Monday, August 24, 2015

The Anime-zing Race (Summer 2015 Edition): Week 5

Insert witty comment here.
Last time on The Anime-zing Race, Charlotte's winning streak was finally broken by Actually, I Am..., while Aoharu x Machinegun, showing an ugly side to its main heroine, fell in last place, but was spared elimination thanks to a non-elimination leg.

The rankings are:

  1. Actually, I Am...
  2. Classroom Crisis
  3. Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers
  4. Overlord
  5. Charlotte
  6. GATE
  7. Ushio & Tora
  8. Aoharu x Machinegun
This week, will Aoharu x Machinegun be able to clear a Speed Bump and avoid last place and elimination? All shows will be judged up through episode 5.

For arriving in last place in the last leg, Aoharu x Machinegun must clear a Speed Bump: specifically, it must show that its main character, Hotaru, is able to either learn the value of true teamwork that she rejected earlier. Failure to do so will result in a three-place penalty, forcing it to be eliminated if it were to place in the bottom four.

As it turns out, with the help of the other team's coach, Sagara, she is able to see how Masamune's ways are intended to help newer players gain confidence and skills, and thus was intending to help her. Hotaru does realize the errors of her ways and apologizes to Masamune, and as such, it clears the Speed Bump.

Now, it's time to see how all the shows stack up to each other this week. The last show to check in... will be eliminated.

Another show takes first place for the first time this race. Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers comes in 1st place, thanks to an interesting revelation about Flamie that makes her character much more interesting. The revelation that she is half-human, half-fiend definitely puts an interesting spin on her character, even outside the "fake Brave" mystery (which she's ostensibly been acquitted from). I hope the show develops that aspect of her more, both in her own character and in her relationships with others.

She's the most obvious suspect, which means she obviously cannot be the culprit.
Actually, I Am... comes in second place this week, with a fun, light-hearted episode, starting with Youko struggling over her weakness to sunlight (read: tendency to tan really easily), followed by a nice little "date" between the two.

Charlotte manages to climb back to 3rd, as although episode 5 was ostensibly another superpower-user of the week episode, the episode focused more on various points of setup that seem to be hinting at deeper things to come. (There's certainly some ominous foreshadowing, too...)

Classroom Crisis takes 4th place this week, with a beach/hot spring episode of fun times, plus a chance for Nagisa to actually sort of connect with his classmates.

Coming in 5th place this week is Ushio & Tora, with a good storyline about the monsters some humans can become. I'm definitely wondering if this exorcist guy will become a recurring character, as it might make things more interesting.

GATE manages to come in 6th place this time, as the show enters its next major conflict, as well as a more formal meeting with the princess, Pinya Co Lada (...yes, that's really her name). The battle that ensues does show some of the ugliness that has been the hardest part of this show for me to take, but overall, the show has been improving.

As for the last two shows left, Aoharu x Machinegun is also starting to show new sides of itself, as it explains why Toy Gun Gun doesn't allow women in its group. It's all starting to push the show in a more interesting direction, but is it enough? As for Overlord, episode 5 feels like mainly set-up for adventures to come, so while some amusing moments happen, it definitely has slowed down.

However, in the end, Overlord keeps enough things interesting to come in 7th place as it promises some greater developments later on.

Unfortunately, this means that, despite clearing the Speed Bump, Aoharu x Machinegun still arrives in last place, and has been eliminated from the race. While it did nothing particularly wrong this time around, every other show around it has gotten strong enough that its overall middling performances can no longer hold up.


Next week: which shows will make it past the halfway mark?

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