Is there a show that’s less adept at comedy than Sidonia, yet still attempts it so often? It’s really egregious – not only is every stab at humor basically the same joke over and over, but it’s a terrible joke to begin with.
This was definitely a step-down from last week’s stellar effort, but again, predicting this show’s fortunes is like shooting fish in a barrel. We left the tactics and scope of battle behind and focused on character, with predictably inconsistent results. There was some cute stuff with Shmoomugi – her love of books, freaking out a cat (understandably), generally being kawaii in a very odd way. And of course any focus on Izana is welcome. He/she has suffered injuries serious enough to require the replacement of an arm and leg, and rather than waiting for new limbs to grow (“It takes a long time”, it seems) Izana has chosen to go with mechanical prosthetics. Whether this has an impact on Izana remaining a pilot remains to be seen.
The whole subplot with Izana and Nagate scheming to show Shmoomugi the residential block – and forgetting there was a planned deceleration coming – was the sort of caper Sidonia just isn’t very good at. We do get an interesting moment at the end when Nagate returns home to find his belongings dumped on the sidewalk – he’s been kicked out of the dorms because, after all, he’s not a trainee and hasn’t been for a while. His answer is to move in with Izana, which fills me with mixed emotions because it has “hijinks” written all over it, and you know Sidonia and hijinks. Still – it’s Izana, so maybe it’ll deliver the goods.
Owari no Seraph – 06
If I’m honest, there’s a part of the blogger in me that approaches an episode like this one almost hoping it’ll be a disaster so I can just cut the cord (and I know I’m not alone in that) and get some damn sleep. But the heart wants what it wants, and I want at least one more ep of Owari no Seraph, because I quite liked this one.
The shounen tropes flowed hot and heavy here, but that was OK – at least we were out of the damn school, and that blew through the series like a breath of fresh air. While the animation was pretty pedestrian, once again the cinematography and art design in the scenes depicting the worlds of illusion the target demons created for the three boys trying to master them was very nicely done.
One line from this episode I especially liked – “We hate love, and we love lust”. That seems to sum up the demon side of the Seraph equation pretty well. Another memorable moment came when Asuramaru (Yamamura Hibiku) told Yuu that it was humans he should be afraid of, because they’re much more dangerous than demons or vampires – and I suspect that’s going to be a growing theme in the rest of the series. Asuramaru also told Yuu that he was “10% non-human already”, though that bombshell is left hanging when he and Kimizuki are forced to deal with a rogue Youichi, who’s lost his own struggle to subdue a demon and gain a cursed weapon.
All of this plays out in fairly standard shounen fashion, right down to Guren forcing the boys to fight their comrade before stepping in at the last moment and talking Youichi back from the darkness. I still have major problems with Owari no Seraph – too many hackneyed cliches and not enough compelling characters – but the scenario and execution remain very interesting to me, and that’s what’s keeping me around.
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works – 18
And to those of you wondering why I continue to blog Fate Stay/night, there’s your answer. Episodes like this one are what keep me coming back.
It was never really my intention to juxtapose them in these digest posts, but it doesn’t escape me that Sidonia and F/S n share a huge common trait – it’s easy peasy to guess how good an episode is going to be just based on the general content. What a beautiful ep this was in every way, starting of course with ufotable’s visuals. They can get a little heavy-handed with the CGI sometimes, to the point where it overshadows their ability to create magnificent backdrops, but this ep showed off what they can do in every facet of production. It was one of the handsomest anime episodes I’ve seen in a long time.
Content-wise, well – it’s the classic UBW story. Dispense with all the frivolity and what’s left is generally excellent. This can be such a weighty series when it doesn’t dilute its own strength with pandering and poorly-executed cliche. As Kramer would say, the cat’s out of the bag – and at long last, too. Shirou says he “should have known all along” and perhaps we should have too – and I’m sure many of you had figured it out. There are still elements of this storyline to be fleshed out, but it’s kind of a relief not to have to tiptoe around the truth any longer.
The truth is, I think of this series as a trial, with Shirou’s personal philosophy being judged – just as to a certain extent, Urobuchi wrote Fate/Zero as a trial of Kiritsugu’s personal philosophy. Will UBW actually take a stand on the question, where Urobuchi (as usual) bailed? Wait and see (though I think the answer is already clear) – but things should be relatively to the point from here on out, which is a good thing. The face-off between Shirou, Archer and Saber wasn’t one of the series’ most violent or splashy, but the nature of the conflict added a discernible pathos to it I thought. It’s also very interesting to see the choices being made in terms of loyalty, especially by the servants – there’s much more than command seals at work here. The servants are very much the strength of UBW on the character front, and seeing them in this light – as people with their own priorities, loyalties and prejudices – is one of the most interesting aspects of the series.