Anime of the Week: God Eater – Episode 5

Week of August 12-19th

It was two or three weeks ago now that God Eater had a break in its episodes, leaving many people disappointed when episode four was finally released and thought to be lackluster. That episode was actually a good watch, just not “two-week wait” good.

With its fifth installment, God Eater proves that the wait of a few weeks ago was more than worth it, as the show–now more brutal and well-crafted than ever–finally feels like it has a reason for existing beyond just looking cool.

Lenka is splattered with blood

God Eater‘s fifth episode, “An Eye for an Eye”, deals heavily in dwindling numbers and the relative ease by which human lives can be taken by the Aragami. The episode starts out with Lenka coming to his own realizations about the Far East Branch’s bloated time table for weapon creation, versus the quickly dwindling numbers of humans throughout the world. Basically, it doesn’t look so hot for the future of mankind. This leads Lenka and his cohorts to push Sakuya–their sub-leader, if you’ll recall–to okay orders for the group of young god eaters to go after the bigger fish in the Aragami sea, in order to speed up the weapon building process. While this is noble for the desire that the god eaters have to rescue the world, they may be getting over their heads.

The young God Eaters can't hide their fear

If you’ll recall, the mythos of God Eater tells us that the god eaters themselves have to extract the core of an Aragami after a victory against one of the creatures. This core is then utilized in the weapons building process as a vital part of the raw resources needed for development. Of course, the larger the Aragami, the bigger the core and the bigger the core, the quicker the development, leading to Lenka, Alisa and Kota deciding to put their own lives on the line in hopes of speeding up the development process. This ideology is at the center of God Eater‘s reverence for the young and the strong of heart, whether they have the adequate skill to go along with that or not. Scene after scene reinforces the idea of the god eaters existing as a source for hope for the common man. Many of the down trodden and hunted human beings that Lenka and crew come into contact with, feel as if they have finally found the answer to their problems when the god eaters show up. Lenka and crew willfully throw themselves into fights with several Aragami, but they are–for the most part–still babies, not yet ready for the unsurmountable task at hand. It’s this dichotomy which exists between the weak survivors view point–the god eaters as saviors–and the reality of the situation–the god eaters as amateurs–that creates the most frightening element within God Eater; the complete loss of hope. Survivors are wiped out by the swipe of a monstrous Aragami’s paw, Alisa loses nearly all her luster from the third episode and the elder statesman of the god eater set are few and far between. God Eater has been best so far when its stakes have been ramped up mercilessly, and “An Eye for an Eye” has to be the greatest example of that yet.

A flashback to the scientists who created the Aragami

There’s something to be said for “An Eye for an Eye”‘s back story, which we don’t get until the last few minutes of the episode, but which finally delivers a definitive answer to the question of the origins of the Aragami. To say that the revelation of the last few minutes here makes the overall episode that much more tragic, would be doing a disservice to the dramatic flare that God Eater implores when it wants to. That said, things never get too dramatic, and this episode’s revelations mixed with its sheer brutality and shockingly aggressive fight scenes, leaves the audience on edge throughout. The consistent unease of “An Eye for an Eye”, speaks to God Eater‘s newfound capability with pacing, causing us to worry quietly about the population information from the beginning of the episode, and to be slowly drawn further and further in by escalating circumstances. The ending of the episode couldn’t be more perfect in its purely cinematic underpinnings, encouraging us to devour the next episode as soon as the credits roll on this one, just to see what happens next. I love anime, but I don’t get that feeling too much these days with even my most favorite shows, so the fact that God Eater pulls it off without being over the top and ridiculous, wins points for me.

Alisa preps for an Aragami battle

God Eater has been admittedly hit or miss over its five episode run so far. With another week without an episode, it’ll be hard for the series to keep up its momentum amongst fans, but I’m crossing my fingers that it returns with the excellent pacing of “An Eye for an Eye” and can continue to tell stories this engaging, rather than ones that are mired in the less interesting aspects of this dystopian universe. God Eater isn’t getting a whole lot of love these days, but my hope is that it can bring some fans back in by being the best action series of the summer and maybe even the year, so long as it’s firing on all cylinders.

Angelina takes on the rebel flight crew

Runner-Up: Classroom Crisis – Ep. 7

In a slower week, I would’ve crowned Classroom Crisis as AotW, if only because it does for Angelina what last week’s outing did for Nagisa; give her several good reasons to join the A-TEC crew family in a more familial capacity–versus merely being the accountant. Mainly we see Angelina making friends with Iris–everyone’s favorite test pilot–their time together aboard a plane with an important professor interrupted by would-be terrorists. Iris and Angelina’s forced response to the hijackers, proves them each to have more value than either one of them thought of the other, and turns into a ‘buddy film’ bonding moment. All of this evolves Classroom Crisis‘ characters while allowing the show itself to revel in a handful of action scenes, something the series only does every few episodes–maybe the reason for the lack of love for this clever show in the fan community? As for Iris, Classroom is still content with offering only a few scraps of character background for her in each episode. While Iris’ shrouded background leaves me consistently intrigued, I can’t help but wonder if Classroom wouldn’t be better if it just came out with Iris’ mysterious history and moved on to other, more unique stories.

