Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Anime-zing Race (Summer 2015 Edition): Weeks 6-7

When you're really behind, it's time for a double-episode!
Last time, despite overcoming its Speed Bump, Aoharu x Machinegun could not catch up to the rest of the shows this season, and was eliminated. The standings are:

  1. Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers
  2. Actually, I Am...
  3. Charlotte
  4. Classroom Crisis
  5. Ushio & Tora
  6. GATE
  7. Overlord
What surprises await our racers in this special double-episode? What show will be eliminated... next?

This next leg will focus mainly on episode 6.

Another show takes its first first-place finish: Classroom Crisis. With the secret of Nagisa's history revealed, the show now takes some more interesting turns with both the plot and the character interactions. The interactions between Mizuki and Nagisa in particular are great, making both characters more interesting overall.

A hilarious episode of Actually, I Am... takes second place. While a "wolf man" character definitely seems like a classic addition, not to mention being a childhood friend of the love interest, how this show actually plays it out turns a lot of things on their head. The comedy of the whole situation is top-notch, especially the final moment with Nagisa.

Charlotte takes a turn for the serious in episode 6, and the events that transpire definitely take the show in a darker, emotionally intense direction. While I might have some issue with how heavy-handed the whole situation comes off, the fact remains that this show has desperately needed something to seriously push its plot forward, and this episode does that job well. So for that, it takes 3rd place.

Ushio & Tora comes in 4th place, with a story that reveals even more about what makes its various characters tick. It's an overall exciting episode as well, and a revelation at the end looks like the show will definitely take its own turn for the more serious as well.

Overlord takes 5th place with a more introspective episode, as Momon and his impromptu group learn more about each other. It's simple but effective enough.

At this point, I'm running into some unique problems with the remaining shows. For Rokka, I'm just not really a fan of how the show seems to be effectively turning the cast against each other. Maybe I'm just too much of a fan of fantasy groups that are close to each other and work together well, that this more antagonistic approach just doesn't work as well with me.

My problem with GATE is something that's come up before: there's a certain brutality to the show, in this case with how the JSDF utterly trounces the bandits, that just rubs me the wrong way. I feel like the show is making it too clear that the enemy is Really Bad and deserves to be "punished" in this way. At least, to balance this out, we have Pina's reaction of just what the JSDF is like.

Ultimately, we will not find out yet which show ultimately falls out here, because this is a double-leg: for this leg, I have watched episodes 6 and 7 of each show consecutively. So all the shows above are still racing!

Next leg will look at each show's Episode 7. 


If I might have had some problems with how the dramatic shift in Charlotte occurred in the last episode, here in episode 7, the portrayal of the aftermath for Yuu is perfectly executed here. It's powerful, emotional, and once again brings to light just how broken of a person Yuu is, even more so given what has happened. Add on the role Nao takes on in all of this, and we have what is easily one of the best episodes of the entire season. This is a clear 1st place finish for this show this time.

Classroom Crisis comes in 2nd as it puts in another great episode with some fun moments between Iris and Angelina, as well as the rest of A-TEC. Character interaction is quickly turning into this show's strong point, and I am all for that.

Ushio & Tora really ups the stakes with the 7th episode, sending its main character out for a major soul-searching journey. With that, it takes 3rd place.

Actually, I Am... introduces another character officially, in the demon Akane, who's definitely a lot of fun. That said, I'm not sure how much more perverted comedy I can take from Shiho... Still, it's enough to take 4th place.

Overlord comes in 5th place with... well, another episode. It is what it is, enjoyable enough as it pushes the story further but not quite achieving anything notable yet.

Both GATE and Rokka end up in the bottom two again, with the same issues. GATE, however, manages to stay ahead, thanks to a fun episode that inadvertently brings Itami to the attention of fantasy maids--a dream come true for an otaku, to be sure. As long as the show keeps this sense of fun, I don't mind sticking with it for a bit longer, especially as next episode promises some fun as these fantasy denizens get to experience all the "wonders" of postmodern Tokyo.

Unfortunately, it's at this point where Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers has come in last place, and has been eliminated from the race. In the end, this show has turned out to be more of a locked-room mystery with a fantasy aspect than the fantasy adventure with a mystery aspect I was hoping for. It's not a bad show per se, but it's not what I'm looking for, and so it's time for it to go.


Yes, I know I am horrifically behind with this series, as most of the above shows have finished already. Things have gotten busy with real life on my end. At any rate, I will continue on with this series; however, I will not be doing this for the Fall 2015 season, partially because I am coming up on a transition period, but also because... well, I'm not too interested in most of the non-sequel shows next season. So I will finish up this series as quickly as I can, and then move on to a special series where I look at some of the various gems that have premiered during the Summer seasons in the past five years.

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