As excited as I am for the super awesome summer season, there are a lot of shows I’m sad to see ending this time around. Will the exciting summer lineup be enough to make me forget that pain?
RDG: Red Data Girl
If you’ll recall, I started off hating RDG because I was in a bad mood that day. But when it came down to it, I really did look forward to each new episode. Despite that did I really enjoy this? I certainly don’t feel satisfied at all. It’s just kind of something I happened to experience and have no strong feelings towards one way or the other.
It seems like they focused on the Souda’s for far too long. Even in the second last episode which should have been very Izumiko focused, they were still trying to introduce a new plot point for Mayura. Though I guess it was all for Masumi who was a midboss and also the last boss. I did like that his flirting with Izumiko wasn’t just a gag and became, you know, a crucial part of the ending.
Since it focused so heavily on them, it made it seem like there was no way they could be using Izumiko as well so whenever Sagara brought up that possibility, it really didn’t hold much credence. It just didn’t seem likely at all. Though had they left that possibility open (or at least made Mayura seem less-power hungry so that we could truly believe her friendship with Izumiko was genuine) I think there would have been an interesting change in atmosphere.
Maybe it was really the story of the triplets as well as Izumiko? It just wasn’t framed that way early on and I think that’s why it felt so wrong.
Furthermore, it undermined stuff like Wamiya since he an important(ish) but minimal part but it was like eh when they explain it later and he only appeared for what? Three scenes earlier on? Same with her mom. She appeared for two scenes. Izumiko questioned if the Himegami personality really existed or if she just made it up. But her mom displayed the personality too? Or was it because they were still in that plane and that she was a candidate of the Himegami’s choosing and that made Izumiko able to reflect that on to her? Maybe I should go back and rewatch that part.
While it might not have been the most thrilling thing to watch (the implications being that the results of Takayanagi vs. Mayura were that it was very important but didn’t go into details so eh?? Why do I even care?) but I think the show could have benefited from a little extra time and maybe being two cour? Maybe flesh out Izumiko a bit and her relationship with Sagara? Explore why the President fight was so important? Showing the past (also, was she from the future originally? or had she come from the past and had lived time over so she had visited the future but came to the past and was living the present again?) of the Himegami would have been a cool full episode too. Stuff like that, you know?
But it really feels like there could be a second season. The novel series it’s based on has six volumes and I highly doubt all of that was covered here so maybe it’s a possibility? It’s weird because though I feel no real attatchment to this show, I’d be really up for a second season. Though I can’t say what doesn’t feel resolved, I feel like there is a lot of stuff they could follow up on.
It seemed like the best parts of the show were at the end of each episode. Be it Sagara’s date with the Himegami ( and also Saori Hayami’s regular Izumiko voice got grating sometimes but her Himegami voice was so, so, so delicious) or Izumiko realizing Takayanagi was trying to use her, there was big lead up to a really great scene that left you wanting more but then not really delivering next week.
Overall, I can’t say I was particularly bored with the show and I was looking forward to it every week. Considering I really hated the show at first, I think this is quite a feat. And hey, like I said. If there’s ever a second season I’ll definitely be on board with that.
I said it time and time again: Hataraku Maou-sama is a superb show. Especially for a light novel adaption. It’s been entertaining from start to finish and constantly was surprising me. I lost count of the times that it did the opposite of what I expected. To put it simply, it was just refreshing.
One thing I really enjoyed was the impression that it might become a harem show but subverted that by having the girls be good friends and spend more time together than with Maou at times. I had groaned when Suzuno appeared and seemed interested in Maou but things took a completely different turn (though it returned that way again after she joined the good guys). Whatever feelings she might of ended up with, they weren’t really showcased as a romantic interest kind of way. Same with Emi. I usually root for the first girl and I’d be happy with Emi x Maou but really that doesn’t make sense and if they could just be friends I think I’d be happy too. Plus, how could you not root for Chiho? She was just so lovable. Though she was very Maou focused, she still had a great personality and brought up the all important point of, “Did you people really know him when he was Overlord?”
And like I said earlier, they spent a lot of time together. Suzuno excluded, Emi and Chiho just had such a nice friendship. Girls being friends in shows like this isn’t uncommon but doing things that real girls would do and how they would act instead of how you’d like to imagine they acted (I’m looking at you, Railgun) was, again, refreshing. There was one episode where it was mostly just them and Suzuno hanging out and I absolutely loved it.
Maou was a great guy too! He had so many great moments and continued to do so many surprising things that by the end if he really was evil I would have been completely surprised. Chiho even brought up that exact point. Nobody had known him personally how were they really sure he was evil? Well, we can see that he was but for things like Emi’s town getting destroyed I half expected them to reveal that the evil Church had been behind it. Still. It’s hard to believe that such a dorky guy could possibly be that evil.
