Houkago no Pleiades Episode 10 and 11 Rant & Review

Episode 10 Rating: 3/5 curiously confused clouds Crop_3 CloudsExcited Transparent

Episode ten of Houkago no Pleiades finally reveals the antagonist’s true identity to Subaru. Subaru is shocked to find out her gardening sweetheart Minato is actually the horned demon (STILL UNNAMED) who has been fighting the girls for fragments. Interestingly enough, we also get a flashback back story of Minato’s childhood, when he came across an alien that needed help retrieving spaceship fragments. Houkago no Pleiades Episode 10 (19)Things take a turn from nostalgic to confusing when we throw in Minato’s back story because while it contributes to the reason behind Minato’s fragment theft, it discards the other girls from the story and sidelines them from a sudden romance development between Minato and Subaru. But I’ll try to keep it straightforward while I explain.

During Minato’s childhood, the meteor shower over the earth was actually a scattering of spaceship energy fragments. He happens to be able to see the fragments and meets the alien retrieving them. Around the same time, it just so happens that Subaru was visiting her mother in the hospital and stumbles upon Minato’s room. They have a weird trippy space dream moment together (which we get no explanations for). Subaru ends up becoming Minato’s first “hope” in his life. But later in a twist reveal, Minato realizes that his body is actually in terminal condition but he’s been under the alien’s magic spell all this time. As a result, Minato begins to deny his present self and hopes to use the engine fragment to change his past. He turns into the horned evil demon when his magic turns into curses.

Houkago no Pleiades Episode 10 (25)Meanwhile with the main group of magic girls, Subaru chases after Minato all the way up into space. Minato knows the engine fragments have the ability to change destinies. He also believes it has the power to grant wishes and his wish is to disappear from the earth.

Throughout the entire episode, I can’t really tell if Minato knows if Subaru is real or not. But in order to convince Minato that their memories were real together, Subaru undoes her transformation in space, a bad move… Minato embraces her but ends up disintegrating into the last fragment. Subaru returns to earth, cradled in a bubble of magic, realizing that she hasn’t changed at all, feeling still so powerless in her current situation. Minato ends up being stabbed by the fragment… an awkward ending for sure.

This would be much more romantic if Minato didn’t look like a girl and if the romantic sub plot was much more relevant earlier in the series.

Episode 11 rating: 2.5/5 confused clouds Crop_25 CloudsExcited Transparent

The series goes from confusing to just weird. When Subaru returns to earth with the twelve fragments, she ends up losing the power to use magic because she’s already “become something” as in, she’s chosen her path… Since magic girls can only use magic because of their “potential,” in choosing a path, Subaru’s lost her potential. The confusing thing is that Subaru thinks she hasn’t changed but everything and everyone around her says she has. Self-identity crisis to the max.

Houkago no Pleiades Episode 11 (8)The other girls end up chasing down a fragment, running hundreds of light years far from the earth in order to catch it. The alien posits that the fragment isn’t being properly collected because all the girls are not wholeheartedly determined to collect the fragments. Everyone else decides to pitch in and pursue the fragment despite the dangers and the chase continues.

I can’t tell if the story is difficult to follow because of the translations or because the plot simply has too many holes. Like seriously if they were going to build up Houkago no Pleiades to such a complex ending, we should have been given a lot more explanations prior to this. At times it just feels like the alien keeps pulling more and more random explanations out of thin air to explain the sudden developments of the story.

While the other girls are chasing the fragment to the edges of the universe, Subaru is pondering her childhood friend and first love over some strawberry milk. Somehow, she comes to her own conclusion over what is happening and endeavours to enter the garden again to find Minato. However, she finds herself as the hospital instead, in the room where Minato’s body is lying unconscious.

Houkago no Pleiades Episode 11 (18)After a heart-to-heart (of sorts), Subaru finds herself newly transformed and reunites with Minato in space. Wow… good magic Minato is quite princely and encourages Subaru to be herself, to do what her heart tells her is right. Subaru then reunites with the other girls and it seems like the “main conflict” has been resolved? Ish?

When I reflect one everything that’s happened, it sort of makes sense and the plot holes are mostly filled by the “magic” elements that seem to solve all problems in a deux ex machina way. If you overthink the details, the plot resolution of Houkago no Pleiades might confuse you. While it seem slike after episode eleven of the show, the emotional conflict has been resolved among the characters, I just don’t see a correlation between Subaru’s desire to change and Minato’s back story, it’s just disjointed.

Houkago no Pleiades Episode 11 (17)From this point I don’t see how episode twelve could potentially be exciting in any way. Other than a huge battle culminating in the collection of the last fragment, it should be relatively anti-climactic since all the interpersonal and intrapersonal problems have been “resolved” in this week’s episode. Also, a few questions come to mind. Is Minato actually real? Or still sick? Is his magic self a manifestation of his soul since his body is still in a coma? How did Subaru get new powers? Simply from the fragment from the other alien’s spaceship? How do both alien’s spaceships come to play and not clash in the plot? Whatever actually happened to that other alien? Does he not feel responsible for Minato’s “evil” and cursed self? So many questions that require more in depth explanations.

