Weekly Roundup – Winter 2014 final impressions – 2/2

Shows discussed: Kill la KillNoragami; Sakura Trick.

Kill la Kill – 23 & 24

Kill la Kill 24

I could not watch it in one sitting. Somewhere in the middle of the second (24th) episode, I had to stop: I could not bear the thought of finishing the series. It wasn’t just good. It was as closer to being perfect than any anime this season; duh, perhaps it was an action series I enjoyed the most since Cowboy Bebop. The series had its problems, its slower moments, but from ~18ep onwards it was pure enjoyment. And the finale did not disappoint.

I like when a series has an ending towards which it has worked for a whole season. As in: the plot doesn’t end rapidly, hurriedly (like Chuunibyou Ren), or the ending is just a formality, but the story could as well go on (to some extent Noragami). I like a strong sense of completion. (Or a complete lack of ending, like in many 4-koma slice-of-life adaptations). Kill la Kill delivers a perfect one. The story has ended. It could not end in any different way. No, scratch that: from the perspective of 22 episode, before I watched the last two, it could end anywhere. But no matter what ending there’d be, it’d be story-wise logical, probably.

Kill la Kill 24

Of course, besides well executed, extended, slow and intense ending, there was plenty of everything that makes KLK such a pleasure to watch. Everyone was included here, everyone got their screen time. Nui was so awesomely terrific. Mako’s exaggerated expressions were even better than they used to be. It was fun to watch her usual cut-in scene, even though she was unable to move. Nudist Beach double-mecha was so unexpected, yet so great. Ragyo was evolving and evolving with no end in sight, and so did Ryuko – can we just admire how super-saiyan she was at one point? And yet they ended up bare, quiet, just talking.

Another thing that worked well (just as usual, really) was how diverse in art stylization these episodes were. I am still utterly thrilled about how raw the animation looks, and yet how amazingly it is executed. And yet, despite this simplicity, there were color blooms and there were monochrome palettes; there were eye candy scenes and there were Evangelion-like sketched drawings. Blew my mind. Oh, and I took like hundred screenshots, and every one (really! I’m not exaggerating) is terrific. I don’t know who their visual director is, but this person should be given a medal.

TRIGGER is making some rom-com upcoming season, aren’t they? I’m gonna watch every damn bit of that one.

Kill la Kill 23

Noragami – 11 & 12

Noragami 12

I liked this one! Even though I approached it with a rather bad attitude, after the OP it has changed. Besides the music being plain good, there are scenes in there that make me for a second believe that Noragami is more serious than it actually is, and I’d like it to be that way.

This is something I very much dislike in the series. It’s as if it didn’t know who the intended audience is. Are they young adults? Teens? The way it is, if I want to watch similarly peculiar mix of seriousness and silliness, I’d much rather watch Kill la Kill, which does it properly. But when Noragami tries to intertwine humor and drama, the outcome is below my expectations. I’m sorry, all you Yato fans out there, but I can’t stand watching really well made drama scenes (half of Hiyori’s stuff this week) being torn down by repetitive use of the same silly faces. It’s a shame. I don’t mind mixing seriousness with humor, but it has to be done well.

Oh, I liked how Rabou’s character finally got the reason for existence. It’s to some extent curse of every (spare Yato) deity of the show: they are existent in the world, and with that much part in the plot that they got, I wouldn’t mind them being more properly explained.

I wouldn’t mind a second season… Granted they’d focus on what makes Noragami good, rather than Yukine’s issues.

Sakura Trick – 11 & 12

Sakura Trick 12

I didn’t expect much, and I got what I wanted to get. Mitsuki realized her feelings for Haruka, which was foreseeable, however her blunt proposal to go out together was quite surprising. I’m glad it happened. I have to say that after the end of 11th episode first half I was starting to get bored, but her walking on Haruka and Yuu kissing stirred things up just enough to watch it to the end.

I don’t understand, and I did not like, the sudden naivety of Haruka’s response to Mitsuki’s proposition. I’m pretty sure that most of anime fans understand the ambiguity of the ‘suki desu’ phrase. While it could be taken as a purely non-romantic fondness, I’m pretty sure Haruka could not misinterpret Mitsuki’s words. Especially followed up with a question to go out with her. And I’m certainly not buying her unfamiliarity with that phrase, it’s like, basic common knowledge.

Anyway, with a happy, somewhat nostalgic ending the show delivered, I’ll remember it warmly for how well and subtly it managed to show relationship when it actually tried to do so, and probably never touch it again due to oversaturation with fillers and fanservice.

Part 1 (Chuunibyou Ren; Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha; Mikakunin de Shinkoukei) – here.

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4 comments

  1. Ahh, Kill la Kill. You will be missed.

    I seem to be one of the only people who actually really enjoyed Yukine’s character arc. I’m not saying I would necessarily like Yukine if he were a real person, but as a fictional character, the issues that this show dealt with there really resonated with me. Episode 9 especially made a pretty big impression on me – guilt and shame make for powerful personal stories, and I think the execution of these themes, at least in this particular case, were brilliant. However, to each their own. Regardless, I’d definitely be keen for a season two.

    1. Don’t you have a feeling that his arc would have been even better if it was more… Condensed? That’s the issue I personally have here; while it did build some depth to Yukine’s character, and I agree – darker themes of guilt and shame you mentioned are a pleasure to watch, its lengthy execution hurried up the pace of other cool things there were in Noragami.

      Anyway, thanks for the comment. :)

      1. Not particularly, no. I was pretty happy with the pacing in general for this series – it seemed to balance out the screentime for each character quite well. I might have perhaps wished for a better build-up or a slightly more impactful showdown between Yato and Rabo, but not at the expense of Yukine’s story arc, which for me really became the highlight of the series.

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