Anime Knockout! Fall 2013 Week 4


Welcome to the fourth week of the Fall 2013 season of Anime Knockout! Every week, we will review the new anime of the season, rate them, and kick the weakest show off of the queue.

Spoilers ahoy! So, if you don’t want to know what happens, come back after you’ve seen this week’s episodes!

For the Fall 2013 season, here is our chosen lineup:

Arpeggio of Blue Steel
Beyond the Boundary
Galilei Donna
Gingitsune: Messenger of the Gods
Golden Time
Kill la Kill
Log Horizon
MEGANEBU!
Nagi no Asukara
Samurai Flamenco
Strike the Blood
Walkure Romanze
Wanna be the Strongest in the World


Gingitsune: Messenger of the Gods

Briar’s Review:

A new student? Maybe this will help pull the focus off of Saeki.

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 5/10

On a calm night, a young man is talking to an old man about leaving the Kamio Shrine. After the opening credits, Saeki’s freak out wakes Gintaro and spooks the birds. She thinks that her father is bringing in a new wife. It’s actually a kid named Kamio Satoru coming to stay and transferring to her school. He’s quiet the kendo expert. Gintaro does not look impressed. Saeki throws a fit over it. She doesn’t want a boy to stay at the shrine. Wah wah wah. Bitch some more, Saeki. Gintaro doesn’t care.

At the school, Saeki is asked by a teach to carry a bunch of stuff to the reference room and Funabashi helps her. Afterwards, Saeki sees a little white cat herald and Funabashi doesn’t. Yumi finds them and squees over the knowledge that a boy is transfering. She wants to know all about his looks from Saeki.

At the shrine, it looks like Gintaro spends a lot of time sleeping. The boy shows up at the shrine and startles Gintaro because the boy can see him. The cat is actually a small fox named Haru. Satoru asks where Gintaro’s partner is. Gintaro replies that he’s gone. Saeki starts babbling at the small fox, who takes offense over her lack of respect. Gintaro tells Haru that none of that stuff matters.

When meeting with Saeki and her father inside the dwelling, Satoru looks a little constipated. He’s also rather formal. He doesn’t plan on staying more than a week while he finds another place to live. However, his guardians have already paid Saeki’s father, who was told that he would be staying until graduation. Saeki tells her father to leave, because she wants to talk to Satoru alone. And then he does?

Haru says that Saeki has no idea what the Sight is for. Satoru makes a request to Gintaro to let Haru stay at the shrine. Satoru won’t be taking over his shrine, but Haru followed him away. Haru doesn’t want to live at the shrine if Satoru isn’t there. Gintaro points out that Haru already has a shrine to call home. And what will happen to the shrine when the priest dies? Gintaro doesn’t like it. Saeki tries to convince Satoru to stay. Gintaro doesn’t like the idea of Haru staying. It doesn’t matter that both are heralds.

That evening, Saeki’s father is watching TV all sad-like. Saeki is in her room. Gintaro is on the roof. Satoru and Haru are in their room. We flashback to find out that Satoru lost his parents in an accident and was raised by his grandfather, a priest. His aunt takes him in after his grandfather dies. She has a bossy little daughter. Auntie doesn’t like that he practices kendo so much. She’s very strict and doesn’t want him doing anything without permission.

The next morning, Saeki oversleeps and finds Satoru doing her job of sweeping the shrine. Haru starts insulting Saeki and criticizing her sweeping job. Satoru asks why Haru doesn’t go home. Then he tells him to go home. Haru insists on staying, but Satoru snaps at him, saying that he’ll be fine on his own. Haru starts to cry as Satoru tells him to leave. Haru runs off in tears. Saeki scolds Satoru for yelling at a little kid. Satoru tells Saeki that Haru is over 80 years old and herald of his own shrine. Gintaro comes off the roof. He warns that Haru might disappear if Satoru doesn’t do something. Satoru is an upset mess.

Plot Score: 5/10

In this episode, Satoru Kamio and his little fox spirit, Haru, go to live with the Saeki family at their shrine. When Makoto heard the news that they were going to have someone stay with them, she thought it was going to be her father’s girlfriend, if he had one, and immediately detested the idea by refusing to call her “mom”. Her father, being the chill and laidback guy that he is, just laughed it off and corrected her by informing it was going to be a transfer boy her age who would be going to her school to do kendo. Makoto didn’t like the idea of a boy living there even more than another woman. However, her father reminds her that Gintaro is a boy, though to her, that doesn’t count, probably because he’s a spirit and sleeps on the roof all day.

I thought Satoru was from the shrine Makoto visited last episode, but it appears that was not the case, just similar designs and I thought the show would be a little more clever by introducing a character subtly like that. Satoru is from another shrine though and he has the Sight to see spirits because his parents died in a car crash when he was young. You know what that means? This guy never smiles and is bitter about life. However, it appeared that his guardians, I am assuming to be his aunt, were hard on him and his cousins treated him like a servant more than a family member.

While at school, Makoto’s friend, Yumi gushed over the fact there was going to be a transfer student. I am getting pretty tired of the transfer student theme in anime. When Makoto got home, she met Satoru and Haru. Upon meeting her father, Satoru states we will only stay for a week and pay for everything. This confuses Makoto’s father, because he already received money from Satoru’s guardians and was told Satoru would be staying until graduation, not to mention that he’s only in high school so he can’t rent an apartment on his own. Satoru did not reply.

Whenever Haru said something negative about the shrine, which was pretty much every time he talked, Satoru scolded him. Satoru then asked Gintaro directly if Haru can stay at the shrine. After a long pause, Gintaro said he’s not going to ask for an explanation and he doesn’t like it. I’m not sure if that means the little fox can stay or not, or if it means to ask again later when he’s thought about it. When Satoru screamed at Haru and told him to go home, Haru left in tears and Gintaro mentions that Haru could disappear without Satoru. I think this meant literally, like Haru would die.

And that’s all that happened. It looks like the next episode is also going to be about Sotaru and his issues. If very little happens in that episode too, the plot might lose points.

Character Score: 5/10

Satoru and Haru kept the focus of the episode off of Saeki, which helped a great deal in making this episode engaging. However, Satoru is stiff and angsty, while Haru is loud and obnoxious. At least they weren’t entirely flat and boring. I can describe them in terms other than “boring” or variations thereof. Saeki is still as engaging of a character as dry oatmeal, but she was mostly something for Satoru to interact with, rather than the driving force of the plot. That is a good thing. Saeki is not a character that can carry a show. At best, she’s an observer character. Other than be the typical anime doormat girl, she doesn’t have much of a personality. Satoru may be able to carry a show, but even he’s a bit cardboard. Gintaro still doesn’t do much, but now Saeki has someone to share in her delusions of imaginary friends. Unfortunately, he’s not a character that can carry a show, either. He’s more or less furniture. He’s there and characters do things to him/on him/around him, but he doesn’t interact much with the world beyond that.

When Satoru was first shown at the beginning of the episode, I kept thinking that the boy was too old for this show, but that’s just Saeki looking like a middle-schooler. I forgot that this is set in high school again.

Character Score: 5/10

The characters still feel like strangers to me. Makoto Saeki is a nice and somewhat reserved girl, and that’s all I can really tell you about her. I suppose she doesn’t like the idea of a step mom, but I think it had to do more with not being told about their guest earlier. I’m not really aware of her likes, dislikes, fears, or any aspirations. Does she want be a priestess or whatever she’s training to be? Is there anything else she wants to do? Is she studious? Even though it’s only episode 4 at this point, I should be seeing subtle things about her personality that answer these basic questions. I’m a little disappointed. Even Naruto had likes, dislikes, and aspirations revealed early.

Satoru Kamio is very serious and we know he’s into kendo and doesn’t want to be a priest at his family’s shrine. It’s like we know more about him than the main character. He’s currently brooding over his past or trying to get away from it. For now, he’s a jerk until he calms down and stops lashing out at Haru.

Yumi Ikegami and Hiwako Funabashi got very little screen time so development there. I did noticed Makoto still calls her ‘Funabashi-san’, so they’re not total friends yet.

Production Score: 6/10

Bamboo forest at night and nice gate shot of the Kamio Shrine were lovely at the beginning of the episode. The backgrounds even included the water vapor ring around the moon. Nice details throughout the episode. The herald models still bother me, though. I don’t think that’s going to change if it hasn’t by now.

Production Score: 5/10

Since this is an anime with little action, that means the animators can make some generously detailed scenery. Which they do. However, by episode 4, I can conclude now that this not a high energy show by any means, therefore, I think the characters’ designed could have been spoiled a little more. Higher details in the hair and around the eyes for example. It’s still decent quality, but it could have been better given the content the studio has to work with.

