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Weekly Trash Update! 05

November 15, 2015

WeeklyTrash05

Day: No Valkyrie Drive this week as I couldn’t make the episode work, sadly. Just think, though, of what you have to look forward to next week with a double helping of it! Just right for all those double-Gs, ehhhh? ;D

Cara: It’s mid-season, so what better time to fire in a bonus episode of trashy entertainment!?  This week Day & I also watched the 6th episode of Shomin Sample – without any context.  See how that turned out below~! (If you’re looking for last week’s post, it’s over on Day’s blog).

K: Return of Kings – Episode 7

K - Return of Kings - 07

Cara: Mostly an action orientated episode this week, but more of a techno light-show than anything else really.  Sukuna and Yukari back out of the confrontation once they know Nagare is on his way up, so we don’t really get any meaningful continuation of their battles with the Red, Blue and Silver clans – which was a pity since the Sukuna Vs Kuroh fight in particular was looking pretty fun last week.  Regardless, this episode was more about Nagare facing off against Anna so we could see the Green & Red kings in action at last.  Anna’s red flame wings make her look like some sort of magical girl – which is pretty cool actually, even if they really reminded me strongly of Shakugan no Shana.  But it was a pleasant surprise to see that Anna’s actually fairly competent in a fight and doesn’t rely on her overprotective clansmen to save her, which is such a relief since female characters aren’t really K’s strongest point. If only Anna didn’t look so much like a doll from Rozen Maiden I’d like her character a whole lot more!

Nagare’s powers didn’t really live up to the hype of him being the strongest King, with the handicap of having a time limit.  His lightning attacks and sheer speed do make him a force to be reckoned with, but Munakata seemed to have no problem batting him down, and even Anna with her fledgling control over the Red king’s powers, managed to keep up the Nagare when he was at full power.  I’m wondering just how old Nagare is after the whole “he’s actually an animated corpse” thing Munakata mentions when he exposes Nagare’s missing heart.  There is a lot of talk about the Kagatsu Incident, (when the previous Red king’s Damocles Sword fell and wiped out a large chunk of the landscape) which was some 13 years before the start of the anime, and Iwa talks about how they’ve been around for a long time.  Nagare has certainly been around long enough to feel confident enough to challenge the Gold king, and it he seems to be happy spending a lot of time setting things up – that kind of patience to play the long game doesn’t really match up with his youthful looks.  I really want a proper timeline for the series!

However the reveal that Iwafune isn’t actually a Green clansman, but rather the 6th King – the presumed dead Gray King – was the big twist of this episode.  That kind of came out of nowhere for me – I knew that Nagare had dealings with the insane Colourless King last season, but to have another King (and an older King at that) acting as his subordinate is a bit of a surprise.  I wonder what Iwafune’s goal is and just what happened in the wake of the Kagutsu Incident to cause the Gray & Green kings to form an alliance.

So an interesting episode of K, definitely looking forward to next week – looks like Shiro is going to do some actual fighting!

K - Return of Kings - 07

Day: I have reached the point at which I find Yata so thoroughly obnoxious that I skip ahead roughly three-quarters of the time when he starts speaking. His surety in the idea that everyone who looks at him cross-eyed is insulting his strength and abilities is excruciating to sit through, all the more so since it speaks of an arrogance on his part, the notion that most people even have an opinion of him to begin with. Characters with chips on their shoulders don’t have to be so repellant, I swear, but you’d never know it from Yata.

Given that Munakata is in an increasingly delicate position due to degradation to his sword, I’ve been wondering if he’s destined to be gone by the end of the season. His replacement seems most likely to be poor Awashima; maybe an increase in prestige to Blue King would mean she could afford to buy some clothes that actually fit her? Wouldn’t that be novel! She got some pretty funky body physics in this episode.

I’ve been curious about who the hell the final king was for a while now, enough so that I kept circling back to the Wikipedia page for K to count and re-count the kings we’re aware of. I was really pleased with the twist that the beer-loving, domesticated priest Iwa was the final king all along. Were Sukuna and Yukari even aware of this? Sukuna’s relative dismissive manner toward him would suggest that they were in the dark about it, too, but it’s impossible to say based on what we’ve seen thus far.

