Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon: Those Lined Up Above the Horizon/Final Review

Back with the final episode of the first season of the Fall 2011 series, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon. Now that Tori and Horizon are reunited, it’s time to book it and get back onboard Musashi.  The Far East ground forces are able to make their retreat from the K.P.A. Italia and the Pope on the airfield, but the captain of the Pope’s airship sets off to stop the escape of Horizon and their lost Deadly Sin Armament. After failing to ram the floating city, all cannons are locked and loaded, ready to blast Musashi out of the sky. It’s up to Horizon to boost the power of Lyte Katarripsi, but she still can’t do it without Tori’s help, thanks to his energy reserve sharing.  Along with decimating the K.P.A. ship, Horizon also regains a part of her original soul, and, for the first time, feels the emotion of sadness. Tori stands gently by her side, promising to recover all of her lost emotions.

The battle isn’t over, or rather, it’s just begun, because now Musashi stands against not only the K.P.A. Italia and Tres Espana, but also the P.A. ODA, who make a surprise visit, to show that Musashi’s stealth shield is useless against them. Bringing a dire warning of the fights to come for the currently festive citizens of Musashi, who are celebrating the safe return of the dear Horizon.  In style, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon leaves season 1 mid-battle, as Tres Espana forces (more like their baseball team, really) begins an assault on Musashi. But the students aren’t hesitant, and quickly jump into battle to protect their home.

While confusing at first, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon is finally moving into a forward step plot that explains (or at least recognizes the newness of new things) and shows character development (did you see that? Tori only made a few sexual remarks to Horizon, that’s called self-restraint *jk*).  Supposedly, the original novel included a long preface explain the Horizon universe, as well as the Testament which determines the path of human history and is set to end sometime during the series. This hasn’t been explained (or even touched) in the anime series, so I can understand why a majority of viewers are put off and don’t want to continue. I personally am advocating perseverance, as I feel like, given time, patience will pay off and Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon will be a series you’ll be glad you didn’t miss. Season 2 is slated for Summer 2012, can’t wait.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

(I know, this really isn’t a “Final” review, as there WILL be a second season. But just think of this a final thought on season 1.)

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Fall 2011 Final Review

Back for a final review of the Fall 2011 season. For simplicity sake, I’m dividing this post into “finished” and “continuing” series. Series that have reached a definitive end (even if just for now) and don’t have any rumor of possible continuation, are deemed “finished”, and series like Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon and Guilty Crown, which are most definitely going to be continued, are deemed “continuing”.

For “finished” series, this season I followed Shinryaku!? Ika Musume, Working’!!, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, Ben-to, and Tamayura~hitotose.  Shinryaku!?, Working’!!, and Tamayura are all continuations from previous seasons or OAVs, while Boku wa, Ben-to, and  are original premiers.  The more comedic series, Shinryaku!?, Boku wa, and Working’!!, offered a refreshing break in-between more action or character-driven series like Ben-to, and Tamayura.  But that’s not to say the comedies didn’t offer their own substance in way of character development or excitement.  In general, the series I would like to see more of, and think there’s a chance of a continuation are Boku wa Tomodachi ga SukunaiC³and Working’!! (I feel like there’s still room for fresh material to continue the story of the Wagnaria crew).  Ben-to and Tamayura~hitotose both reached logical, definite conclusions, and I’m satisfied with their endings. I’m almost apprehensive of asking for another season of Ben-to, as this may not live up the enjoyment of the first season (but I’m all for more Asebi, so I’d be willing to try it if it did get a second season).  Shinryaku! Ika Musume, while amusing to me, is really a hit-and-miss sort of comedy style, and it’s quite fortunate to have gotten this second season.  I’m not hopeful for a third season, but if the hit-and-miss hits enough people to generate good revenue, enough to justify a third season, more power to them.

(I’m not used to giving ratings, but I’ll see how this goes.) Overall, for “finished” series this Fall 2011 season, I’d give an 8.7 out of 10.  A lot of the series, as stated, are continuations from previous seasons or OAVs, so they bank on previous success.  But there was quite a good bit of excellent new material to give a nice blend of old favorites and fresh series to keep me thoroughly entertained.

