Maoyuu Maou Yuusha – 06


The Winter King and Onna-Kishi lead an army to retake Bright Light Island. Maou arrives with know-how and resources to build an ice bridge to the island in the night. They use the bridge to establish a beachhead, but lack the men to mount a successful siege, until Yuusha arrives from the remote Gate City with the human army encamped there. The demons vacate the fortress, and once Onna-Kishi defeats the Ice General in single combat, the island is theirs. The Winter King throws a celebratory banquet, in which Maou and Onna are honored and Yuusha and Rou catch up.

Maou believes war to be a natural escalation of the natural conflict that arises whenever two individuals and by extension two groups cross paths. War doesn’t occur in a vacuum; it requires that steady escalation from more trifling conflicts, just as people aren’t born into adulthood. This week we watch Yuusha nudge a human army out of a demon city to meet up with another human army to root a demon army off a human island. Maou wasn’t after total victory in the classical sense; she essentially shuffled conflicting forces back onto their sides, while giving them a taste of the war she hopes will one day not be necessary.

Still, you have to break some eggs to make and omelette, or in this case, break some big chunks of ice. After showing off her mad agricultural skillz with the crops and science with the compasses, Maou shows her strategic prowess, as well as her engineering and logistical expertise. Her gran plan goes off without a hitch thanks to Yuusha’s assistance a in foreign land, and even Onna-Kishi gets to show off her badass swordsmanship against a giant Sauron-style boss who can take out platoons single-handed.  By moving forces that were exacerbating conflicts back to their own territory, perhaps Maou is on to something here. One thing’s for sure; girls got some big plans.

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – 05


Sasami returns to school, but she has no friends, and so she chooses Kagami to be her first. Kagami seems unenthusiastic and annoyed, and a series of mishaps befall her. She tries to limit her contact with Sasami, telling her to leave her alone. Dejected, Sasami encounters Tama. After playing tag, Tama tells her how excited Kagami is about being friends, but has something to take care of. Sasami realizes the myriad gods are punishing Kagami for becoming her friend, and races to school, where Kagami is rooting out the evil gods who had amassed. Sasami reiterates their friendship and assures her she can one day become a human.

In this, the third-straight episode of something we’ve watched involving Hanazawa Kana, her character Kagami takes center stage as Sasami’s first friend since leaving her house. But Kagami proves a tough nut to crack, prompting us to conclude that befriending a devine robot isn’t the best way to reintegrate into society. Kagami is still coming to grips with having emotions at all, and the naive and socially inexperienced Sasami interprets Kagami’s demeanor imprecisely. Though when we saw Kagami chatting and walking off with a group of other girls, even we were wondering what was up with her.

Her coldness was in stark contrast with Tama’s warm, pet-like unconditional affection for Sasami. But as lovely as Tama is, she’s a child; Kagami is Sasami’s age, and she chose her. Just when we thought Tama was useless, she reassures Sasami (out of the mouth of babes indeed). Turns out, in a very roundabout but very efficient way, Kagami is only protecting Sasami, which is her (and her sisters’) raison d’être. When Sasami chose her, she forgot that every choice she makes has consequences – both good and bad. But when she does realize this, she makes sure Kagami knows she doesn’t just see her as a loyal protector, but a real friend…her first, no less!

Rating: 7 (Very Good)

End-of-Month Rundown – January 2013


So far, Winter 2013 anime season has not come close to matching the excellence of the Fall. That doesn’t mean it’s crap; it’s just not quite at the same level, episode ratings-wise. That’s okay though, as we’re enjoying a varied assortment of series, along with the two carryovers from Fall. Since we’re a week late, let’s get right down to it:

Series progress and ratings current as of 8 Feb 2013

11. Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited – Hyoubu Kyousuke – 5/12 (6.200) – Despite having no knowledge of the ZKC franchise, this very long-titled series has been quite easy to follow. We’re liking how things are unfolding from the POV of the “antagonists”, but it’s hardly a good-vs.-evil situation, as everyone has shades of gray

10. Vividred Operation – 4/12 (6.750) – We don’t know if “Techno Shojo” is a recognized subgenre, but it applies here. One could argue that the tech really is just magic, driven by the bonds between the girls, but whatever, the action looks fantastic. There’s a lot of fanservice, but it’s mostly momentary butt shots…nothing series-ruining

9. Amnesia – 5/12 (6.800) – We love a good mystery, especially when it involves memory loss, memory alteration, and/or time travel. Like the many bishies apparently after her heart, we can’t help but sympathize with the delicate unnamed heroine…and everyone dresses absurdly, so there’s that

8. OreShura – 5/13 (7.200) – This series started strong, laying out not only what kind of people its characters are, but why they are that way, and what motivates them and their actions, which is always nice when done well. There’s a chance of this becoming an awful harem, but we only dislike harems when the guy/gal in the middle is a dull punk, but Eita is actually something of a catch – intelligent, hard-working, caring)

7. Tamako Market – 5/12 (7.200) – A very cute KyoAni slice-of-life comedy set in a lovely, friendly, cozy shopping district. While love is in the air, we’re not getting our hopes up about anything actually panning out, especially since Tamako is just as dense about romance (if not moreso) than Chitanda Eru. The talking bird Dera is hilarious

6. Chihayafuru 2 – 4/25 (7.500) – So far this is just as strong as the first series in terms of making karuta far more interesting than a game we could never play well has any right to be. Its strength also lies in its characters. The two new members freshen things up, while it’s cool to see the original core group has grown and matured quite a bit

5. Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – 4/25 (7.500) – Though not as strong as the Zetsubou-sensei series, Monogatari series, or Puella Magi Madoka Magica, we still like the crazy premise of an unmotivated girl with the powers of Amaterasu contained within just trying to live a normal life, and three goddesses – including Amaterasu herself – along with her totally undevine (and faceless) brother, helping her out. The animation is by turns gorgeous, breathtaking, and insane

4. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha – 5/12 (7.800) – The only new Winter series to score a 9-rating in its first episode, we’re loving the elaborate world-building and the grand and sprawling designs of the busty female Demon King. One can draw many parallels between Maou and Yuusha and Spice & Wolf, whom the two seiyus also starred in – not a bad thing. Also, best ED of the year so far

3. Kotoura-san – 5/12 (8.000) – The last new Winter series we broke into turned out to be the dark horse, and is now atop the Winter rankings due to its dark, hard-hitting backstory, lots of moving drama, and an excellent budding romance between a long-ostracized psychic and a guy who loves her not in spite of but because of her abilities – even if she can read every nasty thought he has of her

2. From the New World – 18/25 (8.200) – No show has kicked so much ass so consistently throughout its run as New World. We have watched Wantanabe Saki grow from a cautious pre-teen to a strong, beautiful and still cautious young woman. She’s lost so much, but now only she an a select other few stand between the future of mankind and the increasingly terrifying queerats, who are getting way too technologically advanced

1. Zetsuen no Tempest – 17/24 (8.250) – Characters and relationship shuffle slightly in the second half, and even as the earth hangs in the balance between the forces of Genesis and Exodus, we can’t help but point out how funny the series has gotten in the lighter scenes. We had our doubts about the weak-hearted Hanemura at first, but he’s growing on us. We’ve also enjoyed Hakaze tying herself into mental knots vis-a-vis her sudden and powerful attraction to Yoshino