Anime Knockout! Fall 2013 Week 5

Welcome to the fifth 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:

Maybe something will finally happen?

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 5/10

The story focused mostly on Haru’s backstory this time around, both how he became a herald and his relationship with Satoru.

Haru began as an ordinary young fox during the 1920’s or 1930’s, when he was hit by a truck while crossing a country road. A young man on a bike stops and takes the fox to a veterinarian, where it dies. The young man, Satoru’s great-grandfather, takes the fox to Kamio shrine, the Inari shrine that his family tends, and buries him under a cherry tree. When the fox’s spirit crosses the tori gate, it changes from an ordinary fox to Haru’s herald form.

In the present, Gintaro doesn’t do a whole lot. He tells the kids that heralds have their own minds and will leave if they get sick of things. However, if a herald will disappear if they’re away from their shrine for too long. We don’t get an explanation of how long is too long, though.

Saeki’s father spends some time talking with the kids, letting them know that he went to the same college as Satoru’s father. He tells the kids that Gintaro meant that Satoru and Haru have to figure out if they want to be together on their own. Later, Gintaro even tells Saeki to butt out and let Satoru and Haru to figure things out on their own.

We also learn that Satoru is the heir to the shrine and got the Sight when he was five, after his grandfather died. Even though Haru was watching over Satoru since birth, it wasn’t until Satoru gained the Sight that they could interact.

Satoru runs off to look for Haru, but doesn’t find him. Saeki tells him that there’s nothing wrong with asking the gods for help. Gintaro retorts that she’s not asking the gods, she’s asking him. After Satoru says that he wants Haru to return, Gintaro agrees to help. Satoru finds Haru by the river and apologizes to him. Gintaro makes fun of the teary reaction that Saeki was supposed to have. Then we find out that Haru is a girl.

We got a little more background on Haru, but other than that, there’s no progress. We’re at the same spot we were at in the middle of the previous episode.

Plot Score: 4/10

This episode revolved around Satoru and the young fox spirit Haru. We learn Haru’s origin story. He was a baby fox that got hit by a car. When Satoru’s great grandfather who looked exactly like him saw the dead fox, he took the body to the shrine to bury it. As soon as he entered the shrine, Haru appeared. Haru has known Satoru since Satoru was a born, but they didn’t get to meet until Satoru turned five and inherited the Sight when his grandfather died. They have been together ever since. So in the last episode, when when Satoru angrily told Haru to leave, Haru was hurt and left in tears. Makoto tried to talk to Satoru and get Gintaro to help, but she is basically ignored constantly. Even though Gintaro was trying to stay out of their business, he finally told off Satoru, which desperately needed to be done, and after talking to Makoto’s dad some more, Satoru had a change of heart and wanted to find Haru. Makoto instantly helps by tackling Gintaro and making him use his fox spirit powers to track down Haru. They have a tearful reunion.

I suppose it was an… okay episode. I don’t consider it bad, it was just slow and frankly boring. Satoru’s change of heart was a bit sudden after being so independent and stubborn. I thought the problem he was going to face as far as living on his own and getting his own place was finding a job that would hire him. But the only problem address was what he snapped at Haru in the last episode.

I’m not sure what is happening with the plot and where it’s going. I thought it was going to be about Makoto learn about being a priestess and shrine keeper and always meeting new people and spirits and telling their fortunes with Gintaro’s help. I also thought that along that path, she would learn more about Gintaro little by little and they would grow closer. It ended up more boring instead. Might pick up soon, but it might not. It’s not even funny to keep the energy up a little.

Character Score: 4/10

Gintaro and Saeki are near useless in this series. Sure, Gintaro can help find things and people, but he doesn’t do much else than that. Saeki alternates between a doormat and a cheerleader.

Satoru’s aunt is pretty much a fairytale stepmother. There’s nothing else to her except makign Satoru’s childhood miserable because she resents the shrine and his existence.

Now that Haru isn’t moping, she’s back to being loud and obnoxious. I really can’t find much sympathy for her.

I’m starting to wonder why this story is taking place with a shrines and heralds. Saeki could be a girl living in an apartment with no spiritual powers and Gintaro could just be her lazy older brother or an uncle that lives with them. Satoru could just be a foster kid with a younger girl who is either his sister or another foster kid. At this point, the setting is pretty, but holds little bearing on what the characters are really doing.

Character Score: 4/10

Makoto Saeki did very little, so it’s like she’s not really the main character. Gintaro doesn’t feel like the main character either, he just lazes about and does as little as possible.

Satoru Kamio inherited the Sight when he was five as soon his grandfather died. He met Haru at the funeral. He was next to tears the whole episode and seemed to blush slightly because of it. He looked like a lot like his great grandfather, which might be why Haru is so attached to him.

Production Score: 5/10

Again, nice opening detailed scenes. I really do like the detail and texture put into the backgrounds. I just wish that the characters would be as detailed, in both personality and appearance. The human characters aren’t bad, but they do look a little flat against the backgrounds. The herald animal models then look ridiculous.

Production Score: 5/10

Well animated bike and really old style car in the flashbacks. Again, there is some great scenery, but with such a low energy show, they could have stood to detail the characters a lot more and not use quite as simple designs.

Briar’s Total Score: 4.6/10

C’mon, show me what this story is about!

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 4.3/10
Week 5 Total Score: 4.4/10
Season Total Score for Gingitsune: Messenger of the Gods: 5.2/10

Strike the Blood

Briar’s Review:

Please don’t fall the ecchi hole.

