DAYS – 09

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 2.36.56 PM

The Gist: Sakuragi and Seiseki play about 2/3 of their game this week. Neither has the true upper hand. Tsukamoto spends the episode sitting on the sideline to absorb some general pointers from the coach (or not). We learn a little more about some of the players and Kazama develops a bit more — to the point of getting his face smashed in to save the day.

It may be surprising that Nozomi wasn’t even in the episode and that the crowd shots were all ‘nobody’ NPCs chattering about pretty much nothing. Not a lot actually happened and the budget constraints of animating soccer made that extra painful.

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 2.37.33 PM

 

The Verdict: while it actually breaks with expectations by not resolving the match within the 1.5 episodes I anticipated, the result was not particularly noteworthy. Lots of time was spent on internal monologs, or with Tsuka crying on the sideline.

We just don’t have enough of a relationship with the team to be invested in this week’s struggle, which is only compounded by meeting the upper classmen — the people who play on the team — several episodes after the first years who do not play on the team.

16rating_7

Advertisements

Macross Delta – 23

md231

Now that everyone is on Windermere, the this episode has a strong “this is it”, “last-level” feeling to it, where things are going to end one way or another, but hopefully in favor of Walkure and Delta. If they reach the capital and have a tactical show, they’ll win.

But there are serious obstacles, and they make that outcome still feel distant: everyone is scattered across the region, and everyone is constantly on the run from Winderemeran pursuers, including the Aerial Knights.

md232

There are still some welcome moments of peace, however, such as when Freyja leads Hayate and Mirage through caves she used to play in as a child (yikes), and the surroundings and proximity to her home village dredges up memories of singing Ranke Lee songs as a young child.

We also, somewhat amazingly, see Mikumo eat with others for the first time, with Maki and Reina teasing her and bringing out some more human reactions in her. They think she’ll only become a better singer once she actually starts having more human experiences.

Then we have Freyja and Mirage, envying one another for being able to go so far for Hayate’s sake, before their talk is broken up by Hayate.

md233

Mikumo unveils her criminally underused rocket petticoat and martial arts skills to allow Maki and Reina to flee, but Hayate, Freyja and Mirage are caught (and almost killed) by Bogue and the Knights, while Roid confronts Mikumo (in a kind of creepy stalker-y way) and says the trigger words that knock her unconscious. Looks like this mission isn’t going to be as easy as it looks on paper, which is as it should be.

md234

For all of Bogue’s bluster, King Heinz wants the prisoners alive to stand trial before execution, so Lord Lloyd indulges Hayate’s desire to see what they accuse his father Wright of doing with his own eyes. Upon seeing the still seething crater that was once the city of Karlisle (where Bogue’s sister served), Freyja starts to sing a song to soothe the souls lost there, but Bogue knocks her down.

Neither she nor Mirage can change the Windermerans’ long-standing belief in what went down here, and when more evidence is sought, they bring them to a chamber where Wrights’ VF-22 is on display, where his body was found and from which the dimensional bomb was deployed.

That just about seals the deal, right? Wright totally did this horrible thing? Perhaps, but like Mirage, I wouldn’t rule out a heretofore unrevealed motivation…was the same weapon being developed in Karlisle, for instance, and did Wright save the rest of the planet by destroying it?

md235

If there’s anything else there, there’s only a few episodes left to educate us and complete the picture that still seems to be missing some key strokes. As for Lloyd, it would seem his designs are to replace the ailing Heinz with Mikumo. Mikumo has said again and again that as long as she able to sing, that’s all that matters.

That philosophy will certainly be put to the test, as will her loyalties and human willpower, as Lloyd isn’t just going to let her sing, but make her sing to further his plans for galactic domination. Here’s hoping there’s enough humanity in her to resist. If not, she might soon be fighting against her former comrades in Walkure and Delta.

In any case…that’s way too many pairs of glasses.

16rating_8

Persona 5 the Animation: The Day Breakers – 00

p500a

What Is It:

A 24-minute anime special based on the Persona 5 RPG due out in Japan later this month and in the US next February. It follows a “story-of-the-week” format to introduce the “Phantom Thieves of Hearts”, who investigate an online tip to bring down the leader of a gang of cat burglars who also beats his little brother.

They do so by dropping him in the “perceived world”, summoning their Personas (powerful allies) to defeat his, and purging his heart of arrogance, so back in the real world he rats himself and his gang out to the police, and they’re promptly arrested.

Why You Should Watch:

If you’re a fan of the franchise and have been eagerly awaiting its 20th anniversary offering, this special may well pump you up for the games’ upcoming release. Sadly, I’m only a tourist in the world of Persona, having only caught the first 14 eps Persona 4 when it aired 2011 before I sorta lost interest (Reviews here).

I was actually surprised how similar the style of 5 is to 4. The jazzy, jaunty score, slick fashion, rich, lived-in Tokyo setting (a little Drrr!esque), and the seiyu Horie Yui are what drew me to 5’s predecessor. But that was a full-length anime; this is just a special that serves as an appetizer to the RPG main course, which I won’t be playing.

Why You Shouldn’t Watch:

If you’ve played or watched Persona and weren’t impressed, The Day Breakers special likely won’t be changing your opinion. For all the detail in their outfits and surroundings, the characters are painted with only the broadest of strokes. The protagonist is a nameless cipher by design, and because no one else distinguishes themselves, it’s hard to get emotionally invested in anything.

I was also, ironically, less enamored of the “perceived world” than the actual world, which was dominated by goofy carnival and masquerade imagery that frankly isn’t all that interesting. It’s like it’s trying to be darker and edgier than it’s actually willing to be; very PG-13.

Similarly, while he’s only one of many baddies to come, the guy they chose to be the villain in this special was trying too hard. The sudden shift in his character from something that might’ve been more gray (and interesting) to all-out evil was laughably jarring, more appropriate for Scooby-Doo. Finally, while it sounds better in Japanese, “Phantom Thieves of Hearts” is a painfully lame name for the party.

The Verdict:

Watchable and mildly diverting, but all surface. I can imagine myself spending dozens of hours as the bespectacled protagonist in the P5 RPG; I could even probably watch a good portion of its anime adaptation, should it get a full cour or two down the road. I’m just…not sure I either need or want to.

16rating_7