I’m finally back on my normal schedule, and thanks to a surprise day off tomorrow, I can really put in my due effort. How I wish I could do this free of any time constraint. Maybe if the anime industry would just stop putting so much interesting stuff out. No, anime. Don’t do that. Keep the good things coming, since it’s the heart of this blog. I’ll be the one to rise to the status quo!
This week had some more anime clunking into their slots of being “as good as I hoped.” while a couple are actually forcing themselves further up my favorites list. I can’t wait to go at length on Plastic Memories recent dark departure, Arslan’s brilliant foundation layout, or Blood Blockade Battlefront’s most charming episode yet. Let’s leave our mundane world for a bit and talk about ANIME.
The Heroic Legend of Arslan
Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way. What imbecile sent this nearly unviewable episode to air? The majority of this anime was in a dark sewer, and it was so dim, that even craning my neck at angles to my TV to see the edges better did hardly anything to rectify this. It was the first episode that just made me want to watch the home video release. Anyways, despite that visual setback, don’t let that opinion make this week seem like a bad time for Arslan. This episode was terrific.
Granted, it’s still riding the line of being something completely distinctive and being just an anime with no true faults. This week is definitely the first episode that started sprouting seeds instead of planting them. Characters collided on all parts of the moral scale. The independent, seemingly neutrally-aligned bard came toe to toe with a new secretive villain. However, the gray area is so pronounced that I could see myself rooting for this new masked marauder as well. I am loving the character dynamics right now. Even the queen has been shown to have a questionable side. No character is safe from the mistakes that humanity constantly succumbs to making.
That bard is pretty rad, though. His fight, even with the horrible presentation factor of being aggravatingly dark, was my favorite little scuffle thus far. It was between two unknowns. I had no idea how either of them fought, and we already learned a major weakness of the masked man thanks to this. A fight that reveals insight to character development? That’s how they ALL should be, right?!
Anyways, the empire has pretty much fallen. Flames, blood, and cries haunt the cities as the rise of the slaves turned out to be the surefire strategy to put an end to this naive kingdom. The stage is set for Arslan to begin his ascendancy to kingship. I feel like the “prologue” is over. A six episode one, at that. Bring on the adventure, and satiate my appetite, which is evermore hungry thanks to the anime teasing even more major characters on the horizon.
Episode 6 – “The Royal Capital Burns, Part 2” – 9/10
While last week was a bit of a fun ride, this week of Assassination Classroom was a slow burn between plot development, and void of any assassination attempts. It focused on the results of the strenuous exams that Koro Sensei has spent a good amount of episodes preparing them for. I’m still taken aback at how focused this anime is on studying. Upon viewing the premiere episode, I still never would have predicted it’d end up going this way. It kind of works, but I still feel like the anime is kind of bumping around random plot lines with a little less grace than I’d prefer.
So the results of the grades are in and we got to see which students were worth their moxy. Most surprisingly, Karma got a harsh dosage of reality upon learning that he can’t just fleet feather his way through life. (Yeah, fleet feather is a term I got from a Magic card, but I kind of like how it sounds, so forgive me.) I was happy to see that there was a realistic amount of diversity among the student’s grades instead of everyone magically scoring at the top.
Besides that, a bunch of uneventful stuff happened leading into next week’s story of the students going to a vacation home for privileged students. Charles Xavier’s mansion, I presume. It’s here that the students will cash in on their best scenario to assassinate the teacher. Legitimately, this time. I’m not hooked by anything this episode teased, but this anime has proven that it doesn’t build momentum. It just explodes with originality from time to time, and I’m perfectly content with waiting for that next boom.
Episode 16 – “School’s Out – 1st Term” – 6/10
Blood Blockade Battlefront
Last week softened my heart with Leonardo and White sharing a subtle romantic scene. Actually the entire thematic core last week was romance, so I was all about that, and this week we have the simple bond of friendship downright melting my softened heart. Are you really going for a Bebop level of episodic here, Kekkai Sensen?
Well, it’s not quite there yet. Bebop, remember, hit it’s majestic stride by the fifth episode, introducing the overarching plot that added the gritty, dark, depth that made Bebop a true masterpiece. Blood Blockade Battlefront, clearly has potential, and this episode is starting to show that their episodic stuff can be top of the line. The question remains if they can now pull something off on a Bebop level. When did “Bebop” become a level? I don’t know, but I’m rolling with it.
