Like always, let’s discuss the results of last week’s poll before I get to this week’s rankings…
Week 6’s Poll Results
40% of the votes went to Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. As much as I think the show is… well, okay, I’ve never really felt as though Chiyo is an active heroine. She seems to just be there for the ride. But maybe she’s the people’s favorite by default. If the season’s other shows don’t have much to offer, then we have no choice but to vote for the least offensive heroine.
In second place, Tokyo Ghoul grabbed 16% of the vote. Is Touko really that awesome? She makes up for what Ken, her co-star, lacks, and since he is currently weak and unsure of himself, then Touko is naturally powerful and headstrong. I feel, however, that her character is a bit one-dimensional in the personality department. Then again, if you want a kickass heroine, she’s arguably the strongest on this list. I mean, between a superhuman ghoul and Akame from Akame ga Kill!, I think I’d have to go with Touka. I doubt Akame’s super poisonous katana is effective against ghouls.
In third place, Terror in Resonance grabbed 13% of the votes. Some people hold out hope that Lisa’ll play a large role in the story. I personally fall into this camp. But here’s the thing: from what I can tell, people seem pretty split on Lisa, so naturally, I have to wonder if a lot of people voted for Terror in Resonance simply because they think Five is the show’s strong female lead. Certainly, if Tokyo Ghoul’s Touko is the physically strongest heroine on this list of anime, then Five is the smartest.
But is she actually a female lead? After all, she doesn’t officially show up until the fifth episode of the season (what a coincidence!). Yeah, we saw her in one of Nine’s flashbacks, but still, shouldn’t a proper lead have a strong presence in the narrative right from the get-go? Not only that, Five isn’t exactly a well-rounded character. She’s smart — incredibly smart, actually — and she intends to toy with Nine, but other than that, what else do we know about her? Relatively little…
Rinka of Tokyo ESP manages to take home 9% of the votes. This is notable for two reasons. First, she’s actually the star of her show. Yeah, almost every show this season has a female lead — barring exceptions like DRAMAtical Murder and Bakumatsu Rock — but Rinka is the only female lead who also doubles as the primary protagonist of her show. Second, not a whole lot of people are watching Tokyo ESP. It’s just not generating all that much interest or discussion. I thus wonder if Tokyo ESP would’ve gotten more votes if it had been a more popular show. But then again, maybe the show just isn’t that popular in the first place because Rinka’s not all that compelling of a heroine. After all, she’s not a complicated girl. She woke up one day to her powers, and now she’s coming to grips with the responsibilities that come with said powers.
— Free! Eternal Summer grabbed 6% of the votes. I’ve not been shy about my distaste for the show, however, so I can’t really expound on why some people seem to think Gou is so special. Maybe someone else can argue for Gou’s case in the comments section.
— Persona 4: The Golden Animation took in zero votes. Zilch. Nada. Not a single one. Why do I think this is notable? Well, it almost feels like the only reason the damn adaptation exists is to tells us all about Marie’s story. Nevertheless, nobody out there seems to care.
— Glasslip also took in zero votes despite how heavily the story seems to revolve around Touko. Not only are two guys after her heart, she can literally see into the future. Too bad she literally can’t charm any of my readers.
— M3 – Sono Kuroki Hagane rounds out the zero votes trifecta. Honestly, thinking about it now, I’m not sure the show has a single female lead. The female characters all seem to exist just to turn into LIMs. Except Mahmu, of course… wait a minute, don’t tell me Mahmu is the show’s true female lead…! But she’s been the show’s narrator from the start! Damn it, Okada! Damn it all to hell!
— Only two people voted for Akame ga Kill! Akame is even in the title of her anime, but alas, only two people like her enough to vote for her show.
— Just to show you how weak the character development has been, Aldnoah.Zero pulled in the same amount of votes as Sword Art Online II: four.
— Oh yeah, last week’s poll was obviously not a comprehensive poll by any means. I only included shows that I am watching or had watched this season.
Week 7’s Rankings
18. Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei
Racist and boring! Wow, what a feat!
17. Rokujyoma no Shinryakusha!?
See, the anime’s lucky it’s only ever boring. Enjoy your time out of the basement even if only for a short week.
16. Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance
15. Sword Art Online II
This week’s emotionally cloying drama is something I’d expect to find in an inexperienced teenager’s fanfic — those lame vignettes everyone loves to write at that age — not an actual TV show that gets aired to anime fans across the world.
14. Rail Wars
I’ve long accepted the fact that our train anime will never actually be about trains. But for the love of god, don’t start playing up the love triangle. No one’s watching this shit for the drama between Naoto, Aoi, and Haruka.
