Summer 2017 week 4

5OVXSIGFlTj

Another week, some good eps, some bad eps, and a couple of spectacular eps.  Hit the jump to find out more!

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

Isekai Shokudou, Ep 5.

They’re trying very hard, but the show is pretty much mired in a rut.  The  change in narrative style and structure are interesting, but it’s lipstick on a pig at this point.  Even Koufuku Graffiti had more plot in a single episode than Isekai Shokudou has managed in five.  The basic problem here is they can’t decide whether Western Restaurant Nekoya is a blank backdrop against which the stories play out, or an actual place that plays an integral role in the story.  They’ve been bouncing back and forth somewhat, and it’s giving me plot whiplash.

Konbini Kareshi, Ep 5.

While it’s nowhere near AOTS territory, Konbini continues to just plain good.  (Not great mind you, but good.)  We finally get a break from Haruki and Miharu’s relationship tirelessly going nowhere…  Instead, this ep focuses almost entirely on Towa and Mami.  Towa is a clown, and sometimes a jerk, but honestly truly appears to be interested in her and spends the entire ep trying to prove that.  (And finally succeeds.)  I loved the touch that really showed that to the audience – arranging to go see fireworks, he group texts the rest of his friends, but he calls Mami.

We do get an interesting look at Mami’s home life, and there’s something going on there…  Mami’s reticence towards Towa isn’t just a combination of her self image issues and his outrageous behavior – it looks like she’s got very strict (and old fashioned?) parents.  OTOH, we see some of his home life too and it’s no picnic either…  He’s pretty much a latchkey kid, and very lonely.  (Which explains why he spent so much time at  Haruki’s.)

Love & Lies, Ep 5.

love-and-lies

I was pretty impressed that even though there was a little duress, Yuusuke was about to confess to Yukari.  I was a lot annoyed that it ended up being played somewhat for laughs.

I was very annoyed after Yuusuke and Ririna’s conversation.  Up until now, they’ve given the impression that the marriages decreed under the Yukari Law were pretty much inviolate and impossible to wiggle out of.  You had no choice but to obey The Law.  Now it appears The Law is actually pretty much toothless, pay a minor fine and accept the social consequences and you’re off pretty much scot free.  On one hand, it makes sense – providing an out provides a safety valve.  On the other, without significant penalties, you don’t need a safety valve because The Law might as well not exist.

In the end,  this tears out much of the foundation from beneath the story.  As a result, what was a moderately interesting drama is turning into a low-rent rom-com.  Not a bad rom-com per se, just a lot less interesting.

Made in Abyss, Eps 1-4.

5OVXSIGFlTj

I’ve been trying to come up with a hook for discussing Abyss all week, but words simply fail me.  From the first ep on, I was completely blown away.  The other part is that there is simply so much packed into (but not rushed) these four eps it’s pretty hard to cover it succinctly.

Let’s put it this way – I’ve been watching streaming anime since Winter 2014, and I cannot think of a single season where Abyss would not have been a strong contender if not outright AOTS.

My Hero Academia, Ep 17

I was going to write about Endeavor this week…  but I kept coming back to this piece at A Carriage Return, and Carriage said it all so much better than I can.  So, go check it out, and picture me sitting here going “he said what I was going to, only way better”.

Princess Principal, Ep 4

The plot thickens…  Though we still haven’t been formally introduced to Chise (the ninja girl), we do learn she’s there because she’s been assigned her own mission – gathering information that will help her country decide who to ally with.  It’s a lovely little bit of worldbuilding in a genre that’s too often presented in overly simplified black-and-white terms.  (A legacy of decades of WWII and Cold War spy thrillers and their attitude of “Us vs. Them.)  Dorothy also gets her own covert mission from the team’s handlers to determine the bounds of the Princesses’ (dis)loyalty.  When push comes to shove though, the Princess shows her true colors – she’s a cold hearted bitch who means exactly what she says.  She badly want the Throne for her own ends, and if betraying her country is the price of that…  so be it.

Which is going to lead to a trainwreck and possibly heartbreak in the future.  Both Ange and the Princess have the same goal, creating a world where they can be together again, but they differ sharply on methods and means.  And Ange is not at all happy with this single minded pursuit of power.

There’s really not much to say about the foreground action.  The team carries out their missions with panache and style, but the missions themselves are (so far) largely generic.  What’s grabbing my attention, and why you should be watching, are the characters and the background details, the subtleties, and the layers in the story.

