Weekly Digest 07/13/12 – Danganronpa: The Animation, Senki Zesshou Symphogear G

Danganronpa - 02 -13 Danganronpa - 02 -19 Symphogear G - 02 -6 Symphogear G - 02 -12

At last the true mystery of Danganronpa is revealed – why does Naegi-kun sleep with his shoes on?


Danganronpa: The Animation – 02

Danganronpa - 02 -1 Danganronpa - 02 -2 Danganronpa - 02 -3
Danganronpa - 02 -4 Danganronpa - 02 -5 Danganronpa - 02 -6
Danganronpa - 02 -7 Danganronpa - 02 -8 Danganronpa - 02 -9
Danganronpa - 02 -10 Danganronpa - 02 -11 Danganronpa - 02 -12
Danganronpa - 02 -14 Danganronpa - 02 -15 Danganronpa - 02 -16
Danganronpa - 02 -17 Danganronpa - 02 -18 Danganronpa - 02 -20

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

Symphogear G - 02 -1 Symphogear G - 02 -2 Symphogear G - 02 -3
Symphogear G - 02 -4 Symphogear G - 02 -5 Symphogear G - 02 -7
Symphogear G - 02 -8 Symphogear G - 02 -9 Symphogear G - 02 -10
Symphogear G - 02 -11 Symphogear G - 02 -13 Symphogear G - 02 -14
Symphogear G - 02 -15 Symphogear G - 02 -16 Symphogear G - 02 -17

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.

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17 comments

  1. i

    I'll make no secret of it: I really hate idols. I hate them more than imoutos and as a result I really wanted the idol love interest to be the first to die. Didn't in my wildest dreams expect it but it seems Danganronpa is wilder than my sensible unconsciousness and that makes it good. I didn't watch Mirai Nikki because I'd read the manga in full before it aired and once through that madness was enough but as I can't play the Danganronpa I;ll keep with the anime. A seventh has joined my 'in' list for the season.

  2. R

    Yeah the cliche of the culprit either beeing the first victim or the love interest in these kind of mystery series has already been done to death by this point. Maybe they will do something else, which I would appreciate, but for now my money is on Maizono beeing the culprit or maybe even the mastermind beyond that whole "Experiment" itself.

  3. i

    I think Maizono is involved in her own death by not the killer. Primarily because her room door was open and undamaged when it should have been locked while the bathroom door was completely destroyed, likely by an assailant. Simply put she allowed the killer in but was then attacked for some reason. I really hope the dead but then actually alive card isn't played. A straight up death game is more fun.

  4. J

    It's hard to fake your own death like that when all those people pretty much inspected it. I'd say that she's dead for good.

  5. J

    The biggest downfall of Dangan Ronpa is clearly its 13ep air time. The first episode already skipped over a lot of character interactions for the sake of advancing the plot. Not to mention that since we know people will die that us audience tend to be more cold hearted coming into this series.

    Also, i don't quite get this sentence in the post: "Two schoolgirls played by guys?". Could you please elaborate it a bit more?

  6. Actually, you're right – only Chihiro is played by a guy. I mistook Kujira for a man playing Sakura.

  7. Actually you're correct – only Chihiro is played by a man. I thought Sakura was as well but mistook the gender of the seiyuu.

  8. i

    Wait Chihiro is that little brown haired girl right, not the Undertaker with a wig? I'm pretty sure that's some kind of trap as well.

  9. E

    Wait, I don't see how would she get identified as the 'murderer'. Everybody are allowed to check the body, instead of being cleaned out by the ugly bear, so she must have died for good.
    My main concern is something else, does the ugly bear even intend to free anyone, to begin with? Won't the winner have to go against the winner from another block, and so on? It's impossible that a whole school only has 15 students in it, and we are told that this group that we are watching, is confined in one particular floor.

  10. i

    Look at the show man. It looks pretty fucked up. I'm sure the plot is as fucked up and this is anime. You don't know if someone's dead unless they never appear again, which you'll only know by the last minute of the last episode.

  11. S

    No corpse has been seen. For all we know, this could all be a gigantic Truman Show-esque setup for Naegi-kun, and everyone but him be in it. So they lied to him about inspecting the body. It sounds outrageous, but as ishruns, aptly points out, "outrageous" doesn't sound like something in the way when we're dealing with a show which basically consists of a teddy bear version of Two Face upstaging what looks like an hybrid between Battle Royale and Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney.

  12. Well, that sure looked like a corpse to me, and Naegi got up and close and personal with it later in the episode.

  13. A

    Weak second episode. Likely due to the 13 episode limit that doesn't leave room for much natural interaction.

    Related question: are there any other decent Battle-Royale styled anime/manga/books, besides the original and Mirai Nikki? Thanks

  14. C

    Hunger Games?

  15. i

    Fate/Zero and Mai HiME are the first 2 that came to mind.

  16. A

    Hunger Games, saw the film and read the book. I would classify that as some scifi/political thriller that uses the Battle Royale setting as a selling point, rather than the core of the story.

    I've seen Fate/Zero and Mai HiME, thanks. Not sure if they do qualify as well – since they are closer to a different genre (elimination tournament) than true Battle Royale.

    Wow, I forgot how much Mai HiME sucked.

  17. k

    LOL this anime is good at the same time it's boring.. every crime you can already know who's the culprit, and it's always Naegi Makoto who solve the crime.!! LOL other characters are just decoration and will be the next victim or the culprit.

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