Saki 9: Teru, the “Monstrous” Winning Streak

The first round of the semi-finals and the “monster” mahjong players have come in full force, when we finally get a first-hand look at Teru, the legendary sister of Saki Miyanaga. But not to be taken lightly, Toki also demands attention in the semi-final first round, revealing her power to see turns ahead thanks to a near-death illness. Meanwhile, Teru’s power can only be described as all-seeing and all-knowing, as her command of the table even surpasses Toki’s ability to foresee her moves. Kuro is left in the shadow as the monsters play through the round, only able to occasionally derail one another.

I was expecting something a bit more fearsome playing from Teru, to be honest. The way it was played up, and from what we’ve seen from “lesser” monster players like Miho, Koromo, and Momoko, I was expecting Teru to be able to incite immediate insanity in her opponents. But, instead, she just seems to have a view into each player’s hand and strategies. Though, I guess I can’t complain too much, she DID see through Toki’s future sight, after all. And her streaks seem to expand in power with each passing win, and breaking it only resets it to its starting value.

Kuro is stuck in what seems to be a no-win situation, she just can’t seem to compete with such a see-through skill. Despite how well it’s functioning to bring dora to her hand, there’s no time to build up a winning hand before the monsters end the round in a show of incredible confusion on Kuro’s part.  Honestly, it’s like Achiga isn’t even in this round…maybe she’ll show some new tricks, possibly picked up from their training, on her turn as dealer, which will yield bonuses should she manage to actually play a hand. Hopefully, that glimpse of Etopen is a sign of good things to come for the Achiga girls.

Saki: Achiga-hen Episode of Side-A – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Hyouka 8: All they need now is a fresh name and groovy van

Seriously, even the older students are calling on the Classics Club to solve mysteries. Big surprise when they’re called to the screening of a mystery movie, but it’s turning out entertaining, nonetheless. The, as of yet, unfinished story supposedly has all the clues necessary to solve it, and Chitanda’s magic eyes have lured Houtarou into the case. Though, in usual Houtarou energy-conserving fashion, he’s opting to simply hear out the theories of some of the class’s “amateur detectives” instead of putting his own mind to the grind.

Although not as serious as the mystery surrounding Eru’s uncle, the Classics Club’s recent exploits have provided reason for Eru to get closer to Houtarou…or at least exercise her magic eyes on him. While I suspect ulterior motives behind the unfinished movie, I’m more interested in how it’ll put Houtarou and Eru together, or if it will at all. This mystery does have the feeling of plot filler…regardless, still pretty to watch.

Hyouka – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket 

Gundam AGE 35: How has the Federation survived?

Asemu’s decrypted message has given an ultimatum to the battle between the Federation and Vagan. The new objective is to keep the archive of all Federation technology prior to colony wars, the EXA-DB, from being used to overthrow the Federation…using technology the Federation had, got rid of, made a database of (illegally), and then ditched in an asteroid. Using a portion of this database is what allowed Vagan to develop such advanced mobile suits, compared to the unassisted Genoace units Earth uses. Possession of the EXA-DB apparently will determine the tide of the war.

While the Diva is now tasked with the secret mission of the database’s retrieval, so is our friend, Zeheart, on similarly secret orders from Ezelcant. There’s probably some additional information yet to be dropped that will lead to the location of the EXA-DB (otherwise, it would just be a lot of random asteroid searching, wouldn’t it?). Which will inevitably lead to Zeheart and Kio facing off, with Vagan and Federation forces behind them, as they near the hiding place of the “cursed treasure”.

What blows my mind is how short-sighted the Federation has been thus far: not funding R/D into the Gundam or the AGE system, apparently not concerned that only a single mobile suit can outclass an army of enemy combatants sworn to take away their power and overthrow their government, leaving a dying colony and being surprised that they want revenge, and illegally collecting a database of weaponry technology, the sum of all war-based knowledge, only to throw it away (that’s like stealing from a bank and throwing the money into a river, in my opinion). I mean, I don’t particularly like Flit as a person, but as commander, he kinda knew what he was talking about.

