Once more into the review we go, dear readers. Hello again, and welcome to the Summer weekly anime review series, part six (or so). The 2017 Summer season has been a rather decent one so far. Nothing too awful, nothing too boring, though there have been some minor boring moments here and there with a couple of the shows. All in all, the season has been mostly worth watching. With the halfway point now reached, does this remain the case, or will the anime start to slip into a mundane routine, dragging themselves into the ever deepening pit of cliches and tropes that so many series make the mistake of falling into? So far most have managed to avoid much in the way of disappointment, and one hopes that this will be a continuing trend. To recap, last week our action series (Saiyuki) continued a flashback sequence that provides much-needed info for newcomers to the series while giving long time fans a welcome revisit to some information about characters that may have been forgotten in the show’s long hiatus. Conflict arose in Classroom of the Elite in the form of a student possibly being framed for attacking other students, in an event that could lead to that student’s expulsion, and Knight’s and Magic gave us a return to some action sequences, taking a break from all of the research and development from the previous episodes, and finally giving a glimpse into what will probably be the main antagonists for the series, though not giving much information at all about them. Gamers! updates on Thursdays, and with the change in schedule, this means that this week there will be no review of that episode, as at the time of this writing it is not yet available. Fear not, for it shall return next week. Now that a nice refresher has been handed out to everyone, the review proper can begin.
Saiyuki Reload Blast Episode 6
The previous episode ended quite abruptly on a rather sad moment, as the one friend that young Goku had finally made decided to mortally wound himself rather than fulfill his father’s wish of slaughtering Goku. Episode six picks up exactly where the previous episode left off, with the limiter headband on Goku’s head disintegrating, and everyone getting a chance to see the real Goku, an immensely powerful being that is not demon or man, born of the earth and with the power to rival that of Heaven itself. His friends look on in horror as Goku begins to make short work of heaven’s armies, easily walking through them all and tearing them limb from limb. Even Li Touten, the current god of war, is powerless to stop him as Goku takes his eye from him (much to the delight of all watching). Finally, the goddess of mercy arrives and delivers the most epic of elbow drops to the young Goku, knocking him unconscious. Unfortunately, by the laws of heaven Goku and his friends are now effectively on death’s row. Moments before the goddess can deliver the final blow to Goku, Konzen steps in and slaps her, much to the surprise of everyone. He pleads for a chance to save Goku and return him to normal, and she agrees to give them a chance to run, though Li Touten is clearly quite unhappy with his new cyclopean appearance, and demands the armies of hell hunt them all down and kill them. As this is a flashback to the past lives of the main characters, the final outcome is something that is all too certain. The question is, can the show make the deaths of all these characters, even though the viewers know that they are already reincarnated and walking with Goku again, something that will deliver a dropkick to the emotions? The answer is an astounding and unequivocal yes. From the moment that they all promise to Goku that they will meet up on Earth and see the cherry blossoms together, it is quite evident that none of them plan to survive, and the most that they can hope to accomplish is to get Goku to safety. Each death scene is handled quite well, with a surprising amount of blood and a surprising amount of sadness for characters that have only had 3 episodes of screen time. In the end, Konzen manages to just get Goku through the portal to Earth, at the cost of his own life. Goku is so torn up by the grief that he sits just on the other side of the gate to the portal for weeks before the goddess of mercy finally goes to him. His punishment for tearing heaven a new anus is to be imprisoned alone for five hundred years and to have his memories of his time in heaven completely erased. From here, the episode cuts back to our present crew, setting off once again on their journey to save us all. All in all, this three part flashback sequence was handled quite well. The past lives of each character reflected their present selves quite well, with Konzen being the most opposed to his current incarnation, but the end of his life showed his changing towards that new mindset. It was nice to see the beginning of everything, and nice to have more of a build up for Nataku, who has risen from his throne for the first time in five hundred years and will surely become a primary player that they will have to deal with soon.