 

On to the “continuing” series, Guilty Crown, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon, and Gundam AGE.  Ultimately, the only two I’m eager to see continue are Guilty Crown and Kyoukai Senjou, as they are the only ones to truly not make me cringe 90% of the time.  Guilty Crown was poised to become the next Code Geass, but, as many other blogs will quickly remark, this just wasn’t the case. Ohma Shu is no Lelouch Lamperouge.  But I do admire the unique premise, drawing voids that take on form depending on the owner’s heart is very interesting and I’ve been surprised to the individuality and applications of the voids Shu has so far drawn.  While the main protagonist leaves much to be desired, the 11th episode, marking the halfway point of the series, shows him finally acting the part of the hero. My fingers are crossed that this will continue into the Winter 2012 season.  Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon also broke it’s pre-determined impressions, as many, including myself, spent much of the series wondering what was going on.  While normally this would be considered a minus for a series, Kyoukai Senjou pulls it off in such a fashion that makes me overlook the confusion and enjoy it more so now that everything just seems to be happening in a way that makes me happy to understand.  While this is a confusing idea to some (trust me, I’m still wrapping my head around it), I’m still looking forward to the second season, announced to air in 2012.  Finally, there’s Gundam AGE, my most disappointing series this season.  Not that there’s inherently anything wrong with it, but if you’ve seen other Gundam series such as Gundam 00, Gundam AGE seems to spit in the face of previous success. The character designs are very childish, as is the dialogue, and I’ve never found myself rooting for the bad guys because I can’t stand what they did to the Gundam design.  I’ve really only continued watching because, steadily, AGE is recovering ground inch-by-inch. Supposedly this series is going to span three generations, i.e. Flit’s son and grandchild eventually become the focus. I’m hoping for Flit to leave the cockpit soon, I honestly can’t stand the thought of someone as generally annoying as that child piloting (what is, in my opinion) one of the greatest machines ever imagined.

Rather disappointing “continuing” series, compared what I expected going into Fall 2011.  My rating is a 7.0 out of 10.  Passable because the tail-end of the season sees some remnants of what I hoped for going in.  For Guilty Crowns sake, Shu better man up or shut up, take a lesson from Dan the Man and use some “GUTS!”.   Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon needs to do nothing but continue the great plot movement of the last 4 or so episodes in the first season (I fear the first episode of the second season will be a recap of the first season, if anyone involved with this show is reading, please don’t do this, just jump right back into the story).  Gundam AGE…*sigh* just, stop ruining what I like about the Gundams. If Flit is going to lose, don’t let it be because of something so simple as type-disadvantage.  If Flit is going to whine, let someone else b**** slap him. And if the UE is an alien force, give them a good reason for attacking human colonies (may I suggest reading the Ender’s Game series? very good example of extraterrestrial misunderstanding).

Next season has less in store (for me, anyway) than Fall 2011. I plan on following Kill Me, Baby! and Another for sure. As well as continuing Guilty Crown and Gundam AGE.  There’s a high possibility that I’ll pick up others perhaps a few episodes in if I get good impressions and have the time.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Additional note, just finished Azusa Nakano’s Speed Draw :3, you can check them out here. Enjoy, and Happy New Year.

Shinryaku! Ika Musume: Episodes 11 & 12/Final Review

Hey minna,
back with the final squidastic adventures of Ika-chan.  This squiddly series ends much like the first season with a touching squidisode with the mystery girl in red showing up to give a short parable related the troubles in life.  (Oddly reminiscent, really)

Episode 11 contained the three parts “Isn’t that Hypnotism!?”, “Isn’t That an Alliance!?”, “Isn’t it Just the Two of Us!?”.  By far, my favorite part with in “Alliance!?” when Ika-chan did squidly battle with the combined product of Ayumi’s father and the three stooges. Quite the epic struggle and a nice change of pace for the show.  But I was on the edge of my seat all through “Two of Us!?”, because I truly fear the wrath of Chizuru, but (strangely), I wish they’d had more Chizuru-nyan. :3

Episode 12 wraps up the second season with “Won’t You Practice!?”, “Isn’t That a Festival!?”, and “No, Really, Isn’t That a Festival!?”.  The last two being parts of the same story and the heartwarming end to the series.  After Eiko and Ika-chan have a falling out, they refuse to interact with each other. To try and patch things over, everyone decides to meet up for a night at the festival (complete with yutaka).  After various festival-typical activities, Ika-chan gets separated from Kiyomi and the Invasion Club, prompting a search for the lost and sad squid girl.  Eiko, after sifting through a pond when she thought she saw Ika-chan is pointed in the right direction by the red dressed mysterious girl from way back in the first season.  Some tears are shed, everyone is reunited, and Chizuru makes the observation that perhaps Ika-chan’s invasion has already occurred, as she seems to really be the center of their lives now. (Things quickly returned to normal, by “normal”, I mean arguing…)

