Gurren Lagann: DVD 4 (Episodes 15 – 18)

Even though this disc had 4 episodes, it effectively only had 3, as episode 16 was completely a recap episode.  In any case, we finish the first half of the series with the defeat of the Spiral King and his warnings that he was actually protecting humanity, and that once “a million apes” were on the surface, basically something bad would happen.  However, beyond this we don’t really know anything, other than the fact that the Spiral King seemed to believe that he was acting as a guardian against Simon’s spiral power.

You might want to get that checked=

You might want to get that checked out by a dermatologist

As for the “7 years in the future” part, it’s going to be hard getting used to the characters being older now.  However, the new government under Shion seems to be suffering from the same ills of many revolutionary governments: it starts out strong as a result of the initial enthusiasm and idealism, but soon gets weighted down under the weight of the fact that many of the people leading the nation are neither very competent to do so, and don’t really want to in the first place.  While Shion seems competent, he doesn’t seem very enthusiastic, and while others may be enthusiastic, they aren’t very competent.  Meanwhile, people who see this, in this case Rossiu, get frustrated and radicalized by the fact that his fellow revolutionaries, well, suck at governing (and, in conjunction with the attack of the anti-spirals, cause mass unrest) and decides to take over the place himself.

I’m still not sure why the anti-spirals think that the spiral energy will cause the destruction of the universe, though I guess my thought is this:  if the spirals have a tendency to advance rapidly, and have rather unchecked passions, that could lead to several consequences such as, say, the destruction of their own planet.  However, if you expand this thought upward, perhaps they fear that spirals wouldn’t stop at a planet, but might cause the self-destruction of a galaxy or even the universe itself.

In any case, this series seems to have gotten a bit more interesting now that we’re in this new time frame.  We’ll have to see if it just resorts to massive mecha battles like it did to begin with, but hopefully the plot will start getting expanded some.  There is already evidence that it is, with Rossiu taking over.

Yosuga no Sora: Episode 8

And, to no one’s surprise, Sora did see Nao and Haru getting it on when they were last in town, and Sora sees it as Nao trying to steal Haru away – something she finally can’t hold in anymore when she catches them doing the deed again.  Though, Sora’s hatred for Nao still seems to go deeper than one would expect from her just seeing Nao and Haru getting it on, so I’m wondering if there is still more to it than that.  This arc looks like it will go for at least one more episode, so we’ll find out I guess.

You can't get with Haru unless you let me join in too!

You can't get with Haru unless you let me join in too!

I figure that, since Haru and Nao are trying to get Sora to forgive them, that’s the most likely final result for this arc, though Sora is pretty stubborn.  The way this episode went, I could also see Sora doing something rash like trying to throw herself of a bridge or something, but it doesn’t seem like this series would do that.  But then again, with us resetting for every arc, something like that could happen and then “reset” for the next arc.

As for trying to get Sora to “forgive” them (for what, really? It’s not their problem she’s jealous, really), I’m not sure just being nice to her is going to be enough, though I’m not sure what more they can really do.  Maybe someone will finally go off on Sora for being selfish or something and that will finally make her snap out of it.

The one girl we haven’t really seen anything of since the first episode, however, is Kuranaga, the class President, whom was one of the first girls Haru ran into in the first episode (I think Akira was first and she was second).  However, she is still hanging around in both the OP and second ED, so I’ll be surprised if we don’t see more of her.  Let’s say episode 9 is the last episode of Nao, that would give us 2 episodes each out of Sora and Kuranaga.  If what I’ve read is right about episode 7 being a shared episode between Nao and Sora, just like how episode 2 was shared between Akira and Kyou, then perhaps that means the final arc – and the winner – will ultimately be Kuranaga.

Letter Bee – Reverse: Episode 8

So we learn about Niche’s background: that she was born 200 years ago, after a pregnant woman drank from the holy lake of the Maka and…has a twin. As the twin daughter of the woman who drank the holy water, the residents of Blue Notes Blues consider her to be cursed, which is why she warned Lag not to tell the townspeople about her (though based on their description of the twins, it didn’t take the Mayor long to figure out what Niche was)

Niche's REALLY big sister has a bone to pick with the townspeople

Niche's REALLY big sister has a bone to pick with the townspeople

Naturally, the citizens of the town had the story of what happened completely wrong after hearing the story from Niche’s very grown up sister.  She also revealed an interesting tidbit about Spirit Amber being mined quietly from the land, which caused it to become cold, and not the Maka’s disfavor (as the Maka never really cared about humans in the first place).

