The Week in Anime, Fall 2013 #2 — Row, Row, Fight the Powah

Gurren Lagann — I realize this is not exactly current but I rewatched it over the past week. And HOLY SHIT IT IS AWESOME. The first time I watched it I thought it was “just okay.” What the hell was I thinking?!! Someone on Twitter suggested I made the mistake of turning on my brain. They may be right. What an idiot I was back then. 12 / 10.

I suspect the real issue was that it was one of the first mecha anime I ever watched. It makes a lot more sense with some context.

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Coppelion — I’m pretty good at suspending my disbelief— I mean, some of my favorite shows include Valvrave, AKB0048 and Code Geass— but this is just too dumb. These girls who have been trained since birth to be “professional soldiers” are about as good at being soldiers as the girls in K-On. And some sob story about how they were genetically engineered and how “science is my mother” does not make me feel sorry for them, given that they seem perfectly happy. If these scientists were going through all the trouble to genetically engineer these kids, they should have ensured they had some minimal level of intelligence. Or maybe the lack of a brain is what makes them immune to radiation.

Ars Nova — People weren’t joking when they said it would turn into a harem with battleships. But you know what? That’s bloody awesome. If you’re going to have girls be tanks or girls be guns, at least have them battle it out in a harem with depth charges and torpedoes. Otherwise it’s pointless. My one concern is the introduction of maids and a loli in this episode. The politics, both among the humans and the Fleet of Fog, should keep this series interesting. Also it still looks gorgeous I don’t know what all you people are talking about.

Golden Time — Nice episode. Definitely not what I was expecting. I kind of wish one of the characters ended up joining the cult and the other spent the rest of the series trying to rescue them. Now that would be interesting.

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Infinite Stratos — As far as I can recall, this is the first time a brass instrument has made an appearance in anime since that girl in Persona 4 held her trombone upside down. In the continuing chronicles of Japanese people’s crazy ideas regarding brass instruments, Cecilia freaks out over having an indirect kissu with Ichika by sharing the same mouthpiece. That’s just gross. Also it sounded more like an elephant than a french horn.

Log Horizon — It’s not as stupid as Sword Art Online and not as boring as .Hack//Sign. Finds a happy medium in my opinion. Like .Hack//Sign, it actually focuses on the human relationships in the MMO rather than just having the protagonist stick his dick sword into everything. It also helps that all of the characters are past college age, which is very unusual in anime.

Nagi no Asukara — My fears concerning the main character have mostly been alleviated. He’s still an asshole, but now at least he isn’t completely irredeemable. He does have some good points to him.

26 thoughts on “The Week in Anime, Fall 2013 #2 — Row, Row, Fight the Powah

  1. I’m still concerned that the girls in Coppelion don’t wear panties. Has everyone else stopped caring about that already?

  2. I was actually enjoying Coppelion up until the point when I realized that the writer didn’t do any research into the subject (not sure if the original manga is to blame or not since I never read more than a chapter). It was basically Jormungand except with a better visual style, but it kept everything else I found offensive about the show as a guy who likes gritty action stuff. Sure it’s not trying to cram in bad anime comedy to the point of tone whiplash, but it’s playing everything straight and serious, which is still bad.

    1. I never liked Coppelion. Jormungand had blowing shit up. Coppelion doesn’t even have that. Just a completely serious story about girls with short skirts saving people from the apocalypse.

  3. “As far as I can recall, this is the first time a brass instrument has made an appearance in anime since […]”
    Which remnds me! I just saw the anime called “Sora no Woto” that is about 5 girls in the military and the main character wants to learn the trumpet. At first it may look like another boring “cute girls doing cute things” anime but it is actually really good since there are just so many details and the whole atmosphere is kinda dark. Reminded me of Haibane Renmei.
    If you find the time to watch it I would definitely recommend it.

  4. I’ve got 1 big niggling issue with Log Horizon and would like to hear your thoughts on it. I think the show and its characters have more potential compared to SAO for sure, considering its not just 1 guy wiping out everything and acting all gallant after. However, while its well executed, seems to have a relatively ok direction…its just not interesting. Its not because of the genre, I watched SAO in its entirety. It is just…I can’t describe it, dull? Its like whenever they are talking or fighting it just isn’t catching my attention, at all. Despite them almost graduating from University it seems like a veryyyyy shounen type show to me.

    Potential is there but direction seems to be just ugh. Further thoughts?

    1. For me, how the fighting doesn’t catch your attention much is part of what makes it so interesting. 🙂 I’d argue that it’s exactly that which makes the show not seem shounen-like. The fighting isn’t the focus. It’s just kind of a grinding thing, and in that way it’s a rather accurate depiction of MMOs. (Still not quite as boring as the real thing though.)

      But yeah, it’s certainly not a very exciting show. I think that’s okay though. It’s closer to something like Gingitsune than to SAO. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s certainly not the target audience that shows involving MMOs and fantasy usually aim for.

