Trinity Seven – 02

t72_1

Trinity Seven gives us another week’s serving of Demon Lord Magic High School Harem genre. This time Arin is drawing Arata way too much attention though her constant staring and following him around school. When finally asked why, she explains that she must do this. He is probably the demon lord and she will probably become the demon lord’s wife. Eventually.

Then Lilith, Levi and the blonde student reporter girl are trapped with Arata in his room and they really have to pee!

t72_0

A reasonably powerful barrier prevents them from opening the door or windows and Arata’s book (the Astil Codex) wants Arata to figure it out on his own. Unfortunately, with no training yet he doesn’t know what to look for and resorts to tricking Astil into revealing her secret instead.

Yeah… and the whole pee thing is kinda weird. I appreciate that something so ignored by adventure scenarios comes up but… ick? It gets overly sexualized here. At least, it does for my taste.

t72_3

Some time after escaping the barrier, Arin uses her special magic to unleash Arata at full power, which starts to destroy the world. We learn a bit too much about magic while this is happening, and way too much about magical ethics and philosophy.

Whatever the intent, it comes across as a garbled, confusing mess. Ultimately Akio Fudou and Mira Yamana show up and, since Arata is alive in next week’s preview, presumably beat him up enough during the credits to turn off his powers but not kill him.

t72_9

Trinity Seven seems… aware that it’s a harem piece and so does Arata. See, Arata plays the part and actively pokes fun at his sexual situation but, given his constant frown, I get the sense he’s less amused by it than perplexed and putting on a cool-guy front.

Still, if it weren’t for Arata’s flat delivery and his role-reversal when dealing with Arin, this should would be unwatchable. (Like Invaders became last season)

t72_7

That was a lot of exposition and exploitation for one afternoon! T7 threw too many names and magic terms and laws about how magic works at me all at once and none of it really felt like it mattered.

T7 did deliver a few good jokes and has a funny sense of timing (and the banter between Arin and Arata remains great) but… ugh?

I’m leaving T7 in my TBD category and NOT giving it a higher mark than a 6. Take that for what you will.

6_ogk tbd_ogk

Magic Kaito 1412 – 02

Kaito2_5

If you want to give me a hard time about it, you could draw comparisons between Magic Kaito 1412 and Aketsuki no Yona and Nanatsu no Taizai and ask why I like this show, yet dropped the other two?

And you would not be out of line. Kaito is also kinda-ugly, it’s Lupin the 3rd style plot is by definition unoriginal, and Kaito-kun’s own infallibility toes the line of being blandly god like. However, where Princess Yona is a downer of a spoiled teenager turned war princess eventually and Captain Sin is an emotionally empty hentai who’s skin is soaked with the blood of so many jokes that weren’t funny that he makes me feel dead inside, Kaito-kun is upbeat AND rather grounded at the same time.

TL;DR? Kaito gives me a smile.

kaito2_1

This week we catch up with Kaito after his first few jobs. He’s still high as a kite on how well he’s doing and how much fun it is to do it. His tricks are rather simple, ultimately, and often rely simply on dropping a blow up decoy or wearing a basic disguise.

However not everything is going flawlessly in Kaito’s life: Nakamori-chan is furious her dad is getting so little sleep. (and that he’s basically forgotten she exists)

kaito2_11

Kaito doesn’t help his case by teasing Aoko about her physical attributes, without mercy. Sure, he does a few pretty magic tricks for her, but let’s be honest: Kaito’s a bit of a jerk. (even by popular high school standards)

In a vague attempt to make her feel better, Kaito promises to attend Aoko’s birthday party. But he’s gonna be late. (since he’s already on for a jewel heist at the same time)

kaito2_2

kaito2_4

The heist goes as well as any of these world-class-thief animes let it go. Kaito pulls some neat tricks (some very simple ones too) and encounters plot advancing elements before turning a surprise reversal on his enemies and gets away scot free.

Details? Erh, an evil syndicate probably killed his dad because they also want to steal jewels because one special jewel will cry under moon light and the tears are the fountain of youth. Erh, or something like that.

Kaito2_9

Kaito learns this and defeats the baddies using the tracking device the police were using to track him and, at the stroke of midnight, makes Aoko happy with a phone call and a fireworks show.

Magic Kaito 1412 doesn’t take itself all that seriously but it’s not like it doesn’t take itself seriously at all either. Everyone is having fun — even the frustrated police detective — and that carries a lot of weight for me. It’s charming and up beat BUT NOT SACCHARINE! For all of that, mad props, Kaito. Now here’s your seven out of ten!

7_ogk

Akatsuki no Yona – 02

yona2_3

I took my second outing with Akatsuki no Yona this week and I will gladly admit it fared much better than my last. Given episode 2’s greater emphasis on backstory building and action over spoiled princess love monologues, this should be surprising though.

Still, Princess Yona deserves some credit here. Her show has clawed its way to something better than complete mediocrity and, based on it’s closing scene, looks like it will continue to climb slowly to a natural plateau of just-barely-watchable standards.

yona2_2

In a nutshell, Soo-Won’s betrayal last week was to avenge his father, who King Il had killed back in the fog of Soo-Won’s childhood. Whether or not King Il did, in fact kill his brother, and whatever his motives may have been if he did, Soo-Won is not entirely a reliable narrator here. (nor are his allies, who may have provided him with bad intel and come off as classic bad guys)

Regardless, it’s a mystery that I’m sure will tragically unfold over the next ten episodes — and it’s honestly an adequate one too — I just don’t have it in me to care for adequate this season.

yona2_5A little hong-kong action between exposition. Decent fight, actually.

