7: Onii-chan Dakedo Ai Sae Areba Kankei Nai Yo Ne
Reflecting on your inadequacies is a good habit to get into.
*Jaws music begins playing*
Akito falls ill and his harem must nurse him back to health. This episode wasn’t as full of fanservice as the last, but it wasn’t any fuller of jokes. I guess I could identify three whole jokes over the course of the twenty minute episode: various girls come up with hypocritical reasons why they should be the only one taking care of Akito, Arisa wants to stick an onion up Akito’s butt but Akito is less enthusiastic about this plan than she is, and Anastasia gets all flustered when Akito notices her going in for a kiss. None of them were great jokes, but as near as I could tell the rest of the time jokes weren’t even being attempted. Akiko seemed to pretty much be seriously trying to help her brother get better, rather than hilariously trying to get in his pants! Which is good and proper, you shouldn’t try to take advantage of someone in their time of weakness, but it’s hard to make funny jokes about being a good sister and supporting your brother when he needs your help. (NO CHANGE)
6: Hayate no Gotoku 3
Everyone’s favorite tsundere.
Where did she even get that sword, anyway?
Hayate suffers a series of mishaps and loses the black camellia. I guess this episode is what everything has been leading up to. It seems a bit weird how they had all those filler episodes at the beginning, and then they rushed through two different kidnappings, two different robberies, and two different shootouts in the space of one episode, with enough time left over to put Hayate in a compromising position with two different haremettes and also pretend to kill him off. (Well, probably he’s dead for real, his eyes went blank and I think that’s how you indicate death in anime. But surely the power of the black camellia will resurrect him or something). I know Hayate no Gotoku likes to keep a fast pace and I appreciate that, but it only works if the action is comedic, not if people are actually being stabbed and killed. I didn’t have time to appreciate the gravity of the standoff between Isumi and the demon, for example, because it was over in like two seconds and they cut to a gunbattle. I mean, maybe they didn’t have confidence in the strength of this plot (wise of them) and so they wanted to throw some silly episodes in at the beginning to give the fans something, at least, and then get the actual (terrible) plot over with as soon as possible. My advice would just be not to make bad anime in the first place, but if you have to, you may as well minimize the damage. (DOWN 1)
5: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo
What a charming fellow.
Mashiro’s friend from England comes to Japan to persuade her to return to the world of fine art. So we finally got to see the programmer guy in this episode. He just casually walked out of his room and greeted everybody? Like it was no big deal? For eight episodes he’s been this big enigma, and then for no reason at all he shows up at school and eats tomatoes. It’s realistic, in real life most things happen for reasons that remain mysterious and everything is how it is until it suddenly becomes a different way, but it is generally considered good narrative technique to have reasons for the things that happen in your story. Anyway, that weirdness aside, this was an ok episode. At least it made me care about the main drama of the episode, which was that apparently everybody thinks Mashiro should go back to painting pictures just because she’s really good at it. I’m pretty sure I disagree with them? That’s not how we do things in modern Western civilization, at least. She’d rather draw mediocre manga than paint amazing pictures, and if the monetary inducements aren’t enough to get her to do the job she disprefers, we as a society don’t make a habit of enslaving geniuses. And maybe it is in fact correct of us not to? I mean sure, it sucks that we don’t get amazing pictures, I can see their point there. Also sort of awkwardly crammed into this episode was the subplot of the game the Sakurasou residents are making for the culture festival. Sorata’s idea this time provides a good contrast with Sorata’s earlier game design proposal – great things don’t come from sitting down racking your brain thinking “what’s a great thing I can do”, they come from an off-hand response to a remark sitting around bullshitting with your friends where you accidentally commit yourself to doing a great thing before you realize how much work it’s going to be. I’m looking forward to seeing where they go with that. (UP 1)
4: Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai
Dekomori is totally angling for a three-way.
Nature is the real chuunibyou.