Aaand…  Just as I’m wrapping this up, Zerojustice315 of The Objective Opinion posted a link to this video on Twitter.  There is a spoiler or two (but he tells you before he gets into spoiler territory, so it’s safe to watch to that point), but it sums up so much of why I’m loving PriPri.


re:Creators
, Ep 16

After all the episodes spent talking about getting the Elimination Chamber Festival up and going…  Dangit, we time skip over the event and go straight to the Night Before The Battle.   Our Heroes go to a hot springs inn to celebrate their success so far, and after a bit of almost-but-not-quite fanservice they’re treated a dinner and a rant by a drunken Kikuchihara about just how hard it’s been to deal with these prima donnas.  Then, it’s off to the races!

The first act of the battle is baiting the trap…  Meteora summons Vogelchevalier (and also gives us a further hint about just how impressively much the Creations have been powered up).

Screenshot (63)
Selesia watching Vogelchevalier materialize, like a child at Christmas.

The we cut to Altair, who has been waiting for this moment…  I have to wonder what she’s been up to all these months, but she has previously indicated that she cannot act until the “stars are right”.  Have the heroes accidentally timed the Elimination Festival for the “wrong” time (from their point of view)?  Altair seems awfully darned confident.  In the background, Aliceteria seems…  I can’t put my finger on it.  Off somehow.  Skeptical?  Anticipating the outcome of her talk with Magane?  (Who was absent from this ep.)  Something.

All in all, mostly filler but some nice character moments scattered here and there.  In particular, during the hot springs portion, something is up with Suraga (Blitz’s Creator).  Did she de-power him somehow?  My favorite character moment was Sota’s – rather than watching the Birdcage from the command center, he chose to nerd it out and experience it as part of the audience from a terrace overlooking the arena.

Sidenote:  I recently re-watched AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across the Blue, so every time they mention Birdcage, I think of something completely different.

They still haven’t revealed what Sota’s idea is (was)…  My bet, it’s one of two things – either summoning Setsuna’s original Altair, or the return of Mamika.

Sakura Quest, Ep 18

Though Manoyama isn’t the focus of this ep, the issues raised are a preview of what it faces a couple of decades down the road as it’s population continues to age and shrink…  I was disappointed however that it ultimately revolved around the Quest for the Festival Treasures.  (Maybe that was the inspiration for the “Quest” in the title?)

Sakura Quest, still much better than it was in the first cour – but steadfastly determined to take two steps forward, then one step back.

Also of interest, edsamac over at Anima & Anime posted this interesting article on a translation ‘error’ (choice?) in this week’s ep.

The Reflection, Ep 2.

Honestly, this should have been the first episode, or the two should have been cut together into a double-length premiere.  Moving all the background on the fight between I-Guy and his unnamed antagonists to a seperate episode was a very curious choice…  They basically wasted an entire ep, and only being one cour that’s a good chunk of the screen time they have to work with.

Still, I’m a lot more interested than I was last week…  There’s a lot going on, and unusually it appears that it’s the bad guys who are the more organized.  If, like me, you were put off by the first ep you might check out the second.

A bit of background for this next part…  I’m fifty something, which means my musical memories (the stuff I listened to) date back to the early 70’s.  In the show, they refer to Sky Show as an “80’s song” (with the implication that it was a one-hit-wonder).  But it sure strikes me as more of a 70’s song.  The piano, the orchestral arrangement, the lack of synthesizers, the lyrics, and the semi-falsetto singing voice are almost as distinctive as a fingerprint – I’d date it right on the cusp of the Disco Era, maybe ’75 or ’76 or so.  I just can’t see such a song gaining any traction in the 80’s, even as a one-hit-wonder, especially after about ’83 or so when MTV and corporate music began to dominate the airwaves.  (Caveat:  Unless it had a really cool or creative video.)


Tsuredure Children
, Ep 5.

The best section this week was Saki and Takase working up their courage to confess to each other – via text message.  This ended in a spectacular fail, with Saki confessing and Takase denouncing people who confess via text.  Can’t wait to see the fallout next week…

Many of the segments center around communication or miscommunication, but don’t these lie at the heart of all relationships?  Seriously, Tsuredure Children is just plain good…  If you like rom-com, or romantic drama, or pretty much anything about relationships and romance, you should be watching.  In that genre, it’s solidly the best of the season.

In Other News:

I got my photos for the Fair processed and dropped them off yesterday to be matted.  I’m pondering doing a post on that, but I might just wait and do one big long post on the Fair.

