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Dec 10

Fall Anime – Week 8

Better Saimoe winner than Madoka

Behold witchcraft in motion as this week’s anime recap goes live while you’re still at Anicom (or the pub, editing these takes a while). Truly, I’m a magician. Move over Aladdin. Still, with just a fortnight left until the most wonderful time of the year, why not hit the jump and kill a few minutes while we go over the usual motley crew of Kill la Kill, Magi, Galilei Donna, Non Non Biyori and Kyousougiga. A few missing this week, probably because I’m not there to whip them into writing. I promise I’ll try to make up for that and lateness later this week. Until then, on with the show!

Phil on… Kill la Kill (ep 9)

You know…this week was kinda…

Yeah, pretty much that. I could ask Sean to link to the various Gif’s / images, but I try to keep this relatively SFW. Aside from that not much else to say, I mentioned in one of the earlier reviews about how this show is very much a “shut up and turn your brain off while you enjoy the show” and this episode is pretty much the perfect example of why. A great fight, amazing music (can’t wait for the OST) and glad to see that the show is capable of doing animation when it really wants to (i.e. action scenes).

dat design

I’ll say that I was impressed with Gamagoori’s second transformation (scourge Regalia) as it looks pretty bad ass. Senketsu’s new transformation is kind of cool, but feels very much like a “how do I make this cooler? I know, I’ll add spikes! Not just one or two, but all the spikes!” mind you, I don’t think this show is capable of moderation so it’s pretty much par for the course.

All the spikes

We do get the impression that unlike Satsuki, Ryūko is actually willing to rely on others, specifically Senketsu who came up with the winning plan this week. We got a glimpse of the “clash of ideals” this week, but it’s likely we won’t see the real clash until the Ryuko vs Satsuki round 2 fight. This week’s title and song was “チャンスは一度” or “A Once in a Lifetime Chance”

Alexe on… Non Non Biyori (eps 2 to 4)

My title for episode 2 shall be: Senpai noticed me!

We start with the new girl Hotaru introducing everyone and we learn that the teacher is first grader Renge’s older sister.

We also learn that Hotaru has an obsession with Komari who is nicknamed Koma-Chan because of her small size. After Natsumi and Renge accidentally prank her she gives Hotaru a piece of candy. Hotaru’s actions cause much confusion to the other girls who don’t understand her.

At the weekend Komari calls up Hotaru and the two of them plan to go out together, however in an effort to look cool in front of her senpai (Komari is older despite her looks) Hotaru dresses more adult like and Komari doesn’t recognise her. Komari is left to show this ‘unknown’ lady around despite worrying about Hotaru and the two of them visit the candy store together. Hotaru buys them both shaved ice and after she leaves Komari claims that she was cool and she is the kind of woman she wants to grow up to be. She then realises she forgot about Hotaru and calls her to apologise causing some confusion.

And that’s all that really happened this episode, and I thought Hotaru would be the normal one.

On to episode 3 which I shall title: Sensei Endorses Child Labour.

The episode starts with an excited Natsumi preparing for the class outing and helping her sister make rice balls, one of which she puts mustard in, of course the excitement fades when they find out they are only going to a rice field and they remember that their teacher always makes the plant rice this time of year.

Natsumi complains that she would have rather gone somewhere more exciting and in her boredom turns her brother into a scarecrow, however this does not amuse her as much as she thought but when Komari gets stuck in the mud she finds it hilarious before going to help her. Unfortunately she also gets stuck, she tries to call Hotaru for help but she’s too busy thinking about ‘Senpai’s Rice
Balls’ to notice and as they try to get out Renge bumps into them and they fall in.

As they get cleaned they wonder where their teacher went and she drives past on an automatic planter claiming that it’s much quicker and let’s them go home.

That evening Komari watches through a bunch of videos (or DVDS I’m not sure) she rented from the rental store because they are due back including a bunch of scary movies, she claims she can handle scary movies now that she is fourteen but her actions afterwards including coming to sleep in Natsumi’s room prove otherwise.

Natsumi of course takes advantage of her older sisters cowardice and takes every opportunity to scare her, as Komari complains about ghosts Natsumi tells her there is no such thing and she falls asleep. However then Natsumi has an existential crisis as she ponders what happens when people die and then has trouble sleeping.

