March 30, 2016

Musaigen no Phantom World -- ep 13

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I didn't watch last week's episode at the time. If the series was going to end the way the first book did, frankly I didn't want to see it. So I waited until today, dipped into ep 13 enough to see that it had an entirely different ending, and then watched the two episodes back-to-back. I definitely like the way the anime ended a lot better. It wasn't a FUCK-YOU ending directed to the audience.

Kurumi-chan wins the episode. A lot of good performances by a lot of people (Ruru is the runner up) but Kurumi was genuinely awesome.

Our team (they're called "Team E") has the highest score in the school, and they are no longer looked down upon or laughed at by the other students. They've figured out how to combine their attacks in interesting ways. For instance, if Koito and Reina attack a powerful phantom from opposite sides and don't outright destroy it, they can pin it in place, which gives Haruhiko time to draw it and seal it.

Kurumi continues to be a significant asset. Ordinarily a kid that age wouldn't be expected to fight, but she's so good and is such an asset to the team that an exception has been made for her.

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And, of course, no one teases her about carrying around a teddy bear because everyone knows about Albrecht.

Seeing now how they had decided to end the series, I can look back and see how they have been laying groundwork for it all along. A lot of episodes I thought were just girl-of-the-week and filler actually did help set things up for this ending two-parter.

And it was very satisfying. Lots of fireworks, and Haruhiko got a huge powerup at a critical moment. Plus we finally found out the truth about Ruru, and it was really neat. It could easily have come off as a deus ex machina, but it was handled so well that it didn't.

The way it ended, it is still possible for it all to go to hell the way it did in the books, but only in the sense that they didn't foreclose that possibility. It's a completely happy ending as presented in the anime.

And the best thing of all? It isn't a harem show. Not even slightly. It's one guy and a lot of girls, at least two of which are very desireable, and there isn't any romance going on. None.

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They even tossed in a sight-gag about that.

And that represented discipline on the part of the director. Tossing in romance and accidental-compromising-positions and similar cliches would have damaged the story they really were telling, and it's definitely to the director's credit that he knew it. So the girls are close to Haruhiko, but as close friends.

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Thumbs up, and another success for KyoAni.

UPDATE: Oh, and Marchosias and Cthulhu were awesome, too.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 12:09 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
Post contains 487 words, total size 3 kb.

1

Another thing that was very surprising is the relative lack of fan service. With a character like Mai, obviously deliberately designed to attract audience members, it would have been really easy for the director to start pandering. But although they did do the "limbo" scene, and the hot springs episode, they generally steered clear of outright pandering. For instance, despite all the flying kicks and other acrobatics that Mai does in the series when she's fighting while wearing a miniskirt, I don't remember a single panty shot.

It's another example of director discipline.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 30, 2016 02:16 PM (+rSRq)

2 Two of which are very desirable?  You've been watching too many re-runs of Love Hina.  I'd take the asocial redhead with the headphones before going after the domestic abuser sempai. I might even wait on the loli to grow up.  (Apologies if either is who you meant in the first place...)

Posted by: ubu at March 31, 2016 06:32 AM (SlLGE)

3 I was thinking of Mai (the blonde) and Reina (long brown hair).

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 31, 2016 08:03 AM (+rSRq)

4

Right-- the violent one that abuses him, and the cute, nice one with the Grade-A zettai ryoiki.  Difficult choice, that.   

Posted by: ubu at March 31, 2016 08:27 AM (SlLGE)

5

Mai being seriously abusive is something that only happens in the early episodes. It was pretty much in there because the director knew some viewers were expecting it, like the fan service. After he had his audience hooked (he hoped) he could fade it out.

Mai's attitude towards Haruhiko changes somewhat in ep 3 and changes a lot in ep 11. It isn't really tsundere (because they never become cuddly or romantic) but it's similar.

But yeah, if I myself was choosing one it would be Reina.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at March 31, 2016 09:04 AM (+rSRq)

6 Tsunderes aren't really that bad. Not the original (Lum) concept. They're just "Large print for the reading impaired" emotion girls. Unless you're a total moron or cad, (Ataru, IOW.) it's much easier to stay on the good side of a tsundere than an average girl, because she'll let you know when she's mad, instead of doing a slow burn. And she'll let you know when she's happy with you, too. 

I ought to know, I married one. 

Tsunderes got the bad rep when later writers perverted the concept, perhaps not understanding it, or maybe just finding a guy getting beat up by a pretty girl funny. Lum only electrocutes Ataru when he's earned it. Naru sends Keitaro to the moon at the least excuse, and never gives him a chance to explain.
Totally different concept, IMO, but the both get called tusundere.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore at March 31, 2016 01:04 PM (l55xw)

7 Thus the obvious breakdown into "tsundere:default=tsun" and "tsundere:default=dere", as seen on TVTropes and elsewhere.  

Posted by: Mikeski at March 31, 2016 01:56 PM (BKBr8)

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