Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 13

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The ship Suruga was waiting for his entire day off turns out to be transporting a new AHSMB, Black 6, to be piloted by a new member of Team Rabbits, Ange Kuroki. While seemingly shy and submissive at first, after engaging in a mock battle with Izuru (which he wins handily) his personality totally changes; a slap from Kei and the soft-spoken Ange returns. The MJPs are deployed to 4 Vesta to defend the GDF base from a Wulgaru attack led by Klein. Ange ignores all orders and operates on his own, destroying Klein’s entire squadron, then Klein himself, all while displaying the highest harmonic levels ever seen.

Well, that’s one way to shake things up! With a new half-season comes a new character, the “aloof ace”, someone who isn’t concerned with hobbies, socializing with his teammates, or even listening to a damn word they say. Ange Kuroki…well, he gets Angery. Ahem…we mean angry. He totally schools Izuru, then looks down on him. His AHSMB is the most advanced unit, and he must be the product of some new training program that’s left him less functional as a complete human being than the others. He’s not fitting in, nor does he seem to want to. Sure, Ange disobeyed orders, broke formation and did whatever he wanted, but he got the job done, and the superiors only care about results.

With the possibility Ange ever becoming one of the team being remote when he and his AHSMB are so far ahead of the curve, you have to wonder why he isn’t just his own one-man team. He certainly makes the other Rabbits look bad; no one but Ange is able to save an ambused Kei, who let herself get surrounded, and Tamaki just blasted after the first bogey Kei saw: a decoy. Add a pinned Izuru and Asagi and an inaccurate Suruga, and the team looked pretty poor out there. Even so, we’ve seen what they’re capable of and know they’re better than this. It just seems like Ange served as a hair in their pickled fish guts. Unfortunately for them, it’s a hair they’ll have to live with.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • We’re assuming Ange’s a male and not a female, though he obviously has at least two distinct personalities. FWIW he’s voiced by a lady; Watanabe Akeno, who’s voiced characters of both genders, including Gou from Free!
  • That said, we like how disenchanted Suruga and Tamaki get after Ange’s revealing tantrum.
  • As if we didn’t have enough reasons to love Kei, she’s the first to slap Ange. Excellent!
  • Rin keeps trying to get closer to Izuru, only for him to completely not notice her. Keep at it, Kei!
  • We like the new OP and ED; we liked the old ones too but it’s good to freshen things up.
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Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3 – 01

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Yamato Yura is excited to be starting her sophomore year of high school at Stella Women’s Academy, but has troulbe making friends and doesn’t like big groups. However, when she’s walked in on by a member of the “C3” club, they take an instant interest in her. She meets Hatsuse Karila, Hinata Yachiyo, Kirishima Rento, and Mutsu Honoka, who participate in mock battles akin to war games using airsoft rifles and pistols. She’s initially weary of joining, but Kirishima insists. She participates in a “Rambo”-style battle with Karila as Rambo and the other four as sheriffs. As the battle heats up, Yura starts to get it, and “steps in to a new world.”

Ahh, Girls With Guns. For some people, it will never get old. We’re some people. Especially since they’re not real guns; it’s all good clean fun with “airsoft” weapons (and candy bars for knives), while the club drinks tea and eats cake when not going to war. Parallels to Girls und Panzer are inevitable, but this episode felt a lot less “aw shucksy” and earnest than that series, with more of a chip on its shoulder and a potential for more comedy. We’re still learning the girls’ names (and their guns of choice), but the C3 club has a looser vibe to it; no one’s getting disowned and the fate of the school isn’t on their shoulders.

And yet, once the battle begins, the girls are all business, with Karila operating as a one-woman wrecking crew and the others working together like a well-oiled machine. Yura, who is searching for somewhere to fit in, knowing it’s not with the cliques of chatty, gossipy “normal girls”, is in awe of the spectacle before her, and the moment she gets into the swing of things, triggering her vivid imagination, is the moment she realizes she may have just found that place where she’s accepted for herself. She only has to embrace the weirdness…and learn to hold her gun correctly!

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Yamato Yura’s roommate, senior Kashima Sonora, only appears at the very end, showing great proficiency with the always menacing Desert Eagle .50. They’ll meet next week; the others warning that she’s the biggest weirdo out of all of them.
  • Yes, all six members have famous Japanese battleship family names. Those Japanese love their battleships. So do Americans, for that matter…we named most of our states after them! :D
  • Everyone has their own pet name for Yura: Karila calls her “Lil’ Yura”, Yachiyo calls her “Yuracchi”, Honoka calls her “Yurara”, and Reno calls her “Yurapyon.”
  • We’re not familiar with Kirishima’s rookie seiyu Nishizaki Rima or Yamato’s seiyu Makino Yui, but the other girls: Kayano Ai (Karila), Yonezawa Madoka (Yachiyo), Saito Chiwa (Honoka), and Sawashiro Miyuki (Sonora).

