I’ve currently got about twelve, as yet unwatched series lined up on Crunchyroll. Some are fantasy, some are sci-fi, some are… Well, a bit fucking weird if I’m honest. In amidst them all, there’s a couple of series that I’m watching as Simulcasts, on the same week by week basis as other shows on TV.
Which would work better for me if most Anime writers weren’t obessessed with Cliffhangers.
Anyway, currently I’ve got three Anime on the go: on the series side I’ve got Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, and on Simuls I’ve got Valvrave the Liberator and Infinite Stratos 2.
Lets start from the top:
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia started quite… Oddly. In a move that probably made the scriptwriter grin and probably made the animators call him a dickhead, The first episode actually consists of two runthroughs of the same sequence. This is because one of the main characters is a ghost.
Intriguingly, in the first version, we couldn’t see Yuuko, the Dusk Maiden of the title. We saw a cup move on its own, an invisible figure leafing through a report, and Teichi, the other main character, talking to nothing. In the second runthrough, we have the same scene again, with Yuuko included.
Depending on your opinion, this is either a brilliant piece of work or the laziest piece of scriptwriting on the bloody planet. I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt and go with the latter.
Dusk Maiden uses a lot of sharp imagery and some odd techniques to create it’s atmosphere, with strong uses of colour that work well to give it an atmospheric tone. The story itself moves quite… slowly isn’t quite the word – there is a story, but at six episodes in the show is primarily being driven by it’s characters, and thankfully they’re strong enough to keep it going. There are hints of something darker in the background, but I haven’t reached that part yet. There’s something of The Ring’s Sadako about Yuuko, and her relationship with Teichi is intriguing. Thus far, every single ghost story and paranormal event in the school has been linked back to Yuuko living her daily life, giving her a tragic air.
None of which answers the question that, amidst all the crazy shit that happens in this show (including students attempting to blood sacrifice one of their fellows in episode six) What the actual fuck are the teachers in this school doing.
Valvrave the Liberator # 21
We’re now onto episode 21 of Valvrave the Liberator, and in this episode they decided to give us a firm reminder that, for all their luck thus far, the cast and population of Module 77 are still children. In this episode, they were very much taken to the cleaners both politically and physically. So far, the series has killed of a couple of secondary characters to give emotional effect, but in this episode they decided to not only kill one of the Five – supposedly immortal – Valvrave pilots, but also most of the school-age population of the Module.
I’m not going to lie, it was difficult to watch. The punches were not pulled, and when the forces opposing the new-JIOR inhabitants made their play, I still wasn’t expecting what happened next. Seeing the background population of the anime cut down by machine-gun fire was harsh as hell. It’s a testament to the fact that the writers have done such a good job making us care about characters that the drawn-out massacre wasn’t simply a throw-away scene. As a follow-up, love interest Shoko’s betrayal of main character Haruto was pretty damn heartbreaking
The main issue that I can see is that there aren’t many episodes to wrap the plot up. Unless there is a further series after this one, it’s still going to feel like a rush-job, especially with the tantalising Flash-forward moments to two-hundred years after the series.
Infinite Stratos 2 #10.
There isn’t an awful lot that can be said about Infinite Stratos. It seems to be genuinely hated by the anime critics who inhabit the dark corners of youtube – and as far as I can see, that’s because it’s genuinely silly and anime is SERIOUS BUSINESS.
Let’s be blunt, IS2 has all the plot depth of a puddle. The main character is surrounded by women who want to jump his bones, and they have high-powered mechs that they can use to kick the crap out of things. This week’s episode revolved around the fact that one of the girls is a crap cook and gives everyone food poisoning.
We’re not talking fucking Shakespeare here, are we?
The episode was amusing, and a good laugh – especially after Valvrave. The only thing done to advance the overall plot was a brief interlude with the baddies at the very end of the episode, and the rest is just, well… fun. What reason is there for most of the stuff that occurs? The reason is fuck you, there isn’t a reason. Deal with it.
Until next time, folks!