Spring 2017 – Week 5

A day late between getting distracted by various things and not being well on Monday (the day I normally do the bulk of the work on my weekly entry), my apologies.  That being said, let’s hit the break and see what happened with various shows over the last week…

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 & Zouroko – Special Episode

What?  A “Special Episode” in place of Episode 6?  Not a good sign I think, sounds like production problems behind the scenes.

Anyhow, once they got done with the recap, they looked forward to the second half.  Some interesting stuff there, at least one new character who also possesses a Dream.  It’s not clear if what’s coming is SOL/CGDCT or more action/adventure.  Alice & Zouroko just keeps the twists and turns coming…

Attack on Titan – Ep 6

Screenshot (31)
Just what the audience is asking too…

This weeks wait, what?? moment comes courtesy of Reiner casually announcing that both he and Berthold are also Titans.  In fact, they’re respectively the Armored Titan, and the Colossal Titan – the ones that kicked off the invasion way back in Episode 1 of the first season.  And almost casually it also becomes clear that there’s some sort of Titan civilization – with organization and goals.  (Reiner refers to wiping out humanity as being their mission, though it’s unclear as to who assigned them this task…)  And this is all tied back to Annie-as-Titan in the first season.

Mind.  Officially.  Blown.

Not made clear is how Ymir (who knew prior to recent episodes that she was a Titan) and Eren himself (who accidentally discovered his ability to shapeshift) all figure into this…  Though Reiner is very interested in getting Eren to accompanying them to their ‘hometown’.  Interested to the point where he’s willing to abort is his mission.

Anonymous Noise – Eps 3-4

As I said last week, I was on the verge of dropping Noise after two eps.  But an ep review on GAR GAR Stegosaurus made me reconsider…  Mostly because I have a soft spot for band/idol shows and I want to like it in spite of itself.  Despite the similarities to last season’s Fuuka, it does seem to have at least a few reasonable ideas of its own..

And after watching, the best that can be said is that Anonymous Noise reminds me of Fuuka less and less each week.  But it still struggles to rise above watchable mediocrity.  Nino is slowly becoming more interesting, but frankly the rest of the cast drags her down.

Atom: The Beginning – Ep 4

A school festival episode?  A school festival episode?  OK, I stretched to justify last week’s odd ep, but I just can’t this week.  The central story was Six producing udon to raise awareness of and funds for Lab 7, but it mostly fell flat.  The rest of the story was a new group of Good Guys and Bad Guys chasing after each other and a McGuffin, with no clear connection to the established villainess.

After a strong start, Atom appears to be petering out in the first turn.

My Hero Academia – Ep 6

Most of the episode is dedicated to a conversation between Todoroki and Midoriya – and unveiling Todoroki’s backstory and motivation.   Todoroki has led a very rough life, and even though I’d accidentally spoiled myself doing some reading on the MHA Wikia site it was no less horrifying seeing it played out on the screen.   As I said earlier in the season, I’m enjoying it when the camera (and the story) pulls back from the Midoriya-Bakugou dynamic and gives us a look at the other characters…  Many of which have been real surprises.

I don’t know how to call Todoroki V. Midoriya, there are interesting stories both ways.

Saekano – Ep 4

Once again Utaha-senpai tries to get her intentions across, and once again she’s too subtle for the literal minded Tomoya.  This is all set against the background of them revising the script together – and adding a third route to the game.  Oh, Tomoya…  feature creep had laid low many a more experienced production team.  But courtesy of a montage sequence, the new route is successfully completed.

Thinking back however, I am a bit confused…  Wouldn’t Utaha’s flaws as a scenario writer (writing too much like a LN) have come across in the first route (which they finished at the end of season one)?  Or am I just overthinking things rather than just accepting anime logic?

Sakura Quest – Ep 5

One of things that distracted me this week was re watching Shirobako…  I was checking out a couple of eps for another project, then rewatched the whole thing to study it in preparation for compare-and-contrast with Sakura.  But honestly, Sakura picked up this week so I’m going to put that on the back burner.

Finally the Queen and Her Court realize there’s no short or easy solution to bringing tourists and the wallets to Manoyama.  They have to first figure out what’s special about the town, steep themselves in that topic, and then leverage that knowledge.  Then courtesy of a short and easy montage, they accomplish all that and bring the first tourists in.

It is interesting that they settled on such a long term solution though…  Even if it did seem to come out of left field.

Sanae’s return also came out of left field, I’m as mystified by that as her sudden departure.