In class next day Komari tells them the story of her and Natsumi running away from home. Due to an argument with their mother Natsumi runs away from home and drags Komari with her. They decide to visit their old hideout they went to when they were a kid.

However the two of them quickly become bored as there is nothing to do there, Komari finds some old graffiti left by Natsumi after the first time they ran away to the hideout and Natsumi remembers what happened. As she is remembering Komari spots the cat that stole part of their lunch (which was one of the things the argument was about) and the two of them give chase, but they stop when they see that the cat stole it to feed her kittens

Tired and hungry the two of them decide to head home, they meet their brother on the way and once home try to avoid their mother. She catches them and it looks like she’s going to strike them but she actually just pats them on the head.

And that’s that episode, on to number 4

Episode 4 is so far my favourite episode and it shall be titled; Summer is Bittersweet.

As summer starts the class takes the watermelons they had been growing and eat them, before they eat they are given their report cards. Renge gets a five in every subject which is the highest score and Natsumi who was afraid of finding out her grades is delighted when she sees so many fives on hers that is until their teacher tells her that middles school students are marked out of ten not five.

The class eats their watermelon and Natsumi tries some salt on hers to which she claims ‘It’s salty’ and Renge quickly asks ‘Like Life?’ When they leave Renge says goodbye to their school building.

At her home Renge learns that her sister Hikage is coming back from Tokyo for the summer and she arrives just as they are talking about her. She tells Renge about the city and the bullet train before Komari and the others arrive. They introduce her to Hotaru who they learn has never been on the bullet train before, as Hikage goes to boast she claims that she arrived by airplane which is far more exciting to them and they take her into the next room to tell them about it leaving Hikage standing there.

As summer continues Renge meets a young girl named Honoka on one of her walks. Honoka explains that she is staying at her grandmothers for the summer and Renge shows her around so she can take pictures of the village. The two of them become quick friends and Renge spends many days playing with her.

That is until one day Honoka’s family leaves unexpectedly due to her father’s work, Renge learns this from Honoka’s grandmother. Now they could have had Renge bawl her eyes out when she cried however she didn’t all we got were these small whimpers which when combined with the sad music and slow, lonely walk were even more heart-breaking.

The end of the episode thankfully ends on a high note with her receiving a letter from Honoka and a photo of the two of them together.

And that’s episode 2 to 4, the show remains a light-hearted, relaxing show with some hints of Shojo-Ai now and I still find it enjoyable.

Sean on… Galilei Donna (eps 8 and 9)

Time to wrap up this whole sketch collecting malarkey then. With this being an 11 episode series, the wheels of motion for the ending are now turning, so its time to see what path the show will take to get there.

Well, in our eighth episode, its seems the answer is a very lackadaisical one. With all immediate threats dealt with, we instead get dragged to the sister’s grandparents house, in a mostly pointless endeavour to both promote Japan and give a little snapshot into the life of their parents back when they were still young and happy. They finish building an old energy converter their dad had started back in the day, but the true star of the episode is Anna, who now has to wrestle with the impending choice of siding with the sister’s whom she’s grown fond of, or the suited psycho whom she loves.

Sadly there’s little else to praise about this episode, although it does once again re-emphasise how irrelevant the sketch search has become to the narrative with it being done in the final minute. And into episode 9, they find the “final” sketch within a minute or so of it beginning.

The more alert of us though, would remember there were seven. “Oh that’s just a rumour”. Yeah, no. Why they trust anything she says at this point is beyond me, hell, lil’s clearly doubting her at this point, but is too young and naive to truly believe it, a fact hammered home by Roberto (I think that’s his name anyway, I gave up a while back).

Inevitably, everything breaks down, Anna predictably switches sides multiple times to showcase her inner turmoil, we learn the biggest surprise of the episode which was lil being smart enough to give the man a fake Tesoro and then her real one triggers its magical powers again. Leading to her falling through time.

Nope, not making that up. She goes back in time and crashes into, guess who. Galileo himself. Before I could rage the show did point out she wasn’t the first thing to fall through, showing stuff from the prior episodes where the Tesoro went off, but still, c’mon, time travel? Really? I should’ve guessed, why else would you constantly namedrop Galileo but… gah.

