Hello again, dear readers. Today marks the seventh week of the Summer anime season, meaning we have passed the halfway point and are on our way to the end of all things. So far the season has been surprisingly decent, with very few disappointments so far. Saiyuki has continued to stay interesting even though the past three episodes have been a look into the past lives of most of the cast. Gamers! has so far proven that it is not just another harem comedy series, though it is starting to show some signs of that being the case in the last episode. We can all hope that this does not continue. Classroom of the Elite has so far been the most standout of shows, which is interesting considering that the subject matter itself is not all that interesting, meaning that the primary focus is on characters, and they have been shining pretty well. Knight’s & Magic is very aware of the audience that it appeals to, and has been appealing quite well so far. Every episode has had some form of mech building or fighting, and even though the plot jumps ahead quite frequently, sometimes months at a time, fans of mecha will definitely find something to enjoy here. With the season doing so well so far, one wonders what will happen when a bad episode finally rears its ugly head. Well, let us take a look at this week’s episodes and see if they continue to hold up, or if they start to drop in quality past the halfway mark.
Saiyuki Reload Blast Episode 7
with the flashback sequences well out of the way, the focus is back onto the main party as they journey ever deeper into the ruinous lands full of demons. Things start off how they almost always do, with a demon attack as the team journeys through the mountains. They are apparently in the world’s highest mountain range, and even though half of the party are youkai they seem to be suffering from the effects of the altitude. Everyone except Goku seems to be sick when the youkai show up, so it is on him to take them all out. A task that would be no trouble for him, but he is rescued anyway by a passing group of humans. The group seems to note something about Sanzo’s appearance, as if they are familiar with Sanzo priests, and invite them to come back to their super secret base for cookies and medicine. The group accepts, tired of feeling so sick from the altitude, and on their journey come to find that the party they were rescued by is under the leadership of another Sanzo priest, this one female. We are quickly given a recap on the status of the five holy sutras. Each Sutra is a part of a whole that grant the priests who command them all sorts of special powers. There is a legend that if all five were to come together, the person controlling them could reshape the world how they saw fit. Three are in the hands of the enemy, one with a turncoat priest. The two remaining able-bodied Sanzo’s are our own Genjyo Sanzo and Sharak Sanzo. Sharak greets the party and asks that they stay and relax until they are acclimated to the altitude, which they agree to do. Unfortunately, they are allowed no time to relax, as a village on the outskirts of their protection has fallen under attack. Sharak enlists the help of Genjyo and his crew. They easily route the youkai, and each priest gets an idea of the power that they each possess, afterward talking about what may happen if they recited their mantras in unison. They decide against it, as the result could possibly be disastrous, and the episode ends with a traitor in the midst of the crew, breaking the protective aura around the place they are staying and showing some menacing fellows potentially readying an attack. The episode sees a return to the typical pattern of things, with the bonus of introducing not only another Sanzo priest but also a strong female character, which this show definitely lacks. Apart from the Goddess of Mercy, this is the first really strong female, even if her personality is effectively the same as Genjyo’s. It will be interesting to see how these things get resolved.
Classroom of the Elite Episode 6
At the end of the last episode, class D had managed to at least stall any decisions being made by Sakura coming forward and offering her testimony that not only had she seen the incident, but during her lewd photography she had even managed to catch some of it on camera. Unfortunately, just proving that they were all there does not prove who had asked who to meet there, and even if he was goaded into it, Sudo did, in fact, attack the three kids from Class C. It is left to Ayonokoji and Horikita to find enough evidence to prove the innocence of Sudo, and if they fail to do so then expulsion is on the table for possible outcomes since both sides appear to be lying. The way they do so is a bit abrupt, considering how much build up this plot has had so far, but considering a couple other plot threads have jumped up at the same time it does not hurt the show to resolve this one quickly. Upon visiting the place that the attack happened, Ayonokoji points out to Horikita the lack of security cameras there, and then sort of leads her to devise a plan where they trick the kids into thinking there were cameras the whole time by buying empty dummy cameras to put up while they were away. After being confronted, and before they can once again resort to violence, Ayonokoji and Horikita convince the three to drop their complaint against Sudo, as this is the only way that seems to end in nobody being expelled. The second major plot thread to be wrapped up in this episode surrounds Sakura and her double life. She seems to be quite torn, having trouble keeping her two lives separate. This is not helped by the fact that it seems she has gained a stalker, the camera repair man introduced when her camera broke. He considers himself her biggest fan and appears to be quite pushy with this assumption. After things get sorted out here, Horikita feels as if she was manipulated by Ayonokoji to reach the conclusions and from the plans that she did, and she confronts him about who he really is, and what past is driving him to help her. A little insight is given into Ayonokoji’s character finally here, though it is very brief, it is worth the whole episode for this short glimpse. All in all the show manages to remain interesting even though things start to feel a little rushed in some instances, the character growth is still phenomenal and the random moments of fan service do not detract from the overall product.
