Anime Knockout! Fall 2013 Week 8

Welcome to the eighth 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


Strike the Blood

 

Briar’s Review:

Sayaka overcomes her Les Yay enough to let Kojou bite her and give him a new Familiar after an awkward pervert scene. Really, why jam an “accidental boob groping” scene in there? Those seconds could have been used to shore up Gardos into something a little stronger. Or for more explosions. Something. At least Sayaka wasn’t cured of her obvious lesbianism by Kojou’s magical healing cock. I wouldn’t have been surprised by that, actually. After the introduction of Fire-pony, they fight killer spider robots until they use a self-destruct command that Asagi created while she was deciphering the Nalakuvera’s controls. Okay, the ladies did most of the fighting. Gardos proved to be a very underwhelming villain, but then the last villain was kinda dumb, too. Maybe that’s just how this show rolls. This show may also be a variation of the harem anime, since it looks like each girl Kojou bites provides him with only one Familiar for him to use.

Plot Score: 5/10
Character Score: 4/10
Production Score: 6/10
Briar’s Total Score: 5/10

AstralRuby’s Review:

It appears Kojou, the 4th Progenitor, is still pretty defenseless. Instead of taking Yukina’s blood, he took the other girl’s, who offered it very suddenly. Then both her and Yukina had to protect him. Also, even though Asagi was tricked into breaking some code to and then used to hack anther code, she conveniently added in the equivalent of a self-destruct on the super machines that were supposed to be able to kill gods. Kojou got in a successful punch to win the battle.

Asagi kissed him in the end, and Yukina is mad at him yet again, even though she wasn’t mad about him taking her friend’s blood. I just wish the blood sucking wasn’t so ecchi. Everyone blushes a lot and I think there’s something wrong with them since they keep offering very suddenly.

This episode ended the arc, and we move onto another episode. They should probably stop setting up each arc to be some grand evil plot when they are defeated so easily in the end. This episode did have a fair amount of action though.

Plot Score: 4/10
Character Score: 4/10
Production Score: 6/10
AstralRuby’s Total Score: 4.6/10

Week 8 Total Score: 4.8/10Season Total Score for Strike the Blood: 5.1/10


Nagi no Asukara

 

Briar’s Review:

Plot: 4/10

This episode was just filler. The kids spend the day in the city with Miuna to look for a gift for Akari. At the end, saltflake snow begins to fall on the surface village, reminding us that there is supposed to be a bigger plot here than a simple family drama/slice of life with a gimmicky setting.

If this show was just a family drama and slice of life with a gimmicky setting, then this episode wouldn’t have annoyed me quite so much. However, we’re eight episodes in and just getting around to the overarching plot. All of this set up could have been done in four episodes, instead of eight. What the is the saltflake snow a harbinger of and why don’t the kids or anyone else seem to know it? No one’s explaining much of the gimmick other than a bit of mythology and handwaving with the Ena. Why isn’t Hikari’s father or Uroko explaining, at least to the audience, what the hell is going on? I keep waiting to learn more about what’s going on with this world, but never get more than a crumb or two, if I’m lucky. They might explain things in the next episode, they might not, but at this point I don’t really care.

Characters: 4/10

We keep getting tangled up in the love conga line, which gets tiresome after a while. Yes, the characters have realistic elements to them and these kinds of scenarios do happen, but that’s not the purpose of this show. As such, these issues aren’t really being address in a manner that advances the plot.

Conversations keep detouring to Manaka, even if the situation doesn’t really call for it. Yeah, I get it. She’s our leading female and everyone’s either interested in her or competing against her. She’s special. And dull. So dull.

Chisaki doesn’t think she’s a good person? This is a troublesome sign, especially combined with her low self-esteem and competitive comparisons against Manaka. So, when is the sudden, inevitable betrayal coming? Tsumugu is bland and boring now. He’s there as something for Hikari to compete against and to serve as plot convenience. Out of the characters, the most engaging is Kaname, but that’s just because he interacts with his world as more than a cardboard cutout or raging asshole in the few scenes he does anything.

I still don’t know why Hikari knows next to nothing about what’s going on in the bigger plot, despite his father being the chief priest or something like that. Hasn’t he been learning anything in preparation to succeed his father? Is there some reason why Hikari can’t rely this information to the audience?

Production: 6/10

Gimmicky setting and buouyancy headscratching aside, the background and details can be very good at times. Water on a window, for instance. However, sometimes the modeling gets a little off and there’s not much else interesting that really stands out. The music is forgettable, but that also means that it’s not annoying.

