Ever since I really started watching simulcasts on Crunchyroll and Funimation, I’ve been exposed to some fantastic and interesting anime. One of my personal favourites of these past 12 months has been GATE. That show for two seasons so far (I’m expecting one more at least) has been a fantastic story about the “what if” question of how we’d deal with a fantasy world suddenly being accessible in our own. But what’s really given this show some staying power with me has been their tremendous range of interesting characters.
So this week I decided to spend a round of Spotlighting on my current favourite on the show: Empress Pina Co Lada, leader of the Rose-Order of Knights of the Empire.
While you have a consistent cast of women surrounding Youji in Lelei, Tuka and Rory, for me Pina actually comes off as the strongest of all the women in the show. I’m not talking in terms of battle prowess, because if I was, Rory would have something to say about it, I’m talking in terms of the cliche feminist bullshit definition of what a “strong woman” is. Unlike all the male leaders of the Empire who wanted to fight and flex their metaphorical muscles around in attempt to thwart the “invading Japanese”, Pina knew right from the very moment she saw was the JSDF were capable of, they were beyond outmatched and would’ve been fighting a pointless war that they’d lose and lose badly. Granted, she uses Youji and the JSDF in the early going, but she realizes pretty quick that it’d be in her best interests to not fuck with them as they could destroy her entire kingdom at the snap of their fingers.
Once fully committing to bringing peace between the Empire and Japan, Pina takes on a much more meaningful role as the bridge between the two sides, almost like a peacekeeper. It’s become all about preserving her nation now, no longer a warring state, no longer the dominant ones of the world, they’re now the little fish in the pond. And when in this role of peacekeeper, she exudes a ton of strength, courage and loyalty to the Empire, even if that means admitting defeat and trying to stay peaceful with the newly arrival of Japan in their world.
Now it’s really once she’s exposed to Japan and in particular their otaku culture that she becomes an absolute treat to watch throughout the series. It is nothing short of hilarious to watch this dignified, elegant princess (at the time) being given a BL (boy love) doujinshi and see the look on her face that start with shock and horror and ends with joy and being quite turned on by the idea of two men…enjoying each other’s company, shall we say?
She is at her best after this point, becoming much calmer and much more open with everyone. She still retains a lot of her stern and super serious personality that she has to have as a Princess and soon-to-be Empress of the Empire, but when she is away from her political objectives for just a little while, she’s much sweeter and quite adorable, especially when dealing with the unfamiliar Japanese culture. Her reaction to a handshake (a wedding-only gesture in her culture) is priceless and her pure enjoyment when she and the rest of the main cast go to Japan for their first time, something I was really disappointed was not re-visited in Season 2.
And because I am that kind of guy, I can’t help but mention how stunningly beautiful Pina is. Granted, pretty much every female in GATE is absolutely gorgeous, but in Pina’s case it’s really the moments in Japan that really set her apart from them rest. Seeing her dressed more like a normal girl in our world would, it really showed off just how truly drop dead gorgeous she is, as she spends the majority of her time in clunky armor that may give the viewers a little cleavage, but it’s still armor. And let’s be honest, no one looks sexy in prison garbs, I don’t care how much skin it shows. Her being imprisoned in Season 2 was not enjoyable for me in any way whatsoever.
What Pina brings to the table in GATE is more than just her looks though. Like I said, she plays a major political role in the show and it’s quite arguable that she is actually the most important character in the entire show. After all in Season 2, her imprisonment becomes a great problem for Youji, for the JSDF, for Japan, for everyone. She’s the link between the two worlds on behalf of the Empire, like Youji is almost considered the link for Japan. And when you write a woman as being that important in the show, she’s believable in that role and even with her being naked a couple times in bath scenes she’s still not looked at with such lustful attention but instead looked at as a vital character to the show, you’ve done a great job with the writing.
When I first read the concept of GATE being a show about what would happen if a magical portal opened between the real world and a fantasy otherworld, I was interested right from the very start. However, my thoughts on a show like that, especially after seeing the trio of girls in Rory, Tuka and Lelei, I fully expected a funny, over-the-top harem sort of anime.
What I got was nothing I would’ve ever expected. I got a realistic representation of what would actually happen if such an event ever occured, ranging from political struggles, hardships in adjusting to the new world and of course, the real world with current technology completely decimating the fantasy world with incredible ease. And every episode of this two season (so far, though the end of Season 2 kind of makes it seem like that was the end) was an absolute blast to watch.
The main focus in the show is on Youji Itami, a 33 year-old who is a First Lieutenant in the military. However he’s not your typical military man, he merely works there as an income provider, particularly for his otaku interests. Which of course after the beginning of the anime when the Gate opens and the fantasy world attacks first (which is never really explained why they struck so fast and immediately, not to mention the Gate’s origins), he gets a much larger workload, put in charge of the new JSDF which is the first unit sent into the “Special Region” aka the other side to explore the world and ensure the protection of Japan from that side.