I noticed when Makoto chased Haru in the school, a red-haired guy glanced at her in the background. I liked this detail. Someone as actually going ‘wtf?’ and kept walking mind their own business.

In Satoru’s flashback, there was a shot of just a ball bouncing. Maybe my screen lagged, but it seemed like it bounced weird. There were a few bounces that were the same height/duration and that’s not how a ball bounces.

Briar’s Total Score: 5.3/10

It wasn’t entirely boring! Let’s hope that Satoru continues to pull the focus off of Saeki, despite his angstiness.

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 5/10

I liked how this show started out, but it’s hasn’t been going anywhere entertaining. Satoru is not making me interested in what’s going to happen next.

Week 4 Total Score: 5.1/10
Season Total Score for Gingitsune: Messenger of the Gods: 5.4/10

Walkure Romanze

Briar’s Review:

I’m really done with this ecchi bullshit.

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 3/10

Mio and friends are celebrating her victory at the restaurant. Suddenly, more Noelle groping Mio’s boobs. Really? We’re still stuck on this? Is Noelle a Disciple of Molestia, too? Is it okay for Noelle to grope like pervert because she’s a girl? Mio will not be jousting now that the duel is over, despite all of her potential. Akane has a new technique and Noelle wants to know, but Akane won’t show. So, we already know that Mio’s not going to be jousting. It’s just a matter of when and how she’ll decide to keep going.

Akane gets on the trolley early in the morning and finds Mio on there. Mio wants to watch Akane practice. We find out that Akane started jousting at the age of five. And she wore a kimono as a little kid? When they get to the practice field, they find a black knight is already practicing. It’s the robogirl. She gets every ring. Akane has never seen her before. So, really, everyone has been fawning over Mio, but never though to ask Lisa where she came from? Or say hi? Normally in anime, the transfer student gets pounced on.

Takahiro is still recovering from his injuries and the doctor tells him that she can refer him to a specialist. Did we really need that innuendo scene with the doctor?

In class, Mio is spacing off, watching the jousters practice. So, is that all the jousters do? Is that going to be the sum total of their lives? Later, at the restaurant, she’s practicing her thrusts with the toothpicks.

Lisa and Loud Girl are hauling saddles to clean them. Loud Girl bitches about being first year students and doing mundane work, because they’re too good for it. Akane tells them to take better care of the equipment. Loud Girl talks trash at Akane and throws down a challenge to joust against Lisa. Which Lisa accepts, because why? And Akane accepts it, why?

So, Akane suits up in her samurai armor and rides off. Takahiro barges in and tells Akane to not be stupid. Meanwhile, Mio is talking to rapey-horse. James shows up and Mio returns the armor. Akane and Lisa joust and Akane takes a hit from Lisa. Akane decides to use her new technique and scores a hit on Lisa. Mio comes running to watch.

Noelle tells Takahiro and Loud Girl that the student council VP is coming and that unsanctioned matches are forbidden. If they’re caught, the girls won’t be able to participate in the summer tournament. Takahiro takes Noelle’s horse and a broken lance and breaks both lances to stop the duel. The VP shows up and Takahiro tells her that they’re helping the new student practice horsemanship.

His hand went numb and Lisa scolds him for being too reckless. Mio gets jealous about Akane having Takahiro’s attention. She goes running towards him, wanting to be a knight and jousting. She wants to be in the tournament too.

Plot Score: 3/10

Two episodes in a row started out with a girl groping another girl’s chest. That is not normal. That’s molestation. What’s wrong with these people? Anyway, there was a small victory party to celebrate Mio’s jousting in the last episode. Now that her joust is over, Mio is going to stop jousting and continue her normal studies. Yeah, we all know she’s going to change her mind about that shortly.

During a medical exam of Takahiro’s injured leg, there was another innuendo because they were behind a curtain and the female examiner was kneeling between his legs, so all the girls saw was the shadows from the other side. Because, you know, the examiner can’t look at his leg from beside him or by leaning, nope, she had to be kneeling between his legs.

Soon, we meet the new student that people keep talking about it the last few episodes. She turned out to be Lisa, the monotone white-haired girl that always had the cat. She’s a freshman jousting student prodigy that wants to complete in the summer tournament. While cleaning up some jousting equipment with her friend, Fiona, they stop for a break at Fiona’s complaints. Then senior Akane came by and told them to respect the equipment so Fiona got Akane and Lisa to joust over the matter and to prove Lisa is a better jouster. That escalated quickly.

Meanwhile, Mio misses jousting. She looks longingly at the jousting practice outside the classroom window, jousted with sandwich picks at work, and cleaned up the armor before returning. Apparently, the armor was given to her as a gift, but she just said she had to go to work and she sat by a river instead until her jousting senses starting tingling.

The joust was tied and they were about to start the last round when someone said they were about to get caught, since they aren’t supposed to have unofficial jousts, so Takahiro jumped on horse and intercepted the lances with another broken lance. Mio got there in time to see it and was amazed. I just thought that was one trusting horse to let him do that. Before getting caught, they pretend to be practicing their horseback riding and avoid getting in trouble. Since everything is about Mio, she jumped in and proclaimed she wants to joust again. Surprise, surprise.

Fewer innuendos this episode. That’s a plus. However, I think that Takahiro is supposed to be the main character here and he’s never the one we’re actually following. Does he have a room? Mio has a room, and her own bath.

Character Score: 2/10

Mio is becoming very grating as a character. Her constant vapid giggling and gasping is driving close to a homicidal rage. And she has to giggle and gasp about EVERYTHING. So, does Mio has psychic jousting sense for detecting duels? Really, how did she get that flash of a fight in her mind?

Lisa’s loud friend, whatever her name is, is really obnoxious and rude. She’s the sort of character I would like to kick in the teeth. There’s no reason why she should be such a loud jerk, except to be a loud jerk. And that Lisa goes along with her challenge is baffling. There was no reason for the duel, except that Loud Girl was talking trash. If Akane knew that unsanctioned jousts were forbidden and could result in being barred from the summer tournament, why did she accept the duel? Why didn’t she tell Lisa this very important fact? That entire duel had no reason to exist!

Akane’s samurai style jousting armor was interesting, but still as laughably impractical as the rest. Still sporting the bare thighs against the saddle.

Character Score: 2/10

Takahiro Mizuno, aka The Boy, didn’t do much this episode. He’s fairly dense about people and is either ignorant of or ignores all innuendos. The leg injury that stopped his jousting career still hurts, but didn’t stop him from jumping on a horse and getting in the middle of a joust. I’m wondering what his injury actually prevents. It’s not like he has a limp. It could be a ‘to prevent further damage’ thing.

Mio Kisaki’s voice annoys me so much. She does a high-pitched gasp at the end of nearly everything she says. Does she have a lung problem? Is she weirdly pleasured by everything? Talk without gasping you waste of air! Apparently Mio can sense jousting and will go running towards it.

Akane Ryuuzouji’s voice is very boyish. She’s the one with long black hair. For a minute, I wondered if she was going to be a trap, because of the voice. It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened in anime and this one is full of tropes. It seems that she’s supposed to just be more womanly since she’s older. Her armor looks like samurai armor more than any knight armor.

Lisa Eostre is a monotone Lolita and she’s the best new jouster. Not original at all if you ask me. Still unsure if she was supposed to be the new transfer people were talking about. She has nearly no visible emotions or range is tone. She said desu at the end, which means she’s supposed to be cutesy.

Fiona Beckford is Lisa’s friend and seems to be the one that is going to get her into trouble by complaining and provoking matches. She’s annoying.

Production Score: 5/10

The animation quality overall is fine, but they still need some work on their horse movement and there were a few face angles that ended up a little wonky, too. Also, we returned to the CG abuse and music much bigger than the show is. What’s with the naked shots of the girls under their armor?

Production Score: 5/10

No change to the overall quality. There was some nice animation on the river. The horses are still a bit lacking.

Briar’s Total Score: 3.3/10

At least this wasn’t as much of a pervert’s holiday as the last episode.

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 3.3/10
Week 4 Total Score: 3.3/10
Season Total Score for Walkure Romanze: 3.6/10

Strike the Blood

Briar’s Review:

It’s just a flesh wound!

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 5/10

At Itogami Island Management Corporation, Asagi is snarking with an AI. The AI alerts her to intruders, before they feel tremors from a damaged support column under the island. Below, Astarte is wrecking her way into a shiny white facility. I think I’ve done a Task Force on this map before.

Back at the last fight site, Kojou awakens with his head on. He didn’t know he could heal like that. Yukina goes on an emotional rollercoaster and decides that this is a great time and place for some backstory infodumping. Her parents sold her for money and she was raised to fight demons, so that no one would be sad if she died.

