Summer 2014, Week 9: Highlights of the Week

So, no Zankyou no Terror this week, which was a shame. Sailor Moon Crystal also was absent (but I’m not crying about that). Overall, I wasn’t a huge fan of the week, as there were a couple episodes that actively upset me and a few others that were somewhat disappointing. But, Argevollen (arguably the most consistent show airing this season), Haikyuu!!, and Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun are all standbys and none of them let me down. Thank goodness for that.

RWBY

Pira used Seismic Toss!

Free, Eternal Summer, Episode 9: A unexpectedly really, really good episode from this show this week compelled me to write a full blog post on it (plus, no Zankyou no Terror). Glad Free! Eternal Summer stepped up to the starting block this week.

Fairy Tail, Episode 22: I had huge, huge problems with Fairy Tail this week, and none of them had to do with the production quality or the writing or the pacing or anything like that. No, this week I’m pretty pissed off about the actual content of the episode. Last week, I wrote about how I was a bit disappointed that the jittery cutting of the episode was ruining the compelling internal struggle Ultear was dealing with, but this…this is not what I wanted. It’s one thing to drive a character into the ground with an identity crisis; it’s another entirely to push them to the very edge, to have them sacrifice their life (and the “I don’t deserve to live” refrain was sickening), and then to let them die thinking they accomplished nothing at all. What the hell? I expect better of this show—existential despair without redemption is a one-way shortcut to earning my ire. And no, it’ s not good enough that Ultear did indeed save lives. It was her struggle, and Fairy Tail left her run dry and run out. And then to cut to the triumphs of everyone else and just forgetting Ultear altogether? Thank you, to whoever is directing this mess—way to trivialize Ultear’s sacrifice.

Damn, I’m madder than I realized.

Fairy Tail

Don’t worry, Ultear. I’ll remember you, even if your show doesn’t.

Argevollen, Episode 9: Argevollen is sticking to its guns, that’s for sure. It steadfastly holds to being exactly what its been from the beginning—solid, calm, unsensationalized. Even during the Arandas raid on the Ingelmian base (and what a total butt-kicking that was), the show remained grounded in a certain dull reality. Yes, things were exploding all around and soldiers were getting thrown around like ragdolls, but it wasn’t grisly, it wasn’t extraordinary. Just more people doing their jobs. I particularly liked the focus on the Ingelmian side and Richtofen this week—his facial expression as he looked at the bottle in the final shots of the episode was a great moment for him. Again, the causes don’t matter here. It’s about the people, and Argevollen continues to give the characters it has chosen space to breathe and expand.

Argevollen

Propoganda Grade: A+

Aldnoah.Zero, Episode 9: Well, it should be pretty obvious what I want to talk about this week—Rayet’s “murder” of Asseylum (if Asseylum is actually dead, I’ll eat my hat). I actually went out and read a couple people’s notes on the ending before coming to write this piece and it seems like a lot of people are attributing Rayet’s motivations to jealousy (centering around her own existence as a Martian and bitterness over the death of her father) and isolation. I honestly struggle to draw the line between jealousy and murder without other factors, though. Of all people, Rayet should realize that killing the princess isn’t at all the path to her revenge—she’s been directly harmed by those who wanted to kill the princess, and yet she still does their dirty work for them? And that brings me to the part of the scene that concerned me most—Rayet’s eyes. She had what I kill “dead eyes,” which very often in anime indicates an altered state of mind. If there was anything interfering with her agency when she attacked Asseylum, I’m not going to be happy.

On another note, yay…Saazbaum is also motivated by revenge. I like revenge as a motivation a lot, but Aldnoah.Zero has too many people floating around with that as their motivation. It dulls the impact and significance for everyone if everyone’s the same.

