Here we are, with the last week of the winter 2014 anime season. Pretty much all of the shows that are one-cour have now ended or will end by this week. I’ll keep this week brief in terms of number of series I’ll be posting about. There isn’t much to say about most of the other shows that have ended this past week so I’ll just discuss Hamatora episode 12, Gin no Saji S2 episode 11, and Nisekoi episode 12.
I found the finale to be alright, but lacking in some aspects. I guess I’ll start off with my thoughts on the clashing between Moral and Nice. Overall the fight scenes were my favourite part of the episode, for once Nice actually had someone who rivaled him in strength. However, it seemed a bit cheesy how Nice could suddenly overwhelm Moral despite being completely outclassed by him minutes ago. Sure, Nice may have found inner strength, but prior to that, Nice couldn’t even lay a finger on Moral.
Moral as a villain was interesting and also resembled a certain villain in Samurai Flamenco (the final villain). Moral in general, considers himself to be a savior of humanity. He helps people achieve “happiness” by first making them realize they’re powerless and worthless, and then gives them power so they can be on equal footing with the privileged. Moral also has an obsession with Nice due to his strength. Someone so powerful cannot possibly face the same struggles as a normal human which causes Moral to want to “save” Nice. To do that, Moral “becomes the villain” himself by causing pain and suffering to Nice. He makes modifications to his own body so that he can become powerful enough to rival Nice. This way, he can show Nice how it feels to be weak, something that he wouldn’t understand due to his strength.
I think overall, Hamatora had some decent moments along with important messages/themes throughout the episodes. However, the storytelling was rather sloppy in my opinion.They introduced a lot of characters and each episode focused on a new case to solve. While the cases were ultimately linked to Moral in the end, I feel that they could have dedicated more time to the individual back stories as well as character development for the main cast. They even slipped in Hibiki into Moral’s plan, who apparently Nice dealt with in the past (in the Manga), but he wasn’t even shown prior to this episode. While I’m being a bit critical of some aspects, I must say that I really did enjoy Moral’s character in the show. I found his view on humanity to be interesting with some merit to his conclusions despite his methods for fixing it to be extreme and psychotic.
As a result of the sloppy storytelling, we’re left with so many questions and the anime feels very incomplete at this stage. Although, it looks like there will be a second season in the future, so hopefully they address those questions then. I was kind of disappointed to see Hajime finally unlock some of her powers but only to get resolved within seconds and not mentioned again (what was the point of having her do this?). Despite all of the faults that I found with the show, it was still relatively entertaining overall and I do look forward to the next season (especially with a cliffhanger ending like that).
You can watch Hamatora on Crunchyroll (may not be available in all regions)
Gin no Saji
Hachiken finally returns to the city after leaving it behind nearly a year ago. It’s interesting how his city friends are fascinated with the farming life while his new friends are fascinated with city life. It’s always interesting to hear about another lifestyle but both sides haven’t experienced the other yet. While farming may sound like fun from Hachiken’s perspective, his city friends aren’t aware about all the downsides such as the hard manual labour, and leaving your livelihood up to factors out of your control (bad weather can cause huge set backs for farmers). It’s the same case for Hachiken’s friends at Ezono. Hearing about the city life sounds amazing but the lifestyle has it’s downsides as well.
Hachiken also finally confronts his family face to face. While his dad seems very stern and blunt, he still has his children’s best interest at heart. He wanted his sons to grow up and go to the top universities, but this ended up putting a lot of pressure on the both of them. They both ended up abandoning the life that their father thought was best for them in order to pursue something else in life. Even after going off to Ezono, his parents still and are willing to support him financially. His mother also realizes that she never really got a chance to understand her son. They’ve always kind of told him what he should do in life, but now that he’s changed his direction, he’s become a completely different person. His mother goes out of her way to try to understand her son more by seeing things from his perspective on the farm.
After speaking to his father and Tamako, Hachiken comes to the realization that he made have had other motivations for helping out Mikage. The pressure got to him in the past and he gave up after. Now that Mikage wants to enter a college, if Hachiken can help her succeed then it’ll be almost as if he succeeded as well. While he doesn’t want to go back to his old lifestyle, if he sees that Mikage was able to pass her entrance exams, then it’d almost be as if he could pass them as well if he wanted (due to his coaching). It’s similar to parents pushing their failed hopes and dreams onto their children. The parents want to see their children accomplishing the things they couldn’t as a way to relive their dreams. However, sometimes this causes a lot of emotional burden and pressure for the kids (or in this case Mikage) if they let their own desires outweigh their children’s.
At the end of the episode, everyone begins to look at their future. Everyone has their own goals in life. While the end goal may seem far off, the path to the end consists of many smaller goals that can be achieved. Yoshino’s passion for cheese and wanting to become an expert seems far off. However, she can take little steps like starting to learn French little by little, so that one day she’ll be able to go to France to study. Basically, you can accomplish anything you want to, as long as you work towards that goal. Rejection and failure are bound to happen to everyone and can be major setbacks. However, you’ll never reach your goal in the end if you stop after one try. As long as you get back up on your feet and keep trying, you’ll eventually get to where you want to be. On another note, I really liked the snowfall at the end of the episode. To me, it kind of symbolizes a fresh start. It’s a new day and the scenery has changed over the course of a night so it’s almost as if a new chapter of life is just beginning.
You can watch Gin no Saji S2 on Crunchyroll (may not be available in all regions)
For a second, I got my hopes up that they might have actually tried to do something logical and test out the key. Well, technically they did, but with all of the build up, it was inevitable that something would go wrong. Despite the key breaking, we’re given some more hints into Raku’s promise made ten years ago. Chitoge’s father informs us (and Raku) that they’ve known each other since they were kids and how Chitoge, Raku, and Onodera used to always play together. While it doesn’t really narrow down who the promised girl is, it sheds some light onto the past.
In the meantime though, Chitoge has been getting more flustered around Raku lately. She hasn’t realized her feelings yet and as a result she’s been acting strangely around Raku. Part of her was hoping that the key would match, but at the same time, she wouldn’t know how to face him if it did. They were “in love” ten years ago (or as possibly in love that five year olds can be) but how would they react around each other now? On top of that, if the key didn’t fit, her developing feelings for Raku would leave her conflicted. Raku’s already stated that he’s still holding onto his childhood love and if the key didn’t fit, Chitoge would have no chance if the childhood girl shows up. She’s rather relieved when the key breaks since things can carry on for a bit longer. While logically, it’s not very realistic for Raku to really be in love with the girl from his childhood (people change all the time), for the sake of the anime, Chitoge still feels conflicted over this possibility of her not being the girl.
That wraps up the winter 2014 anime season for me. I found most of the shows to be enjoyable but not many shows really stood out to me (Aside from Gin no Saji). Shows like Mikakunin, Sakura Trick, and Witch Craft Works were all fairly entertaining but weren’t mind blowing. I look forward to the Spring anime season coming up within the next week or so. There probably won’t be too much activity on this blog until then since there’ll be a lack of shows airing. On top of that, I’m still figuring out how I want to restructure my blog along with my posting format (break it down by episode/series or to continue doing it as a weekly round up). School’s also finishing up for me so there’s quite a bit of work I have to do there. In the meantime though, you can check out my Fall leftover week 12 post where I discuss my thoughts on the end of the two-cour fall series.