Zetsuen no Tempest – 20

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Hakaze prepares to transport back to the past to investigate Aika’s murder and report back. Her findings will determine against whom Mahiro exacts his revenge, even if Hakaze herself turns out to be the murderer. She transports her flesh to the skeleton on the island and uses magic to travel to Aika’s hometown. She runs into her on the street just after she arrives four hours before she meets her end, but it’s no coincidence. Aika follows Hakaze to a rooftop and introduces herself as the true Mage of Exodus, then draws a massive magic sword.

Aha…of course Aika is the real Mage of Exodus! Without going into excessive detail (or resorting to whiteboard diagrams), it makes sense after everything we’ve seen. Aika always seemed to possess an aura of wisdom and sageiness beyond her years, and being the mage explains that. If she wants to confront her Genesis counterpart (no, not Collins), it also explains why Hakaze would fall for Yoshino. The desire to determine the truth for the man she loves led her right into Aika’s burdock-like clutches. The moment they cross paths is filled with tension, and that’s before Aika tells Hakaze who she really is.

As soon as Hakaze announced she was going back in time, the gears in our heads started to turn. That decision leads to a course of action that leads to her confrontation with and, at least in the first go-round, eventual killing of Aika, which results in the present timeline these past twenty episodes inhabited. It’s a chicken-and-egg paradox: Hakaze becomes the very person she was looking for: Aika’s killer. She needs to die as she did before if the timeline is to be preserved…but judging from the size of that sword, killing her won’t be easy, assuming that’s what Hakaze intends to do.


Rating: 9 (Superior)

P.S. Samon finds another opportunity to demonstrate his singular wit – that wig joke was GOLD.

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Kotoura-san – 08

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Kotoura comes down with a  fever, and Manabe takes it upon himself to nurse her back to health. He discovers she can’t read his mind due to her cold, so he’s able to carry on with his fantasies without rousing her ire or embarrassment. When she returns to school she learns the truth, and to make it up to her, Mifune orders Manabe to take her out on a date. They enjoy themselves thoroughly, but at the end, her psychic ability suddenly returns in force, knocking her unconscious.

Well, it happens under some rather unusual circumstances…and under orders, but it finally happened: Manabe and Kotoura go on their first date. And pretty much everything about it is frikkin’ adorable: their surface insistence that it’s not really a date (sorry kiddos; it counts!), their reaction to everyone around them commenting on how first-datey they’re both acting; their little conflict when Manabe goes too far in the clothing store; their quick reconciliation; Kotoura’s little locket. It’s absolute bliss. Early in this date, they’re both extremely nervous, but as it progresses, they loosen up and revel in the fun they’re having.

Neither comes right out and admits they’re dating, but they don’t really need to. Prior to the date, when Manabe takes care of her, it really underlines how much tough he has it, not being able to have any private dirty thoughts about the girl he likes – a luxury all men not dating telepaths take for granted. We also saw that Mifune’s mission is still foremost on her mind: the whole point of the date is to stimulate Kotoura into regaining her psychic ability so she can use her later. And the ploy works, just in time to crash the cute, happy ending. Poor Kotoura-san…can’t even live one measly day as a normal girl unburdened by omniscience.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Spring 2013 Season Preview

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You know the drill. If you don’t, here it is: around halfway through the current season we take a quick look forward at the next season’s batch of anime, usually by skimming through Moetron’s always-helpful charts. Sequels to Railgun and Oreimo are coming, if you’re into that. We are, so they make the list. We’ve amazingly never seen anything from the Space Battleship Yamato franchise, so we’ll be taking our first stab at it with 2199.

Carryover-wise, the only Winter series continuing into the spring is Chihayafuru 2 (unless MAL is lying to us). Girls und Panzer only has two more episodes, so that doesn’t count. We suspect one or two may continue either in the spring or summer, but we’ll decide what to stick with on a case-by-case basis. We don’t usually enjoy being surprised at the last minute with second cours.