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 4/10

The Witch of the Void, Minamiya Natsuki, aka Loli-teacher, is fighting a bunch of werewolves/panthers/whatever that are trying to set off a bunch of explosions for some reason. She handily defeats the whole pack.

Elsewhere, Kojou’s mom is returning home early, but she’s not there yet. So, he walks into his apartment to find Yukina in her underwear, because she and Nagisa are getting fitted for their cheerleading uniforms for the school ball tournament. She kicks him in the head. Yukina says that she knew he was a pervert and should have expected that sort of thing.

At school, Asagi hands a bag of rackets to Kojou. She’s borrowing them from Orin and assumes that Kojou will carry them for her. He does. Asagi is paired with Kojou in the badminton doubles. The high school student are trying to set up Asagi with Kojou? It’s certainly not as pervy as pairing him with Yukina.

Elsewhere, Loli-teacher takes out an unregistered demon at the lab. Astarte takes commands from her and she fights the werewolf scientist, Gardos. The artifacts they were after are already gone.

At school, Kojou gets a drink from the vending machine, tries to sit on a bench, but it blows up. Then darts of blue light shoot at him. A pair of lion creatures show up and attack him. Yukina arrives to fight them in her cheerleading uniform, because cheerleading uniform. The lions are shikigami, which are usually used to send messages. A black envelope is on the ground with a silver seal. Why the lions attacked Kojou when they were supposed to be delivering a message, I don’t know.

The message is from the First Progenitor in eastern Europe. It’s an invitation to a party and it requests that he bring his partner. Kojou decides on Loli-teacher, which upsets Yukina. She wanted to go. The Lion King Organization left a dress in Kojou’s apt for Yukina. So, instead of telling Yukina that he already made up his mind and he’ll take the badass attack mage that isn’t too young for him, he lets Yukina go with him instead. All a shady organization needs to manipulate him is a girl with a short strapless dress, apparently.

The party is on a large yacht or a cruise ship and we get some lingering shots on Yukina. Her friend from the Organization gave her the hair pin. She was an attack mage. We get a brief shot of the brown haired girl standing on the ship. I’m guessing that was her.

Surprise! There’s an attack on the deck of the ship! Some blonde haired dude sent it to test Kojou. He’s Vatler, representative of the First Progenitor.

Why are we wasting time with the athletics costumes when we don’t see any athletics? Why are we wasting time with a love triangle setup? I really don’t know. We could have spent that time a little more productively.

Plot Score: 4/10

What is this show even trying to do? It opened with Kojou Akatsuki calling for his sister and he opens a door to find Yukina Himeragi changing and standing there in her underwear. He wasn’t obviously turned on by this, unlike with other event and rightfully asked what she was doing there. She attacked him. Apparently his mom was coming home early, those she didn’t come home this episode, so I’m not sure what the point was in only mentioning that at the beginning of the episode. Yukina is even more popular now, since she now has a swarm of boys after her. One of the things going on in this episode was the Sports festival. Kojou wanted to do as little as possible so he signed up for whatever event was going to be earliest so he could get it over with. It was Badminton and he’s playing with the super-hacker classmate that likes him, Asagi Aiba. This is pretty much just a pairing tease.

Meanwhile, the new enemy appeared on a boat and “The Witch of the Void” who is just the gothic Lolita teacher lady is dealing with unregistered demons along with the homunculus, Astarte, who was defeated and turned to their side in the last episode.

Asagi has a long scene of her putting on some cute tennis clothes for practice with Kojou and even though she just said that he was waiting for her in the gym, she poses in front of the mirror for a while. Since she wasn’t in the gym yet, Kojou went outside to “stretch”, meaning get a soda, but then two wild pokemon appeared and attacked him. Yukina Himeragi appears instantly to save him while wearing a cheerleading outfit. She has a magic butterfly that detects strong energies. How convenient, and they should have mentioned that earlier. The pokemon were actually messengers and left a letter for Kojou. Asagi appeared as Kojou was holding it up, saw Yukina blushing (she does that a lot now), and probably thought it was a love letter from Yukina to Kojou so Asagi ran off flustered.

The letter was an invite to some fancy party on a boat. He thought about taking the loli-teacher as his date, but Yukina offered, except she didn’t have a dress. Of course, when she got home, there’s one in a box sent from the Lion King Organization. Kojou read the card and it was just her measurements, so she hurt him for reading it. The dress was strapless and really short. He said it was going to be easier to fight in because it was short, but I know that strapless dresses are not. At the top of the boat, the met a gay vampire that either works for or is the First Progenitor and appears to be interested in Kojou. He might just be a tease and not gay, but I don’t really care, he just met the Kojou.

Is this turning into an anime where all the girls and some guys just want to do the main character? If so, this one is losing even more points.

Character Score: 4/10

Love triangle, bleh. I really don’t like them. Especially when it should be a no-brainer for the one in the middle by process of elimination. Don’t take the underage girl sent by a shady organization! Simple, right? Stick with the girl he’s known longer, Asagi. He even would be better off pursuing the Loli-teacher, whom he has known longer.

Some of the telegraphing in this show is really, really blatant. We’re gonna get angst between Yukina and her friend. Asagi is going to be angsting over Kojou, instead of just being open with him.

Character Score: 4/10

Kojou Akatsuki didn’t do anything cool or interesting. Why couldn’t Yukina Himeragi be in high school? It’d be easier for both of them and the plot. Not to mention a little less weird for non-Japanese audiences. Yukina is the same age as his little sister. I don’t ship any paring yet, and they could still convince me of this one, but at the moment I’m leaning a little towards Asagi Aiba’s side. She’s also a smart and tough girl, and she likes him, knows quite a bit about him, and they’re in the same class. Since it’s their last year of high school, it would make a long term relationship a little easier than what we saw in Sailor Moon when he was in college and she was in junior high.

