Mobile Suit Gundame AGE – 31
A whole slew of new characters made their first meaningful appearances this week, but by far the most significant impact was made by Mallen Shanalua (Paku Romi) who we briefly met last week. It’s always great to have the legendary Paku-sama in a cast, but her character is the one person in the series that has the common sense to be horrified by what’s happening to Kio. As is unfortunately too often the case with AGE the dialogue spelling this out is subtle as a sledgehammer, but at least the grotesque nature of a 13 year-old smiling delightedly after killing dozens of people is acknowledged. Seemingly, Flit is going to be set up at one end of the spectrum here with Shanalua at the other, with Abis (still the best part of every scene he’s in) in the center – except that Shanalua is probably the spy hinted at in the preview, which means she’ll likely be leaving us soon (robbing Kio of a potential love interest, based on her behavior this week).
I can’t help but laugh sometimes at how conveniently everyone’s descendants always end up together, and we have Dique’s grandson Wootbit (seriously, Gundam?) joining the Diva crew as one of Rody’s assistance. Wootbit (Oohata Shintarou, who also played Dique) is part of a rather contrived subplot where he resents Kio for all the attention he gets as an Asuno, then ends up befriending him after seeing what an efficient killing machine he is first hand. The other interesting element of the episode is seeing Einus continually humiliated on her own bridge. As an old military man, Flit should know that a Captain is always the Captain of their own ship, even when an Admiral is aboard (never mind a retired one). Rather than shouting at her and belittling her, he should be trying to use his experience to help her rise to the level of her position. Frankly, she could have him clapped in irons for what he’s doing now – he has no military standing on her bridge whatsoever, yet he’s the one giving orders.
Kimi to Boku 2 – 07
It’s funny how the romance in this series is much more compelling for me than it is in most series that are much more about the romance. I don’t even especially like Mary all that much – she’s fine, but a little irritating to be honest – but there’s a sort of purity to the way she feels about Shun and the way Chizuru feels about her that feels pretty authentic to the whole “first crush” experience.
Purity aside, Chizuru did have a sexy dream about her of course – about the most surprising moment in a season and a half of KtB. There’s certainly much more impetus to this series when he and Mary are at center – it’s about the only time the show feels like it’s really about something. It’s no secret that Chizuru is the most interesting character in this cast for me, so any eps built around him have something of a head start anyway. This one even managed to build up a fair amount of suspense using the tired old Valentine’s Day premise, especially as regards Shun and the girl from another school who confessed. It’s not unfair to wonder just what’s up with Shun and relationships – the series could hardly drop any broader hints (“When did you turn into a teenaged girl?”) that dating girls might not be his thing – and he’s oblivious to Mary’s feelings and seemed shocked when the new girl confessed. I don’t suppose we’ll ever really get an answer as to why he said no, but it’s interesting to speculate.
Mostly the ep was about Chizuru and Mary-saki, though, and I must confess I find his chivalrous attitude towards her rather gallant. Surely it would be best if she forgot about Shun and considered the guy who actually likes her, but in the meantime Chizuru is always there to catch her when she falls and buck her up, even if she never seems to appreciate it. Kudos to Chizuru for boldly going where this series has never gone before and having him confess to her openly, and quite matter-of-factly – it puts the onus squarely on Mary to at least give him an answer, and signals that the frustrating triangle that isn’t might finally be coming to an end.
Tasogara Otome x Amnesia – 06
I’m dropping this one for blogging purposes, as I think I’ve reached that point in a series where the things that bother you really grate, and the resistance to the good things gets stronger and stronger. This isn’t a bad show but it just doesn’t work for me, mainly because I find Yuuko rather annoying and Niiya pretty bland as a lead. Plus, Shin-san’s tics and tricks are so predictable and played out by now, I feel as if I can practically predict each one before he drags it out. I don’t doubt the source material is better and could have been a fine anime in the right hands, but Dusk Maiden the anime is just too confused about what kind of show it is to be be any kind of show especially well.
As for this episode, again, not bad – I certainly prefer this series in darker mode to slapstick mode. But as is so often the case I think the reach exceeds the grasp, and we just don’t see the ideas executed very well. In concept the idea of a living Yuuko pissed off about the ghost Yuuko rumors is an interesting one, but her plot was quite silly and made very little sense. It was supposed to be scary but didn’t really pull that off, because I never took it seriously enough. About the only thing I find consistently pleasing in this show is Kirie (Kitamura Eri really is a great actress) but she’s basically an accessory, and she’s just not enough to keep me covering it.