Kojou tries to get up, but then falls on Yukina. He still can’t move very well? Nope, that’s a lie. He just wants to perv on her with his best porn voice. Like right now is the best time and place for that. We’re treated to plenty of hentai-foreplay blushing from Yukina. This awkward prologue is interrupted by the island shaking.

The Keystone Gate was attacked and Asagi is trapped inside. A lot of guards are hurt. Kojou calls her and Asagi tells him that the building’s collapsing around her. He tells her about Pretentious Pants and Robogirl.

Meanwhile, Pretentious Pants is tearing his way to the Anchor Block. It prevents the island from breaking apart. The treasure he’s after is a military secret. Asagi tells the AI to break into it. Some nasty hand and forearm? Kojou hears what it is, but we don’t. Yukina tells him to take her blood so he can control his Familiars and fight Pretentious Pants and save the island. He goes vampire fangs after a lick and starts biting.

Pretentious Pants is teary eyed after reaching his destination, then goes full-on crazy laugh. Kojou and Yukina show up to save the day. We find out that the nasty arm is a saint’s relic stolen from the Lothargian Church and Pretentious Pants is there to retrieve it. We learn that the island was built on ley lines and a human sacrifice was used as the cornerstone. With modern techniques, it should be possible to construct a new cornerstone without a human sacrifice. Pretentious Pants won’t have it. He’d rather send 560,000 to their deaths.

Kojou goes into the fight and Yukina joins him. Yukina takes Astarte and Kojou takes Pretentious Pants. Pretentious Pants wears glowing holy armor and gloats about it. All this guy needs is a mustache to twirl. Kojou summons the Fifth Familiar, Regulus Arm, a fire/lightning lion. It’s reckless to use such power in an enclosed space. Yukina incantates and breaks through Astarte’s shield, then Kojou sends the lion to attack. The spear breaks, but Astarte is down. Yukina breaks Pretentious Pants’s armor. Kojou knocks him down and takes him out.

Kojou thinks that it wasn’t wrong to seek the arm, but it was done in the wrong way. Kojou bites Astarte to bring her under his control and give her a longer lifespan.

Everything went according to plan to unknown characters, Headphone Boy and Talking Crow. Apparently, Yukina was sent to be Kojou’s lover. Ew. Ew. Ew.

At her apartment, Yukina packs up, expecting an order from the Order, because she broke the spear. Surprise, the spear is delivered, repaired.

At school, there’s some awkward dialouge tht leads Asagi to think that Kojou screwed Yukina. Yukina tells Asagi that she’s the observer to make sure he doesn’t do anything bad.

Plot Score: 5/10

The villain from the last episode left our protagonists in a puddle of Kojou’s blood and took off down this giant building where some kind arm-crystal thing that is holding the islands together with magic or something like that. Asagi, the blonde super hacker with a thing for Kojou is watch the events unfold from her computer.

So Kojou was beheaded in the last episode, but don’t worry, he’s A-okay! Apparently beheading doesn’t kill vampires in this universe, or maybe just not vampire lords, which he pretty much is. So yeah, all his blood just kind of sucked itself back in, head reattached itself, no big deal. Yukina cried a little and freaked out, then scolded him for protecting her without telling her he could heal like that. He didn’t know he could. She was baffled by the notion he’d risk himself for her when she was originally supposed to kill him. Still weak, or maybe he just wanted to mess with her, he started to stand but fell on top of her. This scene was sexualized a bit, but apparently this is ecchi so there was a lot of blushing, squirming, and gasping on her part. For once he didn’t get a nosebleed, but instead sniffed her and made like he was going to bite her neck. He didn’t touch her clothes, but somehow when they got up, her uniform top was slipping off one shoulder and she had to fix it. I don’t know they could slip off that much. One thing leads to another, she cut her neck and offers it to him, he took it, so now he gets to use her familiar. That’s how it works in this show.

Kojou called Asagi and got location information on the villain, though I’m not sure why he needed to, there was a trail of dead people and blood wherever the guy went. Again I’m having a Final Fantasy 7 flashback here. They get there at lighting speed, I guess. Kojou sympathizes with the villain a little bit about his desire to retrieve the arm, but is going to stop him nonetheless. He and Yukina team up and use their powers plus the familiar to break through Astarte’s magical barrier and defeat her, leaving nothing but openings against the villain, break his holy armor, and then defeat him with lighting fist and the familiar. After the battle, Kojou bit Astarte so he can use her familiar now. This offended Yukina, I think she felt used or something.

Then there’s some secret meeting somewhere talking about a conspiracy to make Kojou a better vampire and embrace his roles as the Forth Primogenitor and they intend to make Yukina his lover or Queen or some bull like that. I’m not a fan of the age difference between Kojou and Yukina. I know it’s only about five years, but he’s going to graduate before she’s in high school, so it seems the masterminds are getting a little ahead of themselves when they’re planning for them to get together.

After the credits, Yukina told Kojou she got tested and that it was a negative. I think she got tested for either disease or if she became a blood slave when he bit her. She mentioned she only bled a little and they did it on a relatively safe day. Gee, I wonder how the other characters are going to interpret this? So they think she took a pregnancy test. It was kind of funny.

Character Score: 4/10

So, WTF Captain Pretentious Pants? There was another option that didn’t involve the deaths of over a half million people and he didn’t choose that one? Was he really that dumb or that cracked? He could have easily just started a PR campaign and turned himself into a publicly righteous hero figure, seeking to free the island from the burden of human sacrifice. Instead, no, he goes all murder happy like some idiot beast.

Kojou needs to get aroused before taking blood? Yeah, he needs to get smacked for that. They’re really turning him into a lech of the not entertaining kind. Also, why is Yukina a middle-school girl and not the same age as Kojou? I can’t find a reason for it beyond pervert and a middle-school girl uniform fetish. She can be short and cute and a high school student at the same time. Also, she’s there to be his lover? So, she was sold by her parents, trained, and then sent with the express purpose of an intimate relationship with a man she’s never met before. Yeah, keep it classy.

Character Score: 5/10

Kojou Akatsuki is suddenly able to be close to a girl and have her all over him without getting a nosebleed. I guess that’s an improvement on his part.

Yukina Himeragi is blushing all the time it seems. Not as annoying as a certain other anime this season. She needs to be a little more badass to gain some points back. Her romance with Kojou seems a little too fast paced considering where she started.

Astarte didn’t have any lines his episode and was barely present other than to protect her master for a minute before being defeated, and then Kojou bit her for her familiar, so she will probably show up again later. I kind of hope not unless they do something good with her character, and not have her crush on Kojou too.

Asagi Aiba is the genius programmer blonde in Kojou’s class. She’s just there for convenience so far. One, for easy information. Two, for a love triangle. It’s disappointing.

Production Score: 6/10

The animations looked fine and there was some nice effects, but nothing really impressed me. They spent a lot of time on the blushing, but they didn’t go overdrive ecchi mode. Not yet.

Production Score: 6/10

Little disappointed this week. Not much happened. Guess I wanted to see more fighting with epic moves and such. A show about vampires and such can have a lot going on and the battles always ended rather quickly. There was also too much time spent on Yukina’s reactions to Kojou sniffing or biting her. It was sexualized, of course, this is a vampire story. So what might have been a romance is more ecchi. There no sign of a cut or bite marks on Yukina’s neck, so either she healed or the animators forgot.

Briar’s Total Score: 5/10

If I had to choose between this and Beyond the Boundary, I’d pick Beyond the Boundary. Same base concept, better execution.

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 5.3/10
Week 4 Total Score: 5.1/10
Season Total Score for Strike the Blood: 5.7/10

Nagi no Asukara

Briar’s Review:

So, drama?

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 5/10

We pick up where we left off, discovering that Akari’s boyfriend is the father of one of the obnoxious little girls. Hikari makes Miuna cry. I’m not sure how.

The kids are cooking and Manaka gives the boys compliments, driving Hikari nuts. No one else will try the sea kids’ food, even if Manaka asks. One of the jerk boys pushes Manaka down and her plate breaks on the floor. Tsumugu tells them to apologize before the teacher investigates. Later, Hikari exchanges stink-eye with the jerk boys in the hall.

The sea kids find their doll broken an vandalized, so Hikari attacks the jerk boys. All of the parties involved are called to the principal’s office and Hikari is sent home. Manaka ditches school to follow him.

