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Power Rank – January 22nd – February 14th February 27, 2015

Posted by navycherub in Anime, Power Rank.
Tags: , , ,

death parade 1 https://i2.wp.com/www.deathparade.jp/images/top/floor-main_tit_01.png
blackpack kid The only thing I asked of Death Parade for this PR was to prove to me how each episode can still maintain a level of adventure and absolute surprise, and Death Parade performed magnificently. The first episode of this PR was amazing in how it portrayed human emotion and the thought process of those realizing their own demise. They hit the nail on the head and packed an emotional punch by the end of the episode as the characters sobbed in Decim’s arms. As far as the standalone game-centric episodes go, it was top-notch and while episodes of this ilk are amazing, the gears are changed and we’re taken for a loop as the next episode delves more into the arbiters. It was a complete 180 to see Decim as the one playing a game, being judged and tested, and it says a lot for the show that they can pull a stunt like this and have it feel so natural. We’re given a closer look at the black-haired woman’s past and I can’t wait to see where that will take us. The supporting staff also feels strongly crafted in that each character feels so unique that it seems unreal. Factoring all of this in towards a larger discussion on what they decide is a fair judgment, or the objectively correct decision, makes the show shine because there are so many ways the arbiters can read a situation and it greatly impacts their decisions each time. They pull the reins back for the 6th episode but the character story is more than enough to keep these episodes at the top spot. There are some legitimately laugh out loud moments in the “Twister” episode and it balances the serious backstories with their sillier present-time interactions. It’s a moment for us all to take a breather after the previous two whoppers of episodes. I’ll keep cheering for Death Parade and hope it keeps this stride for the rest of the series
culley711 Everybody, put your hands up! Death Bowling was lovely and heartwarming. After seeing the dark jealousy of Death Darts, I am glad we had something so touching. While they still don’t like going an episode without a twist, it worked out and showed a lot of good in both humans. Death Arcade brings the show back to a darker place but in a complex way. Both humans have a dark side to their personalities, but it’s not utterly negative like the couple in Death Darts. These two humans don’t know each other and have lingering family issues, one as a son and one as a mother. Death March put an interesting twist on things, introducing us to a larger cast and bringing the focus onto the arbiters themselves rather than the subjects. This reversal in focus is similar to episode two and I really enjoyed it. Finally, Cross Heart Attack. There’s a lot to say about this episode that I won’t because I’m sure others here will go on and on. Overall it was hilarious and experiencing a different arbiter’s methods was very bizarre. While the game itself, twister, was a bunch of fun, the portion after the game brought a lot of questions to my mind. Despite the game being completed, they had the male human perform his songs from his life as an idol, and the girl lead Decim and the other characters in sing-alongs and traditional crowd dances. It was hilarious to watch but left me wondering, when will the humans go away? Can’t wait for next episode.
hamdog92 Death Parade is turning out to be one of the best anime I have ever seen. It works on so many levels, it appeals to almost all the different reasons I watch anime. I was partly skeptical of the anime’s future success after the recapish nature of episode 2. That was of course until episode 3. It was the kind of episode that makes me smile again. I was so caught off guard by the overwhelming positivity of the outcome that I was left on the verge of tears. I felt so much happiness for those characters that I was left pondering if I had ever felt that emotional before about cartoon characters. I have always had a fairly positive view towards the concept of reincarnation. Quindecim is literally decked out with it. The jellyfish theme is not just to imply an angelic or otherworldly presence. Turritopsis dohrnii is a species of jellyfish that has been recently been to discovered to regress itself into a prepubescent stage of its life when it is sick, dying, or simply too old. Currently there is only one scientist who has sustained the jellyfish long enough to seriously study them. Take a wild guess of his nationality. Yuzuru Tachikawa is a genius.
navycherub Aaargh, this show is way too good! It constantly defies expectations, in fact it does so right away in episode 3 as the “death game” turns out to be a sweet and lovely connection between the guests, pretty much destroying the idea that Death Parade‘s worldview is negative. This theme pretty much continues through the rest of the episodes; Decim slowly learns the power of empathy, and the very usefulness of the arbiter process is questioned. Ginti’s episode wasn’t as heavy as the others, purposefully, but it was one of my favorites because it really embraced Death Parade‘s unique brand of absurdity. All great stuff, and hopefully there is much more to come.