And at this point in the season, I think I’m done adding to my watch list…  We’ve got a decent but not overly full schedule, and the Fair will eat a bunch of time over the next couple of weeks.

And there you have it!  How did your week go?  What do you think of this week’s shows?  Drop a line down in the comments and let me know!

13 thoughts on “Summer 2017 week 4”

  1. Ooh thanks for the shoutout! Although I would have liked to hear a little more of your perspective about the episode.

    And Love & Lies, man. Yuusuke and Ririna’s conversation also annoyed me but mostly because of the selfish reasoning for bringing it up. The Yukari Law still feels a little powerful because of the social repercussion and so the logistics didn’t bother me too much. I did like how you referred to it as “The Law” – it reminded of this short story by Kafka that I read recently for class called “Before the Law”.
    Anywho, the show’s maintained its awkward charm even through this relatively rough episode and I’m glad that I’ve some company in watchin’ it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! My remaining thoughts were mostly about Stain and would have fallen into the “Unpopular Opinion” meme that was going around Twitter and FB yesterday. But it was getting very hot , my deadline was approaching, and it wasn’t fully worked out, so I axed it.

      tl;dr version – “Everyone is rejecting Stain’s philosophy based on the source rather than examining it on it’s merits. While his methodology (killing heroes) is obviously wrong, I can’t help but think he has a point”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Huh. I hadn’t heard too much discussion about Stain’s philosophy, let alone rejection of it so that’s a little surprising to hear. But I’d side with your view of Stain – he raises some real issues but his execution isn’t something I can agree with and it seems largely ineffective.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. @Isekai Shoukudou: I’m not having plot whiplash so much, as it’s… sort of dull. It’s the repetition: person stumbles through door, is confused, is charmed by food, becomes regular. That sort of negates any individuation the characters might have acquired through their own stories. There’s no significant feeling of interaction at all. The chef might as well be a magical vending machine that spits out tailor-made food for chosen ones, for example. There’s plenty going on, and there’s even a story that I could speculate about (what determines where a door appears being the most prominent one), but ultimately it doesn’t seem to matter at all, so I’m not motivated. How you react to food is highly cultural; there’s just not enough appreciation for that, and that robs the concept of any vitality it might have. Imagine if not everyone liked the food at first try. Imagine a little trial and error, complicated by not being able to immediately read the reactions (say with a lizard man). Imagine anything other than universal instant acceptance.

    @Konbini Kareshi: I agree pretty much with everything you said here. I’d have to add that I thought, even though the animation is atrocious, the art is quite expressive and at times even subtle. I didn’t notice that immediately, because the animation was so distracting.

    @Love and Lies: I had pretty much the opposite reaction from yours. I’m actually more invested now.

    For me, the law was a pretty big issue, actually. Something so implausible that I could only accept it if the story made my suspension of disbelieve worthwhile. This is why I was cautious in the first episode. Now that we know (and it was strongly hinted when the two marriage partners first met) that the law is not absolute, I have a lot more faith that they know what they are doing.

    You say the law might as well not exist, but I think you’re underestimating the power of opt-out defaulting, especially in a shame culture. If you don’t opt out, the marriage becomes your choice by lack of action, and thus it’s harder to complain. If you do opt out you acquire a social stigma (and if that goes on your record it might be official). You receive your notification early enough that to opt out you have to go against your parents (or legal guardians), if you don’t need their assent in the first place. (And in the present case, I’ve always felt that the parents excessive cheerfulness was a sort of deliberate pressure; now I have the context.)

    Also, they seem to have a good grip on their characters: the only one so far who even considered not going along is the socially tone-deaf romantic. The only one who brought up the pragmatic issues of discrimination is the homo- or bisexual (who would have thought this through earlier). It’s entirely possible that he brought this up with Misaki, too, though I don’t think that explains everything about Yuusuke and Misaki’s conversations.

    Add to all that that the system seems to be at the very least not bad at picking out people who get along, and you have a self-inforcing system which you don’t need to police to keep up. In fact, you’ll want a certain portion of the population to not go along, so they can serve as “bad examples”. (I wonder if we’ll get a teacher like that at some point?)

    I’m pretty much on board, here.

    @Made in Abyss: Yup. Anime of the season, and it’s not even close.

    @MHA: Of course, Stain has to praise All Might. MHA is determined to turn me into a villain, isn’t it. The irony is that I like All Might as a character; he just irritates me as a hero. MHA should be a lot more critical of him. A lot. (That’s one great article on Endeavor.)

