Yes it does – it’s a good piece of art, and the card with which it has been assembled has a nice texture to it. Makes a change from all those shiny chipboard boxes. Of course, it helps that I like the art from the show, though it’s tough for me to put my finger on an exact reason why. I think it’s mostly down to the animation staffs attempts to mimic the style of Takes character designs for the series – they’re deceptively complicated whilst looking tremendously clean. They animate well, though things like the absence of whites in some characters eyes does have the side effect of making it look at little lazy.
And, yes, I realise I’m running about five months behind the rest of the internet here, but I’m behind on pretty much anything which isn’t Occult Academy. Truthfully, I wasn’t really sure how I’d like the show between mixed reactions to the early episodes and less-than-great reports about (admittedly the later volumes of) the novels, but I’ve taken pretty well to it now that I’ve broken down and started. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that I simply like meta-humour way more than most – my favourite episode of Macross Frontier would have to have been the one that essentially consisted of a barrage of series in-jokes and trolls. So, basically, when many are complaining about Katanagatari being far too talky, I’m perfectly happy to sit through half an episode of Togame complaining about the undeniably true fact that Shichika is far too dull to stand out against the flamboyant villains they find themselves up against. I kind of thought the setting may have prevented Nisioisin from being able to veer too far in that direction, but I’m happy to be proven wrong.
Though getting back to pretty art, I also got this thing with the forth volume of the show, which is basically an unwrapped version of the doublesided art from the DVD/BR case for that episode, printed onto some thick paper with something of a bamboo-leaf watermark to it. If I ever find the room to frame and hang some posters, it’ll make a nice change from the Type-Moon art that’d probably end up dominating.
The box art for part four, depicting Shichika facing off against “Japan’s Greatest Swordsman” Hakuhei Sabi for the Hakutou Hari blade, is arguably more interesting than that for the volume three artbox, as despite the episode preview promising sharks discovering that their left side rendered asunder from their right one in what promised to be the most spectacular swordfight ever committed to animation. A swordfight that we never actually get to see, though Togami and Shichika assure us all that it was beyond astonishing as they discuss the many, many highlights their narrow victory whilst consuming vast amounts of dango. The entire episode is basically the kind of troll that even Chairman Kadokawa would have to stand-back and admire.
What we actually got from the episode was half an hour of Shichikas elder sister Nanami taking down three master ninjas in a most sadistic and humiliating fashion, all without breaking out of her bored, neutral manner of inflection. Nanami, who was portrayed as in the shows first episode as being intelligent yet demure and fragile, is actually far and away one of the most terrifying characters I’ve seen in anime in recent times.
Which is all deliciously thematically meta – just as the forth episode was not what it was advertised to be, differing from what was promised both previously and from what it’s packaging promised, so Nanami proved to differ from expectations in precisely the same ways. I really can’t help but respect the production for going to such lengths for the sake of thematical symmetry, even at the risk of frustrating most of the audience.