To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 05

MISAKA 9982, Misaka Mikoto

Misaka meets her clone MISAKA 9982 and helps her rescue a cat from a tree. MISAKA won’t tell her classified info, so Misaka decides to tail her. On the way they have ice cream and fight over the frog badge. MISAKA then tells her she’s “going to the experiment” and bids farewell. Misaka hacks the net and finds out that 20,000 of her clones are being sacrificed in hopes of causing a Level 6 Shift. The Level 5 boy chosen for the shift meets MISAKA in an alley and they fight, ending up in a train yard where he thwarts her trap, rips off her leg, and drops a rail car on her. Misaka arrives too late to save MISAKA, and attacks the boy.

MISAKA 9982’s good deed (saving a baby in a car from heat stroke) has an unintended consequence – a kitten stuck in a tree. Like that kitten, MISAKA’s in new territory and in need of a helping hand, and this incident shows her that her “onee-sama” is a decent, compassionate sort who helps the weak. It’s also a great introduction to MISAKA, who has a totally different personality from the original, but then few sisters are alike, and sometimes they resent each other for it. MISAKA is a lost puppy, not a terminator. She throws Misaka off her rhythm, but also forms a strong bond.

But it turns out Misaka has bumped into her clone on the eve of her mission, the 9,982nd of 20,000 intended to turn one very sadistic kid into the first Level 6. After all the lighthearted comedy and sisterly exploits, Misaka is crushed upon learning these new facts, and takes it upon herself to save the kitten in the tree. Only she’s too late. The episode twists the knife here. Just when we thought MISAKA got the upper hand (when her bomb went off we pumped our fists) she’s viciously maimed and then killed; disposed of like nothing. That vibrant, clever, perceptive girl is gone in one crunch of a rail car. It spurs the original Railgun to rush headlong into danger once more, to avenge her sister.

9_superior
Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • We forgot how much we love how MISAKAs talk. So eccentric, yet so precise and easy to understand.
  • The whole ice cream interlude was kinda random, but still sweet.
  • Even Misaka’s clone questions her tastes. Ha!
  • We know the kid as Accelerator, of course. In this series, he doesn’t seem to need a crutch, though even if he did, he’s hardly a sympathetic character thus far. So far he’s just a snake, doing what comes naturally when a live mouse is dropped in his tank. (Argh, that’s another animal metaphor…sorry about that!)
  • After a second viewing, we’ve upped the rating to a 9.
Advertisements

Kakumeiki Valvrave – 05

Tokishima Haruto, Rukino Saki

Sakimori academy revels in its new-found independence as ARUS and Dorssia are at a stalemate where Module 77 is concerned. Things take a turn for the worse when the power shuts off and its starts to snow. Otamaya volunteers to fix the system, but as the girls are waiting in the school a fight breaks out between Saki and Takahi. The power is restored and tempers cool. The academy decides to produce a video to cheer up their families in occupied JIOR, and they end up gaining popularity and increased donations from ARUS citizens as well. While surveying the module, Haruto and Saki find more Valvrave-style mobile suits. Saki agrees to keep them a secret and then kisses Haruto.

Last week Shouko declared Sakimori Academy an independent country, and this week we find out how a bunch of kids run that country: poorly. They act like kids who are home alone for the first time, playing among ruins, making messes in stores, abusing machinery, watching porn, jumping on the bed, and generally just fucking around. Meanwhile their families are suffering under the jackbooted Dorssians. These kids can barely get along in a classroom, so why should they have any hope maintaining the infrastructure of their module? We didn’t like all the girls just huddled in the school waiting for “The Boys” to save them. If Otamaya doesn’t just happen to know how to fix the outage, everyone freezes to death. Pretty small margin for error! Where’s Plan B?

We also didn’t like how Takahi, her minions, and Saki fly off the rail so quickly; it doesn’t bode well for the future of a stable nation. We also found their heavily produced and choreographed cheer-up video not only over-long and embarrassingly hoaky, but also in bad taste, when you again consider the suffering they’re immune from simply because Haruto controls Valvrave. They come off as a bunch of entitled brats. Also, we don’t know that much about Saki yet, but this episode doesn’t help matters. She goes from mopey and emo to pop-idol-y and then seductive as she enters a contract of sorts with Haruto, sealing a love triangle between three underdeveloped main characters. She was kinda all over the place, as was the whole episode.

4_fair
Rating: 4
(Fair)

Stray Observations:

  • This episode doesn’t match up favorably to Majestic Prince’s latest episode, and here’s why: Majestic Prince kept a laser focus on its core characters and didn’t try to do too much, dealing with themes of change and new beginnings that resonated with us. Valvrave tried to juggle way too much this week and dropped the ball; we couldn’t make a connection.
  • The wildly fluctuating tone didn’t help matters either.
  • Another thing weighing down this series is that aside from all of the dozen or so students with lines, there are hundreds of others who are all basically sheep. All we’ve seen from them is they’re able to make a goody propaganda video, but we otherwise couldn’t care less what happens to them as a group; they’re so inert.
  • L-Elf literally just sneaks around the whole time. That’s it.

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru – 06

Hikigaya Hachiman, Yukinoshita Yukino

Things between Hikgaya and Yui get awkward, and she stops coming to club. To bring her back into the fold and express gratitude for her help, Yukino suggest they celebrate Yui’s birthday. Hikigaya and Komachi go shopping with Yukino, but Komachi ditches them and Yukino’s sister gets the wrong idea. Yui is also at the mall and her dog comes off his leash. The dog goes to Hikigaya, and Yui sees him with Yukino and also gets the wrong idea. When she comes to club as requested, Yui finds out the real reason they were at the mall, and Yukino helps mend the friendship between Yui and Hikigaya.

High school is one of those crucibles where lifelong friendships and even marriages are formed. It’s where children start to become adults and form more complex relationships. That’s not to say the relationships are simply formed and remain static throughout; they go through phases. Hikigaya and Yui experience just such a phase change this week, as both of them entered their relationship with very different ideas about what it was. Yui can’t put it into words exactly what went wrong, but that’s what Yukino’s for: mutual misunderstanding led to the awkwardness, so she suggests a fresh start. In this new phase, Hikigaya is aware that Yui’s not just being nice out of guilt or pity, and Yui is aware that Hikigaya wasn’t trying to help her.

Thus the beginning of their friendship has ended and a new phase begins. Just as so many people mistook Hikigaya and Yukino for a couple (and we’re sure deep down they actually wouldn’t mind that), Hikigaya and Yui mistook the nature of their relationship. Yui genuinely wants to be Hikigaya’s friend regardless of debts or pretense, which should satisfy Hikigaya’s refusal to be pitied or patronized. And now, in spite of his antisocial ideals, Hikigaya now has two friends who want to be his friends, even if one didn’t make it immediately clear and the other outright refuses to.

7_very_good
Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Yukino has a big sister that everyone believes to be perfect and amazing, and she doesn’t even deny it. Still, Hikigaya thinks it’s all just an act. Just because he was wrong about Yui doesn’t mean he’s wrong about this. He prefers the tactless Yukino.
  • We’ve never seen two people strain so hard to give the impression they aren’t enjoying their date, even if its a “fake” one.
  • We welcome Yukino’s twin tails.
  • Yui needs to control that damn dog.