Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Weekly Review: 12/5/11

Chihayafuru Ep. 10: Exchange Hellos and Goodbyes

This week’s episode of Chihayafuru focuses on Chihaya’s inability to be a team leader, Taichi’s takeover of that role, Desktomu’s struggles with Karuta, and Kanade’s first win. But if I were to narrow this down, the episode really focuses on teamwork as a whole and what’s going on in the background of Chihayafuru. Chihaya has pushed her fellow teammates to be in the tournament, but she doesn’t know how to effectively lead them. Such is why Tsutomu gets upset when he can’t take a single card from his opponents. The show really showed his emotions well and it was easy to relate to his frustration in not being as good as the others.

What may have hit home is the group’s realization that Chihaya is infatuated with meeting Arata again by playing Karuta. Taichi is irked by this key information, but he already knew this about Chihaya. In a brief moment of narrative we hear Taichi say to himself that he and Arata are both going after Chihaya’s love. The triangle is firmly established, even if we don’t quite have Arata’s side to the story.

Guilty Crown Ep. 9: prey (Predation)

Guilty Crown’s episode this week was as entertaining as it was a let down… And it’s not that hard to explain. The episode was full of non-stop exposition that rattled one awesome sequence after another. Remember the traitorous Yahiro and his, err, brother/sister Jun? They come back in this episode as ironically Yahiro has escaped from GHQ with his, okay I’m just going to say that Jun is his sister because she looks like a girl and sounds like one too. Now, he pulled her away from GHQ because they were going to “put her down”; a reasonable cause to save her.

Events unfold and some really crazy things happen. Shu witnesses Jun transfer her disease into a mech. and take it over. This created some form of mental connection between Shu and Jun, and he was able to speak with her about Yahiro and how he always took care of her since the apocalyptic Lost Christmas. But Jun’s will is to kill Yahiro before she sees her brother come to hate her, so she asks Shu to use Yahiro’s void (scissors of life) in order to kill her. Shu, who doesn’t really know what to do, goes through with killing her before she could kill Yahiro. It’s a tragic twist that come from out of nowhere and it was all very entertaining.

So why did I mention the episode was a let down? Because once again the writers of Guilty Crown have seemed to trash the storyline they built up in the last episode. The student love triangle and the man who stole the void crystal are almost nowhere to be seen except for a brief few moments. This is hardly enough to be a continuation of what could have been built upon. Don’t get me wrong, the episode was fun and entertaining but it didn’t do much for the overall story. It doesn’t connect things the way you would hope a series would, and that’s a shame.

Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing Ep. 8: Distraction

This episode of Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing may just be the most solidly entertaining episode yet. I think for the first time there wasn’t a moment where I was questioning “Whyyyy?!” whenever Fam would traverse the screen. Instead I was caught in the moment and I enjoyed everything that happened in the episode. It really felt like it belonged in the Last Exile universe and I can’t argue with that.

The moments where Fam did take over as a leading character were when she was serious and wanted to kick ass. She needed to leave the Silvius via her vanship so she could help get them out of the mess she created from last week’s episode, and it just so happened she took Millia with her as her copilot. Clearly Gisey was upset again, and this time we see her breaking down in her realization that she is “losing” Fam.

But the best part of the episode is when Tatiana fights through the battle and doesn’t give up. Instead of losing the Silvius to her enemy she fights back and commands with grand leadership. The introduction of the Glacies race is very interesting as they are apparently voiced in Russian, and their vanships are nicely designed to boot. A comical stand-out moment for Fam is when she and Millia believe they are saving a Glacies vanship. And Fam’s saving of the Silvius and taking down the enemy’s head battleship was nicely done as well. Millia firing up into the Claudia tank was great and breathtaking, and I wouldn’t expect her to be able to help out like she did. It must have been those books she was reading on the Silvius.

I must say there was a great amount of work put into this episode to make it so good. I want to see this trend continue in future weeks. Gonzo’s tapped into some potential as of late and I can see them pushing the series to its best from here on out. One can only hope.

-Jared C.

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