Summer 2013 – Week 13 in Review

And so the summer ends. I really couldn’t be more burnt out on talking about anime, considering I just finished three 8+ page essays on TWGOK, Uchouten Kazoku, and Gatchaman Crowds, but I’ll at least wave my hand in the direction of final impressions.

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C3-bu: Like Evangelion, but with More Moe Airsoft

C3-bu is a strange little show, marking the second entry in a little genre I like to call “moe club shows that aren’t pointless and terrible.” The first entry in this hopefully burgeoning genre was Girls und Panzer, and going into this show, my most optimistic assumption was that it would be a less good but at least watchable version of that.

C3-bu is not that. Not in the slightest. Girls und Panzer succeeds by working as a legitimate sports show, and C3-bu doesn’t have the slightest pretension of being a sports show. Sports shows survive by infusing their central game with drama, by laying out specific rules to create believable tension, by pulling off fun pure-plot turns in the winding of combat or sport or cards or whatever their chosen game is. And C3-bu never grounds the airsoft enough to make for actual tension – all the battles are essentially “wacky stuff happening,” and sides win because the show’s actual goals demand it.

What are the show’s actual goals?

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Summer 2013 – Week 12 in Review

Would it be hyperbole to call this the best week of the season? Don’t really see how it could be – sure, Gatchaman was hamstrung by its budget issues, but everything else… well…

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C3-bu – Episode 12

Last act guys. Will Yura finally learn to accept herself, or will this all turn out to have been one continuous delusion? The line between fiction and reality seems kinda shaky in her tortured-ass head, and this episode is being directed by the same guy who handled #4. After this fantastic last act, I get the feeling this show is going to end extremely strong, so let’s just get to it.

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Summer 2013 – Week 11 in Review

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.

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C3-bu – Episode 11

Yura we still love you don’t go towards the light.

Man, growing up can really, really suck. Kinda funny to me that the season with Watamote secretly also contains an actually vivid, empathetic, and development-friendly articulation of crippling social anxiety. Hopefully C3 will get their heads out of their asses and sacrifice a little bit for her sake – they’re all very stable people, and Yura needs to know it’s okay to figure out who she is. Man, I feel for this poor kid. Didn’t think moesoft would ever amount to much, but it’s really built itself into something worthwhile. Let’s see where it goes.

please be nice to Yura C3-bu life is hard let’s just be nice to each other

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C3-bu – Episode 10

Well this show just got like fifty thousand times better. Still catching up, and episode 11 actually just came out, so I ain’t got time for chit-chat. All I know is that Yura is through with the petty joys and insufficient power of the C3 club. She is stronger now, wiser, hungrier. The fire is in her, and it will not be sated with tea and cakes. Now there shall be a reckoning.

Oh my god so good. Every moe show should end this way. This is amazing. Roll the episode!

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C3-bu – Episode 9

Alright, catching up on moesoft. Actually, that’s not fair – C3-bu is far more of a sports show than a blob show, and the work they’re doing with Yura is definitely pretty solid. But anyway, two episodes behind at this point, so no time for chitchat. Show us the dark side, Yura.

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Summer 2013 – Week 8 in Review

Because both story structure and the 1-cour system are kinda inflexible, this week pulled the interesting trick of having almost every single show I’m watching put their protagonist through the emotional wringer, questioning their very base motivation and bringing them as close to “defeat” (relative to each story’s stakes) as possible. Fun times!

Uchouten Kazoku 8: Jeez, you thought last week’s episode was heavy? This week dove directly into the grieving process, exploring the brothers’ father more fully than ever before through a series of quirky and moving flashbacks. Yajirou’s relevant backstory was fully laid out, culminating in the beautiful image of a rail car terrorizing downtown Kyoto and fading with the haunting shot of the family standing on the roadside, waiting for their father to come home. Even Yasaburou was forced to reflect on his relationship with his father, and possibly acknowledge that he must take up the mantle of responsibility simply because no one else can. Still on track to be the fourth anime in my list of basically perfect shows.

Gatchaman Crowds 7: Another doozy. Hajime pointing out Rui’s hypocrisy pushes him to Do The Right Thing and directly confront Katze. And so his Hundred are murdered, he’s nearly killed himself, and the Gatchamen’s chain of command is shattered. Only Hajime is able to save them, and even then only because her intelligence and philosophy amuse Katze. But even she is shaken by the appearance of a character who seems to put the lie to her fundamental faith in our common goals and desire for connection and understanding. Rui chose to forego his own ideals in order to hopefully create a future worthy of them. Will Hajime be forced to do the same?

