Category Archives: episodes

Sword Art Online, Episode 12: Learning to Adopt

Adoption is a beautiful thing.  In the U.S., adoption is so powerful because in one process, a child’s life is changed forever through the immense sacrifice of an individual or couple.

While Yui is never officially adopted, for all intents and purposes, she might as well be.  This theme of adoption runs strongly throughout episode 12 of Sword Art Online.

Sword Art Online family

Art by カレー御飯

Caring for Orphans in Church (Digital and Real)

The episode begins in the church-turned-orphanage.  Some two thousands years after the brother of Jesus defined “pure and faultless” religion as looking after the widows and orphans (James 1:27), the church is still visualized as a place where orphans are cared for.

Today, Christian organizations still care for the defenseless children.  A favorite charity of mine is Show Hope, a Christian non-profit encouraging and aiding couples in international adoption.

On a side note, I found it interesting that the caretaker of the kids notes that the children have been with her since early on, but doesn’t mention any being adopted.  Perhaps this is another thing that sets the loving Asuna and Kirito apart from other players.

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Reader’s Selection: Vote for the Series That Goldy, Lynna, Zeroe4, and TWWK Blog Next

As Akira mentioned in his swan song post, a wonderful part of anime is the community that can evolve around it.  As the community here at Beneath the Tangles discusses anime (and through the larger aniblogosphere and anime communities), recommendations are bound to come out.  For instance, I think R86 and I both have been happy to discover series we’ve enjoyed due to the other’s recs.

We’re also grateful for all the recommendations that readers have given to us on this blog.  Since we fit into such a specific niche, it’s helpful to hear about series that might fit into our style and theme.  In fact, many of you gave wonderful suggestions of series to watch when we posed the question a few weeks ago.

And so, it’s time to act upon your recommendations.  Goldy, Lynna, Zeroe4, and I are ready to plunge into series we haven’t seen (or have barely started) before.  You tell us what we should watch and then blog about.

The poll below contains a lot of the recs that you provided or that we’ve otherwise heard over the years.  Vote for the series you’d most like us to watch and cover.  The bloggers will take the top few results and determine which we each want to dive in to.

The poll closes one week from today, so go on – vote!  Tell us what to do – we need some direction in our anime viewing lives.

Broken Blade: The Path of Separation

The second installment of the Break Blade series, The Path of Separation, is in my opinion the most important episode in the series. It starts off where the first left off.

Summary:

Zess’ units once again advance on the Kingdom of Krisna’s capital city. During this initial assault on the outer defenses, we get a brief glimpse at the relationship Zess has with his brother, Loquis, who is the Secretary of War for the Commonwealth Athens. After this quick intermission, Rygart meets with Zess to try and convince him to stop fighting. Read the rest of this entry

Broken Blade: The Time of Awakening

Broken Blade is a manga that started being released in 2007. I found out about it in 2009 and I am a pretty big fan of the series. Currently, there are only ten volumes of the manga released and the series is ongoing. Production I.G. and Xebec started work on the anime in 2010. The anime consists of six fifty minute movies and is licensed in North America by Sentai Filmworks. This post is about the first movie. I would say that this show is a fantasy mecha anime with a hint of sci-fi. This story has a considerable amount of potential for a mecha anime, and the author weaves quite the tale about overcoming one’s destiny with the help of what people consider to be nothing but a broken blade.

Summary

The people who live in the continent Cruzon are born with the ability to manipulate quarts. This ability is called magic. They refine quarts to make them flexible so they can turn gears, power vehicles, and even fire bullets. Quarts are also refined into luminous quarts, which emit light. Both forms of quarts are used in the creation of mechs that are called Golems. These Golems are the main force of weaponry employed in the armies of all Cruzon nations. One of these nations, Krisna, has been thrown into war. The reluctant king of Krisna calls for one of his military school friends, Rygart Arrow, for help. The catch is that Rygart is an un-sorcerer. Put simply, Rygart was born without the ability to manipulate quarts.

Broken Blade

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Claymore, Episodes 3 and 4: Sinners and Saints in the Holy City

My very favorite manga is the violent series, Claymore, about women who are half-demon (yoma), engineered to destroy other demons.  It may seem an odd pick for me, but the last few years I’ve been engrossed in it like I’ve been with few other manga.  But it wasn’t until recently that I decided to march through the entire anime series on which it is based.  And although I previously noticed Teresa’s similarity to John the Baptist and Phantom Miria’s to Jesus, it also wasn’t until now that I saw additional spiritual connections, thematically and symbolically.

In episodes three and four, Clare is dispatched to the holy city of Rabona, where claymores, among others, are too impure to enter.  There, she must fight a yoma who has been killing priests and guards within the city’s cathedral.  As she battles the yoma alongside two distrustful guards, Clare exhibits characteristics of Christ, particularly when she falls to the enemy at the end of episode three.  The director of the show purposely makes this connection as Clare is pierced, panning to stain glass depicting Jesus being pierced in His side as well. Read the rest of this entry

First Impressions – Senki Zessho Symphogear: Your voice is your weapon.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m late out of the starting gate this season for anime. My options on new shows to follow this season slowly deteriorated as the weeks went on with disinterest, especially since I’m still trying to speed through Bakemonogatari in order to see Nisemonogatari, Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki is not being deep enough to blog about, and Black★Rock Shooter is not coming out until next month.

Therefore, I opted for something that I didn’t have high expectations for, Senki Zessho Symphogear, and took a chance watching it.

