7: Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai
It’s like a dream come true.
The Summer Magic Napping Society goes to visit Rikka’s house over summer break. Well, this was a “funny show turns serious” episode, which hardly ever works out and didn’t in this case. But it was worse than usual, because if there is one thing I explicitly did not want to see, it was Rikka’s tragic backstory. I like to enjoy coolweirdbroken people on the merits of their personalities, and not be forced to come face-to-face with the fact that there are reasons that they’re coolweirdbroken. It makes me feel sort of guilty for enjoying something that only exists as a product of the suffering of others, like sweatshop shoes or blood diamonds or 3D porn. And then it puts me in the uncomfortable position of not wanting them to resolve their traumas lest they become unbroken and thus normal and lame. Can’t we all pretend that we shout “Mjolnir Hammer” because it’s cool to shout “Mjolnir Hammer”? Geez. (DOWN 5)
6: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo
Maybe if you weren’t such a philistine you’d already know.
Sorata’s little sister comes to visit him over summer break. An overly clingy imouto character, a gratuitous bathhouse scene, and a love triangle that made exactly zero progress despite taking up the whole episode! This episode encapsulated everything wrong with male-oriented romance anime. (Not that female-oriented romance is any better; it’s just bad in different ways.) The only good part of this episode were the brief asides with Misaki taking driving lessons, and you *know* it’s a bad episode if Misaki is the best part. It still ranks above the Chuu2Koi episode, though, since it just wasted twenty minutes of my life, instead of also invalidating the two hours that came before it. (UP 1)
5: Hayate no Gotoku 3
Hey, I like the “super deformed” art style as much as anybody, but there’s such a thing as going too far.
Lots of cool anime bloggers live in America.
Tsugumi tries to find a way to get to Las Vegas to claim the Black Camellia. The quiz show in the middle of this episode was hilarious. The Hayate no Gotoku author can write some solid freakin’ comedy when he wants to! Unfortunately he’d rather write some silly fairytale about a black flower that is also a clock and a bird person that casts tornadoes or whatever, and the rest of the episode was full of boring plot stuff. I don’t care about Nagi’s mother’s backstory, and I certainly don’t care about whoever it is that’s giving Tsugumi orders. Fantasy elements have their place in Hayate no Gotoku, but their place is to allow for cool jokes about invisible ghosts spying on Maria while she’s changing or whatever. If the fantasy elements are crowding out jokes, as they were in this episode, they’ve turned evil and must be destroyed. (UP 1)
4: Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankei Nai Yo Ne
A young girl that Akito knew from his old home comes to the dorm. Less bad than I thought it would be after Arisa’s character was introduced in the previous episode. Pedophilia is worse than incest, but as long as Akito fully rejects both of them, it doesn’t matter, right? It’s the Hanamaru Youchien exemption. Even given that the age-wise problematicity turns out not to be a problem, though, I don’t think the character of Arisa is adding much. She’s just a convenient target for Akiko to get jealous of, and beyond that she isn’t anything more than a linear combination of Akiko’s doomed love and Gin’s earnestness. A few good jokes (about Akiko’s hypocrisy, especially), but “less bad than I though it would be” doesn’t mean good. Neither does “not as bad as this week’s episode of Chuuni, Sakurasou, or Hayate”. Man, what happened to anime? Last week was so great, too. (UP 1)
A futuristic dystopia without anime.
The team begins looking into the new series of human sculpture murders. This episode was all about the motives of the villains. Apparently they’re not too happy with technology and how it makes people’s lives easier to the point of uninterestingness, and they want to jam up technological society so that we can all go back to passionately struggling to grind calories out of an unforgiving wilderness. As Ludditisms go, it’s probably the form of Ludditry I’m most sympathetic towards, but still, it’s a properly villainous sentiment. Difficult games are more fun than easy ones, but that’s no excuse for trying to introduce permadeath into real life. And in any case, the biggest problem with having life be too easy is the negative effects on your mental health. But the Sybil System makes managing your mental health easier than ever! And as a side effect, it helps manage the various crazinesses that technology didn’t cause, too. For every problem you cause, you just have to solve one plus epsilon problems, and you come out ahead – that’s the promise of progressivism. Anyway, the politics was interesting in this episode, but it was conveyed pretty artlessly. Most of the episode was just one person explaining their philosophy to another person with little or no provocation. At one point it was a naked chick explaining her philosophy to a corpse, and man, if the writers can’t think of something better to do in that scenario they need to go back to writing school. (NO CHANGE)
2: Busou Shinki
“Those who tell ghost stories should take care that they do not become ghost stories” – Nietzsche
The Master forgets his umbrella on a rainy day and the Shinki take it to him. This episode’s mood was sort of all over the place. There was the earnest and hard-working plotline about getting Master his umbrella, there was the whole creepy ghost story thing, and then there was the emotional reunion of the lost Shinki with her master, and all of these were woven together. It was enough to make my head spin. But each plotline individually was pretty good, so I wasn’t too concerned. Tiny maid robots working dilligently to help their Master when he needs something is a pretty good premise for a heartwarming comedy. I couldn’t take the ghost story plotline seriously after last week’s fakeout but it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously, so that worked out just fine. And the little lost Shinki plot was kind of corny, but it had a cool callback to episode 5 at least. (UP 2)
1: Shin Sekai Yori
Squealer’s kind of a badass.
Satoru and Saki reunite with the other children. Looking back on this episode and trying to encapsulate it in a single italicized sentence, it seems like nothing much really happened. The whole “oh no we need to run away or Ratpeople Sephiroth will murder us” thing turned out to be a huge narrative no-op, for example. But it was a cool episode anyway. Squealer is a fun character, always having to balance his fawning deference of the gods with the fact that he wants them to crush his enemies and hey, he doesn’t mean to nag, but have you had a chance to crush his enemies yet, just asking, he knows you have a lot on your plate, but if you could get around to crushing his enemies he’d really appreciate it. And there were a bunch of times where Satoru and Saki brushed hands or moved in close to each other that I got to ship and squee and mutter about bonobos under my breath. (NO CHANGE)
Everything was terrible this week. Even Shin Sekai Yori was less awesome than I’ve grown accustomed to it being. I blame imoutos.