Later, Chisaki is going on about how wonderful Manaka is, while cleaning up the mess. Low self-esteem, much? It was one of the obnoxious little girls, Sayu, who left graffiti on the doll. Chisaki tells Kaname to keep it a secret, because it will make Hikari look bad. Tsumugu tells Chisaki that it’s not good to lie. He doesn’t want everyone to misunderstand Hikari more than Hikari misunderstands all of them.

Saya crows to Miuna about ruining the doll. Miuna is pissed about Saya playing dirty. In the sea village, Manaka tells Hikari that he’s like an octopus, because they spit out ink when they get scared. They look up to see Akari’s boyfriend in sinking down towards them in scuba gear.

Manaka burns the food she’s trying to make at the boyfriend’s house. He tells the kids that tried to contact Akari directly, because he couldn’t contact her any other way. Hikari calls him a criminal, and then spots the memorial shrine in the house. It’s for the boyfriend’s deceased wife.

It’s been 3 years since Miuna’s mother died. The mother was named Miori, who was also from the village? Itaru is the boyfriend’s name. Akari wanted to stay by the family and fill the hole Miori left behind. The priest wants to put a curse on Akari to make her forget the man she fell in love with. The sacred fire acts up after Akari leaves. The surface people can’t have the sea people.

Miuna confesses to Hikari that she destroyed the doll, covering for Saya. Manaka tells Hikari that they’re going to apologize to everyone and that she’ll protect Hikari from now on. Hikari apologizes to the jerk boys for falsely accusing them. Manaka joins him. Tsumugu tells the jerk boys to forgive them. Hikari tells the jerk boys to come at them and one does, slamming them both through the door.

Kaname notices Sayu sneaking around and finds her. He tells her that he knows that the doll was her fault and that he won’t forgive her. So Sayu does waterworks. Miuna was ignored and picked on, but never picked on Sayu. Miuna didn’t care what people thought of her and Sayu wanted to be the same way and dear to Miuna. Kaname tells Sayu to apologize to Hikari. Chisaki isn’t relieved about the matter.

Plot Score: 5/10

Hikari saw his dad with someone in a shop on the surface, but this was quickly forgotten about for the rest of the episode. The next day, the kids are cooking in class. When the teacher told the class to try each other’s dishes, the sea-kids get mocked for smelling like fish and then Manaka got pushed by some boys so she fell and the dish her group made landed on the floor. Oh yeah, Hikari is still in a pissing contest with Tsumugu, who was nearby.

There’s this project the kids have been working on for a while at school, but when they went to the art room, they found it vandalized. Hikari was sure it was the same boys that pushed Manaka so he ran and tackled them. This landed them all in the principles office right away. Hikari was sent home so Manaka went with him, leaving Chisaki and Kaname to clean up the mess in the art room. Chisaki found some writing on the head of the mannequin and knew that the boys from their class didn’t do it. She wanted to hide this information so Hikari doesn’t look wrong about it and made out to be the bad guy. This is ironic because she just told Kaname that she wanted to be more honest like Manaka. When Tsumugu came in and said that the boys aren’t all bad, Chisaki got upset and ran off, however he and Kaname knew it wasn’t personal and not really about what he just said, she just gets like that when it some to Hikari and Manaka.

The little girls that have been annoying Hikari were up to their shenanigans again. One was putting more gum on the wall by the shop when the other girl came running over to her that she destroyed the project, however, even the first girl thought that was going to far.

While Hikari and Manaka were swimming home, they found Akari’s ex-boyfriend sinking in scuba gear. I’m not even sure what to say about this. I guess they rescued him and took him home. Even though they were just in a cooking class, Manaka burns something simple on the stove. She didn’t seem to know what burning food looked like so either she doesn’t cook or things don’t burn easily in their sea-village. The boyfriend was just trying to see Akari because she’s been avoiding him, but it sounded like it was illegal to enter the village. Meanwhile Akari talked to the sacred fire guy about her relationship with her boyfriend’s family and how she kind of stepped in as the woman of the family when his mom died, which resulted in some tension with the boyfriend’s sister, which was the girl putting gum on the wall. When Hikari left the boyfriend’s house, his little sister confesses to destroying the art project, even though it was the other girl. Hikari lets it go and doesn’t get mad because he understands the family drama stuff.

The next day, Hikari apologized to the boy dramatically. Manaka joined. Then he insists one of the boys tackle him back. He did and then they shook on it. They’re cool now. Then Kaname caught the girl responsible sneaking around the school and he called her out on it. She cried and explained her friendship with the other girl. I’m not entirely sure how this was relevant at this moment, but Kaname listens anyway and gets her to apologize to Hikari. Hikari wondered why the other girl confessed to the vandalism if this girl was the real culprit, but didn’t press the matter. The episode ended with Chisaki feeling bad about herself, because she wanted to be the one to defend Hikari, but Manaka keeps stepping in.

Overall, this episode’s plot was a little lacking and jumpy. Does the boyfriend have a name yet? No one says it. We got more of the other two kids, Chisaki and Kaname, which is good. They shouldn’t just be background characters and they seem pretty mature and could be helpful to the development of the other characters. Chisaki seems to be going through some development, but Kaname still needs something to happen.

Character Score: 5/10

Hikari is still a hotheaded jerk, the obnoxious little kids are obnoxious, and Manaka is still a doormat. Chisaki demonstrates a lot of low self-esteem, going on about how much better Manaka is than her in various ways. In real life, this usually doesn’t end well. That sort of comparison often leads to feelings of worthlessness and/or feelings of jealousy, neither of which have a good results. Then again, this is anime, so that might not hold true. Chisaki may figure out that she has value after all and isn’t inferior to a doormat.

Character Score: 5/10

We learned that Tsumugu only lives with his this grandpa. Don’t know what happened to his parents yet. He can cook. Hikari is still competing with him, but everyone is just rolling with it now.

One of the things about Chisaki, I think is that Manaka is growing up fast and getting ahead of her. Manaka was always meek, hiding behind her friends, and needed them to protect her, and since she has been gaining more courage, Chisaki is feeling felt behind and that Manaka is doing better at overcoming her shortcoming than Chisaki is.

Production Score: 5/10

We didn’t spend a lot of time underwater during this episode, so the weird physics didn’t annoy me as much. I did spend some time staring at the scales on the weird priest. I’m wondering what his deal is.

Production Score: 6/10

I think the kids actually look their age. Some anime’s middle school students look like adults and are even taller than some adults too. Main example of this was Prince of Tennis, those guys were supposed to be middle school and didn’t look like it. These kids look like it.

Briar’s Total Score: 5/10

Maybe we’ll find out more about the world next episode?

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 5.6/10
Week 4 Total Score: 5.3/10
Season Total Score for Nagi no Asukara: 5.4/10

Galilei Donna

Briar’s Review:

How many times will we hear the word “Galileo”?

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 4/10

Annoying fish AI analyzes the music notes on the map. It’s a secret code leading to Germany. How? Beats me. Galileo. Hazuki wants to know how to pilot the Precocious Goldfish. The middle sister is in a snit after hearing Hozuki help Hazuki.

They go to a park in Germany that was completed five years ago. Anna stays behind, because why? A bum grabs Hozuki. She apologizes while kicking him. Then they give the bum some food. Kazuki didn’t want to help him, but Hazuki insisted. Hazuki leaves Hozuki and Kazuki with the bum. Because why? Awesome eldest sister duties, there, Hazuki. Anna was on the phone with someone while she was on the ship, but there’s Goldfish AI surveillance.

Hans has a mini medical robot. His daughter caught a disease that medicine couldn’t treat. So he developed the micro-doctor, but too late. Anna agrees with Kazuki, they should think of themselves first. Hazuki takes Hozuki shopping with her in disguise.

Anna is paying for the supplies? “She has a sponsor or something?” Nobody is asking questions around here? Not even the wannabe lawyer? The Ganymede guys find them and grab Hazuki, but Hozuki stunguns them. They throw their purchases and run. Hazuki makes the jump between buildings, Hozuki does at first, but then dives for the plates and falls.

Kazuki goes looking for Hans and his microdoctor. Kazuki indulges in self-pity when there’s no time for it. They need to boot up the goldfish and Kazuki reads the manual. The Black Ganymede is closing in on them. Kazuki will try to pilot the Precocious Goldfish. The need to land in a safe location.

Hazuki takes the blow from falling drawers to protect Hozuki. She opens the comm to the Black Ganymede and chews them out. Kazuki puts the Precocious Goldfish into Assault Mode and it brandishes an armory. Seriously, no food or clothes aboard, but it’s armed to the teeth.

The lackey fesses up to the chase that made Hozuki fall. Red-haired asshole calls off the chase after beating up his lackey. Hans heals Hozuki with the micro-doctor. They get the moon sketch from Hans, who was using it during meals. He found it in a broken stone fish statue. Anna flips over it being used as a place mat. Hozuki finds out that Kazuki has put the broken dishes back together.