Unfortunately, Niche’s sister didn’t really finish her story in this episode, so we’ll have to wait until next week.  However, we have several mysteries:

1) who mined the spirit amber?

2) why did it remove the geothermal energy from the land, and did those who mined it know it would have that effect?

3) why didn’t Niche grow like her sister?

4) why can’t the Maka converse with humans anymore?

5) why are the Gaichuu frozen in the cave, and why did Noir/Gauche go there to get one?

6) why were the children born half Maka?  was that the price for letting the woman live until her twins were born?

7) why didn’t either the Maka nor Niche’s sister sense Lag as a human? (which just adds to the mystery of why he has a spirit amber as one eye that was already there)

I was wrong about Niche being a byproduct of the experimentation that Reverse says the government is doing, but is it possible that Lag is a result of said experimentation?  His mother was kidnapped to the capital after all.  This episode just made this show jump over Yosuga no Sora for 3rd and it might challenge Index II for second best that I’m watching if the next episode is as enlightening as this one is.  A lot of questions answered, but just as many new ones created.

Cardcaptor Sakura – Episode 47

It’s the start of season 3, and Sakura and Kero have been bored since Sakura captured the last of the Clow Cards, Mrs. Mizuki is away in England for an overseas trip, and Shaoran is planning on heading home to Hong Kong now that the Clow Cards have a new master.  However, there is a new transfer student from England in Sakura’s class, Eriol Hiiragizawa, who takes an unusual interest in Sakura.

Eriol Arrives, but for what reason?

Once again, this series pull out an excellent episode to start the third season off, and they aren’t exactly hiding what, generally, Eriol is.  He’s clearly a magician there for Sakura in what way.  However, for what reason he’s there and what powers he has, is still a mystery.  Also, the fact that Toya had a new transfer student in this class likely isn’t a coincidence either.

This will really be Sakura’s first test as master of the Clow Cards, especially since, for whatever reason, she can’t seem to activate them anymore.  This could also have something to do with the fact that the Clow book changed as well.

This episode also had several funny points in it, such as Tomoyo teasing Shaoran about liking Sakura, and the fact that he has a new “rival” in Eriol.

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Oreimo: Episode 7

This show seems to get better and better.  First, we have another one of Saori’s line (this time via text – and oh by the way, she has got to be my favorite character outside the primaries). Next, we have Kuroneko giving a perfect impersonation of Kirino, which just made Kuroneko look totally out of character but was still hilarious.  And then of course the massive battle over Meruru (where I feel like I took sides with Kuroneko for most of it, though Kirino had some fair points too, I guess)

Kirino is wet...and wants to take Kyou to a hotel

Kirino is wet...and wants to take Kyou to a hotel

Also, I”m sure someone is taking Kirino’s idea of a planet filled with nothing but little sisters and turning it into an anime series as we speak.  Though how can one have a planet with only little sisters.  Don’t they have to be little compared to something else? (not to mention how were they born, unless the planet has some form of female-female or asexual reproduction).

In any case, Kirino seemed to let her guard down quite a bit when they went into town for “research.”  First, she wants Kyou to buy her a ¥30,000 (~$360) ring, letting out that it’s only natural if she “gets it from the one she loves” (and then pretends to be talking about her story).  It obviously doesn’t take long for Kyou to figure out that the trip is less about her research and more about her getting stuff for herself, which ultimately led to Kirino dumping cold water on her head to prove she wasn’t selfish, then a trip to a hotel she could clean up.

Since this show is put up on ANN a week after it airs, I’ve gotten bits and pieces about the episode elsewhere, and I thought I’d add my thoughts to it:

1) No, I didn’t think much of the shower scene.  She was wearing a robe, and not a revealing one at that, and I don’t find the act of her wearing one after showering to be particularly shocking or even abnormal (maybe it is in Japan, but I don’t find it such).  I’m sure it was meant to add to the tension, but it seemed like people were overreacting to a scene that I felt was pretty tame.

2) No, I didn’t get any major sense that Kirino has a brother complex in this episode, other than her comment about the ring.  Otherwise, it just felt like an episode where Kirino has been lonely and wanted to be pampered by Kyou, but is too proud to actually admit to the fact, and so came up with “story research” as a cover story for it.