shirobako 2 Logo_Shirobako (1)
blackpack kid If there’s anything Shirobako has proven, it’s that there’s always some facet or piece of information about the process of making anime that I had not even considered. Shirobako is as much an adventure of a show as it is a foray into some strange college course on the inner workings of anime studios. The first episode dealing with the disconnect between authors and the studios upped the ante and showed off just how that can create a disconnect between the studio and their own staff. As they seemingly dump everything on Iguchi and she reaches a near stress overload it’s great to watch the characters handle it in a way that feels both natural, logical, and honest. The goth loli experiencing similar problems and tying that into why she dresses and acts the way she does turned everything around for me. I thought her persona was some one-off joke characteristic as the trope of a goth loli character for no other reason than to have the character present in the show is not something I’m unaware of, so giving her a reason behind it all furthers my belief that this show has been expertly crafted right from the get-go. The next episode dealing with the frantic creation of a PV was an absolute delight. The setting of a fast-paced, problems-abounding, stress-filled few weeks perfectly fits and the characters making rash decisions really puts you in the moment as you are scratching your head just as much as they are. It was also a great chance to have the new characters to the show explain a little about themselves and give us a look into how they are handling their new positions. As it all culminates with the celebration at the end, watching the PV gave me just as much excitement as watching a real PV for an anime I’d be interested in watching, and it’s a shame it’s fake. The final episode is a great showing of how well Miyamori has gotten at reading a situation and reacting in a calm and collected manner. Her smooth operating during the meeting with a now sober Ookura was great to watch and see just how far she has come. As problems arrive at the end of the episode, I’m once again entirely too excited to see where it will go from here and what I’ll learn next time.
culley711 Real life has been so accurately displayed here I can’t fit the struggles Aoi faces over four episodes into a simple paragraph. Generally, I liked getting new insight into the formation of anime. It was interesting to see characters talk out whether they should go for an anime original ending or wait for the creator to finish publishing the arc in their light novel. Also, seeing the thought process behind coloring was fun. Aoi ended up having a bigger influence than she thought as the Desk. Overall, touring each department with the director was a lot of fun and very educational. In episode 16 when the communication between the studio and the creator finally gets through, I couldn’t believe it. I’m sure this scenario is analogous to many areas of an anime adaptation but it was still difficult to imagine such a poor relationship between the creator and the studio adapting his work. One of the shining characters in this round of PR was the director. I guess that the director has a large input at the onset of a project, but once things start airing there’s less and less change for him to have. It could also be that for Exodus, he was very busy writing the final storyboard instead of being a part of the quality checking.
hamdog92 Musani Studio is such a nice place to work even when shit is hitting the fan. Shirobako is in its stride, maybe it’s just all the cute girls but the anime is always a pleasant experience to watch. The new production assistants have also really come into their own as characters. I wish this anime didn’t have to end so soon. It’s pacing and format implies that it could be a much longer show if it wanted to be. But the anime (and life) is all about the journey and this is Aoi’s wild ride after all.
navycherub I am very happy with how confident Shirobako is in its own  writing. The narrative constantly takes steps forward, adding more and  more to the experience, but never superfluously. Case in point: the new  characters that were recently hired. While they could have been just new  faces to symbolize the constant change in the workplace, Shirobako  isn’t the kind of show to stop there. No, they are all being developed  in their own ways, allowing them to really add to the show instead of  being setpieces. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by this; after all, Shirobako is the show that gave us the many-faced goddess Miyamori Aoi. But, it is still nice to be reminded that Shirobako is as good as I think it is.
