As always it’s a mixed bag with AGE – there’s some head-on-desk stuff here for sure – but on balance, this is the first ep in a while that makes me really curious to see what happens next.
Mobile Suit Gundam AGE – 36
Firs things first – I think Seric Abis may just be my favorite character in AGE, mainly because he’s one of the few that hasn’t been whacked with a stupid stick. Having an elite seiyuu helps, but there’s a dignity and class to the guy that really elevates the series whenever he’s in it (which isn’t nearly often enough) and he almost always applies common sense to any situation he’s in. All that means he’s probably going to die soon.
It’s interesting to see so much focus on child soldiers in anime at the moment, with AGE, E7: AO and Jormungand all addressing the topic head-on. I’m not going out on a limb by saying AGE isn’t nearly on a level with those series, but it does at least try and explore the implications – and the image of Kio in a prison uniform, hugging his knees and trembling, might have brought the reality of the situation home in the harshest form yet. Flit’s behavior in this episode bothered me in the sense that this is exactly what he made possible. You want my sympathy because you’re getting all emotional now? Sorry – you’re the one who turned your 13 year-old grandson into a soldier, don’t whine now – it’s just lucky that he was captured and not killed. His grief and rage might be genuine, but he has no moral right to express them in a guilt-free state. If he’s pissed off, he needs to look in the mirror.
So kudos to Captain Einus for resisting his foolish order to turn the ship about and expose itself to enemy fire. Flit has no authority in the first place, and his orders were stupid and impulsive. I wish she’d told him so directly rather than having Abis do her manning up for her, but baby steps I suppose. The part of the ep that really bothered me was Asemu. Why in the world should be need Flit’s permission to go after Kio? Kio is his son after all (which he points out himself) and he’s an effing pirate! To see him grovel like that was silly and seemingly out of character. On the plus side, it looks as if we’re finally going to see the world of Vagan for ourselves – and through the eyes of Kio, too. That’s a long-overdue step for the series, and I hope they make the most of it. And given that Asemu is likely to be the one rescuing Kio, not only is Kio going to be exposed to the Vagan POV but possibly his father’s, too – assuming Flit doesn’t force his way on-board for the rescue mission.
Kimi to Boku 2 – 12
The penultimate KtB ever offers reward at last for long-suffering Kaname fans.
This is a series that definitely likes to phase into pure serious mode every month or so, and while the results are mixed, the series usually manages the transition better than you might expect. I’ve enjoyed the emergence of Chizuru as the main character and his relationship with Mary-saki as the closest thing to a central plot, because I think they’re the best KtB has to offer in those respects. But the characterizations of the others have stagnated, especially Yuta and Kaname, and while we didn’t learn anything knew about Kaname it was nice to see him used as something more than comic relief and a plot device.
There can certainly be no question that Kaname digs older chicks – the only females he seems attracted to are his mother, his Kindergarten teacher and his neighbor Shizuna (Noto Mamiko, pure class as always). It says something about how far Kaname overreaches romantically that the 25 year-old neighbor is by far the most realistic of his crushes, but that she is – that is, until she announces that she’s marrying a co-worker. Complicating affairs is Shizuna’s tomboy imouto Hisako (Yahagi Sayuri) who’s crushing on Kaname. This is all exposited in a pretty low-key way, as is Kaname gradually coming to grips with the futility of his feelings, but KtB is good at that sort of wistful reflection. There’s not a lot of comedy here, but the best of it came from cutting onions – namely Yuuki’s assertion that their ability to induce tears was a “last-ditch effort to avoid being eaten” and Chizuru’s that Kaname wouldn’t cry from cutting them because his heart wasn’t pure enough.
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san – 11
While this was a step down from last week’s episode, that isn’t a criticism because #10 was a comedic masterpiece. This was merely good.
It’s quite a different tone watching this show wrap up compared to Kimi to Boku – that’s a little sad because when this season finishes, the series is surely done for good as anime. With Haiyore! it’s a lock that we’ll see at least one more season so there isn’t the same feeling of finality, though that doesn’t mean we don’t have an ending to set up, and that’s what this ep was seemingly about. The vehicle is the introduction of Ghutatan, a little alien girl, and her flying green gobstobber of a butler, Roy Fogger the Lloigor (not exactly a traditional depiction – “There’s no way my Lloigor can be this cute”. But then, Ghutatan is about the cutest Ghatanothoa you’ll ever see too, since they’re supposed to be something like Medusas). The scenes with Ghutatan are pretty much stock stuff, reinforcing the notion of Mahiro as the responsible young adult and Nyaruko, Hastur and Kukko as… Nyaruko, Hastur and Kukko. When a couple of stray Shoggoths show up (Cyclone and Metal? Hello, Kamen Rider) and the baka trio get a little too frisky eliminating them, Ghutatan is slightly injured and Mahiro goes off on them – and when he wakes the next morning, his house is empty. Cliffhanger!
Of course the joke here is, Mahiro was absolutely right to tell them off – they were being idiots. And while the teenaged boy having his beloved quiet life interrupted by baka magical girls is hardly original, he’s also not wrong to want a little peace and quiet once in a while. I’ll be very interested in seeing how this is played next week – given that it’s a season finale I guess it could theoretically be played straight and heartwarming, with Mahiro contrite over being too hard to the others and welcoming them back into his life. For me, it’d be much more in character for the whole thing to be a farce, with Mahiro realizing how much happier he is without Old Ones trying to jump his bones, turn him shotacon and burn his house down. As for big laughs this week there weren’t too many, though I did enjoy Roy’s declaration that he likes “rolled sushi and BLT twister sandwiches” and Nyaruko’s tribute to Asami Kana’s role in Pretty Rhythm.