Hi, there, my dear readers! It’s high time for me to write this post, which has been divided into two parts. The second will be published tomorrow. There is little more to say about Usakame and Space Patrol Luluco: both are still as crazy as ever and making me laugh. You will notice below that Hundred now finds a place on my watchlist. It turns out that yours truly could not resist the allure of a goofy harem action show. Let me start with that before moving onto Ushio to Tora, Bungo Stray Dogs, and Twin Star Exorcists.
Hundred borrows heavily from Infinite Stratos, which I rather enjoyed–especially because of Megumi Toyoguchi (Revy in Black Lagoon). To a lesser extent, I feel like it borrows from Freezing, Chrome-Shelled Regios, and other such harem, magical academy shows. Most of the characters fall into stock categories with only Claire Harvey, the school president known as the Perfect or Invincible Queen (reminiscent of Freezing‘s Untouchable Queen), and Claudia Loetty, the heroine’s childhood friend, striking me as more than generic. In Claire’s case, she combines the best qualities of Freezing‘s Elizabeth Mably with a trifle of the ditziness found in Cecilia Alcott of Infinite Stratos, which all go to make her a very likable character. Claudia Loetty does not seem to fall into any stereotype, unless crazy and possessive childhood friend counts. One has to love her attempts at using Claire in order to separate Hayato, our hero, from Emilia. Hayato is rather bland, but all I want from a harem lead these days is some spine, which he has in spades.
I’ve always had a soft spot for harem comedies, and Hundred offers ample amusement. However, during the beach and bath scenes, I often find myself staring at an uppermost corner of the screen. Infinite Stratos counts as a better show, but Hundred surely bests it in the fanservice department. Even if the plot leaves much to be desired, the battles themselves, from the silly yet intense duel between Claire and Hayato in episode one to latter fights against the Savages (alien lifeforms plaguing earthlings), are all well done. I’m leaning towards giving this show two and a half stars at the moment.
2) Ushio to Tora
This counts as my favorite show of the season. The last four episodes I watched back to back, which was fortunate because of the intense cliffhangers regarding the *spoiler alert!!!* resurgence of the Hakumen no Mono. I have not seen such over-dramatization since I watched D. Gray Man. However, we were treated to Tora’s backstory, which stands as the best episode of the last four. All the characters are having it rough, but they are not without hope.
The theme of how Ushio must not fight the Hakumen no Mono with hate in his heart strongly reminded me of Star Wars. At the same time, using that logic here strikes me as highly suspect: we hate things because of what we love. Ultimately, we ought to love God first and every created thing in proper order. Therefore, when we are at war with other nations, we ought to avoid actual injustice against or the complete annihilation of the enemy country. They are also people made in God’s image and likeness; so to do things like murder those who have surrendered or wantonly kill civilians would transgress against the love of God.
What if, as in the case of Ushio to Tora, our enemy was pure malice which fed upon people’s fear and hatred? In such a case, there is actually no sin in completely hating the enemy: “I have hated them with a perfect hatred: and they are become enemies to me” (Psalms 139:22). The curses in the Psalms once were directed against the Israel’s enemies; but, now we understand such verses spiritually: Israel refers analogically to the Church, and the enemies of the Church deserving curses are understood as either sin itself or demons, who have their wills confirmed in malice. The lesson the anime wishes to impart applies more to Darth Vader than to the Hakumen no Mono.
3) Bungo Stray Dogs
Boy, has this show taken a serious turn! And Bungo Stray Dogs seemed at one time like it would be another quirky and forgettable show! Episode eight struck me as a masterpiece, showing excellent development in the hero and introducing a very interesting character, Doctor Akiko Yosano. (We have seen her before, but she played a notable role in this episode.) From having rather low expectations of this show in the beginning, it has become my second favorite overall.
Osamu Dazai had some choice words about idealism, particularly in regard to Kunikida’s perfectionism and Sasaki Nobuko’s need for even destructive ideals. But, Dazai’s arguments more fell in the category of suggestion than reason. There is nothing wrong with idealism as such. The Founding Fathers all had wonderful ideals, and society would be incredible if people followed them. People need ideals, since we not only have bodies but minds and souls also. A person without dreams and ideals is a walking corpse, which perhaps explains how naturally Dazai is drawn to suicide.
4) Twin Star Exorcists
My main interest in this series has been Enmado’s recalcitrance in accepting his true self, an exorcist of the highest caliber, and how events have forced him to accept himself as what he is. Many people choose a safer path in life or one which other people have set for them, which makes for many bitter people in this world. Enmado was saved from this path simply by being responsible in protecting his town and the people dear to him during the Kegare (literally, “the tainted” or “the sullied”) outbreak in his hometown. The anime also benefits from amusing romantic tension and very good fight animation–even if the plot is not terribly unique.
Stay tuned for part two!