Mixing magic, astronomy and physics together seems all too dysfunctional in this series. Up till now we saw magic girl fragment retrievals buoyed by general scientific explanations. I’m no physics expert but most of the explanations from the Pleiades seemed fairly sound for what was happening. But once we got to the end of the show, magic took over what science initially tried to ground. As a result, the rules in this world seem quite topsy-turvy, made to suit plot events wherever they were needed and discarded when they hindered plot progression. At this point I’m really just hoping for a neat and simple finish from the series.

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

Houkago no Pleiades Episode 7 & 8 Review & Rant

Episode 7 Rating: 3/5 complacent clouds  OMG How has Subaru NEVER REALIZED that there is a weird magical garden in the middle of her school. What is this suspension of beliefs?!?? Now she’s clumsily gardening to fill the awkwardness of … Continue reading

Houkago no Pleiades Episode 4 Review

Hello everyone, I hope you are all well. I’ve been CRAZY swamped with studying in the midst of exam season… which also happens to be the middle of the spring anime season too. As a result, many reviews are being … Continue reading

Houkago no Pleiades Episode 3 Review

I’m quite surprised that the episode starts off with yet another magical star part that ends up being taken from the magic girls. When asked of the Pleiades why each of the girls have been chosen to have magical powers, … Continue reading

Houkago no Pleiades Episode 2 Review

Rating: 4/5 happy clouds Subaru seems to be caught in that strange transition phase between regular girl and magical girl. The entire episode is centered around Subaru’s resolve to rekindle things with Aoi and learn how to fly on her … Continue reading

Houkago no Pleiades Episode 1 Impressions

When it comes to magical girls anime, I definitely have a soft spot because of my history with the genre. While this new magical girl genre seems to hit all the pre-supposed tropes that all magic girl anime must fulfill, … Continue reading

Kantai Collection Episode 1 Impressions

The first thing that impressed me about Kantai Collection was the gorgeous character animation. Really high budget stuff. The landscape and special effects are on par as well. It really sets a high standard for the new shows this season. … Continue reading

Crypton Media Presents: Hatsune Miku Panel @ FanExpoCanada 2013

On Saturday of FanExpo Canada this year, I attended a panel featured around Hatsune Miku, a vocaloid. Now, you may be wondering, “What is a vocaloid?” If many of you are familiar with the vocaloids, you’ll know that they’re not anime characters nor are they from a game. Vocaloids are basically voice synthesizers that work together with other together with other audio workstations and music editing programs to create music.

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The Crypton Media Hatsune Miku panel was really great because it answered a lot of questions pertaining the possibility of well, more Miku in North America. First off, it was announced that the Hatsune Miku V3 English will be officially released on August 31 – This week! The voice of English Miku stays true to the original Japanese voice actress Saki Fujita and the program will be available for both Windows and Max users.

Voice_provider_Saki_Fujita

Hatsune Miku English will come with a piapro studio vocal editor with an English database, a full digital audio workstation and more than 200 visual instruments. The download version will be released first and the entire thing costs about 149 dollars + tax.

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For all you gamers out there, the Hatsune Miku Project Diva F English version, available on the PlayStation 3 will be released this week. I originally played this game in Japanese on my friend’s PSP. It’s really addicting and if you enjoy games like Dance Dance Revolution or music related games, you’ll love it! If they convert the official English version into PSP format, I might just buy a PSP just to play and own the game.

HMPDF-PS3-Box-Art

As well, there’s actually a Hatsune Miku Opera that played earlier in Japan this year. It’s called The End and features three huge screens to animate the vocaloid as she sings. Miku’s outfits were designed by the French fashion designer Louis Vuitton in collaboration with Marc Jacobs and his own studio team.

Vocaloid culture and Hatsune Miku fandom seems to be growing by slowly and steadily, accumulating fans all over the world. And it’s great! Because there are new songs being created every day with the Vocaloid programs, new designs, images and videos!

Lastly, release dates for the first official Miku books in English are going to be released this year!

Starting with CV01: Hatsune Miku Edition ($29.95) – August 28, 2013

CV02: Kagamine Rin & Len Edition ($34.95) – August 28, 2013

CV03: Megurine Luka Edition ($34.95) – October 30, 2013

If you guys are more curious as to what Miku is all about, search up the Hatsune Miku Google Chrome commercial. It’s really short and cute but it really sums up the entire vocaloid culture really well.

Here are some of my favourite vocaloid songs…

Gumi- Hey DJ!

Hatsune Miku- Story

Hatsune Miku- Senbonzakura

Megurine Luka- The Tailor Shop on Enbizaka

Hatsune Miku- Tell Your World

Gakupo- Breathe

Kagamine Rin- Romantic Escape

I hope you guys liked this mini feature. More features from FanExpo Canada to come soon!

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?