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Friday, 23 of April of 2021

Anime Round-Up: April 21, 2013

Sorry for the delay on getting the post up this week. First was that I had a review for Defiance to file for for tomorrow (it’s not a bad show so far, you should check it out), and that took more time to write than I was anticipating.  The second reason for the delay is that Gargantia‘s new episode airs on Sundays, so I decided to pause so I could not quite be on a delay with that show. So, this week, Gargantia gets two episodes discussed (fitting, since they sort of form a two-parter of sorts). (I suppose I could wait until Monday to incorporate Flowers of Evil, but with Defiance on Monday nights, and me without screeners after the third episode, it’s probably not going to happen.

Don't fuck with Nakamura Flowers of Evil, Episode 2

One of the charms (if we can call it a charm)/horrors of Flowers of Evil is how stuck we are in Kasuga’s psyche. It’s not that we’re not exposed to other people in the series — there’s a whole school of them plus his family around him — it’s that we’re always experiencing and responding to them through Kasuga’s perspective. As a result, the overwhelming guilt and fear of being found out as the thief has real weight to it, perhaps more than I honestly expected the show to convey.

Surprisingly, Kasuga is prepared to come clean, at least to Saeki (no need for all that public shaming that would undoubtedly result). Sure, he’s doing it out of guilt and not a desire to actually do the right thing, though perhaps we’re splitting hairs here. And, in any case, it hardly matters since Nakamura binds him to a contract of black mail of who knows what. At first, it just seems like long bike rides through the mountains, but after pushing Kasuga into Saeki’s breasts as he attempts to apologize, she wants an essay on how he felt at that moment. Welcome to the circle of perversion that is Flowers of Evil. No clear why she wants it, but the glee with which she asks for it implies a decidedly sadistic streak, one that I’m willing to bet Nakamura may not be fully aware of it, or even happy with. Perhaps her loneliness will be solved by completing Kasuga’s corruption.

L-elf holds Saki hostage while Haruto looks onValvrave the Liberator, “Beyond 666” (Episode 2)

So Valvrave ended last week with, in the disparaging words of Brian Ruh, “freaking space vampires.” Turns out that the truth is actually “freaking body switching by way of biting others.” Haruto was revived likely thanks to his humanity resignation, a weight that comes crashing down on him in this episode’s end, and swapped bodies with L-elf when he bit into his neck. The process appears reversible as if Haruto bites someone else, the he goes into that body. The rules aren’t exactly spelled out, and the show doesn’t seem all that concerned with it at the moment, but it does promise plenty of ridiculous body switching hijinks.

The episode as a unit, though, isn’t terribly interesting. Haruto’s able to fight off the Dorssian Ideals — their unwieldy looking mechas — largely thanks to luck and some insight from L-elf’s ability to ascertain things about the Valvrave just from the typography in the cockpit. And it reveals that, unsurprisingly, Shōko managed to survive that blast But the show is moving quickly to showcase the stresses of the conflict is having on those involved. Haruto’s not reveling in his ability to pilot the robot, and L-elf is in the unpleasant position of being branded a Dorssian traitor thanks to Haruto’s actions. Both are outcast from their former lives, and now have to figure out how to cope with that.

Ledo and AmyGargantia on the Verdurous Planet, “The Planet of Origin” (Episode 2) and “The Villainous Empress” (Episode 3)

If there’s a bit of crow to be eaten this week, it’s served up by Gargantia. While I found the first episode decidedly too straight, the next two episodes fleshed things out, and showcased just what its premise can offer. One thing to really appreciate is the show’s pacing. The leaders of the Gargantia fleet are not quick to trust Ledo and Chamber (stealing every scene) and vice versa. There’s an patience on display here that reminds me of Bodacious Space Pirates where the series allows its characters and stories some time to breathe, and for responses to actions to happen organically.

So take Ledo’s annihilation of the pirates that attack Bellows’s ships. Instead of being a celebratory act that earns the fleet’s trust, it actually makes matters worse since it disrupts the established order of how things operate on this aquatic Earth. It’s a good dramatization of showing of how advanced technologies (in this case, very advanced technologies) can muck with the status quo, and the ramifications therein. Which leads to a nighttime assault on the fleet. It was a very neat idea to set it at night, lit mostly by spotlights on ships and all the stars above. It was different, and exciting.

There are things that irked. The pirate empress and her nubile slave girls I could’ve very easily done without, or at least a bit more interesting that a sadistic lesbian vibe and fanservice-y character designs. They may’ve been pirates, but they felt like there were from a totally different show. Some of it still feels a bit too cutesy (I really need to let the flying squirrel go, but it’s killing me), but there’s more to like in these two episodes than there was in the first.

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