i kinda miss the avants; every other show seems to have those these days
After watching the hilarity that was AnoHana episode 4, I feel that I can now finally focus my attention on its partner show for the season (which wouldn’t be that obvious based on this poor blog). Surely they were trying to be as serious as they could possibly be or that last sequence when they revealed what they did, but it just came off to me as seriously hilarious. It must have been the way they showed all that with a straight face. Such an absurd scenario all told with a visible effort to be serious and dramatic, to me, backfired and almost ruined whatever impact they were going for with the character and with the show in general. Sometimes it’s just those things which don’t even try to be funny that are the most comical.
With its own third episode, [C] has shown signs of life, as it achieved a more concrete sense of stability in terms of its visual content and presentation. The actual story of the show has been its strong point from the first episode, but it took time for me to appreciate the other aspects in conjunction with its narrative content. It also helped that I basically just dealt with the fact that they went in another, much simpler, stylistic direction for this show. From the pedestrian effort that was episode 2, the series had improved by the next week, and it continued that trend for the next–episode 4. Similar to episode 3, this ep did some more introductions–new characters, new devices–and, more importantly, answered the question which I bet not only I had asked since ep 1: What happens to an Entrepreneur when he goes bankrupt?
We all saw that one salaryman jump in front a speeding train in ep 1, but this time we go into more substantial detail.
Now, what to say about ep 4? Well, since it focused on more on revealing the specifics of the show’s universe, I really don’t have much to say about it. I’ll leave the actual meat of the plot up to the smarter people to discuss and speculate, since I’m too dumb for any of that. The episode itself retained the same kind of feeling as in episode 3, where they tried to be smart with the cutting of the scenes and the composition of the episode, but I sensed that some of the things they tried to do didn’t work as well as they thought, like the opening scenes. In a sense, I feel that they tried to bring over some more of the Nakamura flavor that I thought was missing. After the first battle, the show fell into anime standard fare, which I can’t really comment on. Except for the part with the kids, though. That was kind of nice.
The opening scenes of the episode were the closest they came to injecting a needed vigor and quickness to the episode, instantly stopping and going from the fight to the peaceful scene in the classroom. It was a smart way of catching viewers off guard, while giving out hints for the second half to explain. But with all that said, I just didn’t feel that it worked really well, as it came across as being a bit too jumbled due to its speed. One second you have two characters fighting each other, then just a second later you have some students make some small talk in the classroom. At some points I would have liked it to be scattered more lightly throughout the ep (as in ep 3), not instant stops and gos like what I’ve seen. Anyway, the eventual explanation of the circumstances behind the battle did tie it all up pretty wel, so it was all good in the end.
As I suspected, there was more action in this ep, featuring two battles in 24 minutes. Compared to the action scenes in ep 2, I now warmed up to the battles here in #4. They were more explosive this time around, and they just went on longer. I had more time to swallow whatever they were pulling with those cards and stuff to really get into the flow of the action. And the battles (the final one, in particular) themselves were kept interesting from start to finish. Of course the first fight was chopped up because of plot reasons, but even that was still quite fun to watch (mostly because of the final cut of FX after the fight, shown above). I wonder if the structure of the Deal system would be able to give way for more action choreography, though. Sometimes you just need to have a good old, well-choreographed fistfight for a battle to really be incredible. Ep 4 served as a good base, nonetheless, and with 7 more episodes to go, it’s safe to say that it’s just going to get better.
Our humble protagonist is still as humdrum as before, but I like how he hasn’t fallen into the all too common trap of being too much of a goody-two-shoes for his own good. I feared he was going to be more of a stock main character after what we saw in ep 3 when his father issues were highlighted and again here when one result of bankruptcy was revealed, and it’s good to see that he’s actually thought about what his next moves in terms of playing the game were going to be.
Oh yeah, episode 4 had only a handful of CGI shots, which was good to see. Maybe it wasn’t a conscious creative decision after all? But it seems weird for them to use heavy amounts of CGI in the prior 2 eps when they’re normally supposed to be the eps where the quality is highest. I wonder. Well, whatever the case may be, I’m happy that they finally began to be careful with it.