In summary, Shinryaku! Ika Musume is a very funny comedy series, with unique characters that seem to keep the jokes coming.  Even with the continuous hilarity, the cast still manages to mature and grow as the series progresses. The animation isn’t anything to get excited over, but it’s a comedy, so it’s not like I picked it up for amazing graphic expectations to start with.  Very much recommended to anyone with a light sense of humor that laughs at ironic situational comedy.

I can’t be sure if there’s a third season in store for Ika Musume, but I certainly wouldn’t miss it if it did.  You have to remember, Ika-chan still has a lot of land to invade to accomplish her mission. :3

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Ben-to: Japanese Grilled Eel 790 kCal/Final Review

Hey minna,
back for the last meal and episode of the half-priced action series, Ben-to.  Yarizui-sempai is stil bedridden as Sato takes the stand against Orthros, for half-priced grilled eel, feature plate of the Dog Days of Summer.  But all isn’t well, a veteran wolf has entered the city to take down Orthros once again.  He even seems to have made Sato run away from the supermarket, meanwhile enlisting the remaining wolves to make their stand against the seemingly unbeatable twin duo.

This newcomer, carrying the nom de guerre “Herecle’s Combo”, plans to force Orthros out, just like he did 3 years ago. By enlisting the wolves of the area to stand with him and simply allow Orthros to take their bento and leave, the rest are spared defeat, and decide the remaining half-price bento among themselves.  Planning to shun the Kyo twins, it seems as if Herecle’s Combo is about to, once again, push out the strongest fighters in the bento food chain…until Sato returns. What seemed like fleeing, was actually bold strategy. Sato run and worked up a sweat to build his hunger, in order to drive himself for the delicious grilled eel.  His growling stomach moves the other wolves to hunger as well, soon becoming a free-for-all.

Sato reminds the wolves of the city that it’s defeating strong opponents that makes the food taste so delicious, and the fights worth winning.  Despite his efforts, Herecle’s Combo is quickly pushed aside so the true wolves can begin the fight.  With Sato and Saito teaming up against Orthros, it must truly have bene quite a fight to behold. Too bad they cut to them eating afterwards, where it seems the Kyo twins are considered friends now. Meanwhile, Sato returns to Yarizui’s bedside, with fresh grilled eel and an honor seal to boot.

One of my favorite action series of all time, probably because of the random premise (high class fighting over half-price bento, that’s original). If there’s one thing to complain about, it’s the lack of fighting, maybe it was a cost thing or maybe they just wanted more non-fight plots, but (especially the final fight with Orthros) I’m left wanting to see more.  Recommended if your tired of the more mainstream fighting series, or just want a fast-paced story that you can watch over a weekend.  Not sure if Ben-to could get away with second season, but it does, you can be sure I’ll be on it quicker than Sato on half-priced bento.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

….oh yeah! Needed more Asebi!!!!!

Working’!!: Farewell Poplar/Final Review

Hey minna,
back for a final dinner at Wagnaria, and the final episode of the second season of Working!! A comedy series I’ve very much enjoyed watching, and will be very much missed (it’s good that it has a very high re-watch quality, in my opinion).  While, for the most part, Working’!! stayed static when it came to major character development, except for a few key episodes, this final episode gives a send off (sort of) for Taneshima, who is surprised to learn she’s grown taller and can now reach the damage report sheet.

For once, it’s not just Takanashi who is despondent over Taneshima’s dwindling smallness, Sato-san also feels disheartened that he may soon no longer be able to make fun of her or mess with her hair.  The despair doubles and spreads throughout Wagnaria when Yamada finds out that Taneshima may consider quitting to focus on her upcoming entrance exams.

Everyone seems sad to think of their precious Popura leaving them, except for Maya Matsumoto (the “normal” high schooler, frequently seen waiting tables during cut scenes).  Maya suggests to Taneshima that she simply continue working until her grades do slip, quite ingenious, really.  Taneshima promises her co-workers to do her very best, and Takanashi and Sato figure out that she actually hasn’t grown, but simply got better at stretching and reaching up to the list.

