Archive for June, 2010

Mayoi Neko Overrun! Episode 9 – We’re Not Going to Take it Anymore

June 30, 2010 Leave a comment

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve stopped writing about Mayoi Neko Overrun! That’s because I kind of hate it. Really hate it. I just can’t stand to write about something so consistently bad when I could be writing about two of the best shows I’ve seen in years.

But the series has ended, so I wanted to write one last post to sum up my thoughts on the show. And I wanted to go out on one of the show’s better episodes.
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Durarara!! Episode 23 – Thousand Yard Stare

June 29, 2010 Leave a comment

One of the disadvantages of serial storytelling is that there’s not always a clear delineation of episodes. Especially when the story is itself adapted from a medium which isn’t episodic in nature, like a novel. This has frequently been a problem in Durarara!!, but there’s so much to talk about that it hasn’t really been a problem.

This is an episode that doesn’t really stand on its own. It begins with the event that the previous episode ended with, Celty going to Mikado to bring him to Anri, and sets up what is certain to be an explosive first 5 minutes of the finale, but it doesn’t stand alone on its own right, with one big exception.
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Katanagatari Episode 3 – Histories of Violence

Structurally, this episode of Katanagatari bears many similarities with its predecessor. Togame and Shichika approach the owner of a sword, negotiations for a peaceful transfer fail, there’s a battle between Shichika and the sword-wielder—whose sword is married to a particular fighting style that seems perfect for it—and of course Shichika is triumphant in the end, again due to a cunning insight that gives him an edge in battle. There’s even another Maniwa ninja, who is slaughtered near instantly by the sword-wielder of the episode as a way of proving that the fighter is skilled, as well as a cameo by Hakuhei Sabi.

It is thus a tribute to the writer and the production team that this episode feels completely different from the last, even with all the similarities of plot and some continuity in theme. Again in this episode, the question of why one fights and what one wants to protect play a major role in the affair. Rather than discard that issue, this episode deepens it, asking about how to deal with the legacy of violence and death left in the wake of protecting what’s important to you.
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Angel Beats! Episode 13 – Life is Worth Living

So, after the latest and last arbitrarily added external threat finally has been smacked down, Angel Beats! is coming to an end. And despite all my complaints about the poor choices this series has been making from the start of its run, I really can’t find anything to criticize about the finale. I’ve argued for some time that the show is at its best when it focuses on the simple drama of wounded individuals coming to terms with their life and moving on in hope, and this episode delivers on that, with interest.

Yuri, as was seen at the end of last episode, wakes up to find a small remnant still left waiting for her. While most of her followers have moved on by now (including Takematsu, who in one of the episode’s few cop-outs managed to escape from being an NPC for not particularly well-explained reasons), Otonashi, Naoi, Hinata, and Tachibana have remained behind. It’s time for all of them to graduate from this afterlife, and they want to do it together.
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Tatami Galaxy Episode 10 – Apartment of Leaves

June 26, 2010 Leave a comment

This episode, something is different.

There are no dreams of a rose-colored college life, no clubs to join with naïve optimism, only to be let down by the cold, detachment of reality; our hero is more realistic than that. He knows such things are impossible, so instead he shuts himself up in his tiny apartment, extolling the virtues of solitude.

He eventually becomes known as the “4.5 Tatami Ideologue,” although it’s never clear by whom. Outside of school, he sees no one, interacts with no one, is friends with no one.
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School President is a Maid Episode 12 – On and Off Track

Since so few of the shows antiotaku has covered this season involve normal high school life (“normal” being an odd term to use whenever anime is concerned, but bear with me for a moment), I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that it’s taken this long for a sports festival to come up. Like school festivals, these are staples of Japanese high schools—or their animated equivalents, at any rate—so it was only a matter of time where one popped up here.

Briefly put, a sports festival is a school-wide athletic competition, with both easily recognizable events like sprints, relay races, high jumps matched with some more esoteric ones (scavenger hunts pop up often in these shows). Seika’s festival fits all of those requirements with two odd exceptions. First, winners in each event get a particular prize, like being able to pick what TV channel is shown in the cafeteria. Second, although each class competes as a unit (which is normal), all the girls are placed into a separate team.
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Durarara!! Episode 22 – Your Personal Army

June 24, 2010 Leave a comment

I said in the last post that, when put to the test, Mikado does something to help Anri. And he does – he rallies the Dollars and enlists their aid to help them out. What follows is a sprawling chase scenes that lasts for over 10 minutes, as random passers-by assist Anri in escaping the pursuing Yellow Scarves. It’s got all the classics you’d expect: rapidly closing gates, boxes strewn everywhere to hamper pursuers—even Anri in a bunny suit. It’s all cut together with posts from the Dollars message board narrating the action.

This scene is perhaps the best testament to the excellent animation and direction of Brain’s Base. That they can manage to make a footrace stay interesting for ten minutes, and add to the tension by showing screenshots of message boards on the Internet is a feat few anime studios—or even live action TV shows—could pull off.
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