The majority of the entire show is spent in the Special Region as is a phenomenally beautiful world, full of life, interesting architecture and of course a ton of lovely ladies for those attracted to women, aka the target audience with this show. There are a couple episodes that take place in the real world and are just as insightful as you watch the girls from the Special Region being blown away by the technology we have today. I wish there was actually a little more of this, perhaps an OVA at the end of Season 2 where some of the newer characters are also exposed to the real world, I would’ve liked to have seen that, as the only times in Season 2 we see our world is when politicians are arguing.
The biggest positive I have with the show is the design of the show. The contrast between the military which is a boring green and brown set of colours being mixed with the absolutely vibrant colours of the various people of the Special Region, the dragons, the buildings, it’s such a great mixture and really defines the character sets. You immediately know who’s from the JSDF and who’s not, there’s no confusion with the massive amounts of characters throughout the two seasons of the series. The vibrant colours are beautiful, each major character in the special region is unique, unmistakable and beautiful in their own right. Tuka is a gorgeous blonde elf, her beauty literally shines throughout the series. Lelei with her lighter blues and greens really has her stand out, as if her various magics doesn’t already. Rory being the dark reds and blacks separates herself from the other two girls as the much darker and more violent of the three, being a demi-goddess of war essentially. And to add a couple more, you have Pina Co Lada (yes that’s her name) as the Princess of the Empire stands out with her bright red hair and shining silver, red and gold armor. Lastly, Yao easily stands out being a dark elf with the darker tanned skin and silver hair along with her purple and black outfit. Each character has a very unique colour palette that makes them easy to recognize amongst the others, something very important when the show has as many characters as it does.
But the one thing about the show that you can’t ignore for doing as well as does, both in writing and visually, is the simple fact that the Special Region is a world reminiscent of the medieval era, while the JSDF comes from the present day. And this is exemplified through the various battles in the anime. Right from the very start, while the fantasy world attackers kill a number of innocent civilians, it’s only by the factor of surprise and people being unarmed. Once the military gets involved, it’s a no chance in hell situation for them. Guns alone solved pretty much every problem, it cut through their armor, killed their soldiers in an instant, dealt with the various creatures that spilled through, it was a slaughter. Couple that with the military counterattack in the Special Region where tanks get involved and you watch 10,000 soldiers die in a matter of minutes by these tanks. It’s a clear cut reality of what would happen, it doesn’t matter the kind of magic this world could have, they’re no match for modern weaponry, even a massive dragon, though the dragon can at least put up a fight.
Speaking of the dragon, it’s truly the only time in terms of a battle that the JSDF are ever challenged, at no point during the entire anime do you get the sense that the Empire stands any chance of even putting a dent in the JSDF’s forces. Whenever they try, they’re decimating in minutes through gunfire, hell the main villain of Season 2 gets his ass royally kicked (pun intended since he’s the Prince) by Shino, a female soldier. But she’s well-trained in hand-to-hand combat and takes him down and leaves him a bloody mess in moments. Perhaps their could’ve been a point where someone like Itami could’ve been threatened if he was unarmed, but with military training, such a moment just doesn’t occur. It’s to the point where Pina and the majority of the Empire pretty much realize that if the JSDF wanted to, they could wipe them completely off the map and there’s nothing they could do about it. It’s a scary reality if such events happened.
Another curious part of the show is the political struggles within, though Season 1 is the only one to really explore that. It’s a great representation of what would also happen if such a world existed, while Japan is where the Gate is, other countries want to get in there as well for their own reasons. And yes, a major reason why the Americans want into the Special Region is the potential of oil, how fucking realistic can you get beyond that? It’s very interesting to watch unfold as various countries make their attempts to intervene in the JSDF’s process of peacekeeping in the Special Region, for whatever reasons they have. It’s also interesting to watch how some of Japan wants to go all-out on collecting resources, while others who are actually inside the Special Region are more interested in just collecting more renewable resources.
I have my own thoughts on what should have been done and my primary idea is a foolproof one. Create far more farmland, increase the amount of food we can produce as there’s so much open land in the world. Not only that, but you don’t have to bring people into the Special Region, you can take in the poor and unemployed people of the Special Region and teach them how to work with the equipment we use today. Also and this may sound bad, but we wouldn’t have to pay them as much either, given their economy would be so vastly different to ours in terms of what’s worth more. If we could do such a thing without jobs being eliminated in the real world (which is the only thing I’d worry about), we can increase our food production alone and in turn lower prices further on food while simultaneously creating possibly new foods we’d never had before from the Special Region.