Another thing was that the day to day, lighthearted or comedic moments were good and the Ente Isla or action parts were just as good. It always felt like things had just been kicked up a notch when a new enemy appeared and attacked Emi or Maou.
AND THE MUSIC. The soundtrack was quite large for a one cour show (though Gargantia had a large soundtrack as well) which I’m thankful for since it was wonderful. I do love and will take a good Minami Kuribayashi OP any day of the week but the Chiho centric ED was just so nice to watch that I found myself doing just that every episode. It’s just that one shot of her starting to cry that gets me and really kind of shifted me from the Emi/Maou train to the “pick whoever, if it’s Chiho COOL TOO” because really we know the novel isn’t over and it’s unlikely it’ll get animated further so he won’t pick anybody and I’d be fine knowing it was her in the end.
I really wish that we could have another season since I’ve seen stuff from later on in the books that I’m curious about but my cynical nature re: second seasons leaves me to believe that we probably won’t get it. Which is a damn shame if ever there was one.
Chihayafuru. CHIHAYAFURU. What a good show. I say that every time. But geez. It never stops being true.
Chihayafuru S2 seemed to fly by a lot faster than S1 and I was surprised when it was suddenly over. S1 seemed to involve a lot more games and seemed to go on for longer. Yet, in S1 we had them as kids up until the Team was formed and each member was added. A lot happened and of course the first season would feel a lot bigger as a result.
S2 felt like the opposite where we were focused on one tournament. Still, we had two new members join. Sumire is a treat and I love her. She was a bit off putting at first but after Kana talked to her and she became enthused about karuta (in her own special way) it was wonderful to watch. Tsukuba, however, never really grew on me and until the end I really didn’t like him.
Plus there was a lot more Arata this time around! At least it felt like it! I’m still aboard the Chihaya/Arata hype train so this was good to see. The last episode had a lot of ChiAra in it too. The last episode was kind of disappointing with the way it ended but the ChiAra parts were really nice.
The last few episodes were great though. Chihaya injuring herself was a twist I didn’t see coming and one that made me so sad. It was a different kind of sad that I don’t think any other media has made me feel. Disappointment. Empathy. At first when she injured herself and she continued to play (Soshite Ima playing was such an amazing touch, too), I was worried she’d damage her hand so bad that she potentially could not play again (what a sad goddamn twist it would be if Chihaya lost the ability to play and could only teach others).
But when she draws to play against Shinobu? I felt such genuine disappointment. As if it were my dreams that had just been trampled on. She had worked so hard. We had seen her cry after losing before and study and train and try and try all for the chance to face the Queen again. And when she finally gets to face Shinobu she’s injured and can’t play at her best? From this point you know she’s going in to lose. The series isn’t the kind to give away such an important victory. If she had won in that state I wouldn’t have been happy. It would have been impossible. So you know Chihaya is going to lose. You know she’s going to lose despite everything and it really hurts. And then she gets a few cards and maybe it won’t be so bad? There’s that tiny hope spot before Shinobu crushes her.
Which, in turn, leads to a tearful Shinobu scene. I had really hoped Chihaya was going to ask to play outside of a tournament with her since I really like their relationship and it’s always cute to see them together but just the impact Chihaya had on Shinobu during and after the match was enough for me.
But, of course, after all that we end that episode on a Taichi note. Which was a shame since the episode was absolutely fantastic up until that point. I don’t ship ChiTai but the scene where she cries and congratulates him for finally making it to A was really sweet.
Again, I’ll miss Chihayafuru. I wonder if we’ll get a third season? I certainly hope so. There isn’t a show that I can more lose myself in and with such wonderful (both main and side) characters.
Susei no Gargantia
I’ve already talked a lot about Gargantia so I’ll try to keep this brief. I was actually pretty pleased with the ending despite worrying earlier that it would be unsatisfying. Ledo became his own person, and decided to live on Gargantia with Amy. Chamber’s sacrifice was really nicely done. I never thought I’d be sad about such a thing but his “go to hell, tin can” last words as well as sending Ledo to safety was really touching. It kind of added to a theme about humanity. A kind of it is what you make it sort of thing?
I’m surprised that Pinion didn’t bite it since it didn’t feel like he properly redeemed himself. I was happy Lukkage stayed around because she was pretty awesome and I was always happy when she showed up.
So yeah. It was disappointing how predictable it got for awhile and some more one on one interaction between Ledo and Amy would have made their reunion more touching but I’m not disappointed. Ledo (and Chamber?) was a surprisingly great main character and I’m just happy that he’s happy now.