Danganronpa: The Animation – 10

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The surviving students reach the fifth floor, and Fukawa finds a knife, which is entrusted to Naegi. Kirigiri asks him to distract Monobear while she uses his key to investigate things. In the night Naegi wakes to find a masked figure looming with the knife, followed by Kirigiri. The next morning the class finds Monokuma in pieces. Fukawa finds a masked body in the garden, stabbed by the knife Naegi lost. Beside it is the key to data processing room containing cameras and monitors. A new Monobear arrives, telling them they’ve been on a live online reality show all along. Kirigiri returns identifying the dead body as Ikusaba Mukuro.

The one student who least comes off as a caricature is and has always been Kirigiri Kyouko, and that’s not an accident. She’s the only one whose “super-duper” specialty remains unknown, and she’s always going on like she knows a lot more than she’s saying to anyone, including Naegi, whose unspecific, dull but decent nature is the easiest to connect with. Like Naegi, we’ve more often than not given her the benefit of the doubt and trusted her despite her penchant for secrecy. Also, she’s never been proactively hostile to anyone, nor shown Naegi anything but courtesy and even a certain bonhomie: we tend to trust people who are willing to trust us.

Clearly, Kirigiri has been busy throughout the run of this series, but mostly in the shadows. To our knowledge, she’s never been on the wrong side of a trial either, in terms of suspecting the wrong person as a culprit. But so much in this episode points to her as the killer of the mystery masked person whose face was burnt beyond recognition. Naegi saw this person with his knife, then sees Kirigiri, and then that person ends up with that same knife in her(?) back. Those scnes and her extended absence make her a prime suspect. And yet, can she even be tried and executed for killing someone nobody else knew existed?

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • This season features not one but two instances of animatronic stuffed animals filling in for their human controllers: Chief Momoi in Servant x Service, and Monobear, whom we see disassembled for the first time.
  • Naegi makes Kirigiri pinky swear. Get a room, you too!
  • Monobear’s spiel about authorities shrugging off a reality TV show about high schoolers killing each other struck us as farfetched, but then we still don’t know the full scope of the mastermind’s power. Maybe, like Biff Tannen in the Bad Future, HE OWNS THE POLICE.
  • We’re not a fan of her huge tongue (what’s with that, anyway?) but we do love it when Fukawa suddenly switches to Genocider. Sawashiro Miyuki sells the crazy well
  • As for Fukawa herself, she’s actually a pretty sympathetic figure when it comes to how much she’s obsessed with Byakuya…and how shittily he treats her.
  • “It’s safe to assume that the victim was killed by the knife stabbed in the chest.” That’s crazy talk!
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Gatchaman Crowds – 09

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The Gatchamen take Rui in, clean him up and heal him. As hate and doubt pervades GALAX, Katze bestows the power of Crowds on 29,533 users. Umeda quickly uses his new power to stage a coup d’état against the Japanese government. Hajime stages another PR campaign for both Rui and the Gatchamen, in which Rui apologizes vows to make things right, and Hajime urges everyone not to use Crowds. X begins to doubt Katze’s disguise. Sugane tells off JJ.

In his own chaotic, insidious way, Katze is carefully building a fire in which to burn the entire world, using its own human inhabitants are the kindling. Meanwhile Hajime, with the help of her friends (both close and digital), is filling a bucket of water big enough to douse that fire before it becomes unmanageable. She plucked Rui from the abyss and restored his confidence and determination to right the wrongs he is partially responsible for. But neither he nor Hajime and the Gatchamen are enough to keep Katze’s fire at bay, and the god-like JJ isn’t in the direct intervention business.

As Hajime says, it’s everyone’s fault that they’re in this mess, so everyone has a responsibility to fix it, and Crowds aren’t the answer. Umeda would use them as a weapon, but that’s precisely what Katze wants and what will doom mankind, as sure as a brace of nukes in the wrong hands. There’s also the last-resort of OD “spreading his wings”, but that would apparently end “everything.” No, mankind’s salvation hinges on their ability to fight the temptation to use the Crowds for any reason. If the flames don’t catch, maybe Katze will get bored, and even angry, and make a mistake.

