Weekly Anime Roundup: Ben Gets Angry.

Welcome back to the blog, all nine people of you who visit – I hope you had a good Christmas! before this year ends, I’ve got one last review to do, and this one is a couple of days late. There is a reason for this, which will be explained below. This week, I’ll be looking at the final episode of Valvrave the Liberator, the entire series of Onomori Himari, the first twelve episodes of Strike the Blood and the first few episodes of Occult Academy.

Valvrave the Liberator Ep.24 (Finale.)

Fuck you, Sunrise. No, seriously, Fuck you. I have never been so angry at the ending of an anime as I was at the final episode of Valrave the Liberator.

Before you assume I’m just being histrionic for the sake of it, let me say that the reason this roundup is a few days late is because I wanted to see if all the sheer bloody annoyance I felt was just an initial reaction. but three days later I can honestly say that I’m still just as pissed off at the colossal bloody hatchet-job they made of this episode.

If you’ve read these roundups over the last few weeks, you’ll have noticed that I’ve mentioned a fear that Valvrave’s finale would be rushed. Not only was it rushed, but it was blighted by a scriptwriter who seemed determined to close off all the story facets in the laziest way possible, to the point that if completely threw away all the emotional investment I’d built throughout the series.

There were mechs fighting. That is all.
There were mechs fighting. That is all.

We got a climactic showdown between Haruto/L-Elf and Cain – a villain who became so pantomimish by the end of the episode that I didn’t give a crap why he was fighting in the first place. For 23 episodes, We’ve had a love triangle built up between Haruto, Saki and Shoko. It went nowhere. We’ve had the buildup of the effect the Valvrave has on its pilots. It was simply used as a plot device the kill off Haruto for a cheap emotional rise. The 200 year flash-forwards that have been the most interesting part of the last few episodes were thrown away with a three-minute summary behind the closing credits.

This was not just poor writing. This was downright lazy writing. And in a series that’s been marketed as one of the major releases of 2013, that’s absolutely unforgivable.

Onomori Himari Eps. 1-12.

I won’t be posting any images of Onomori Himari, as most of them would probably get me arrested. This show has a ratio of fanservice to plot that reaches into terrifying levels, with every other shot being a T&A fest.  In this 12-episode show, the main plot is a boy meeting the catgirl of his rather perverse dreams. He’s also a descendant of a demon slaying family who comes of age just in time to be constantly attacked by every demon on the block.

Honestly, if you like silly fantasy/harem anime with very little emphasis on plot, this ones for you. It’s entertaining enough in its own way, but honestly? The constant stream of fanservice got to the point where it would actually have been less embarrassing to watch hentai. I don’t really have a massive objection to fanservice but this one was a bit overwhelming. Onomori Himari plays to the stereotypes, and does it well, but is very much a genre series.

Strike The Blood Eps. 1-12.

Now this, this I liked. Set on an artificially constructed island off the coast of Japan, Strike the Blood is the story of Kojo Akatsuki, previously a normal high-school student who is now the  4th Progenitor, a hugely powerful vampire who is struggling to adapt to his new life. Waltzing into said life is Yukina Himeragi, a middle-school Sword Shaman who has been assigned to observe him. At the start of the story, Kojo is yet to taste human blood, and therefore has no control over his familiars, twelve spirit animals with massive power that he can use to fight enemies.

I'm sure you can see where this is going,
I’m sure you can see where this is going,

Honestly, this is the first thing to make vampires interesting to me again since Twilight decided to ruin them for everyone. There is a certain amount of predictability – I’ve even noticed a couple of moments where they’re reusing elements from previous scripts – but thus far the show has been genuinely enjoyable. It’s currently on a two-week break, which is annoying, but its been dividing itself into four-episode arcs, which makes it easy to enjoy in doses.

This one is on the simulcast list now, so hopefully it will remain enjoyable going forwards.

Occult Academy Eps, 1-4

The year is 1999. After returning back to Waldstein Academy to attend to funeral of her occult obsessed father, Maya Kumashiro assumes his place as the principal of the academy. Because apparently that’s how the education industry works in Japan. Various occult nasties start propping up around the place, which Maya has to deal, despite her full on hatred of anything occult. Helping her deal with all the beasties is Fumiaki Uchida, a cowardly time agent who has travelled back from a 2012 where aliens have destroyed the Earth. Somewhere in the city is the Nostradamus key,  the artifact that the aliens use to invade. Uchida has been issued with a camera phone that he can use to see what will become of anything he photographs in 1999 as it will appear in 2012.

"Oh no, someone called OFSTED!"
“Oh no, someone called OFSTED!”

Occult Academy has a lovely animation style that compliments it’s slightly warped sense of humour. The interactions between Maya and Uchida are kept fairly lighthearted, and at a third of the way through the series I’m invested enough to want to see where it goes next. There doesn’t seem to be any romantic implications between the two main characters, but there is a rather fragile alliance that is currently struggling to gain traction. It’s well worth a watch, and as a relatively character driven anime its got plenty of maneuver room.

Well, thats it for this week. I hope you enjoyed me getting overly irritable of a damn cartoon. Tune in this weekend for my review of the Sword Art Online special, plus wherever I’ve caught up to with whatever I’m watching!

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