As usual for this point in the season, many shows are wrapping up their first arc or presenting the characters with their first serious crisis. Hit the jump and let’s take a look at how the week went!
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 & Zouroku – Ep 5
A show filled with sound and fury and… actually quite a bit of fun. Ichijo (representing the Good Guys) and Minnie C. (the villainess) square off no-holds-barred in a well done action sequence. (Of course, the Good Guys win. And a surprise reveal – Ichijo, like Sana, is a multi-card Alice….) The tail end of the episode is an extended conversation between Alice & Zouroku in which Alice tearfully explains that she wants to try to learn more about being human (without ever really explaining why) and the promptly demonstrates her inhumanity by taking Zouroku for a flight over Tokyo Bay. The Bad Guy Organization is quickly and efficiently dismantled in the epilogue. Honestly, I almost felt sorry for Minnie C. as the she was flown off into the sunset regretting the lost opportunity to be reunited with her beloved.
So… the question is, where is the show headed next? More sci-fi action? Or some form of slice-of-life as the show was originally presented and they’ve been trolling us with in the OP all along? Despite my unhappiness with Sana’s characterization (Ep 4), I’m still curious and interested in the show as a whole.
Anonymous Noise – Ep3
Honestly, I was ready to just go ahead and drop this… But a couple of reviews of Ep 3 are leading me to rethink that. Now it’s just on hold.
Atom: The Beginning – Ep3
One the surface… a lightweight story about Our Heroes assisting in the search for a lost robotic pet. Much deeper, an extended meditation on the roles of and the relationships between humans and robots in the world (of the series). Each has their place, and their own unique strengths and weaknesses – neither superior nor inferior to the other.
I figured out what the show was about on my own… But what I couldn’t figure out was why they’d interrupt the plot with the “evil robot” and drop this episode into the middle of the existing arc. The episode review at ANN provided the missing piece – Atom takes places in the same world as Astroboy, and those concerns loom large in that story. (Hey, I’m not averse to looking things up I can’t figure it out on my own!) So, with the ‘evil robot’ wreaking havoc, and Six starting to become a hero… the relationships between humans and robot-as-tool (‘evil robot’) and robot-as-autonomous-individual (Six) will likely soon loom large in Atom as well.
Annoyance this week… Despite Ran’s wonderful character episode last week, this week she was reduced to monosyllables and being a deus ex machina. Motoko kept drifting off model…
Attack on Titan – Ep5
That was… intense. And in a show that typically has the pedal to the metal, that’s sayin’ something. If Ymir survives, she’s going to face some very hard questions. About Titan shifters. About her previous actions as a Titan. About what the heck is really going on.
And I suspect it all ties in neatly with something the OP has been hinting at all season, that’s there’s something inside all living things.
My Hero Academia – Ep5
This episode was MHA at it’s finest! Action and (character) interaction with a minimum of talk-talk-talk and exposition. More episodes like this please.
Saekano – Ep3
Ahhh… I should have seen that coming. Faced with a choice between two unpalatable dishes, Tomoya came up with a third choice. And stood up to Utaha-senpai and [hopefully] made it stick. To be fair, though she will, she doesn’t have much room to complain – she forced him into that corner. It also helped that it was actually funny this week.
Sakura Quest – Ep4
Over on twitter, someone remarked that they kept confusing Sakura Quest with Sakura Trick… I watched Sakura Trick back in the day (it was my first season watching streaming anime), so I decided to re-watch part of it just because. It was… not as good as I remembered. (Not even close.) I don’t think I’d make it past the first or second episode today.
So, on to Sakura Quest… In some ways, this was largely a recap of the last two episodes. The girls learn they don’t know as much as they think they do about the town, and they try for yet another quick and easy solution to drum up business and attract tourists. (And the show make some sharp observations of growing disconnect between Japanese traditions and current culture along the way.) Once again, they also highlight the growing gap between the Tourism Board and the rest of the townspeople.
The other part… Sanae’s decision to get off the bus. I expected that, it’s practically de rigueur. It generally leads to the other characters searching their hearts to discover why they’re doing whatever they’re doing… and then convincing the one who left that the why is important and impossible without them. What I didn’t expect was for it to happen this early, before the characters were well established (Sanae, even after her monologue, is still something of a cipher)… And that leads to me not clearly understanding why she made that decision.
