And we’re back! On with the show!
When a girl sealed inside a giant steel egg falls on to the head of Yakuza, it’s the start of a bizarre series of adventures (as it should be). With no idea who the girl is or where she comes from the Yakuza finds himself taking care of the girl, mostly because if he doesn’t the girl will use her psychic powers to wreck his very expensive stuff. Not much of an overarching plot as of yet, just more mishaps in the lives of Hina and Nitta and I’m perfectly fine with that.
I am really enjoying this series so far, it’s striking the right balance of weird and interesting for me, though personally the strange meeting of a yakuxa’s life with a girl with psychic powers is worth the price of admission alone. There are so many odd little touches that make me both scratch my head and laugh at the same time, like the schoolgirl who ends up working as a bartender purely by accident or the fact that people say ‘ouchie’ when being thrown around by psychic powers. At some point I would like an explanation of where Hina and her powers come from, as well as what that bizarre flash forward at the beginning of the episode one was all about, but for the minute I’m happy with this as it is.
Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS
And it begins again. The vicious card game that has no other purpose than to torment teenage girls is back and again we all must question why anyone would want to buy these cards in the first place. We’ve got returning characters from seasons past, all new cards and rules and a battle to finally end the cycle of despair once and for all! But can anyone really stop the Selector battles, or will this franchise go on forever?
I have to admit, this may be the best WIXOSS season yet. Initially I was hesitant to watch this season, I mean I’ve enjoyed the past three seasons of WIXOSS, but they’re never been my favourite anime. Then I learned characters from the first two seasons were coming back for this one and I admit that got my interest and so far the series has exceeded my expectations. I am going to have to rewatch the first 3 seasons just to remind myself more of the details, but this season is really well written and has found a good balance of reintroducing bits of continuity while at the same time progressing the story. I love all the connections that have built up, as if this was the plan all along and I already know most of the cast so the show doesn’t need to waste time getting me invested in them. There’s a different feeling to this season, on the one hand the girls know what they’re getting into this time so they’re already aware their screwed before things even start. Also this time the girls feel a lot more proactive, they’re trying to find a way to actively fight against the force that is creating these battles and I am really looking forward to where this series takes that idea.
Food Wars the Third Plate
Yukihira Soma is cook from a small family diner, attending a cooking school for the elite. Over the past school year Soma has pitted his cooking skills against the best and brightest, but now Erina’s father is in charge and has plans to only allow cooking he deems as worthy in the school. With the advancement exam coming up, Yukihira and his fellow rebels face an uphill battle to prove that their own cooking is just as good if not better than what Erina’s father wants from them. Cooking battles don’t get any more intense than this!
I have to admit I love this show more and more with each passing season, especially after the way the last cour ended! I have been dying to see what happens next for months and so far it hasn’t disappointed. All that was good about the show before is still good, the characters, the animation, pacing, though my favourite aspect of this season has to be the development of Erina. Now I’ve never really liked her in previous seasons, the only enjoyment I’ve ever gotten out of her appearances where how Yukihira drives her up the wall and waiting for that inevitable moment when Yukihira finally shows her up and gets her to admit how good his cooking is. I did fear with the introduction of her dad that Erina was just going to become a damsel, a prize for Yukihira to obtain, but no. She’s actually showing some spirit, she’s fighting back and I find myself actually caring about what happens to her.
Libra of Nil Admirari
Tsugumi’s family is having money troubles and because of this she is being forced to marry a man she doesn’t know. After an argument with her younger brother, she finds him setting fire to his bedroom with a strange book in his hands. The book was cursed and apparently it’s not the only one out there. Tsugumi learns that she has the ability to see these cursed books and becomes a valuable asset to the Imperial Library Intelligence Asset Management Bureau (these guys really need a shorter name), whose job it is to deal with these books. With her marriage put on hold Tsugumi finds herself working alongside a bunch of handsome, if strange, young men (this in no way will lead to a harem *sigh*) and tracking down the cursed books.