So, we got a Chekov’s MacGuffin and a puzzle piece from this episode. Maybe the end to Kazuki’s tantrums. I hope.

Plot Score: 2/10

The girls are off to Germany to find the next sketch by Galileo. It was very unclear if they were suddenly in Germany in the next scene, or what. They find a homeless doctor, give him food, and then the oldest and younger sister when shopping, got attacked by the pirates that are chasing them, the youngest sister falls four stories and bounces off a bunch of cars. She gets back to the ship, the middle sisters got the doctor to help, and they are attacked by the pirate ship, so middle sisters uses the goldfish ship and evades them until the pirate captains learns the girl is injured on the ship and retreats because it’s not cool to attack them now.

Okay, major problems with this episode. One, the middle sister still has he cell phone. She was supposed to give it up in the last episode because others could use it to track them. Maybe the youngest sister deactivated everything but the wallpaper of the boy, but nothing like that has been explained. Two, the oldest sister thought it was okay to leave the two younger sister alone with the homeless doctor! I don’t care if they just gave him food and he seems nice, they don’t know the guy and it’s not safe. It works out, but it still doesn’t seem like a good idea. Three, when the oldest and youngest sisters went shopping, they were wearing a bunch of extra clothes as a disguise. They just said that they didn’t have any other clothes. Where did these items come from? I though they might be curtains or something, but are there curtains on the airship? Four, when the girls were shopping and got attacked, they had to drop everything they just bought, include a bag full of underwear and new plates. While they were escaping, for some reason they thought it was a good idea to go into a building and go up while the two guy were chasing them. They had to jump at least fifteen feet out a window and the youngest sister almost made it before she fell straight down the middle into an alley. Even though she fell about four stories and bounced off of a few cars, it appeared she didn’t break anything and she was bedridden with what appeared to by a bad flu. She didn’t have any scrapes or bruises from the fall either. Five, after said fall, it was not explained how, with the two men chasing them, how the oldest sister was able to get down to her youngest sister, grab her and was able to run all the way back to the airship. Seriously, how did she manage that? That is not something that should’ve been just glossed over for plot convenience! Six, the homeless doctor used his micro doctor machine to make an injection? Injection for what? The flu? Did it super boost her healing of… broken bones… if there was any. Didn’t say there was. Seven, the sky pirate let them go because one of them was injured. What the heck? They were shooting missiles and stuff at them with the intention to harm! What does he care if one of the girls got injured when she was being chased by members of his own crew?

In the end, the homeless doctor had the next sketch clue and gave it to the girls. He had been using it as a placemat, so there’s invisible food stains on it.

I think this episode was a filler or something. There was no mention or scene with either of the parents or the villains and there were too many plot holes. Nothing happened and they didn’t even get more clothes or food for the ship so they are right back where they started besides getting the sketch from the homeless doctor.

Character Score: 4/10

Enough with the “I’m gonna be a lawyer!” routine and enough with Kazuki’s tantrums! At least Kazuki got off her ass and did something this time around. Anna is an obvious spy, the only question is for whom.

Character Score: 3/10

This episode only developed the middle sister. It said she was awkward, and even though she’s upset about this whole adventure and that the youngest sister is in control, she cried begged for help when the youngest sister was hurt. She tried to fix was she broke from the last episode and glued back together the plates.

Production Score: 5/10

More CG airship action and the rest of the animation was decent, but it seemed to skimp on some of the details this time around. The sketch looked to be in good condition, nothing to freak out over. Hozuki didn’t look injured at all for falling a few floors onto cars.

Production Score: 5/10

When they say something is stained, it’s not a lot of extra work to animate a stain or two. For a lack of a better place to mention this, the dresser drawers fell out on the airship, you’d think something like that would have hooks to keep them from being opened all of the way for obvious safety reasons on an airship.

Briar’s Total Score: 4.3/10

Can we get on with this story, now?

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 3.3/10
Week 4 Total Score: 3.8/10
Season Total Score for Galilei Donna: 4.4/10

Log Horizon

Briar’s Review:

Will the princess be in another castle?

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score:7/10

Elder Tale world is 1/2 scale of Earth. Team Shiroe reach the city where Serara is hiding. If they get wiped out in a fight, then all of them would start back at their beginning cathedrals. Shiroe asks Akatsuki to go invisible and silent, both tracker moves. The PK guild is still looking for Serara. Demikas is the leader’s name. He gets the info about Shiro and Naotsugu arriving.

Serara is a level 19 druid. Shiroe knows the cat, Nyanta, a level 90 swashbuckler. Nyanta adds “Nyan” at the end of his sentences because that’s the proper way for catfolk to speak. Nyanta is a RPer too? Shiroe asks Nyanta to come with them to Akihabara.

The Brigandia guild leader is a massive monk class brute. Shiroe decides to take Serara out the rear, but they’re spotted. Fighting isn’t allowed inside towns. The Brigandians will wait until they leave the town to attack. Shiroe knows that they will try to try to surround them and PK. Outside of the city, the guild leader and his crew are waiting.

“Demi-glace?” Shiroe is being insulting to Demikas. Nyanta points out Demikas with a little drama. Nyanta tells Demikas that he’s gone too far and that he should fight him one-on-one. “Delicious-san.” Haha Shiroe. Shiroe points to Londark the elf, saying that they should fight the most powerful member of the guild.

Demikas attacks Nyanta, who dodges. Monks have short cool downs to allow for chain attacks. Demikas also has more HP than Nyanta, but Nyanta can dual wield and debuff with status effects as a swashbuckler. Shiroe tells Serara to cast a healing pulse on everyone on Shiroe’s signal. Before that, Demikas’s team attacks, but Naotsugu pulls the aggro. Then Serara gets the signal from Shiroe. Druid is one of the healing classes. Shiroe tells Serara to forget Naotsugu and focus on Nyanta. She gives him a heal. Just as Naotsugu is about to go down, he casts a 10 second invulnerability. Serara heals him. Elf thinks that Naotsugu is starting to panic. Nyanta is also in bad condition. But then it’s time for Shiroe to act. He casts a binding spell that Nyanta cuts to deal a lot of damage. Demikas is down to 1 hp. The healers are all taken out by Akatsuki. Thorn Bind was cast twice by Shiroe in succession. Demikas attacks Shiroe, but Serara takes his last hit point.

Nyanta also has a griffon and Team Shiroe takes off for Akihabara.

Plot Score: 5/10

Not much happened this episode. The team found Serara, the girl, and the cat man, Nyanta. The town is full of nothing but bad guys, but no one can attack while within towns. As soon as they leave, the guild leader, Demikas, that was after Serara confronts them. At this point, it was just Shiroe with Serara and Nyanta, the other two were on standby in the shadows. Demikas is a monk and guardian class so he has a lot of HP. Shiroe purposefully messed up his name and stuff to piss him off Then Nyanta fights him for a while. Shiroe stands by for a while until he told Serara to heal the team, then he uses his trusty Thorn Bind Hostage move, which deal 1000 points for every vine cut on the target. The rest of the team joined in and took out most of the henchmen. Serara got the final attack on Demikas, because he had 1 HP left and he tried to blindside Shiroe. Then they all leave on griffins since Nyanta has one too from doing the same special mission with Shiroe back in the day.

Akatsuki was especially impressed with the teamwork of the team, since there was no planning beforehand. Now for the journey back.

One thing I am still unsure of is why Demikas was after Serara. Was she just the lone survivor of his PKing? Did she do something piss him off? I don’t remember.

Character Score: 7/10

Nyanta quickly grew on me. He really reminds me of the Baron from the Studio Ghibli films. Also, he’s just as hardcore of a roleplayer as Akatsuki. With Shiroe calling him Chief, he might be the de facto leader of the Debauchery Tea Party. We’ll see if that’s the case.

Serara is headed for some serious powerleveling with this group. It’s nice to see that the healer is low level and weak, reducing the chance for overreliance on her.

Character Score: 6/10

It’s starting to become a crowd when two of the main fighters are pushed to the side and barely do anything.

Production Score: 6/10

I still hate this opening theme. I think it reminds me of the worst of the late 90s first world problems rap. However, the rest of the animation and music is good.

Production Score: 6/10

Still looks good. The casting of spells and stuff would be cooler without going to generic power ups shots, which is doesn’t do and I appreciate.

Briar’s Total Score: 6.6/10

Time to turn in the quest.

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 6.6/10
Week 4 Total Score: 6.6/10
Season Total Score for Log Horizon: 6.7/10

Golden Time

Briar’s Review:

Will Banri and Kaga find safety with the Festival Club?

