I haven’t been writing much on it lately, but I’m a firm believer on the power of a soundtrack (and good sound direction) to either give a show the last little push it needs to get to 10/10 quality or kneecap a show that could’ve been a contender. With that in mind, here are 10 tracks from 10 different 2013 anime I thought turned particular scenes into memorable standouts.
Based on the formula it had followed thus far, I felt I had a pretty good idea of where Dangan Ronpa was going with its ending. I was wrong; the ending packed a genuine twist that flipped the premise on its head, tossing a bunch of huge endgame plusses for the show into the pot.
Sorry for the incredibly late updates. I’ve had a busy time lately that I’d like to claim is all work’s fault, but it really has as much to do with Valkyria Chronicles 2 and the general greatness of Gatchaman Crowds. Which I’ve rewatched episodes of for hours episode 10 specifically, and is definitely the turning point pushing Kenji Nakamura past the ranks of very, very good situational directors into the tier of “watch me nail this magic trick I’ve never done before,” greats.*
Anyway, I’ll be getting back to writing over this weekend, skipping pics and just dishing my thoughts on the shows I was supposed to be covering** until I’m caught up. Also, look forward to some more crunched numbers; I’ve been running some data on anime adaptations of award-winning manga and the frequency of mecha anime pre- and post-3D mech animation techniques that should be ready relatively soon.
This was, first and foremost, a great Monokuma episode. His cosplay acting was a level up from normal, that back-and-forth between him and Naegi about the lack of cameras in the baths was solid banter, and the way he laughed when he found the kids snooping around the hidden room was spot-on. His character is probably one of the show’s 3 biggest achievements, unlike many villains who start to feel tired or experience character dilution, he still exudes the same threatening yet fun poise he’s had since day 1. And his declaration at the end shows two different kinds of astute villainy (depending on whether you see it as a bluff or not).
Togami’s been an unremarkable character for most of the series. I say that because this episode he really stood out, pulling a Barry Marshall and drinking what was ostensibly poison to prove his point. Even before I knew what that point was, I was hooked on his presentation there. There’s levels of differences in the body language between a sip and a chug, and this was the latter.
Nothing telegraphs a good episode quite like opening with an aerial cross counter.
Without a doubt, the most impressive thing about this show is the sheer number of ways they’ve managed to work in a Monokuma enjoying himself in the background. This time might have been my favorite, because you can just barely tell he’s now using the Oowada butter on his pancakes.
Hot-blooded, so it melts in your mouth
Redline is the best anime movie I have ever seen. By which I mean it is the best anime I’ve ever seen and the best movie I’ve ever seen. While this summer season is certainly one for the books, it’s not delivering anything quite like that movie (and it wouldn’t be fair to ask it to). But because the movie’s now available free on youtube,* and because this is definitely the most fun season to be a part of since subs of the movie became available roughly 2 years ago, I decided to pay tribute by summarizing how everyone’s doing at (roughly) the halfway hash in the words of Sweet JP and co.
[Warning: Spoilers, if that kind of thing bothers you.]
Chihiro coming back as an AI was certainly unexpected. Said AI seemed nice enough, though you can never tell with this show. More interesting than either the revelation of the AI’s existence or the fact that it was doing research to find the party responsible for the events of the show was the way characters ended up fighting over him. It makes a certain degree of sense, given Ishimaru’s pretty unstable right now and Yamada’s just like that, but it still feels like a rather silly thing for a major plot point. I guess I would have rather seen the characters just hanging out a bit more ala episode 4 over whatever this was:
Monokuma’s background antics made this episode. But there was definitely a lot to like elsewhere.
Somewhere out there, a terrible writer is making a joke about not being allowed to bring pot in a courtroom