Briar’s Total Score: 4.6/10

AstralRuby’s Review:

Plot: 5/10

We end this anime on episode 8. In episode 8, we took a break from the drama and angst and almost from the who-likes-who stuff so the kids could help Minua find the perfect present for Akari. When the store was sold out of the sea shell necklace she had her heart set one, the kids found a shell on the beach that would work. It was an alright episode. In the end it appeared it was snowing. Not only is it unusual for it to snow on coastlines, but it was actually salt flake snow, which seems to only happen underwater. They are going to question of the meaning of this event.

Overall, I thought this show was average. Not bad, not really a great plot, but not so boring or offensive to turn me off as quickly as some of the others this season. It had an interesting premise, with the sea children having to go to the surface in order to continue their education, and learning how to not only cope with being the new transfer students, but also how to deal with culture change and fitting in in a world they don‘t really feel all that welcomed in. The kids learned that their races aren’t so different after all, and you can make friends if you stop being a prick or bashing others like Hikari and some of the other children in the school started out doing. They also learned that the adults have not really learned this and there’s a lot of bad blood between the two races for various small, but accumulative, reasons.

I supposed my main problems with this show was how it focused a lot on Hikari’s sister, Akari, and her struggles with loving a surface human and wanting to become the mother figure in his family, but doing so would mean never being able to go home again underwater. The sister’s arc included Minua’s struggles with losing her real mother, who had been from the sea too, and having another woman-figure (Akari) in her life. Perhaps this arc simply came in too soon to be a focus? There’s a lot of growing and things to learn about the main five children that the show is supposed to be about.

The other issue I had was the love-line (not triangle, too many people for that) that is hinted at, could have been the focus for some child-romance plot, but is for the most part up in the air while Akari’s problems are being addressed concern her wants and love-life. These are things that might be address as we go, but it appears Akari is still actually the driving force of the plot the children are most concerned with in the coming episodes.

In all, very interesting world this show created, just not a spectacular plot to earn it more points that its competitors this season. If someone is looking for a clean fantasy with modern elements, I could recommend this show as long as they are able to handle Hikari’s frequent bursts of anger and jealousy.

Characters: 3/10

Episode 8 once again, we are made very aware that Kaname is the most competent character of the bunch and he knows all that is going on between everyone else. Tsumugu is just after him on the scale, but might be a little too nice, hopefully, not to the point the girls take advantage of that kindness, since the girls are showing to be more and more manipulative of others while making themselves look and feel like the victims. It makes me worried for the episodes to come, especially for Chisaki, who needs a serious sit down with Kaname and Tsumugu to get her feelings and thoughts sorted out in a more manageable way before they cause her to do something bad or implode on herself.

I think there’s still a lot we don’t know about Tsumugu, and he suddenly became a character that’s just there in a supporting role, when it started out as if he was a main character, since he’s in the opening, and Hikari’s narration in the first episode how he witnessed “a faithful meeting” between Tsumugu and Manaka. The same can be said of Kaname, as in we don’t really know a lot about him or what his struggles might be.

Hikari appears to have some problems handling his emotions. He is very quick to turn and you never know when he is going to lash out in frustration or anger, or when he’s just going to laugh it off and play along. He’s that guy I might find myself nervous around because his company and temperament are so sporadic, you never know what might suddenly set him off even if he’s having a good day.

Manaka is one crafty girl after some critical evaluation. She’s got everyone putting her at the center of their world, or just the center of the group. Most of Hikari’s motivations are to impress her and make her pay attention to him. All this became less apparent in the last episodes, but I still wonder how this kind of attention will influence her development and eventually adult behavior. She is nice, and doesn’t intend to hurt anyone, but I fear she may end up doing so with the way her story has been progressing, whether it be Chisaki, Hikari, Tsumugu, or even Kaname is some really serious stuff ends up happening that causes him to get involved.

Production: 6/10

This anime is pleasing to look at, both the scenery and the character designs. It would have received a higher score if the underwater animation hadn’t confused me so often. Physics, especially buoyancy, doesn’t seem to apply to their underwater village, and that is even ignoring the magic fire their people use there. Fluids stay in their containers, hair doesn’t wave around, clothes don’t shift around or become see through, and they walk normally on the sea floor.