13. Akame ga Kill!
The show somehow manages to be over-the-top enough that it’s stupid, but not over-the-top enough that it becomes an effective shounen parody. This is quite an amazing feat, actually.
12. Tokyo ESP
The panda character really left a sour taste in my mouth. Ugh.
11. M3 – Sono Kuroki Hagane
The anime spun its wheel for the last three months, so to make up for it, we’re now getting a bunch of plot development shoved down our throats. Unfortunately, this means the plot development is often hastily put together…
By the way, this is apparently official art for the show…
For all my complaints about the anime, it doesn’t actually have a beach episode, which is why the existence of this piece of “official art” is so bizarre to me. Some poor sucker will see this and think he’s about to watch a show full of fanservice and sunshine…
10. Captain Earth
Meanwhile, after weeks and weeks of the designer child of the week nonsense, Captain Earth would love more than anything to buy some more time. I sincerely believe this show and M3 should get married and run off into the sunset. Maybe their babies will actually end up becoming one complete series.
See? There was no way in hell the story would actually kill Murasaki off. Between killing off a primary character or trotting out the overplayed “You thought he was dead, but he’s really not!” gimmick, the show predictably opted for the latter. Ultimately, I’m not surprised, but how utterly boring and gutless of the Hamatora. Murasaki’s death would’ve really shaken everything up. LIkewise, I don’t buy it either that he’s lost his powers. For good, that is. Furthermore, this was a bit of a boring episode as it mostly revolved around people visiting Murasaki at the hospital. His friends want to be there for him, but somehow, they all invariably fuck up and end up making the guy feel even worse. These scenes are supposed to be funny, but I’m just chomping at the bit to get back to the main story. Honestly, the show’s flaccid attempts at humor just put me to sleep. And it’s a pity too, because the story had be doing a good job of slowly ramping up the stakes in the last few weeks. All of sudden, we get this episode… it’s more of a variety show than an anime about people with special powers going rogue.
8. Ao Haru Ride
These stories are all the same: friendship drama simply because these friends simply refuse to talk to each other like the friends that they claim to be.
7. Shirogane no Ishi: Argevollen
It’s the obligatory R&R episode that you will find in practically every mecha series out there. Naturally, the episode comes complete with equally obligatory fanservice. In true Argevollen fashion, however, the fanservice is pretty tame; I don’t think anyone’s going to get too hot and bothered by the sight of these girl’s naked backs. I don’t normally mind these sort of episodes too much because they do serve as a breather between a mecha anime’s more tense moments. Nevertheless, I find the episode’s placement a bit odd in Argevollen. Why? Because the R&R episode usually follows a huge, epic battle, and while last week’s episode may have featured a huge, epic battle on paper, the end result didn’t feel like one. Last week’s resolution was simply too anti-climactic that this week’s R&R episode almost doesn’t feel earned.
It is nice to see the characters out of their ugly battle uniforms. But because it’s an R&R episode, it looks as though the studio felt they could slash the show’s animation budget; Tokimune’s polo shirt constantly looks as though it’s three sizes too big for the guy. Then again, maybe he used to be fat or something and just never bought new clothes. Anyway, the little bit of development between Tokimune and Jamie that we get in this week’s episode is certainly not a bad thing, but I still don’t buy them as a potential couple. I mean, the dude is such a killjoy sometimes. Jamie’s right in that taking a picture is nothing more than pushing a button. But despite this, he still gripes about it. As for the mystery surrounding his sister’s death, it’s just not really hooking me in. I’m more interested in why Samonji had seemingly followed them to the field of sunflower, though I’m sure it’s related to the sister’s death anyway.
6. Persona 4 – The Golden Animation
This week’s episode is actually a bit of a departure from how things usually play out. The first half focuses a bit on Adachi and his experience as the new guy in town. Other than an interesting moment where we learn Adachi had stopped right outside the Dojima household shortly after killing Mayumi, however, there’s nothing terribly too exciting here. It’s just a repeat of what we had already known from previous anime adaptation. The second half focuses on the friendship between Adachi and the MC, which I don’t mind too much. In the game, I never really understood why Adachi was motivated to send the MC a letter in the epilogue. These scenes — as superfluous as they may be in the grand scheme of things — at least justifies his remorse at the end of the game’s narrative. I hear you can actually help Adachi escape in the video game version of Persona 4: The Golden, but I somehow doubt we’ll be seeing that here…
Uh, when the guy said last week, “Pieces that I need to make my fractured self solid and whole,” I didn’t expect him to be quite so… so literal about it. But here we are: there are actually three Kakerus talking to each other. We also learn that if the primary weirdo’s relationship with Touko ever gets off the ground, the side weirdos will conveniently disappear. I’m sure it sounds all romantic and everything to depend on a person this badly, i.e. “You complete me!” But at the same time, I feel people like Kakeru should pull themselves together (oh ho ho!) before they force themselves upon another human being. It isn’t someone else’s job to fix you. But hey, that’s just my real-world, personal accountability schtick doing the talking. In magical fictional land, I’m sure simply getting into a relationship is the ultimate panacea we need to cure all our mental ills! Now, if only Kakeru can convince Touko to become a willing participant in his healing process.
