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.
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.
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).
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!