I would like to say one thing right away, and that is that this episode of AOKANA was horrible. Due to a myriad of reasons, this episode managed to reach a new low that I had not expected any series to suffer from during this season. A mix of bad animation and poor storytelling manage to bring this episode to its knees in defeat.
This is an extremely disappointing thing to say as, by all rights, this episode should have succeeded in many ways. Two intense FC matches highlight the events, and we’re given the start of some character development for the second half of the series. However, due to the way both of these things are handled the episode doesn’t manage to even live up to those basic goals.
For starters, the animation is utterly horrible this episode. Gonzo achieved exactly what they’re known for, and dropped the ball big time for one of the episodes that really should have had the best effort put into it. Characters look off model at almost all times, save for during portions of the FC matches, and even the energy and colour that made up earlier games is lost here. It’s a huge dip in quality for a series that had managed to make good despite some little issues here and there.
Then comes the way they handled their characters. While sports anime are no strangers to overpowered protagonists, this episode has made it clear that Asuka can give both Kirito from Sword Art Online and Tatsuya from Irregular at Magic High School a run for their money as most overpowered anime lead.
In a moment that seems to make the pacing of the earlier episodes far more suspect than they had ever been before, this episode sets Asuka up as some sort of prodigy at Flying Circus. It’s not a bad thing to have a prodigy as the star of the show, but Asuka is far more than just a simple prodigy. With next to no time spent focused on her training, her ability to play toe-to-toe with Shindou comes across far less genuine than it could have been. It’s almost as if they’re trying too hard to make us like, and root, for Asuka.
This also makes Misaki’s jealousy of Asuka fall flat as well. Both instances could have been handled in ways that made these poignant moments that set up the second half of the series for dramatic success, but the way it was handled doesn’t allow it to do that.
Overall, the sixth episode of AOKANA has proved to be quite sour. Due to the animation and the writing, the quality of this series seems to have started a nosedive. Hopefully later episodes will manage to right themselves in both the art and writing departments, but I’m not holding out too much hope.
Episode 6 Rating: 3.5/10
AOKANA streams new episodes Mondays exclusively on Crunchyroll.