So the episode rounds off with the two rebuilding a flying machine to help take her back in time when the portal appears. You know. The ones’ she controls with her hourglass. So could return any time she chose…

There’s little else to say about these two. A lot of it seemed to be killing time by building the obvious until the final showdown, although again, time travel came out of nowhere. There was also a side story where the elder sister comes to accept her choices, but it’s just a problem made and dealt with on the spot, so not really a resolution. The anime tradition of spitting watermelon seeds also returns. No idea why that’s a thing.

All in all, it’s a rather tame ending to what you would think would end with some climatic mech fight. Maybe that’s yet to come, although a path where peaceful minds prevail would certainly be interesting to watch. With just a fortnight left until it’s over, we’ll find out soon.

Alexe on… Magi: The Kingdom of Magic (ep 10)

We begin the episode back with Mu and Lady Scheherazade as they watch Alibaba’s match about to begin.

Before Alibaba can even get started his sword is taken away and is give an average sword from the coliseum, Sharmal asks if he wants to give in but Alibaba determinedly decides that he will fight.

Garda’s chains are released and the match begins, Alibaba begins confident as he has defeated beasts bigger than Garda before and when he dodges Garda’s first attack the crowd begin to respect him. He manages to strike Garda and the crowd begin to chant begins to chant his name, however Sharmal notes that his attacks were too shallow.

Alibaba also knows this so he goes for a deeper attack and his sword pierces Garda’s chest, however as he goes to pull out his sword Garda contracts his muscles freezing the sword in place.

Garda picks Alibaba up off the ground as he hangs on to his sword and then proceeds to beat him into an inch of his life. When he can no longer move he tells the guards to end the match but his words are ignored, Garda picks him up and he hears the crowds chanting ‘Eat him! Eat him!’ Garda takes a bite out of his arm and he screams in pain, the crowds chant turns to ‘Kill him! Kill him!” and Alibaba wonders what kind of place the coliseum is as he slowly loses consciousness and he wonders why his magoi had to change.

As he loses consciousness his life begins to flash before his eyes and images of Aladdin, Morgiana, Hakuryuu and others begin to appear until he reaches Cassim. Alibaba begs him not to go as he walks away with two others.

As Alibaba drifts in and out of consciousness he remembers a time from his childhood when he, Cassim and their friends were attacked by some older thugs. In the real world he falls limp and a worried Toto looks on whilst Sharmal claims that he’s a goner.

Not satisfied with knocking Alibaba out Garda breaks his arm, however the pain wakes Alibaba up and he looks at his broken arm startled. Alibaba realises that Garda is going to kill him and then eat him however as he remembers what happened when he was a child his fear leaves him and he becomes determined again. He stands up and runs behind a statue, the crowd jeer him for running away but Toto realises that he is making Garda run into the statue. He begs for his life and the crowd laughs at him and continues chanting, as Garda draws closer he bites Alibaba’s broken arm again and goes to eat him.

However Alibaba is left intact, and it is revealed that Alibaba used a broken spear from one of the statues to pierce Garda’s jaw and tongue, as Garda struggles in pain Alibaba eggs him on and Garda chases after him. He steadies himself against a wall and Garda punches his fist into his sword, with his arm disabled Alibaba is on equal footing once more and he begins to slash Garda’s skin. Toto notes that they are only shallow but Sharmal notes that now Alibaba can read Garda’s attacks even shallow cuts will be effective.

As Sharmal says Garda stops moving and falls to the ground, Alibaba remembers what happened that day in his childhood and the two magoi’s in him fuse together, Sharmal notices this and the crowd cheers for Alibaba.

As Sharmal helps Alibaba up, Ruroh Alexius and Myron Alexius of the Fanalis Corps watch from the sidelines, Myron claims that she would have defeated Garda in half the time and their brother would have taken half her time. Ruroh asks her where their brother is and she tells him that he is with Lady Scheherazade.