This Suite Precure/Vocaloid/Strike Witches type anime created by Satelight (Shugo Chara, Fairy Tail, Moretsu Pirates) seemed like it would only be an advertisement for music singles. While it is that definitely (the music in this series is fantastic), the story is actually good. So far, at least. And the fanservice, while obviously there, is not as overwhelming as I expected it would be. Read the rest of this entry

The Eighth Day of Christmas Anime: Clannad After Story

Clannad After Story
Episode 10: “Season of Beginnings”

In this aptly named episode of the second season of Clannad, Okazaki Tomoya and his friends have just graduated from high school, with the important exception of Tomoya’s girlfriend Furukawa Nagisa. Having missed too many days of school due to illness yet again, Nagisa will be repeating the year a second time. Tomoya, who never had any intention of going to college, takes a job immediately with Nagisa’s parents in their bakery.

It is hard going for both Nagisa and Tomoya. Nagisa trudges through school that year — which is no easy task when everyone knows she is repeating the year for the second time, and when her beloved drama club is shut down due to a lack of interest among her fellow students. Meanwhile, Tomoya works hard at the bakery for little pay. To be fair, though, Nagisa’s parents have been giving Tomoya room and board for a long while so that he doesn’t have to live with his abusive and alcoholic father.

A chance meeting with Yoshino Yuusuke, former rock star turned responsible husband, gives Tomoya a job lead; and another chance meeting with the Fujibayashi sisters (former classmates) gives him a lead on an apartment. We are seeing Tomoya’s deepening love for Nagisa, and the natural desire to be a responsible adult so as to be able to support a family, work results in his life that we would have believed impossible at the beginning of the anime.

Nagisa’s father Akio, in spite of how he looks, knows the right time to grab baseball gloves and take Tomoya aside to play some catch-ball, man to man. Seizing the opportunity, Tomoya essentially asks Akio for Nagisa’s hand in marriage. After a long awkward pause, Akio replies, “She’s an adult, she can do what she wants.” (Thanks for the overwhelming vote of confidence, future father-in-law.)

An odd way to ask to marry someone's daughter

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The Third Day of Christmas Anime: Cardcaptor Sakura

Card Captor Sakura
Episode 35:  “Sakura’s Wonderful Christmas”

Sakura Christmas

Art by えみたすせんせい

The Christmas Story

As Christmas nears, Sakura is worried about what to get Yukito for Christmas.  It’s not only Christmas for her crush – it’s also Yukito’s birthday.  Sakura gets advice on a gift from Meilin and decides to ask Yukito on a date to an amusement park, where the couple bump into Syaoran and Meilin.  Here, Sakura and Syaoran fight the Fiery Card.

I don’t know…this episode is good (as pretty much all CCS episodes are) and has a nice ending.  It’s a fairly typical Card Captor Sakura episode.  And that’s kind of why it’s lacking – I wanted something particularly special for Christmas.  But I’m sure this criticism has to do with a Eurocentric way of thinking – after all, Christmas is much more important in the U.S. than in Japan, and thus I expect more than the show’s intended audience might.

Nonetheless, the talk and sights of Christmas in this episode are more than enough to put one in the spirit – and there’s some time spent on the idea of putting one’s heart into a present, which I think is a nice lesson on a holiday which celebrates the birth of one who gave his all to give us a new heart. Read the rest of this entry

Catching up on Guilty Crown: Your guilt will always be one step behind you.

On the topic of feeling guilty, I’ve been rather AWOL as of late. School happens unfortunately and usually at the times you least expect it or want it. Thankfully, I have a patient boss for this blog, but that still doesn’t erase my guilt.

Thus, I’ve gained a small kinship to Shuu, who is also having a dreadful time as things don’t go his way.

Let’s sum up things a bit to catch up.

Episode 5

Shuu is rejected by Inori after confessing his feelings somewhat and continues to be hated by Gai. But he still joins up with Undertaker and Ayase (lady in the wheelchair) is the new awesome character.  Being rejected aside, Shuu comes up with some clever thinking, and void drawing, during a battle with Ayase in her mech and gains the respect of the other members of Undertaker.

Lesson of the week:  The right answer is not always the obvious one.

Episode 6

The great reveal of the Leukocyte happens in this episode, which almost killed Gai at the end of last episode, but not quite. It’s a super weapon from space that threatens to wipe out the entirety of Japan, so therefore, we must get rid of it. Through complicated planning, we find out that Undertaker can destroy it by having Shuu use Kenji (the murderer’s) void to manipulate gravity.

Shuu is facing more pressure this episode, even though Gai offers to take the blame.

Shuu challenging Gai again. This is becoming a habit of his.

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Mawaru Penguindrum, Episode 21: Sacrifice > Integrity

So, it finally happened.  Shouma and Kanba, with fate tearing apart the bonds of their brotherhood, come to physical blows, as their relationship breaks apart.  In the most exciting episode of the Mawaru Penguindrum so far, Kanba’s activities come to light, and the personalities and values of the brothers collide.

Kanba, Himari, and Shouma

Art by oh-no@準備中

Shouma is a character with a high degree of integrity.  For instance, he doesn’t like the sneaky things he does around Ringo in the early episodes – Shouma doesn’t feel it to be right.  This sense of integrity applies to bigger ideas as well, as the audience sees how much hatred he has for the ideas and actions of his parents.  So when he finds that Kanba is participating with the Kiba group, Shouma stands up to his stronger-willed (and just plain stronger) brother.  I kept getting the feeling that he didn’t want his family smudged with this black stain – that he not only was he trying to protect his brother, but Himari, too, out of a great love for her. Read the rest of this entry