Again, as we’d already seen last week, Huk shows up, saves the princess and gets filled in on the details. Then a servant sacrifices himself so the good guys can get away. Then we flash forward to the future of the present day that opened the first episode.

AnY’s story is remarkably slow, methodical in its goal to leave no question about it’s very simple events for the viewer, and repetitive. If not for the action sequences, which were nothing remarkable, watching this episode would have been terrible.

yona2_4
Some time in the future, Yona is joined by Princess Mononoke, for some reason.

Akatsuki no Yona is the soppy-but-one-day-strong princess Yin to Seven Deadly Sins’ obnoxious hero protecting a princess Yang. The yin is melodramatic high school filler with a degree more realism and grounded sense of style. The yang is an empty middle school romp through boobies and over the top style and fantasy setting.

Both shows feature a quest to gather a group of great warriors to aide the princess in her time of need. Neither is especially mature or technically complex in how it’s going about it. Neither is, at all nor in any way, worth watching this season, nor at any time unless you are under the age of 17.

6_ogk drop_ogk

Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de – 02

ino21

I found it amusing that this episode of a show with “commonplace” or “everyday life” in the title dealt with something not commonplace at all, at least for most in the Western world: the Japanese written language. Heck, even that title means different things depending on how it’s written or read. I’m apparently drawn to shows that playfully explore the complexity plasticity of the language they’re speaking, usually for laughs.

ino22

And laughs were indeed in ample supply in the episode’s first half, when Jurai decides that everyone needs to come up with a Chuuni nickname to go with their powers (Why he didn’t suggest this when they first got their powers, I don’t know, but never mind). Each girl has a different approach, with Hatoko simply slapping colors in front of her name, then settling on “Play-Along Straight Man Hatoko.”

ino22a

Sayumi is next, and has lots of good names, but when Jurai points out that they’re all very cute, like “Powdered-Snow Princess”, she storms out of the room; apparently “cute” is an off-limits subject for her. After her comes Chifuyu, who goes from “Mikan Mikan” to a variety of family-related nicknames, and settling on “Pineapple”, because she likes that part of sweet-and-sour pork.

ino22b

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the girl who seems to know, understand, and care for Jurai the most—Tomoyo—comes up with the most thoughtful and impressive nickname, “Endless Paradox” (Paradox Witch Who Sneers at Twilight). Even I have to admit that’s a pretty good name…and I’m not a Chuuni anymore.

ino23

What follows the selection of nicknames in the second half is another application of the theme of language: that of misunderstanding, which is always a deep font of comedy. In this case, Mirei comes in to “respond to Jurai’s love letter”, which she does by reciprocating her feelings and agreeing to go out with him. Naturally, that sets the rest of the girls off, because wait…Jurai wrote Mirei a love letter?

ino24

This is when the scene gets a little chaotic, but amusingly so: as Mirei reads and deconstructs the letter in great detail, explaining precisely (and not unreasonably) how she interpreted it as a love letter, Jurai confirms what Tomoyo suspected almost immediately: that he simply wrote a letter acknowledging Mirei’s superpower and giving it the name “Grateful Lover”, or rather, “Robber.”

ino25 ino26

It doesn’t get through to Mirei, however, and the letter seems to have had the unfortunate effect of at least making her feel like she’s very much in love with Jurai. As a result, she follows him around, flirts and clings to him, and turns into a viscous solid of affection. Jurai is understandably flattered—Mirei is adorable, after all. And yet…

ino27ino29

And yet. When he arrives in the clubroom, his four club-mates are all quite pissed, and try to ignore him/take it out on him with varying degrees of success. It’s ultimately Sayumi who is upfront and tells him the understanding between him and Mirei needs to be cleared up. But there’s no superpower to make that easy, so that’s when we get our first taste of actual drama in InoBato, and I have to say, it worked pretty well.

ino210

In the hallway at sunset and bowing deeply in apology, Jurai explains what he explained to Tomoyo: that it wasn’t a love letter and he wasn’t trying to go out with her. Mirei is devastated but tries to apologize herself for jumping to conclusions and keep her composure, but simply can’t. It’s a tough and surprisingly moving scene, even if it is meant to restore the status quo. The lighting, the close-ups, and the voicework all contribute to sell it; now we know, InoBato can do serious.

ino211a

What really validates it is when Tomoyo appears to cheer Jurai up, who is mostly angry at himself for having hurt someone so deeply without intending to. For a good while there, Tomoyo drops the tsundere act and sits with Jurai as a friend while he explains that he chose the potentially confusing “robber” to match the character count of his and everyone else’s powers, as a symbol of unity – again, tapping into the written language and its ability to symbolize many things at once. See, he’s actually a very thoughtful, caring guy! Like his letter, Mirei could have interpreted that as affection, too.

ino211

Ultimately, Mirei shoots Jurai an email—they exchanged emails during their short-lived romance—voicing her hope they can still be friends, and her intention to use the name he gave her power. And that’s perhaps the most surprising part of this episode: there was only one use of powers in the whole episode: When Mirei very briefly stole Closed Clock from Tomoyo (and obliged Jurai by giving them right back)…and that’s it.

ino212

And yet this was on some levels a stronger episode than the first, because it didn’t just define its cast by their powers, but really tapped into their personalities through their use of language and their reactions to Jurai’s fling with Mirei, as well as Mirei’s interpretation of Jurai’s language. In the end, the “battle” this week was fought not with elements or matter or time, but with “commonplace” words. And it was a damn good one.

9_sestop_ses