Well I was planning on saving this episode for tomorrow (I’ve done my posts for tonight), but friggin’ twitter won’t shut up about whatever nonsense happens, so I might as well run through it before all my actual reactions are spoiled. Ryuuko’s gone Ryuuserker™ for the seventeenth time, and is now wearing Junketsu of all things. Satsuki’s countering with Senketsu, though her ability to counter Life Fiber-synchronized Ryuuko will likely be more dependent on Sister Power than any, you know, actual power. But that’s pretty much how it’s always gone in this show – fights occur at random and are resolved however the show feels like resolving them. So now that we’ve established once again that analysis is useless in the context of this ridiculous show, let’s Kill la Kill.
Back on the Sword Art Train! Last episode was, well, pretty messy. Not only did it seem bizarrely dedicated to proving the wretchedness of the non-beta characters (for multiple definitions of beta even OH SHIT SWOOSH sorry), its ending had pretty much the same issues the first episode did – a combination of awkward narrative leaps to get the story where it’s supposed to go and a theatrical flair that turned drama into self-parody. And at this point, one of the central complaints generally leveled at SAO is becoming clear – the show really, really wants you to identify with Kirito, and some of the choices it’s making on that front are, well, pretty silly from a non-Kirito-aligned perspective. The one-man-army fight, the Batman speech, the trenchcoat. And this all gets back to things I’ve always said about how characters are defined.
With the season nearing its end, we’re beginning to get the expected ramp-up from most relevant shows. Which I’m actually excited for – I’ve obviously had pretty negative feelings about this season overall, but it’s not like I want the shows I’m watching to disappoint. Samurai Flamenco, Nagi no Asukara, and Kill la Kill all had very good weeks, and pretty much everything had at least a respectable episode. Except… well…
Alright, this first one is a little ranty.
So, I recently decided I’ve watched maybe enough shows to put together a useful Top Shows list, and in light of that, also decided it’s probably time to lay out a few of my own evaluative patterns and biases. I’ve talked about evaluation before – I covered it briefly in this piece, where my three main points were that people seek many different things in media, that evaluating shows requires taking their own goals into account, and that I believe not all goals are equally artistically valuable. But all of that doesn’t really tell you much about me - it’s just about systems in general, and if you’re going to get much use out of a “top anime list,” you really need more context than “these shows are great because I say so.” Who am I to say so? Well, the person who wrote all those essays on the right, at least. But can I offer a little more clarity than that?
Alright, guess we’re meeting Asuta’s sister? In a normal show, the fact that she’s clearly a member of White Light would reflect back on the show’s central theme of family in a thoughtful, generally coherent way. But this is Sekai Seifuku, so who knows what the fuck is gonna happen. Let’s get to it!
And we’re back for more Sword Art Online. The first episode was… alright. I like the visual aesthetic, and some of the game elements were nicely portrayed, but the characters didn’t grab me and the plot seemed pretty contrived. The villain in particular killed my suspension of disbelief pretty much immediately – it seemed like it was supposed to play as serious drama, but his theatrics were just very silly. You don’t need blood rain to sell a crisis! “I’m going to kill all of you” is actually more scary coming from someone not dressed in a robe and wizard hat.
But that’s all peanuts if they use the setup as a platform to actually talk about something. So let’s see where we go from here!
A little behind on this one, meaning my impressions have already been somewhat infected with a tide of “RYUUUKO ;_____;” on my twitter feed, but I’LL TRY TO IGNORE THAT. Currently, I’m actually kinda pissed with Ryuuko – I’m hoping last week’s ending was a false cliffhanger, because if not, this’ll be the fourth time Kill la Kill has trotted out the “Ryuuko has to learn to trust Senketsu” conflict. Which doesn’t really work for me – not only does bringing this back up kind of invalidate the character growth of the prior conflicts, it also just makes Ryuuko seem like a pretty unsympathetic character. Which is fine, if that’s what they’re going for, but I didn’t get that impression – I assume I’m supposed to actually be invested here, not just exasperated. Ryuuko’s always been kinda one-note (Satsuki is far and away the most interesting character in this show), but having that note be “a belligerent jerk” is, well, pretty bold.
But apparently this episode is RYUUUUKO ;____; so I guess I’ll be eating those words soon enough.