Watashi ga Motete Dousunda – 08

wat81

Every time it looks like one guy, say Iga, has the inside track (gradually teaching Kae to be comfortable touching a guy with innocent handshakes), conditions allow for a shake-up. Enter Nana, who is concerned about being the least close to Kae of all the others.

When Kae, dirt broke from the pilgrimage, gets a job at a theme park dancing in a Puri Puri Moon show, it’s Nana’s time to shine, as he’s watched, danced, and sung every song in PPM’s repertoire every weekend with his adorable little sister Kirari.

wat82

As such, Nana is the one and only one who can get closer to Kae this way. The others try, but the hiring staff of Usami Land find other part-time jobs that better fit their particular skills and circumstances. As for Nana, he puts everything he has into training for the role of the Dark Prince, even at the cost of his health, suddenly collapsing with fever.

Kae has him brought home, then takes care of him by cooking him food before he takes his medicine. She manages to bond with Kirari a little, but not to the point Kirari is willing to let Kae have her brother, whom she wants to marry. But their shared knowledge of PPM is a definite ice-breaker.

wat83

Then things get dark, and I mean really dark, as a fever-addled Nana, essentially dreaming while awake, grabs, kisses, and holds down Kae, who isn’t strong enough to break away. If it wasn’t for an improbable Iga to the rescue, who knows what might have happened.

The show does not contend for a second that Nana was just getting the better of his hormones to awful result; he was well and truly not in his right mind. I have no reason to doubt that, and neither does Kae, but that doesn’t change the fact it was an awful and terrifying experience; one that makes her nervous about touching any guy again, including Iga, the guy she was making such nice gradual progress with.

wat84

After apologizing profusely both on the phone and in a very public display of begging outside Kae’s bedroom window (much to the chagrin of her older brother), Nana regains Kae’s trust in the heat of a PPM show gone awry, when three otaku n’er-do-wells must be dealt with, requiring Kae to take Nana’s arm/hand on numerous occasions.

I’ll admit the frozen faces of the character outfits were a little unsettling (not to mention an obvious trick to save money on animation), but that’s often how such theme parks operate; the labor they have at their disposal isn’t always going to remotely resemble specific anime characters.

Indeed, the frozen faces served at least two laudable purposes: they provided a literal “padding” between Kae and Nana to facilitate healing between them, and it also served as a semi-biting commentary on the culture of such shows: play the right tune and bust the right moves, and facial expressions, to say nothing of plot and character, are all irrelevant.

16rating_8

Space Dandy 2 – 06

dandy260

This week on Space Dandy, love is in the air…sometimes. A co-worked convinces Scarlet to look after her love life better by attending a Space Mixer, but Scarlet is quickly disillusioned and gets too drunk, which leads to her finding seemingly the perfect man: Gentle Nobra, who invites her aboard his giant purple cloud-mansion ship.

dandy261

Gentle is a Cloudian, who just so happens to be the alien Dandy & Co. have been searching for in vain for over six months. Dandy is starved half-to-death and has love on his mind, but once he gets some food in him at the all-you-can-eat-buffet, he returns to normal. That buffet happens to be the same mixer where Scarlet is.

dandy262

Believing Scarlet was abducted by the Cloudian, Dandy hauls ass to intercept the cloud ship, passing through it like the cloud in Castle in the Sky, but finds that Scarlet is fine where she is and resents Dandy’s mere presence. Then Gentle gets a distress call from Honey, who was abducted by Dr. Gel to get intel on Dandy.

dandy263

Dr. Gel underestimates Honey, who is able to escape from his clutches, and an angered Gentle crushes his ship with his. We later learn that Honey is Gentle’s half-Cloudian half-sister, for what it’s worth. Gentle loses his cloud, making him useless as Dandy’s bounty, but he vows to make a new one.

dandy264

Gentle reminded us of Tuxedo Mask from Preston’s Sailor Moon program, while a few of Scarlet’s reactions to him reminded me of Usagi from the same show. There was also a persistent, reverbed laugh track accompanying the cross-banter, lending the episode a distinct sitcom-y feel.

dandy265

Perhaps this was just a send-up of how ridiculous and nonsensical romance anime can get, especially when fantasy elements are included. It was also one more opportunity to demonstrate Dr. Gel’s incompetence. It’s nutty, and a little unfocused, but all-in-all not a bad ride.

7_ses

Summer 2014 Season Preview

While we’ll be sampling the usual host of brand-new series, Summer 20134 will be a season of returns. Mahouka will return immediately for its second cour (Chaika is taking the Summer off). After a Spring hiatus, Space Dandy will return for a second season.

A season after perhaps their most sweeping, moving series to date, P.A. Works is returning with their tenth series, Glasslip. After two years off, Sword Art Online returns. And most notably, for the first time in seventeen years, a new Sailor Moon series will be airing on TV.