Which is where I will bring up one of the great strengths of Shirobako, and the mirrored weakness of Sakura.   Shirobako let us get comfortable with Aoi and a portion of the central cast, and then started bringing the other characters to the fore.  While many characters got their own stories and arcs, they were all bound together with Aoi and her journey.  (Even true of the fellow members of the anime club.)  Despite the huge size of the cast, Shirobako managed the transitions between them gracefully almost entirely due to this.  Sakura on the other hand just jumped right into the deep end and has been flailing about ever since.  The characters have been introduced in more of a “throw it against the wall and hope something sticks” fashion than with any coherence.  It’s hard to care about any of the characters because we know so little about them beyond their surface characteristics.  They more resemble the assemblage of tropes that frequently characterize a harem than anything else.

SukaSuka – Ep 4

It was interesting to see how thoroughly Lizard culture dominated this world (at least through Tiat’s eyes), though in terms of numbers they seem to be in the minority.  Other than that, and some glimpses of the fairies backstory, this was pretty much a filler ep…  marking time until it could be revealed that Ctholly and the others had survived the battle (though they seem to have failed their mission).

As a side note, it’s interesting how Willem (despite being a pick-up out of nowhere) is treated as a personage of such importance.  On one hand, that makes sense – he’s the caretaker of the most important weapons in the world.  On the other, why would they entrust such weapons and responsibility to a practical nobody?  (Unless the melancholy nature of the job has run everyone else off…)

Tsuki ga Kirei – Ep 5

OK, we’re almost halfway through the season (AFAIK, it’s a single cour) and finally Akane and Kotarou are officially dating.  (Though they hew to anime convention of not actually telling anyone…)  And what’s the first thing they do?  They search for dating advice on the ‘net.

Screenshot (29)
Akane uses “Guggle” to find bad dating advice…

Which actually makes a kind of sense, given the role technology plays in their lives and their relationship so far.  (When I was dating my wife, I used a rotary dial phone!)   They arrange to meet in the school library to find some alone time to chat – only Chinatsu beats Akane there, ostensibly to ask Kotarou about cram schools…  Akane catches them, though the ‘misunderstanding’ is quickly cleared up.

Finally our lovebirds get some alone time when Kotarou borrows his friend’s bookshop…  And the a very sweet ‘first holding hands’ scene is made bitter by the text Akane receives – Chinatsu thinks she has a crush on Kotarou!  C’mon, we knew it couldn’t last, Tsuki could only dodge anime conventions for so long.  Let’s hope they continue to handle things as well as they have to date.

Twin Angel BREAK – Ep 5

Oh lord, they just double down on the oddness this week.  Introducing as the Villain Of The Week a pair of cyborg idols, whose gimmick is cutting and serving sashimi as part of their performance…

While it’s never been particularly original, in these last two eps have been truly odd.

And there we have it, as we approach the middle of the season some shows are picking up steam and others are losing their way.  SukaSuka and Twin Angel BREAK seem to be on the fast track to a mid-season drop.  Atom: The Beginning isn’t far behind, though like Sakura Quest I’m trying to give it a little wider latitude simply because of what it is.

Keep those cards and letters and comments coming folks!

12 thoughts on “Spring 2017 – Week 5”

  1. @Alice & Zouroku: That the show doesn’t exactly have tons of resources was clear from the beginning. Placing a special at the end of an arc might have been the plan from the get-go. I’m not sure, for example, they’ll be missing an episode because of that. We might be seeing similar specials at the end of each arc. Who knows? I knew I loved the series, but I was surprised to find how much I missed it. (I didn’t watch the special.)

    I’m liking Atom the Beginning as much as ever. I’ve never really been invested in the show, but it’s always been a pleasant way to pass the time. No difference for me this episode. There were some nice bits like the sudden insight that the ground-shattering technique could be adapted to make noodles; other than that, it’s an okay show I wouldn’t miss.

    SukaSuka I really like. It’s a slow-burn show, where nothing much happens, and even when things do happen the emphasis isn’t on action or suspense. I wouldn’t call it a filler episode. We learned a lot of things, really, like how not all those kids will necessarily awaken (which has implications on their disposability; they’re the only ones who can wield those weapons, and they seem to be even rarer I at first thought). After episode 4, for example, the generals decision to bet an island on her fighting abilities makes a lot more sense now: if they can preserve rare resources with more efficient fighting that might be worth it in the long run. But the key is the way the show handles point of view: different characters have different priorities, and so far everything makes sense.

    Attack on Titan… Well, I was spoiled on that particular reveal early into the first season, so there was no surprise for me. I don’t mind spoilers, generally, but I’m curious how much I would have suspected if anything. Probably, I’d have been totally blindsided, but who knows. I did love how they handled the reveal. Rainer being both casual and frantic was hilarious. And the camera was focussed on the widening gap between the two parties, with Mikasa’s tension being particularly palpable. One of the best scene-concepts I’ve seen this season, and well executed, too.