garo 3 logo_2
blackpack kid I know my rating may not look like it, but I really enjoyed this PR’s episodes of Garo. There was a good mix of everything I wanted to see in there. The first episode was one of my favorites by far. It was a look into the world of Garo through a commoner’s eye. It shows the difference in power between the humans and those that actually fight the Horrors. It feels somewhat inspiring to watch them chase their dream and put their all into the project and the characters are a breath of fresh positive air in a show so consumed by darkness so often. The ending where they face off against the bear and their determination to not give up, even when faced with the worst possible outcome with the suit, was just a pleasure to watch. German and Alfonso coming by to drop in on them gives a vast contrast between the villagers and our main protagonists. I would definitely not mind more episodes like these. Then we get to the Leon episodes. While I’ve made it no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of Leon, I think what it would take is for them to give him some faster paced development, and despite it feeling somewhat hamfisted in there for tragedy’s sake with the family’s grisly end, I feel they accomplished that this time. Leon losing control and facing his demons really seemed to work this time around. You could feel his pain and experience it, whereas previously you’d only get this through Leon’s need to whine to German. When Alfonso gives back the suit, I figured I’d be more upset than I really was, and I think it’s because of how Leon’s character has progressed as of late that I’m not fully opposed to rallying behind this character now. Where the future of the show goes is up to it, and German’s arc coming up with Mendoza will definitely be something to look forward to.
culley711 Yes this show has risen from the ashes as I knew it would. Leon found a quiet happy life and I wish it could’ve stayed that way, but life isn’t so simple and old men don’t like to listen when told to abandon their farm. Leon lost a lovely girl and with it came a desire for vengeance. It was so powerful seeing his happiness dissolve but instead of succumbing to his desire for revenge, he found purpose in fighting to prevent that pain from occurring to others. With that mentality, he and Alfonso duel for the right to the armor. Leon wins out and the golden armor returns to him. Special note that he is now wearing a white jacket to symbolize his purity. Before he lost the armor he wore a black jacket that, in hindsight, represented his dark desire for avenging his mother.
hamdog92 Garo’s rank of 3rd comes after having done something really interesting over a period of 3 episodes. Instead of focusing on Leon, Alfonso, or even German it suddenly shifts to the lower classes that inhabit the kingdom. The episode where the blacksmiths design an armor was both absurd and weirdly enjoyable. The same could be said for the episode that followed the horror’s exploitation of the villagers as a doctor. Then it happened. Leon’s peasant girlfriend dies the shitty death of a peasant just like every peasant before her. Garo’s focus on these lower echelons of its society is very tasteful. It shows their day to day struggles and pulls the viewer into the show. These are ultimately the people the Makai Knights are fighting for yet they are wholly divorced from them.
navycherub Wow. Wow. Wow! Garo has been good recently, but this time around it jumped ahead of the pack and made a name for itself in a grand way. The capstone of Leon’s character arc was an amazingly well animated and choreographed fight, bringing with it all of the emotional catharsis and impact that such a thing implies. Truly great stuff. The other two episodes were also good, helping round out the themes in the show by putting more focus on the peasants that the Makai knights are working to fight for in the first place.  It is especially nice for Alfonso’s character arc for him to get to see the peasants trying to imitate Garo; he has been stuffed up in the castle doing paperwork far too long.
kimiuso 4 Wiki-wordmark
blackpack kid I want to start this off by saying I am not ready for where this show is heading and if things go the way they have been I won’t be ready during the episodes, and I won’t be ready for them afterward. I originally applauded this show for its amazing performances and stage scenes, and while I still believe they were amazing, it seems the show has other plans for the main characters. As the episodes start off by delving into how the characters perceive their friends romantically, and either realize things, or break things off with others, there’s a lot more happening behind the scenes. Something beyond the romantic and into the tragic. Kaori is falling apart. It was rough to watch as she crumples into herself during a few scenes and cannot control the body that we spoke so highly of before. She feels like she is becoming a hollow husk of her old self, trying to parade herself in front of her friends as healthy, and happy, dressed in her school outfit and skipping about. She fears what she sees as the inevitable and fights it to the point of injuring herself a number of times. The first scene of her in the hallway was heartwrenching as she beat at her legs to just move a little and her emotions were more than just palpable. They outright slap you in the face. As Kousei tries desperately to keep her in his life, but at arm’s length, they explode at each other and act out in ways that astound and confuse all those around them. They hold some tragic secret that neither can fully express or explain and it’s beautiful. The studio animating Kaori’s health descent should be applauded. As the episodes go on, she gets paler and frailer, subtly losing control of her body, but there’s something else going on around her. The settings with her in them were always bright and colorful compared to Kousei’s gloomy twilight, but now even the colors around her are just as dull and faded as she. The director of these episodes put a lot of effort into this and I absolutely appreciated every moment of it. It gets to a scene where Kousei visits her in the hospital and her pale skin surrounded by the gloomy twilight we all attributed to Kousei now enveloping her, it all builds up to one of the biggest jaw-droppers as she asks Kousei to commit double suicide with her. Everything built up to that and no matter how much they try to say it was a joke or they weren’t thinking, it was a real scene that occurred between those two and can’t be taken back. They’ll have to revisit this and where it goes I can’t even begin to guess. The next episode tones it back for his pupil’s performance and it’s great watching Kousei watch from a teacher perspective and give an inspiring speech to help the next generation. It’s a great scene to watch and I can’t wait to see how she performs next episode, as well as some arc conclusions for some of these characters as we are quickly reaching the end of the series.