There so much more I could talk about, but in the interest of keeping this article not too long, here’s a few quick things I have to add in there. Of course the idea of the end of Season 2 featuring relationships formed between those between the two worlds had to happen and I’m glad it did, making things more interesting for a third season if one should happen. Tuka’s insanity in Season 2 is an extremely dark and real story of the mental state some people actually go through during the mourning period after the loss of a loved one in such a violent, shocking event (she’s the lone survivor of a village after a Fire Dragon attack). I’m disappointed on how the second demi-goddess to be introduced after they defeat the Fire Dragon becomes a nothing event after that episode, I thought there was actually a chance of someone able to go against the JSDF but nothing comes of it. Lastly, I’m really happy that while the show does feature a lot of beautiful women, it doesn’t go out of its way to have a ton of blatant ecchi imagery, there aren’t a ton of panty shots, there’s no swimsuit episode, there’s only one instance where the girls are bathing (not counting Pina, she’s the lone exception) and they all don’t openly flirt with Itami. It’s really just Rory, but she’s only got forty-something years until she loses all of her humanity, so fuck it, YOLO.
GATE is an incredible anime spanning two fantastic seasons so far and I’m hoping a third is in the works at some point in the near future. If you’re interested in an anime that deals in the concepts of reality and fantasy coming together, this is one of the best representations of it, both in design and writing. It’s an incredible show and you should be watching it if you haven’t already.
Week number four is upon us with the Winter anime season. What’s in store this week?!
It seems like we’re at the point where shows will not be getting put On Notice or even Dropped, so it’s safe to assume this list of 14 will be staying with us for the remainder of the season. Which is a relief when I realized how many shows I started with, holy crap!
We meet the annoying character of the series in Minori who’s part of the Broadcasting Club. She’s getting access to the team because she helped Mashiro pass her makeup exams. Yeah, she’s a bit on the annoying side. During training though they see more of Asuka’s untapped potential, having incredible jumping ability, even without the Grav Shoes. Though she admits she didn’t do it intentionally, it’s almost as if these amazing moments she has are purely out of instinct. Mashiro seems out of focus now, she’s not as into FC right now. She’s super jealous that Asuka’s getting closer to Misaki’s level faster than she is, so she feels threatened with their friendship, like Misaki will think of Asuka higher than her. Brief changing scene, though again Misaki’s the only one we get a good look at it, she’s the only one in her underwear. She’s becoming hotter just by attrition. Completely losing focus, she accidentally runs into Rika, who’s wearing clothes again! Amazing! She asks Rika to teach her the basics so she can try and catch up. She manages to learn quite a bit and develops a pretty strong bond with Rika. She also has a “Eureka!” moment and during practice completely demolishes Asuka with her speed, realizing that with her style and body type, she’s far better off as a Speeder than a Fighter. She has a secret move too, “Distraction!”, well done mi’lady. A random girl shoes up to save Asuka’s phone from certain death and speeds off like a fighter jet. Gee, I can’t imagine she’ll be a key opponent in the summer tournament or anything! I loved this episode, was a cute, enjoyable one.
Episode Score – 5/5
We return to Kogane getting her ass handed to her once again by Shuusaku, while Azuma finally comes into the fight and actually challenges him a little bit. Watching the intro, I still can’t get past the fact Reoko looks like a girl in her early 20s, yet in storyline has to be at least almost or just over 40. Could she be my anime MILF of all-time? Also the more I watch this series too, the more it reminds me of RWBY. Anyways, they try to fight him with Oubu, but holding Entei’s heart allows Shuusaku to prevent this. He starts a Bubuki battle with Kogane which prevents anyone from getting involved and is essentially a battle for each other’s weapon. He reveals their plan is to take all their weapons and use Oubu themselves. The rest are forced to leave before Reoko and her group converge on them, while Azuma sees something he might be able to help with. This entire fight is a testament to how awesome Kogane actually is, her facial expressions whenever she’s fighting Shuusaku are top-notch. We get a little more background on her father’s murderer and the moment she meets the Bubuki for the first time. I love Shuusaku’s laugh, by the way! But the sight of her father lying there dying while they look on careless is truly horrifying. Azuma saves her, by simply standing in the way, not fighting as the Bubuki will still protect his own life, but it only works for so long. It’s enough for Kogane to sneak in and grab his arm, but again it doesn’t work. Except he realizes he’s been chained to the tracks and OH SHIT! So Shuusaku admits defeat before he’s killed and thus his Bubuki will no longer work until the rest of the battles have ended. Souya shows up to fight Horino, except Kinoa’s taken the spot. He talks about how “big” she’s grown (which is true by the way) and now you’ve pissed her off. And you don’t piss off my Kinoa. Kick his ass, girl! Awesome episode!