    @Princess Principal: Good video. It’s one of my favourite shows this season, and a lot of it is in the details. Not only worldbuilding, but also characterisation, like Beatrice not bothering to revert her voice.

    @Sakura Quest: It’s pretty much what I expected. Some episodes are better than others, but I don’t find my appreciation of the show to oscillate at all. It’s fairly constantly decent entertainment, and that’s about it.

    @Re:Cretors: I’m getting a little bored; it’s about time the pace picks up again. I’m not going to guess what Sota’s idea is, though your guesses sound good to me. If it was me, I’d have Sota write himself and Setsuna into the story. Create a fictional creator for Altair, based on the real one, written by the one person who knows. Psychological warfare. I don’t think Re:Creators is that kind of show, though.

    @The Reflection: Not sure I care. I’ll see.

    @Tsuredure Children: Is it -dure or -zure? I see both variants. Anyway, I really, really like that show.

    I notice Gamers still has a “?” in the schedule. Well, it’s settled into a straightforward romcom. I like it, but it’s no must watch. You should have the most important shows covered. I might have a thing or two to say about Youkai Apartment, but not right now. This post is long enough as it is.

    P.S. I agree “Sky Show” doesn’t sound much like an 80ies song. 70ies is more plausible, but I’m not sure about that either. It’s an oddity in any case.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Isekai Shoukudou: Good points all!

      @Love & Lies:

      Add to all that that the system seems to be at the very least not bad at picking out people who get along, and you have a self-inforcing system which you don’t need to police to keep up. In fact, you’ll want a certain portion of the population to not go along, so they can serve as “bad examples”. (I wonder if we’ll get a teacher like that at some point?)

      Good point, especially about the shame culture which is much stronger in Japan than the West. Those cultural differences make a huge difference. I’m still onboard with it, I just feel that it’s been knocked down a notch because being introduced so late it feels a bit like a deus ex machina inserted to get them out of the corner they’d written themselves into. I’m thinking in particular here of Misaki’s strong rejection and the constant emphasis of her being “forbidden fruit”… That had such a sense of finality from early on. I think it would have been stronger had we known much earlier that they had a choice – though it came with consequences. It’s still a decent show, but now it’s a different show.

      Yeah, if it still has a “?” at this point, I’m not going to get to it. As we were catching up, I prioritized on buzz, schedule, and how much interest I’d had in the first place.

      Like

  3. If “Sky Show” was an 80’s song, it would almost have to be from the early 80’s soft rock scene – musically, it wouldn’t be totally out of place alongside acts like Christopher Cross and Air Supply that were popular around ’80/’81/’82, but not for long beyond that. I agree that the singing definitely sounds more 70s, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point, but as you said it’s the singing that distinguishes the eras. Popular pre-Disco, but unlike the other “soft” elements failed to re-appear during the Disco Backlash. Interesting that we both dated it as “no later than 82/83”, though for different reasons.

      Are you not watching any seasonals this season? I know you’ve been getting away from them in favor of backlog/classics.

      Like

      1. It doesn’t help that Amazon and Netflix keep taking most of the stuff I would’ve been interested in! But the only seasonal I’m keeping up with right now is Sakura Quest, and even on that one I’m perpetually a few episodes behind, so I’m never able to talk about it. I watched the first episode of Restaurant and I liked it, but it obviously didn’t inspire me to watch more, since I haven’t really given it any thought since then, plus the writeups on it here and elsewhere haven’t exactly been encouraging. My other current series watch besides Sakura Quest is re-watching Hyouka, since I just bought the first set of Blu-Rays. But the biggest time sink for me right now is the Fate/Grand Order mobile game, which just launched an English version at the end of June. Between that and School Idol Festival, which I’ve been playing for two years now, that’s a lot of time I’m spending on anime games instead of anime TV shows.

        Like

        1. Yeah, as soon as I saw Resturaunt, I thought of you. It’s a real shame it’s turned out to be such a flop. Maybe next season… :)

          Games can be such a time sink… I recently downloaded the most recent version of Kerbal Space Program, and it’s been hard to stay away from.

          Like

  4. Wee, thanks for the shout out!

    I agree with Made in Abyss being a strong contender for best show this season. The production is up to snuff, and the narrative is engaging enough that I’m not too worried about where it’s headed. Great round up post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome! It was an interesting article and shed light on something that would be missed otherwise.

      And welcome to the Lounge! Hope to see you around more often!

      Liked by 1 person

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