AstralRuby’s Total Score: 4.6/10

Week 8 Total Score: 4.6/10Season Total Score for Nagi no Asukara: 5.1/10


Log Horizon

 

Briar’s Review:

This is starting to rock the same Spice and Wolf feel that Maoyu tried to do. If anyone didn’t know this, Log Horizon is from the same creator as Maoyu. This time around, the characters and plot are a bit more refined. It helps that Log Horizon isn’t trying to show off research to facepalming effect. (POTATOOOO!) This episode, the battles were on the negotiation table. Mirielle and Henrietta rope in Karashin of Shopping Street 8 with a deal to provide ingredients to Crescent Moon. Round 2 pulled in the guildmasters of Marine Agency and Roderic Merchant Guild. It interesting to see the internal dialogues of Mirielle and Henrietta as they freak out a little while keeping their game faces on. In exchange for the 4.5 million gold Crescent Moon needs, the guild will provide the Crescent Moon recipes and methods. The guilds at the table fall over themselves for the chance to get their hands on Crescent Moon’s culinary secrets. Next episode, it’s Shiroe’s turn to fight. We’ll see how he fares with the social end of things and his plan to rescue Minori and Tohya.

Plot Score: 6/10
Character Score: 6/10
Production Score: 6/10
Briar’s Total Score: 6.0/10

AstralRuby’s Review:

Stage two of Shiroe’s master plan was to get a three other guilds to agree to loan out the rest of the gold needed. With some careful planning and manipulation by the leaders of the Tea Party guild, everything is going according to plan. The plan’s end is still not revealed, but they’re dropping hints about it.

Not much happened this episode besides that, but it still managed to move quickly without all the extra fluff that it could have easily ended up with. I’m actually pleased with out it’s handling this master plan idea and revealing the stages as it goes with only a little bit of flash back. Granted, I was able to survive the early Naruto episodes, so I’m almost immune to flashbacks.

Feeling bad for Akatsuki though. She’s being used as a comfort plushie for the Tea Party guild’s second in command.

Plot Score: 5/10
Character Score: 5/10
Production Score: 6/10
AstralRuby’s Total Score: 5.3/10

Week 8 Total Score: 5.9/10Season Total Score for Log Horizon: 6.3/10


Golden Time

 

Briar’s Review:

Banri checks up on Yana, where the blond wonder is trying to keep a buxom girl from coming into his apartments and making dinner. Yeah, that deserved what Banri did next. I busted a gut watching Banri channel Kaga pitch-perfectly and strut his stuff. Banri calls 2D to throw a party to cheer up Yana. Kaga tags along. Watching 2D mimic Kaga was funny, too. Banri then invites Oka, despite Yana wanting to avoid her. After a little drama, the group have a day in the amusement park. 2D proposes a pact that if one person in the group wants to go drinking or whatever, then they all go. The rest of the group agrees and hopefully this leads to them overcoming their issues with each other. In the middle of the night, Banri wakes up to talk to Linda on adjoining balconies. They talk about the old Banri and Linda messes with him a little. Banri thinks he used to be a pervert. With that massive box of porn, I don’t doubt it. The ghost of Banri wants to stay with Linda, but he can’t leave Banri, or else he’ll disappear.

Plot Score: 6/10
Character Score: 8/10
Production Score: 7/10
Briar’s Total Score: 7.0/10

AstralRuby’s Review:

There was a really awkward funny scene in this episode. When Banri went to check on Mitsou, there was a girl that was trying to get into Mitsou’s apartment, so Banri suddenly acted exactly like Kaga with the voice and attitude as he proclaimed to be Mitsou’s boyfriend in the exact over the top dramatic fashion Kaga had done in the previous episode. Mitsou went along with it and they acted like an obsessed couple until the girl left. It was funny. However I do wonder if Mitsou is so worried about his reputation and how everyone seems to know he was rejected by Chisaki, wouldn’t he be worried about now having to fend off other men too when word gets around that he’s appears homosexual due to this display? May or may not be an issue later on.

The rest of the episode was everyone hanging out at the theme park to cheer up Mitsou and make him and Chimani make up after their confession/rejection situation. Looks like they are all going to be their group of friends for college.

When Banri woke up late that night, he text Linda to meet him on the balcony so they could talk a little about the past and whatnot. She was staying with his neighbor, Nana. Towards the end, Banri had a moment when he shouted he wanted to go back, but he had no idea what just happened and Linda told him he fell asleep for a second. Seems weird since she got finished telling him they should have talked a long time ago and how when things aren’t said they become toxic. You’d think she’d tell him he’s having bits of this past self seep through or whatever was going on.

