Thursday, December 18, 2014

The 12(ish) Days of Anime: Why Akari Yomatsuri is my spirit animal

Bones put out a fair number of anime this year, they put out split cours of both Chaika the Coffin Princess and Space Dandy, adapted part of Noragami (and for once didn't shoot themselves in the foot with an anime-original ending), and they also put out a very Bones-y mecha show, Captain Earth. I approached the show not with high expectations but fairly confident I would like it regardless which is exactly what happened, it had quite a few stumbling blocks but really pulled itself together in the second half, although it is a bit worrisome that all of Bones recent mecha shows have had the exact same plotting/pacing issues.

What I didn't expect was how hard I was going to fall for one of the characters; Captain  Earth has four leads, Daichi whose had a connection with space agency/alien fighting agency Globe since he was a child, the semi-alien Teppei and Hana, and then Akari, fully human like Daichi and the daughter of Globe's commander and of Globe's space station commander (they're divorced and don't see her regularly so she regularly hacks all of their computer systems to stay in the loop). In some ways she's the least connected to the plot, she enters the show with a strong sense of who she is already and isn't given as much character growth on screen as the other three (I half wonder if this was unintentional since at times it seemed like they writers meant to but ran out of time, see my complaint with their pacing issues). But she's easily the most fun character out of the bunch, from literally dazzling the stage as she's introduced to complaining (clearly to the audience) about how her status of magical girl in in jeopardy since she's the only one without a cute squirrel side-kick! Plus the show not only gave her a romantic relationship with Teppei but also a very strong one with Hana which a lot of shows neglect to do, they're so focused on forming relationships between the protagonist and other characters that they forget to give the more minor characters other relationships (and she totally nails it by joking with Hana that the two boys are "flirting" with each other when they compete with each other, her genre-savvyiness is pretty amusing without feeling calculated).

But her best moment comes early in the series where the alien organization (the Planetary Gears) take notice of her hacking skills and kidnap her both to help defeat Globe and to force Globe's hand, mocking her self-proclaimed magical girl nickname in the process. They have to let her near a computer to do this and really shouldn't have been surprised when she managed to find a way to retaliate against them, let's just say she was 10 minutes away from destroying the entire planet just to keep the Gears stuck in the solar system for a few hundred million years.

Do not mess with the magical girl indeed. And listen closely, while they use the nickname jokingly here the Gears use it totally seriously for the rest of the series.

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