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 6/10

Linda finds Banri and Kaga and brings them to the university seminar house. Back at the university, 2D-kun glomps Banri a relief. Yana and Pinkie-Pie find them and they get coffee or something together. Yana was worried about Kaga and texted her. Banri tells Yana that Kaga was sure that she had done things to make him that her.

Kaga catches Yana talking to Oka and says that he’s cheating. She gets mean at Oka and tells her to back off from Yana. Kaga then gets really mean and deriding to Oka while pinning her down with her foot. Banri is horrified and Yana is pissed. Yana takes Oka away. Kaga is sweating, she knows she went too far. She knows she did something stupid and made a huge mistake.

They meet with Linda at lunch. She’s alerted the university about the cult. They’ve made trouble at other schools. Linda invites them to join the club. Banri would like to check out the club before joining. Understandable, after the incident with the cult. Banri almost remembered something from his previous life. Koshino is the president of the club. They were practicing Awa dancing. Kaga found it difficult and she wants to join the same club as Yana.

Yana wants to date Oka. There’s a 3-way notebook conversation with Yana, Banri, and 2D about it and what to do about Kaga. Banri is the witness to the breakup/rejection conversation between Kaga and Yana. Kaga has an entire presentation ready about how they were destined. Yana and Kaga have never dated. Kaga is still fixed on him. Banri wants to go home. Yana tells her that he likes another girl and if Kaga bothers Oka, he’ll never forgive her. Kaga starts to pull the guilt trip, reminding him of their history and that she did everything for him. She wants to know why she isn’t special and not important. She never tried to understand him, she was always about herself. Kaga goes into teary, screaming breakdown and tells Yana to leave.

Banri tells her that she doesn’t need to worry aobut him. He stays with her until late. Kaga remarks that she wants to die. A goth girl named NANA tells her to die by music and drops a concert flyer on the table. They go listen to some screaming music. Kaga applies dark makeup and rips her tights and joins the music, screaming her own lyrics into the mic. They get tossed out.

Banri stays with Kaga, taking her to his apartment. Kaga realizes that she never thought about Yana’s happiness. Banri talks about how difficult it is to deal with his family, because they expect the old Banri to return. Kaga tells him to not disappear or forget about her. He tells Kaga that he likes her. They remember that they left their bags in the locker and that Kaga lost her shoes again. “Worrying about rejection might be the same as rejecting yourself.”

Banri returns to his parent’s house and finds his classbooks in the closet. A bunch of photos fall out of him and Linda together.

Plot Score: 6/10

I keep forgetting this is a romance and not a slice of life until I watch the opening. It’s full of hearts and things. This would be a great anime for a Valentine’s Day special. However, this episode, there was a lot more development in the character’s relationships.

Picking up where the last episode left off, Linda from the Festival Club found Kaga and Banri in the woods and took the to the university’s real seminar house for the night. When they got back, Banri found that he was right when he told Kaga that Mitsou would be worried about her and text her. Since Chinami from the Film Club was there, Kaga showed up a laid into this girl for talking to Mitsou. Of course, Mitsou didn’t put up with this for long and told Kaga to buzz off and left with Chinami. As soon as they left, Kaga knew what she just did was wrong and appeared to have a small panic attack and sweated a ton. She said she’s been telling off other girls for years so she could have Mitsou to herself.

When they leave, the meet up with Linda and they get lunch together. Linda already reported the cult from the last episode to the school, so maybe their recruiting practices in the university will be toned down. Of course, Linda asks them to join the Festival Club again, but they told that they’d need to look into it more. She was understanding of this and tells them where they can find the Club. When she points and winks at Banri while telling him to not forget it, something about this almost sparked a memory. At this point I guessed they knew each other either from childhood or high school. Maybe it’s been a long time since she’s seen him as well, and doesn’t remember him either. Banri and Kaga checked out the club, tried one of the dances and while the left, Kaga stated she still intends to find out what club Mitsou is in so she can win him over.

In class the next day, the boys Banri, Mitsou, and 2D-kun wrote in Mitsou’s notebook as they talked about girls. Mitsou stated he likes and wants to date Chinami, so Banri asked about Kaga out of genuine concern. Somehow, Banri is forced to sit in a café while Banri and Mitsou setting things between them. Even though they’ve known each other since childhood, they never dated, and Mitsou said he’ll never forgive if she messes with Chinami again. Even though Mitsou agreed that Kaga is special, but only as a friend, he doesn’t want to date her even though everything in Kaga’s life has revolved around him. Looks like things are officially over when Mitsou left and Kaga was in tears. When Kaga apologized to Banri after, I think it was because she told Mitsou to forget everything that ever had to do with her, meaning his whole life, and it might have been incentive since Banri was sitting right there and she know he has amnesia. They stayed at the table for a long time until Kaga said she wanted to die, so a singer, NANA told her to die by music by going to her concert. It was a punk rock type thing so Kaga put on some dark eye makeup, unbuttoned her blouse, ripped her pants, messed up her hair, and went wild. College.

They get kicked out quickly and go back to his place to spend the night. She cried some more and talked about how she never though how dating Mitsou would make him unhappy if she forced it. Banri talked about his amnesia and how everyone will be disappointed if the old Banri doesn’t come back. Then he said he liked her and mentions they left there stuff in a locker. They leave their stuff behind a lot. She said that everything turns out fine no matter what she leaves behind. Symbolism! Non-pretentious symbolism! This show just gains some points.

Banri goes home for the weekend to look through a yearbook and a bunch of pictures fell out. They were of him and Linda in high school. So they were either friends or dating.

Character Score: 8/10

Wow, this was a heavy one for Kaga. We really get to see that she isn’t a victim in this and we finally see Yana confront her in a way that breaks through her wall of denial. Kaga knows that she’s screwing up, she knows she’s being an idiot, and doesn’t have the ability to control herself in a productive manner. All of her monsters fly up to the surface and lash out at whatever target is convienent. But she finally got the message, even though it breaks her sense of self a bit. However, Banri lets her know that she can start over.

Banri proves that he’s the smart, observant sort again. He doesn’t leave Kaga alone after the rejection from Yana. When someone is so fixated that they warp their entire sense of reality around someone, breaking that is sure to cause some damage. He seems to get how precarious Kaga’s mind is at this time and that she could be unstable enough to try suicide. Instead, they go out to a goth metal concert, let Kaga vent her frustration, and then go back to Banri’s place to rest.

It’ll be interesting to see what comes of Linda, now that Banri confessed his feelings for Kaga. Kaga already has a tendency to be clingy and shape her reality around whatever person she’s clinging to. If she decides that her new anchor is Banri, that could lead to some complications. Banri can also find himself constantly shoring up and “rescuing” Kaga, closing off avenues for his own growth while tending to hers, do neither any favors.

It would be so easy to write these characters as obnoxious balls of angst, but this show manages to handle them with enough finesse to avoid that.

Character Score: 8/10

These characters are well done. They are realistic and understandable. We see and hear both sides of the story to Kaga and Mitsou’s relationship and we know their thoughts and desired outcomes. At the same time, we are able to understand it and sympathize with both sides. Just like in real life, you can’t say who is right and who is wrong with absolute certainty. Even though Kaga is made out to be the crazy ex-girlfriend, even though they never dated, it’s fairly clear that Mitsou had been avoiding the problem for a long time by not telling her how he really felt. Yes, she took it hard when she found out he liked someone else, but at the same time, that’s all she needed to hear to finally give up on him. It’s a very real thing in life to not end up with your first love or childhood romance, unlike how anime usually goes unless there something tragic that kept them from being together. Kaga tried, messed up along the way by making some poor behavior decisions, tried again, got rejected for someone else, cried, and then acted out a little at the concert. Just like how she keeps having to leave her stuff behind, it is clear that it is time to leave her past behind and maybe live like Banri and create a new self, albeit without the amnesia.

Even though Banri could have left at any point, left with Mitsou who is his friend so Kaga could cry alone in the café, he chose to stay with her because she has no one else. Sure, he likes the girl, but that hasn’t been the driving factor in his decisions to help her and at least try to keep her out of trouble. With some concern and pity, he’s just a nice guy trying to help where he is most needed.

Now Linda. She knows Banri from high school, maybe from childhood too, but hasn’t talked to him about it yet. This will likely be revealed soon. In the high school photos she had long hair, now she shorter hair. Perhaps she was his girlfriend at the time of his accident. Maybe they were already broken up by graduation and she doesn’t want to make things awkward by talking about it. Whatever the case, it will be revealed soon enough.

Production Score: 6/10

This is one of my favorite openings this season. It’s so bouncy and earwormy! The animations were all good and the details plentiful enough to fill out the world.