culley711 What a ride! What will we find at the end of this? I fear it will just be memories of the past. Episode 14 pushes at my heart by taking Miyazono out of the picture and focusing on Tsubaki’s complex feelings towards Arima. This sets us up for a lot of heartache because I wish for Tsubaki to find happiness, but I know that Arima’s feelings for Miyazono are part of what’s driving him to evolve as a person. I can’t route any direction. Now that this has all been played out we get a nice distraction in the form of Aiza. No not the rival, but his younger sister! Arima takes her on as a pupil and finds new ways to grow as a pianist and gets to reflect on his own difficulties by helping another grow into a master. This plot continues with occasional echoes from Arima’s life or Miyazono’s increasing loneliness from being in the hospital for a few weeks now it seems. Arima finds visiting her difficult, with flashbacks to his mother’s hospital stays. I can see where the difficulty comes from there, and that he likes Miyazono but she is together with Watari.
hamdog92 KimiUso seems to have found its footing again. Kaori is as cute as ever even when she’s paler than ever and probably dying. Out of all the anime ending this cour I am looking forward to this anime the most because of how I think it’s going to end.
navycherub Lots of emotion from KimiUso. It feels a bit like the series doesn’t need to be as long as it is – while I still find it really nice every week, the content is stretched thin. I like how the show is slowly dulling all of the colors as Kaori grows weaker; I also like how it is handling Kaori becoming a bit like Kousei’s mother as she grows more sick. That toxicity is being expressed well and Kousei seems to be recognizing it this time around, but it is taking its sweet time. Let’s move on to the finale please.
yowapeda 5 granderoad_logo
blackpack kid As Yowamushi Pedal has proven time and time again, every inch and every second counts. We’ve lost Naruko along the way now and the tension only increases as each person is now in position for each of their final battles. Imaizumi’s backstory does a great job of explaining his character quirks and his thirst for first place. It does a good job of giving us that last puzzle piece to the puzzle of Imaizumi beyond the cool Ace-esque character he sells himself as. His brute force battle with Fukutomi is great to watch. As Ishigaki faces his senior death his discussion with Midousuji really brings to light once more how frightening Midousuji really isn’t once you know him. Despite his prodding and insulting, Ishigaki stands next to him wanting to pull his hardest for the team, for Midousuji. He can see him for who he really is and it’s great to know that other characters see him the way we saw him at the beginning of this season. He’s cracked even wider open as he passes the competition and faces off against Manami. While not exactly dead, this may be the last we see of Makishima, and him fighting and pushing for his team all the way to the end and putting his soul into Sakamichi really sends his character off with zero regrets. Watching Sakamichi ride off alone to try to catch up to Manami and Midousuji is the icing on the shonen cake and makes sure the audience knows that Makishima didn’t die in vain. It’s great to have a show that prides itself in having you understand each character and their intentions and why they race. It builds for scenes like these where they push themselves beyond their normal limits to make every inch count. I’m excited for the next episodes and potentially the end of the race, or maybe just the lead up to the final straight towards victory.
culley711 Yes, this is getting somewhere! Climbing the final hill we have the freshmen trio and Makishima. This unlikely group must best the all ace team and find their way to the top. To start with we get an absolutely blinding display from Naruko. His sprint climb burns so bright and hot that the group soars to catch up with Hakone. With this we get a final passionate flashback of his hard work before he burns out and crashes so hard. I just want to pause and say that when Naruko crashed I thought he seriously broke something. I get that it makes for a good visual but any sane rider would put on the breaks rather than collapse. Just my personal opinion that it’s too dramatic. After Naruko leaves we get some of the best backstory I never saw coming. I know it’s weird but I forgot we haven’t had Imaizumi’s story of how he came to love cycling. It was a wonderful and touching story and I am now on his bandwagon (and nearly every other rider’s bandwagon). Episode 17 brings the dark horse Midousuji back to the stage. I can’t wait to see how he disrupts the battle between Imaizumi and Hakone’s ace, Fukutomi.