Rikka struggles to come to terms with her developing feelings for Yuuta. This episode was pretty much all just Rikka being shy, but hey, that’s cute. And she overcame her shyness to challenge Yuuta to a midnight showdown at the shrine, which is even cuter. But imaginary danmaku battles are not actually a good way of communicating the wavering feelings in a maiden’s heart, so it’s a good thing that Rikka has a little adult supervision in terms of Nibutani, who was fun this episode as always. Although, Nibutani’s help was in the form of giving Rikka the female version of PUA tips (seriously, tricking someone into confusing their fear of heights with love for you is Not Polite), and she almost got Rikka killed, so maybe I shouldn’t cheer her too much. But in the end the cute couple was tearfully embracing, so it all worked out I guess? Maybe I shouldn’t say “all’s well that ends well” given that there are still a few episodes left in the season. (DOWN 1)
3: Shin Sekai Yori
Never trust an ethicist.
This is what you get when you let a bunch of scientists design your society.
The kids try to find out what happened to Shun. Kind of a slow episode. Even for Shin Sekai Yori. Normally I don’t mind the slowness because of how atmospheric the show is; I can just sit back and enjoy the scenery and the amazing soundtrack. But there was a clear and urgent goal in this episode: find Shun! This is no time to be luxuriating in the sparkle of water as it flows over your oar. Maybe part of the problem is that the big reveal of this episode, that the adults are feeding bad children to their pet monsters, was foreshadowed to hell and back over the course of the past 8 episodes. The presentation was excellent, the shouting match between Saki who wanted answers and her parents who were terrified that Saki was going to get herself disappeared for wanting answers was a really well-delivered dramatic scene. I just found it hard to get as worked up over the final answer Saki got as the show wanted me to be, given that I’ve basically known about it for months. (DOWN 2)
Full-length mirrors with Facebook integration.
Akane and Kougami visit a profiling specialist to discuss the case. Great episode, despite or perhaps because of a lack of anything actually happening. For this show, plot advancement just tends to get in the way of chatting about cool future stuff anyway. There were a lot of cute bits in this episode, like Akane getting teased by her holographic robot jellyfish maid, and Ginoza freaking out at her for risking her mind learning Forbidden Knowledge instead of just getting an Enforcer to do it. The niftiest bit, I thought, was the interview with the transhumanist cyborg who is actually one of the big bad villains. I guess that might not square with my theory that the villains are a group of hyperconservatives, since transhumanism is usually framed as a progressive cause. But on the other hand it might not be, necessarily. The villain made it clear that his quest is immortality, to “live long enough to live forever”. And when you consider that the older people get, the more conservative they tend to be, it seems that immortality might be a huge boon for conservatism. It has been said, “science advances one funeral at a time”, as adherents to old outmoded ways of thinking die out and are replaced by a new generation trained on new theories. It’s not unreasonable to think that social progress might also work this way. And so we must abandon our puny mortal bodies lest we die and leave future generations to slide even further into decadence and despair. (NO CHANGE)
1: Busou Shinki
Is this what they call “gap moe”?
The Shinki discover a hidden society of unowned Shinki underground. This episode was incredible. Maybe the best single episode of any anime so far this season. They managed to fit a coherent plot about a struggle against an evil empire in accordance with an ancient prophecy into a single episode without it feeling rushed at all. They managed to have plenty of jokes (with excellent comedic timing as usual), exciting sword battles against the soldiers of the empire (exciting battles are definitely *not* the usual for this show), and interesting philosophical questions to think about(the resistance forces claimed to fight for “freedom”, but the freedom they were fighting for was the freedom to be owned by human Masters; the “evil” empire seems to have the better objective claim to stand for self-determination. Or does freedom include the freedom to be enslaved?) And they wrapped it all in a cute story about the tiny robot maids delivering their Master’s lunch, trekking across town carrying an orange bigger than they are. I can’t think about any portion of this episode without breaking into a smile. Tiny maid robots fighting for a noble cause with passion and friendship and justice! What could be more adorable? (UP 3)