Plot Score: 6/10
Character Score: 7/10
Production Score: 5/10
AstralRuby’s Total Score: 6/10

Week 8 Total Score: 6.5/10Season Total Score for Golden Time: 6.3/10


Beyond the Boundary

 

Briar’s Review:

The Calm is an event where youmu powers weaken their innate vitality drops, so they are easy prey for hunters. Akihito will also be vulnerable during this time. Mitsuki gets in a car with Miroku, who tells her that a large youmu without a body called Beyond the Boundary is coming. Why she got into a car alone with a creepy dude, I don’t know. She should know better than that. Izumi Nase puts Akihito to sleep on the train. After he’s found, Aya thinks that the Calm has something to do with his coma, but his human half has been weakened. Aya and Ai will keep watch over Akihito. At midnight, the Calm arrives and the hunters go on a killing spree. It’s a massacre, especially when Izumi shows up. Stones everywhere. Aya and Ai are confronted by Miroku. He wants to take custody of Akihito. Aya is a kitsune? She’s more of a kitsune than Gintaro of Gingitsune. She’s still very powerful despite the calm. Just as Miroku is about to defeat her, Izumi intervenes. Akihito’s youmu half is awakening. So, what is Izumi up to? The Nase clan is on antagonistic terms with the Spirit Warrior Society. And what is Miroku trying to do with planted purple tentacle seeds?

Plot Score: 7/10
Character Score: 7/10
Production Score: 7/10
Briar’s Total Score: 7.0/10

AstralRuby’s Review:

It seems even with the looming Calm and Beyond the Boundary approaching, we must be reminded of the boy’s fetishes. One likes glasses and the other one likes little sisters. This has become something they do in every episode.

The Calm means that all yomou become weaker, so it’s easy pickings for the warriors looking to take on yomou they previously didn’t have a chance against. It doesn’t mean all yomou are completely depleted of their powers, and Akihito as a half-yomou is affected as well, but it’s still unclear if it’s really just the Calm making him feel sick or something Izumi Hito did.

Plot Score: 6/10
Character Score: 5/10
Production Score: 7/10
AstralRuby’s Total Score: 6.0/10

Week 8 Total Score: 6.5/10Season Total Score for Beyond the Boundary: 6.0/10


Samurai Flamenco

 

Briar’s Review:

Still no explanation as to what happened last episode. The weekly battles with the monsters are homages to the old shows like Kamen Rider and Power Rangers. At this point, you just sit back and enjoy the show. There is no sense to it. Embrace the madness. Goto reports that there are no casualties in these fights. Hazama corrects him. There was one; the monster. He thinks that they might have been brainwashed and that bothers him. After a month of monster being defeated without casualties, the emergency alert is lifted. This crazy train is now a commuter route and part of regular life. The careers for MMM and Hazama take off and life is good for them. Hazama is having fun. He’s now one of the heroes he grew up watching. In a shift of stance, he’s not going to worry about why the monsters are attacking. Some of the animation and modeling is a little rougher than before. Are the animators cutting corners now to make up for something big that’s upcoming?

Plot Score: 5/10
Character Score: 7/10
Production Score: 7/10
Briar’s Total Score: 6.3/10

AstralRuby’s Review:

There’s a super villain called King Torture sending out monsters to attack people and he wants everyone to surrender and becomes slaves. There’s even minions that are all dressed the same with T for torture written on their heads. What… am I watching? What happened to this show? How are these monsters possible? Who even are the minions? How is everyone not wondering how it’s even possible? We spent the entire series up until now saying how monsters and mutants don’t exist, and that’s why if Samurai Flamenco wants to be a real-life hero, he only has small time crimes to address and individual attacks to prevent.

Got to see Goto use his gun, it was cool this time since he only had to fire once. Looks like his police training actually did him good in this fictional universe.

I don’t think a superhero meeting in a children’s park is very secure or private, but it works. Right after, Hazama had to save his boss from another monster, so it was kind of funny when she pulled out her camera phone and he hid his face from her. Whenever a monster is defeated by the Flamenco crew, the monster shouts “Viva Torture” and then blows up. King Torture is also torturing mannequins of Samurai Flamenco, so he seems obsessed.

Since it was a good episode, I gave it back a point on plot, but I’m still confused on what happened to the world, theme, and genre.

Plot Score: 6/10
Character Score: 8/10
Production Score: 7/10
AstralRuby’s Total Score: 7.0/10

Week 8 Total Score: 6.6/10Season Total Score for Samurai Flamenco: 7.4/10


Ratings (Points out of 10)

Series Name Week 8 Score Running Season Score
Beyond the Boundary 6.5 6.0
Golden Time 6.5 6.3
Log Horizon 5.6 6.3
Nagi no Asukara 4.6 5.1
Samurai Flamenco 6.6 7.4
Strike the Blood 4.8 5.1

This week, Nagi no Asukara tied with Strike the Blood, so we made an arbitrary decision. Nagi no Asukara will not return for Week 8 and we won’t have to watch another episode of it!

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