[Review] Sword Art Online episode 3; Oil and Water

This is a new idea to you, isn’t it?

If you read my episode 2 rant about how SAO wasn’t taking the darker side of its concept very seriously, you probably watched Sachi talk to Kirito about how scared she was in this episode and thought something like, “Finally, this’ll get that goth to stfu!” I gotta say, I am pretty happy that after the 20-so minutes of ridiculous last week, SAO has finally taken a step back and went “Hey, maybe people could actually be scared of dying.” But I’m not done ranting yet.

Last week we got an episode partly centered on some very idealistic action, and this week we get an entire episode addressing fears connected with being in a life-or-death situation. While I do approve that SAO addressed that, here’s the thing: SAO’s concept has action involved in it for sure, but also a darker side. I would rather get episodes that have both action and realistic concerns rather than one episode for this, then one episode for the other. You know, sometimes it’s best to find a middle ground rather than have this oil-and-water situation going on. Episode 1, which did have both, was pretty good, and I wish they’d go back to that.

 

I haven’t read the light novel, but I think the adaptation failed again, because Sachi’s potential as a character seemed squashed. Sachi was a sad character with a lot of emotion, yet I wasn’t able to feel very sad in this episode. Everything moved too fast. Seriously, shame on you, animation studio adapting SAO. You cannot, you just cannot, introduce a character to do a near-monologue that’s longer than her prior screentime, kill her before the audience has had enough time to be attached to her, and then expect the big tragic ending scene to be as sad as it was supposed to be. If Sachi’s character had been fleshed out for an episode more, I most likely would have cried during when she sang to Kirito from the grave, but with this rushed episode, I at most felt sympathy. I admire what they were aiming for, but that scene just didn’t quite reach it for me.

Still, I liked this episode a lot more than last week’s. Other thoughts… The video game artwork/monster designs were very cool in this episode – with the exception of Nicholas’s major derp face, which is one of those things that you either love or hate. It was nice to see Klein again, who’s gotten a much cooler outfit since the last time we saw him. He’ll definitely be back.

Episode rating: 6 / 10 ( “fine;” it was actually good overall, but I’m taking off a point for rushing Sachi’s character)

Also, these two look alike.

Left: the information broker from this episode.
Right: Smellerbee from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

[First Impressions] Tari Tari episode 1

What I expected: A girly anime that has nice art. I expected nothing regarding its plot.

What I got: A slice of life school anime that keeps me interested enough to watch, though I’ll probably never be pumped waiting for the next episode.

I was actually very surprised that I found the episode to be as enjoyable at I did. The characters get introduced in at a reasonably good pace, and they all have their own quirks. Miyamoto Konatsu is an energetic, upbeat girl who wants to make a new music club so she could sing in front of the school. Konatsu’s best friend, Okita Sawa, does archery. Very similar in terms of looks to Sawa is Sakai Wakana, who for some reason refuses to sing. Tanaka Taichi is, forever alone, the only member of the badminton club. Maeda Atsuhiro (“Wien”) just moved back to Japan after living in Austria for twelve years. I have to say, the transfer student thing is a little cliche, but Wien’s funny enough that it doesn’t matter.

I really liked that the anime started off with something as heartwarming a class-coordinated surprise for a pregnant teacher on her last day, and hopefully there will be more of these nice moments to come

Also apparently, three girls and two guys seem to be the magic formula. (Kokoro Connect, Harhi Suzumiya…)

Episode rating: 6 / 10 (fine)

Review status: Sporadic?

[First Impressions] Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita / Humanity Has Declined episode 1

If you don’t see anything else this season, YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS CLIP.

Shh. Don’t ask why. Just appreciate. Now on to the first impression/review.

What I expected: A lighthearted anime with a weird (in a good, funny way) humor

What I got: A seemingly lighthearted anime with weird (in a dark, creepy way) humor

The episode started off really weak, and if I didn’t see the pv beforehand, I would have stopped watching after a few minutes because it gave no promising substance. I’m really glad I watched that pv beforehand, because its decent from innocent moe-girls into bleeding bread robot is beyond words. It does get really boring at parts, but it has its… moments. The fairies that I thought were so cute talking about starvation with their big pasted smiles for one (see Nightmare Fuel). Then there’s the image of headless, plucked-bald chickens running around. Plus the golden Bread Guide scene.

Yup, this anime is definitely interesting. The protagonist voices over basically the whole time, and I got tired of her voice halfway through, but her unexpectedly sardonic personality is mildly humorous.

Episode rating: 6 / 10 (“fine”, but only because it fluctuated so much between weirdly interesting and deadpan boring)

Review status: Most likely episodic.