Anime roundup 3/27/2015: Auld Lang Syne

In this week’s viewing: Cute High and Yona look back to wrap up, Death Parade and Yatterman Night drop some important backstory, and more!

Cute-High-12 Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! finale – So it turns out that Gōra only happens to be the hero that singlehandedly saved Earth from a previous invasion, and that this has all been about Hireashi trying to avenge the wound to his pride, and then everything just explodes in a glorious confetti of meta.

Cute High has been a spot-on parody of magical girl shows. But it’s also been true to the magical girl ethos of love and friendship and redemption. In fact, at times it’s done a hell of a lot better than most magical girl shows at being a magical girl show. Now, at the very end, it has reached a level of brilliance that allows it to transcend subgenres and deliver a message that will ring true for fans of all stripes.

If you have no love for your subject matter, you cannot move the hearts of others.

That should be nailed to the door of every studio that has ever tried to construct a show purely on the basis of marketability.

This is so on my Hugo ballot next year.


Yona-24 Yona of the Dawn finale – The Yellow Dragon turns out to be a hungry, unassuming little guy with no particular power, other than the ability to turn deadly serious and cut straight to the heart of the decision Yona is facing now: She’s collected the four dragons, so now what? March off to the castle and claim her rightful throne in the good old heroic fantasy tradition?

But Yona’s answer is no. She doesn’t have it in her to kill Soo-won, and perhaps she doesn’t even want the throne anymore. Perhaps Soo-won is the king that Kōka actually needs. Perhaps she and Hak are the sword and shield that protect the king. And we’ll never know any of that, or what Soo-won is really up to, unless the show gets renewed. (Or if the manga gets international releases.)

So it is with great admiration but no small amount of frustration that we bid farewell to Yona and her companions. This has been an excellent show in all ways and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who loves action or adventure or historical fantasy. But there is that one little caveat hanging over it, that you may never know how the story ends. Let’s all cross our fingers and hope the DVD sales are good enough to buy it another season or two.


Death-Parade-11 Death Parade #11 – Chiyuki can finally tell her life story, thanks to the return of her memories and the most expressive, exuberant animation this show has displayed yet. She found her calling in figure skating, and singlemindedly devoted herself to it until she could suddenly no longer compete. With the path she had centered her life on ending, she chose to kill herself. And then she realized the most important thing she had ever learned, after dying.

What is her final fate? Does Decim respect the fulfillment that Chiyuki found until her injury, or is she going to the void for giving up too easily? Is it going to matter once Oculus is done with Nona?

For all that Chiyuki has been serving as the moral center of the show, it’s Mayu the ditz who suddenly steps to the fore as the exemplar of never giving up on life. Even dead, even with Ginti mocking her about it, she sticks to the purpose she’s found in Harada, and though they both drop into the void, it’s united as one soul.

But Ginti’s latest little game brings up a very interesting idea: souls can be recalled from the void. So all the people who may have been sent there due to flawed judgements aren’t lost forever…


JoJo-35 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure #35 – Avdol reminds us why he’s the only person to have encountered Dio in his present form and not wound up either dead or mind-controlled– because he’s smart enough to know when he’s not suited to a fight. That leaves Jōtarō to take on D’Arby in a high-stakes game of poker.

But poker turns out to be beside the point. After a bit of conventional Stand action, Jōtarō slowly reveals that he knows what this is really about: the test of nerves, not the mechanics of cheating. It doesn’t matter that D’Arby has every other person in the vicinity working for him when he’s up against the king of attitude. All Jōtarō has to do is pose, look cool, agree to every ridiculous wager D’Arby proposes, and then come up with something even more insane.

Jōtarō was paying attention last episode when his granddad lost to D’Arby. It’s not the actual loss that counts, it’s thinking that you’ve lost. That’s the key to defeating this latest foe, and that’s the second one in a row that Jōtarō has beaten without direct use of his Stand. This could be foreshadowing the final confrontation with Dio.


Yatterman-11 Yatterman Night #11 – Dokurobei explains what he’s doing posing as a Yatterman, and yes, that is the 1977 Yatterman opening playing on his VCR. In both versions of Yatterman, he told the Dorombo Gang that the Dokuro Stones were the key to an amazing treasure, and they only learned they’d been double-crossed after collecting all of the stones.

Then, in such rapid succession, our heroes are locked up, pigs fly, Goro gets his memories back and has an awesome last stand, everyone still alive flees in the Yatterstork and then falls into the ocean and drowns. Okay, probably not that last part. But what does the writer have left up his sleeve? The return of Perv Fisherman and his turtle army? And how can our heroes take down Dokurobei and install a functioning society in one episode?


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