Standard Winter 2014 week this time – Kill la Kill was entertaining, Sekai Seifuku was good, and Witch Craft Works did its job. Everybody else… I dunno, I guess ending a season is harder than it looks!
Kill la Kill – Episode 21: Very fun episode of Kill la Kill this week. Someone on the blog commented that “somehow, not much happened,” and looking back, yeah, that’s true – but Kill la Kill has basically dedicated itself to reveling in the fun of random nonsense, and this episode was some goddamn fun nonsense. I might be happy just because this episode was clearly one of the best for both Satsuki and Mako. Satsuki is actually even more compelling as a scrappy underdog than as the Imperious President – she still has her pride, but her “victory at any cost” ethos lends itself well to desperate times, and at this point she’s allowing herself to show a great deal more emotion than before. And Mako is love, of course – tired of Ryuuko’s interminable bullshit, she ends up punching her in the face, invading her brain, and destroying her clothing-tool fantasies from the inside out. We’ve finally reached the thematic turning point, too – Ryuuko declaring she’d rather be naked or dead than wear something she doesn’t want to wear is as close as this show will likely ever get to a point, and in typical Kill la Kill fashion, if that didn’t interest you, MOTHERFUCKING BLOOD RAIN. This show is silly and it will never justify its creepy, exploitative choices, but it certainly knows its own strengths.
Chuunibyou Ren 9: This episode had some solid direction – Saturn’s moment at the end was handled very nicely, and the climactic transformation was visually great. Was it just my subs making that moment a triple Gainax combo? “Filling entry plug” into “Believe in the me that believes in you” into the Buster Pose? Either way, pretty great.
I also liked that Touka was basically the audience advocate here – it’s not just you, Touka, we’re all disappointed in Yuuta. Kind of bold of the show to come right out and admit how much it’s been dicking us around, though.
Speaking of dicking us around, what the hell is this season even about? Why must Rikka force herself to re-embrace her own Chuunibyou? When the beginning of this episode baited us with “Rikka was beginning to lose her powers,” I actually cheered – I am infinitely ready for her to put her coping mechanisms behind her. I’m not against the self-expression resolution of the first season, but what does artificially prolonging your adolescent fantasies prove? What’s the point? I just fail to understand this season’s philosophy on a fundamental level, or something.
Samurai Flamenco 19: I really liked the childish world of heroism and justice that opened this episode – Masayoshi in the running for “President of the World”, exchanges like “But has evil really left this world?” “That’s what the universe said”, etc. As for the rest of it?
Hm. Considering everything else this show has done, the reveal of Goto’s girlfriend was about as anticlimactic as humanly possible. But this is around the show’s sixth incarnation of itself, and they generally take a couple episodes to really sell themselves. So I’m just gonna hold off on judging this new new new new normal until we’ve got a little more context.
Sekai Seifuku 9: Really liked this episode of Sekai Seifuku – it’s looking the show actually will be pulling all of its characters, narrative threads, and themes together into a satisfying, coherent finale. Family, identity, and belief are obviously the key variables, and they all reflect on each other in very coherent ways. All these characters are connected through multiple personas, everyone’s seeking someone they can believe in, everyone’s trying to find their family and escape it at the same time. And it’s also still funny, and all the characters are extremely endearing, and the show’s tone of deadpan absurdism gives it a great, distinctive identity of its own. It was a little rough for a while there, but I think Sekai Seifuku is cleaning up nicely.
Log Horizon 23: After the dramatic heights of this season’s big arc, it’s kind of strange structurally to have the show settle into its reliable popcorn-entertainment groove three episodes before the ending, but I’m pretty much fine with it. I don’t expect this show to have a tight narrative structure – I know it’s daytime television, my expectations are adjusted accordingly. And this episode was fair enough popcorn, mainly because the show has done a very solid job of setting up a diverse, likable cast of characters. Popcorn away, Log Horizon.
Nagi no Asukara 22: I liked the Tsumugu-Kaname interactions this episode. Aside from that…
Yeah, I kind of had to drag myself through this episode. It feels like every episode of Nagi no Asukara will have one real “thing” happen, and that generally happens within the last five minutes, and until then it’ll mainly consist of the characters wandering around and brooding on the same general conflicts they’ve been brooding on this whole time. So I waited through a lot of brooding, and then this episode’s thing happened, and then it was over.
Witch Craft Works 10: A tense episode of Witch Craft Works! This episode was astonishingly lacking in Tanpopo, but this show’s finale is actually pretty compelling, so I’m okay with that. This episode felt a lot more like Hollywood blockbuster than shounen finale, complete with hostage negotiations, last-second bomb defusals, and even the oh-so-popular “I let myself get captured.” It was fun! Like Yozakura Quartet before it, this show is basically the definition of pleasant entertainment – it’s lightweight, it’s endearing, and it’s actually aesthetically solid. Witch Craft Works is ending well.