Classroom of the Elite Episode 5
This episode continues the investigation that the last episode ended on, with the group’s classmate Sakura running away instead of being confronted by her classmates. She is ashamed of her “mask” that hides her true character and is afraid that if she helps them in solving their case, then they will know too much about who she really is. Apparently, this worry is not all that powerful, as she ends up meeting with Kiyotaka and company to get her camera repaired after she dropped it in her panic when they confronted her the day before. She says that she does have information about Sudo and the gang that he supposedly attacked all on his own unprovoked because she was there, but that she is not ready to come forward with it just yet. From here the episode shows her anxiety with being around strangers, particularly anyone who seems to be perverted or weird, like the man they visit to repair the camera. Kiyotaka seems to be the only person picking up on her anxiety and confronts the camera-man, halting his attempt to get all of Sakura’s personal info by giving his instead. It would seem the anime is dropping the act that Kiyotaka is useless altogether, as this episode gives much more of his own personal thought processes in figuring things out. He seems to be incredibly smart, even if he never really lets other people see it very much. After the scene with the camera man, Kiyotaka discovers with the help of his classmate that Sakura’s hobby is to take sexy pictures of herself in random locations to try and build her confidence. For someone with such terrible anxiety, this seems a rather odd hobby, but anything to get some service into the episode. Even her glasses seem to be a part of her mask, as they do not have real lenses and are not needed, but are just another way for her to be seen as mundane and normal so people will let her keep her head down and out of most situations. Finally, the trial for Sudo begins and Sakura decides to take the stand. The trial plays out about as would be expected, with no resolution just yet but Sakura finally overcoming some of her anxiety to testify on Sudo’s behalf. The student body president, Suzune’s older brother, is the one providing the judgment, and it is his decision that both sides are guilty, but that Sudo is more. After Kiyotaka finally spurs her into action, Suzune stands and says that she is one hundred percent certain of Sudo’s innocence in this case, though she feels that he is reckless and does not care for the future of his classmates enough with his rash actions. The president says that he will give both sides time to gather proof that the other side is lying, and that the possibility of being expelled will be on the table when they next meet. This episode did a good job of showing more of Kiyotaka’s smarts, instead of just showing his clever actions in the moment. it also helped to develop another faceless member of the class, though it would seem she was mostly developed so that she could provide some fan service. Still, the character development is nice and it will be interesting to see just how the trial will end.
Knight’s & Magic Episode 6
This episode begins with discussions for plans for the future, as the Telestale get delivered to the kingdom’s head engineering teams, who vows to turn them into something even better. At the same time, they issue a challenge to the newly formed silver knights, led by Ernie of course, to build a robot of their own and meet in a duel to see who can create the better, the old team of the new. This week once again focuses mostly on research and development, as the team is given six months to develop all new suits to combat the old engineers in. Many might take issue with this formula of research and development of new robots, and the time skips that show this all happening, but it is actually interesting to see a show delve into the specifics of building robots. For a gunpla nerd, this is like heaven. The time jumps do however mean that character development takes a bit of a back seat, but this is not the anime for the focus to be all about characters. This anime is clearly all about building and fighting robots. The development is interesting to watch, and Ernie develops suits that even the non-magical can use so that his Smithies can keep up with the increased demand put on them. There is a moment in the episode where Ernie actually messes up for the first time in a while, nearly killing himself to test a new weapon he was designing. While his friends all freak out on him, he just says that the test gave him much-needed information towards perfecting the technology. The episode draws to a close with the reveal of each side’s robots, and Ernie wins immediately because he brought a centaur to the fight, regardless of how any fighting actually goes in the next episode. The designs for the suits remain really cool and innovative, and the characters, while not overly developed, are still fun to watch. There is even a little bit more of a story given with the king discussing with his counselors the attack on the kingdom, and what it could mean for the future. All in all, while there could stand to be a bit more time spent getting to know people, the episode was still fun for someone who is robot obsessed.
With that, we once again reach the end of the review. next week will see the return of Gamers! to the list of shows being reviewed, and the proper time slot of the review going up, which this totally did fall into and is not at all a day late or anything. For now, the future of the Summer anime season seems to be relatively bright, though the pacing in some instances seems to be a little slow. Regardless, keep checking in to see what develops in the future, or watch yourself you mongrels! Leave a comment, thank you for reading and keep on watching.