Production Score: 6/10

Action and effects still look fine, the music didn’t pull me out of the scenes, and the character designs aren’t hurting my brain.

Production Score: 6/10

No change. Still looked fine.

Briar’s Total Score: 4.6/10

Please stay away from the love triangle.

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 4.6/10
Week 5 Total Score: 4.6/10
Season Total Score for Strike the Blood: 5.4/10

Nagi no Asukara

Briar’s Review:

This show is firmly in the boring tier.

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 5/10

We get a tease from Uroko-sama that something ominous is happening. The sea and surface worlds are to remain separate, but we don’t know why. The saltflake snow is a prelude, but we aren’t told of what.

Chisaki is moping alone, grinding her own low self-esteem into the sand by comparing herself unfavorably to Manaka. Why? I don’t really know. In any case, Chisaki is feeling inferior to her friend. She runs into Tsumugu, who is also conveniently late and apologizes for… something. I don’t really know why. Tsumugu asks her about Hikari and Chisaki confesses her feelings. However, Manaka overhears it and runs off, because that’s what people do in drama. Chisaki catches up to her and tells her to forget the confession of liking Hikari.

Later, Miuna goes missing and a search goes out for her. They even ask Uroko if a small girl has fallen into the ocean. Later, Miuna finds Hikari and kicks him for saying bad things about her father. She’s not going home because she thinks she’s alone and no one cares about her. Akari drops to her knees after hearing the news that Hikari found her. She confesses her love to Itaru and cries that she doesn’t want to give up on being happy.

The kids put together a fish dinner outside. Later, Hikari stays behind with Miuna, while the others go home. Miuna says that she’s going to hate Akari and that she doesn’t want any one to care about her. Then she jumps into the ocean.
Hikari grabs her and pulls her up. Miuna doesn’t know why she can’t swim if her mother was from the ocean. Miuna doesn’t want something as close as a mother to be taken from her again, so she’s trying to push everyone away. Akari finds them in the alley and tells Miuna that she wants to stay with her. Cue the waterworks.

Plot Score: 4/10

Chisaki was feeling bad and was late to school when she ran into Tsumugu who was late because of a big hull. She needed to talk to someone, she began to confide in him since he bluntly asked if she liked Kikari. He quickly told her to stop talking when Manaka appeared behind him. Manaka ran off and Chisaki chased. When Chisaki caught her, they kind of talked. Manaka tried to pretend she didn’t hear anything but failed to keep up story straight. Things are now tense between them.

Akari, Hikari’s sister, broke up with her boyfriend, Itaru, and told his litter sister, Minua, that she’s going to go away. Minua disappeared, Akari got a call that she might have fallen into the ocean, but their father confirms she did not, so all the kids minus Tsumugu looked for her. Hikari told his sister that she will never replace their mom, but to go be Minua’s new mom. Minua found the kids instead of them finding her. Akari cried a lot when she found out from Itaru. When she hugged him, he seemed really surprised, more like they were never a couple.

The kids had a camp dinner. Talked about talking to red belly slugs to make them feel better. As soon as all the kids minus Hikari leave, they had a small talk and Minua screamed and jumped in the water, trying to swim like her mother who was from the sea. Hikari grabbed her, and she commented that he smells like her mom and his sister. She cries a bit from grief.

They were sleeping in the alley when Akari finds them the next morning. Akari telled at Minua stating she can’t replace her mom and doesn’t want to, she just wants to be with them. The gum writing on the wall ended up saying “don’t go away”. This was kind of a depressing episode and it confused me, because I thought Akari already broke up with her boyfriend, and what about the consequences of living on land? Can’t they reason it out just a little more? Akari could marry a sea person and still have an active life on land and visit the people she cares about.

Character Score: 5/10

These characters all have traits that I recognize in real people, but they don’t quite act like real people. That might be where my dissonance and annoyance towards them comes from. Chisaki feeling inferior to her friend because Manaka gets the attention of Hikari and Tsumugu is something that I have seen before, complete with Chisaki ignoring Kaname in the process. Hikari being a loud and brash little jerk is something that I have seen before. However, what these kids do in these scenarios just feels a little off or convienent. Maybe that’s just drama. Chisaki isn’t trying to get Hikari’s attention. Hikari isn’t trying to court Manaka. So, we get this love conga line that’s just awkward and I don’t think it’s going to touch on the resentments and dark emotions that this sort of situation would normally devolve into.

Character Score: 5/10

Tsumugu wasn’t really in this episode besides the beginning. Hikari admitted to having feelings and caring about everyone, but he’s still an angry prick most of the time. Manaka might be starting to become jealous of Chisaki now that she knows of Chisaki’s feeling for Hikari. Or she is simply worried about what it will do to their relationships. Kaname didn’t really have a roll in this episode, he just kind of there still. I hope he gets something more soon.

Akari’s boyfriend was named Itaru. Finally, he has a name. Minua, the boyfriend’s little sister is finally over some of her issues.

Production Score: 5/10

Everything still looks fine. I didn’t have much opportunity to be annoyed at the weird buoyancy thing.

Production Score: 6/10

Still looks good. Lots of detail. They didn’t spend a lot of time in the water.

Briar’s Total Score: 5/10

Okay, really, what is happening in this world?

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 5/10
Week 5 Total Score: 5/10
Season Total Score for Nagi no Asukara: 5.3/10

Galilei Donna

Briar’s Review:

I could make a drinking game for this show.

