Weekly Trash Update! 03
Day: This week kicked my ass, so thank goodness I’ve got great anime like High School Star Musical and Valkyrie Drive to soothe my tired soul with.
Cara: Happy (belated) Halloween~! I’m splurging on trashy cartoons rather than candy this year – seems like a great choice to me! More of the same in our usual batch of Trash shows – a wee bit later than usual since this week time just seemed to evaporate, but we should be back to the usual Saturday update next week. Oh and if you’re looking for last week’s post it’s over on Day’s blog~!
K: Return of Kings – Episode 05
Cara: Another episode of mainly set up, and while it is interesting I do wish they’d get a move on and make something actually happen! This episode mainly served to finish setting up the chess board to show where each of the main characters currently sit. We have our Coffee Table Alliance of the Red, Blue and Silver clans Vs the Greens, which is working extremely well. But within the alliance we have the Silver & Red Kings keeping a careful eye on the Blue King as he continues to show signs of instability. And then we have the Green King approaching the Silver to offer a separate alliance before declaring war when he declines.
The conversation between the Green & Silver kings is probably the most interesting part of this week’s episode, because it offers some new insight into what the Green clan is really after and just how far their reach extends. We find out that it was the Green clan that was behind the events of season 1 as he spurred the Colourless King into attacking the Silver King and triggering the whole domino effect that that had. Nagare reveals that he wanted to spur Shiro into action because as the person who first unleashed the Dresden Slates he shouldn’t be acting as a spectator, but should be fully involved in the game. Nagare states that he wants to fully utilise the Slates to allow for the advancement of humanity (which is the emergence of Strains) – which was precisely what Shiro as Adolf K. Weissman was researching 70 years ago. You can tell that the researcher in Shiro is tempted to get involved in the Slates again, but the reminder that the Gold King dedicated his life to keeping the Slates’ power restricted, spurs Shiro into rejecting Nagare’s offer and standing firmly in opposition to him.
The only other thing of note from this episode, is the way Munakata is continuing to usurp the power of the previous Gold King. Not only has be taken control of the Mihashira Tower and the Dresden Slates, he has now taken the Gold King’s power to issue orders to the government. Munakata claims this is to promote stability, but it comes across as power hungry and calculating – just further driving home the point that Munakata is changing as a result of being forced to kill the former Red King, and not for the better. Even his own lieutenant looks uncomfortable with his moves to stand above the other Kings.
Aside from that, this was another fairly low key episode of K – looking forward to next week since it seems there will be some actual confrontations with the Green clan going on.
Day: K is treading some increasingly dangerous ground. Yeah, I snicker at the whole “sky Nazi with a sister complex!” thing that turned out to be the answer to “who is Shiro?”, but K keeps bringing in elements to do with that such that we’re edging ever closer to something that isn’t so much Naziploitation foolishness as nastily hairy. Between the whole back-and-forth between Shiro and the Green King that pretty much boiled down to eugenics, and the revelation that a military-type force is dictating to the civil government what they’re supposed to be doing, this is all starting to smell a little too strongly of WWII. K has been able to get away with having an ex-Nazi (named Adolf, no less!) as one of its primary leads largely on the grounds that the show is so silly and overblown, but goofiness can only provide so much cover.
Of course, some of the problem derives from the fact that for all K is willing to tie in stuff from WWII to its story, it’s managed to completely paper over the conflict itself and the sins of the two Axis powers it cares about (get fucked, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary et al.!). And, K has by now grounded its entire story in fictional Nazi scientific research, given the background for the Dresden Plates. What a dicey move! Gazing upon the fields of anime from this year, K might just manage to seize the crown of Year’s Most Problematic Anime without even counting its habit of treating two of its three female characters largely as fanservice delivery devices.
K, you’re making me really uneasy! I love Shiro, Kuro, and Neko as a group, and I like to watch them interact, and I’m enjoying watching the Greens screw with everyone, but you are on some pretty thin ice right now.
High School Star Musical – Episode 04
Cara: Double the fun with Hoshitani winning over both Mute Purple & Bitchy Blue in a single episode – our team is fully united for the upcoming singing tournament! Not that Mute Purple (better start calling him Kuga I suppose) was much of a challenge, he only needed to be asked to practice and offered Nayuki’s home made food – suppose we couldn’t have all the boys be a hassle to tame. We still got an awesome, edgy as feck music video with a heavy industrial theme for Kuga though – just shoved in out of nowhere as usual, which I’m starting to get used to in Starmyu! I don’t think it was as good as Nayuki’s friendship dolphins or the gorgeous backgrounds in Tengenjis PV, but I still liked the effort that went into making Kuga’s PV as cool as possible.
Bitchy Blue, or Kaito as I have now learned, was a touch harder for Hoshitani to win over since he didn’t fully get Kaito’s massive inferiority complex about his overachieving family. However Hoshitani & co’s willingness to stand up for Tsukigami, even getting into a (hilarious) fight with their rival Star Team for his sake, soon sorted that out – Nayuki’s colour-coded bentou helped too! Kaito’s music video (which again appeared out of nowhere while he was walking down a street) was very visually interesting – in a pretentious arty type way. I really liked the emphasis placed on how he is always chasing after an idealised version of himself – very apt given what we know about his super talented family.