Production Score: 5/10

Nothing new to had here. Pretty standard. It’s nice, but they all look really young to me

Briar’s Total Score: 6.6/10

Do we have another love triangle?

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 6.3/10
Week 4 Total Score: 6.4/10
Season Total Score for Golden Time: 6.2/10

Beyond the Boundary

Briar’s Review:

Who is Sakura?

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 6/10

Akihito is telling Kuriyama that she doesn’t get it, but she’s weakened by anemia. Akihito picks her up and carries her away. Sakura shoots at them with her spear thing. The ceiling collapses between her and her targets. Akihito and Kuriyama get away.

Meanwhile, Pervy-brother is surrounded by gem-studded rocks in the field. His sister calls him and tells him that Akihito is in trouble.

The Hollow Shadow is making a labrynith out of Akihito and Kuriyama’s memories. Kuriyama had no plan for dealing with Hollow Shadow. Sakura catches up to them. Akihito and Kuriyama bitch at each while they run. They take off their shoes and Kuriyama’s tights to climb up the escalator. They leave the tights as a false trail.

We learn that Sakura Inami is the younger sister of Yui Inami. Her powers as a Spirit World Warrior should be nonexistant. Both Sakura and Kuriyama see Yui. Yui attacks Kuriyama and grabs her. Akihito tells Kuriyama that the Yui she sees isn’t the real Yui. Akihito throws her ring at her and she she breaks free. The false Yui changes into a monster that Kuriyama stabs. They’re freed from the Hollow Shadow. It rains blood that kills the grass and trees. Her blood corrodes flesh.

A dark hand from the Hollow Shadow runs Akihito through and enters his body. He fights against it and asks Kuriyama to stab him while it’s weak. It’s taking him over and he begs her to stab him because he’s immortal. She stabs him through and he tells her to spray the blood. The Hollow Shadow exits and Kuriyama attacks it. She defeats it and it turns into a rock. Akihito gives a weak thumb up.

Pervy brother and others approach Kuriyama and pull her back. They enclose Akihito in a box, because when his body is in a perlious state, his youmu instincts awaken. He’s a pain to deal with like that. Akihito takes on his youmu form and begins to negate the cage. If Akihito breaks out, they’ll destroy him. Fireballs start to break out of the cage, causing devastation where they land. The Warriors start to fail at containing him. He’s stronger than the last time this happened. Big sister arrives and sees Izumi block the fireballs. Kuriyama uses her blood to corrode everything and stop Akihito. She realizes that he knew exactly how she felt about herself. She tackles Akihito and holds him down until he calms. Akihito wakes up to a crater.

Akihito and Kuriyama go a Chinese restaurant. That rock wasn’t from the real Hollow Shadow and is only worth 200 yen. Akihito delivers the “Do I look like a normal person” line Kuriyama used earlier. Her response, he’s a “creepy senpai with a thing for glasses.”

Plot Score: 5/10

There was three parts to this episode. First, Sakura from the last episode, who turned out to be the sister of Yui’s (the girl Mirai killed), chased down and attacked Mirai after her senpai Akihito saved her. Suddenly the end up in a memory escalator labyrinth, but Sakura finds them fast. One of the escalators turned into a slide and they got away for a little bit again. Akihito managed to learn that Sakura was Yui’s sister and is out for revenge against Mirai. After a surreal train escape, Sakura found them again, and then the Shadow Hollow used Yui’s image to mess with Mirai, but Mirai eventually attacked anyway and cancelled the dream-state so they ended up back in the woods. It rained Mirai’s blood so Sakura and Akihito had to take cover because Mirai’s blood was killing the plants on contact. Then Sakura disappeared while Akihito was talking.

Of course, the Shadow Hollow isn’t dead yet and it jumps inside Akihito. Mirai has a flash of what happened to Yui. Akihito told her to stab him to kill the Shadow Hollow and that he’d be okay because of the whole immortal thing. She hesitated a lot he yelled and suffered until she did it, which ejected the Shadow Hollow from his body and she attacked it until it died, omnislash style.

Last part of the episode is when their friends appear to take care of Akihito, who when weak, goes all youmu and stuff, so they have to contain him in a magic force field. Since he’s strong, he blows up the force field after awhile. Only Mirai was still okay so she tackled hugged him and used the power of friendship to subdue him. She now looks at him in a different light because he’s different and dangerous like her, but doesn’t angst about it. They apologized to each other and she cried a bunch.

The next day they get food and find out the stone that Mirai got was only worth 200 yen, well, that’s because she didn’t get the real one.

Character Score: 6/10

Kuriyama gets over her angstiness for a bit, but then again, she had other things to deal with other than guilt and self-pity. I’m wondering what caused the last time Akihito reverted to his youmu instincts. Also, who are the mysterious watchers and what do they have to do with anything?

Character Score: 5/10

Mirai finally stopped feeling so sorry for herself, but we’ll see how long that lasts. Maybe as soon as she stops angsting, Akihito will start suddenly.

Scarf-boy’s ring tone is his sister saying, “Nii-chan, I love you.” He getting creepier.

Sakura wasn’t explained.

Production Score: 6/10

Fight animation is good when they don’t shortcut it. Unfortunately, the did shortcut it. I really do like Kuriyama’s circular movement when she fights and they really shouldn’t abbreviate those scenes if they can help it.

Production Score: 7/10

They didn’t say names much this episode. It was fast paced.

I noticed that when Akihito jumped to another escalator, he wasn’t moving up or down. I thin kit might have been an error.

Briar’s Total Score: 6/10

So, the Hollow Shadow is still out there?

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 5.6/10
Week 4 Total Score: 5.8/10
Season Total Score for Beyond the Boundary: 5.9/10

Arpeggio of Blue Steel

Briar’s Review:

So, is this a harem show with boats?

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 3/10

A couple of Tribal Tron ships are attacking the port. They’ve blown a hole in the wall protecting Yokosuka. The yellow ship has a thing for language, even though she speaks in monotone. The aqua ship doesn’t get it. They lay waste to the fleet. Erosion torpedoes from Iona distract them. Iona’s supergravity cannon was damaged and they only have four erosion torpedoes left. Tech the tech!

Iona crawls along the ocean floor and the ruins of the city there. Haruna wants to speak to Iona. They meet in the white tea room. Haruna asks why she sides with the humans. Kirishima mentions that Takao has left the fleet. Iona replies that she needs a captain and she is now Gunzou’s ship. Ass shot on Kirishima? Really? What’s with Kirishima’s pants anyways? Could only afford one leg?

Gunzou wants to use the complex currents to get behind the ships without being detected. So, if Iona has limited weapons capacity, what about the other ships? The ships are fooled by the hulk of the Misaka from the early 1900’s. Iona attacks from behind, but the ships are not sunk. Full speed ahead to ram!

Kirishima is going a little nuts. She wants to sink Iona no matter what. She launches 120 torpedoes. Iona passes under them. Kirishima unloads another volley. Iona drops anchor to swing around and land in the city ruins. Haruna detects nothing from Iona. Kirishima is happy. Iona only has 2 erosion torpedoes left.

The ships split the sea open with their fields and pull Iona up. Then they open up and dock together to become a single massive cannon. Gunzou thinks they’re lucky. They can hit two at once. Iona struggles and keeps them from getting a solid lock.

When firing the supergravity cannon, they need to open a gap in their fields. The mental models must focus entirely on their task. Iona fires a torpedo into the cannon, hidden on a launcher on the Mikasa. The field degenerates and the firing sequence can’t stop. Iona fires everything into the ships. Haruna dives after Kirishima and they both go boom. This is the first time Iona has sunk ships with mental models. Then what was Hyuuga?

Silver sand on the beach. A little girl notices a human shaped hole in a sheet metal hangar building and find’s Haruna’s outfit outside. Inside she finds a purple stone thing. And then Haruna in lacy black undies.

Plot Score: 4/10

So this is finally starting to make a sense to me. Iona 401 is a part of a race, each are the consciousness of a ship that acquired a human body. Why, how, and when are yet to be explained. The mental models, the super mecha controller girls, are enemies of the humans for an unexplained reason, and therefore Iona is practically a traitor for siding with a human crew who are also now basically pirates since they can’t really be around other humans because of Iona. That glowing white tea room is actually like a mental video call between the mental models, but I’m not sure how that works since they can eat and drink in there during those calls/meetings.

The entire episode was Iona and her human crew proving how unpredictable they are in a fight against two other mental models that are set out to sink Iona. Iona did not tell them why she has a human crew though in the white tea room meeting. In the first episode she said it was her mission to her captain and that was it. The whole episode was this battle with everything going nearly exactly to the captain’s plan. In the end, the destroy one of the attacking mental models and the other one saves a stone that was pretty much the heart of the first one.