As a peaceful resolution looks harder and harder, now the goal seems to be the finish line in an arms race, (which didn’t exactly work out too well in the real world) with only the last man standing to claim victory. Gundam AGE’s overall theme trends to the generational viewpoints toward a long-term engagement in war. Those who originally started in the fight (Flit), want victory, complete victory, at any cost, while the sentiments continue to water down as the years pass and the newer generations take the helm. Those, like Kio and Asemu, don’t share the same burning vengeance, so they struggle to compensate the feelings of the those before them and their own desire to avoid, what seems to them, needless conflict and bloodshed. I think it will ultimately come down to newer generations convincing the intial (Kio/Asemu convincing Flit) that there is a middle way, a way to the future that doesn’t involve completely eliminating the other side, despite our feelings toward one another. Or is that too deep for Gundam AGE?

Gundam AGE – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Acchi Kocchi 10: Mayoi is Pedobear…I’m not surprised

That one shot in the opening sequence finally makes sense…and I couldn’t be more unsurprised. I doubt there’s ever been a romantic comedy daring enough to turn one of the main characters in a pedobear…and then another into an abducting homeless man. While these are both quite humorous in themselves, Acchi Kocchi goes the extra mile by commencing to stalk lolis and kidnap adults. But then again, who hasn’t had the occasional desire to abduct our homeroom teacher? Such unfair pop quizes…

In addition to Mayoi’s pedo-persona, I think I’ve also figured out something about Io. Perhaps it’s not that he’s teasing Tsumiki or can’t recognize her affections, it’s because EVERY girl he knows acts the same way around him. Tsumiki is just the only one who follows him around. Though he does seem to be fond of her as a close friend, maybe there’s hope for a good ending in store for Tsumiki, after all. I mean, Io certainly seems to appreciate her, at the very least…or am I reading too much into that scene with drink after working Christmas Eve at the Hatch Potch?

Finally, I’m not very pleased with how Mayoi treats Hime-chan… (soap-box mode: activated) she’s my favorite character and I didn’t like it when Mayoi the pedobear scared the living daylights out of Hime…I just didn’t. (soap-box mode: deactivated)

 

Acchi Kocchi – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Gundam AGE 34: Daddy Left You to Become a Pirate King

Following my ponderings last week, Asemu (2nd arc) returns to the story as “Captain Ash” of the space pirates Bisidan. Piloting the Gundam AGE 2 Black Hound, he and his pirate crew plunder the seven seas (in space) in search for Federation ships that aid Vagan attacks, in his attempt to root out corruption within the Earth Sphere Federation. Finding their current pace inadequate, he sets his sights on the Diva and its onboard AGE system, Ash tests both Kio as a pilot and Flit as a commander to see if it’s still in good hands. Unfortunately, Vagan mobile suits, commanded by the one of the more attractive Vagan officers, Fram Nara, interrupt the father-son reunion.

But like most (if not all) small Vagan operations full of hot-headed pilots, the enemy suits are quickly defeated after a seemingly victorious setup. Personally, I’m thrilled to see the return of the Super Pilot, and even happier to see him sticking it to Federation ships…well, the bad ones, at least. Now that they know the Gundam AGE 2 is just floating around a Lagrange point (and they KNOW it’s a Gundam, y’know, that one type of mobile suit that kicks butt 24/7), what do? I’d bet on Ash riding in at the last minute of some dire operation that the fate of the world hinges on, with his pirate crew in tow, to save the day as Flit and Kio are under the blade, about to bite the dust. Or perhaps join sooner, as a part of a large scale rendezvous of all the friends collected over the 3 generations of fighting, to fight in the last battle against the Vagan. Although I’m not sure how this will affect the differing opinions regarding how to deal with the enemy across the generational gaps. Flit wanting their utter annihilation, Asemu wanting some sort of compromise (wanting that they didn’t have to fight against each other), and Kio’s (I’m assuming) undetermined objectives.