Mu compliments the match and asks Lady Scheherazade why she is there, since gladiator fights are not her cup of tea. She tells him that she felt a disturbance in the Rukh but is still not sure it was Alibaba. The two of them talk about Magnostadt and Mu expresses concerns that the country is becoming sinister because of the amount of magical tools beginning to appear, Lady Scheherazade apologies for causing him worry but Mu tells her that he only has to command him and they will fight Magnostadt (or at least its implied) however Lady Scheherazade just pats him on the head and tells him she prefers it when he smiles. She notes that the people of East Leam are scared and she claims that she will protect the Leam Empire, and further away in the Kou Empire there is a greater abnormality occurring.

Five days later Alibaba is almost recovered, Toto comes to his room and is surprised to learn that Alibaba took in Garda (he used his prize money to free him) as Alibaba prepares a cigar she notes how Garda looks at Alibaba with respect and begins to blush however this is cut short when his hair catches on fire and he returns to being the lame Alibaba he will always be.

Sharmal asks him if he knows who the identity of his second Magoi is and Alibaba talks about Balbadd and how he couldn’t protect it and how he thinks Cassim must have given him his power before he died in order for Alibaba to get stronger so he can protect it.

All in all this was an alright episode, I have a few problems with it but none of them are really important. The first is Garda’s gender, in the manga it’s a girl and in the show it’s a guy however I don’t think we find that out until much later in the manga (as the set up for a joke, aimed at Alibaba w ho else?) so it’s not that important.

The second is this:

I probably wouldn’t have noticed this if someone on Tumblr didn’t point it out but when they did I can’t not notice it. It’s just really lazy and it sticks out like a sore thumb now.

The final thing is Alibaba’s recovery, five days is awfully fast for someone who almost died, not to mention what happened to his arm but we can probably chalk that up to main character plot armour.

Anyway it was an alright episode however next episode:

It’s Morgiana’s episode, look at her she’s so adorable.

Sean on… Kyousougiga (eps 6 and 7)

A little while back I predicted, or more accurately, hoped, that the second half of this show would focus on telling a story that just introducing the characters and world of the Mirror Capital and beyond. So imagine my relief when it turns out that’s exactly what’s happening.

Episode number six wraps up a few final details, such as a more detailed backstory for Yakushimaru (modern Myoue), as well as showcasing how he can survive with the manic life. It’s because he’s immortal, thanks to one of Myoue Senior’s more out of this world creations. You then get to see a suicidal kid slowly adapt to and seemingly accept his new life, although his request to Koto a few weeks back to kill him would suggest that he still harbours some resentment for being alive.

The episode then shifts into more familiar territory as we see the Koto and Bishamaru fight for the third time (original ONA, episode 0). To keep things different though they do focus on other elements of the fight, such as Shouko’s piloting and the Myoue vs Yase fight, but for the most its retreading old ground with the climax of Koto meeting Koto.

Meaning finally in episode seven, the moment long-term Kyousougiga fans have been waiting for for two years happens, Koto Senior is back in the Mirror Capital!

The more interesting part about her return though is what happens to all her siblings. Kurama, Yase, Myoue, and even Koto (yep, apparently she’s her daughter too, not explained yet though), all revert to very childlike states, similar to how they were back when they were still part of Koto’s life. Yase practically won’t let her go, Myoue is cynical of it all, Kurama trying to maintain his dignity and failing, and you even see Koto with expressions of utter glee.

In fact, it’s the talks the two Kotos have that really showcase the relationship she’s had with her parents and how much has been asked for her from an early age, and the consequences its had on her psyche come tumbling out towards the end, along with another returning character heralding the start of the plot proper, with Koto’s constant shattering through realities bringing about the destruction of the Mirror World, and summoning a cast of familiar faces from Shrine.

So yeah, in terms of getting the wheels of an actual plot in motion, you can’t fault this. Of course, with only three episodes left to wrap it all up, it’ll be interesting to see just what direction the show takes to get to its conclusion, whatever it may be. I certainly have no clue, because trying to second-guess this show is usually a fruitless endeavour…

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As I said, I’ll be sure to have something else up this week, but if you wanna write about stuff, please let us bloggers know so we can get you going. Or, if you’d rather talk about your favourite comics or anime, get in touch with Secretary Emma on Facebook. I’m gonna be talking about manga after Christmas, for one.