The other thing of note in this episode was the proper introduction of the rival Star Team – Team Hiragi. Of course Kuga’s play-boy friend is on that team, as well as Nayuki’s former classmates, and of course Team Otori end up getting in a fight with them when one of them gets a bit too mouthy about Tsukigami. I really kind of love how Otori & Hiragi are being set up as the only two members of the Kao Council that really matter, which means that their Star Teams are the only ones that matter in this show. Also my personal headcanon is now that Hiragi & Otori broke up over Otori’s infatuation with Tsukigami-senpai (Kaito’s older brother) – don’t tell me you can’t see it!
Anyway, fun episode! Now that the team are all united and besties forever, I’m really looking forward to seeing how they actually fare against the other teams. Starmyu is awesome.
Cara’s current Starmyu character ranking: Tengenji > Nayuki > Otori > Kaito > Hoshitani > Kuga > Hiragi > Tsukigami-senpai > Purple’s Playboy friend > rest of Team Hiragi
Day: What a great episode! Also, wow, Nayuki, what a skank. Geez, making rice balls for everyone, making eyes and blushing at everyone… I thought you were going to be true, faithful waifu for Hoshitani, what are you doing?!
Kuuga’s musical interlude is my favorite in this show so far, pretty much because of the sheer randomness of the visuals in it. You can almost picture the staff in a room brainstorming about it, and saying yes to the first ten things people came up with. An airplane? Yes! A flaming oil derrick? Of course! An exploding lightbulb? Absolutely! An apple with a screw in it? DON’T LET THE MAGIC END. Oh, yes, and please make sure you’ve got a shot of our idol boy holding a hatching crocodile as a preying mantis peers on from his wrist. I also loved the segue into it, as one moment Kuuga’s being asked to practice with Nayuki and Hoshitani, and he transitions to musical number by looking up at the ceiling.
This felt like a more sedate episode than I’m accustomed to from this show, perhaps since Kaito’s hang-up ended up being more substantial than Tengenji’s… actually, it’s a bit of a stretch to imply that the show dealt with a hang-up of Tengenji, since his episode ended up being “grr, Hoshitani is terrible” + “uguu my cat” + “uguu Hoshitani tried really hard to find my cat” = Tengenji no longer a jerk to our irrepressible primary lead. I’m not super sure with how this fixed his larger personality issue, but, hey, whatever, I didn’t opt into this show for deep exploration of character issues.
Anyway, so, Kaito is a jerk because of an inferiority complex involving his successful older brother, and we get the most awkward fight scene I’ve genuinely ever seen in an anime, all of which boils down to, roughly, “No way, Kaito OUR bitchy guy, not your bitch!”. In order to get to that point, though, we are introduced to Hiragi’s team, which includes a guy with an even worse personality than Tengenji had before his reformation. Impressive!
For anyone out there who is here for the shipping, well, after having the obligatory “NO HOMO!” last week, we’ve got the raw material for shippers aplenty this episode. It turns out Otori knows Kaito’s older brother, Haruto, and they get quite the warm reunion. Watch out, Hoshitani! Meanwhile, Tengenji gets very emphatic about defending Hoshitani when Kaito gets shitty about him, Nayuki makes googly eyes at everyone, and Kaito comes over to the pro-Hoshitani side (i.e. the rest of their group) after Hoshitani steps up on his behalf and then locks eyes with him over a saved bento. ~Any ship is possible~.
Dance With Devils – Episode 04
Cara: With a pretentious title like “Bolero of Solitude and Melancholy” of course this episode had to be about Lindo “I am suffering from acute Siscon” Tachibana. I’m sort of pissed off by how much I dislike Lindo’s personality, because I like his character design best out of the boys – it’s so sad when this happens. I really, really hate how Lindo actively locks Ritsuka up and keeps her in the dark “for her own protection” – like how on earth is the girl meant to know what to look out for if you don’t tell her anything!? It’s all very well you saying ‘we were going to tell you just before you turned 17’, but when the Devils & Vampires that killed their grandpa are apparently hell-bent on kidnapping Ritsuka right now, you’d think he’d rethink the timeframe!
I’m also a bit disappointed that Ritsuka’s friend Azuna also appears to be one of Lindo’s agents (which Day called last week) – it’s a touch disturbing how much Lindo keeps tabs on Ritsuka. Of course that all comes to a head in Lindo’s insert song, which is just ALL THE SISCON and creepy as hell, what with all the focus on Ritsuka’s legs and talk of sin! Seriously squicked out. At one point in the episode even Rem just goes “your brother’s siscon ways scare me, you’re on your own”. Saying that I do think it is pretty clear a ‘they’re not blood relations!’ reveal is imminent – Lindo looks an awful lot like Ritsuka’s dead aunt that we’re seeing in photos….which would make them 1st cousins raised as siblings, which is still bloody creepy.