With only one confirmed carryover, we have a pretty clear schedule to populate with brand-new series. Still, we’d like to stick to ten total series or under. As always, if you know of a series not listed here that you think we should watch, let us know and we’ll consider it. We currently have three “definitelys” and four “probablys”, so there’s room for two or three of the five maybes.

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Definitely Watching

1. Chihayafuru 2
(episodes 14-25)

2. Girls und Panzer
(episodes 11-12)

3. Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai.
Aniplex, A-1 (Comedy, Slice of Life, Seinen) – 7 Apr

Probably Watching

4. Aku no Hana
(The Flowers of Evil)
Starchild, Zexcs (Drama, Romance, School, Psychological) – 20 Mar

5. RDG: Red Data Girl
Lantis, P.A. Works (Fantasy) – 16 Mar

6. Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S
J.C. Staff (Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super Power) – Apr

7. Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199
(Space Battleship Yamato 2199)
Xebec, AIC (Sci-Fi) – 7 Apr

Maybe Pile

8. Ginga Kikoutai: Majestic Prince
Dogakobo (Action, Mecha, School, Sci-Fi, Seinen) – Apr

9. Hataraku Maou-sama!
Lantis, Pony Canyon, White Fox (Comedy, Demons, Romance, Shounen) – Apr

10. Shingeki no Kyojin
(Attack on Titan)
Production I.G., others (Action, Drama, Fantasy, Super Power) – Apr

11. Suisei no Gargantia
(Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet)
Production I.G., Lantis (Sci-Fi) – 9 Feb

12. Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru.
(My youth romantic comedy is wrong as I expected.)
Brains Base, TBS (Comedy, Romance, School) – 5 Apr

End-of-Month Rundown – February 2013

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It was always going to be tough to follow the excellence of Fall (which featured four series with an 8 average or above), but this Winter so far slightly above Summer (6.968) and Spring (7.077) 2012 in ratings, and is right around the site’s all-time average, if we were to convert all of the seasons to the current rating system.

Where this Winter differs from those similarly-rated seasons is that over halfway through, it lacks a discernible “king”: a show (or shows) that camp out atop the rankings and stay there, lording over the rest. Spring had Nazo no Kanojo X and Sakamichi no Apollon. Summer had Natsuyuki Rendezvous. Fall had four kings, two of which are still running (though K, which was about kings, wasn’t one of them).

Winter, meanwhile, has no new series one could label as true kings. There’s a power struggle at the top. The second cours of Fall carryovers Zetsuen no Tempest and From the New World serving in that capacity, maintaining the high standards both shows set in their first cours. Regents, if you will. That’s not to say a king won’t emerge, but we’re eight weeks in, so we won’t hold our collective breath.

11. Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited – Hyoubu Kyousuke – 8/12 (6.375) – Has proven easy to follow despite our having never seen the series it spun off from. It has some nice-looking setpieces, but overall the production values are underwhelming. It makes up for it with nice character work. Stopping the momentum to tell Hyoubu’s backstory irked us a little

10. Vividred Operation – 7/12 (6.571) – Unlike The Unlimited, this show has brilliant animation throughout, as any maho/techno shojo series should. Until the seventh episode, which ends in a cliffhanger, the girls’ primary challenge wasn’t the Alones at all, but trying to befriend Kuroki Rei, who has sword to destroy what they’re trying to protect

9. Amnesia – 8/12 (6.750) – Amnesia is being very deliberate in unveiling the situation the heroine is in. Yes, bumping into Orion caused her to start jumping from universe to universe, but they seem to be getting more and more threatening to her well-being

8. Tamako Market – 8/12 (7.875 ▼) – Someone from Dera’s island finally shows up and half-dropped the bombshell at the very end of episode seven: Tamako, perfectly content to live her life as a mochi-maker’s daughter, may be the fated bride for the island’s prince. But in the meantime, Choi hangs around as Dera did, and we’re left wondering: can anyone escape this lovely shopping district?