hamdog92 Yowapeda is as great as ever. If anything the race hasn’t really gone how I expected it would. Fukutomi is really getting blown out by Imaizumi. It’s kind of crazy to actually witness.
navycherub Man, who knew Imaizumi was actually such a great character? I’ve been hating on him pretty much since the beginning of the show, because he came across as whiny and the generic “wanna be the ace” character. And, well, he kind of is. Add that to him doing seemingly nothing at all for the entirety of the Interhigh aside from being surprised at how good everyone else is and complaining that he isn’t doing anything, and you would understand why he didn’t rank too highly on my favorite Yowapeda characters list. Of course, the show’s wonderful habit of defying expectations came into play recently and Imaizumi is actually a much more interesting player than I would have ever thought possible. Naruko still isn’t though. Sorry Naruko.
yatterman 6 p_logo_top
blackpack kid Unapologetically silly at times but always a carries an endearing theme of family sticks together. It’s also nice to know that despite Boyacky and Tonzra’s love pulling money scams and playing the part of bad guy’s, they often can’t go through with it and help those that they think they hurt. It’s another layer of depth that these characters still stay true to their true identities, but try their hardest to emulate someone who they may not fully see eye-to-eye with. The addition of the new characters, Alouette and Galina, had me iffy in the beginning but now they offer a great point of view of how in Yatterman’s Nation truly feel. It’s an interesting dynamic to have these characters and they almost come off as a symbol of the rebellion taking place. Leopard and her friends are absolute symbols of the enemy of Yatterman, while Alouette and Galina are symbols of a more realistic citizens of the nation standing up and rebelling against the form. The second episode, dealing with the married couple felt like something out of some dystopian, futuristic, techno-noir book. I thoroughly enjoyed the struggle and the twists, turns, and betrayal that followed. It seems the more Yatterman wants citizens to obey, the humans exhibit the most emotions in the show before submitting their will and body towards manual labor for the rest of their life. While I’m not sure it was a point made in the episode, even the husband’s betrayal shows that he in a sense is rebelling using dirty tactics to save himself and his family. Humanity is what we should take away from that. The last episode has the fight and it’s absolute silliness. How they are able to make mechs so fast in this show when they can barely eat creates this level of absurdity that always catches the viewer off-guard, but the show handles it normally and so the viewer accepts it as well. The Doronbow Gang is out trying to save humanity and so much more with this planned forehead flicking. I for one can’t wait to see where it goes from here on out.
culley711 This show is getting ridiculous but I don’t hate it. I like that the cast is growing and I feel like the characters are the strongest part of the show. There doesn’t seem to be a driving goal for the evil trio other than destroy Yatterman, but every episode they are getting tied up in the sad lives of the oppressed citizens. The fanatic culture the robo-Yattermen create is eerie and the desolate forest settings bring images of totalitarian regimes from history. I’m curious how the strong willed Doronjo will weather the despair.
hamdog92 If there’s one thing that will stick out for me about Yatterman Night is its ability to mask its pessimistic themes behind bubbly animation and colorful art. Episode 4 especially stands out in my mind. The wife’s complete and utter defeat by the Yattermen taking her husband away despite of the team’s efforts to come to rescue was a very “real” moment for me. You can’t win everything, and the cyclic nature of the whole premise leaves me with the impression that the team won’t even win against the Yattermen.
navycherub Yatterman is still Yatterman, and in this case that is a wonderful thing. I love how well this show can mix its pessimism and optimism; we have a show where the main characters can be utterly betrayed by the people they are trying to save in one episode, and a ridiculous mecha sports tournament in the next. That first point also brings up another cool thing about Yatterman Night; you see, in these reboots the idea is usually to make the original idea more mature, but that tends to bring a lot of baggage in the form of being too edgy for its own good. Yatterman Night, though, knows where to stop and where to start. It wants to break down the farce of the original story, but does so by being childish and then not rewarding that where it usually would be. That is perfectly encapsulated by Doronjo’s naive plan to save the woman and her husband – just ship them off to an island! Perfect plan. This childish, half-baked plan doesn’t succeed of course, but not because of the Yattermen directly; no, instead, they are betrayed, because their plan would only create more suffering. Great stuff.