Episode Score – 5/5 *SHOW OF THE WEEK*
I ended up watching this away from my laptop, so because I’m not re-watching this and using up another 20 minutes, I’ll quickly go through what I remember from seeing it yesterday. The episode was essentially two skits, the first half was devoted to Kokonotsu and Hotaru’s blind fugashi tasting competition where hands were tied and food was fastball-thrown into mouths. I enjoyed the later part of this section as I was a little bored from the over-explanation of fugashi candy. It was like an episode of Food Wars without the sexual innuendo, kinda takes all the fun away from it. The second half was devoted to the race back to Saya’s cafe when Kokonotsu leaves his drawing notebook there and Tou took it upon himself to redraw Saya and Hotaru to reflect their bust sizes, also writing about their sizes too. The ridiculous of a piece of caramel allowing you to run an extra 300 metres is hilarious and the cliche “Go on without me!” moment just added onto it. I feel though if Saya likes him so much, she should know him well enough that he wouldn’t draw/write what was in his notebook, the moment he says Tou did that, she should’ve stopped, it’s clearly obvious how perverted he is, while Kokonotsu is pretty reserved on everything. Either way, pretty enjoyable episode.
Episode Score – 4/5
Anytime I see “Yasogami” in a title I get disappointed cause it has nothing to do with Persona 4. This week on Scooby-Doo, I mean Dimension W, we have ghosts! Mira insists she keeps seeing the ghost of a woman, presumably from an incident 21 years ago she also vaguely mentions. They’re not helping that the music sounds kinda Persona-like. We go back 24 hours where Albert informs Kyouma of a mission they have for him, involving that strange drowning death we saw at the end of Episode 3. Why would this matter to Kyouma who’s only interested in coils? Nothing really, he’s just stuck with it. We resume with them approaching the hotel where the man died. Mira has the mission of acting like a normal robot, which will prove difficult given she’s already freaking out about ghosts. It already gets weird when the blonde Elizabeth approaches and nearly causes her to lose it already. To make matters worse for Kyouma, Albert is joining them. I’m surprised he didn’t just walk out on Albert there. Albert reveals he knows Kyouma’s been asking about the Numbers coils and they started fighting immediately, kicking his ass and Albert leaves. Kyouma tells Mira that Albert was in the same group he was in the past, the Beasts of Grendel. Earlier there were three people eyeing Kyouma as he entered and now we get to them. Redhead’s hot as shit, by the way! There’s a moment we see the owner of the hotel before going to bed, she actually kind of reminds me of Fuuka Yamagishi if she was much, much older. Yes, another Persona reference, leave me alone, I’m waiting impatiently for Persona 5, okay?! While Mira researches in the dead man’s study, Kyouma drives off to look for clues around the surrounding dams. And the returns, scaring the shit out of Mira who lets out one hell of a high-pitched squeal. Another death, the asshole reporter from earlier is drowned. Kyouma meets with Albert and tells him that he knows there’s a Numbers coil here, possibly part of the incidents going on. Albert mentions that while it’s possible the Numbers coil has nothing to do with the incident 21 years ago, the fact it was active during it is the only reason this is of any interest to him and New Tesla. He also notes that nothing had happened in ten years, so the investigation had stopped, this death only caused it to resurface. SHOWER TIME WITH MIRA! I know she’s a robot, but fuck man! During this time, something changes around her, the world is different, her things are missing and her functions are reduced. She’s attacked by a strange woman with a sliced up arm. Meanwhile, Koorogi calls Kyouma to show him and Albert what really happened with the robot and the drowned man. He was attacked by a bunch of ghosts, those who died in the incident 21 years ago. Mira continues to run through this 21 year-old nightmare, the sight of all these victims seemingly like zombies ripping each other apart. Investigating the reporter’s death, he notes that Elizabeth must be a Collector as well. And now shit gets really weird. The three people from earlier attack the hotel owner, saying her dreams are connected to the Numbers. Kyouma tries to stop them, but they kidnap her and flee. The episode ends with Mira chained in this nightmare world and the one not-dead person in the incident, Shiro Kamiki reveals he’s actually Shijuro Sakaki, the first man killed in these recent incidents. So we have our first multi-episode conflict. I have zero idea what’s going on now…and I love it!