Knight’s & Magic Episode 7
The previous episode ended with Ernie bringing his mecha to display in a battle against the lead engineer of the land’s modified versions of his own Telestale models. Of course, Ernie is not to be outdone, having supplied brand new upgraded suits to every member of his crew. The battle goes as one would expect, and the action itself is a delight to watch. It is nice to see that all of the research and development that both sides have been going into has paid off as the action is leaps and bounds above what the suits were capable of towards the beginning of the show. Ernie has even managed to put magic boosters onto his suits, allowing them to dodge faster than the fireballs can shoot and charge more quickly than the engineers could possibly have planned for. In the end, the king stops the fight and says he has seen enough, but it is pretty clear that Ernie’s suits outclassed the Telestales even with the best pilots in the kingdom. After this, both teams meet and discuss things, and it seems Ernie has reawakened a passion for creativity in the head engineers. After this, the king and the newly introduced prince both ask Ernie to design them their own new suits. Ernie agrees and designs one in gold and one in silver. Even though both suits are identical outside of color, the king and prince both want the gold one and agree to a duel to determine who will take it. THe duel is fun to watch, and it is nice to see that the king is actually quite a good pilot himself. All in all, things wrap up nicely, with another villain reveal towards the end, someone who appears to be attached to all the evil beasts that keep showing up. it will be interesting to see just how many villains the show will have before the end, and even though the time jumps around a lot, it is great to see all these new suits popping up.
Gamers! Episode 5
After learning that Keita and Chiaki have more in common than they realize, including that they have been friends for ages in a social game and both feel close to the version of the other that they haven’t met, Tasuku arranges a gaming meet-up to let them spend more time with one another. His goal is to get them talking about the games that Chiaki makes, as Keita is actually a huge fan of them but has no idea that she is the one who makes them. It’s bad enough that Keita and Chiaki continue to insist that they hate one another over something so stupid as moe characters in video games, but things become infinitely more complicated once Aguri and Karen get involved. Keita begins to think that Uehara has a thing for Chiaki, Chiaki thinks that Keita is dating Aguri (Uehara’s girlfriend), and Karen thinks that Chiaki and Keita are dating. The misunderstandings in this show honestly become a little too overbearing to the main plot and make viewing a little uncomfortable, but it is still rather amusing to watch them play themselves out. While the plot is messy, the story is amusing enough to keep interest going if one can put up with the forced “love triangle” silliness that continues to pop up due to all the misunderstandings, and everyone’s seeming inability to just ask their friends what the hell is actually going on.
WIth that, we once again reach the end of the week. Did the anime manage to stay interesting? For the most part, the answer is yes, with minor slip ups. One might find issue with the way that Knight’s & Magic constantly jumps ahead in its own timeline, but the pacing seems to match the tone that they are going through. At this rate, Ernie may be an adult by the time the show wraps up. Gamers! gets a little bit infuriating with the silly misunderstandings that continue to happen, but the comedy outways the frustration so it is worth continuing to watch. Saiyuki has a very typical formula from episode to episode, but the action is good, and the bits of new story that do appear are always entertaining. Classroom of the Elite succeeds the most in remaining interesting and keeping the story fresh and has the best character development so far. For now, the shows all seem to be maintaining a good level of interest without getting boring or trying too hard. It will be interesting to see what happens in the weeks to come. For now, thank you for reading, Lusites, and keep on watching.