Spring 2017 – Week 2

Busy, busy week… and, as I posted earlier, I spent time reading that I should have spent watching anime.  And that’s something I never thought I’d post.  (My love of reading and learning is well-known among my IRL friends.)  But it also reflects my approach to this blog – firmly intending for anime watching and blogging to remain fun and not become a chore.

Anyhow, I got to most everything important this week, so hit the break and let’s dive in!

Alice-01
Not a question Minnie C. should be asking…

Just as a reminder, shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics.

Alice to Zouroku – Ep 3

The third episode “sudden reveal/turn to the dark” is now an established trope in anime…  and Alice falls victim to it.  Though I guess I can’t really say “falls victim”, as there wasn’t anything unheralded was there?  We already knew the Facility (where Sana was held) had other Alices.  We already knew that someone had ‘independent’ Alices and was opposed to the Facility.  Episode 3 just showed us where the puzzle pieces fit.  And now I’m even more suspicious of  Zouroku….  Calling an old friend is one thing.  Calling an old friend who just happens to be the head (or at least very high up) in an organization that happens to stand against the Facility?   Sometime in the past, he’s BTDT for certain.  ‘Florist’ is just a cover for a guy who has retired after a long and possibly unsavoury career.  Another clue?  Look back at the first ep, where one of this first actions was to ditch his car after it was ‘compromised’.  Zouroko knows his stuff and I’m really starting to doubt that he’s an innocent bystander.

And just who are the good guys?  The Facility?  Those fighting against them?  I’ve got a weird feeling here because we still don’t know the whole story.

And then there’s Minnie C.  She has to be one of the more chilling villains I’ve seen in quite a while.  Yonoga and Ashai were no doubt manipulated in the believing they were ‘helping’ their friend…  But Minnie C. is a willing participant with her own motives and agenda.

Atom: The Beginning – Premiere

Gotta say – despite the way they threw a whole bunch of stuff at us all at once, I’m liking Atom even though I can’t quite put my finger on why.  I’m especially liking the leads and the world building…  Though the number of characters they tossed at us does give me pause.   I will say this, no prior knowledge of the Astro Boy universe is needed to enjoy Atom.  If that’s been holding you back, feel free to dive right in.  You might just enjoy it.

Attack on Titan – Ep 3

Sadly, the bits hinted at in last weeks preview are quickly skimmed over.  That’s kinda understandable because answering the questions raised thereby are, I think, the whole point of this season.  (And they made sure to let us know they haven’t forgotten about Eren’s basement.)  Humans and Titans are deeply linked – and when they answer the question of how and why, I suspect the answers aren’t going to be at all pleasant.

Especially since there’s a ton of Titans inside Wall Rose – and no hole in the wall for them to have entered by.   The monsters are not only inside the Wall, they’re inside us.  (Which also hinted at in the OP…)


My Hero Academia
– Ep 3

A fun episode, spending (for the first time this season) less time on exposition and more time on character interaction (one of Academia’s strong points) and out-and-out action.  Particularly interesting was watching the various characters work out how to use their Quirks to succeed in the challenge.  Good training for their future as Heroes.

Sakura Quest – Ep 2

Sakura-01
The band is assembled…

P.A. Works is almost always at it’s best when the plot leans heavily on character interactions…  Though it’s still not firing on all cylinders (mostly because most of the girl’s personalities aren’t that well sketched out yet), this week was a vast improvement over the premiere.  Rather than a forced series of setups, this week’s plot arose naturally from the setup and flowed with the personalities and interactions between the main characters.  I expect it will only get better as the characters get filled in.  That they aren’t so far is a sign of strength, not of weakness…  Room for the characters to grow is room for the show to grow after all.  Fully grown early on is quite often a sign of a show that’s going nowhere.  Nobody sensible expects to be handed everything on a silver platter before the credits roll on the first ep.

Still…  In some ways, I hope this week isn’t a harbinger of things to come.  As strong as Shirobako was in the end, sometimes it leaned a bit too much on the Roadblock of the Week.  Despite being a spiritual sister, Hanasaku Iroha was not a P.A. Works original as Shirobako was, so I suspect I’ll be referring back to the latter more than the former.  (And interesting, my spellchecker knew the correct spelling of Shirobako.)  The Roadblock of the Weak does indeed allow for character growth as they overcome it, but it can get a bit repetitive.

