Just a few more stragglers before I can finally put Summer to rest (and catch up on all the great anime I've been missing due to an insane amount of real-life business I've been dealing with this past month!).
Legend of the Legendary Heroes
This episode flashes back to Ryner's and Shion's pasts as students in a military academy. Both characters led particularly difficult lives as children due to poor family situations and a long-lasting war with a neighboring country. Though things have been peaceful for a while, they're both suddenly thrust once again into the heat of battle, as a country facing a food shortage invades their land.
I get the feeling that I would really like this series in terms of the story, but the execution leaves something to be desired. Though most of the goofball humor of episode one has been left behind, the visual style is just a bit too polished and clean for the grit of war to be believable. It's difficult to believe that someone's led a tragic, terrible life when they're just so gosh-darned perfect looking. It looks like the event of episode 3 are going to turn even darker, but I feel my interest waning and don't know if I'll get that far.
Break Blade (Broken Blade)
Rygart gets a handle on piloting the mysterious ancient golem, and none-to-soon - he's enlisted to help keep Zess and his troupe of super-powered golems from invading the city. During the battle, each side loses a member, and Rygart is faced with having to decide whether to run and turn his back on his friends, and going against his own father's teachings.
This movie series is as much about the interpersonal drama between the main characters as it is about war and mecha technology. I don't really care much for the character drama, and the story is pretty standard as far as this genre is concerned, but the execution is good enough to stay fairly interesting even though I'm not overly-enthusiastic about the series as a whole. There's some great background art, and the hand-drawn mecha have a nice feel and some good detail in close-up shots. Oh, and I really love the opening theme song.
The gross-out humor continues. In this episode, Futaba gets a nasty cold and starts slinging sticky snot all over the classroom, the school nurse has multiple mishaps with the urine samples from the various classes, Hitoha takes it upon herself to visit Nipples the hamster (who resides in the teacher's apartment over the weekend), and Mitsuba gets trapped up in a tree while catching cicadas with Futaba.
This show continues to be hit-or-miss with me. I actually laughed out loud during the urine segment; there's just something about the line "it's like a pee skating rink" that cracks me up in spite of myself. But there are just certain jokes that are either way too gross (I can only think about snot for so long without gagging) or really aren't that funny (boys staring at her underwear while Mitsuba is up in a tree). I find myself saddled with an undercurrent of worry that this show will suddenly transform into the next Kodomo no Jikan, just because there are a few jokes that are just just *this* far from crossing the line.
Ookami-san and Her Seven Companions
A client comes to the Otogi Bank looking for help in dealing with a violent ex boyfriend, but the scenario turns out to be a ruse intended to lure Ookami-san out. She's kidnapped by a violent gang and nearly made a victim, until Ryoushi and his two hunting dogs discover her whereabouts and pound the living daylights out of their enemies. Ryoushi knows that Ookami-san is hiding her true nature by pretending to be strong.
I'm... really not feeling it with this show. I think the key to my discontent is Ookami herself. Her default attitude is simply too skewed towards "clich� tsundere" for me to really care about whatever issues she's harboring behind her "wolf's clothing." Additionally, Ryoushi's claim that he's going to be the one to hunt Ookami-san is just plain creepy to me. The animation is certainly nice, but none of the characters are very interesting and that really kills things.
The Student Council continues to address the needs of the school while simultaneously turning each activity into a grand opportunity to convey sexual innuendo. Tsuda meets Yokoshima-Sensei, the absentee advisor for the Student Council who returns en force once she realizes that her group now contains a young man amongst its ranks. The group helps a student establish a martial-arts club (while also imposing a hefty rule to obey) and cleans out a storage room in preparation for a school festival.
Once again, I really am a person who appreciates perverse, raunchy humor, but there's something in the way that the characters spit out sexual punch lines that doesn't feel quite natural. It's one thing to have characters reacting with embarrassment at the very mention of anything sexual (shame-as-humor is a real pet peeve of mine) but it's quite another to have no reaction at all - part of the thrill of perversity is that people are all uptight about that subject matter and tend to react dramatically to it. Here, Tsuda just tends to roll his eyes, leaving the humor to fall a bit flat.
Strike Witches 2
Sakamoto and Miyafuji continue en route to intercept the Neuroi ship over the Adriatic Sea. Sakamoto decides not to employ her striker unit, and uses her newly-forged Reppumaru sword to dispatch the enemy. When it regenerates, the members of the 501st band together once again to destroy it for good.
I was just about ready to compliment the second season on being marginally more classy than what I saw of the first, but the battle that takes place during the second half managed to destroy that perception by featuring exactly the same sort of opportunistic camera angles that made season 1 so iconically gross. Just ignoring the logic of the clothing the witches wear for a minute, it stands to reason that a hectic battle scene would feature some unflattering imagery at times, but the camera work is obviously purposeful here. It's too bad, since the alternate history premise is actually sort of interesting and the battle choreography and animation is otherwise quite exciting.