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 3/10

The Precocious Goldfish is going to the Netherlands, because plot. What is that magic fish pendant? Where did it come from? Why is it the key to decoding the sketches? Why is the plot to this show so ridden with holes? Why am I still watching it? So, the town they land in is boarded up and the girls get an armed greeting by the Blue Hawk gang. This particular group has been attacking other airships and committing piracy. The leader of the Blue Hawks accepts them as fellow fugitives and the gang lowers their guns. Power is being cut off to small rural villages because of the energy shortages. The Blue Hawks have a vendetta against Adni Moon for cutting off energy supplies.

Hozuki meets a kid named Theo, who shows her the telescope he built. “To Karen” is etched onto it, because it’s her birthday gift. Karen is the blonde girl with the crutch. Theo wants to go to school and build airships of his own.

Kozuki is wondering how much fuel the Precocious Goldfish has left. Will this actually be a problem, or will it be the same sort of problem their lack of supplies has been, which is none.

Theo and Hozuki find an underground passage and cathedral under the church/train station. There, they find another sketch. Then they leave to find Ludger, who is in a tunnel of some sort. Air raid sirens sound and the Aza Irons approaches. Ludger says that he’s not going to fight them. The place will be bombed. Ludger sold them out? Why? I don’t know. Ludger fires at them and the falling debris somehow activates the magic fish pendant. He flies off.

Hazuki flies the Precocious Goldfish to Hozuki and Theo runs to protect Karen. Karen is injured in a blast by a big piece of glass in her leg. The telescope drops. They somehow get further and find the telescope. The Precocious Goldfish has to retreat. Theo and Karen get bombed.

Again, no food or other supplies are retrieved. Characters were introduced and developed more than the main characters, only to be killed. As for the puzzle piece, it is almost handed to them on a silver platter.

Plot Score: 3/10

Next stop, Netherlands. They end up in a town that has no stores and everything is boarded up. The girls were stopped by what appeared to be a band of thieves, but they wanted to help them instead and served them hot chocolate in an old church. Hozuki befriended Theo, a boy that showed interest in her ship. She took him on the bridge. He showed his telescope in return, not a pun. He was making it himself for his friend, Karen. Hozuki then shares some candy with Karen and befriends her too as they talk about Theo. It’s Karen’s birthday.

Hozuki and Theo go to an old church and she found the next goldfish symbol. They found a tunnel leading under the tunnel where they quickly found Galileo’s Moon sketch. They went to show the village leader guy, but the town was about to be attacked and he was going to make a break for it on a small ship-thing. Theo tried to get him launch a counter attack, but he said it was too late.

The girls found Hozuki there while Theo runs off to find Karen. Instead of getting on the ship, the sisters get off the ship so they can talk to Hozuki and Hozuki cries that they need to save her new friends. Apparently Theo runs faster than that ship, because they never caught up.

When Theo found Karen, she was protecting the telescope because he worked so hard on it and thought he was going to try to find it during the attack. They start to escape but explosions cause the telescope to go flying. So much for that. He said he can just make another one though. However, her leg as been impaled with glass. Suddenly, they’re huddled together with the telescope and her leg is wrapped up. Hozuki is trying to save them but can’t jump in from of all the missiles so the ship said to retreat. The building the kids were in got hit my a dozen or so missiles. As the missiles approach, we see the kids say something to each other and laugh. Boom, everyone dead. The end for them.

Character Score: 2/10

Yeah, Theo and Karen were more developed than the sisters. We know about what they want from their lives. We get a feel for who they are to each other. And they get killed. All to show that the villians kick puppies.

As to Ludger, we got nothing. Why did he sell out the gang? Why was he the leader in the first place? He may be responsible for the deaths of the people who seemed to be under his care and we have no inkling as to his motivations to allow that.

All of the Precocious Goldfish crew, except for Hozuki, achieved nothing in this episode. They didn’t even need to be on screen. As to Hozuki, she has a convienent plot device with her magic goldfish pendant. She also tends to waste time asking for people to help when she’s obviously the most capable one on the scene and already has experience saving the day.

Character Score: 2/10

Do not introduce characters, set up their future ambitions and have one of them be crippled and it‘s their birthday, if you’re just going to kill them off in twenty minutes. Just. Don’t. It’s a cheap out and made the episode very pointless if they didn’t make any new allies that survived.

Production Score: 5/10

Still looks fine to me. The magically recovered telescope was a bit odd, though.

Production Score: 4/10

They seem to forget what items are being held or lost in this show…

Briar’s Total Score: 3.3/10

Supplies aren’t as big of a problem as they sound on this show.

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 3/10
Week 5 Total Score: 3.1/10
Season Total Score for Galilei Donna: 4.1/10

Log Horizon

Briar’s Review:

Powerleveling?

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score:6/10

Team Shiroe are on their way back to Akihabara with Nyanta and Serara. The team camps out and, thanks to Nyanta’s chef subclass, have the first good meal since the Apocalypse. It has flavor and texture! It sparkles! The others tried cooking before, but they didn’t have levels in chef needed to make anything other than goo.

Serara fawns over Nyanta and guesses him to be a middle-aged man. Akatsuki tries to console Shiroe over the Nyanta basking. Shiroe talks about how he likes to help newbies with the Teacher System, even though it dropped his level when he used it. The twins he helped are on his friends list. The Apocalypse teleported people to various places. He was helping the twins when it happened. He last saw them in a guild.

The next night, they need to find shelter before a storm catches them. They find an NPC house and ask to stay. Naotsugu is surprised that they have names. Fedor lets them sleep in the barn. A couple of kids drop by the barn. They are Fedor’s grandchildren. He even has a backstory. The more they talk the more human they seem. They have names, memories, and feelings. There seems to be far more of them since the Apocalypse. Nyanta and Serara bought food from the neighborhood. Serara wants to make cookies. They share with the NPC kids.

