Kantai Collection: KanColle – 06

kc61

This week KanColle ditches most of its action, all of its drama, and focuses on an entirely new group of young destroyers, the Akatsuki-class of Group Six. The only battle they fight is against their fellow fleet girls, and it’s not a naval battle…but a curry battle.

kc62

After proving it could do good character work, along with the aforementioned action and drama, this episode came off as a bit of a disappointment, if an inoffensive one. Really, it reminded me of Girl Friend BETA, a show in which the number of characters kept multiplying and changing. But it’s also a show that even Zane dropped, because while its stories were never all that bad, they weren’t really hefty or novel enough to.

kc63

It’s also worth noting that both GFB and KanColle are based upon games, and part of the role of their anime versions is to promote the characters. One commenter pointed out that the popularity of the characters in Fubuki’s new fleet jumped after last week’s episode, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens with these new girls.

kc65

But while both last week and this can be un-cynically be regarded as glorified commercials, last week was more tolerable because it focused on the protagonist Fubuki and had an actual battle. The Iron (or rather Steel) Chef-style battle is mostly just messing round, and the underdogs predictably win when most of their competitors self-destruct.

kc67

The fact that they did win over the only other contestant left standing because Secretary Ship Nagato is sick of eating spicy curry, and Group Six’s was mild, was actually kind of cute, because it shows us another side of her, but the cold open teased her going into something more substantial than a curry judging, and didn’t deliver quite the way I’d hoped.

6_brav2

Advertisements

Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu – 18

parasyte18_4

So Tamiya Ryouko bid her farewell this week and, for all Kiseijuu Sei no Kakuritsu’s efforts to make her passing meaningful, all I could muster in response was a long, defeated sigh.

Then the plot lurched forward to introduce a psychic serial killer in police custody who, probably, has identified Shinichi as not entirely human.

parasyte18_10

Why didn’t Ryouko’s death work? For starters, she’s been on the Police / Parasytes / Shinichi’s to-kill-list for several episodes — so we knew this was coming.

But what really bled the drama out of her death was how long it took to get there, how little has happened in the show leading up to it, and how little her legitimately interesting character actually accomplished during that time.

Simply, Ryouko’s story was dead and lifeless long before she was needlessly gunned down by the police.

parasyte18_9

Sure, I get that having a child became her reason to be, and that reason no longer was now that she could sway Shinichi to believe her and care for her child in her stead… or convince child protective services and/or government scientists to chop it into little pieces.

Yeah that’s where her logic makes no sense at all. Shinichi has no agency nor influence over what happens to the child and she’s left him holding the baby, surrounded by armed government people. Brilliant.

parasyte18_12

So Shinichi learns to cry again and Murano, who happens to be in the park still even after hearing endless gunshots and witnessing a woman being shot to death brutally, accepts him for ‘coming back.’ Also because Kana’s ghost told her. Probably.

Then, later, Shinichi goes to a hospital but is unknowingly part of a screening the police are doing with the help of serial killer who is either psychic or just kana-tuned to parasytes.

parasyte18_14

What worked: Sarcasm aside, if I wasn’t completely drained of empathy for Ryouko and shruggy about her suicide, her monologue to Shinichi about Parasytes being the children of humans and feeling bullied by humans could have been interesting.

Similarly, if it had a little more build up and/or he wasn’t so gross, I could see chuckling about the serial killer. I mean, masturbating in front of a fake psychic could be a funny thing. Right?

7_ogk

Junketsu no Maria – 05

JnK5_1

Galif single handedly derailed Junketsu no Maria this week. The result is an episode that felt like it was split in half, suddenly and out of left field. Plans were put on hold and several characters were pushed into the background.

Still, as random as Galif’s seduction of Sir Jean’s lady friend was, and as insignificant as Galif has been to the story so far, this development seems to have pushed Bernard in a new direction and given Maria a minor revolution: not all conflicts need to be disrupted.

JnK5_2

And we got two nicely animated fight sequences too.

Make that well animated, brightly colored, with detailed period costumes and authentic-feeling tactics. Definitely win-win.

JnK5_4

The good: Galif gets a little character development — he’s still a power mad mercenary but he understands social consequences. He must fight the knight and the local lord must sanction the fight to ensure both the mercenaries and the cavalry can maintain honor. (and be ready to defeat the English like he and Bernard have planned)

We also see Galif looking past expectations. He wins his fight because he hides a weapon in his cast and plays defeated, trapping the knight with his own expectations of weakness in a wounded mercenary.

JnK5_6

He may well have anticipated the entire scenario from the beginning — seducing the knight’s woman because he could see she didn’t belong on the road and wanted to be seduced, and ultimately that he could long-shot win against a knight who would demand a duel and make a tidy profit for his troubles.

JnK5_3

The fact the Joseph is deeply worried about his safety but doesn’t ask Maria to stop the duel outright AND that Maria doesn’t stop the fight even though she’s there and watching it were interesting moments too.

When you add in Bernard, who’s also observing the fight and adding Galif to his list of plot elements, and Viv, who’s floating next to Maria and leading her to question the impact of stopping all conflict, we really did have all the main characters there. Just not on the central stage.

JnK5_5

So why an 8? Well… the seduction and subsequent duel really did come out of no where. The show eve bounces back and forth between Bernard explaining what actually happened and why it’s important around the midpoint because it doesn’t seem confident we as viewers know what to make of it.

Worse, the second half is much louder than the first, which makes the subtle machinations lost in the shuffle. Worse still, I’m not even sure the first half was all that interesting to begin with, which begs the question why the episode included it at all.

JnK5_7

Another, much smaller criticism is the total lack of Maria’s familiars or Ezekiel playing a roll this week. They were around, but didn’t interact with anyone else, which made them feel superfluous… which is sad since Ezekiel started to develop last week.

So it was a good episode. Really good from a production stand point but whatever they were trying to do with a two-step story didn’t connect with me.

8_ogk