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blackpack kid I’m surprised this isn’t higher considering this arc and its conclusion. It was all-out battles and intense edge of your seat scenes of suspense and dread for what is coming up. The villains manage to find new ways to have unique fights with Shinichi as presented in the battle with the 5 parasytes in one man. Finding out how Shinichi will defend himself alongside Migi and how they bounce off each other is great. Migi stealing the money to take care of himself by taking care of Shinichi was a great way to showcase yet another scene where Shinichi’s morals, and Migi’s lack of them almost butt heads. While these scenes were good, what really sold the episodes is the constant evolution of Tamura Reiko.  Tamura Reiko represents a more positive future for humans and parasytes.  Her arc ended this PR and her transformation into a matured parasyte that is open to, even accepting of, basic human concepts and expressions.  Watching her adopt these aspects of being human was breathtaking.  Her execution, while brutal, left everyone with something to chew on.  Both characters in the show and the viewers themselves.  The scene of a mother protecting her child even at the cost of her own life resonates with everyone.  Shinichi especially understands just how much he may have misjudged them and it mixes with his own yearning for his own mother.  Migi’s usual Spock-like reasoning and logical way of thinking is thrown for a loop as he sees just what is possible for parasytes and himself and that things may not be as black and white as they originally thought.  It was a powerful scene and for a shonen action anime like this, I’m glad that they are willing to take a chance with giving such focus to scenes like these.  I’m excited for what’s next and this detectives and prisoner arc is shaping up to be crazy.  Finish strong, Kiseijuu!
culley711 It might be shocking to see the falling of such a giant but don’t take these rankings at face value. Parasyte is an amazing show that has done a lot of surprising things in its run. This ranking merely reflects that this show has hit a slow point. The threats to Shinichi are still present but it feels as if he’s evolved to his ultimate form and found a way to embrace his inhumanity without losing his old self. The driving forces of these episodes are in the parasite conspiracy, Tamura Reiko, and Shinichi’s partnership with the detective. It’s a familiar feeling that all of these pieces are pushing the plot to another ultimate breaking point. At the end of episode 18 I feel that we are at the breaking point to true madness but it will have to wait ‘til next episode.
hamdog92 Parasyte has finally come back into its own again. The last episodes have started to become just as satisfying as they were at the beginning of the series. Tamura’s death was perhaps the best scene in the series and was made all the better by the use of the ED. The snowy park gave me flashbacks to Madhouse’s adaptation of Death Note. I’m not sure if that was intention on Madhouse’s part or if the original Death Note manga was inspired by Parasyte in some small way. Along this train of thought, Shinichi’s dad also resembles Light’s dad or maybe that’s because they both are alcoholics. Who is to say?
navycherub Disappointing, I guess? Tamura Reiko’s death was a nice way to summarize her role in Kiseijuu‘s worldview, but aside from that everything has been dragging and dragging. I feel like I’m being recited the same talking points over and over again, and it just isn’t grabbing me. Shinichi’s character arc basically ended a while ago and I think that is where the show officially ran out of ideas.
yurikuma 8 yk logo
blackpack kid What surprised me is that I got a lot of answers to questions I didn’t think I’d be getting so early on.  Maybe it’s the fact that Ikuhara is dealing with a 12-episode series this time so there’s less time to string me along, but I thoroughly enjoyed what I got this PR.  While the first batch of episodes were great, on a repeat watch, the underlying tones of romance between Kureha and Sumika almost feel hollow at times.  It’s a very important plot point but as we move forward with the stories Kureha shares and what Ginko is going through, you start to see that there might be something stronger going on between them.  Sumika is a ghost to Kureha, haunting her at every turn and shaping how she reacts to others and the world around her.  Maybe I’m just biased by the recent episodes from the point-of-view of the bears.  The story of princess Lulu and her brother, told in typical Ikuhara directing fashion, was as much a comedy as it was a tragedy, and one that haunts Lulu and serves to act as a catalyst of sorts for her to escape into the new world with Ginko and hopefully escape the pain.  Their interactions with Kureha give off a completely different vibe than they did in the first three episodes and it’s this total shift in the series that I think can really sell the show.  It balances total tonal shifts spectacularly and has you now actually caring for who were originally seen as the villains of the show.  The bear trap was left field and then watching her still manage to get to the fire to hurl herself in really changes how you see these characters and that’s a strong point for a show like Yurikuma Arashi.  Here’s to the next couple of episodes.
