Shakugan no Shana – 04
Well, that's more like it. After a couple of frankly pretty sleepy episodes, Shana finally kicks into high hear with a fast-paced, well-animated episode that was very reminiscent of the first season. The throwdown between Yuji and Shana was interesting, but really only the tip of the iceberg for the episode. It’s still not completely clear just what Yuji has become and how much of the boy remains inside the Snake of the Festival, but some things did become clear. First, he can pretty much kick everyone’s ass, as the combined efforts of Shana and her allies were no match for him. After reducing poor Margery to a gibbering blob by revealing the ugly truth (or was it?) about The Silver, he snatches Shana and reclaims the Haridan as his own. And we know from Alastor that it took the efforts of every flame haze in existence to banish him to the abyss when he tried to become ruler of all creation. Second, we know that the Snake retains Yuji’s emotional attachments at least in part, certainly when it comes to Shana. As badly as things went for Shana – beaten and abducted – it was an even worse day for Yoshida, who finally learned the truth of Yuji’s feelings and what happened that fateful snowy night. I’m still not totally clear on just who or what Yuji is now and what his aims are, but now that the prelims are over my level of interest in finding out what happens next is substantially higher.
C3 – 05
This is one of the harder shows of the season for me to figure out. I really want to like it, and there’s a lot of interesting elements about it. But I just can’t shake my impression that the total is somehow less than the sum of its parts – the total package just doesn’t measure up to what it should be for me. I’m ready for Peavy to be gone for starters – her caterwauling has just become grating for me at this point. It was interesting to discover that Kirika was not only a cursed-item user herself, but had actually impersonated Peavy during the last fight as a way of getting the measure of Fear and Konoha. I didn’t expect that, and I’m mildly curious to find out more about the organization she belongs to. But whether it’s a question of pacing or the quality of the dialogue, I just don’t find myself caught up the characters or plot of C3. There’s a self-aware falseness to it that rubs me the wrong way, and that applies to the language and fanservice as well – maybe “contrived” is a good word for it. I’m very struck by how much this show is reminding me of Kore wa Zombie – a little bit visually, even more in terms of plot and character, and most of all in tone. That was a decent series – I blogged it wire to wire – but I grew increasingly disinterested in at as the series progressed. Maybe, hopefully, C3 will take the opposite course.
Gundam AGE – 04
The big news in episode 4 is the arrival of The White Wolf, Woolf Enneacle (the always dashing Daisuke Ono). He’s a former mobile suit racing champ and pilot just awoken from cryogenic sleep, and he’s looking great. Naturally, The White Wolf thinks he should take possession of the Gundam by rights, and what follows is a very predictable but amusing pissing contest between he and Flit that leads to an encounter with the UE, this time with their warship in tow. Among other things, I’ve decided I like Yurin much better than Emily, who’s hoping Flit loses the Gundam to Woolf so he won’t be able to play soldier anymore, and seems restricted to doing very little besides standing around looking worried. The new revelation about the UE this time is that they apparently possess some sort of cloaking device, which is enough to convince Grodek that he knows who they are – but he’s not sharing till next week at least. I’m not sure about Grodek – he still seems like a dodgy character to me.