Danganronpa: The Animation – 01

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Plain, average Makoto Naegi is excited about starting a new year at the prestigious Hope’s Peak Private Academy, having been chosen by sheer luck. When he enters he passes out, and wakes up in a classroom. He heads to the gym where fourteen elite students are assembled, each experts in a particular field. A strange two-toned bear, Monokuma, appears, claiming to be the principal.

He tells the fifteen students that they are trapped inside the academy with no hope of escape, and the only way to leave is to kill somebody else; he doesn’t care who or how. The students are all against killing at first, so three days, later, Monokuma gives them videos of horrible events designed to make the students want to leave at all costs; in Makoto’s case, the belief his family is dead.

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We’re always weary of huge casts in anime, especially, when they’re all introduced at once in a “character dump.” It’s not that we dislike them, just that with upwards of a dozen series on tap this summer, keeping track of the casts can be taxing on the ol’ noggins. That’s why we spent a big chunk of time familiarizing ourselves with the cast: names, appearance, and any familiar voices before watching the episode. As a result, we could focus more on what was being said, not on who was saying it.

This will get easier as we watch more, and watch more we will! How can we not? We’re no strangers to the murder-mystery genre, and we’re already seeing thematic shades of Mirai Nikki, Another, Deadman Wonderland, and even Battle Royale. Only this is a locked room murder mystery, and there’s a survivor count at the end of every episode. Everyone survived this week, but with thirteen planned episodes, that number is bound to drop soon, in an order and by twisted methods we couldn’t possibly predict.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Here’s the key to the class portrait above, along with their most distinguishing features. They’re quite a colorful bunch!

1. Hagakure Yasuhiro (dreads)
2. Asahina Aoi (boobs/swimmer)
3. Ohwada Mondo (biker, greaser hair)
4. Togami Byakuya (blonde/glasses)
5. Kirigiri Kyouko (silver hair)
6. Ishimarru Kiyotaka (red eyes/white uniform)
7. Kuwata Leon (red hair/piercings)
8. Makoto Naegi (small/normal)
9. Maizono Sayaka (blue eyes/idol)
10. Fujisaki Chihiro (short/hacker)
11. Celestia Lundenberg (red eyes/goth)
12. Fukawa Touko (dark braids/glasses)
13. Yamada Yifune (fat/cat mouth)
14. Oogami Sakura (street fighter)
15. Enoshima Junko (blonde/big hair)

Servant x Service – 01

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Newcomers Yamagami Lucy Kimiko Akie Airi Shiori Rinne Yoshiho Ayano Tomika Chitose Sanae…, Hasebe Yukata, and Miyoshi Saya start their new positions as civil servants in the health and welfare section of the city ward office, where Ichimiya Taishi and Chihaya Megumi have already been working for years. Lucy is hardworking but tense and easily distracted by Hasebe’s teasing of her name and sensitive to scolding, Saya attracts older women with rambling stories, and Hasebe slacks off every chance he gets. They help bail each other out when they get into tight spots with clients, but learn that ultimately the job is essentially to get scolded and being able to absorb the abuse without cracking is vital.

As we said in the season preview, we love slice-of-life series involving adults (or at least older teens) working and going about their normal lives, such as Working!!. This series takes us out of the familiar restaurant setting and into an expansive city office where the servants serve the citizens, and also serve as punching bags. Lucy, Yukata and Saya are thrown right into the arena, but comport themselves well, though in different ways. Lucy (whose name is actually much longer thanks to new-agey parents) is actually there for revenge, but turns out to have a knack for civil service, even if she herself hates it (and that’s, again, mostly because of her name.)

Yukata is a third-gen servant, and a highly intelligent, sociable, talented young man to boot. The thing is, while he’s stellar when he applies himself, he rarely intentionally applies himself, preferring to glide through life with this cushy job. Of course, we see firsthand that it can be particularly un-cushy. A lot of the clients are taking time off work and don’t want to be there, so they’re understandably impatient, but there’s also a stigma about Lucy, Yukata, and Saya’s line of work: they’re paid with taxes, so the taxpayers not only resent them, but demand perfection. Still, when the second day ends, Lucy & Co. get thanks from the same clients who were difficult earlier, it’s clear that properly dealing with them has its rewards.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • The OP is the coolest this season so far, combining live action shots of an office with CGI and animation, along with a very peppy, Working!!-like theme song.
  • We find it kinda funny that Lucy is so self-conscious about her name. Sure, all the other names are extraneous, but “Lucy” is not a bad name from where we’re from!
  • Lucy’s ahoge is kinda outta control, innit?
  • When the workday is over, “From the New World” plays on the P.A. Weird…
  • We love the ED too, which shows the three ladies relaxing at home after work, pouring themselves three beverages and chillaxing.