Was great to see Anna in action in a fight! More generally, the neon of her fight with Nagare was just the sort of touch I expect K to provide. I am inclined, though, to be in agreement with what Nagare said about power being meaningless by itself, rather than to agree with Anna’s assertion that power has its own raw meaning.

Feeling much, much more interested in K than I have in weeks! Let’s hope it can keep it up!

High School Musical Star – Episode 6

With lines like this you can hardly blame me for shipping Hiragi & Otori

With lines like this you can hardly blame me for shipping Hiragi & Otori

Cara: So there I was enjoying the cuteness of the boys pulling their performance together with a little help from Nayuki’s twin sisters sewing talents, and then suddenly Starmyu sinks my preferred ship.  I was just a bit upset!  It came out of nowhere – who knew I was incest shipping for 6 fecking episodes!?  So yeah in a reveal that had me yelling at my screen, it turns out Hiragi and Otori are brothers, probably half brothers given how they have different names & look nothing alike, but still brothers rather than exes that can’t get over one another.  I don’t incest ship so this effectively torpedoes my ship entirely, which is a terrible shame.  Guess I’ll have to ship Otori with Tsukigami-senpai instead (that ship is also fine) – turns out Otori & Hiragi where both on Team Tsukigami back in the day (or like a year ago), before Otori left to go be creative somewhere else.

Back to the main part of the episode though, and we’re introduced to Nayuki’s twin imouto’s when Hoshitani’s latest fuck-up lands the boys with shitty costumes for the performance.  I liked the twins a lot – they breezed in, took control and breezed back out again, completely unaffected by the hot boys their brother is mothering.  Their interactions with Tengenji in particular were amusing since that boy is so fecking awkward and shit at dealing with other humans on the best of days, and the girls just had zero tolerance for his crap.

The performance itself was fun enough – loved the cheesy shite that Kuga was coming out with about them being the “Space junk of Star Teams….it’s like we’re stardust”.  Their rearrangement of the performance piece and new costumes, made Team Otori stand out from the crowd, but to mixed reactions.  The traditionalists were up in arms about the blatant disregard of the established format for the performance, whereas many people thought the reimagining was a breath of much needed fresh air.  I think that Otori’s quest for freedom of creative expression is going to be a running theme for the rest of the series – but I’m sure he’ll end up clashing with his Team at some stage over it.

So yeah, fun episode….aside from my rage at the nuking of my ship!

Cara’s current Starmyu character ranking: Tengenji > Nayuki > Otori > Kuga > Kaito > Hoshitani > Hiragi > Tsukigami-senpai >Nayuki’s sisters > Purple’s Playboy friend > rest of Team Hiragi

High School Star Musical - 06

Day: I quite like Nayuki’s sisters; I was somewhat leery as “imouto” has become a fearsome word in the context of anime, and that they were coming to assist with sewing made me all the more concerned. Luckily, they turned out to be on the quirkier side, and I liked watching their slightly different personalities play off of each other as they whirl-winded through.

The highlight of the episode, though, was in watching people get terribly irate over Team Otori’s supposed desecration of the silly J-pop song they had to perform. One of the other Star Team leaders practically pops a blood vessel over it! How DARE you do a different take on this goofy song?! UGH, everyone should just do the same exact thing, just like every single team has been doing for the entire history of this school! A very long and storied history, I might add, so much so that the recording of the original performance is in sepia and suffers from granulation! Starmu is best when it most strongly embraces these more absurd aspects, so this whole sequences was practically catnip.

I genuinely didn’t see it coming that Hiragi and Otori are brothers, which is maybe evidence that I haven’t been giving this show enough credit – if I took it more seriously, perhaps I would’ve picked up on some prior vibe to that effect? In the grand scheme of things, though, I’ll admit it doesn’t matter much to me. Unlike Cara (and a lot of people!), I wasn’t pulling for the OtorixHiragi ship anyway, but rather for HoshitanixOtori or OtorixElder Tsukigami. Ships still afloat… and it seems like we simply torpedoed a potential iceberg.