Tsuki ga Kirei – Ep 2

Our two sweethearts-to-be spend the entire episode just barely connecting…  but that’s OK.  Even though they don’t connect, they do interact in the sweet shy way that’s become Tsuki‘s hallmark.  Kotarō taking time out to find Akane’s lost ‘mascot’ (the puppet she squeezes when anxious) was especially nice.  Still loving the slow quiet aspects of the show.   Not loving the hints of sensei-student interaction, we had enough of that last season with Demi-chan thankyouverymuch!  Confused by exactly the short bits post credits were supposed to accomplish…

Not watched this week due to time constraints: Anonymous Noise • Hinako Note • Twin Angel Break

Dropped without remorse:  Clockwork Planet • Renai Boukun • Sakurada Reset

(OK, I did feel a little remorse dropping Renai Boukun as the OP is sung by my beloved WUG-chan, but my distaste for the show exceeds my desire to support them.)

Still on the to-be-checked-out list:  SukaSuka

Completely forgot to review:  Saekano

Which leaves my schedule looking like this:

  • Monday
  • Tuesday
    – Weekly post (before watching Tuesday’s show).

    • Anonymous Noise
  • Wednesday
    • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (For the first part of the season anyway.)
    • Sagrada Reset
    • Saekano
    • Sakura Quest
  • Thursday
    • Clockwork Planet
    • Renai Boukun
    • Tsukigakirei

  • Friday
    • Hinako Note
    • Twin Angel Break
  • Saturday
    • My Hero Academia
    • Attack on Titan
    • Eromanga Sensei
    • Atom The Beginning
  • Sunday
    • Alice & Zoroku

Nine shows is a little below my usual, but really need to watch my schedule this season.

Spring is finally springing here in the Pacific Northwet, and that means the weekends start filling up.  This weekend is the Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival.  (Watch my twitter feed for pictures, plus I’ll post here once all is said and done.)  Coming up in May is Memorial Day Weekend, which my wife and I by long tradition (and rain or shine) spend geocaching…  And the just as this season ends and the next begins comes the annual June Faire madness (a solid week plus of getting ready/setup, followed by a week to recover).

And I want to find time to watch a little baseball, especially now that the Mariners appear to be getting their stuff at least in the same sock drawer.

followed-blog-20-2x

And finally, WordPress informed me this week that I now have twenty followers!  Soon I’ll be the best known anime blogger in the entire tri-state area!

open-uri20150422-20810-90h15t_43f7dd2d

6 thoughts on “Spring 2017 – Week 2”

  1. Neither Attack on Titan nor My Hero Academia are doing much for me at the moment. AoT has me mildly curious, and MHA has these stylish animation moments I like, but on the whole I’m just sitting them out for the time being. In MHA, I really don’t like what the current arc is doing so far, so I’m hoping they get back to stuff that interests me more some time.

    Alice to Zouroku does have something in common with Madoka for me: both shows surprised me not so much with the “what” but with the “so soon?”. Both shows, I thought, were setting up something that they then got out of the way early. I now think you were right about your suspicions about Zouroku; and I wonder about the absent wife and children, but the presence of the grand-daughter.

    Hanasaku Iroha is a PA Works original. The situation is a little unusual: there’s a manga adaptation that came out before the anime, but the manga was produced with strong involvement from PA Works who developed the concept for the anime (and were likely producing it already at the time). I don’t know the details, though, so I may be wrong about that. Pretty much all the google sources I could find, though, treat the manga as an adaptation of the anime (even though it came out first). Sakura Quest is so much a best-of PA Works sampler show that it’s funny. There’s a lot of Tari Tari in there, too.

    Tsuki ga Kirei delivers consistent quality and is likely to remain one of my favourites.

    I’ve quit on Hinako Note. It’s not bad, but nothing about it stands out, and I’m not in the mood for it. Fukumenki Noise is likely being dropped, too; most of it irritates me and the music aspect feels obnoxious.

    Grimoir of Zero looks really good after two episodes; much, much better than the concept would suggest.

    I completely get that you dropped Renai Boukun. The best thing about the show is probably that what you get is what you see. You know after about a minute of watching if you’ll like the show or not, and bar a diminishing returns effect that’s likely not going to change. And if it doesn’t grab you and you don’t feel it’s funny the nastier aspects (e.g. casual homophobia) will stand out.

    I’m still so immensely grateful that we get Uchouten Kazoku this season, but even apart from that I’m having a pretty good season.

    Like

    1. I was mildly suspicious about Zouroku after the premiere, though I didn’t give voice to my suspicions until Ep 2 really made my antennae twitch. I’m not really surprised by “so soon” though, when you only have 12 eps to work with you can only set up for so long. Though I understand the “why”, it’s still bothersome to be so routinely unsurprised by Ep 3.

      OK, I misunderstood or misread when I googled Hanasaku. I’m a bit concerned about the news that Sakura is going to be two cour though. There’s good bones there, and P.A. Works certainly has the chops, but so far I’m not certain there’s that much material. There’s no natural arc I can see that lasts that long, so I’m really concerned about the Roadblock of the Week.

