Friday, November 18, 2011

The Weekly Review: 11/14/11

Huzzah! Another weekly review!

Chihayafuru Ep. 7: But for Autumn’s Coming

So I just finished watching the latest episode of Chihayafuru and I knew I needed to write this as soon as possible. It was simply great! And here’s why. The connection between a physical item and a figurative theme may have never been done so well before in anime. Okay, well not in recent memory!

But for Autumn’s Coming features Chihaya and her recent goal to gain more members for the Karuta club. Five members establish a real club, and right now she only has three. Enter Komano Tsutomu, the second smartest student in their class. In fact he’s so smart his nickname is Desktomu-kun because he literally studies at his desk at all times. Chihaya wants a smart player so she goes to Desktomu (I’m not sure yet if this nickname will stay or not but I’ll use it for now) but he only denies her offer. Of course Chihaya refuses his answer and drags him to their club room, quite literally with desk in tow…

Now, what makes Tsutomu interesting is his own self-reflected view of himself. He knows he is the second smartest person in the class but that’s just not good enough for him. He needs to be number one so he can have access to friends. Tsutomu doesn’t like school it seems, but he will study and study to achieve this goal. But he knows in the end that he still won’t gain any friends that way. This is his character flaw, albeit he will break from it in Chihayafuru. It’s a given, but I’m not upset at this predictable plot element. How could I be upset when the episode was done so well?

Tsutomu/Desktomu-kun is so attached to his desk that the entire episode features it and he only lets go of it at the end with the help of Taichi, which is the other major element to episode 7. Taichi is smart and scores perfect scores on his exams, and so he is a rival to Tsutomu. Tsutomu (okay I like using his real name more) challenges Chihaya and Taichi to play Karuta with the cards flipped over, basically to prove the point that the game is indeed mentally challenging. In the end, when Taichi helps Tsutomu by throwing the desk and admitting that he himself isn’t the best at Karuta, Tsutomu opens his eyes that there will be something to gain from joining the club. And it doesn’t involve forcing himself to study just to gain fake friends. There, at Karuta club, the opportunity for crafting his first real friendship is something special.

Quite honestly, the figurative relation to Tsutomu’s desk as his only chance to gain friends is moving and sad. He needs to get away from usual study habits and “become smarter” (as Chihaya puts it) by playing Karuta. But not only will there be a chance for him to become smarter, he will make a wise personal decision to leave the desk behind and learn to open himself to friendship. At least I hope that’s the case!

Guilty Crown Ep. 6: Leukocytes (Cage)

Episode 6 of Guilty Crown isn’t as exciting as, say, episode 4, but it manages to push forward in that similar conventional way that it has before. Only a small bit of character growth happened here and the focus was on action once again. We need more growth!

But what is done fairly well is the exploration into Gai’s personal demon. He is shouldering the existence of a government that hammers down on his fellow people. He shoulders the deaths of those in Funeral Parlor who fight for him and sacrifice their lives for his cause. It is these attributes that have never been explored in Guilty Crown before, and we certainly needed this information to care more about Gai.

Now, the main purpose of Leukocytes (Cage) is to not only establish Gai’s character growth but to solidify Shu even more into Funeral Parlor. The main plot involves a powerful satellite weapon that has the ability to destroy cities… and Funeral Parlor. It’s no wonder that the ending of the episode features Shu firing a new weapon, once again using Inori. He blasted satellites in outer space! But I don’t understand the evolution of his abilities with Inori. I feel like I am missing something significant. Maybe.

So where will Guilty Crown go from here? It’s anyone’s guess. But now that Shu is finally a true part of Gai’s cause I think it’s safe to assume we can expect a more involved plot. It feels like we have wrapped up a story arc and the door is open for a new plot source. Segai is still an interesting tool to use and I hope we see more of his crazy character. More next week!

Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing Ep. 5: Touch and move

Okay… There’s just something I do not understand about The Silver Wing’s presentation of itself as related to the Last Exile world. It’s just too cute. It’s just too… simple? Even with my concerns, this is the first episode that kind of feels like it progresses somewhere past this simplistic threshold. I just want more, and I’m not getting it. But I won’t stop watching because I am a fan of Last Exile and episode 5 may be leading to something better.

Nothing too great or fantastic happens, at least not in my opinion. There are a couple of key points, though:

1. Turan is being annexed and Millia isn’t happy.
2. We learn Dio was working with the Sylvana/Sylvius the entire time (that’s a shocker…).
3. Millia designates the Sylvana as the new Turan homeland. Yes a moving ship is now the country.

Okay, clear? There’s really not a whole lot to talk about with this episode. It’s almost mindless and simple entertainment. But I don’t want my Last Exile to be mindless enjoyment, I want it to make me think and care for the characters. Sadly, Fam, The Silver Wing is lacking these qualities.

And for the love of god I do not understand Millia’s dressing up as a maid to convince the ship that she is worthy of establishing the new Turan on the Sylvana. Is this fan service? Is this supposed to make me think she is being cute? Even Fam questions Millia’s outfit.

And that’s all I have to say about Touch and move. It sort of feels like it has some sort of purpose but at the same time it lacks a ton of oomph. It needs something special and it needs it now.

And so that’s it for this week. A great episode of Chihayafuru, a good episode of Guilty Crown, and Last Exile isn’t really worth mentioning this week. Until next time!

-Jared C.

No comments:

Post a Comment