Dance With Devils – Episode 6

Dance with Devils - 06

Cara: So the Shiki episode then, and it turns out that our creepy wannabe rapist isn’t actually a proper devil.  Shiki is instead, and I shit you not, a fallen angel – he comes complete with black wings & a persecution complex!  I sort of had to pause the episode for a bit after that little revelation because I was laughing so hard.  My rankings haven’t really changed much after this episode – I still think Lindo is a worse character but Shiki is pretty terrible too, they’re kind of hanging out at the bottom of the ladder together.  Shiki’s song more or less sums up why he’s terrible – it basically boils down to “I’m going to rape you while you sleep” – a rather terrifying sentiment wrapped up in a catchy tune.  Thank god he doesn’t really feature in the show much!

Shiki’s powers are interesting though – he’s able to pull suppressed memories out of his victims and walk them through a “maze of memories, a museum of truth”, so we get a whole load of things from Ritsuka’s past that she’s forgotten about – like the fact Lindo is definitely her cousin rather than her brother.  It also seems like Lindo’s father may be a vampire, which would explain his eyes going red when he’s pissed off.  I do have to wonder when we’re going to get a proper vampire character in the show though, so far they’ve just been disposable mooks – you’d think they’d have a proper ringleader front and centre now that they’ve definitely got Ritsuka’s mother in their grasp.

The only other thing of interest in this episode, was the confirmation that Azuna is also an exorcist.  I really liked the scene where the two girls were having a confrontation and more or less ignoring Shiki after his ‘I’m a fallen angel, look at my cool wings’ speech.  Ritsuka’s dismay is understandable, she doesn’t want to think that her best friend could just be a plant pretending to care about her.  Azuna’s commitment to protecting Ritsuka is admirable though & I think the girls will continue to be close in the future.

Dance with Devils - 06

Day: Soooo, wow, Shiki is really fricking chuuni, huh? Naaaah, he’s not a devil! Ugh, too mainstream, sighhhh. No way, he’s a fallen angel! I can almost picture him in the corner of a classroom enthusiastically scribbling poorly-drawn illustrations into a notebook, happily trying to press them upon classmates as he babbles incessantly about how he isn’t a schoolboy, he’s the grim fallen angel {insert bullshit ‘angel’ name here}.

Shiki is just about as creepy as it’d been previously suggested, but the fact that he is so obviously creepy puts him ahead of Lindo. With Shiki, at least, he’s incapable of obscuring his true nature, so you know what you’re getting. Lindo, however, tries to pretty it all up as that he’s just trying to protect his previous imouto – never mind that in order to protect her he wishes to keep her ignorant, locked up, and separate from anyone except for people he has pre-approved.

I wasn’t expecting it to turn out that Azuna is herself an exorcist given her prior propensity to ring up Lindo when Ritsuka is in danger rather than taking action herself. For the purposes of plotting, I’ll grant that she couldn’t take as active of a role previously, but it’s still a bit disappointing to learn that she could do things and didn’t. It’s also a bit disappointing that when she finally does get to show off her abilities, it turns out that the enemy isn’t affected by exorcism efforts since he isn’t even a devil.

To move away from the small details to the larger picture, this was a pretty solid episode. Placing Ritsuka in a setting where her memories are drawn out for her is useful, of course, and I liked the way they did it with the paintings as images from her past that she could ‘fall’ into, as it were. Based on what was shown, I’m beginning to wonder if Lindo is half-devil himself and is wholly ignorant – it was a thought that came to me when watching his mother kiss the mysterious blonde-haired man. But the man himself seemed vaguely familiar; I went back to watch the opening scene of the first episode, and, hey, that blonde man’s the one speaking English in the cathedral! As such, I think there’s a chance creepy ol’ Lindo is, as I said, half-devil. On the other hand, we’ve heard a lot of rattling about vampires, so, hey, maybe he’s half-vampire…

Actually, I just had another idea. Rem is blonde. Rem and Lindo are also set up by the OP as being clearly in opposition to one another in a way that none of the others boys are. Perhaps Lindo and Rem are themselves half-brothers?