      Like

      1. @Alice: I think you’ve got a better grasp of the plot here than I do. I was simply expecting a different kind of show, that is, I thought the plot would be less prominent and the resolution be more about a simple, central theme. As it is, the show seems to develop a plot much like the thought experiments that are common in SF. I’m used to getting that with anime; most anime SF is exceedingly simple. Basically, what the pacing tells me is that what they’re setting up is more complex than I thought it would be.

        This happens occasionally to me. Madoka episode 3 is the obvious example. There’s also Kamisama Dolls, episode 4 (I think – it’s been a while).

        @Sakura Quest: I’m not that worried about it being 2 cour. Like Shirobako, town marketing is actually something PA Works are familiar with. They’re not doing it themselves, but they seem to have good connections and work together well with the local administration where they live. There’s only so much you can do to attract tourists, but when they actually come that’s a game changer, because suddenly you have a lot of outsiders here, and not all locals might like that. (Episode 3 has already hinted at that.) I feel they can pull it off. Of course, they can also mess up. PA Works is one of the studios I like more than I actually like their individual shows (with exceptions). My PA Works hitlist so far:

        Uchouten Kazoku
        True Tears
        Hanasaku Iroha
        Tari Tari

        The rest ranges from fun to horrible, with some (like Nagi no Asukara) alternating between extremes. But when they’re good, they’re really good.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I finally started Sakura Quest a few nights ago, and enjoyed the first two episodes as much as I hoped I would. I’m kind of having mixed feelings about the news today that it’s going to be a 2-cour series, though. I’m not sure yet if this is the kind of series that’s going to have enough substance to carry on for that long without getting stale, but we’ll see. I’m happy to keep watching it for as long as I keep enjoying it.

    Dawnstorm: I don’t know about that “best of PA Works” notion, since as I noted before I don’t have much prior exposure to PA Works, but I do remember a similar “best of KyoAni” critique about Euphonium from a few people when that first came out (“Oh look, it’s another KyoAni high school club series drawing inspiration from K-On, Hyouka, etc.”) and it turned out to be quite worthy to stand on its own right alongside those (or at least season 1 did). Hopefully Sakura Quest will be able to do the same vis-a-vis its own reference points.

    Like

    1. Ah, I do think Sakura Quest is a sort of best-of-PA-Works sampler, but I don’t mean that as any sort of negative criticism. In fact, I think it’s deliberate – I think they’re more deliberately building a corporate image by drawing on strengths they have. This is, I think, the first season where PA Works are doing two shows; Sakura Quest feels like the PR statement (look at us; this is what we are), while Uchouten Kazuko feels like their prestige work. The fun thing is that, while Sakura Quest is tourism themed, Uchouten Kazuko is actually involved in Kyouto tourism (via promotional events like tanuki blessing ceremonies at shrines). Sakura Quest has the potential to be really good, because local tourism is actually an active interest of theirs (cf. the shorts True Tours: Nanto). It’s a solid corporate statement, as well as a fun show. I like it a lot; I’m having fun. In fact, I think Sakura Quest has a more solid premier than Shirobako did (which didn’t pick up until well past half of the first cour for me, when they started de-emphasisng the pallette-swap girls).

      My prediction for Sakura Quest is that I’ll find it solid entertainment; one of their better shows overall. But I don’t expect it to surprise me much, and it’s going nowhere near Euphonium tier. PA Works is among my favourite studios; I’ve seen nearly all of their TV series (but none of their movies, and only few of their OAVs). I have a pretty firm image of the studio by now, and Sakura Quest fits it to a t. That in itself is neither good nor bad, and the show’s quite solid as far as I’m concerned. (What they do exceedingly well, for example, is build a sense of community. The town in Sakura Quest is simply alive. Every last shop owner feels like someone who lives there. But they’ve proven themselves time and again in that respect, the most prominent example being Tari Tari, and maybe even their first, True Tears, but it’s even detectable in lesser shows, like Another.)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Your thoughts on Sakura being two cour pretty much mirror my own. I have confidence in P.A. Works, but there just doesn’t appear to be enough ‘stuff’ there. On the other hand, there’s plenty of interesting characters to work with even outside the central five.

      I agree with Dawnstorm: In this case “Best Of” isn’t really criticism, it’s more of an observation that they’re playing to their strengths. Of the shows I see most of in Sakura (Tari Tari, Hanasaku Iroha, Glasslip, Shirobako), there’s only one stinker in the bunch (Glasslip). And even that stinker had characters and interactions that were a cut above most. So long as they’re delivering something new, and not just ringing the changes (and I think that’s the case) it will (barring my concerns on the length) be a solid show.

      If there was any early criticism of Euph… Well, I fell so fast and so hard for it (and Kumiko) that I was blinded to it. :)

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s