After Code Realise I was willing to give this one a go, but so far this show is doing everything in its power to turn me off. Our lead female character is passive as anything, with her main power to be looking at things. Don’t even get me started on the evaporating marriage “Daughter you must married someone so that we can have the money to save the family! There is no other way!” “But Father now I have a magic power and must join this government organisation.” “Oh, alright then. We’ll hold off on the marriage.” Kind of makes it seem like the marriage wasn’t that important to begin with and just an excuse for the argument between Tsugumi and her brother, or a convenient bit of romance drama later in the series. Then we come to the Bureau, whose main method of finding cursed books is to, wait for this, walk around the bookshops each day and have a look. Really? That’s it? You’re a government organisation and this is your big plan to deal with books that can cause people to seriously hurt themselves! Arrrgggh! The way the plot of this show is executed is just excruciating. They don’t even explore the cursed books properly, they’re meant to be the emotions of the author at the time of writing influencing the reader, and yet all we ever see is a dark aura around the books and the reader just screaming some random things. We never learn anything about the emotional state the author was in, why they were like that, why that particular book became cursed. For something that comes from the emotions of the written word the shows demonstrates a surprising lack of an ability to convey emotions.
Ritsu was living a normal and fulfilling high school life, until he heard a cry for help in the middle of the newest song from a popular idol. After that he gets a strange feeling, like something isn’t quite right, but it can’t put his finger on what it is. Then, at a school assembly, people suddenly turn into monsters and start attacking him. Luckily another student appears, whose arm has suddenly transformed into a giant handgun. From there things get weird (sorry, that should be weirder) as Ritsu comes across people with digital effects in place of their heads and floating little mascots. The world is not what it seems and Ritsu will have to fight to get any answers.
Okay, you definitely need to watch three episodes of this show before deciding whether to follow it or not (It takes that long just to make even a semblance of sense). However I am enjoying the series and I am going to continue watching it, if only to find out the extent of what exactly is going on. Don’t get me wrong the show has it’s flaws, it thinks it’s smarter than it actually is, at least so far, and it’s a bit all over the place when it comes to explaining what’s going on and with its pacing. We’ve only just scratched the surface of the setting and the characters though and none of that has been so bad as to put me off so far. I’m looking forward to seeing where this is going.
Former soldier “Immortal” Sugimoto is searching for gold, but happens across the story of a group of escaped prisoners, each with a series of tattoos that when combined lead to a lost treasure. With the help of a Ainu girl, Sugimoto hopes to be the one to uncover the treasure, but not only will he have to track down and defeat the former prisoners, there are others after the treasure. Including some of the strongest and most feared soldiers in Japan at that time. Just how “Immortal” is Sugimoto? He may just be about to find out.
Cooking with the Ainu! I joke, but this show makes a pretty good survival skills tutorial, showing how to lay traps and make meals out of what you catch. Not what I was expecting from the show, but I’ll go with it. Not that cooking and survival skills are the only aspects of this show, we do also have the plot to deal with. With regards to that, so that the show has really just introduced the core concept and been introducing a wide variety of eclectic characters, all of whom I’m interested in. I also like Sugimoto as our main lead, he’s a badass, but not all the time. He can joke and panic like anybody else and has a tendency to get through situations through a mixture of clever tactics and blind luck. Asirpa is also interesting and I love learning about new cultures so having her as a window into the Ainu culture is really great.
Last Period: the journey to the end of the despair
In a world threatened by monsters known as Spirals, there are those who defend the peaceful days of ordinary people, they are the ones who call themselves Periods (for some reason). When the 8th Squad HQ is shut down due to all their treasure being stolen, Haru and his friends are the only Periods left working for them. Now they must do as many jobs as possible to rebuild the 8th Squad, but they have more than Spirals and strangely identical mayors to deal with. There’s also the shady group known as Wiseman! Though, if I’m honest I’m more concerned about the fourth wall. They keep chipping away at it as they are and the whole thing might just crumble.
I realise comedy is a subjective thing and there are probably people out there that find this show sweet and charming. I mean in the grand scheme of things it’s a relatively harmless, average show. The characters are pretty flat and don’t have much outside of their one assigned character quirk and the setting isn’t exploded or developed all that well. This anime is very much an advert and lives and dies on its humour. Unfortunately for me the humour in this show is like a shambling half-dead corpse, lurching towards its own grave (sorry for that image, but that’s the mood this show has put me in). This show’s version of comedy tends towards reference humour, meta and otherwise to the fact that this show is based on a game and general anime jokes. The joke it likes to tell is lamp shading the tropes it likes to use and how generally shody and poor the show is, now lamp shading can be funny, in moderation, but when you keep doing it over and over again the only thing I think is ‘yeah, actually they’ve got a point, this is pretty shody and poor’, which I don’t think is what they were aiming for. That’s the problem with the jokes here, they’re way too repetitive and predictable. I’m out on this one.
Well, there are actually a lot of really good shows this season, but I’ve rambled on for long enough so I’ll leave it here. Back next week for a full series review!
Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.