Working’!!, including its first season, was a very fun watch, staying fairly consistant with the humor in the manga.  The characters were so very well done to fit and bounce off the personality of other characters, that I’d imagine once a premise was set, the story almost wrote itself.  Even the “normal” girl was anything but.  While this seems like a nice place to leave the series, I’m reminded that Inami has yet to punch Takanashi some more before he gets a clue, and that Yamada has yet to reunite with her supposed brother.  Here’s hoping for a third season, but if it isn’t to be, I’m satisfied with where the Wagnaria staff leaves off.

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai: We Have Few Friends/Final Review

Hey minna,
back with the Neighbor’s Club for a final episode (in this season anyway) of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai.  After Yozora’s little fire fiasco last episode, Kodaka and the rest of the neighbor’s club don’t see her until she returns to class, with short hair that finally jogs Kodaka’s memories of her back in their childhood.

This final episode spends most of its time showing Yozora hidden thoughts throughout most of the series, from recognizing Kodaka as her childhood friend on his first day, to creating the Neighbor’s Club so they could spend time together. All the while, Yozora is hoping Kodaka would eventually realize who she was…

Wrapping up with Yozora’s reintroduction into the Neighbor’s Club, Rika has an M-rated fantasy when she thinks Yozora is a guy, and even Yukimura believes she’s male. Until Sena cooly points it out, and the routine we’ve come to know and love returns, with Yozora handily putting down Sena’s rare insults, and keeping the other’s perversions in check, while maintaining her fearful control over Marie.  Quite a koi ending with Kodaka silently sitting back, watching his friends in the Neighbor’s Club carry on, and saying how he’ll stay in this Neighbor’s Club, for making friends.

Overall, a very entertaining series that manages to engage me in the story as well.  With a cast of cute characters, Haganai could do no wrong, even in the ending. I’m glad they didn’t do a harem ending with Kodaka “choosing” one of the girls (a bit cliche in my opinion).  Instead, it’s a nice closure with Yozora and Kodaka reunited as childhood friends, but still open to another season to continue the activities of the Neighbor’s Club. Recommended to anyone who likes comedy series and appreciates tasteful fanservice (I’m still concerned about what Sena did to Kobato that night in the bath)…

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku

Guilty Crown: Resonance

Hey minna,
back with everything that makes me whole and a new episode of Guilty Crown.  At the halfway point of this 22 episode series, we finally see Shu showing some heroic qualities, as Japan descends into chaos at the hands of the GHQ Chief.   After the activation of “the stone that started it all” and causing a massive outbreak of the Apocalypse Virus, Shu is considered responsible after Undertaker is publicly denounced for releasing the outbreak.  Finally willing to stand up on his own two legs for what he knows is right and what he wants to protect, he calls his friends, ready to level with them…

After explaining Voids and his connections to Undertaker, Shu is able to enlist the help of his friends, even Yahiro, in a daring attempt to rescue Gai and Inori, as well as the rest of Undertaker pinned down at the airport.  In a time of crisis, new heros are sure to arise. Including DAN the MAN!! He stands up to Scarface allowing Shu’s mom to escape and meet up with Inori and Gai.  Soon, she has the transmission tower ready to broadcast Inori’s song, which apparently has the power to reverse the effects of the Apocalypse Virus.

For the first time, Shu shows initiative and charges boldly into the locked down airport, with the help of his friends and their voids.  After fighting and crashing a little bit, Shu is able to make it to the rooftop and find Inori in the middle of her song. But it can’t be good for long, as someone new appears out of nowhere (Insert a note about me freaking out, screaming “Noooo!!!! Inori!!! Behind you!!!”).  This new character also appears to have the ability to use voids forcibly, pulling out Inori’s sword-void and escaping.  Gai jumps in front of Shu just in time to protect him from the blade’s slash, but at the cost of his life…

Guilty Crown starts to live up the potential some of us saw in it 11 weeks ago.  Gai goes down in glory (just like I suspected he would), just as Inori is taken hostage by, who I imagine, is another agent of the GHQ.  Undertaker has taken a near-fatal blow, but now Shu has his friends to back him up, as well as his mom who seems to also be siding with Undertaker.  I honestly can’t even guess as to what happens next.  I don’t even have a theory on what the whole deal with the dust storm surrounding the GHQ Headquarters was all about….honest, I’m clueless (and I love it :3).

Until next time,
– BeldenOtaku