Monogatari S2 7: Man, I act all cool and brooding about this season’s two Anime Worth Discussing, and then we get to Monogatari which was all derping around with loli Hanekawa and making terrible decisions about time travel. So far, this new arc has been much more comedy-focused than the first, which is fine as long as the comedy is good, and Araragi/Shinobu still have a fantastic dynamic. This episode was entertaining for what it was, but I’ll be happy to get into the meat of this time travel nonsense next week, and discover exactly how badly these idiots have fucked everything up.

C3-bu 8: Back to frowntown for this one, as Yura’s incredible insecurity has led her to first prove her worth to the team at any cost, and now seek victory in the same way. Cheating? Why, I never. I find pretty much everything about this show outside of Yura’s character development pretty flat (routine plotting, workmanly direction and dialogue), so it’s fortunate that they’re doing such solid work with her arc.

Free 8: And wrapping up my “everything sucks for everyone” roundup, this week featured Haru feeling really sad about not winning at swimming. Aaand not much else – the very distinctive direction from last week has been tuned down again, so once again it’s mainly watchable because I make silly jokes the whole time. I sure am excited for KyoAni’s next show…

TWGOK S3 8: I think this show’s turn will come next week, when Keima’s overt two-timing blows up in his face, but this show has always been more episodic anyway. Regardless, this particular week was mainly a rearrange-the-board style episode, setting up pieces to be knocked down in the next couple episodes. That’s fine, that’s sometimes necessary, but it’s not the kind of episode that shines in a weekly context.

So yeah, kind of a downer week overall, but the shows I’m invested in are still doing their thing with aplomb. As long as 2-3 shows continue to impress me, I’m happy.

C3-bu – Episode 8

Hopefully today will see the triumph and downfall of the reign of Chairman Yura. Let’s do it!

Episode 8

4:45 – Well, the episode’s called “Does a Commander Have to be Heartless?” So I assume this will end with the “character experiences their lowest point” moment, where Yura’s teammates finally stop putting up with her abuse. Hopefully she’ll manage to pick herself up without Kanbaru’s intervention

Kinda funny to me that due to the nature of anime seasons, a whole slew of “character experiences their lowest point” episodes are cropping up this week – this, Uchouten Kazoku, Gatchaman Crowds, Free!… narrative structure is pretty predictable, I guess, and structure generally dictates the turn hits around the two-thirds point, which then curves upwards into the road to redemption and climax

Incidentally, I like this episode’s game format. Seems like a very good way to keep the drama continuous and force the characters to interact with a variety of teams

4:50 – Nice face 

6:59 – That’s right.  Suck it up ya goddamn sissies

7:25 – Well I’m sure this won’t come up again 

Saying that makes me want to do an entire writeup from the perspective of someone who is utterly blind to story convention and completely surprised by every predictable plot turn, but that might be too self-indulgent even for me

8:21 – Goddamnit can’t you fuckups do even one thing right 

8:41 – I bend over backwards for you shitstains and this is how you reward me? 

9:06 – Yeah jeez that’d be crazy . Although in all fairness, there is a chance they’ll save that for an episode or two, and have Yura’s dictatorship blow up before she gets the chance to compete with Rin here

9:39 – Night airsoft in the woods?  These guys must love broken ankles

9:54 – Dat’s hardcore 

11:12 – Fortunately, our team is composed of little girls 

12:37 – What have I become?!? 

14:01 – Dun dun dun . I like how characters always raise their hands when it starts raining to confirm that yes, that is in fact rain which is falling on you

14:51 – That bitch insulted Sonora’s teachings!  That’s it – I’m gonna try really hard and not have any fun andbeat her! That’ll show her!

15:23 – Yura’s minister of propaganda  is working overtime today

20:15 – Pretty intense duel . Definitely one of the better ones so far, though it’s still kinda weightless, since they didn’t really set up the parameters of this warehouse fight beyond “we found them – oh no, it’s an ambush!” Players are hit or not depending on whether its convenient for the plot at that time.

That said, this is more about the emotional payoff than the sports one. But this show spends too much time focusing on the sports/action element to really get away with slacking off on setting up comprehensible action setpieces


21:24 – I’m a sucker for big unsubtle tricks like this shot . Gatchaman was also having a lot of fun with the lighting this week

And Done

Great development at the end there. Now the brewing discontent of Yura’s teammates will be swept under the rug because they actually won, and Yura’s the only one who knows anything is wrong. I look forward to much suffering going forward!