    2. Yeah… I don’t have a specific problem with the slow pacing, but I don’t like when the dullness comes from the absolute blandness of the scenarios (those mines were totally lifted off from LotR Moria. Then again, most actual RPG are lifted from LotR anyway…) or of the characters – the villains from the town they’re going to visit seem as generic as they can be. This is a huge turn off for me and one of the reasons why I went through Maoyuu Maou Yuusha yawning my face off (which I was forced to watch till the end since I had committed to blogging it). The MMORPG strategies seem pretty accurate instead – actually, that part of the anime is enjoyable and seems much more realistic than SAO. If we could somehow put together SAO’s character design, visuals and music and LH’s team and strategy focus we would get a, I wouldn’t say perfect, that would be a huge stretch, but at least enjoyable MMORPG anime.
      Maybe I should try watching .hack…?

      1. The characters and the setting are totally generic… but hey, when it comes down to it, that’s what MMORPGS are, right?

        .hack//Sign (the only one I’ve seen) has a bit less bland scenarios, I would say, but the pacing is extremely slow. It’s a good show but takes some effort to sit through.

    3. I think I have dropped Log Horizon by three episode rule. The reason is simple, yep, it’s really that BLAND. It doesn’t add any value or excitement to what we already know. After ratman, the next opponent is a hairy big guy who became a villain because he loves to do evil things?
      *Yawn*
      What’s next? Trolls? Pigmen? Orcs?
      Also, other than a catman, are they going to get elf too by their side?
      *yawn again*

      1. Interesting views on the show, but as a general consensus it is pretty bland :D.

        In all seriousness, I don’t find it that close to Gingitsune. At least in Gingitsune, they keep things interesting because of the characters and their interactions in everyday life. Very underrated but it has kept me watching. For Log Horizon, I…just don’t see much work on character relations? Other than Akatsuki sticking her knee into Naotsugu’s face every time (which is getting old), nothing really seems to happen. I might keep watching it but I hope it picks up. I can’t stand the opening music either, not sure why people are praising it to high heaven. I must be getting old -.-

        1. Meh, you know what they say, the majority is always wrong. 🙂 (and the minority is usually wrong, and Draggle is always right)

          I can understand where you’re coming from though. It’s certainly not the kind of show where exciting things are happening all the time. I do think the interactions between the characters are interesting, but maybe that’s just me.

  5. Log Horizon to me feels like slice of MMO life with rather than standard school setting so far in terms of pacing and drama. There’s no impending doom, and the agency for plot is not really there. There’s slow build-up and discovery of the world, yet mostly it is about things you’d see in a MMO and social interaction / perspective there. If anything, there should be more bumblers, but there’s not enough screentime for that.

    I’m fine with LH as it is thus far, as it hits my geeky soft spots for recognizing such little details. I see potential slow buildup in the horizon, but I am enjoying the slow pace and reveal of powers and people. I am assuming there’s many more characters yet to be revealed completely. I stopped the video to count how many were in the “Tea Party”, and noticed the cat-knight was there as well as our Guardian and Enchanter main characters. There’s enough room to do more without revealing impending doom from the get-go and never really reaching there because there’s always hurdles in the way. Let the challenges surprise me as they come. Log isn’t about high drama / crime mystery, but more how to say, social & world exploration based? Some people need the ‘big bad boss’ on the horizon on their minds. For me, that’s already been done. I’ve seen all those bosses, slain them or watched shows about the pitfalls of the imperfect pursuit of slaying them. I’m perfectly OK with just existing and taking the world step by step with light hearted and self-aware / depricating characters.

    The reaction of our main characters finding out our girl was college age was golden. Like you said, very refreshing we have actual adults. I hope I’m using the following words right: the show is more seinen than shounen, more mature than assuming the viewer knows nothing. I’m liking it for those reasons. Maybe it just hits my geek buttons and comfortable MMO nostaligia chair while glossing over the distasteful bits, but that is enough for me.

  6. Actually just finished TTGL recently. I definitely enjoyed it. My only gripes I have with it it’s the over use of long motivational speeches.. it’s way overkill. And all fights being a power-level check up made some of them repetitives. Though I loved the last fight. All the characters were great and the intensity and the scale of the whole thing was pretty amazing. The art was up there too.
    8/10 from me!

    Don’t really see the need to shut down your brain to enjoy it. The show has direction and has lot’s of calmer sections too.

    1. I thought some of the speeches were the best parts. 🙂 “Believe in the me that believes in you! Believe in the you that believes in yourself!”

      Some of the fights were a bit repetitive with the continuous power-ups, but hey, with that final battle it all paid off.

      1. The speeches were great. But it’s the fact that the same ones needed to be repeated at almost each fights that was a bit much for me ahah. I guess it was necessary to build tension with the way spiral power worked but still.

  7. I felt meh about the first episode of Arpeggio, but the second and third eps were great. A lot of fun, and surprisingly intense at times. The cast of characters gives me Star Trek vibes, oddly enough.

    1. It’s kind of the same idea as Star Trek. The crew of a ship encounters the unknown together. Needs more gay shipping though.

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