Seraph of the End S2 – Episode 6

 Seraph of the End S2 - 06

Cara: Most of this episode was spent waiting around lamenting the fact that scores of people were getting slaughtered by the vampires.  There was a smattering of information fired in just for padding, like the fact Crowley is suspicious of a high ranking noble leaking vampire secrets to the humans (interspersed with shots of a load of soldiers crucified outside the building – stay classy Seraph!) and Mika getting a lead on Yuu’s location and moving to feed false information to the rest of the vampires.

Otherwise, not much happened this week – the pacing has been super slow this season!

Bonus: Shomin Sample – Episode 6

Shomin Sample - 06

Cara: Okay, I’ve only seen the first episode of this show and haven’t really heard a single thing about it since, so I didn’t really know what to expect from this sixth episode.  I don’t think I could have predicted ‘Shomin-Land’ though.  Yeap, this entire episode was set in a theme park modeled after a commoner’s street so this gaggle of rich, sheltered oujo-sama’s could experience the delights of a fast-food restaurant and a game arcade.  It was pretty terrible.  Not that it was hilariously awful, it was just sort of boring and filled with awful characters. I still hate the fact that the main character has to pretend to be gay & into bara in order to preserve his genitalia, the girls are soulless stereotypes with no personality and the whole set-up is just beyond my suspension of disbelief. The only thing I’m relieved about is that there was very little of that weird loli in the episode – something about her design really unnerves me.

All in all, I’m fairly sure I (and many others) made the correct call in dropping this after the first episode!

Shomin Sample - 06

Day: What a profoundly odd show. I think that sometimes it is easy to forget what anime looks like to an outsider, and with Shomin Sample, a lot of the basic premise seems in keeping with trends such that one must step back for a moment to appreciate how bizarre it is. In this episode, there’s a field trip to “Shomin-Land”, a theme park that is meant to mimic the experience of being a “commoner”. A lot of the usual harem bullshit ensues, but with a dollop of the absurd as rich girls stumble around ignorantly in coffee shops and arcades – I guess in addition to being fully cloistered, they’ve never been permitted to consume pop culture?

One of the less remarked-upon staples of anime is the “rich kid experiences fast food for the first time” trope. Starmu did it last week, Maria-sama ga Miteru performed it with less absurdity years ago, and while it isn’t as common as, say, having a lead girl with pink hair, it’s presence is fairly reliable. Flashbacks in this episode let us watch one of the girls carefully practising how to order as the bland lead encourages her, and this is genuinely funny to watch; watching the girls fumble it in the restaurant itself is boring in that it’s just the same old tired routine of teen harem girls being incapable without the help of the teen boy of the hour.

Honestly, there is a kernel of a good idea in here – a satire about the ignorance of the rich and cossetted isn’t a bad idea. Unfortunately, this isn’t really a satire. Harems have been demonstrating girls and women as incompetent and weak for literally decades now. The difference here is that instead of there being one rich girl in the harem, the entire harem is made up of rich girls. And there’s a LOT of weird homophobia lurking about, probably the most we’ve had the ill luck to experience since that awful episode in Nakaimo where they thought the lead was gay and they were trying to ungay him.

By the way, those uniforms seem very poorly designed, as the poor girls all have wedgies for the vast majority of the episode. Poor lambs.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 16, 2015 2:29 pm

    Starmyu’s sixth episode is probably the biggest upset this season aside from the anticlimax of Bishamon arc in Noragami. No. Just. No. Starmyu. Did you just sabotage one of your biggest ships? Oh well, time to move on.

    I thought the imoutos are fine. I mean, if we are going to bring females in the show, make them really alive but not irritating. I guess Stamyu was able to accomplish such. Poor Tengenji though.

    • November 16, 2015 9:38 pm

      Nayuki’s sisters were great – really enjoyed how they were characters in their own right.

      • November 17, 2015 1:23 pm

        Anyway, I also screencapped the picture you had in this Trash of the Week update. I remember internally officially shipping these two then Hiragi uttered onii-san. Watta letdown. I was like “ARE YOU KIDDING ME STARMYU?! WHY CAN’T YOU JUST CROSS THE SHOUNEN AI TERRITORY ALREADY?!”.

        As for the imoutos, I am amazed I am not annoyed by their variants. Not because I have biases with imoutos but some shows have tendency to highlight their annoying traits. Thankfully, Starmyu did the opposite. What a pleasure to watch.

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