7. OreShura – 8/13 (7.250 ▲) – This continues to be far more enjoyable than it should be, giving each girl in Eita’s harem a specific personality and a specific motivation for liking him. Though intelligent from the start, Eita’s involvement with all these girls seems to have dulled his perceptiveness vis-a-vis Fuyuumi Ai. Or maybe he just trusts her when she says she has a boyfriend (when she really doesn’t)

6. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha – 8/12 (7.625 ▼) – Maou and Yuusha are changing the world, and the battle of Bright Light Island was a big step forward, but things are getting ever more complicated as Maou must return home to renew her license, while back in the world of men, the church brands her a heretic, which is never good

5. Kotoura-san – 7/12 (7.714 ▼) – A crucial tripping-point in the Kotoura-Manabe relationship is that despite the fact they both care for each other, Manabe is still a hostage to his dirty thoughts, which ruin potentially romantic moments every time, which is getting old. Though he did a good job hiding his thoughts while preparing a surprise birthday party, which we’ll admit was an awesome gesture

4. Chihayafuru 2 – 7/25 (7.857 ▲) – It’s last two weeks have been on fire, following one of the best karuta match episodes with one of the best character-focused episodes. It’s becoming clearer and clearer to Taichi that he has little chance against Arata (either in karuta or with Chihaya), but hasn’t given up, nor has Sumire given up on him

3. Sasami-san@Ganbaranai – 7/12 (8.000 ▲) – Even though we’re no experts of neither Japanese mythology nor Shinoism, we’re really enjoying the emerging power struggles between gods old and new with one unmotivated girl in the center. The latest two-parter put her in danger like never before and underlined just how reasonable her desire to live a normal life is. No one should be drugged and forced to conceive children to perpetuate some nutso cult. Whatever the risk to humanity, you can’t put that on one person’s shoulders

2. From the New World – 21/25 (8.375) – It’s official: the remaining humans on earth are royally screwed. Yakomaru is breeding human children to become mindless fiends and using them as weapons against their own kind. Maria and Itou were the parents of such a fiend, who destroys what’s left of Saki’s village. Tomiko has officially passed the torch to Saki, who has no idea what to do, but she’s narrating this whole thing so we figure she comes out of this okay

1. Zetsuen no Tempest – 19/24 (8.500) – Yoshino confessing to Mahiro that he is Aika’s boyfriend is perhaps the biggest revelation yet to befall the series (even though Hanemura called it earlier, softening the blow a bit). It’s not as big a deal as he thought it would be, and the fact remains, Aika’s killer is still unknown. Now Hakaze is going back to the past to find out, which should be interesting

Tamako Market – 08

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Kanna builds Dera a birdhouse, but he has grown too fat to fit inside. Choi orders him on a diet. Because Tamako’s father and grandfather are quick to show mercy and feed him, they must keep a constant eye on him. To this end, Choi attends school with Tamako, Kanna and Midori, and meets Shiori. They then take Choi to vintage stores to try on clothes more suitable for Japan in the Fall. Dera eventually loses weight, though only in his lower half, and Kanna and Midori present Choi with a coat.

Beyond the addition of Choi and the rough goal of getting Dera a bit slimmer (he has been letting himself go), this week is straight-up slice-of-life, seasoned by those anomalies. Choi has been walking around in a linen shift and bare feet all this time, but it’s getting colder, and if she intends to stick around, she needs to dress a bit warmer. It’s pretty funny that the girls treat her as a canvas for their own fashion ideals, and she is willing to defer to their judgement.

Meanwhile, Dera the fat-ass complains at first, and his stomach growls, but he eventually bears down and loses a few pounds. He is a proud bird, after all, and his whole raison d’être is to assist Choi with her divination, he must improve his physical condition. The end result of his labor is visually hilarious, as the top half remains haughtily broad, while his overall shape is that of an upside-down teardrop. While we interpreted Choi as picking out Tamako as her prince’s bride to be last week, we were either wrong, or that plotline was merely shelved this week.


Rating: 6 (Good)