Normally, a relationship to me signifies a strong bond between two people. Like a lot of other couples I’m seeing this season, however, I’m not really feeling the chemistry between Kakeru and Touko. Hell, I’m not feeling the chemistry between any of these characters, to be quite frank with you guys. But to focus on our main couple for just a second, they don’t seem to have anything to work with except this future-seeing ability that they share. It doesn’t even look like she has any fun when she spends time with the guy. And has he supported her in anyway? Has he listened to her troubles? Bonded with her over a common interest? Shared stories of their pasts? No, I’m not seeing anything that you’d normally find in a typical relationship. The dude just showed up one day, talked about chickens and the ability to see into the future, and somehow, she now has feelings for him. Kids these days, man…
So anyway, there’s so much drama this week. First, Touka sees a vision of Kakeru falling, so she forbids him from going anywhere high up. That’s probably not very realistic. Also, Sachi now calls Hiro her boyfriend, but she clearly doesn’t mean it. The poor guy has been relegated to her beard. Why do I say that? ‘Cause the sickly girl keeps trying to get between Touka and “David.” What’s with these characters strange obsession with Touko? It’s a bit fucked up how this close circle of friends is coming apart simply because the girl likes Kakeru. It’s also rather sad how Sachi was only using Hiro even though she knows how the guy feels about. For the time being, I’m glad the guy walked out on her. I know they’re all just a bunch of immature kids. As a result, Sachi’s only thinking of herself. But I feel for Hiro anyway (the only character in this show that I can sympathize with, apparently); he doesn’t deserve this bullshit. Too bad it’s anime, so I get the feeling Hiro will just crawl back to Sachi.
But anyway, Yana is now mad at Kakeru, because Kakeru’s the reason Yuki’s not… cool anymore? I-I’m not sure he was ever cool. Obviously, the translation here doesn’t quite capture what the girl intended to say. She probably means Kakeru’s the reason why Yuki’s has become so pathetic as of late, but again, Yuki has always struck me as a bit of a pathetic character. Plus, what happened to personal accountability? If he’s pathetic, that’s his own damn fault. Kakeru didn’t go, “Yo, be a loser and turn everyone off.” Oh well! Last but not least, when Touko looks at Yana at the end of the episode, crows suddenly appear out of nowhere to attack the former. Oy vey… I’m sure the crows are just a manifestation of Yana’s resentment or whatever, but… well, if this is really the direction the show’s going to take from here on out, at least it’s better than the plodding slice-of-life nonsense we’ve been watching for the past month and a half. JERRY! JERRY! JERRY!
By the way, has it ever been explained why Kakeru continues to sleep out in the yard instead of, well, under a roof? I just remember his dad telling him he was still working on something in the kid’s room, so Kakeru couldn’t return to it. If that’s still the case, then shit, step your shit up, Dad. Then again, we have a bit of a role reversal here where Kakeru’s mom is the absentee one. Obviously, it’s for work (I think she’s a famous pianist), but still, absentee parenting is still absentee parenting.
Eh, it’s still an enjoyable action series. It’s just a pity everything else about the show is slowly falling apart. Still, I think the people comparing the anime to Mahouka are being just a touch hyperbolic.
3. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun
Best part of the episode was Mikoto being forced to put himself in stereotypical bishoujo poses. That’s all I really have to say about the episode. The anime doesn’t really lend itself to a thorough breakdown of its elements. Or rather, I’m not particularly interested in doing one at the moment. Maybe some other time…
2. Tokyo Ghoul
1. Terror in Resonance
As if I’d stick any other show up here…
Week 7’s Poll
Now, you’re probably thinking, “Won’t one of the much-hated Gary Stus just take this contest hands down?” Ah, but they could also take votes away from each other, thereby allowing another hated male lead to rise to the top of the shitpile? For example, Ken of Tokyo Ghoul, who I personally don’t mind, by the way, but I gotta admit he’s rubbing a lot of you guys the wrong way…