A thoughtful response to current anime.

Fall 2012 Episode 10 Rankings

(Merry Christmas, by the way! Or if you’re not into that, please enjoy your next two days anyway.)

7: Hayate no Gotoku 3

This isn't how Hayate no Gotoku ought to be.

This isn’t how Hayate no Gotoku ought to be.

This is more like it. Katsura-sensei's the only one who remembers what show she's in.

This is more like it. Katsura-sensei’s the only one who remembers what show she’s in.

Hayate miraculously survives being stabbed, but decides to quit working as a butler. So now we’re caught up to the flashforward that started the season.  They kind of cheated us out of any real explanation for it, though. Hayate quit being Nagi’s butler for no apparent reason, and Nagi was stranded in the desert because she was riding along and then her car unluckily crashed.  That’s not narratively satisfying!  It’s looking like there’s some sort of mind-control nonsense going on with Hayate though, because surely if he were in control of his own thoughts he would never abandon Nagi, he would come running the moment she screamed his name to the sky. Plus, he survived even though the light disappeared from his eyes, and mind-control is the other thing besides death that dead eyes can signify.  Plus, earlier it was a plotpoint that he couldn’t speak English, and then he threatened that robber in English in the only funny scene in the episode.  So clearly there’s magical mindcontrol going on somehow.  But that’s not very narratively satisfying either.  I hate magic. (DOWN 1)

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

Before you get too excited make sure you understand what the letters "BL" stand for.

Before you get too excited make sure you understand what the letters “BL” stand for.

Are you aware of the Anthropic Principle?

Are you aware of the Anthropic Principle?

Gin reminisces about her past with Akito as he recovers from his illness. This episode had jokes again, at least. There were even jokes during Gin’s serious backstory!  I feel like Akito was kind of acting like a jerk in the flashback, though.  Some people just want to be left alone to read their books, and we should respect that, rather than trying to provoke them into fighting us. It’s a terrible message to be sending our children, not that children should be watching this show. In the second part of the show, where the president got some private time with Akito, I agree that she was cute, but I think it’s less a phenomenon of “gap moe” and more “her ordinary excessive sexual aggressiveness is a huge turnoff so stopping it is a huge improvement”.  I do think an eyepatch is better on her than a chuunibyou heterochromia contact lens, though. (UP 1)

5: Busou Shinki

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Not just any reindeer - the most famous reindeer of all!

Not just any reindeer – the most famous reindeer of all!

Ann takes a part-time job as Santa’s helper. Just fluff, but enjoyable fluff. The whole show’s like that, but the added fact of being a Christmas episode compounds things. No epic life-or-death struggles, just the Shinki dressing up in cute outfits and doing cute jobs, some simple but well-executed comedy, and a plot about tiny maid robots Doing Their Best. It was kind of touching how the other Shinki all dropped what they were doing in order to help Ann when her gift delivery got out of control and they managed to save Christmas.  Even if Lene was as useless as ever. (DOWN 4)

4: Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo

She meant it sexually, she totally did.

She meant it sexually, she totally did.

It's a shame we don't have a perfect society of expressionless emotionless robots, huh?

It’s a shame we don’t have a perfect society of expressionless emotionless robots, huh?

The Sakurasou people try to persuade Rita to help with their culture festival project. This was solid drama.  I don’t know why they waited so long to introduce Akasaka, he’s great. He’s like an audience mouthpiece, saying all the terrible stuff to the whiny children of the show that we want to say. I don’t hate women or like tomatoes quite as much as he does, but when it comes to whether people should get over themselves and go back to work, we’re pretty much on the same page. I guess it’s rough when you have something like art, though, which is almost a pure positional good. Art isn’t good or bad in a vacuum, it’s more impressive or less impressive based on what you’re comparing it to.  And so it’s natural for one artist to feel threatened by another artist, in a way that someone making something useful wouldn’t.  If you’re a programmer, and you meet a programmer that’s better than you, that doesn’t make your gui-frontend to enterprise database software any less valuable. When you’re an artist, just the fact that someone else makes a better painting can turn your painting from good to trash. (Which makes the whole institution of art galleries a little perverse, by the way.) (UP 1)

3: Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai



oh no

oh no

Rikka’s sister reveals that she is going to be moving away and Rikka will have to live with her mother. I liked this episode when it was cute, but then it got sad. Rikka’s love confession was great, I was glad she beat Yuuta to the punch, because after all, the Tyrant’s eye is the strongest.  And Dekomori getting all jealous was great too. (I guess she really was angling for a threesome last episode.) But then Rikka’s mom had to show up and ruin everything, just like in Toradora. Why can’t schoolkids be kids, just for a little while longer?  Why do they have to accept your fascist notions of reality? If you cure Rikka’s chuunibyou, who is she, even? Why would Yuuta do that to her? What’s so great about reality, anyway? Hopefully these questions will be answered in the next couple of episodes, and we can avoid a downer ending. The awful thing is, if Rikka weren’t chuunibyou she might be able to be trusted to live on her own.  I can’t see her making more of a hash of it than Taiga did in Toradora. (UP 1)

2: Psycho-Pass

What an old-fashioned style of phone.

What an old-fashioned style of phone.

Of course he isn't! That's up to the Sybil System to decide.

Of course he isn’t! That’s up to the Sybil System to decide.

Kougami is kidnapped and thrown into a deadly game. Pretty much a straight action episode.  I thought the villain’s plan to entrap Kougami by making him think he was trying to entrap Akane and then wait for Kougami to be all knight-in-shining-armor over her was pretty clever.  And it was great how Ginoza spent the episode assuming that the whole thing had been set up by Kougami as part of an escape plan – it was a reasonable thing to think, Kougami wouldn’t be above pulling that sort of stunt if it were necessary to get his revenge. There was nothing too clever about the actual death-game segment, but it provided its cheap thrills, at least. Pulse-pounding tension running from cover to cover while dodging shotgun blasts and robot dogs. Maybe now that Kougami has had some personal experience in what a hunting dog is actually like, he’ll stop referring to himself as one? (NO CHANGE)

1: Shin Sekai Yori

;_; shun ;_;

;_; shun ;_;


Saki visits Shun in quarantine. They foreshadowed it perfectly with the story about the boy who became a karma demon however many episodes ago, but it’s still heartbreaking to watch a man crush himself to death for the sake of the Progressive Society of Love. Their societal engineering worked pretty well, I guess – society can calmly explain to him that he’s a threat, and he’ll go along with them and record his scientific observations before his death, instead of pulling a Harrison Bergeron and smashing up everything out of spite. Saki doesn’t seem to have quite the same progressive spirit, though. And now she knows the secret, she knows that the Sacred Barrier is actually more of a psychic smokestack, spewing magic pollution out into the rest of the world to keep their little island pure. I bet she could smash a lot of shit up armed with that knowledge. Maybe she’ll even be able to frame it as justified vengeance for Shun.  I wish she’d consider for a moment that sometimes you have to feed philosophers hemlock, rather than let them corrupt your youth. Society has to be able to defend itself, and Karma Demons seem like a very real threat. Freedom is great and not feeding children to demon cats is even better, but not destroying the world with an uncontrolled release of psychic energy is the best thing of all. (UP 2)


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