Mobile Suit Gundam AGE – 34
The moment we’ve all been waiting for is upon us – Asemu (Toriumi Kousuke) is indeed back, but you can call him “Captain Ash”. He’s leading a band of pirates called Bisidian who hang out in a cursed part of space called The Sargasso, attacking Federation ships. There was an extreme “Star Wars” vibe to his whole encounter with The Diva, with Kio detecting his father’s presence from far away, and Flit once they’d come a little closer. Asemu’s intentions this time seem to have been to test both his father and his son, and the “Super Pilot” who’s now a Super Pirate is every bit the genius of mobile suit combat he was when we last met him.
Asemu was suitably cool, GAR and pirate-ish with his scruffy beard and gravelly voice. Plus his Gundam, “Dark Hound”, was a bit of a monster, sporting all kinds of cool options and extras as Asemu ran rings around his son in order to test his combat skills. It also came in handy in saving Kio when the Vagan showed up. But I’m a bit unclear on just what’s up with his motivation. If it really is as simple as purging the Federation of turncoat ships who’ve sold out to Vagan, I’ll be a bit disappointed. In the first place, why? Surely there are more efficient ways to battle infiltration in the Federation. But mostly, I was hoping there was going to be a real contrast of philosophy with Asemu and Flit, with Kio caught in the middle. If they’re just too warriors fighting for the same side using different methods, that’s a lot less interesting.
In any case, Asemu left behind a present for Kio which I assume is some sort of code for the AGE system – but perhaps it contains some sort of message indicating why he decided to leave his wife and family and become a pirate, if not to oppose the Federation’s goals. There’s also the matter of Fram, who reveals that she’s the sister of someone who died under Zaehert’s command in addition to a mole inside his organization. It looks as if there was be a schism forming in the Vagan high command, perhaps between hard-liners wanting the extermination of humanity and Ezelcant’s faction wanting a “peace on our terms” solution. if so, that will be much more compelling if a similar split exists in the Federation.
Kimi to Boku 2 – 10
It’s funny how in this non-romance slice-of-life, Chizuru’s courtship of a basically annoying tsuntsun girl has become easily the most compelling nugget of actual plot and character development, and one of the more endearing romantic subplots in anime for a while.
Maybe it’s because it was rather unexpected overall, or maybe it’s just a lack of competition in the romance department (there’s some quality in anime romance at the moment, but not a lot of quantity) but more, it’s just Chizuru’s dogged, relentlessly cheerful pursuit despite the fact that Mary almost never throws him a bone. He just never gives up, this kid – but we’ve seen that before. What sells it for me is that Chizuru is always smiling and laughing with Masaki no matter how much she disses him, and always going out of his way to take care of her despite an almost complete lack of gratitude on her part.
This has definitely been a stronger season than the first, but if there’s a flaw to it I think it’s that Chizuru remains the only one of the main cast who’s really dynamic character – both in the literal and the dramatic sense. Even a few minor supporting characters evolve and change more than the other four guys, and with a few exceptions (mostly surrounding Yuuki) they mostly serve as comic relief. They’re good comic relief, don’t get me wrong, but Kaname, Shun and Yuta just don’t evolve at all. I’m happy with this as a show about Chizuru and his highly entertaining sidekicks, but part of me still hopes we see more.
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san – 09
Ah, the Great Race of Yith – should have seen that coming with a body-swapping episode. I must confess that as stupid as it presents itself to be, Haiyore! is very clever in the way it weaves Lovecraft and his oeuvre into modern anime tropes, and this was no exception.
Honestly, though, once you get past that initial entry this was just another body-switch episode – though admittedly one with somewhat sharper comedy than we’re used to seeing. Before that we had a shopping trip highlighted by Cthulhu as Mahou Shoujo Evil Luhy (“I have gorgeously arrived!”) and Nodens as starts of a hero show, and Hastur buying pajamas (“You’re the one taking them off me…”) Once we got to the actual switching of bodies courtesy of visiting Yith Isuka – who mistakenly swaps Mahiro and Nyaruko and ends up in the wrong body herself, Kurei – things go pretty much as you’d expect. Nyaruko certainly does exactly what you’d figure she’d do first – she takes Mahiro’s body into the bathroom and jerks off. Kukko sees this as an opportunity to have her why with Nyaruko’s body. And Mahiro generally acts irritable and tries not to peek at himself.
Maybe the best part of the ep, though, was the work Asumi Kana and Kitamura Eri did switching roles – I actually didn’t realize at first that the bodies had kept their “native” seiyuu, because each one was doing a very credible impersonation of the other. As for “Nyaruko’s” decision to use Mahiro’s body to confess to herself in front of the class, well – if you want to get remotely serious for a millisecond, that was pretty pushy even by her standards. Exactly why Mahiro keeps pushing her away. And just why was Yoichi absent from class along with “Kurei”?