Btooom! – 03
Btooom! is preposterous, but in an entertaining way. It’s one of those shows where a lot of suspension of disbelief is necessary, because the plot is effectively an elaborate 2 AM bar conversation between a bunch of smart geeks with too much time on their hands and a bit of a dark side.
That said, I like it – and if circumstances were different I’d blog it for sure. As is it seems like a good fit for digest posts, though with the weekends being as crazy as they are they’ll be a couple of days late. Absurd as it is the premise of the game is a clever one, and it’s interesting to watch a hodge-podge of humanity deal with the insane reality thrust upon them. It’s a bit of a twist on the stage of the Hunter exam where everyone needs to steal number tags, except this time it’s the embedded chips – and it requires eight to escape the island, the only way to obtain one being to kill an opponent.
It appears that everyone represents some element of humanity’s dark side and most likely had someone suggest this as a punishment, so obviously the tone of the show is pretty dark and ruthless. The new entry this week was salaryman Taira Kiyoshi (seiyuu titan Ohsawa Toru) who seems clever and decent and desperate to team up with the young and healthy Sakamoto, but presumably has some ugly secret he’s hiding. Teaming up is pregnant with risks, too, because you effectively need twice as many chips to win – and what’s to prevent you from stealing your partner’s as the last one you need? One clever player, a tattooed man in his 20’s, uses the food drops as a clever means of obtaining a chip by using it as bait to lure and kill a competitor. As for Himiko, she flees at the sight of Sakamoto and we don’t see much of her for the rest of the episode. We do however get introduced to the next major player, and the prospect of a psychopath shota played by Sawashiro Miyuki should prove interesting at the very least.
Zetsuen no Tempest – 03
This show has a funny quality to it despite being one of the least funny shows of the season – I tend to like the second halves of the episodes much better than the first. I chalk it up to the fact that it’s necessary to be caught up in the sweeping theatricality and shameless BONES/Okada over-writing for Zetsuen no Tempest to be effective – it’s a show that must be appreciated on a visceral level rather than an intellectual one.
To be blunt, I’m not all that interested in any of the main characters in Znt (so far the supporting characters Evangeline and Natsumura easily trump the three leads), or even the plot. But there’s a grand, melodramatic quality to it that can be quite enthralling. The beautiful animation, the old-school “stuntman” style special-effects, the sweeping classical soundtrack – this is not the kind of anime we see every day, and it’s to be appreciated almost on an operatic level. So far it’s not a great show by any means, but it’s very unusual and in terms of pure style, of very high quality.
K – 03
I think K is getting something of an unfairly bad rap – it seems to have become the series it’s mandatory to hate if you want to look cool. Sure, it’s mostly empty calories – but sometimes empty calories taste good when you’re eating them.
Will I continue to blog K? Probably intermittently, if anything, because of my severely limited time and the large list of decent shows this season. And I won’t pretend this is profound material, but I continue to find it amusing most of the time. I like the BGM, I like the animation and art style, and I think the action sequences are well done. There’s no question the series tries to be self-consciously clever way too often, and that can be irritating – but it’s also funny a good chunk of the time. I especially enjoy the “Show some respect!” cleaning robots, and the interplay between Kuroh and Yashiro (really hard to believe this is the same seiyuu as Hisoka) is starting to appeal to me as the classic Manzai pairing it is. I also find the notion of Hayami Show’s voice on a tape recorder as the source of all wisdom to be a hilarious conceit.
As for the seven kings of many colors and the colorless king and all that, I find it to be pretentious hugger-mugger and I’m not taking it too seriously. Happily I don’t think the many writers are either, as they seem to see it – as I do – as a pretense for the flash and preening that’s at the core of the series. I don’t have much use for Neko either, as she seems little more than a shameless attempt to appeal to a certain audience (as does the goth-loli girl). There’s a bit too much of the marketing department in the mix here generally, likely a result of having so many writers involved, and that’s going to limit the upside of K to a good degree.