The twins Shiroe helped are following a weird high-level man that attracts all of the enemies, undercutting the tank and the formation falls apart. They don’t like the guild they joined. In Oliver Twist fashion, they’re making potions or something for the guild. Shiroe crosses their path, but the boy turns away to follow the high level jerk.

Plot Score: 5/10

This episode was just the journey back to the starting point now that they have save Serara. The griffins make fast work of their journey. They are still upset about the food having no flavor. But Nyanta has a chef subclass and is actually able to cook with just ingredients, which do have flavor, without it instantly turning to goo. The party was so happy for taste real food they sparkled. The food sparkled. Everything sparkled while they ate like animals. After they ate, they introduced themselves to the people they didn’t already know. Akatsuki wants greater teamwork too. She’s still impressed with the guys’ teamwork.

Shiroe mentions that he once teamed up with a couple newie twin players and he used the teacher system to drop his level so he could play with beginners and show them the ropes. Apparently players don’t normally do that. He’s still worried about them since he saw them joining a guild.

When it starts raining, the group found an NPC’s house and asked to stay in the barn. The NPC’s grandchildren appeared and gushed for Akatsuki because she’s a ninja. When Nyanta and Serara bought ingredients from another house, he made cookies for all the them, including the NCPs. Shiroe mentions that even the NCPs are people here, and technically, it’s the players that are the weird ones in his world.

Meanwhile, the twins that Shiroe worries about are having a hard time. Their high level partners attract high level monsters. They are being used in what appears to be slave labor along with other kids and regret joining the guild. They miss Shiroe.

Character Score: 7/10

It’s nice to see the team shift their clothes by taking off their heaviest armor and cloaks. It makes them look more relaxed and like they are actually living in that world. The running gags and playful jabs between Akatsuki and Naotsugu are still fun to watch. Sometimes, you just don’t need buckets of drama to have good character interactions. They also bring up the point that there’s no way to tell a person’s real age just by looking at them.

We learn a little more about Nyanta, like that he was a member of the Debauchery Tea Party and also a cat-only guild that disbanded. That Shiroe was a loner, except with a loose group of friends and newbie in need seems about right.

Character Score: 5/10

The NPCs are known as People of the Land.

Nothing new about the characters.

Production Score: 6/10

The camp layouts looked very familiar in a good way to me. I still like the animation and music within the show and I think I’m starting to get desensitized to the horrible opening theme.

Production Score: 6/10

No change.

Briar’s Total Score: 6.3/10

I started to think about what if I was stuck as the last MMO character I played. I would be looking for an appearance changing potion like Akatsuki.

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 5.6/10
Week 5 Total Score: 5.9/10
Season Total Score for Log Horizon: 6.6/10

Golden Time

Briar’s Review:

So, who was Linda?

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 6/10

Banri’s looking through the photos of him with Linda. He runs back to the bridge where he lost his memories. He wants to know what his relationship with Linda was and calls up Yana in distress. Yana asks to come over to Banri’s place, who replies that he’s not there before breaking down into tears. He lost his memories the day after his graduation. 18 years old. We get a story from the ghost of the old Tada Banri.

Banri later meets up with Kaga and she friendzones him. She gives him a survivor’s mirror as a symbol of their friendship. Very girly looking.

He meets up with Yana, who thinks he might have been too hard on Kaga. They come across Kaga, who puts on a show of greeting Banri and ignoring Yana. Linda was helping Kaga register for courses. She had no idea about requisites. Linda tells Yana that he took a very difficult professor for his civil law course.

Kaga and Banri join the festival club. Banri wonders why Linda hasn’t said anything about knowing him. They go to their first festival club meeting and find out they they are participating in the Awa summer dance. They practice and Kaga is horrible at the dance. Kaga is a little envious of Banri’s ability.

She cries and apologizes about lashing out at Banri. Kaga goes on about her flaws and worthlessness over a coffee confection. Kaga admires Linda and wonders if she has a boyfriend.

Banri flashbacks to his time in the hospital. He keeps seeing a flickering light out his window at 11pm and he sneaks out to find it. He finds a girl with a flashlight. Linda? Yep. She’s been coming to see a friend from Tokyo in the hospital. She tells him to come to Tokyo. He doesn’t think that the light was a signal meant for him. Why didn’t she say anything about knowing him then? Again with Banri ghost, who laments that he can’t tell living Banri what his relationship with Linda was.

Plot Score: 6/10

Banri went to the bridge where he lost his memories and wondered what his relationship with Linda was and why he doesn’t remember anything. Yana Mitsou called him and asked to go to his place, after telling him he’s not there, Banri breaks down into sobs on the bridge. The ghost of the old Banri has been following him. This is the first time we see a ghost of Banri, which has all his memories from before the incident.

When he got back to Tokyo, Kaga gave Banri a matching pocket mirror as a symbol of their friendship. It was a very girly mirror and it’s the only thing she has that wasn’t left behind during the cult incident. It could have been more hurtful to Banri, since he confessed he liked her recently. It’s not that she rejected him completely, he knew who she had her heart set on and that it’s currently broken. Even if she wanted to, she probably can’t return his feelings until she puts herself back together a little bit. He’s certainly been helping her with that, but that doesn’t mean she might have a ways to go yet.

