Anime roundup 4/3/2014: The Naked Truth

In this week’s viewing: Four of five series wrap up, and a surprising proportion feel that nudity is the solution!

Kill-la-Kill-24 Kill la Kill finale – I believe I said after seeing the first episode that this show was so over the top, it was in low earth orbit. But, from what we saw in the last episode, I was wrong. That was clearly geosynchronous orbit.

The finale delivers on every level, from the all-out attack on Honnōji Academy and the destruction of essentially the world’s biggest condom (SYMBOLISM), to Senketsu’s farewell speech about outgrowing the school uniform (SYMBOLISM), to the ultimate confrontation between Ragyō and Shinra-Kōketsu (the Holy Tie-Dye, approximately) and Ryūko and Senketsu-Kisaragi (Second Period) (yes, that kind of period) (OH THE SYMBOLISM). There’s a loose end or two if you look closely, but the overall product is a satisfying tapestry.

The biggest impression it leaves is just how much darned fun it all was. Yes, it had something to say about puberty and adulthood and all that, but I feel like that part is going to be consigned to obscure papers with titles like “The Construct of the Female Body in Motion Art of the Late Heisei Era”, whereas anime fandom will remember this series as the one that flung propriety, physics, and any sense of restraint out the window and was cavorting around nude before the bodies even hit the ground.

This isn’t one I’ll be recommending to people who haven’t seen much anime before; I think it’s likely to drive them away from sheer overstimulation. But, my fellow anime fans, if you haven’t already been watching this, you’ve gotta check it out.

Samurai-Flamenco-22 Samurai Flamenco finale – There is really nothing better to sum up this entire series than Masayoshi flailing his way through an attempt at a heroic speech while standing buck naked between a 12-year-old terrorist and an cop angry about the sort-of murder of his sort-of-imaginary girlfriend.

I felt like it stumbled a bit with Goto here; I really didn’t completely buy his swing to revenge killer and then right back to “oh wait, she’s just visiting Nicaragua.” But I certainly won’t argue with the conclusion that angst does not make a better superhero.

Well, that was a good one overall. Not a masterpiece, and not able to dislodge Tiger & Bunny as the definitive anime superhero deconstruction of the last few years, in this reviewer’s opinion, but certainly worth the time, and particularly highly recommended to Alan Moore fans, for the clear influence the scriptwriter has been taking from him.

Nobunagun-13 Nobunagun finale – So the enemy is defeated (mostly) (we think), and everyone is back to their normal creepy selves, and Shio’s finally had a chance for a heart-to-heart with Adam/Jack. Everything’s nice and tidy again, well, except for the business about the EIOs being able to ransack people’s memories or spiritual essences, and the revelation that some kind of inherited entity was in operation outside of Dogoo’s project, and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Jack the Ripper was really wait, what??? That feels like the setup for a sequel.

I feel like this series was originally conceived as a formulaic exercise in otaku bait, but the amount of effort and talent that’s been revealed in every aspect of it has made it something much more. Like the previous, it’s not an absolute must-see (unless you’re interested in anime purely as a visual medium, and then yeah, it actually is), but a good solid series. I’d watch that sequel.

Pilot-Song-13 The Pilot’s Love Song finale – Remember those heady days when the Isla expedition at last arrived at the Levamme Empire itself, or when they unraveled the riddle of their world? No, of course you don’t, because instead we got a multi-episode battle and the restaurant story.

And then, as the remnants of the expedition finally return to their homeland, Kal-el shows his newfound maturity by revealing his true identity to the masses and talking about how he’s learned to forgive… and then announcing his plan to throw away more of their lives in a brand new war on some of the people they just made peace with, the ones who seem to know more about what’s going on than anyone else! Way to be a grownup! As for the awesomeness of that proposal, it seems to have left out one of the key ingredients of a romantic proposal, namely the involvement of the party allegedly being proposed to.

Meanwhile, some other characters talk cheerfully about the counter-revolution they’re going to unleash on the rest of the kingdom. Blergh.

This was just bad. Bad animation, bad writing, bad pacing, bad characterization, and a horrifyingly stunted sense of wonder. And, unfortunately, there are at least two more light novels where that came from.

Hozuki-12 Hozuki no Reitetsu #12 – This one will be wrapping up next week, at least as far as something this episodic wraps up at all.

The author certainly has a wide interest in world mythology– Lilith must be pretty obscure to a Japanese audience. I guess Hōzuki and Beelzebub didn’t hit it off as well as it seemed like at their last meeting, or perhaps that was all an illustration of Lilith’s ability to bewitch the minds of men.

Part 2 returns to another rivalry as we learn the true story of how Hakutaku wound up dictating his famous catalog of monsters: it was owing to the side effects of young Hōzuki’s research trip. This puts their first meeting back about 3000 years earlier than the goodwill games.

Having a couple chapters that felt like real stories rather than famous-mythology-being-appears-and-is-silly made this one of the better episodes.

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