Finally getting to a second helping of some of this Summer's shows. Let's see how they hold up.
Sengoku Basara 2
At the end of episode one, Data Masamune's right-hand-man, Katakura, was embroiled in a physical battle with Takenaka, tactician for Hideyoshi. Takenaka successfully captures Katakura, then moves on to help defeat Date's forces while he's locked in battle with his neighboring fiefs. Yukimura hopes for Date's victory, so the two of them can once again face-off mano-a-mano.
There's just nothing like a bit of gleeful, over-the-top battling to get one's blood boiling. While this show's strength has always been its video-game-styled conflicts, the second season's second episode features an absolutely brilliant (though all too short) conflict between Date Masamune and Takenaka that features some great choreography and some really fantastic shots of Takenaka using his sword/whip weapon. While there are still some annoying things about the show overall (I could do without Kasuga's orgasmic reactions to everything Uesugi Kenshin says or does, though they're also so over-the-top that they can easily be laughed at), it seems like the brainless fun, along with a small dose of history, hasn't lost its touch.
Sekirei: Pure Engagement
Kazehana continues to feel torn over whether she wants to be winged or not, nearly kissing Minato in his sleep. The others argue over who would be his ideal wife, before Minato makes plans to meet his younger sister, also secretly a part of the Sekirei plan. Minato and Tsukiumi, who joined him as a bodyguard, are waylaid by Benitsubasa of the disciplinary committee, out for revenge.
This episode is marginally more tolerable than the first, though it still suffers a bit by spending too much time on the humor and not enough getting straight to the conflict. Minato continues to be frightened by anything that might possibly be considered sexual. Though the animation in this episode wasn't anything to write home about, the preview for the following episode suggests something a bit more dynamic with some higher-quality animation. It might be worth checking out for the visuals, but the story hasn't really drawn me in at all. Most likely a pass.
Ciel awakens on a riverboat, driven by Sebastian, his faithful butler. Ciel attends the opening of a new floodgate on his property, and participates in the normal, boring socializing, including entertaining his fianc�e, Elizabeth. Elizabeth wants to look for the white stag that supposedly still walks the riverbanks, but a flood threatens to cut short their day out.
Gone for now are Alois' sadism and the dark tone that the first episode had, and I have to say that I'm disappointed by that. Not surprised, mind you, but disappointed. The reason that the first season never really interested me was because the first few episodes I watched were too focused on the antics of Ciel's servants and not the frightening nature of his butler. I find my interest waning the more I think about what could have been.
Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin
Maya runs away from the naked man seen previously in episode 1, but has to face him again when he arrives to teach at Waldstein Academy. He reveals that he was sent from the future to prevent a catastrophic dimensional rift, but Maya will have none of it. Maya also discovers her father's old notebook, which may hold keys to the Nostradamus prophesies.
Though not quite as action-packed as the first episode, the follow-up episode upholds the great balance of spooky stuff and comedy that made the first episode worthwhile. Maya tends to be a bit overly-violent, though, and that can be a little off-putting. Though I suppose if I suddenly had to interact with a man who'd arrived naked out of the sky, I might be a little bit irrational too.
After Megumi passes away suddenly and unexpectedly, her friend Kaori tries to deal with the loss of her friend. The town doctor discovers that Megumi's anemia was of an irregular type, usually caused by a wound or internal bleeding. The rash of mysterious deaths continues, and there seems to be a connection between many victims, who shared symptoms of a Summer Cold.
This show is probably one of the slowest-moving, with some of the strangest, almost inappropriate character designs, yet even with the second episode I can feel myself being drawn into the mystery surrounding the deaths of the villagers. So far, it's probably the show that I anticipate enjoying the most, and the slowly-building tension is a big part of that. And of course, it's got the noitaminA seal of approval.