One of the smaller shows from last season, we’re back in the “it’s our world but not quite” mode of storytelling in Japan with this offering from Studio Silver Link. Eschewing the standard setup, Anti-Magic Academy 35th Test Platoon goes for a balls to the wall, comedy, horror, sci-fi mashup and serves it up with dollops of drama and ecchi-style humour. It’s just a shame that the length of the show means that we’re not getting answers to some of its questions any time soon.
Sometimes, in the course of doing so, we are confronted by the same questions that every person dreads: why am I alive? What’s my purpose? Who would miss me if I was gone? Add to this the questions that a person who hurt others and regrets it now must also ask: could I have done things differently? Am I causing more trouble by being around than simply going away? Beyond The Boundary has all of these questions and more but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
In Kancolle, Fubuki, a newly commissioned destroyer girl, arrives at the Naval District on the orders of the Admiral who is in command of the district. Under the secondary command of Secretary Ship Nagato and rooming with fellow destroyers Kisaragi and Mutsuki, Fubuki learns the role and duties of the fleet while waiting for a chance to prove herself against the invading Abyssal Fleet. She secretly hopes that she’ll get the chance to provide escort duty for Akagi, a carrier girl who Fubuki takes an instant liking to.
A hundred years after an asteroid strikes the Earth and leaves the next few generations with special powers, the world’s most advanced city has been founded to settle fights between the academies in the city of Rikka, more commonly called Asterisk, for control of whatever the winner of the yearly competition wants. In the fights, one or more combatants must face off against an equal opposite number of combatants and uses their Genestella powers plus a chosen weapon (called a Lux) to defeat, incapacitate or make an opponent yield. The fight is watched by a crowd and once the challenge to fight is issued, cannot be rescinded. Into this comes Ayato Amagiri who joins one of the academies in search of his older sister who vanished a while earlier after going to the same academy. Within the first day, he sees a girl in a state of undress, proves himself a hero and gets hit on by his student year head. He hasn’t even gotten to the second day yet.
Based on the manga by Tomonori Inoue and directed by Shingo Suzuki (K: Return of Kings, Mardock Scramble, Baccano), Coppelion is one of those more interesting franchises in that the anime is based on a manga that is only around 20 volumes in length. This means that the show runner either could choose to make a short series or pad out the episodes with filler. Even the tight nature of the story and its setting, the producers quite wisely chose to go with the former option. At thirteen episodes long, Coppelion packs a lot into itself but finds the time to explore some topical notions and key character development while the action and glory takes place at the same time.
Raku’s life is getting more complicated by the day. Not only does he have Kosaki Onodera as his object of affection, his fake girlfriend Chitoge Kirisaki is starting to have doubts about whether she’s still faking being in love or if she actually loves Raku. On top of that, Raku gets Marika Tachibana, the daughter of the local police commissioner, who was promised Raku’s hand in marriage by his father when they were five (not this promise stuff again!). So will the path of true love run smooth? Not by a long shot, from the strength of these episodes.
I don’t like Mamoru Oshii as a filmmaker. I’ll make no bones about that. While I’ll always love Ghost in The Shell and the Patlabor series, the rest of his work both before and after these two are what drives me nuts about the guy. One of the worst offenders is a title he collaborated on with Yoshitaka Amano which I suppose represents the worst excesses of the animation boom in Japan in the 1980’s and the best example of where some creators were trying to push the industry. It’s called Angel’s Egg and it is rotten.
Raku Ichijo loves Kosaki Onodera but Kosaki thinks of him as a friend. Ichijo is the son of a Yakuza boss and life for the most part is pretty good with the occasional headache from his family. One day, to prevent a bloodbath between his father’s gang and an American gang who’ve moved into town, Raku’s father agrees for the American gang leader’s daughter, Chitoge Kirisaki, to pretend to go out with Raku for the next three or so years. Chitoge is none to happy with this since she’s already gotten off on the wrong foot with Raku by literally landing on his face. In the middle of all this is a locket that Raku wears in honour of a promise he made to a girl when he was five. The girl in question has a key that will unlock the locket and identify her to Raku. Guess which girls in class have a key of some sort? So Raku likes Kosaki but has to go out with Chitoge.