Haikyuu!!, Episode 22: They packed a ton of stuff into the first half of this episode. By the time the eyecatches came up I was expected the episode to be done, but there was still half of the episode left to go. It’s nice to see Kageyama truly working to change on the court, and it was really great to get a little bit more about Tsuikishima this episode, too. As I’ve said before, Haikyuu!! does a good job of utilizing its cast to shift the focus of the match and provide different perspectives on the situation. Making Tsuikishima a central part of Karasuno’s stand to win the set not only changes things up from the “Hinata Wins with Speed” refrain, but also draws him more into the team and into the story. The final 3 episodes should be awesome. I’m expecting Oikawa and his team to win in the end, but it’ll be a good match either way.

Haikyuu!!

Glasslip, Episode 9: How many times can I write about this show and exclaim over how incredibly odd and disjointed it seems before I get sick of that line of analysis? Apparently, it’s good for at least one more week because this week’s Glasslip was just another installation in a long line of episodes that left me totally baffled by the end. But even though I don’t really think Glasslip is a very good show, I still find it sort of spellbinding. This episode rushed past again in a series of cuts, obtuse conversations, and inside jokes we the audience aren’t really privy to. Glasslip is holding us at a strange distance, and I’m starting to wonder if it is more of a stage play-esque production than a screenplay. In any case, we got a confession (I think) from Sachi this week—where will this take the story? I don’t know and, to be honest, I don’t care. I stopped watching Glasslip for the plot long ago.

Glasslip

Another good parenting moment brought to you by P.A. Works.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Episode 9: Another pleasant episode, filled with Sakura’s delusions and a bit more of Nozaki playing the straight man than usual. There was some really pretty artwork happening during the first half of the episode in the rain which, given the kind of standard school setting/Nozaki’s apartment backgrounds we’ve been getting for most of the show, was a nice new thing. The wordplay jokes in the back half went a little bit over my head (too much thinking to get a real laugh from me), but overall it was a good episode. Definitely not the show’s best, but whenever you’ve got an episode with Sakura and Nozaki running around under a school blazer and Yuziuki dumping an umbrella on Sakura in an episode, it’s a win.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

Hunter x Hunter, Episode 145: Welcome back, Gon. Welcome, back Han Megumi—man, it is good to hear your voice again. Once again, I was reminded of Killua’s line from early in the Chimera Ant arc: “Gon, you are light.” As Gon walks in, a smile on his face, a bright light shines behind him and there are visibly no traces of the horrifically twisted person he had become after Kite’s death. But the scars, I’m sure, are still there. Togashi doesn’t strike me as the type of author to resort to something as convenient as memory loss just to restore the emblem of the Gon we once knew. Sure, the image of Gon leaping, starfish-wise, towards Leorio recalls the kid from the beginning of the show, but I doubt he’s totally reverted to what he once was. We obviously still have to deal with the aftermath of Killua’s arc here (a confrontation with Illumi seems to be inevitable[?] before the show goes on hiatus), but for today let’s just bask in the joy of having Gon with us once more. Welcome back, kid. We sure missed you.

Hunter x Hunter


A Question: So, what did people think about the jump between Rayet’s jealousy of Asseylum (an understandable emotion) to the action of trying to kill the Vers princess? Did you buy it? Did you not? Let’s chat in the comments!

12 thoughts on “Summer 2014, Week 9: Highlights of the Week

  1. Is Gon really becoming that messed up during Chimera Ant arc? Man, i really should catch up to Hunter x Hunter. ( still on episode 98 :( )

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      • Plan for the weekend establish. As for Rayet “killing” our princess, i am not really the type who can understand character motivations, so i can only say jealousy is definitely part of the motivation.

        I somewhat can find her action believeable considering how opposite their situation is. Despite both being Martian, Seylum reveal her identity without fear, but she is accepted by everyone in the end while Rayet kept her identity and got herself isolated. What really puzzle Rayet however is that how come Seylum can still maintain calm behaviour after all that happened while she freak out/PTSD over a kataphrakt that killed her family on a simulation.

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        • Weekend plans? Sounds like top notch allotment of time to me! (Not a joke).

          & yeah, I’m not sure on Rayet any more. It didn’t work for me in the moment, but I’m very interested in seeing what the show does with the fallout of the event this week.

