Danganronpa: The Animation – 08

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Naegi catches Oogami Sakura fighting with Monobear, leading him to suspect she’s the mastermind’s agent. The fourth floor contains the chem lab, music room, data processing room and principal’s office, but the latter two are locked, and Monobear creates a new rule prohibiting breaking down locked doors. Fujisaki’s Alter Ego AI discovers new facts about Hope’s Peak Academy, including a past incident that led to the plan to incarcerate students executed by the principal.

Monobear announces Oogami was his agent, causing strife amongst the students and leading to a fight between Asahina and Fukawa. Later, Alter Ego tells Naegi and Kirigiri he wants to fight with them; they connect him to the network in the hidden room. Later, they and Asahina find Oogami locked in the Rec Room. Naegi breaks the window to unloc the door, and they discover Oogami is dead. Asahina believes the culprit could only be Togami, Fukawa, or Hagakure.

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This was a hefty episode with a lot going on, hence the long synopsis. Not only is progress made in discovering who’s behind all this in the first place (thanks to Alter Ego), Monobear’s mole is revealed, and turns out to be the person we least suspected (other than Naegi). In order to ensure the safety of certain unnamed hostages, Oogami was to kill someone if there was ever a lull in the killing. But with a steady pace of murders more than half the student body is gone, and Oogami must have had enough to decide to turn on her master.

At first we were wondering why Monobear was being so lenient with her (Junko met a sticky end for opposing him, after all), but then it’s clear he turns her into a catalyst for more murder by outing her. The Togami/Fukawa/Hagakure alliance clashes with the Oogami’s loyal friend Asahina, with the calm, logical Naegi and Kirigiri in the middle. Oogami ends up dead in a classic locked-room murder mystery. As usual, while there’s a list of obvious potential culprits, Oogami’s actual killer may well be none of them.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

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Love Lab – 08

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When Riko hears that everyone calls her “Wild One” she starts emulating Maki, acting as cute and girly as possible. A member of the broadcasting club delivers two new questions to the council, asking if guys like “darker” or “chubbier” girls. The council suspects the questions were created by the newspaper association. They investigate and learn that a newspaper contest that only clubs can enter is coming up, so they want to be upgraded back to a full club.

When Riko and Maki confront Minami, planning to stall, she tells them she could publish love research in an underground newspaper, not asking for anything in return, confusing them. Sayori meets with her boyfriend after school, and Nana snaps a picture with which to blackmail her. A teacher catches them struggling in the hall and brings them to her office, where Sayo admits to having a boyfriend but denies the other council members know anything.

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First of all, we were disappointed by the use of blackface in a (strangely isolated) 45-second sequence of an anime produced and taking place in the present day. Call it Japanese cultural differences if you must (though this definitely wasn’t ganguro – reference was made to a “soul sister”); if that crap ever appears again, we’ll be dropping the series on the spot; no third chances. For fuck’s sake, when we first heard “darker” girls; we thought they meant ganguro or even EMO girls; why didn’t they just riff on them, or another group not defined by race?

Those 45 seconds marred an otherwise good episode, in which the newspaper association (née club)’s apparent vendetta turns out to be more complicated than originally thought, and in which Mana threatens to expose Sayo’s illicit relationship and ends up actually exposing it, getting her into real trouble. Riko’s temporary turn as the comic (rather than the straght man as usual) was a hilarious change of pace, as was the increasing complex newspaper situation. Sayo also shows depth by not only accepting her estranged BF’s invitation, but by covering for her friends when she’s caught.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Stray Observations:

  • Riko finally finds a way of getting to Sayori: by acting sickeningly cute around her.
  • One subtle trick Riko uses in her efforts to look cuter: a longer skirt.
  • “Underarm ravines? That’s a new one…
  • We got a kick out of Maki trying to throw off Riko’s mimicry by striking one ridiculous pose after another; Riko keeps up well.
  • Eno is actually useful this week, finding out the newspaper’s motives from a particularly apathetic teacher.

