Spring 2014 Episode Rankings – Week 3

So, this week’s post ended up a bit wordier than usual! I don’t know if it’s the episodes themselves that offered more things worth talking about, or whether the part of my brain that usually edits these posts into short summaries simply hasn’t woken up this morning, but either way the length has almost doubled. Hopefully that’s a good thing? 😕

Netero vs Meruem's battle concludes... and what a conclusion!

Netero vs Meruem’s battle concludes… and what a conclusion!

1 – Hunter x Hunter ep 126 ( 2)

2 – Sidonia no Kishi ep 3 (↓ 1)

3 – Gokukoku no Brynhildr ep 3 ( 6)

4 – Hitsugi no Chaika ep 3 (↓ 2)

5 – Yowamushi Pedal ep 28 (↓ 1)

6 – Mekaku City Actors ep 3 ( 7)

7 – Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin ep 3

8 – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders ep 3 (↓ 3)

9 – Break Blade TV ep 3 (↓ 1)

10 – Haikyuu!! ep 3 (↓ 4)

11 – Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii ep 3 (↓ 1)

12 – Mushishi Zoku Shou ep 3 ( 2)

13 – Isshuukan Friends ep 3 (↓ 1)

14 – Nobunaga the Fool ep 15 ( 1)

15 – Akuma no Riddle ep 3 (↓ 4)

16 – Selector Infected WIXOSS ep 3 ( 1)

17 – Date a Live II ep 3 (↓ 1)

18 – Blade and Soul ep 3

The story of the 'Monster' that's told bit by bit at the end of Mekaku City Actors is also intriguing - the style reminds me of the nightmares in Madoka Magica.

The story of the ‘monster’ that’s told bit by bit at the end of Mekaku City Actors is also intriguing.

Moving up:

Hunter x Hunter takes the #1 spot this week, with one of the most dramatic and over-the-top battles I’ve seen in anime in a long time. The King and Netero maintain a stalemate for a short while, as even though the Hunter is the one landing all the attacks, his opponent isn’t taking any damage. In fact, the King analyses each attack, focusing on patterns and holes in Netero’s defence, and is eventually able to land some hits of his own – hits that result in far more serious wounds for the old man. Still unbeaten even after literally sacrificing an arm and a leg, Netero puts his remaining energy into his strongest attack… which still isn’t enough, though at least the Chimera Ant is shown to be wounded for the first time! The visibly older and weaker Netero finally tells the King his name: Meruem. Then, he releases an sufficient amount of aura to inspire fear even in his seemingly invincible opponent… and sets off a bomb that was hidden inside his own body. The fact that even these overpowered individuals’s attacks pale in comparison to a mundane WMD should have been obvious, but somehow wasn’t – it’s not often you see such (comparatively) realistic methods in shounen anime, after all! 😯

I was a bit harsh on Mekaku City Actors last week – since the first two episodes offered rushed introductions to completely different characters, before dropping them into weird and unexplained situations, I assumed it would continue to follow the same pattern until all the cast were introduced. Not so – the events of the second episode actually took place before the first, and this week’s ep introduced us to the other Mekakushi Dan members, before tying everything together nicely. They invite Momo to join them, and she accepts, eager to learn from those liker her about how her ability can be brought under control. Each of the organisation’s members has a different power: in addition to Momo’s ability to attract people’s attention, there’s Kido who has the exact opposite ability (she can go unnoticed by anyone), Marry who can temporarily freeze a person who makes eye contact with her, Seto who can read people’s minds, and Kano who can manipulate what other people see. As demonstrated in this episode, the potential of these abilities when used in combination with each other are terrifying, so I look forward to seeing what they’ll get up to in the episodes to come!

Kuroha and Kana's house burning down was actually one of the less dramatic moments in this week's Brynhildr!

Kuroha and Kana’s house burning down was actually one of the less dramatic moments in this week’s Brynhildr!

Gokukoku no Brynhildr just got a whole lot darker. The ep begins with Kuroha showing up at school covered in bandages – her excuse that she had a cold would have been funny if this was a gag anime. When she doesn’t show up at all the next day, Murakami visits her makeshift home to find her collapsed on the floor in a pool of blood! Apparently, the ‘witches’ from the laboratory rely on pills in order to stay alive. If they don’t take said pills for 30 hours, their skin starts to split. At 35 hours, their organs melt. YUCK. Of course, having left the laboratory, Kuroha and the others have no way of getting more of this drug, and their supplies are running out. Therefore, with help from another witch whose powers conveniently involve hacking and data manipulation, Murakami and Kuroha decide to infiltrate the factory where the drug is produced, despite Kana’s prediction that the latter would die in the process. There, they are faced by Saori, an enemy witch whose power is far greater than any of the escapees. During the short battle, we learn that Kuroha is in fact the same Kuroneko our protagonist met as a child – but a few seconds later, her head is separated from her body. Murakami ends the episode by stating that everything’s still okay, however… should be interesting to find out what’s inspired such confidence in him!