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Rating: 9 (Superior)

Stray Observations:

  • We’ve enjoyed Hajime’s intricate strategy of avoiding directly confronting or provoking Katze, choosing instead to “play” with him both through PR and GALAX.
  • Sugane’s decision to confront JJ and essentially tell him to piss off was no doubt inspired by Hajime’s independent spirit.
  • It’s interesting that he and the Gatchamen are choosing not to rely on a “higher power”, while Umeda and the “Neo Hundred” are totally dependent (on and thus beholden to) Katze.

Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince – 22

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As Izuru serves tea on the Godinion’s bridge, the Rabbits arrive at the gate just as Lutier and Dorgna’s fleets are coming through it. Tamaki goes after Lutier as Asagi heads to the gate’s core to plant the target marker. Lutier blocks his path, but the other Rabbits surround Lutier, and blow her to bits. Asagi plants the marker, but the laser attack is absorbed by the gate’s energy shield. Dorgana surrounds the crestfallen Rabbits.

And so the climactic mega-battle everything’s been building to finally commences, and we were most impressed with its might and grandeur, as Earth throws everything they have left at the Wulgaru gate. Vast Napoleonic lines and webs of starships exchanging multi-color laser fire at one another can quickly grow monotonous, so the episode wisely mixes up many different kinds of battles, including a very novel multi-stage dogfight with the pesky, sadistic Lutier, whom Tamaki isn’t forgiving for killing Patrick. Asagi proves he’s a capable leader, and even Ange behaves himself and listens to orders.

Yes, Earth’s big trump card ultimately failed in a stunningly executed (if not altogether unexpected) twist of fate, but they’re not out of the fight yet. The challenge now is to bring down something as massive as the gate with conventional projectile weapons. Our first thought was, simply lob Star Rose at it; it’s the biggest “projectile” they have in their armory. Of course, we’re not expecting that gate to go anywhere before Jiart, Rumes, and their fleets come through to make things even more difficult. The Rabbits survived the first stage of the battle, but will we lose anyone in the onslaught to follow?

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Rating: 8 
(Great)

Stray Observations:

  • At first we were scratching our heads at the impromptu lunch scene aboard the Godinion, but then we realized, they’re not at the front lines, so there were going to be some stretches of…nothing. 
  • In the end, we liked how the scene served as a kind of “coming up for air”, a brief respite in which even the exciting battle music pauses.
  • Simon takes his plan not working pretty well, all things considered. Does anything phase this guy?
  • The remaining Wulgaru generals are the smartest and most pragmatic of the original bunch, so things are surely going to get worse before they get better.
  • Will give Lutier this: her birdlike AHSMB was a gorgeous machine.

Servant x Service – 10

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Chihaya tries to tell Toko about her and Taishi, but Toko mishears and then falls asleep. Miyoshi gets tangled in a conversation about regrets with Tanaka and ends up agreeing to go out to dinner with him later. Kanon comes to the office to meet up with Toko, and has strange interactions with Hasebe, Yamagami and Miyoshi, while Toko discovers the Section Chief is a stuffed rabbit.

An important thing to remember about slice-of-life series like this is that sometimes things that seem like they’ll be promptly addressed…aren’t. The Yamagami-Hasebe storyline is placed on the back burner this week, presumably to give Chihaya an episode in which to let Toko know she’s Taishi’s boyfriend…but that doesn’t happen either. Instead we get an awful lot of Toko and Kanon, two high school girls who are not civil servants. Or remotely interesting.

Have we mentioned we don’t really care for Toko? Well we don’t, and there was nothing in this episode that would cause us to change that stance. She’s shrill, clingy, inconsiderate, rude, and generally drags down the show with her presence. Her friend Kanon isn’t much better. This week she’s ostensibly the straight man to the antics of the office workers, but she’s as dull as Yamagami’s plain pasta. Whenever these girls become the focus of an episode, the series feels like it’s slacking off…like Hasebe.


Rating: 5 (Average)