Needless to say, we’re quite excited about the promise of all these returns. Many of these shows have big shoes to fill, and while we can’t predict they’ll all succeed, we can at least hope for a better Summer season than 2013, which was, barring a few exceptions, pretty meh.

Oh, one more thing: We’re aiming to bring back Car Cameos, so all authors have been instructed to keep their eyes peeled for real-world vehicles that appear in this Summer’s shows.

Note: All picks are subject to change before, during, and after the Season starts.

Braverade’s Picks

DRAMAtical Murder Rail Wars! Space☆Dandy 2nd Season Zankyou no Terror

1. DRAMAtical Murder (DMMd) – Nitroplus/NAZ (Action, Sci-Fi, Psychological) – Jul – Yeah, that’s kind of a silly (if memorable) title, but with its futuristic setting featuring AI and VR gaming, this looks like a grittier rival to SAO II.

2. Rail Wars! – Passione (Action) – Jul – I don’t know a lot about it or who will be doing the voices, but the idea of “an alternate world where Japan didn’t privatize its railways” sounds like it could be a lark. Also, I love trains, so hopefully they’ll be well-animated.

3. Space Dandy 2nd Season – Bones/Bandai/FUN (Comedy, Sci-Fi, Space) – Jul – Not sure exactly what’s in store for season two, but if it’s anything like the first, there will be flashes of inspired brilliance mixed with more pedestrian efforts.

4. Zankyou no Terror – Aniplex/FUN/MAPPA (Psychological, Thriller) – The promo art kinda reminds me of Tokyo Mag 8.0 and Coppelion, but this latest effort to blow up Tokyo looks like it will focus on those doing the blowing up.

sesameacylic’s Picks

Ao Haru Ride Glasslip Hanayamata Jinsei

5. Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride) – Prod. I.G./TOHO (Comedy, Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo, Slice of Life) – Well, I certainly can’t fault this show for knowing what it is. The two leads will be Kaji Yuki and Uchida Maaya, two solid choices. If it can approach Sukitte Ii na yo levels of quality, I’ll be happy.

6. Glasslip – P.A. Works/Lantis (Slice of Life) – From a threatened world split between land and sea, P.A. Works shifts to…glass-blowing class? But while Nagi was overflowing with drama, this looks to tell a smaller, story focusing on the very specific dream of a certain girl (with a rookie seiyu).

7. Hanayamata – Madhouse/DIVE II (Slice of Life, Seinen) – The House of Mad counters P.A. Works’ extracurricular Slice of Life with one of its own. Instead of the girl pursuing her dream, she has the dream thrust upon her by a “foreign girl”, and instead of glass, it’s yosakoi dance.

8. Jinsei (Life)– Feel. (Slice of Life) – I don’t know who’s voicing anyone, but I do know this is being helmed by the director of SKET Dance, which is enough for me to give it a look. Like SKET, it will follow a club dedicated to “life consultation”, in the fields of science, literature, and sports.

MagicalChurlSukui’s Picks

Majimoji Rurumo Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei Sailor Moon Crystal Sword Art Online II

9. Majimoji Rurumo – J.C. Staff (Comedy, Fantasy, Shounen) – Consider, if you will, a scenario somewhat similar to TWGOK, only the guy is into real girls, not just dating sims, and the demon he’s contracted with is a witch, or rather a fallen witch trying ot get back in the game. We’ll see if it’s smart or just irritating.

10. Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei – Madhouse/Aniplex (Magic, Romance, School, Sci-Fi, Shounen, Supernatural) With a huge cast expanding ever outward and a relatively leisurely pace, Mahouka needed a second season to say what it wants to say. I’ve seen enough good things so far to afford it that chance.

11. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon: Crystal (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Crystal) – Toei/Starchild/Viz (Demons, Magic, Romance, Shoujo) – I have to confess: I’ve never read a single page nor watched a single episode of the Sailor Moon of yore, nor do I plan to. Crystal’s bi-weekly offerings will be my introduction into this iconic mahou shoujo universe, much as it will be for many younger anime fans. I don’t know the director (who helming his first full series), but I do know the all-star quartet of voice talent that will be backing up Sailor Moon (Mitsuishi Kotoro): Kanemoto Hisako (Mercury), Koshimizu Ami (Jupiter), Satou Rina (Mars), and Itou Shizuka (Venus).

12. Sword Art Online II – A-1/Aniplex (Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Game, Romance, Shounen) – SAO had marvellous world and system-building, exciting battles, a decent, if simple, core romance, and strong female characters. It also had a very dull, overly-evil villain at the end and totally sidelined its female lead and focused too much on unrequited brother-love. But with a new online game to explore and the excellent Sawashiro Miyuki voicing the all-new female lead, I’m still looking forward to the sequel.