Given the first comment I saw on twitter about this episode was “why don’t they just fuck already,” I was rather expecting more from this episode in that regards than what was there.  I’m not saying I don’t like the episode.  Just saying that, once again, it seems like people are overreacting over not very much.  Maybe the writers will finally do a “real” scene like that between the two, but there is still little to suggest that either character is going down a true brocon or siscon road to me.

Anyway, while maybe not the best episode of the series, though the first half was pretty good, this series still hold a stranglehold as the best series I’m watching this season.  Of course, Kyou leaves us with the teaser that “never expected what was to happen later.”  Since this series is basically been teasing over the whole siscon and brocon thing all along, I would expect something similar regarding Kyou’s comment.

A Certain Magical Index II: Episode 7

Soo…that’s it for the “remnant” arc?  I so thought there would be more to this (and maybe there will be eventually), but this arc basically consisted of Awaki and Kuroko fighting each other (with Kuroko pretty much on the losing end of all of it) and Awaki demonstrating that she’s both crazy and can move heavy things.  In the end, the Misaka’s network together and tell Toma to…catch Kuroko out of midair I guess, because he didn’t do a heck of a lot else.

In Soviet Russia, the Accelerator puts down you

In Soviet Russia, the Accelerator puts down you

As I said before, I wouldn’t be surprised if this Tree Diagram remnant stuff didn’t pop up later, though obviously the suitcase that Awaki was carrying was obliterated, and she (and her comrades) weren’t exactly in the best shape either.  At least we got to see some Accelerator action, though he still seems to be sore about losing to Toma, so I’m guessing that will come back eventually.

As for what Awaki wanted the remnants for…I still don’t get it.  She basically wanted to ask it if animals could gain abilities which, while a fascinating question I guess, I find it difficult to find out it’s relevant.  She had issues accepting being an ability user, so perhaps she was trying to find some meaning as to why she was by having that question answered.

Overall, with a lack of any obvious future extension of this arc, I found this arc to be pretty lame, with a somewhat lame premise, lame battles, and a lame conclusion.  Again, if we come back to it again later, then maybe this episode and the last one will become more important, but as they stand now, they seem kind of pointless to me.

Letter Bee – Reverse: Episodes 5 – 7

You know what?  Lag makes a piss poor undercover person.  Lag hides away on the carriage of the people investigating Reverse, and at the first sign – the very first sign of anything bad (in this case, one of the guys knock over a kid) – he blows his cover.  I’m surprised he didn’t start balling too.  Lag may very well be the pinnacle of innocence in this series, but he’s also full of stupid as well.  He may very well have discovered the truth that the very investigators sent to investigate Reverse were the moles if he had stayed hidden.

Note to self: Never make Sylvette Angry

Note to self: Never make Sylvette Angry

At least we’re back into the story dealing with Reverse and Gauche, which has made the series a bit better over these three episodes.  I still think it’s still too early to say it’s risen from the cellar of the shows I”m watching, but it’s gotten better.  The reason Reverse appears to be fighting against the government seems to be somewhat justified – if it’s correct – though I seem to doubt that Reverse is planning on doing anything better if they were to take over.  And it looks like in the next episode we might learn the history of Niche.

Speaking of which, since Niche is a Maka, it’s possible that she’s a result of these experiments being run in the capital, much like Roda apparently was.  I’m still not totally clear on what those experiments were trying to do, but it seems clear it was some sort of human experimentation for some nefarious purpose – again if we can trust what Reverse has to say on the matter.

Oh, and what is up with Sylvette’s wheelchair.  I knew it was somewhat automatic, but really? It can outrun a rampaging rhino thing?

Gurren Lagann: DVD 3 (Episodes 10 – 14)

So after one last episode of emo Simon, he finally got out of his funk and decided to be kickass, largely thanks to Nia, who has breathed some new life into this series, both for comedic relief, but also prop up the non-mecha fighting part of the show as well.  Speaking of the mecha fighting, I guess it’s the usual.  I guess I have to give some props to there being some variation in the types of mecha they’re fighting now instead of the same old, same old.

Nia and Simon.  The Most Aweseome Awesomest Team Ever in the histoy of Awesome

Nia and Simon. The Most Aweseome Awesomest Team Ever in the histoy of Awesome

I think Nia has quickly shot up to being my favorite character so far, though Simon is up there as well as long as he isn’t being emo.  Yoko still just seems mostly annoying, although one can’t deny that she’s an integral part of the team.  I have a feeling there may be some future fighting between Yoko and Nia over Simon, however.