Episode Score – 5/5
God I hope this doesn’t kill me as bad as last week, my heart can’t handle that. Satoru retraces more of his steps, figuring out around the time on March 1st Kayo disappeared. We’re less than a week away now until that day. He plans to thwart the events further on Saturday by taking her to a Science Center. Kayo refuses as her mother wants her home early so she can beat her and accidentally kill her. That’s my assumption right now so far, she goes too far and actually causes Kayo’s death. Satoru tries to talk her mother into letting her hang out with him and nearly gets a smack for it until his mom saves the day. We hear from Satoru that she was (or still is) a news reporter so her mind’s sharp, she has an idea what’s going on just from assessing that situation. Saturday comes and he notes that the abuse seems to have stopped, at least for the time being. During the trip, he gets deja vu, even though he doesn’t remember this happening. It happens a second time and realizes this did happen exactly, just under different circumstances. Last time he just ran into her, this time he took her to the same place. He can’t figure out if this is a mistake though, nor how to fix it. So he tries random things to alter events, changing his attitude, but in the end his friends all show up too, noting this didn’t happen last time. Monday comes, things still fine, but he lets it slip out that he thinks she’s pretty, which catches Kayo way off guard. The next day is the big day so he ensures he sees her early in the morning to make sure he gets to her. He even holds her hand, trying everything to convince her to stay close to him. Realizing it’s past the time he lost her, he takes the chance to bring her home, praying everything’s changed. He admits this seems all too easy. So he goes there when the clock strikes midnight, symbolic perhaps? He gets up super early to see her and ensure he’s changed history. And she’s alive. So it’s birthday party time! More deja vu along the way, so far unrelated to Kayo though, of course, she was dead at this point before. I totally forgot Kayo and Satoru share birthdays, so they’re celebrating both. Kayo gets emotional, revealing the reason she wanted to go home early wasn’t due to her mother but because she wanted to finish a present for him. He gives her a present, a new pair of gloves. She really appreciates what he’s done for her and bids him farewell, planning to give him his present tomorrow. He’s convinced he’s won, but has he yet? Or did he just prolong it? I’m still suspicious. He’s nearly late for class until guess who’s missing…Kayo. Episode over. I’m convinced it’ll be something silly like she was sick, she didn’t get any sleep so that’s an option. But man…it’s a tough cliffhanger to swallow.
Episode Score – 5/5
This week’s episode is named with the Fire Dragon in the title, seems like it’s finally time for us to get back into things! We start off with the bunny girl, Delilah getting an order of sorts, perhaps she’s an Italican spy and she’s been given a kill order? No time, we’re back to rapey bunny girl and the foot-licker. She reveals the plan is for Delilah to kill Noriko, the hostage saved earlier in the season. She also mentions she’s the queen of her race and Delilah during a ritual calls her a traitor, so I have zero idea what’s going on now. The commanding officer sends out troops to aid Itami, saying even though he’s an idiot, he’s our idiot. So it turns out that old man Itami talked with is a king, geez royalty just passes through here like it’s nothing. They work out a deal to escort him home in turn for mining rights (and tax exemption) for anything not related to the world’s currency. So they’re looking for oil, shocking. We go onto to Noriko who’s still struggling with the fact her family is probably dead after the attack in Japan. She wishes she could die, so of course Delilah shows up. She nearly succeeds when Akira finds them and they have a one-on-one battle, the first real even match we’ve seen in the entire series. She stabs him and he frantically shoots her dead…or so I thought. Both are somehow still alive. The people are shocked to hear that no one’s banished after this, the guilty by association not applying in this world. Forensics also play deeply in this investigation, another thing the people beyond the gate don’t know of. Two fighter jets are scouted the skies, trying to find the dragon, you know they’re about to die. They test what the dragon’s capable of and one of the jets gets a fire bath, though surprisingly no casualties. Itami’s group reaches the area Yao’s clan lives and as they’re approached by the people, the fire dragon also shows his ugly face. Tuka’s frozen solid. Out of all of them, Rory poses the best fight. Itami finally tells her as she’s looking at the fire dragon that her father is dead and he’s not her father. He has her fire an RPG blast at it to try and help her, but it misses the mark and she is about to snap when the episode ends. Now things are getting interesting!!!
Episode Score 5/5
This anime’s slowly becoming my favourite just from being so mysteriously interesting and (for a game world anime) very realistic. A clear focus is put at the start of Shihoru’s hardships with talking to boys as her time with Manato shows. With success, they’ve all learned a new skill, some to help them with other problems, Yume learned a dagger skill in case things get close-range, Manato learned a bash skill for the same reason as a healer. Ranta however seems to be just wanting more power and clearly has bloodlust now, always diving in to get the killing blow, even if the enemy’s already dead. We start to get background on the lore of the world too, Yume talks about her God as a hunter. Manato clearly shows his leadership, seeing all the ways the entire group has improved, not just through skill. And then Haruhiro gets his shit pushed in by an archer, one in the shoulder, one in the shin, no knee shot unfortunately, so he can still be an adventurer. They get overwhelmed, it’s a miracle no one died in the skirmish. Or did they? Manato takes a bad shot in the back at the end and can’t heal himself and dies. Holy fuck, the healer died in Episode 4?! And they don’t handle it well at all, especially Haruhiro, he pretty much snaps and goes crazy. They’re told they have five days to bury him before he becomes undead. Holy shit, shit just got real. Shihoru takes it really hard too, though quietly for a moment and then straight up snaps, crying her eyes out. So no respawns, eh? And then another long music section kills the moment, I really don’t know what this show’s obsession with extended musical sections is. There’s a long moment too where it’s just a looping animation in the wind, probably 15 seconds. Come on guys, you had my full attention and you fucked it up! This would have been the best episode of the week, its first one, but unfortunately that last two minutes was too damning.