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  2. Haikyuu was sooo good this week! Kageyamas ‘smile’ may be my favourite facial expression in the entire series so far. And it’s had an awful lot of them. I don’t know who’s going to win this, but I’m very excited for next week.

    I’m pretty godawful at explaining my take on character motivations, so forgive me if this is terribly incoherent:
    In regards to Rayet, I don’t think jealousy was the defining factor behind her killing Asselyum. I mean, there was jealousy there, but this seemed an act born more out of frustration, or desperation. She was deeply shaken up after the combat simulation, and clearly not herself in that moment. In her mind, the princess was supposed to be dead, not her family. I got the sense she was trying to ‘fix’ that error in her delirious state. In that moment, she was convinced killing Asselyum would return her life to normal.

    That said, I really didn’t buy the whole set-up. Irregardless of what Rayets motivations were , they were too rushed and too out of nowhere to be believable. This didn’t feel like a direction Rayets character was heading at all. Why was she suddenly freaking out when she saw the Kataphract in the simulation? She had no problems like that in episode 3, when she was being chased by the damn thing. A delayed reaction to the stress? Narratively, I really didn’t think her actions made proper sense this week.

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    • Haikyuu!! has had awesome facial expression the whole series. It was nice to get to see Tsukishima have a few, too, heh.

      And that’s a really interesting (and new) take on Rayet’s motivations. I like your idea (“Asseylum is supposed to be dead, not my father”) a heckuva a lot more than any other idea I’ve seen. However, as you’ve said, her motivations are kind of a moot point because the action itself felt like it came out of nowhere—it didn’t feel grounded, but like something that got shoved in there for a good ole shock value cliffhanger.

      As to her not being herself in that moment, as I said in the piece: if there ends up being some kind of mental excuse for her actions, I won’t be happy.

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      • It does love its cliffhangers alright.

        When you say mental excuse, do you mean an outside force controlling her actions, or just a momentary lapse in sense? I wouldn’t be happy with the former either, and the latter seems all but a given.

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        • An outside force would be particularly aggravating, but a momentary lapse in judgement would be acceptable. I was more referring to some sort of altered state of consciousness—really anything that might morally excuse her from the action.

          We’ll have to see how it shakes out. I just want Rayet to actually be responsible for the attack, not to be given an easy out by the plot.

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  3. Personally I don’t see jealousy as Rayet’s main source of motivation for killing/wanting to kill the princess at all – it seemed to me much more like a PTSD thing, or at least something along similar lines. The show has hinted at Rayet having a dark and troubled past several times before, and while I accept that she’s also jealous, I don’t think that factor alone accounts for the whole ‘dead eyes’ look.

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    • Well, I admittedly don’t know a lot about PTSD, but it’s my understanding that it’s much more of a paralyzing condition, rather than an activating condition. The quick reading I did said that it’s like a enhanced version of the “flight” response—aka a defensive measure, sometimes resulting in aggressive defense in extreme cases. But Rayet definitely was on the attack.

      I think the three pictures of the eyes I posted are actually a really good illustration of my point. She goes from depressed blank eyes, to really aggressive blank eyes, to just empty eyes as Asseylum is literally falling from her hands. Especially the middle one, which is decidedly not passive.

      Heh. You know, the more I talk about this with people, the less connection I see between Rayet’s motivations and her action. Which, of course, just reinforces the very negative “…really?” reaction I had to the scene.

      So, if I agree with you (and I do somewhat) that jealousy isn’t that great of a motivating factor—as I said, the steps between jealousy and killing someone are difficult to trace here—what are we left with if I’m not on board with the PTSD thing?

      P.S. Thanks for commenting! I really am glad to talk this out more with someone! ^_^

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      • It’s true that PSTD (so far as I understand it, which admittedly isn’t that well) seems to be a paralyzing condition rather than an activating/aggressive one, but I’m not sure the anime will care. IF the reason behind Rayet’s actions are internally emotional/psychological rather than external, I somehow doubt the creators would have put in any great amount of research time.

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