Moving down:

A group of assassins competing over a single target for reasons unknown in a mock-school setting sounds like it should work, but Akuma no Riddle isn’t doing much for me at this early stage.  This week’s villain was Otoya Takechi, a character who was in and out of the ‘Black Class’ too quickly to leave an impression. Otoya wins Haru over by claiming to have a lot of things in common with her, and as Haru has already won one would-be assassin over to her side, she naively believes Otoya could become her second protector. We learn from one of the other ‘classmates’ that Otoya is in fact a prolific serial killer, whose wish is to get insurance that will allow her to continue her killing spree without fear of punishment. She uses poisonous plants to knock Haru out, but chooses to torture her before finishing her off, giving Tokaku the time to come to her room-mate’s aid. However, Tokaku is overpowered, and it is in fact Haru that saves her using Otoya’s own toxic bouquet. This assassination attempt took up approx. 3 minutes of the episode. Sure, I accept that a good assassination should probably be over quickly, but as the other ~20 minutes lacked action, and didn’t really do much to build up Otoya’s character or that of future assassins either, it was all a bit underwhelming. 😕

TBH, I think the monologue of the class's blissfully ignorant civilian teacher was the highlight of the episode for me.

TBH, I think the monologue of the class’s blissfully ignorant civilian teacher was the highlight of the episode for me.

General comments:

The second half of Nobunaga the Fool takes us from the Sengoku-themed Eastern Planet to the medieval European Western Planet, following Jeanne’s capture by King Arthur’s forces. She is subjected to physical, mental and emotional torture at the hands of Cesare and Machiavelli, who want her to falsely proclaim to the world that she saw Arthur as the Saviour King in her visions. Machiavelli even brings Jeanne back to her home town, from where she learns her family was exiled, and where her former friends accuse her of causing the calamities she predicted and tried to save them from. Through it all, Jeanne bravely sticks to her firm belief that Nobunaga is the true Saviour King, and is unwilling to lie to save herself. Eventually, Nobunaga’s forces come to her rescue, but at the same time the village is attacked by Cesare, who sees it as a convenient opportunity to dispose of multiple annoyances at once. When the villagers witness Jeanne trying to protect them despite the way they treated her, they in turn help her and Nobunaga to escape… unfortunately, the village and its inhabitants are still wiped out due to unstable ley lines – a disaster Jeanne was able to predict, but not prevent.

Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin is remaining fairly stable in my rankings so far, just outside of my Top 5. I figured out this week what it is I like so much about it – it’s basically Phi Brain, but good. It offers the same giant, dangerous death traps, but with a number of improvements: they’re not based on existing logic, word or number puzzles, which has so far allowed for a lot more creativity. There’s no ‘giver’ to get angry and make the puzzle harder when the ‘solver’ comes close to victory, or even an opponent to play against, just the treasure hunters versus the puzzle itself. And then there’s the treasures at the end, which can be anything from a teapot that never requires tea leaves (yes please!) to a cane that grants wishes (which according to Nanana isn’t as broken as it sounds – we shall see!). Also unlike Phi Brain, there’s no ‘good’ or ‘evil’ organisations (so far…), just a group of individuals who share the common goal of gathering as many treasures as possible. Individuals who are free to team up with and/or betray each other for their own purposes. I guess the final difference, though it’s not obvious whether it’s an improvement at this stage or not, is that Juugo isn’t a natural at puzzles like Kaito, nor does he have a magic armband to compensate… hopefully he’ll get better with experience as the series goes on. 🙂

The sparkly new OP by JAM Project is also helping boost Nobunaga the Fool's score ever so slightly. :razz:

The sparkly new OP by JAM Project is also helping boost Nobunaga the Fool’s score ever so slightly. 😛

<< Spring 2014 Episode Rankings – Week 2

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3 Responses to Spring 2014 Episode Rankings – Week 3

  1. […] << Spring 2014 Episode Rankings – Week 3 […]

  2. They’re sticking to the manga of Brynhildr like glue. It’s a great manga from the hand of Lynn Okamoto, and I can’t help but think that it’s richer than his previous work. My only problem with the show is that, having read the manga, they’re no surprises for me.

    Nanana’s Buried Treasure seems like one of those shows where they’re shooting for an average level of entertainment. Yet, I can’t help but think that it could be a great show if the animators have a surge of inspiration, especially with the mystery of how Nanana was murdered.

    • Sidonia no Kishi is the same for me – while it’s great seeing the manga chapters animated (particularly the events in episode 5), the one thing the show won’t be doing is surprising me with any of its plot twists.

      Back to Brynhildr and Lynn Okamoto, I’ve been meaning to rewatch Elfen Lied for over a year now. It was one of the first anime series I watched, and has held a place in my Top 50 since I first put the list together, though I fear it may be largely propped up by nostalgia. Brynhildr does strike me as being better, but I wouldn’t even rate that 5/5 by my current standards. 😛

      I’ve heard similar opinions about Nanana from others, most people I’ve discussed it with seem to be finding it average at best, but for some reason it stands out for me. Probably for the reasons I stated in this post – it’s got everything I liked about Phi Brain, but does it all so much better! More focus on Nanana’s murder would be good, so hopefully they’ll get to that before the end of the series.

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