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun S – 19

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Ruiko and the others befriend Febri, but she’s apprehensive of Mikoto. They can’t find a record of her anywhere, so they list her as a child error and arrange for her to stay at the Cypress Children’s Home. It isn’t ready to take her in yet, so for the next five days Ruiko and the others will have to take care of her. At the grounds of the Academic Assembly, Ruiko leaves Febri with Mikoto, but they get separated. When they find her, Aritomi has sent robots after her, but Mikoto dispatches them, surprising Aritomi, who along with his science team votes to experiment on the third-strongest esper, the Railgun.

This was another one of those “interacting with little kids” episodes that Railgun/Index does sometimes (in fact, probably every episode with Index can count as one of those). It’s not that we don’t like kids (nor is it like Mikoto, where they don’t like her), it’s just that these episodes tend to be quite slow and plodding, in a series that is always best when the pace is, forgive the expression, more electric. As for Febri (or Febli), she’s cute as a button, but otherwise was basically your run-of-the-mill lost kid: shy and weary, but eventually opening up to everyone but Mikoto, whose name she inexplicably knows (Ruiko and Uiharu also make a good ‘mom-and-dad’ pair).

Still, we learn next to nothing about her, except that Aritomi and his colleagues are aware of her existence. We assumed she was an escaped scientific subject on the order of the MISAKAs or Last Order, or possibly even some kind of android built by Aritomi’s team. But the truth of her origin has yet to reveal itself, so for now she seems to be the piece that led Aritomi to Mikoto, starting another story of espers vs. the knowledge- and power-greedy scientists, only on a smaller scale, and with students (not adults) as the antagonists.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Gatchaman Crowds – 07

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Rui summons the Hundred as Crowds in order to eliminate Katze by the waterfront as Jou and Sugane watch. Katze resists by using his note to transform, destroying the Crowds and beating Rui bloody. Jou transforms and intervenes while Sugane gets Rui to safety, but he too is defeated. Hajime and Utsutsu are hell-bent on going to their aid, and OD offers to go with them, but Paiman goes instead, transforming into a vehicle to transport them there quickly. As Utsutsu heals Jou and Sugane, Hajime talks with an invisible Katze, who gives her a parting riddle before letting them leave.

Berg-Katze is one sick, powerful alien, and while he is whimsical and impulsive, he’s not dumb enough to have given Rui powers he himself could not defeat. Thus, Rui’s offensive against him is almost a desperate play; the Crowds are the only trump card he has in the struggle to fix everything on his own, without “heroes.” But even though he’s not a girl, Rui becomes the damsel in distress tied to the railroad tracks, with Berg looming over him from on high, twirling his mustache. In the end, the two knights in shining armor who rescue him need rescuing.

Jou’s futile brute force gives way to Utsutsu’s healing and Hajime’s powers of socialization. He has a placid chitchat with Katze that simultaneously helps her understand him a bit more while buying time for her allies. It’s here where we realized more than ever how similarly bubbly Hajime and Katze are, even though one is an unquestionably good person and the other a vicious, murderous villain. Hajime’s charms disarm him enough to enable her, the other Gatchamen and Rui to live another day. Now bereft of his Hundred, Rui will probably have to reluctantly lean on his heroes more than ever.

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • Speaking of trump cards, the Gatchamen may have one in OD, though it seems his powers are either a one-time deal, or too powerful for the earth to survive. We can’t imagine he won’t at some point show them off before all’s said and done.
  • One power OD has for certain: the power to nudge his roomie Utsutsu into spending more time with Hajime to make origami.
  • When Utsutsu put the blue bow Hajime made her last week, it dawned on us: there was only ever one, she used her power to replicate it across her hair!
  • Pai-Pai’s bitchin’ transformer vehicle was as awesome as his retreat was pathetic.
  • Katze pulls no punches delving into Jou’s psyche and using his own self-doubt as a weapon.