culley711 I think if I got any more symbolism I would choke. Seriously. At this point I’m full of questions and I can’t answer them! What makes a girl invisible? Do these bears want to bang blondy or eat her? How can Japanese viewers tell the difference between “delicious smell” and “delicious meal” because they sound so similar to me? What’s the point of anonymous cell phone voting if you know who said what? How do they predetermine the vote? Is the picture book supposed to be us inceptioning the anime characters into love? How the hell did that bear trap get so well camouflaged? How many more bears are there? Shabbadado? In summary, wow so pretty but I’m getting dizzy from the unknowns.
 hamdog92 Lesbians aren’t as society makes them to be? Well I’m pretty shocked to hear that. To be honest this anime isn’t really getting to me the way Penguindrum did. I’m still enjoying it but perhaps the single cour wasn’t the best idea.
navycherub Hey, I like this show. It has good ideas and the Lulu episode was particularly wonderful. The reason I’m not head over heels for it is because it isn’t doing a great job of making me care about most of the characters; it is lacking those small character moments that get me attached to characters so that the drama is strong when it comes. This is, of course, probably because of the length of the show, but that doesn’t make it feel any better. It also doesn’t help that the plot is purposefully concealed, sometimes in a direct way, so I can’t get super attached to that either.
rolling girls 9 The_Rolling_Girls_logo
https://wideface.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/10.png?w=54&h=19blackpack kid I really love Rolling Girls.  I just want to put that out there.  While it may not hit the nail on the head with its executions at times, how the series tackles the different aspects of Japanese culture, by turning them into a new gang they must face off against, is a stupendous idea.  The show still feels like a visceral visual roller coaster as something always seems to be moving, zipping, or flying through the scene, and having the characters meet groups that have such clashing ideals makes for a real show once the fights start.  Alot of time is spent on helping us understand just why we should care about these characters.  While the main group of girls is interesting I find myself only concerned with maybe 1 or 2 at a time so I hope more focus on the characters begins to happen soon.  I’m all for a show exploring the many facets of life in japan, and hope to continue enjoying every minute of it.
culley711 This show gets more fantastic and fantastical in these past two arcs! We get a heavy dose of culture that really pulls you into these communities. The city of Always Comima is so intense and scary with how passionate people are about their lifestyles. Of course with this power comes a heavy dose of absurdity. This is expressed even more so in the next city the girls visit, where biker best compete in races for control over the city. The odd customs continue, with shop owners able to kidnap pedestrians if they try a free sample. The personalities of the people they meet in this town are not always so extroverted. Some just want a simple peaceful life but are unfortunately the head of rival gangs. Overall the Rolling Girls expand upon their universe in a meaningful way by using letters to Macha Green to drag the girls from one conflicted community to another. I am thoroughly enjoying this show.
hamdog92 Cute girls drive around do cute things with other similarly cute girls. I’m probably giving this show too much hate. It’s not bad but compared to a lot of other anime in our PR I still don’t think it has earned itself into the top 10. That said the Officer Jenny/Nurse Joy like character is my favorite part of the show. Maybe I’m just a lot more like Brock than I’m willing to admit.
navycherub The Always Comima arc was great. It had a strong theme – making your media a part of your inherent identity is a bad idea because you lose sight of what made you like it in the first place – and it executed that really well in only two episodes and from the point of view of a character unique to that arc. I have to wonder if that was an accident, because the bike stuff doesn’t seem to have any central ideas or even a focus at all. Hopefully future arcs are more like Always Comima.
