Shikabane Hime Aka – 02
Not shown last week was Shikabane Hime Aka’s awesome opening, which not only sounds pretty good but also has one of the best sequences this season to go along with it. For that reason alone I felt inclined to say a few words about the second episode. Story-wise, things feel somewhat episodic with Makina going after a young girl named Hikaru, who turned into a freakish-looking Shikabane after she died. I found it a bit strange how Makina hesitated killing Hikaru on several occasions, but it was nice to see another “corpse princess” (Ruo Minai) show up later on to help her out. Quality-wise, it turns out that the series should look better than the AT-X broadcast (as shown here). After skimming over the rebroadcast of episode one on TV Aichi (which airs four days later), I can say that everything definitely looks a lot sharper and not so washed out, so that’s a big plus.
I’m still undecided about following this series on a weekly basis given the pacing though. While I enjoy the action that Makina gets into, I really want to see more of the main storyline involving her and Ouri, which has been slow to develop. Because of this, I’m considering watching this one in spurts or marathon the entire series when it’s done airing. Being only one season long (sequel notwithstanding), I expect this series to become a lot more interesting in the upcoming weeks, so I’ll probably be checking back now and then.
Yozakura Quartet – 02
Slipping relatively under the radar on Thursdays seems to be Yozakura Quartet. I was actually a bit surprised about this though, since I found the first episode more enjoyable than some of the other offerings. While I understand that the human/youkai premise may not sound very interesting on the surface, the characters in this series have been so far. This episode focused primarily on Rin from last time and her hatred for humans, but it did delve into Akina’s “Tuning” (調律) ability more, explaining how it returns a youkai’s soul back to its realm — effectively killing it. They also introduced some of the other key characters this time around, including Shinatsuhiko Yuuhi (Matsumoto Sachi), the hundreds of years old shounen-disguised local god, Mariabelle (Tanaka Rie), his assistant who he likes to make cosplay, and Shinatsuhiko Yae (Kuwatani Natsuko), his younger sister who’s a nun.
Due to Enjin‘s meddling this time, I find that there’s just enough underlying plot to string the series together and make me want to keep watching. Based on the credits, Enjin also shares the same Hiizumi surname as Akina, so I’m curious as to what he’s trying to achieve in the town. Production-wise, I really like the work that Nomad is doing here, which doesn’t look amazing by current animation standards but is more than enough to appease me. With that said, this series is somewhat low on my Thursday priority list due to my commitment to Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka, but it’s turning out to be one I want to continue following. With the series slated for only twelve episodes, I get the feeling things should start ramping up fairly soon.
Kemeko Deluxe! – 02
Kemeko Deluxe! is turning out to be my guilty pleasure of the season. After watching the second episode, I can’t really say there’s anything about this series that clearly distinguishes it from the likes of Kamen no Maid Guy or To LOVE-Ru — aside from the absence of ecchi-ness — but I’m still loving every minute of it. The comedy hasn’t been as funny as Kannagi, but still has some nice quirks here and there with references to CLANNAD’s dangos and Sayonaru Zetsubou Sensei. I wish M.M. (Tomatsu Haruka) would come out of Kemeko more often, but the super-deformed robot is pretty funny at times. They introduced Sanpeita’s younger sister Tamako (Gotou Mai) this time around, who’s your typical 12 year old… except that she keeps her family afloat. With a useless older brother and a mother who works like a slave as a mangaka, Tamako pretty much does all the cooking, cleaning, and just about everything else around the house. Because of this, it was pretty funny to see how dangerous she is with a frying pan, which led to the “abuse Sanpeita” theme that’s prevalent in the opening sequence. (Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… Kami-sama!)
Story-wise, my jaw dropped when M.M. destroyed the picture Sanpeita tried to show her, but I was even more surprised that M.M. claims he has her mistaken for someone else. Well that’s a little bit of plot I’d like to see some explanation about, in addition to why M.M. considers the Mishima company her enemy. Next time looks like the introduction of the sword-carrying Kurosaki Ryouko (Shiraishi Ryouko) though, who seems to be after Sanpeita as hinted towards the end of this episode. Normally I would’ve blogged a series like this in a heartbeat despite how relatively unpopular it is, but I have no plans on doubling up any days this season and I like Kannagi a lot more, so it won out in the end.