Severe illness has prevented me from catching up on Maoyuu or starting Tamako, alas, we must wait another week before I attempt to find some new and interesting way to call them insipid and boring. I did finish catching up on Sasami-san though, so without further ado:
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure 22
I made my main point about Jojo’s last week, so I’m not left with much to say. This episode was fun as always. Jojo’s battles are always a back-and-forth of “I have you now”, “aha, but it is I that have you now!”. The amusing part is the ridiculous feints and counter-feints that play out. Oh, and let’s not forget the fabulous poses.
Zetsuen no Tempest 21
Again, we have a plot twist I assume most of us saw coming. I’ll give this episode some credit for being halfway poignant, and Aika’s enigmatic, somewhat incomprehensible behaviour is still rather charming to watch. The whole “logic” theme has been pretty mixed and incomprehensible for a while now, but it was particularly obvious this ep. It’s clear “logic” means whatever the hell they want it to mean at the time, we’ve been given no understanding of the internal consistency of this world’s logic. When someone says “well, even this must be part of the Tree of Genesis’ logic”, we don’t go “oh, that makes sense”, we go “well if you say so”. This kind of hurts the world building, but I wouldn’t call it a major detractor.
On the other hand, the mixed tone kind of is. Those giant swords didn’t get any less silly this episode, especially since magic use has been pretty sober and to the point up till now. Like with Samon’s psychedelic freak-outs in earlier episodes, it’s just a bit jarring. If you’re gonna take yourself so seriously keep the tone consistent.
Apart from that I’m just not sure time travel was a good place to go. It kind of worked with Hakaze getting off the island, but the deeper you go into time travel without making it a core element, the more likely you create plot-holes or just generally overcomplicate the narrative.
This is probably gonna come off as overly negative. I like Tempest, the mysteries are fun, the parts where it doesn’t take itself so seriously are fun, and the Shakespeare quotations are spot-on and usually used both appropriately and interestingly. Unfortunately the faults are just so glaring at times it really hurts my enjoyment.
Ok, you know how last week I said the pacing and storytelling structure were all over the place? Well you can add tone to that too. Coming to an understanding with your Mother is much more touching when she didn’t previously drug you and try to make you sleep with you own Father (I fucking wish I made that up). You know what though? The lack of predicability kind of works. I also said last week that somewhere between the start of the 3rd ep and the end of the 4th ep I stopped dreading watching this show. Well somewhere between the start of the 5th episode and the end of the 9th episode something amazing happened, I actually started having a lot of fun with this series. I can’t remember the last time I saw a show that started out so badly seriously hit a turning point partway through.
The craziness and unpredictability actually kind of helps it in much the way it helped Arakawa. You never know what’s coming and that’s kind of exciting and enjoyable. Mind you, Arakawa had a much clearer overarching story to tell,but that brings us to the next reason I’m enjoying it a lot more. We’re finally getting a picture of what Sasami-san is actually trying to say. It’s a battle royal of sorts between the old and the new. Everything is put through the filter of modern popular culture. The Sun God is a loli, and her two compatriots are an emotionless robot high school girl who makes cute sleeping noises and a grade schooler in an adults body. Not to mention the current possessor of the Sun God’s power is an otaku Hikikomori. It’s kind of subtly brilliant if not entirely insane. My main complaint would be that the battle is unbalanced. The older culture is being thoroughly demonised and the conflict would be made more interesting with balance
To quote a fellow blogger:
“Sasami-san is pretty much the definitive construction of haphazardly arranged late-night anime cliches filtered through the lens of Japanese culture and history. The creators take this terrifying brew, stick it right under our noses and ask us straight to our faces if we are entertained. If we are embarrassed (just as Sasami was) then that’s totally understandable! But with the proper preparation, embarrassment can be followed by thought, and thought by understanding. Once again, I’m torn between whether Sasami-san is nothing more than a coldly calibrated piece of ultimately artificial hokum, or the kind of pop culture arsenic that the viewers deserve.”
It’s filled with problems, but right now what it’s doing right is more interesting than what it’s doing wrong, and that’s a pretty big compliment in and of itself. Oh, and it’s SHAFT, so of course the animation is absolutely gorgeous.
Psycho Pass 20
Ok, I could keep going on about what’s wrong with Psycho-Pass, but you know what? This is the first episode in a while I unambiguously liked. Sure, it’s too expositiony, but we’re getting back to the heart of the moral conflict here. Akane is coming into her own as a character, and what the right thing to do is getting a little more ambiguous again.
To be honest, I’m kinda behind Makishima right now. Yeah, his methods are extreme, but that’s revolution, it’s childish to think that reclaiming free will would be a bloodless conflict. He’s right, the system is terrible. I’m not entirely convinced there is value in life without decisions based on authentic will. Yeah, it’s nice to think there’s value just in living, but is that really true?
Anyway, we’re here to talk anime, not philosophy. I’m still interested to see where this is going, and since I wrote so much about Zetsuen and Sasami I’ll keep this short. Keep it up Urobuchi, I’m rooting for you.
Little Busters 22
Hmmm, makes sense…
It’s not that I don’t still have plenty to say about Little Busters, but this post is plenty long already so going into deeper underlying issues is gonna drag this out.
So I’ll just say this: Kyousuke remains both the most interesting and underutilised character. I doubt he’s gonna get fleshed out too, since he’s the cool older brother type character. He seems to just be there to give moral support to Riki and to ask pertinent questions regarding the issue of the hour. I hope I’m wrong, mind, would seriously peak my interest to see the most mature character here explored a little more.