Later, Kaga ran into Banri and Mitsou when she was going to meet Linda to get some help registering for classes. Mitsou found out from Linda that he got the teacher from hell, so Kaga rubbed it in his face, and he left like a child. Then after club where he turned out to be a better dancer than her, Banri and Kaga go get Totally-Not-Starbucks and they talk. She’s having a hard time staying completely positive, but it’s only been two days since her heartbreak. When Kaga said she wanted to be more like Linda for several reasons, Banri froze up a little.

Then we get a flashback and fill in shots we’ve been seeing about Banri in previous episodes. When Banri was in the hospital, he saw a flashing light every night at 11pm. One night he escaped the hospital to see what was. When he slipped down the hill, he found a girl with a flashlight. It’s Linda, but she doesn’t say anything about knowing him. He expressed his dislike of the hospital and she said that she goes to college in Tokyo and that he should go too.

Ghost Banri wants to tell him what Linda them to him. This means that Linda was probably a girlfriend. Maybe an unrequited love? Could be why she hasn’t said anything, if she rejected his confession or if they broke up. We’ll see what the case is soon enough.

Character Score: 7/10

After the heavy character development from the last episode, this episode feels a little lightweight. Kaga has placed Banri in the friendzone, which is probably a good thing after a sudden realignment of her world.

Banri is hesitating to ask Linda if she remembers him and who she was to his old self. On one hand, he has decided to move forward with his life, but on the other, he harbors curiousity.

Character Score: 7/10

Banri is still struggling to remember his life. I think he’s getting closer, but at the same time, he doesn’t really care to find out. He wants to know how he knew Linda, but at the same time he could just ask. Yes, it might be a little awkward to bring it up so suddenly.

I noticed Kaga Koko is attaching a little too much to Banri, granted, he’s been her rock through her heart break and she doesn’t have any other friends. I hope this doesn’t turn into a bad thing. I don’t think Banri would want Kaga to treat him like she treated Mitsou as far as obsessing over him and keeping other girls away.

Linda is still a mystery.

Production Score: 6/10

We were treated to a nice view of Mt. Fuji from the train. The backgrounds and animations are nice, though we got a goofy stylizing of Kaga while she tried to Awa dance.

Production Score: 5/10

There was a lack of people walking around in the background.

Briar’s Total Score: 6.6/10

Do we have another love triangle?

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 6.3/10
Week 5 Total Score: 6.4/10
Season Total Score for Golden Time: 6.2/10

Beyond the Boundary

Briar’s Review:

Kuriyama gets a part-time job. Who’s got the klutz odds?

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 5/10

Akihito brings Kuriyama to the Literary club and introduces her to Hiromi Nase aka Pervy Boy. She sees a Gardening Encyclopedia and agrees to join the club. Mitsuki Nase senses something dark beyond the school. Shibahime is the club’s quarterly magazine. Pervy Boy starts perving on her. And Akihito starts on it. Glasses and little sister. Ew. Ew.

Mitsuki tells Kuriyama to not pay attention to the boys. She is a little cold to Kuriyama. The club visits the Nase house, who manage the area’s Spirit World Warriors. Akihito senses something about the man who is leaving the house. Kuriyama is on probation from the Spirit World Warriors for a month for going after Hollow Shadow.

Akihito asks Mitsuki to introduce Kuriyama to her boss in a shop. Mitsuki agrees and they go out for tea. Akihito is under close observation from the Nase clan, because he is dangerous. A man possessed by a youmu passes by the window and the girls approach. Kuriyama and Mitsuki tagteam, pulling the man into an alley where he can be exorcised. Mitsuki notices that Kuriyama doesn’t hesitate anymore. The rock she had given away was 50,000 yen, so the warrior lady treats them to yakinuku. Mitsuki remembers that Izumi told that a she will be alone as long as she’s a Warrior.

Kuriyama starts works for Aya at the shop. They have Kuriyama stand and model fro them. Akihito paid for pics of Kuriyama. Ew. Aya asks about Akihito. He skipped school. He usually gets depressed after losing control over his youmu form.

Mitsuki isn’t going to the festival. It’s a couples thing. She misses it every year. Kuriyama asks about that, but Mitsuki doesn’t want to tell her. They close up the shop. Mitsuki and Kuriyama go to the festival together. Hiromi drags Akihito to the festival and they all watch the fireworks together.

Plot Score: 5/10

Mirai finally joined the Literary Club for the sole reason that they have Gardening Encyclopedias. The boy categorize Mirai as the Little Sister Type, in a pervy way, until Mitsuki comes in and tells her to ignore them because they’re perverts. After Club, we see that guy from the Society leave, even though he really didn’t do anything in the last episode. Then Mirai got her monster killing license confiscated for a month. She’s worried about rent and food. So Scarf-boy got his sister, Mitsuki to help Mirai get another job. The girls had a meal together where Mitsuki told Mirai that the Nase family is supposed to watch Akihito.

As they leave, they encounter a monster. Mitsuki makes a magic cage around the battle area. It was a lot like a video game. Mirai slays the monster and she didn’t hesitate as much, but is still a sloppy fighter. Turned out the monster was worth 50,000 yen, but she didn’t get to keep it since she’s not supposed to be fighting right now. Nonetheless, the one she gave it to treated them to a big meaty dinner. They mentioned a festival coming up.

Besides working at the shop with the other spirit hunters, they get Mirai to model in a made outfit. This scene was just for fan service. Not too bad though. The episode ended with the lantern festival. There was a little friendly bonding.

Character Score: 6/10

Every time Kuriyama was embarassed about something, she blogged it on her phone. Will that blog actually have some bearing on the plot or is it just something in the background.

The perving on Kuriyama is a little off-putting, but not nearly as bad as some other shows.