But if it gets the plot and the show moving, I’m all for it… Quest has already fallen into the Shirobako mode of the Repetitive Roadblock of the Weak, but without the defined and relatable characters and interactions that made it (and previous PA Works original outings) work.
SukaSuka – Ep3
I knew they couldn’t resist forever… Willem stands revealed (as per trope) as somewhat OP (mainly due to his possession of Ancient Knowledge unavailable to or hidden from the Fairies). Now the question is – with all the death flags raised, what happens to Ctholly? I suspect the answer, from the prologue and from the OP, is that she survives… But will she complete her mission?
Ep4 will, I think, cement my opinion of the show. Up till now, while it has walked the tightrope, it hasn’t actually fallen in the Valley of LN Tropes.
Tsuki ga Kirei – Ep4
Ambled along in what has become this show’s trademark style… What I don’t understand is why the teacher took the cellphones away. While it gave us a classic missed connections moment, and gave the Kotarou the chance to swallow his pride and ask Chinatsu for help… it mostly seems stupid and aimed at driving the plot.
It’s funny how the friends know what’s going on before the principals do. Akane’s friends ditched her the moment they sorted out she was trying to ditch them and why. In the same way, Chinatsu immediately cottoned on to Kotarou’s plight. (Been there, done that… when I proposed to my wife, I was the only one surprised. Our friends had already figured it out, and she was getting ready to propose to me….)
And in the end Akane kinda, sorta confessed to Kotarou. Yay for plot progression! While I’ve enjoyed its ambling and realistic pace, four episodes worth has become a bit wearing.
Twin Angels BREAK – Ep4
Ick. Turned very creepy this week when an older student (and member of the villain group) “transferred” into the Angel’s school thinking the “pure and innocent” middle schoolers would be more likely to fall in love with him.
Aaand, that sums of this week! Let me know how yours went, and what you think of the shows you’re watching down in the comments!
6 thoughts on “Spring 2017 – Week 4”
I’ll be back later with more comments, but about Tsuki ga Kirei: Cell phones in middle school is a contentious issue in Japan. See here, for an example: https://educationinjapan.wordpress.com/tag/cell-phone-bans/
They’re contentious here in the US too… big time contentious.
My thought was less about why the teacher took them than about why the writers chose to make it an issue here. (This is only the second anime that I recall making it a plot point) It seemed a bit heavy handed compared to their otherwise deft touch.
Hmm, it didn’t stand out to me one way or another, perhaps because cell phones and the reliance thereon has been an element of the show from the start. And cell-phone control has been a recurring motif of this episode in particular, having been used in various ways.
I find Alice & Zouroku to be a pleasant and entertaining watch, which is all I wanted from it to begin with. I have little to say really. One of the obvious loose ends, now, is the other kids. I wonder if Zouroku’s acquaintance is going to turn him into a kindergardener? I don’t really care one way or another. I’m confident I’ll continue enjoying the show on the same level I have until now.
It was interesting to read what you said about Ran in Atom, because I had an epiphany about her near the end of the episode. I suddenly realised that I’ve been looking at Six from her point-of-view mostly. In a sense, she’s the audience-opening for me in this episode. She’s scientifically disinterested and curious. Everyone else either has a horse in the race or doesn’t much care. It’s a sort of dual curiosity – about a situation, and also about a “person”. Her point of view is easier to understand than describe; but it’s vital for how the episode impacted me.
I don’t remember how Ran was a deus ex machina. Did she find the dogbot? (I have bad plot memory.)
@SukaSuka: At this point I’ve already seen episode 4, so… In any case, it’s another show I quite like but have little to say about.
@Sakura Quest: I completely forgot about Sanae wanting to quit. Normally I get a sense of “Oh, right, this happened,” on reading about it. This time? Nothing. All I remembered was her freaking out at a centipede. Heh.
Sakura Trick? I remember that as a mostly silly show with spots of well-that-was-nice. I have no desire to revisit it. When I hear “quest”, I think of games, and so I tend to think of the Sakura Wars series of games. Not that I played any of them, so it’s mostly just an empty association.
Ran’s deus ex machina moment was “just happening” to have an older model phone using the same protocol as the dogbot.
I kinda like SukaSuka, but they’re making it increasingly hard… (And yeah, the timezone thing is going to kill us on Tuesday shows this season.)
@Atom: Ah, yeah, I compeletely forgot that happened.