DanMachi Episode 12 and 13 Final Recap & Thoughts

Episode 12 Rating: 3.5/5 complacent clouds I’m a little bit tired of DanMachi at this point. It’s been a long season with this show and reviewing it weekly has given me a lot of false hope in random plot points … Continue reading

DanMachi Episode 10 and 11 Thoughts

Episode 10 Rating: 4/5 curious clouds Episode ten of DanMachi actually brings a bit more excitement than the usual dungeon adventures with Bell. Now that he’s a level two with a few skill tricks in his pocket, he’s journeying into … Continue reading

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?

DanMachi Episode 8 and 9 Thoughts

Episode 8 Rating: 3/5 complacent clouds Episode eight wholly focuses on Bell’s transformation from adventurer into hero. I suppose you call it that. But really throughout the entire series it hasn’t felt like Bell’s transformed that much. Being a gung-ho … Continue reading

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

DanMachi Episode 7 Review

Rating: 3/5 complacent clouds Ahhhh just when you think DanMachi is taking things more emotionally in their fantasy adventure world, the story takes a turn back to the fan service harem aspects. Now that Bell has officially taken Lily as … Continue reading

DanMachi Episode 5-6 Review

WOW I have been behind on DanMachi for many weeks. Life just gets UBER BUSY around exam times. Apologies apologies! But we’re returning to DanMachi this week to our favourite little goddess’s perspective. She’s too adorable when it comes to Bell. How long has she been a goddess? How long has she known Bell? Why is she so attached to him? I’m so curious… Why a human?

Episode 5 Rating: 3/5 curious clouds Crop_3 CloudsExcited Transparent

Hestia spends some time in the Divine bathhouse to prep herself for her date with Bell. Too cute.

DanMachi Episode 5 (5)Sidenote: That bathhouse animation though is just ugly. Someone please get KyotoAni in here ASAP to fix water animation.

A while later, Hestia and Bell go on their date. Bell seems as awkwardly nervous as Hestia. It’s too adorable that Hestia actually got a new dress for today. Unfortunately for her their date gets immensely interrupted as a flock of goddesses tail Hestia to figure out who her new man is. Hahahaha Hestia never ceases to amuse me in each episode. By the end of the day, the couple stumbles across a pretty view over the city at the top of a building.

After all the Bell x Hestia happy moments, we return to a pretty sketchy scene with Lily before bouncing down to the dungeon where Bell is back to work slaying monsters. DanMachi Episode 5 (14)Seriously, I wish Lily got her priorities straight and switched over to Bell’s side rather than simmering in these shady dealings. In regards to Bell I wonder if he’ll ever grow or mature emotionally as a protagonist and not just physically. He still seems SOOOOO naïve in consideration of the half-point we’ve reached in the series. And somehow by the second half of this episode Bell has developed magic skills… somehow… what… HOW?!?? I know you’re the protagonist but really, things can’t just HAPPEN to you, skills need to develop over time!! Or at least hint us with more foreshadowing for future reveals…

Overall I found the episode quite awkwardly paced. To be honest, the entire series chronicling Bell’s progression and growth as an adventurer is pretty sand-boxed style, meaning it’s quite free-form and there isn’t any direction. Other than immersing the viewers in this fantasy world and showcasing some interesting action animation, we don’t get much plot development until we flip perspectives to Aphrodite who has been previously hinted at meddling into the city. DanMachi Episode 5 (22)Also, for all the hype we got of Aiz at the beginning of the series, we never really got to see her again and she’s been sidelined so heavily as a supporting character she has been non-existent since the first two episodes of the series. She and her comrade stumble upon a collapsed Bell in the dungeon. It is wrong to pick up girls in a dungeon? No Bell-kun, probably not… except it’s probably not too safe… nor romantic. Lolz. Bell TOTALLY has a fanboy breakdown when he realizes that he’s been saved once again by a bishojo swordswoman.

I would really find the series more interesting if it focused more on the fantasy aspect regarding the gods and goddesses. If the story was told from Hestia’s perspective, we might get to see more fantasy-power struggles rather than romantic comedy slice of life and shallow magic-related action. I do wonder if Bell accidentally picking up a grimoire was the work of some goddess meddling rather than just a happy coincidence.

By the end of the episode Bell finds out about Lily’s back alley dealings…

Episode 6 Rating: 3.5/5 happy clouds Crop_3 Clouds Transparent

Despite Hestia’s harmless visage, she’s quite a clever little deity when it comes to keeping her close ones close with a close eye on her enemies. She suspects Lily as an untrustworthy supporter even though Bell seems quite intent on helping Lily with her shady dealings. DanMachi Episode 6 (2)As much as they build up the Soma guild to be a dog-eat-dog sort of system and emphasize Lily’s immensely impoverished and tragic back story, I still can’t bring myself to like Lily as a character or emphasize her. She’s mostly annoying to me in the light novel and the manga. I really wish Bell would expose her lies but Bell is just WAY too nice. In fact, we don’t even get enough nice scenes of Lily for us to like her before she BETRAYS Bell on the tenth floor of the dungeon. Lily ends up being double back-stabbed by her guild… AGAIN. Here we get to see Maaya Uchida’s brilliant voice acting here. From betrayal to hopelessness and resignation…

DanMachi Episode 6 (16)Naturally, Bell comes back to save Lily. The Lily who is now left with nothing, has come back to save Lily… well, thanks to Eina’s background move to send Aiz into the dungeon to save Bell’s ass. Seems like someone is always helping Bell in the background. Thank goodness Bell’s knife was strapped to Lily’s leg. I do admit that I ended up liking Lily more at the end of the episode after she yelled an entire spiel at Bell. It’s good to get these things out Lily, just let it out. OMG Uchida is just AMAZINGLY TALENTED.

To be honest I find it difficult to sympathize or connect with any of the characters in DanMachi. Except for Hestia who actually has deeper motivations stemming from her feelings for Bell, everyone else interacts on a shallow DanMachi Episode 6 (20)RPG script-basis which really doesn’t provide enough ample opportunities to showcase personality nuances through dialogue. As a result, each character slots perfectly into an archetype that fantasy fans are sorely familiar with, but none of them stand out in particular. This is one of the main reasons I lag behind in DanMachi every week. It’s got tons of interesting action and smooth animation but I don’t love any of the characters enough to actively seek out the series in my spare time.

Hopefully as we progress into the last few episode of the series, we’ll get to see the goddess-plotting come to light and knot up the plot with conflicts around Bell.

– Cloudy

What are you pondering today?

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

Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka Episode 3 & 4 Review

Episode 3 Rating: 4/5 curiously excited clouds After Bell leaves Hestia behind to fight the beast, we get a little bit of his flashbacks then. When no one would befriend him or take him into their Familia. Hestia was the … 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