It looks like Mitsuki and Kuriyama are getting a little bonding time and I wonder what this will do to both characters. They’re both very lonely types without much in the way for friends.

Character Score: 5/10

Akihito apparently always gets depressed after transforming, so he wasn’t in the episode much. Mirai blogs and whines on the internet about her problems. I bet she has a gardening blog. Hiromi Nase, “Scarf-boy”, is the Literary Club president. I’m getting tired of him. Mitsuki Nase is lonely, she was told she has to be to be a warrior.

Production Score: 6/10

Still looks good and I liked the details in the rooms and lanterns.

Production Score: 7/10

The lantern festival looked nice. They did a good job on the fireworks. I believe this was made by the some studio as Free! Iwtaobi Swim Club.

Briar’s Total Score: 5.6/10

Mostly just bonding time for the Literary Club.

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 5.6/10
Week 5 Total Score: 5.6/10
Season Total Score for Beyond the Boundary: 5.8/10

Arpeggio of Blue Steel

Briar’s Review:

So, I just realized that these ships all have female avatars and the weapon developed against them is called the vibration warhead. There are no words.

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot Score: 5/10

Iona is back in drydock for repairs. They lost 40% of armaments and need nanomaterials. The erosion warhead is loaded onto Iona. She chats with a girl playing on a tiny piano in the white tea room. And that’s the last we’ll see of Iona and her crew for the episode.

Haruna is resting in the little girl’s room. It’s full of oversized stuffed animals. The little girl, Makie, plays keep away with the coat until Haruna cries, then gives it to her. As soon as Haruna puts it on, she resumes her previous personality. Makie tells her that only wearing underwear and a coat is bad taste. To remedy this, she plays dress-up with Haruna, who only wants her coat.

Kirishima is nothing but a union core now. She laughs at Makie’s affections for Haruna. In her helpless state, she needs nanomaterials from Haruna. To remedy this, Haruna places her into a teddy bear.

At dinner, Makie lays out a lot of pills. Kirishima moves and exposes herself, but Makie thinks she’s a wonderful robot toy. After dinner, the girls have a bath, then go to bed. During the night, Haruna and Kirishima sneak out, but are intercepted by the maid, who escorts them to a long, metal corridor. In a room with a bed, there is a man who is reported dead, but is still alive. He is not the one who created the vibration warhead. It was Makie. She is an engineered human. He created 109 superhuman kids, only 7 were viable, only 1 lived longer than three years. Government ordered a backup of her so that they could replace her, so he faked his death to prevent her from being discarded. He asks a favor of Haruna. Be friends with Makie. Trucks full of soldiers approach.

Best episode so far, we’re not focusing on Iona and her crew. Haruna and Kirishima were more interesting with Makie. This should be the show, not the ship harem tedium. A pair of killer androids on the run make friends with a fragile supergirl and they go have adventures evading their captors.

Plot Score: 3/10

This episode was all about Haruna, who was defeated in the last episode by Iona, and a little girl named Makie. Iona and her crew were seen briefly at the beginning gathering info on everything that needs to be repaired. Iona appears at the mental model tea party place and talked to one of the other mental models about defeating the other two in the last episode and how they felt regret and satisfaction.

Haruna befriends Makie when Makie took Haruna to her mansion to help her. Since Haruna was only wearing underwear, she needed clothes, so there was an outfit montage where Haruna blushed a lot. All Haruna wants in her giant coat back, which is in perfect condition and very time she does put it on, she says, “Shazam”. When Makie leaves for a medical check up, Haruna puts the stone of her companion, who was defeated worse in the last episode, into a teddy bear, so she has to walk around like Kou from Bleach. Makie was delighted over the bear coming alive. At dinner, Haruna observed that Makie takes a lot of medication and that it’s just the little girl and her maid in the mansion.

At bath time, they bathed together and Haruna acted pleasured when Makie washed her back and neck. Here, Haruna noticed Maike had a cellphone barcode on her chest. When Makie when to sleep, Haruna goes to the mental tea party place and talked to her leader, Kongou.

She and the mental model that is now a bear snoop through the mansion until they find Makie’s half-dead father. Makie was soul survivor of over 107 fetuses in the Design Children project, meant to fight the mental models. He asked Haruna to be Makie’s friend since she makes Makie happy. He did not have any info on the vibration cannon that Haruna is looking into. Now that Makie has made contact with a mental model, the government is after her. Meanwhile, the first mental model Iona fought is attack while approaching while nearing the team.

At least I’m starting to follow what the heck is going on. It’s still pretty boring, unfortunately. Too much like a harem anime, which is weird because their robot boat girls or something like that.

Character Score: 5/10

Suddenly, we have characters with personalities! Or at least the semblances of them. It was like watching a different show. Haruna timid and easily upset and embarassed without the armor of her coat. The jabs telepathically traded between her and Kirishima also belonged to a different show.

Makie gives the mental model girls plenty of grief, but also make a connection with them, especially Haruna.

These are the characters that I want to follow. They have their missions, which may conflict. They all have some camaderie that feels believable. There is the promise to drama and humor and action. However, they are not the main characters of this show and this will all end as soon as the plot returns to Iona and her crew.

Character Score: 3/10

I don’t get why Haruna was blushing when she put on the outfits, but wasn’t when she was in her underwear? Why does she even have fancy underwear anyway? Isn’t she a boat or boat controller? If she liked the way it felt, you’d think she wear something warmer since she usually on the water all the time.

Production Score: 5/10

Still really cheap, but it tried to disguise it a little better this time.

Production Score: 3/10

So many shortcuts. We hardly see their hands moving a lot or the transition from standing and sitting, it just cut them off or cuts to another shot.