♥ OFFICIAL YUME ASS SHOT COUNT! – 2 (there were two semi-ass shots, not as blatant as ones like in the pic above) ♥
Episode Score – 4/5
I was right, this blonde knight is probably the most fucked up of them all. As if the other two have problems, she apparently hasn’t landed a single hit on any enemy. Oh and she’s also masochistic. Greaaaaaat. Kazuma starts t think about his future with the skills he can have and makes the mistake of leading Megumin into thinking he’s learn her explosion skill before Blondie jumps in, with some super hot blue-haired girl with her. Just him refusing Blondie makes her tingle all over, man she’s weird. Blue hair’s name is Chris, but is she weird too? She offers to teach him a skill, ‘Steal’ specifically while others are quickly brought in. So when Chris gets him to try out the Steal skill on her, I’m taking bets before this. She says he’ll still a magic dagger, I’m betting on either panties or the little fabric covering her small bust. Survey says…PANTSU!!! And he goes nuts, even to the point Blondie’s weirded out…or did it? So he tries again and steals Megumin’s panties too. Best skill ever! Though she takes it a little better than Chris did. Blondie still tries to get into his party, gets rejected and moans like she’s seconds away from climaxing. Sheesh! So Haruhiko tries to play the certain death by the hands of the Devil King card, but that only makes her more interested. He tries to get Megumin out too, but she goes full Rikka Takanashi Tyrant’s Eye on him, so that ain’t working either. An emergency quest interrupts all this, all the adventurers line up to defend the town…from an army of flying cabbages. What. The Flying. Fuck. Eventually the cabbages overrun the entire group and Blondie ends up taking a ton of hits, enjoying every single one of them. Of course the armor begins to rip and she enjoys it even more. So Megumin ends it all by using her explosion magic to destroy everything. Somehow Blondie’s got her armor back like nothing ever happened. This group continues to get weirder and weirder. Of course they don’t seem to recruit Chris in as well, cause there’s nothing wrong with her. Damn it! Also, I’m aware her name now is Raratina, she never mentioned it this week, did she give her name last week? I don’t remember. Either way, this episode was all kinds of WTF, the good kind though, I enjoyed it.
Episode Score – 4/5
We get a little background on Chloe and (I think it was) Tamaki, how each of them started. Chloe at 13 basically tells Tamaki as she’s being stretchered out after fighting that she can be a Logicalist just because she thinks she can fight better. Sheesh! We get some alone time with her as she trains, she gets prettier every episode, I swear. Chloe’s trying to find someone, a girl that came close to that 9.8 Paradox person. I’m not sure what her goals are with her, she only asked questions about his looks. A set of Paradoxes appear and are dealt with, except no one appeared after defeated them. Tamaki is pissed at Chloe for disobeying orders while Chloe’s pissed that they wanted her to simply pass by a bunch of enemies that were in her path. Another set of Paradoxes appear, same ones as before, but everyone’s told to hold back until Yoshichika has healed and can fight again. In the meantime, we see Olga still trying to form a contract with that Paradox enemy they fought in Episode 1, to extremely failure again. Still upset with each other, Venus and Valkyrie suggest Chloe and Tamaki just get everything out of their system with each other. Still arguing, they set out to help out Yoshichika. Can I note how weird it looks chest-wise between Trances for both Tamaki and Chloe. Tamaki looks like she doubles in size when Tranced, while Chloe looks almost flat. It’s like they exchange bust sizes during Trancing. Finally working together, they managed to defeat the threat. With their logic rate going down lately, Athena admits the reason is because she’s worried since she saw Lucifer. Pretty good episode, I wish they’d do a little more character work like this though on everyone, I don’t feel like I have enough on everyone to root for them still.
Episode Score – 4/5
So Reina’s officially female Goku. So the start of this episode decided to get trippy as shit for a bit. It seems like a Phantom bus appeared at some point and has now messed with Reina’s perception of reality, but time will tell how far down the rabbit hole we’ll go. Koito arrives to confirm Reina that she’s been possessed by this bus she stepped on the night before. Showing up again, Reina automatically walks onto it and Haruhiko follows in response to try and save her. Koito know there may be no return for Reina if this keeps up. Arriving in a FUCKED UP place where Reina’s family are rabbits, Haruhiko is beyond flabbergasted. Interestingly enough, the animation style changes slightly between Haruhiko who isn’t falling for this, while the rest appears cartoonish until finally Haruhiko is drawn in as well. And then it gets weirder, incest jokes and all (they’re not related in reality, by the way). Somehow getting to Reina’s place, it appears that her parents are really strict and assholes, which would explain this alternate world and family she has now under the bus’ possession. She tells everyone her parents are against Phantoms and her getting involved, so she hasn’t told them she’s a part of the club. Third time around, Mai makes the mistake of joining them. I’m convinced Koito’s having to save them now. After being completely trampled, Mai starts to decode a little of what’s going on in this world, until Ruru fucks it all up and accidentally has Mai fall prey to the trap. Somehow the bathroom of all places fixes the problem and slowly but surely everyone gets fixed up, Haruhiko having to suffer a suplex into a toilet. Awesome. The world though begins to implode, trying one more time, offering her a chance to stay in that world forever, or leave forever. She attempts to stay, but Haruhiko manages to snap her out of it. It’s an emotional moment to say the least, not quite cry worthy, but emotional nonetheless. So no Koito rescue. Reina tells everyone afterwards she mustered the courage to tell her folks and thankfully they accepted it, for the time being at least. I enjoyed this episode a lot, though I’m sure all the Mai fans out there are pissed. She didn’t rub shit this week! You poor bastards…go stare at Hestia for a while.
