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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weekly Anime Round-Up: The Hodge-Podge Edition

Weekly Anime Round-Up

Every weekend, Nagareboshi Reviews will post micro reviews of the anime it's been watching over the past seven days, usually shows that are ongoing or don't warrant a separate post for 'initial thoughts'. Feel free to comment with the shows you've been watching this week as well!

Warning: Contains spoilers for the following series: Blue Exorcist; Durarara!!; Morita-san wa Mukuchi; Nyanpire; Prism Magical: Prism Generations!

It's kind of a long one this week. Read the post after the jump!

Blue Exorcist: episodes 13 & 14

WOAH WOAH WHAT IS THIS THEY CHANGED THE OPENING THEME AND SEQUENCE NO NO NO - okay, actually, the new themes are pretty cool, but I will miss my UVERWorld/2PM team up and the sequences that went along with them. But the new ending theme has a pretty sick beat, so all is forgiven.

In "Proof", 'new' character Shura and Rin get to know each other a little better - and we find out some things about Shura as well, like how she was saved by Father Fujimoto and made his apprentice, along with the fact that she can wield a demon sword. As the two of them eventually tussle it out, it becomes clear that Rin is all brute force and little to no skill; in the end, Shura makes Rin earn his demon sword back by challenging him to become strong enough to throw away the wooden sword and grab the real thing. This is, I think, an essential step in Rin's development; he was clearly given the sword too early and had it forced upon him by circumstance and he started using it before he actually had the skill set and know-how to fight with such a powerful sword of flames. It seems that Rin is in good hands with Shura. We also see more of young!Rin's struggle to keep his demon side in control and how it affected his life in his early youth - the part where Fujimoto risks his own life to calm wee Rin down breaks my heart in a million pieces.

In "A Fun Camping Trip", it's summer time Rin and company - wait for it! - go on a camping trip. Surprise! Well, in true BE fashion, the camping trip ends up being another grueling learning experience for our beloved exorcists-in-training so they can train for real combat. In true Japanese fashion, it ends up being a test of courage to be held during night time, of course. The goal? To find a lantern, light it, and return to camp with it still lit; of course, to Rin, the concept of keeping the flames lit have a dangerous double-meaning. Naturally, Rin's true demon side poses a risk to his own safety due to the close quarter nature of the challenge; if Rin can't keep his demon state a secret from his friends and allies while in the darkness, it could mean losing everything. Then the test of courage begins in the dark forest and it becomes increasingly obvious that this training session is more complicated that first thought. When the ExWires are forced to work together to reach the end of their task, they find that this might be the most trying test of all. And then it - ends on a cliffhanger! Argh!

Actually, for a first half of a two-parter, "A Fun Camping Trip" has all the markings of a solid BE episode: glimpses into Rin's troubled past, ExWire teamwork that relies on each member's particular skills, some light poking of fun at Yukio; obligatory drunk!Shura (or at least it seems obligatory at this point); many efforts on Rin's part to keep his 'son of Satan' status a secret. Yeah, on the last part, Rin barely squeaks by with a pass. Pro tip: if your demon power requires you to burst into flames like an oversized blue-colored bonfire, perhaps it's best to keep that kind of thing under wraps when you are in a very dark and very tree-filled forest. Just saying! Based on the preview, it seems that Rin won't be the only demon camping in that forest for long. Could episode 15 be the episode that Rin's poorly kept secret identity is revealed to his comrade ExWires? Only one way to find out . . .

Durarara!!: episode 6

In “Always On The Move”, we see the Dollars in action as one of their own is kidnapped by the same hapless band of kidnappers from episode one, their victim being a hapless Italian immigrant who can’t type kanji worth a damn. Meanwhile, we see the reason for why these people are kidnapping strangers off the street and naturally it’s nothing good. Enter Yagiri Pharmeceuticals and their creepy head in a jar. Meanwhile, Celty attempts to retrieve the Italian but is waylaid by Shinra’s ineptness and a misplaced grocery list. We also see Izaya enter the mix (followed by an ever-angry vending machine-throwing Shizuo) who ends up helping the group of Dollars members find their friend. All in all, a very solid episode that both answered questions and raised more. Plus, surprise!Shizuo is always welcome in my eyes.

Morita-san wa Mukuchi: episode 3

In this episode – titled “Miki Is A Chatterbox” – we see the very antithesis of the ever silent Morita Mayu, I the form of said-chatterbox Miki. Every time she appears on screen, she literally can’t stop talking and her endless chatter usually turns into a stream-of-consciousness rant that would make Amy Pond proud. Funny enough, Miki and Morita make a pretty good team – even if Morita sometimes misreads Miki’s intentions and gets too close to her skirt. And thus a thousand and one yuri fics were born! If this show even has a fandom yet (of course it does, every show does!).

Nyanpire: The Animation: episodes 3 & 4

Are they going to repeat the 'tragic' tale of Nyanpire every episode? There's no way to ~change up~ the opening at all to add new stuff? Because that's eating up valuable time out of a series that only has four and a half minutes per episode, you know. And part of that is the ending sequence! Still: a romantic challenge ensues! Who will Nyanpire suck the blood out of most - Masamunya or the new challenger from Heaven, fallen angel kitty Nyantenshi? Nyantenshi sure is chatty for a cat and he seems to have designs on Nyanpire's little fangs. Too bad Nyanpire is too dense to realize either cats like him.

In the fourth episode, we find out more about Nyantenshi's back story - or more like, he forcibly tells us the story of his life in Heaven, much to the frightened displeasure of Masamunya (and the blank indifference of Nyanpire). It's totally cute how he sets up his history as a little play, with the parts played by his new cat friends - although how they know the story well enough to act it out is beyond me. I might have lost it a bit at the lowering of the "18 plus content" curtain, not gonna lie. Although in the end, it turns out to be an utter farce - will we ever know the true story of Nyantenshi's fall?

Prism Magical: Prism Generations!: episode 1 (of 1)

This VN-based OVA has nothing to do with its synopsis on MyAnimeList. Nothing. It talks about this culture of magical girls on an island but this particular video is just about three girls in an onsen punshing the male protag for peeping on them. Also, boobs. That was an interesting fifteen minutes wasted, I suppose. Doesn't really make me want to look into the visual novel it's based on. The humor is mediocre, the animation is mediocre, the characters are boring with the exception of the big chested tsundere type - but I can't bother remembering her name, it's that 'meh'. I can't imagine fans of the visual novel loving this video unless they're just in it for the fan service.

This is not to say the anime is completely unwatchable. We do have, after all, grown-ass men in mahou shojo uniforms fighting each other, hentai antics in the onsen, and a whole lot of harem action around a hapless boy who should know better. I just wish there was more to what is supposed to be an introduction to an entire separate series. For what is essentially an animated drawn out advert for the VN, it doesn't do what it sets out to very well.

Now: share what you have been watching this week in the comments! We want to know!