Briar’s Total Score: 5/10

This wasn’t the same show as the previous episodes.

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 3/10
Week 5 Total Score: 4/10
Season Total Score for Arpeggio of Blue Steel: 4.1/10

Samurai Flamenco

Briar’s Review:

Will Hazama get his identity back from Flamenco Girl?

AstralRuby’s Review:

Heh, there was a direct Power Rangers spoof. Yes.

Plot Score: 7/10

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: 7/10

So this episode was about some problems Hazama (Samurai Flamenco) is now having with Mari (Flamenco Girl). She’s a bit more rough. She doesn’t lecture or pester people into doing the right thing, she harms and punishes them. However, she is most often seen in alleyways defending women that were attacked. So maybe she is still justified for what she’s doing?

Samurai Flamenco tried to save a girl, but it turned out to be a trap to unmask him for the 1million yen reward. Before he was unmasked, Flamenco Girl rescued him. It turned out the reward to unmask her was twice as high. Hazama didn’t feel good about that. They get away. Afterwards, Hazama asked Goto and Red Ax for advice, but didn’t really get much, other than being told to figure it out for himself. Since Hazama has an acting job for a little while, he has to take a break from being Samurai Flamenco since he’s going to be away. That means he can’t partner with Flamenco Girl, so she has to learn to be a solo hero for awhile. Before she learned of this, she was quite chipper during her music recording, though she told her idol members that the reason for her good mood was a secret. Then since she was so use to at least having Samurai Flamenco watching her back during fights, even if he wasn’t able to do much else with her running the show, she started having a hard time on her own.

Meanwhile, Goto gets placed on a new assignment with some other cops and were briefed about vigilantes. It was really a publicity job, the Vigilante Counseling Unit. He is also starting to have some girlfriend troubles from being busy.

At the set for a hero-themed show, Hazama played an extra character with a small role. He was really excited at first and wanted to talk about his ideas and stuff, but was quickly brushed off. Then he was told he wasn’t allowed to do his own stunts, which really out him down. He also found out the director doesn’t really care about the show that much, it’s just his job to produce it on time. When he got home, he got a package from his grandfather for his 20th birthday. Turned out that his grandfather created Samurai Flamenco as an original character. The package had a new helmet for the costume. Hazama read the letter and was inspired again about justice.

When Flamenco Girl was in trouble, Samurai Flamenco saved her and they tag teamed really well, making them stronger. After the fight, they split up their partnership since they have different definitions of justice. They did it very calmly and they seemed to respect each other’s views, they just aren’t going to work together every night anymore. At the very end, Flamenco Girl revealed her new team, the Flamenco Girls, which includes her idol members in wigs, a color theme, and each with their one staff. Now there’s magical girls!

Overall, not my favorite episode so far, but still fairly well done in comparison to some other series.

Character Score: 8/10

Hazama is having to balance his work and vigilantism, with work taking the priority. He’s also starting to stand up against Mari. We also get to see a little more of where Samurai Flamenco came from and what it means to Hazama.

That Mari was used to having Hazama watch her back was a nice touch. It also gives a reason why she would drag her group into her vigilante world. The rest of the group doesn’t seem so sure about this development, so it will be interesting to see the fallout from this move.

Goto is stil the lone sane voice of reason in this cast. He’s also smart enough to know that Hazama has to solve his problems on his own.

Character Score: 8/10

Hazama (Samurai Flamenco) just turned 20. He seems to be getting more serious and cautious about his role as Samurai Flamenco. I don’t think he’s keeping up on his training though, since the Red Ax seems more into watching Hazama’s collection of Red Ax shows/movies on the projector.

Goto is in a rather tough situation. I think he’s not offering much helpful advice to Hazama, because he doesn’t want to get too involved. If he gets in any deeper, he might get in more trouble just because he’s a cop. Things are getting a little tense between him and his girlfriend, we haven’t meet her yet, but it seems she’s mad from when Goto cancelled their date to deal with “work”, meaning Flamenco stuff, because when he had time and texted her to get together, she had a bit of a passive aggressive remark that clearly said no.

Mari (Flamenco Girl) seems to be getting less serious about being a hero. It seems to be much more of an act on her end, or maybe she’ll end up using it for publicity. I think she wants to help people, she’s just more rough and eccentric.

Production Score: 8/10

I still like the level of detail and quality in this show.

Production Score: 7/10

No change in this score. I don’t really like the magical girl outfits, but I do appreciate they are not on little girls, but adults for once, and I am aware the outfits are based on actual magical girl shows.

Briar’s Total Score: 7.6/10

The Flamenco Girls! “There are more of them?”

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 7.3/10
Week 5 Total Score: 7.4/10
Season Total Score for Samurai Flamenco: 7.7/10

Ratings (Points out of 10)

Series Name Week 5 Score Running Season Score
Arpeggio of Blue Steel 4 4.1
Beyond the Boundary 5.6 5.8
Galilei Donna 3.1 4.1
Gingitsune: Messenger of the Gods 4.4 5.2
Golden Time 6.4 6.2
Log Horizon 5.9 6.6
Nagi no Asukara 5.0 5.3
Samurai Flamenco 7.4 7.7
Strike the Blood 4.6 5.4

This week, Arpeggio of Blue Steel and Galilei Donna tied for the lowest score. To address this, we’ll use a very subjective and arbitrary way to deciding which series to knock out of the review queue. Which show do we not want to see more? After a brief poll, Galilei Donna came up as the show to kick. It went nowhere, did nothing, and the entire cast is boring. It will not return for Week 6 and we won’t have to watch another episode of it!

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