Elsewhere, Nagisa is forced to work hand-in-hand with Kaito and the A-TEC crew, in hopes of rescuing the two abducted women. This leads to more of what we saw last week, as Nagisa is slowly becoming a member of the A-TEC class, whether he likes it or not and whether it is ultimately good for his cut-throat career field or not. Nagisa’s fighting to protect Iris and Angelina mirrors the first episode in many ways, with Nagisa now acting in the Iris/Kaito role of doing whatever he can to safely rescue his cohorts. This mirroring represents Nagisa’s metamorphosis from cocky, external force of doom for the A-TEC crew, to a much more empathetic and often vital member of the team. It’s moments like this–never too loud about what its doing, but quietly pointed–that are the real treats of Classroom Crisis. If nothing else, Classroom Crisis is definitely a series with some well thought-out characters and ideas, which can be a rarity in the modern anime space and ultimately makes the series something special.

The young Worick covers his mouth in fear

Biggest Surprise: Gangsta. – Ep. 7

Most of my “Biggest Surprise” picks thus far, have come in the form of an episode that rises above its show’s average quality–Seiyu’s Life! being the perfect example of this, on its better days. This week’s Gangsta. however, grabs the pick by literally being a surprising episode. To stray away from any spoilers, it’s enough to say that the world is turned upside down by the end of the episode, leaving the viewer with a whole new understanding of the various character dynamics in play. We’re not talking about some bizarre sci-fi revelation–which would arguably be much more cool–but a revelation in the way that Worick, in particular, views the world of Gangsta.. This week’s episode wrapped up the series’ consistent flashbacks–finally getting to the point its been tip-toeing around for seven episodes–and with it, dropped a moment of clarity in the lap of the viewer that will really shake up how many view the series. It certainly makes the show more interesting. Along with the flashbacks themselves, Gangsta. as a whole finally feels as if it has a reason to exist now, versus just being another “cool” show with dudes with ‘tudes and tears–my favorite genre, mind you. While I wouldn’t say that this episode was executed flawlessly, it definitely has me more excited for the next episode of Gangsta. than I’ve been since the week leading up to the show’s premiere. If Gangsta. goes on to really utilize this classic Shyamalanian twist–can someone else please start dropping “Shyamalanian” whenever appropriate?–then we’ll end up looking back at these first six or seven episodes, scratching our heads. At this point, I’ll gladly take an unbalanced series that ends spectacularly but starts off at a yawn, if it means that Gangsta. can go on to be one of the “must watch series” from this summer season. I’m not even sure that the means are there for that level of quality, but one can always hope.

Zombina shoots up the orcs

Biggest Disappointment: Monster Musume – Ep. 7

To be fair to Monster Musume, there really wasn’t a truly disappointing episode in the lot this week, so the frivolous harem anime sadly has to bear the cross for its few sins. Of course, those sins do involve an “almost-rape scene” that’s used as much for titilation as it is for lazy plot advancement, so there’s that. Monster Musume exists to titilate, but up until now, those tittilations came from harmless moments of misunderstanding, naeivete or our very own “darling” slipping on a surface and winding up in a precarious position with one of the monster girls. Even though said “almost-rape scene” doesn’t follow through to a grisly end–the girl in question is saved just in time–it still leaves the viewer with a dirty feeling that the series didn’t originally have, hand in hand with the violence against women seen throughout this episode–like the zombie girl being shot countless times directly between her breasts.

If you can get past that though, Monster Musume really delivers this week, with new characters that make up a monster defense force and add a level of drama/action to the show that’s much needed. Half the fun here is getting various examples of how each monster girl’s power works. Whether it’s the one-eyed sniper girl–who has remarkably similar features to Futurama‘s Leela–or the shapeshifter whose hair acts as her disguise, this new monster team brings a welcome energy to Monster Musume that would have been lacking otherwise. Oh, and there’s a spider girl or something. For more on that, check out Logan’s weekly review. I’m surprised that Monster Musume has kept me willingly coming back this long, so props there, but I still hope the series refrains from this week’s less savory moments from here on out. It’s better than that. Well, okay maybe not, but still…

The Clarines royalty stand royaly

Predictions for Next Week

This was the best week of the season thus far, with every series having at least a quality episode if not a great one. Snow White with the Red Hair surprised me by seemingly moving past the love triangle that I was predicting last week within two episodes. This love triangle–between Shirayuki, Zen and Zen’s brother–may come back to haunt us, but for now it looks like the show’s moving forward with Shirayuki’s future as its focus, rather than her relationship status. Prison School was at the height of its debasement this week, but with its eye on storytelling and some quality gags–if you’re the right (or wrong) kind of person–the series has stayed relevant and I’m hopeful that it will eventually transcend its rebellious gallows humor to produce a truly excellent episode. Seiyu’s Life! was quiet this week, but it was a nice outing if only because it took our voice acting protagonists outside of the world of anime and into the world of foreign film dubbing, audio book recording and game recording. I’m looking forward to this focus on the voice actors themselves–and not necessarily the anime industry–to keep the series interesting next week and to keep things different enough from Shirobako to be worth the watch. Aside from that, God Eater, Classroom Crisis and Snow White need to stay on their current trajectory and they’ll all be fine, while Gangsta. needs to ride its new twist to more interesting character drama than we’ve gotten thus far. Either way, I hope to see you back next week for my thoughts on the best–and the rest–in the week’s anime.

Survivors of the Week

Classroom Crisis
Snow White with the Red Hair
Monster Musume
Seiyu’s Life!
Prison School
God Eater
My Love Story
Ninja Slayer: from Animation

Matthew McCrary
Matthew McCrary
Pop culture writer at Monkeys Fighting Robots and Boom Howdy. Currently hosting the Toondiculous Podcast, where two grown men point out the logic flaws in children's programming. This sort of thing makes him feel like a big man, you see.