suntzuanime

A thoughtful response to current anime.

Fall 2012 Episode 8 Rankings

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

I try to maintain a respectable blog and not post screenshots of blatant fanservice.

I try to maintain a respectable anime blog and not post screenshots of blatant fanservice.

There wasn't much to screenshot in this episode apart from blatant fanservice, though.

There wasn’t much to screenshot in this episode apart from blatant fanservice, though.

Akito’s harem tries to pick out swimsuits that he will like. I was really hoping that Arisa was going to be a one-episode character, but apparently she’s been added to the list of haremettes. Well, at least they kept her out of the worst of the fanservice. And the fanservice got pretty bad this episode. I mean, this has always been a show heavy on the nudity and sexual innuendo, but at least there’s usually jokes to go along with it. In this episode the fanservice crowded out everything else. Wearing a skimpy swimsuit does not qualify as a joke. Well, it might, but only if it were somehow unexpected or incongruous. And considering how often these girls show off their assets, it’s not incongruous for them at all. (DOWN 3)

6: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo

Sorry! Sorry!  I promise I won't take any more screenshots of girls wearing swimsuits!

Sorry! Sorry! I promise I won’t take any more screenshots of girls wearing swimsuits!

See? She's not wearing any of them.

She’s not wearing them, ok.

Sorata’s game design makes it past the preliminaries in the game design competition. I think part of the problem I’m having with this show is that I actively dislike all the characters? Well, Jin’s ok I guess, and Nanami isn’t so bad when she’s passionately striving instead of tiresomely love-triangling. But for example, when Sorata blew his game design presentation, I got the feeling that I was supposed to feel sorry for him, rather than laughing in his face and dancing on his grave. That made the whole second half of the episode kinda weird. They were trying to have fun as a distraction from the sadness of Sorata’s failure, but I wasn’t sad about it in the least. He was a foolish child to expect to be able to win with a shitty indie game proposal about trains, so he just needed to man up and get over it.  It’s great to have big dreams (citation needed), but expecting them to come true is going too far. There were a few good jokes about girls’ underpants in this episode, but all in all the mood dissonance was just too much for me. (NO CHANGE)

5: Hayate no Gotoku 3

Every brave adventurer needs a hireling or two.

Every brave adventurer needs a hireling or two.

Just be sure to deal with them firmly if they start acting up.

Just be sure to deal with them firmly if they start acting up.

Nagi goes to Las Vegas to retrieve the black camellia. This episode was all right. They’re finally in Las Vegas, so there’s some unintentional humor to be had from Japanese voice actors trying to speak English.  (I don’t know why more shows don’t use native English speakers, it can’t be that expensive). I still don’t care much about the plot, but at least the gags are coming with some regularity; a clock that makes its bearer unlucky has some nice comedic potential. I really liked when Hayate coincidentally met Ayumu while under the influence of the clock’s powers, because that seems to imply that meeting her is bad luck for him. Which is fine for me, since I ship him with Hinagiku, but the Ayumu fans must be furious. (NO CHANGE)

4: Busou Shinki

School Uniform Armor!

School Uniform Armor!

bss2

Ann uses a potion to turn herself into a human so she can go on a date with Master. This episode sort of missed the point of Busou Shinki, I felt. If I wanted to watch a show about humans, there are literally hundreds of them for me to choose from. I am watching the tiny maid robot show for the tiny maid robots, ok? In particular, the Master showed up way too much in this episode, and what’s worse, on the same level of social hierarchy as Ann. The character of the Master works better as an exalted being that the Shinki labor to serve and treasure their occasional contacts with. It would be like a Catholic getting to go on a date with God. Although I guess that is sort of the idea of what Heaven is about? I’m not a theologian. And if anyone deserves an eternal reward, it’s Ann, who works so hard and earnestly and always tries to do the right thing. So I won’t begrudge her her happiness. She can go on a date if she wants. (DOWN 2)

3: Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai

Well, uh. Yes?

Well, uh. Yes?

Beats the heck out of acting like a lonely adult.

Beats the heck out of acting like a lonely adult.

Yuuta and Rikka cut their vacation short and head home early. Now that Rikka has spilled her dark secret, we can get on with the important business of adolescent romance.  It’s a pretty decent romance, too! This episode’s romantic bits between Rikka and Yuuta felt nice and unforced because they had already been set up as friends with sexual tension earlier. And the failed-romantic bits with Kumin and Isshiki were cute too. Every harem comedy lead needs a male friend who strikes out with the ladies, for the same reason every superhero needs a weaker sidekick. I was happy to see in this episode that the relationship initiative has shifted mostly back to Rikka, rather than the Yuuta-dominated paradigm we had in episode 5. When they were home alone in this episode, the initiative was entirely Rikka’s to take, even if she chose to waste it on creeping on Yuuta while he slept. (UP 4)

2: Psycho-Pass

A futuristic utopia where children have achieved equality under the law.

A futuristic utopia where children have achieved equality under the law.

What a friendly little fella.

What a friendly little fella.

The team chases down the criminal behind the mutilation murders. This episode did a good job of portraying the dark, alienating feel of a society where everything including a person’s psyche is ruthlessly quantified. Two points struck me especially – Kougami’s visit to the therapy-prison, and the enforcer woman trying to comfort the girl who lost her friend. Both of them were working under the same fear: the fear that the numbers would go wrong, and someone would end up outside the boundaries of what society was prepared to accept. I also thought it was interesting at the end of the episode how the villains turned on the murderer girl. They made a point of not explaining why, but my guess is that they turned on her because they didn’t like her reason for targeting the school. She said she hated how the school tried to instill traditional feminine virtue in the girls, how they were being trained to be quiet and beautiful and chaste and submissive to their future husbands. She saw the school as not progressive or feminist enough. But the villains are working from a philosophy of arch-conservativism! This sort of girls’ school is exactly what they think Japan needs more of, to give meaning back to women’s lives, the meaning of being a good wife and mother. Progressives opposing that vision are only fit to be hunted down like not-very-dangerous game. (UP 1)

1: Shin Sekai Yori

ssy1

ssy2

Two years have passed, and the kids are starting to notice the opposite same sex. Hahahaha of course they’re all bisexual! What good would it do to have a society of love modeled on the bonobos if you only wanted to have sex with half the people, right? A nice progressive solution to a very practical problem, thanks scientists. This episode returned to the idyllic garden-of-eden style of the early episodes, only now there’s cool bisexual love polygons in the mix, too. I was a little confused towards the end, though. If the higher-ups in the church knew all along that the kids were using contraband psionic powers, I don’t see how they could have let them slide. They’ll disappear kids for cheating at sports, but not for cheating the law? Plus, something definitely happened when the high muckety-muck came to visit their classroom. The only thing I can think of is, maybe this is sort of an Anakin Skywalker situation, where Shun is prophesied to bring balance to the force, so they were going to let him slide on a few things. But then on a random classroom visit, Yoda noticed that hey, this guy is a loner, which basically means he’s pure evil and not the sort of person who can contribute to our society of love. And so they decided, we have to take care of him now before he turns into Vader. BTW spoilers. (NO CHANGE)

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