No Monogatari this week, so I only had two thirds of the great shows I normally do. That turned out to be fine, though, because the second-strings were in extremely good form.
Uchouten Kazoku 11: This episode both began and ended with incredible style, courtesy of the two actually competent women trying to keep these brothers from getting themselves killed. In the same way that Hajime is clearly too perfect, Benten is clearly too cool – her first scene, where she offhandedly shows up the Ebisugawas in a sweet tailored suit before walking off with a frilly-pink-umbrella-shaped Yasaburou, was all kinds of amazing. This rescue scene was immediately undercut by a conversation underlining the distance and misunderstanding that possibly both inspires and dooms their relationship. The middle act of this episode featured a fantastic moment from Soun, revealing the isolation he feels from virtually everyone (estrangement from family is pretty much the ultimate taboo in this show), along with far too much of those goddamn Ebisugawa twins. But this was all made up for in the finale, where Kaisei staged a daring rescue on Yashirou, leaving it up to him and Yajirou to save the family. Unsurprisingly, the best-written show of the season is making great use of its carefully illustrated ensemble in the final act.
Gatchaman Crowds 10: In case this show has made you entirely forget superheroes used to shout catchphrases and punch evil in the face, Gatchaman subverted all expectations back in the otherdirection this week, featuring a big damn hero pan and lots of Crowds-kicking by all the Gatchaman. A fitting choice, given this episode also contained Jou’s long-awaited character turn, and he’s always been the traditionalist of the group. As with the Youtube channel and televised Gatchaman unveiling, the co-opting of GALAX doesn’t prevent our heroes from abusing collective action – this time, the classic systems designed by the police and fire department got to do a little heavy lifting. But this episode’s best scene was easily, far and away the betrayal of 26 by Katze, primarily because it was so goddamn real. Villains don’t need to destroy people themselves – in the internet age, simply shining a light on someone can make the collective dark side do all the work for them. I had figured all those scenes with 26’s family were intended primarily to illustrate his own motivation – but when “He lives at ##### with his wife and daughter” flashed on the screen, I got legitimate chills. The internet is not good or bad. The internet is terrifying.
Monogatari S2: Recap again boo. But next week is Snake, who had in my opinion the most meta-focused and scathing of the first season’s arcs. That arc’s point doesn’t need to be made twice, and Nadeko herself hasn’t proven to be the most interesting character, so I’m very interested in seeing where they go with this.
TWGOK S3 11: Quite an episode! This show is mainly popcorn for me, so I don’t really have thatmuch to say, but I do think Chihiro is acting as a fantastic counterweight to Keima here. Most of the conquests just play certain types, and Elsie (or even Haqua) mainly just go with whatever he says, but Chihiro both sees through his tricks and calls him out on his manipulation. TRUE WUV.
Free! 11: The first two thirds of this episode were the usual dumb K-On with abs antics, but the last act got real quiet and pretty damn effective. This show is still pretty much crap though, so I’ll be perfectly happy to see the back of it.
Hunter x Hunter 96: This entire episode was a montage of the Spiders kicking ant ass. What are you doing here. Go watch this.
C3-bu 9/10/11: Holy crap! I was pretty ready to drop this show after three episodes, when it seemed that outside of good isolated scenes and the nice portrayal of Yura’s insecurities there wasn’t really anything going on. Episode four was crazy, so I got back on board. Then it immediately went back to generic sports shenanigans, and looked like it was leading towards some “believe in having fun with your friends!” nonsense. Then I finally got around to catching back up and HOLY SHIT it’s the Evangelion of anime. Or I guess at least the emotionally damaged antidote to too many years of moe friendship and imaginary idyllic high school experiences. Yura’s treacherous path towards self-worth manages to regularly poke fun at itself while completely working as a thoughtful portrait of social anxiety and deep-tissue insecurity. Apparently Gainax still have a few tricks up their sleeve.