    I’m not sure I agree about Sakura Quest vs. Shirobako. I didn’t really start like Shirobako until they de-emphasised Aoi and friends, at which point their jarring similarity in character design (as opposed to the more individuated “side-cast”) stopped mattering. At the same time, I don’t disagree that Sakura Quest has problems, but I think they’re more production related. PA Works doing two shows in one season might not work out as well as they hoped. I’m just glad they’re acing Uchouten Kazuko 2 (where each episode is better than the previous).

    My Hero Academia continues to be rather non-descript for me. I do like the side characters, but my discomfort with the way the show portrays heroism really is more pronounced in this turnament arc (whose entire point is basically PR, which is the most distasteful aspect for me on the whole). It’s not that I don’t enjoy the show. It’s just the sort of arc I’d prefer to marathon, as my suspense is basically zero, and I’m not rooting for Midoriya either, because I have a visceral dislike for the All Might imagery, and I don’t think it’s admirable. In a way, it’d be more interesting to have Midoriya fail, here.

    Saekano has delivered my favourite episode so far this season, but I already don’t remember too much to comment. It’s been the second worst disappointment of the season, so far (Sakurada Reset being by far the worst). It’s just not delivering for me. All the worst, none of the best of season one would be an exaggeration; I still enjoy the show. But it’s just so… expendable.

    Also, because nobody ever talks about it, I’m still watching Tiger Mask W now in its third cour. Excellently captures the cheesiness of wrestling entertainment (and the moves really do hurt) and has good narrative control to boot. I love the way the show manages to put the silly tiger masks to good dramatic use. It’s such a retro-title, too, it’s refreshing. It’s basically a nostalgia trip in more ways than one (I started watching Wrestling in the mid-80ies and stopped sometime in the early nineties – the anime would efortlessly fit into that time-frame).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, now I know how Bless felt when confronted with one of my walls o’ text! :) (But don’t stop, I love reading them.)

      Yeah, this season of Saekano is not quite as good as the first… There’s less long term drama, so we’re stuck with more immediate stuff, most of which is retreads from from the first. (And you know how I hate the Roadblock of the Weak style format.) But each week, there’s Megumi and that makes up for a lot of other flaws.

      Good points on SukaSuka

      You might do a full write-up on Tiger Mask Wsomeday . I was never into wrestling, so I don’t know much about it.

      Like

  2. Attack on Titan definitely blew my mind a little bit this week. Alice and Zoroku is going to struggle to gain my interest back next week given I was already kind of thinking I was done with it before they gave us a ‘special’.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this week.

    Like

    1. I think everyone who hadn’t read the manga or otherwise been spoiled reacted pretty much that way… It was a huge reveal, masterfully carried off. And yeah, more plot whiplash from Alice… But if it’s a new ballgame, I’m going to give it a fresh start.

      Thanks for your comment! Hope to see you back soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Good points about how Sakura Quest differs from Shirobako. I wonder if SQ will be rewatch material long after it’s finished airing like Shirobako.

    I’m basically bound to drop Twin Angel Break, too. The season is almost halfway done, wow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I didn’t set out to watch Shirobako to that end, but I couldn’t help by see the similarities and differences as I watched it. It’s hard to tell how Sakura will fare, as it’s barely a quarter of the way through it’s run… Wouldn’t be the first show to have a rough start.

      Yeah, I haven’t watched this week’s ep of Twin Angel, but after two bad eps it’s make-or-break time.

      Thanks for dropping by! Hope to see more of you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, if you’re enjoying Reset, you’re in a good place no matter how anyone else feels about it because that’s what matters in the end. And it would be really boring if we all agreed all the time. :) I’d be curious to hear what you like about it though, I enjoy hearing other people’s takes.

      Thanks for stopping by the Lounge! Hope to see you back!

      Like

      1. I really like the ideas Sakurada Reset explores. When an anime explores stuff as hard as the ones presented in this show, it usually ends up being hard to understand. (Granted, Reset is still harder to understand than most anime, but still understandable.) I also like the conversation style (don’t ask why). I also liked the humor starting from ep. 3. As for the emotionless characters, maybe I find them interesting because they are kinda similar to one way I think of idealized humans.

        (BTW I previously went by Theemathas here.)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yah, I clicked on your profile after replying and recognized you… :) Still, it’s good to see you back. And I encourage readers to comment on what they’ve watched whether I’m watching or not.

          Like

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