Episode Score – 5/5
Takumi immediately wants to dissect BUER, but Clarion puts a quick stop to that, admitting Uzal told her to watch it and that she would also prefer it being destroyed than protected if the situation called for it. Nene is being interviewed to enroll into a school and gets into Auror University. In the meantime, Takumi still insists on trying to examine BUER, to various degrees of failure. For homework (already), Nene goes to a workplace to observe. YAY! NEWSGIRL!!! Awww, she didn’t get destroyed this time. Also, bunny girl is watching them again. No matter where Nene goes, she’s given the utmost special treatment due to Takumi’s influence, which kind of throws her off-guard, she doesn’t like it and it’s too much for her. The two end up stopping at a charity festival where she finds a TV reporter (that isn’t blondie, booooo!) and asks to observe her work instead. It gets interrupted by a bunch of thugs, you know that’s not going to go over well with Nene and in turn, Clarion. Bunny girl’s behind them and the moment she realizes Clarion’s there, she gets the hell outta dodge! With all the food damaged that was cooked, Nene and Clarion (somehow) fix the problem, which of course involves hand into panties as usual. Oh my god, Clarion looks badass. Also, COOKING MONTAGE!!! And the day is saved, thanks to…Nene and Clarion! There’s some dastardly plan going on, though nothing’s really said as to what that is still. Guess we’ve got some episodes to go until that. Decent episode, not as hilarious as the rest though.
Episode Score – 3.5/5
Rina asks Itsuki to go somewhere with her, IT’S A DATE! Or is it? Surprisingly, it sort of is, they go to a PSO2 convention. Rina’s all over the place at this event, ranging from excited to super judgmental. Kota discovers he’s with her at this event when he asked Itsuki to go with him and after an episode hiatus, Aika’s watching them. Itsuki meets a bunch of the players he’s been with and they’re all way different, ranging from older men to kids. Kota remains depressed while all this is going on, poor guy, Itsuki when Hos before Bros! Aika, while costumed, sort of saves him. Itsuki pulls Rina towards the people he’s met, trying to help her out of her solo-play attitude. While searching for Aika, Kota gets knicked by someone, likely Aika in her spy mode. Kota’s character calls him in-game to get him to help him with whatever situation he’s in. So with Rina and the rest of the group, they seek to find him. The group has some real-life setbacks with each other and Rina as SORO has to come in a fix it. They eventually find his dropped phone and after a “We’re all friends! Yeah!” speech, they find him…in a bathroom, nothing had happened. The episode ends with Aika in-costume slaying something in a room that looked like a room they passed by in real-life. Huh? Either way, a fun little episode.
Episode Score – 4/5
The team learns their first opponent in the tournament, Mihashi, thus the training begins for the End of Summer races. Having trouble with the parkour jumps, Ayumu gets Hozumi to help him get past that hurdle (almost literally). The girls get their own hot springs cliche with the boys, including Takeru getting a little too in-depth with everyone’s muscles. Meeting the opposing team, we have a real dickhead on hand for the Honan boys to defeat. After some crazy cliche attempts from Ayumu that fail, it’s time to race! 1st round goes bad again for Riku, starting off way too fast. Takeru makes up some time and we realize the relationer for Mihashi may not even be the relationer. Heath gives Honan their first lead and now it’s time for Ayumu to overcome his problems, but the uphill portion has him stuggling again, but he hangs in and even takes a crazy shortcut to try and catch up, cutting himself in mid-air but still finishing up to give Hozumi the last leg, who somehow makes up a 4-second gap and winning. The ending has Kyousuke talking with Riku’s brother over the phone, he’s coming back to Japan and wants to run with him. Pretty good episode as always from this show, a consistent action-packed race. I love these episodes.