Complete annihilation doesn’t sound feasible now that we’ve got so many character ties within Vagan. Fram Nara being one of the newest. With the additional characters comes additional strain between them. Fram seems to be somewhere in-between suspicious of Zeheart and obsessed with him. She apparently has a history with him involving her brother, but at the same time she seems to be silently measuring him. I can’t quite understand why, but it gives me hope that Gundam AGE will have a somewhat decent plot at the end.

Gundam AGE – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket 

Saki 8: Why Can’t I Hold All This Nostalgia?

In preparation for the semi-finals, and the monster players in wait, the Achiga girls call on some familiar faces to help them meet the intensity of the super powered mahjong so frequent in the original series. In case you haven’t been watching Saki: Achiga-hen Episode of Side-A, it’s essentially just like the original series “Saki”, including the cast, plus a few more, minus the yuri action and some of the crazy superpowers (but that may change with the next episode). After facing head-to-head with varying degrees of, what appear to be, psychic-mahjong powers, the girls confidently head into the semi-finals, and in the first round we see Teru, Saki’s mysterious monster-player sister…

Kuro is first in Achiga’s line-up for the semi-finals, but she’s up against the legendary Teru Miyanaga. Will we see just what makes her so fierce? And how Kuro will compete is another issue, being without a super power herself, she’ll have to rely on dora coming to her hand, but I doubt that can stand up to the witchcraft these “monsters” of mahjong have in store. But just beyond the semi-finals is Nodoka and Saki, so she’ll somehow have to manage.

Perhaps the best Kuro can hope for is to merely survive Teru’s wrath and hold onto as many of her points as she can so the remaining Achiga girls can bring the heat in later rounds. But I foresee each team’s monster players coming into the rounds one at a time. Essentially each Achiga girl having to face down a monster in every round. Maybe this means Arata’s skill will finally be showcased, clinching a win using Achiga’s own “monster” (or at least “very very good”) player in the final round. That’s probably just my own hope, as it’s more likely, based on the progression of this particular series, that (if Achiga wins) they’ll pull it off with a show of non-super power-based play. Unless they’ve somehow gained super powers themselves from hanging around these players from the original series…maybe something in the original series has to do with the acquisition of mahjong power, and the closer the girls get to Nodoka and Saki, the more powerful they’ll become!

Saki: Achiga-hen Episode of Side-A – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket

Hyouka 7: Now with 30% more Character Development

Club trip? Hot springs? It has fanservice written all over it (if only that one kid hadn’t kept us from viewing that marvelous body Oreki certainly has :3). But mystery is in the air, and all this mystery has apparently made Houtarou sick on the ride there. But like the last mystery, it’s not so dark and mysterious as those concerning missing uncles, though it certainly had an ominous buildup. But the real story was between Houtarou and Eru, as they spend some quality time solving “The Mystery of the Hangman’s Yukata”.

Chitanda seems to have an ever growing persuasion over Houtarou, and she uses it very effectively to not only bring him along on the club trip, but get him to investigate the shadow she and Ibara saw one night after scary stories. As Fukube spends his days lounging in the hot springs at every oppurtunity, the daring duo of (hopefully) romantics investigate what Chitanda saw the night before. Finding the crime scene inaccessible, Houtarou is left at an impasse, so the two go to hot springs in the meantime. There, he finds his theories inadequate for what Chitanda is looking for. He’s beginning to not just look for answers, but answers to satisfy Chitanda’s interest…

So character development, particularly between Houtarou and Chitanda, is the predominant theme in Hyouka now. Mysteries take a back seat as the two high schoolers slowly realize they’re simply meant to be together (much to feal87‘s dismay). Houtarou seems to have grown closer to this bright-eyed girl after seeing her wishful dreaming of having a sibling, but how long until they get serious emotional connections started?

Hyouka – BeldenOtaku’s Photobucket