They cleared through the 4 generals and got to the spiral king pretty quickly.  I don’t see them fighting the Spiral King for entire second half of the series, so I really don’t know what’s going to happen after that’s done.  I figured the Spiral King would be the end of the series, not the mid-point, so we’ll see I guess.

Overall I guess this series is holding it’s own for now.  It’s still somewhat over the top, but it’s not over the top to the point of being stupid yet, at least.

Yosuga no Sora: Episodes 5 – 7

So…basically each arc is going to be it’s own alternate universe from now on?  Episode 5 rebooted from the start of episode 3 while episode 7 robooted from all the way back to the start of episode 2.  Which I guess begs the question, what were episodes 2 through 6 up until now?  Are those arcs just “hypotheticals?”  Do we get to see which arc is “correct” at the end, or is the last arc the “correct” one?

Akira is easily the winner so far

Akira is easily the winner so far

I realize this is playing out like a visual novel, but usually anime series are somewhat linear in nature, or else the final product we get at the end of the final episode isn’t the combined result of everything that came before it.  What affect, if any, do episodes 2 through 6 have on the end of the series, other than the knowledge we have gained from watching them?  Does this mean Kazu stays angry at her dad, despite episodes 3 and 4?  Does this mean Akira remains feeling unwanted, despite episodes 5 and 6?  It just feels cheap.

Episode 7 starts another arc with Nao.  Is this going to be another 2 episode arc, where everything is forgotten and gone after episode 8?  The pacing of this arc makes it seem like it’ll be done next episode.  Also, clearly Sora doesn’t like Nao, but why?  If I had to guess, she saw Nao and Haru having sex back when they were in the town before, and Sora is resentful of that.

In any case, we get to see another side of Akira from what we saw in Kazu’s arc, with her feeling lonely and unwanted, which I think makes this arc superior to Kazu’s.  While I think some good things happened in Kazu’s arc, I don’t feel like it was anything in comparison to what Akira was going through. And even though Nao’s arc isn’t finished, it feels a lot more forced to me than either Kazu or Akira’s arc.  Maybe it’ll get better in the next episode, but it already feels like the lowest of the 3 arcs we’ve seen so far.

Though the end of episode 6 had a bit of a reverse Maury Povich feel (you are NOT the daughter!) and then another all-but-porn ending which, I guess if one doesn’t mind sex scenes mixed in with your anime is fine, but it makes it harder to respect a show as a drama with that much explicitness in it.  I can handle fan service, but this show seems to go way beyond even that.

Oreimo: Episodes 4 – 6

Heh, so we go from 3 episodes with only a light touching around the siscon business (aside from the eroge games) to smashing the TV with a hammer 1984-apple ad style in episode 4, with not only Kyou getting a, er, handful of Kirino (by accident, of course) but having Kirino’s best friends see as well.  But man, Ayase get scary when she gets angry.  I guess nobody’s perfect, though one has to wonder if there is anything behind her almost violent hatred of lying.

Can we join in too?

Can we join in too?

I think one of the more entertaining parts of this show so far (and it’s obviously entertaining to Kyou and Saori as well) is the constant tsundere fighting between Kirino and Ruri.  Obviously having two prideful tsunderes together can be both problematic and entertaining at the same time.

Unfortunately for Kirino, the more conspicuous she became about being an Otaku, the more likely it was that she was to eventually be discovered, and she might have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for Ayase’s instincts and her dislike of lying.  Though, at least in this case, Ayase’s news-reliant opinion was helpfully refuted by, naturally, less publicized retractions of the original news stories (isn’t that how it always works?)

In episode 6, I enjoyed how Kyou’s friend so easily ripped about Kyou’s facade over his childhood friend Manami.  It’s pretty obvious Kyou has a thing for her, though either he’s good at hiding it or doesn’t realize it himself.  Of course, Manami’s crush towards him is a bit more obvious.  Anyway, after this episode, I approve of having even more Manami in the future.

Overall, I’d say this is still the top show out of the four this season I’m watching.  It’s not a top class show, but it’s keeping on pace as not being a bad one.  We have some possible room to grow between Manami and Kyou, though I’m not sure what’s next regarding Kirino.  Her parents and best friends have already found out about her Otaku side, so other than full publication of the fact, there aren’t many other places to go in that regard.

One last note…does anyone else think that the TL notes on the Oreimo episodes are a bit excessive? They’re worse than some fansub groups.  Chances are if someone is watching the show, they at least have a passing familiarity with Japanese culture. Jeez.