Episode Score – 4.5/5
We have a new pilot! Lise. Oh yeah, that’s Theodor’s brother! Well that was sudden. I almost want to call it that she dies in this season just because this is resolved so out of the blue. It’s shown that they’re not blood-related brother and sister, he was adopted by a distant relative as a young boy. The others are suspicious, since she was just brought in out of nowhere, they wonder if either she’s a spy or if she’s even his sister at all…and also a spy. Irisdina is convinced she’s arrived to get Theodor to switch sides, though he’s unsure himself. Together now, she teases him a bunch right away, giving away that he’s way into blondes exactly like Irisdina, though she completely disacknowledges that the topic’s even coming up. When alone together, he asks Lise if she remembers what happened after they last saw each other, though she forgets, the most recent memory of it being awake in a hospital. And then she takes a hard turn, going right back to Irisdina’s betrayal of her family. Seriously, it’s like we need a counter for this. And then she trusts her immediately just cause Theodor says he does, very suspicious. Katia’s clearly a little off as well, she thinks Lise is a spy and I’m sure she’s a little jealous that some attention’s been lifted off her from Theodor. He admits his suspicions as well, telling her to give him some time until he figures out if she’s Lise or not. For the first time we see a different country’s army, the US Navy’s mechs are around, as well as Britain’s forces. For a moment they join up together as a part of the UN to destroy a BETA army. We see Thi-Rang is moving around again, but cannot fight. Because of her being out, Gretel is being put in charge of Theodor’s fleet, but has little experience leading, so he’s asked to help her out while still protecting Katia AND on top of that trying to figure out who Lise is. Storming the beaches, the 666 make their way in to clean up the remaining BETA forces after a heavy shelling from warships. Katia nearly gets into serious trouble again, but Lise manages to save her. With more BETA suddenly appearing and the battle situation making it difficult to see allied forces, they’re in a pickle, not to mention the warships plan to fire regardless if there are allies in the area. Then they find out they’re the ones in artillery range. Gretel clearly doesn’t have the capacity to properly lead as she’d prefer staying and fighting to prove the East’s superiority, while Irisdina has to come in and change plans to get things moving again. We end on an odd note, the West are fighting and Irisdina ends it by saying to Gretel that this is how the world is, they hate the East. That’s it. A weird way to end, but it was still a good episode.
So we’ve passed week 3 of the winter anime season. So I figured I’d do a quick top 5 kind of post for the best at the time of post. So here are my best of the winter season at the quarter-way point!
Best Opening Theme
Here’s my top 5 so far for opening themes, though they likely won’t change by the end of the season, unless new ones show up and wow me. I’m only doing openers and not ending themes, as I honestly haven’t listened to many of them.
“Genesis” by STEREO DIVE FOUNDATION – Dimension W
“Checkmate!?” by MICHI – Dagashi Kashi
“Stride (ストライド)” by OxT (Masayoshi Oishi x Tom-H@ck) – Prince of Stride: Alternative
“Re:Re:” by ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION – Erased
“GATE II: Sekai wo Koete (GATE Ⅱ ～世界を超えて～)” by Kishida Kyoudan & The Akeboshi Rockets – GATE: Season 2
Best Art Direction
This is the top 5 in terms of their art style and the character designs. They’re not necessarily the prettiest, but the most striking and attention grabbing.
Pandora in the Crimson Shell Ghost Urn
Luck & Logic
Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
This top 5 shows the most intriguing and interesting stories I’ve encounter so far, to the point I’m impatiently waiting the next episode.
Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
GATE: Season 2
Sexiest Female Character
Since I have so much to choose from here, I’m going to make this a top 10, instead of a top 5.
Yume – Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Kinoa – BBK/BRNK
Misaki – AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across The Blue
Reoko – BBK/BRNK
Mira – Dimension W
Valkyrie – Luck & Logic
Chloe – Luck & Logic
Asuka – AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across The Blue
Irisdina – Schwarzes Marken
Tuka – GATE: Season 2
*SPECIAL MENTION* Mai – Myriad Colors Phantom World. I figure if I don’t put her somewhere, people will get pissed. Seems everyone’s into her (I’m sure her rubbing her body every episode and having a huge rack is the reason why, it was the same with Hestia in Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon)
Best Male Character
The top 5 male characters. Basically the few that haven’t been annoying me this season. Looking right at you two, Ranta and Hiiragi!
Kyouma – Dimension W
Haruhiro – Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Satoru – Erased
Takeru – Prince of Stride: Alternative
Riku – Prince of Stride: Alternative
Best Female Character
While we had the sexiest female characters, this is the top 5 best overall characters. The ones that have the best personalities, rather than looks. Not that they aren’t pretty though.
Hotaru – Dagashi Kashi
Clarion – Pandora in the Crimson Shell Ghost Urn
Mira – Dimension W
Nene – Pandora in the Crimson Shell Ghost Urn
Misaki – AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across The Blue
In this category I will list every show here that’s left after Week 3’s ratings. So anything dropped will not be here. Just because a show’s at the bottom though doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad, just not as strong as the rest. They’re all on my list, which means there’s some value in them.
Pandora in the Crimson Shell Ghost Urn
Prince of Stride: Alternative
AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across The Blue
Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Konosuba -God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World-
Myriad Colors Phantom World
GATE: Season 2
Luck & Logic
Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation
And there you have it, that’s my best of the first quarter of this season’s anime. If you got your own lists, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments below!