Since it’s hard to decide what week it is, today’s post title is a shout-out to some guy that thinks I put effort into my posts. The weeks got jumbled because at first I was making these posts on Friday before the new Fate/Zero, Working!!, and Ben-to, but now I’m making them on Sunday after those shows, so the episode numbers are all over the place. It seems like every week I’ve got more grouped at the end, with this week having me watch all of the new episodes at once, simply because I spent most of the week watching Fullmetal Alchemist and Sky Girls, and trying to watch Gosick which was impossible. I think Kujo is possibly the worst male lead I’ve ever witnessed. Anyways, here’s continued coverage.
Fate/Zero (ep 9)
This week’s episode is Fate/Zero back at its best. Sola is hot and mean and totally doomed; I’d love to watch her die as gruesomely as imaginable. Rider has completely destroyed my terrified ideas of the first two episodes. I’d expected Waver’s avarice and the fjord between their personalities to be their eventual downfall. Instead, Rider is such an incredibly awesome guy that he’s turning Waver around, and the more we learn about the kid, the more we see a normal kid with the potential to better himself. It’s interesting to look at his face above, which is a mix of nervous and delighted at the way they trample over Caster’s baby Cthulhus, and then compare it to his complete terror at the sight of Caster’s dungeon full of dead kids. Waver isn’t sadistic at all, even if he can enjoy his victory as much as Rider can. If Waver can mature enough to think a bit more like Rider, they would make an unstoppable team, like me and ghostlightning (lol).
Ben-to (ep 8)
This was definitely the weakest episode of the show, focusing entirely on comedy and not at all on the fights and concepts that make the show great; plus the second half was flatly repetitive. The saving grace of the episode was in the presentation unique to Ben-to—the episode is paced and directed in a way that’s exciting and keeps the viewer guessing about what’s going to happen next. The new characters were fun and interesting, but it’s a shame that the situation they put themselves in wasn’t. I can’t help but be disappointed by an episode like this from a show that a while ago had the best character introduction episode I could ask for.
Un-Go (ep 7)
Last week, I blamed the weirdness of Un-Go on its being written by Aikawa Shou. Coincidentally, I then watched Fullmetal Alchemist, which he also wrote, and which had a (terrible) strange ending. I’ve now seen enough of his work to conclude that Aikawa Shou fits in with the likes of Chiaki J. Konaka and Oshii Mamoru as a writer with a distinct and always abnormal style, reigned in to different extents depending on the show. Un-Go seven is an example of his writing completely unchained, and it really does feel like a Konaka work along the lines of The Big O.
The episode forces the viewer to draw their own conclusions about what the hell is happening on even a basic level. Is the Writer somehow controlling the characters? How did they get here? Was everyone brought here by the writer, or are some people actually here for real? How much of the dialog from the three actresses is about themselves, and how much of it is about the movie? Why is the movie so fucking out there? What’s up with Shinjuuro? What has he realized? There’s so much ambiguity and so many questions that the actual murder is a drop in the mystery’s bucket. Of course I had to love the Writer’s maniacal, silent laughter right before the credits. I hope that the next episode can continue to create and solve a mystery without drawing too many conclusions and explaining everything the way episode four did about episode three. An episode like this is no good without a payoff, but the payoff has to be something seriously tight to not be a letdown. Unfortunately, Aikawa Shou is a professional at let-downs, so who knows what’ll happen.
Working’!! (ep 9)
Lovely how we seem to get cute child pictures of someone almost every week. This episode was all about Yachiyo and her relationships, which is okay. I don’t find her all that interesting, but I’d easily take episodes about her over episodes about InamiXTakanashi. That said, watching this show has a bigger and bigger groundhog’s day effect every week—”haven’t I seen this shit before?” I ask myself. Anything I could say about this episode is something I could’ve said about any other episode of the show. Oh, Yamada was cute, Souma’s bullying was kind of funny, nothing can possibly make me give a shit about Takanashi’s sister, Yachiyo made a cute kid, yeah, we all get it. Even if I was a fan of Working, I feel like I’d never have to rewatch it.
Persona 4 the Animation (ep 8)
I’m not sure I can take much more of this stuff. Eight episodes in, I still don’t care about any of the characters, the humor is very generic, and the character art is still wanky and awkward. Kanji, who was the most interesting character in this episode, was unfortunately relegated to butt monkey status. I thought it was pretty fun to imagine a system of Kanji bringing every troubled teen in school to Narukami, who then whisks their troubles away with his guidance counselor rhetoric. Other than that, I was just bored by this episode. The background art was nice, though.
Mashiro-iro Symphony (ep 8)
I couldn’t give a shit about this episode so I kind of half-watched it, just needing to make it through so I can get to the next arc. The actions of characters here are largely about kindness, especially to animals, which I just don’t care about. I hate animals. If I saw kittens in a box, I’d walk past them without a second glance, even if it was raining. Miu is cute, but unlike Shingo, if I were friends with her, I wouldn’t want any involvement in her club. I think he genuinely cares about the cause at least to some extent beyond liking Miu as a friend and wanting to help her, but I just don’t.
I won’t go on and on about how lame and, at times, stupid this episode was, so let’s skip to having fun with interpretation. In this episode, Shingo tells Sana that he feels like if he were a girl, he could be friends with her. Sana takes this as his reference to her dislike of men, and maybe that’s supposed to be the message. What I prefer to think he means is that Sana doesn’t make a good friend to men. Not only because she doesn’t like them, but because her personality simply doesn’t mesh well with them. I’d like to think he’s saying, “I think you’re a good person and a good friend, just not one that I, as a man, am interested in being good friends with.” Again, this is a case where the show in the past has given me enough reason to believe a thought like this is possible. It’s presented Shingo as intelligent and his speech as subtle enough that there might be some kind of extra meaning behind the things he says. I have neither the confidence to believe that this is or isn’t the writer’s intent, though.
That does it for this week which, outside of Fate/Zero, was pretty damned weak. Hopefully next week will be much better!