I don’t really have much else to say about this episode since I just don’t like Lindo, and blue-haired shota is clearly much better when he’s being the pomeranian. Hopefully next week will be better – preview looked promising anyway since we’re getting to man-bun fella.
Day: So, it’s pretty clear from this episode that a. Lindo is creepy, b. Lindo is most likely Ritsuka’s cousin and not her brother, and c. Lindo has control issues. No bonus points to the boy for finally filling Ritsuka in on the details as to what the hell is going on – he locked the girl into the house with padlocks on her bedroom window! (You know, if I witnessed my neighbor putting padlocks on the windows of their relatives’ bedrooms, I’d probably be calling the cops or a local domestic abuse hotline.) Also, Ritsuka forced the issue with him, anyway – another plus point for her versus most of her otome game kin. And, speaking of that, it was pretty satisfying to watch the girl pry her windows open with a crowbar.
Negative points, by the way, too to good ol’ grandpa for the wonderful thought-process that made him decide that the best option when devils and vampires are stalking your family is to entrust everyone’s well-being with a seventeen year old boy. Excellent thinking, there! I guess your sexism goggles prevented you from assessing that maybe your forty-something daughter was a better pick for that? Enabling your incestuously-crazed teenage grandson was a much better idea!
And, finally, the pomeranian boy loses points for turning out to be just as creepy as all the other boys except Rem. On the other hand, his efforts to throw a wrench into things was aimed at potentially knocking out Lindo from the running, which isn’t such a bad thing… but, yo, intent ain’t magic, and this is another creepy-ass dude.
For all that Lindo was gross and skin-crawl-inducing, though, this was a pretty decent episode. We got more information about the larger picture (DEVILS VS. VAMPIRES), which in turn came from the fact that Ritsuka herself is more looped in now, thank goodness. I’ve appreciated that she’s been more proactive and capable than the usual girl is in these shows, but I’ve been wanting her to be less in the dark about things.
By the way, if this is vampires vs. devils, does this mean we’re going to be saddled with a crossover with Diabolik Lovers? Because that would be terrible, although the girl there (Yui?) could use some pointers from Ritsuka.
Valkyrie Drive -Mermaid- – Episode 03
Day: I’m somewhat impressed with how in this episode they managed to make things both more stupid and also more decently developed out. We learn that Welter, the organization that runs the sinister school and controls the island, has the goal of demonstrating to civil authorities elsewhere that the girls and women who have powers due to their infection by a virus (sorry, I’ve forgotten the name of it…) are capable of being, well, civil. In order to do so, then, they’ve set up their very repressive system wherein the smallest infractions are brutally punished. And, at the top of the foodchain, folks like Charlotte and Kasumi have bought into and support the system for similar reasons but with different ideas about what they’re doing.
However, we also are introduced to an enclave of folks who’ve run away from Welter and somehow are hanging out secretly elsewhere on the island and getting by on stuff stolen from Welter. And, yeah, sure Welter has caught on to the thievery, but this still means we’ve got about twenty people who are living it up on the island with Welter somehow not having noticed previously. It isn’t even a big island! And somewhere on the island, too, they’ve managed to cram in manufacturing for clothes and other goods, as well as food production, because the island is self-sustaining. I guess this island must, ultimately, be like Doraemon’s stomach pouch, and unluckily for our protagonists the pouch has failed for their little safe enclave.
I’m horrifically amused, by the way, with how the show is really trying very hard to pretend that the red-haired member of the hierarchy is a guy. Yeah, ok, Valkyrie Drive, suuure you put a dude into the cast, yep.
I watched the censored broadcast version this week, by the way, and, wow, that was pretty bad. Even if the fanservice verges on suffocating at time in this show, the spots of light that serve as censorship frequently make it borderline impossible to tell what is going on. It’s also very weirdly arbitrary – jiggling cleavage gets blotted out but butt cracks do not. Is it since the butt cracks weren’t jiggling? Was that the problem here? Jiggle jiggle?
Seraph of the End S2 – Episode 04
Cara: Seraph of the End is still in setup mode and it’s getting repetitive – I just want a big humans vs vampires fight with our star crossed lovers Yuu & Mika caught in the middle! Is that so much to ask for? This week was pretty all about Guren forcing Shinoa’s team to realise their own weaknesses in the face of the bigger picture. Sure they’ve all got Black Gear weapons, but they mostly suck at using them and actively working together as a team……..which is kind of what they realised last week anyway. Regardless Yuu & Co get thrown to another team for training so we’ll see how that goes next week.
Best part of this episode was when Yuu was trying to execute a cool backflip into a moving vehicle, but Shinoa moved the car out of his way and drove off without him. Shinoa continues to be great. Oh and Mika continues to stockpile suffering as he is developing some sort of rejection vampire blood which is testing his self control in not drinking human blood. Some things never change.