – 21/25 (7.250 ▼), (.64 RTI) – Suguha and Kazuto are still unaware they’re playmates in ALfeim (so she’s unwittingly fallen for “Kirito” in both worlds). Asuna briefly breaks out, but she’s still a damsel, and the villain is still boring in his Pure Evilness®

7. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – 8/12 (7.625 ▼), (.56 RTI) – This series’ core is the strong and appealing bond gradually developing between the two leads. Achieving romantic status will be tricky due to the Rikka’s emotional immaturity and penchant for talking in obscure code…and Yuuta’s reluctance to date a weirdo

6. K – 8/13 (7.625 ▼), (.60 RTI) – Shiro may be finally, finally starting to remember what went on, thanks to Neko (grudgingly) releasing his memory block. We’re introduced to the eccentric Gold King,, but many issues remain unresolved we’re not sure if the story has adequate time to transcend all the gorgeous eye candy

5. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun – 9/13 (7.778 ▼), (.44 RTI) – Things between Shizuku and Hari are stalling a bit, but this series still has great energy and an interesting lead in Shizuku, who struggles with an ingrained personality and outlook shaped by her family dynamic (powerful, unyielding mom, warm but weak dad). Not sure we needed Yamaken to fall for her, but it’s being handled well so far

4. Kamisama Hajimemashita – 9/13 (8.111 ▲), (.48 RTI) – Nanami has not only full-on fallen for her familiar Tomoe, but unwittingly gained another in Mizuki. This series is surging right now, with four straight superior episodes and a veritable smorgasbord of neat supernatural concepts and story twists

3. From the New World (Shin Sekai yori) – 9/25 (8.333 ▲), (.48 RTI) – Rising to the elite shows of the year, New World earned a ten in its masterful ninth episode. As the characters age, the danger intensifies, and the tension over their fate continues to build

2. Sukitte Ii na yo. – 8/13 (8.750 ▼), (.40 RTI) – Mei and Yamato both prove inexperienced with romantic relationships (though in different ways), but at least they’re trying to overcome their stumbling. Their resolve may be tested by an incoming transfer student

1. Zetsuen no Tempest – 8/- (8.750 ▼), (.60 RTI) – The guys finally meet Samon, who drives a wedge between both them and Hakaze, calling into question who’s really threatening the world. After a satisfying conclusion to Eureka Seven AO, Bones remains on a roll with this