So this episode had Leonardo front and center again wandering the streets and meeting this cute little alien. One who came off as a jerk, but warmed up to you within minutes. We watched them bond as Leonardo simply brought him food he was unable to buy. It was a simple message of communion, sharing, and good deeds that represent what Libra, the main organization is all about, but on a much more interpersonal level. Then things got a little heavy.
We learn that this alien has a defensive bodily function that causes amnesia, which set up the true symbolic problem this episode presented: Friends forgetting friends. In a harrowing scene of the poor alien getting caught in a violent, torturous predicament, we see Leonardo and the alien’s friendship vanish as quick as it started. Not keen on tragedies? Well the writers decided to take the optimistic route and prove that true friendships can transcend memory and if you’re meant to enjoy life together, you will, as Leonardo and the friend meet once again in a Deja Vu scenario that simply warmed me up inside. This episode progressed the overall plot zero inches, but this was the greatest standstill the anime has had thus far, so I’m okay with that.
Episode 6 – “Don’t Forget to Don’t Forget Me” – 9.5/10
Fairy Tail 2
I stand corrected. I thought this Tartarus arc was going to be awful since the first five episodes introducing it have done nothing to turn me into a Fairy Tail fan again. That is, until this episode came along and laid on EVERYTHING. The villain, a new class of magic, all presented by an epic dragon deity. This is the Fairy Tail I like.
This episode still had it’s flaws, if I’m going to get super critical about it. But you don’t really get critical to enjoy Fairy Tail. You enjoy the spectacle and the ride. I typically hate having to do that for an anime, but Fairy Tail can pull it off sometimes. The perfect popcorn tone. The flaws I’m referencing is that fight between Natsu and the stupid one-eyed bat thing that has no business being anywhere. I’m hoping in the next episode, they at least justify it’s existence with one of the giant’s saying “hey, where’d my pet bird go?” or something.
Speaking of giants, they are alive! Seeing this icy village that has been graying up the color palette of the last five episodes was both a visual and physical relief. Seeing the color return was like watching the fantasy come to life, and in that same moment, Fairy Tail became Fairy Tail again, and we were face to face with Atlas Flame, one of the dragons from the last non-filler arc.
This dragon laid everything on us. Now, along with Dragon Slayers and God Slayers, there are now Devil Slayers. We also learned that the person who froze this village was one of them. There’s some super end-game demon called END. There’s a group of elite Devil Slayers called the Demon Gates. Yeah, everything just ramped up quite rapidly in this one episode. We got a sneak peek at the first Devil Slayer, one of ice, and he was…ehh kind of cool. The character designs have been iffy as of late. I can at least almost take this guy seriously, if there wasn’t that horrid “Absolute Zero” text on his armor. Regardless, this was a brilliant return to form, and we even got a well-animated Natsu sequence of him blasting fire to Kingdom Come. I’m kind of excited for the Tartarus arc now guys!.
Episode 57- “Voice of the Flame” – 8.5/10
Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
No one’s saying it, but we all know it. The mystery of Archer has been solved, and his story is nothing short of tragic. We are still missing a few key aspects to truly sympathize for the man, but an eternity of being betrayed by everything, including your ideals should be enough to turn any man vengeful, or sorrowful. Again, paralleling to Fate Zero, this wasn’t on the same degree as Kiritsugu’s evocative flashback episode, which was a two-parter, but I am excited to finally have one of the central characters fully detailed.
This episode was a rearrangement of the pawns. Saber is now with Rin. Rin is now Archer’s hostage. Archer is now making a deal with Shinji. All of that good stuff. But what this all skirted around was Archer’s revelation, or more like a glimpse into his mind. The barren landscape used in so many vignettes before this was finally explained and detailed. It’s still a bit vague, but it’s basically the world Archer is left with after his downward spiral in his afterlife. It was pretty. Desolate, but impressive, with gears of fate churning in the sky.
Back in the real world, Shinji is dragging Archer along, enacting some redundant plan of his own. His character is easily being outpaced by the others, and it’s only because of the strength of Archer that I have to take him seriously. I’m sure that’s what the other characters are thinking too. Saber’s chivalry remains of the easiest things to “like” about this anime. The way she instantly forged a new pact with Rin just to get the power to continue the promise of her previous pact with Shirou was the very definition of Saber’s character. Meanwhile, I’m still the most curious about Lancer, who remains the most nondescript characters of the series. This was a revelation episode that had some payoffs, and we had a small fight to break up the monologues. This was a standard fate episode. Not one of the highlights, nor one of the weaker ones, and it’s still gorgeous as hell.
Episode 18 – “A Destiny Forged in the Beginning” – 8.5/10
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