suntzuanime

A thoughtful response to current anime.

Fall 2012 Episode 6 Rankings

7: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo

Adults are always saying that sort of thing, aren’t they?

Nanami struggles to manage Mashiro, her part-time jobs, and her voice acting training.  This episode made me sad. That’s not necessarily a point against it, I can enjoy a good tragedy from time to time, but I what I don’t like is watching a perfectionist jam her hand in a blender while her supposed “friends” urge her on and even go to great lengths to keep responsible adults from stopping her from sticking her hand in a blender. And then the show wraps things up with some sort of trite moral about how ok maybe your fingers are a little mangled, but think how much you would have regretted it if you never even tried putting your hand in a blender. Ugh. Please don’t encourage heroic young people in their pointless self-destruction.  Everyone was Bad Decision Dinosaurs all the time in this episode, it was painful to watch.  (DOWN 1)

6. Hayate no Gotoku 3

Don’t you just hate it when the PCs repeatedly ignore the adventure hooks you’d prepared?

Don’t be so mean to your poor imouto.

Nagi wheedles Ruri’s true objective out of her. This was a decent enough episode, it’s only down at number six because the rest of the shows put forth a better than “decent enough” effort. The beginning of the episode was better than the end, it was nice to see Nagi being all selfish and childish and spoiled and Hayate having to respond tactfully but firmly.  It’s the most interesting character dynamic for Nagi, way more interesting than the “thirteen-year-old girl watches anime” we got in episode four. The second half of this episode was them finally getting around to advancing the plot but it turns out I don’t care about the plot? OK, there’s some mythical black flower or whatever. Fine. Hayate no Gotoku is at its best when it’s small, self-contained bits of silliness. Those are hard to do well and Hayate no Gotoku does! But it’s less good at more conventional plotty stuff.  This is a problem for the manga, too. In the English release of the manga, there was recently a string of like seven chapters devoted to Hayate’s Tragic Backstory and it was just awful. Authors need to be careful not to develop delusions of grandeur. (DOWN 1)

5: Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankei Nai Yo Ne

Pantsu Kakumei.

Akito’s editor visits his home to try to discern whether he has a sister complex. This episode was pretty good, because it focused on Akito and Akiko’s relationship, which is more interesting than any of the other relationships. And Akiko’s “gue-heh-heh” laugh is better than any of the noises the other girls make. And Akiko has more t-shirts with pro-incest slogans than the other girls, too. I’m really really really worried about Akito’s newly introduced child fiancee, though. I cannot see anyway that she will turn out to be anything but terrible; our only hope is that she will be quickly dispensed with, and that’s a faint hope. But that’s going to ruin future episodes, it didn’t ruin this one. (DOWN 2)

4: Busou Shinki

Whoa, don’t get all Sakurasou on me now.

Evil Doppelgänger Ann is not impressed.

The Shinki discover a group of terrorist Shinki and must foil their plot. This was a good episode, much better than the previous action-oriented episodes. I think the ticking time-bomb gave the action scenes a little more urgency and meaning than previous episodes, where Shinki were basically just fighting because they were bored. The plot was sort of cliched, and you have to roll your eyes at the final resolution, but it was a cute and well-executed instance of the cliche, so that’s fine. And there was actually some surprising philosophical depth stemming from the terrorist Shinki being the same model as Ann, which made this a thought experiment about nature versus nurture, and the extent to which any of us are actually responsible for our actions. After all, who’s to say that we ourselves would not be terrorists, if only we had had the misfortune of being purchased by a Master who wanted to blow up a plane? (NO CHANGE)

3: Psycho-Pass

How can you call Shakespeare’s comedies boring? They have dudes dressed up as chicks!

Akane looks into the case that drove Kougami insane. We got a lot of cool world-building and character-development stuff in this episode. I especially liked the girls’ school where the girls were sent to be hidden away from all the nastiness of the world that might possibly cloud their Psycho-Pass during the vulnerable stage in their development. It’s great because it’s basically just a formalization of things that already go on – we already protect the innocent minds of our children, it’s just that we don’t have handy pocket readers to tell us whether or not we’re doing a good job. Thank god for the utopian future. On the other hand, the crimey parts of the episode weren’t so great. This episode’s human sculpture murderer was better than the internet personality murderer but not as good as the robot factory murderer. I guess it is a special kind of depraved to make sculptures out of human bodies when the technology exists to simulate any sort of sculpture cheaply via hologram.  I’m kind of upset that all the murders are being linked together as the work of one pointlessly-violent criminal mastermind, though. That’s lazy story structure. (UP 4)

2: Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai

The brute force approach to romance.

Communication is impossible.

Isshiki receives a mysterious love letter. The minor characters continue to be more interesting than the major ones. Isshiki had his crowning moment of traditional masculine virtue this episode, which somehow wasn’t even diminished by the fact that he was hypocritically trying to show off to his female classmates. In keeping with the theme of the show, everything everyone does ever is fake, so why pick nits over whether or not his motives were pure? If you shout about Mjolnir Hammer and the Tyrant’s Eye, that’s a lot of fun, and it’s no more a ridiculous delusional construct than ordinary interpersonal relationships are.  I also really liked how Nibutani and Dekomori kept constantly locking horns with each other. It’s sort of like a mini Itchy & Scratchy Show going on in the background. (NO CHANGE)

1: Shin Sekai Yori

More cowardly than having a god-wizard do your fighting for you?

Poor Satoru. Slaughtering ratpeople is hard work.

Satoru wages a one-man war against the invading Ground Spider clan. Another amazing episode. The way Satoru got his powers back was sort of cheaty, but at least we got a sexual-innuendo-laden flashback out of it. (It’s a society of love, like the bonobos…) And then we got to watch Satoru go nuts on some ratpeople! Magic is nice when it feels powerful. Wizards should just beat fighters eight ways from Sunday, no matter what D&D 4e says. Of course, the wizards in this world only have access to telekinesis and pyrokinesis, they don’t have the sorts of divinations and abjurations and metamagics that would make them immune to sneak attacks and snipers and running out of energy.  So one wizard versus an army is more of a fair fight than it might otherwise be. (NO CHANGE)

Big Winner: Psycho-Pass

Big Loser: Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankei Nai Yo Ne

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