At last the true mystery of Danganronpa is revealed – why does Naegi-kun sleep with his shoes on?
I’m still undecided about whether to blog this series, but for now at least I’m going to continue watching it just for the enjoyable silliness. I’m not sure how well this setup will hold up over the length of a full series, but as far as the first two episodes go I’m more convinced now than ever that the reason Danganronpa appeals to me more than Kishi/Uezu’s other game adaptations is because of its simplicity. It’s a very simple, straightforward (if utterly preposterous) premise to wrap your head around.
I’m not that crazy about this sadistic streak Danganronpa seems to want to bring out in its audience, but the series is so far removed from reality that I suppose it’s pretty much harmless fun. Pink blood? Why not. Schoolgirls played by guys? Why not again. The very nature of the game’s setup seems to be full of pitfalls in tying to make an anime out of it, and good luck to anyone trying to follow a discussion without being spoiled. It’s working so far but I have my doubts about whether the series has the legs to go the distance. We’re not going to get a murder a week routine it looks like, which should at least keep things more interesting.
No, the real drama seemingly will come from the “class trials” – Monobear’s next little trick on his victims. After a murder you get to convene and decide who’s guilty – but if you get it wrong, the killer goes free and everyone else gets the chop. And it’s going to be put to use in short order as we’ve already had our first death (I’m quite intentionally not using the word “murder” just yet) in Maizono. She comes to Naegi’s room and professes she’s terrified, and eventually asks him to swap rooms for the night. The next morning she’s dead of a stab wound, her wrist broken, and “11037” scribbled in idol-pink blood on the wall. Naturally this casts suspicion on Naegi, especially when the clue about his defective bathroom door comes to light, but for me I was already feeling suspicious of Maizono herself, as indeed the hints in the episode intended (Edit: Yeah, I already figured out who did it from the obvious clue, and I can’t believe I didn’t immediately. Please don’t spill the beans in the comments…).
I suppose each death will probably be something like this, with the survivors (and audience) given clues about the victim’s death to play with at the trial. I wondered if Maizono might not have set the whole thing up to kill herself, though it doesn’t seem likely now – I’m not sure how she would have felt this helped Naegi or the others in any case (unless she thought that if she did so and was correctly identified as the “murderer” at the trial, the others would be off the hook). The other big development is that Junko (we hardly knew ye…) is killed by Monobear as an example of what happens when you cross him. I’m not sure if this is the sort of show where you ever develop attachment to the characters, but I certainly didn’t feel anything for her one way or the other. I suspect that’s going to be the case more often than not.
Senki Zesshou Symphogear – 02
Here’s another show that I’m on the fence about in blogging terms. There was always a fanfiction quality about Symphogear, but this season so far almost feels like fanfiction spawned from fanfiction. It seems to be a race to get as many cute girls, new songs and special attacks on-screen as quickly as possible – stripped-down Senshogear with the parts the audience really craves (especially more Dalai Lama) thrust to the forefront.
As usual with this show it all somehow works out a little better than it should, and the whole is more than the sum of the parts. The feckless charm is still there, but the issue as a blogger is that there really isn’t seemingly going to be much to write about. I feel as if I could do posts for this show with nothing but the screenshots and communicate just as much about what happened, which pretty effectively undercuts the argument for blogging it in the first place.
Because this is Senshogear we get two new girls to play with, Kirika (Kayano Ai) and Shirabe (Nanjo Yoshino), who seem targeted at the loli fanciers in the crowd despite their seiyuu choices. They work for Maria and thus, by extension, the Fine’ cult that’s intent on taking over the world. Like all cute girls in Symphogear I suspect they’ll be on the right side by the end – for now, the big drama this week was whether Maria could force Tsubasa to reveal her identity on live TV and thus derail her idol career. One thing there actually hasn’t been all that much of so far this season is Hibiki herself, and almost none of Miku – and given that their relationship was among my favorite parts of S1 (more proof I suppose that I’m not really the target audience here) that isn’t a positive development for me. But it’s still early days on that front.
If this is the last blog post on Symphogear, it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped watching – just that I’ve run out of things to say. It’s a good show, certainly not a great one, and proof that honesty can often be more important than sophistication in a series’ appeal.