We’ve officially reached the halfway mark (mid-August) of the anime summer season. Long-running shows like Code Geass are entering the home stretch while newer offerings have by now revealed their true colors. I’ll post a comprehensive “midterm evaluation” for all the shows I watched either tomorrow or Monday; for the moment, however, let’s revel in this week’s crazy happenings!
In other news, the Kaiba OST is decent. Nothing mind-blowing, mind you: a lot of tracks are mere variations (or “reinterpretations” if you will) of the same song but with a different rhythm or tint. And the soundtrack’s mood swings wildly between “dark, moody ballad” and “carnival jingle”… Yet playing “Carry Me Away” as I dash out of the office on a Friday night, my heart longing for the weekend, is an inimitable experience that I recommend if your iPod’s got a spare 80 megs you’ve been itching to fill.
Anyway. Clicky clicky for more piccys!
Code Geass (episode 18)
KAREN! POWER UP!
I love these episodes. Yeah, they’re damn juvenile and Dragon Ball-ish in hindsight, yet I can’t help pumping my fist and yelling “FUCK YEAH” as Karen returns in a most triumphant manner. First order of business: kick Britannian ass. Second order of business: kick Suzaku’s ass! Oh wait, Suzaku has a Freya warhead that destroys half of Tokyo because the Geass Lelouch cast on him in season 1 kicked in. Woopsie. I bet that’s one move Lelouch is going to regret.
You have to give credit to Code Geass for showing a willingness — which at times borders on outright eagerness — to wipe out many of its cast in such sudden bursts of lethality. Gotta make room for those remaining Knights of Rounds and Karen’s brother, no doubt. At the same time, Sayoko and Nunally? I shan’t believe it, good sire! Nay, Sayoko is too damn resourceful a ninja-maid to go down in such an ignoble way, and I’m certain she seized the opportunity to spirit Nunally away through some underground tunnels. Though to be honest, I questioned Lulu’s decision of sending Rolo to rescue Nunally in the first place after he’d learned from the Shirley incident that Rolo is nothing but a psychopath with a “nii-san” fetish.
(Idle speculation: a Geass that turns back time or returns dead people to life would be neat. Just throwing the idea out there.)
Oh, and whassup with Ohgi? Didn’t he get a chestful of knives two episodes back? He’s been acting strange ever since. We’ve seen flashes of Viletta being held prisoner so either he survived and turned her in, or there are strange machinations afoot behind the scenes. What, in Code Geass? Why I never!
Antique Bakery (episode 05)
I’ll have a lot more to say about Antique Bakery tomorrow, but so far, it’s in the lead for the dark horse award among new summer shows. Turns out the characters are well-rounded and engaging, the humor light and fluffy (like a scrumptious choux à la crème!), and the balance between serious character development versus the day-to-day routine of getting a new business off the ground is spot on. The more I watch, the more I am reminded of Bartender, another “food” anime that mixed drama and liqueur into a short but quite tasty cocktail. Just, uhm, don’t watch this one if you’re on a diet. Trust me. I feel my arteries clogging a little more with every close-up of a new, lavish dessert.
Now that our four handsome protagonists are finally together the focus has switched to the actual operation of the cake shop, and to Operation Marketing! In episode 05 Kei has his mind set on participating in a cake fair that’s being held at a nearby food court. This means splitting the troops, with Kei and Eiji manning the shop while Ouno and Chikage head to the fair to try to wow a throng of young women yearning to be filled with moist cake and hot syrupy chocolatey goodness.
Sorry, blushing ladies! I’m afraid these two are already taken. Ha!
One of the themes Antique Bakery has been weaving into its story so far is that of masks. Every main character is concealing his true nature for different reasons. The most obvious is Ouno the gay pâtissier who’s had to deal with the fallout from his sexual orientation. Chikage wears sunglasses because of his weak eyesight, but it’s also a facade to disguise his nervousness and clumsiness. Eiji is trying hard to become an independent adult but is slow to accept help, preferring not to disclose the dire straits he’s in now that boxing is out of the picture. And then there’s Kei, the shop’s owner, whose reasons for dropping his job and opening the bakery are still mysterious. Could it have anything to do with Kei’s kidnapping when he was a child by a man who forced him to eat cake every day?
Just like Eiji’s unsuccessful attempts at Cassis mouse, the plot may yet thicken.
Sekirei (episode 07)
Blah blah city-wide battle royale blah blah no I’m his wife blah blah ALIEN MOTHERSHIP BUH?
Ugh. Sekirei is not headed in an entertaining direction. With the appearance of Minato’s light-haired twin (or whatever he is) you can practically hear the Fonz strapping on his water skis. At first I figured Sekirei was another 12-episode series and it somehow assuaged the pain… but no. It’s 26 bloody episodes long. That the humor (haha the landlady is scary!) and the fanservice (bouncy bouncy!) have lost their initial appeal does not bode well.
Real Drive (episode 13)
I’m a wee bit late on this one, but I feel bad for not discussing Real Drive more often. Much like Koihime Musou it’s a flawed work, but I can’t fail it because every time a new episode comes out I dash out to watch it, hoping this is the episode where they finally explain the Earth Order/Balance and Kushima’s eerie youthfulness.
Episode 13 was an interlude that served to flesh out Haru-san’s backstory by examining his life as a diver before his fateful accident. There’s no dialogue to speak of: nothing but images and music, the way Haru-san probably remembers that time of his life too, which is a nice artistic choice. But I am still tapping my foot and waiting for the meat to materialize on the show’s bones.
Anyway, be sure to check back tomorrow and Monday for a more comprehensive look at the midseason. Until then, have a good weekend!
Today’s Karen is: KICKING ASS