yona 10 logo
blackpack kid Wow, I never expected Akatsuki no Yona to actually make it onto the list but I’m excited that it is.  The first episode blew me away with Su-won and his army taking on General Geun-tea in the war game.  The battle was amazing watching as Su-won obliterated the competition, all while keeping an aloof attitude and giving off the idea that he has no idea how to actually fight.  To watch as he turned the tides was simply awesome.  His actions afterward however, are what really sell the episode.  During his time in the city, how he shifted the entire economy, through Geun-tea’s wife’s tea and the earth tribe mines, with just a few simple actions proves that these characters are not as two-dimensional as one would think who is looking at the show for the first time.  It does look like that silly kind of reverse harem shoujo fighter show, but it really knows how to progress the story and characters in ways that transcend that simple genre title.  The next two episodes deal with the main troupe’s journey into a port city in search of a new dragon to join their group.  What goes through as a silly couple of scenes where they run around town bumping into each other and the dragon, there are some very key plot points happening all around them and while they are mentioned and shown, they are not focused on.  This builds towards a great scene where Yona finds a house they previously passed by, with a child who died during the invasion by the corrupt officials.  As she stands by, feeling powerless, but reinvigorated in her dream to stop those who try to control and hurt the good people of the nations.  Yona isn’t a character who stands by while the strong companions jump in and do everything for her.  What makes Yona a great character is her absolute dedication to trying to stand on equal levels as her dragons.  She knows how little power she has and yet she still demands to help the pirates.  It’s an unstoppable determination that keeps you coming back for more with this character and it’s refreshing to see in a show like this.  I for one hope to see this in next PR, but who knows what can happen over the next couple of episodes.  Good luck!
culley711 Akatsuki no Yona started last season as an enjoyable shojo fantasy but recently their tour of the country searching for the four dragons has picked up. The relationships between party members has become more complex and the strength of Yona as the protagonist has increased. I can’t shout praises for this show but it’s a very reliable and interesting show, and what used to feel like a slow plot now feels like the appropriate pace. The plot and world building gets better every arc and the scope of the plot is something I rarely see attempted in the past decade. The anime has been set to end in this season but I do honestly hope for a second season. I think that’s the greatest praise I could give this show.
https://wideface.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/10.png?w=54&h=19hamdog92 Wow. At long last, after so much disappointments and suffering the ever-blushing Yona has made it on the top 10. There is so much to talk about and yet I feel like I don’t have the time to talk about nearly any of it. If you haven’t watched this Yona yet I would recommend giving it a try. I think this is the kind of anime that anime addicts can enjoy, the kinds of addicts that could be watching something else that may or may not be better but don’t. Having grown up with Bioware games I’m always a fan of the “gather you party” style of fiction. Out of the main cast, there’s no one character that isn’t likeable in some way. Everyone has a personality niche and they live it up with all the sudden chibi tropes one has to expect from the demographic they’re targeting. Yona herself is very likeable she’s got a cuteness factor to her that I can’t get over and her character development has been very consistent and logical. Su-won, the main antagonist has recently usurped control of the show and renamed it to the Su-won’s Game of Goofy Thrones. This little arc of episodes was very refreshing. Overall, if this turns out to be the first and only time I have to talk about Akatsuki no Yona. I just want to say that I’ve enjoyed the experience as a whole. If by some miracle this gets on the top 10 again, I guess I’ll humor you readers with some sort of coherent rant about my problems with the show. God help me if I can’t say anything negative about this anime again. 
navycherub If you’ve noticed my rankings for this show in the past months, you’d not be surprised to know that I am absolutely ecstatic about Akatsuki no Yona finally getting its chance to shine. This was a really strong set of episodes, too! We began with the latter half of Su-won’s efforts at gathering support for the future, which was executed via a ridiculous but exciting “arena battle”. Su-won hadn’t gotten much focus since the beginning of the series so it is nice to finally see what he is up to, and I was not disappointed at all. Akatsuki no Yona has a surprising maturity to its internal world and politics, so it should be allowed to flaunt that more than it does. Next we got to meet the green dragon at long last, and he was immediately one of the most likable characters in the cast. His dynamic with Hak is especially fun to watch, because they bounce off of each other very naturally. Hopefully we will continue to get to talk about Akatsuki no Yona!
iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls 10(-1) 10 12 9 8 11
Aldnoah.Zero 11(-1) 11 8 5 11 16
Log Horizon 2nd Season
15(+2) 7 13 15 13 10
Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 13(-1) 13 14 10 16 13
Junketsu no Maria 14(-1) 14 16 14 11 14
Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE! 16 16 17 17 15 12
Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata 17 17 15 16 17 17


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