Still a lot of questions and it appears the answers to some of them might be common knowledge to the characters. This story could certainly be told in a more comprehensive way.

Character Score: 3/10

Haruna displays an interest in the last words uttered by her victims, while Kirishima seems a little unstable and kill-happy. I still don’t know what they are. Are they biological? Mechanical? Holograms? And were they directed to a Victoria’s Secret catalog when building their mental models? Because I really don’t understand the need for lacy black bra and panties for what is the consciousness of a battleship.

Character Score: 3/10

Iona is able to communicate with the other mental models in the white tea room. However, she does not use this to tell them what the heck is going on with her and why she’s doing what she’s doing. At the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s just using the captain to learn about humans and crazy strategies to take back to her leader.

Production Score: 5/10

Since the focus was on the ships this time around, we weren’t treated to as many wonky models and animations as the last episodes.

Production Score: 4/10

Since the character’s don’t move much, the stiff 3D renders isn’t as noticeable again.

Briar’s Total Score: 3.6/10

Really? Really? This is a harem show with boats?

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 3.6/10
Week 4 Total Score: 3.6/10
Season Total Score for Arpeggio of Blue Steel: 4.1/10

Samurai Flamenco

Briar’s Review:

An mysterious new hero?

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 8/10

We start with an MMM meeting about the new album. One of the group members gets Mari’s voicemail. Mari’s always been eccentric when composing, but she’s had mood swings lately.

Someone on a moped steals a purse, then gets grabbed by Samurai Flamenco. He lands a punch and returns the purse. It makes the newspapers. He’s so proud. Joji’s training is paying off. Somewhat. Joji gutpunches Hazama. “Student! Master!”

Hazama decides that he will start patrolling Numasaki next. It is a dangerous area with a lot of crime. Goto advises against it, but Joji assures that he will accompany Hazama. Goto remarks, “When something goes wrong, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Joji bails on the escort at the last minute, leaving Hazama to patrol alone. People on the street notice him. They all want to take pics and shake hands. Samurai Flamenco gets chased by a mob. Exhausted, he thinks of retreating. He catches carjackers who don’t care about him. He gets grabbed from behind and knocked out.

The three crooks find out about the 1M Yen rewards. They’re getting the attack on Hazama on camera. Suddenly, PINK HUMMER! A Magical Girl hops out. “Flamenco Girl!” The baton has spray and mace spikes. She kicks all of their asses. And the baton is a taser. Then she kicks them in the crotch a few times for good measure. Away Team Flamenco go in the pink hummer. Flamenco Girl called the cops on the crooks. She calls him Hazama-kun and reveals herself as Maya Mari from MMM.

Goto is watching for Samurai Flamenco reports. Hazama and Mari stop at her place and her extensive Magical Girl collection. She worked on this secretly for a long time. Hitting the gym. And Hazama debuted first, beating her to the punch. She wants to team up. The script will be that he fails, gets captured, and she saves him. If he refuses, she’ll reveal his identity. Hazama agrees. They put on the act as she scripts it, so she’s the main hero and Hazama’s her bitch. Goto’s a little baffled about the new act.

Mari delivers 70 songs to her group. Meanwhile, Hazama has less energy than usual. He’s got a drama offer. Goto gets a warning about using caution about dealing with Samurai Flamenco and Flamenco Girl, because of the use of weaponry. He eats his dinner while reading it, then cancels a date with his girlfriend. Goto watches a Team Flamenco performance and chases and catches Hazama. Flameco Girl catches up. Goto shows them the warning and tells them that the police need to handle the situation. Hazama tells him that they’re serious. Mari tasers Goto and they run.

Later, Goto’s girlfriend is wondering if Hazama is okay. Hazama drags Mari to apologize to Goto. She’s been too brutal. If Goto gets a complaint, he will arrest them. Mari goes dumb for a little while, then runs off apologizing to Goto. She had no idea he would look so good in a uniform. MMM’s uniform fetish is a serious problem to her group. Half of the songs are about it.

Plot Score: 8/10

Samurai Flamenco has been practicing his combat skills with the Red Ax, and he actually helped him stop a mugger on a motorcycle. Next mission is to go into the bad part of town. Goto doesn’t think he’s ready for that, but Red Ax claims to have his back. When he gets there, everyone is excited to see him and his fan chase him. He ends up in a parking garage and finds two guys breaking into a car so he tells them to stop. A third guy appears and they beat up Samurai Flamenco, knocking him out, tying him up, and he woke up in a warehouse. Since there a one million yen prize for his identity, the set up a camera and prepare to take a knife to his face, when suddenly a pink SUV storms in and Flamenco Girl appears. Yes, Flamenco Girl, and I totally called it when I watched this with my roommate. She’s like a magical girl, but her baton shoots knockout gas or pepper spray, not sure what it was, and it’s also a taser. After tying up the guys, she stomps on their nut until even Samurai Flamenco is flinching from watching.

In her car, Flamenco Girl knows he’s really Hazama, even though it was more like her first guess. She reveals herself as Mari from the MMM Idol group, not that we the audience couldn’t tell it was her. They go back to her place so patch him up and her apartment is just as bad as his with all the fandom stuff, except she’s a magical girl fan. Turns out she’s been training for a while and had her costume and weapon developed, but before her own debut, Samurai Flamenco beat her to it. The only reason her debut as a hero was delayed was because she couldn’t pass the written part of the drivers test.

So they team up. She steals the show by being extra violent and stuff. Samurai Flamenco was reduced to the sidelines and bringing people sodas. She uses the nut-cracker move a lot and drives so recklessly, it caused another car to crash.

When Goto got the memo, he wasn’t happy and had to cancel a date with his mysterious girlfriend. He found the super duo and lectured them about the crimes she’s been committing in the process of stopping others. When they’re all about to be caught, Mari freaking tased him! Now Goto is pissed off. Not a smart move to assault a cop.

The next day, Hazama drags Mari to Goto’s work to apologize to him. Hazama openly stats that Mari is being too brutal, but at the same time she really is saving women from being victims. Goto can’t stay mad, and warns them that if he gets a complaint, he’s going to have to arrest them, he won’t have a choice in the matter once it goes that far. Suddenly, Mari is totally infatuated with him because he looks good in uniform, apologizes to him, and runs off.

Character Score: 8/10

Looks like Mari is Hazama’s match for mayor of Delusionland. She’s still fun to watch. That baton! How much time did it take for her to make that? That sucker is nasty! Love, friendship, spikes, mace, and electrical shock!

Poor Hazama, he’s second fiddle in is own act again. He’s taking it rather well, considering the confrontation he had with Joji in the last episode. Still, they show that it’s starting to eat at him. This isn’t his vision for Samurai Flamenco.

Goto is also taking things with his usual stride. He’s pretty forgiving, considering that Mari tasered him. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out with her.

Character Score: 8/10

At work, Mari kissed her group member, Moe, who seemed uncomfortable by it. From the scene with her group members, Mari has a major uniform fetish and she writes half of all her songs about it. Then I have to give the girl points for actually stomping on the guys’ nuts, most don’t actually think of doing that, when she’s saving other girls from being attacked or worse by these guys.

I’m really curious about Goto’s girlfriend. Who is she?

Hazama wasn’t very happy this episode. He obviously doesn’t agree with much violence, and that’s all Flamenco Girl does.

Production Score: 8/10

I like this opening over all of the rest this season. It shows what Hazama wants his world to be, then cuts to what it is.

Was that a sting of “Be My Girl” right after Mari reveals her identity to Hazama? It sounded like it.

Production Score: 7/10

The food in this show always looks pretty good.

Briar’s Total Score: 8/10

Looks like Hazama will have to fight to keep the Samurai Flamenco identity again.

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 7.6/10
Week 4 Total Score: 7.8/10
Season Total Score for Samurai Flamenco: 7.7/10

Ratings (Points out of 10)

Series Name Week 4 Score Running Season Score
Arpeggio of Blue Steel 3.6 4.1
Beyond the Boundary 5.8 5.9
Galilei Donna 3.8 4.4
Gingitsune: Messenger of the Gods 5.1 5.4
Golden Time 6.4 6.2
Log Horizon 6.6 6.7
Nagi no Asukara 5.3 5.4
Samurai Flamenco 7.8 7.7
Strike the Blood 5.1 5.7
Walkure Romanze 3.3 3.6

Walkure Romanze has the lowest score this week and it is knocked out of the tournament! It will not return for Week 5 and we won’t have to watch another episode of it!

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