For various reasons… (the heat, a busy week, downloading the latest version of Kerbal Space Program) I didn’t get last week’s post finished on time. Rather than push it out incomplete, I’m just going to keep plugging away and work on a double entry for this week (the 18th).
There almost certainly won’t be an entry for the following week (weekly post would normally be on the 25th) as that’s the week of the County Fair… And I’ll be working the Fair the 23rd-27th.
Other than The Reflection, I am caught up, so if you have any comments on the week feel free!
3 thoughts on “Delay of post – one week penalty!”
I can sympathise with the heat. It wasn’t that hot during the second half of last week, but up to then it was reliably above 35° C during the day, and since I work the nightshift, that’s when I have to sleep. I rarely managed more than 3 hours a day. It felt like being marinated in bed. After you come out of the shower, that’s the dryest you ever get. (Oh, didn’t I mention it was very humid, too?)
Have fun at the fair.
It wasn’t a very interesting week anyway. It was a good week, but most of the developments were set-ups (especially Made in Abyss, which was supremely creepy, and Koi to Uso, which starts to get into the institional side of our story…). I’m using this space to rank all the shows I’m still watching this season. Since I no longer keep a list, I have no clear idea how many there are. So here I go:
Made in Abyss: A very clear first place. Excellent world building that feeds into characterisation. Good narrative control. Great visuals and sound. Wonderful monster designs. The best fantasy adventure show I’ve seen in a long while.
Tsurezure Children: It’s all about the awkwardness of communication, and it works because all the characters are so likable. I’m a huge fan of Studio Gokumi, but it’s one of those studios whom I like more than their actual shows. Every now and then, though, they churn out a winner, and here it is. It’s perfect for a half-length show. The pacing is good. The character designs are generally simple, but they’re distinctive enough. And I just love the colour design. The writing is almost all awkward dialogue, and the voice acting gets that across splendidly. It’s a show full of charm and little else, but that’s quite enough for me. I just want to root for each and every one of those kids.
Action Heroine Cheer Fruits: A tokusatsu-flavoured mash up of Locodol and Love Live? It’s pretty much exactly what I would have imagined this show to be, except I wasn’t prepared for how well they execute the concept. I loved Locodol but was lukewarm about Love Live. Cheerfruits differs from both shows in that there’s no-one with a grand vision or a plan. Everyone’s got a goal, and the show is extremely good at escalating the character dynamics until they find their groove. Since everyone has their own life, the rather by-the-numbers recruitment arc does a good job of fleshing out the to-be-reinvigorated town, without ever drawing attention to it. You get to know the characters, and suddenly you feel at home in this town. With likable characters, and an enthusiasm perfectly suited to the tokusatsu genre, and an (in-show) audience of mostly children, this is an unexpected gem. I really, really hope it’ll become more easily available at some point.
Princess Principal: Above all, it’s stylish. The characters are likable, the plot is decent, the setting is great. Kajiura delivers, IMO, her best soundtrack since Madoka. When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, they don’t quite have a feel for the “dark side of the soul”; they tend to pull on the more conventional strings – but I don’t mind, because it’s just so stylish.
Youkai Apartment no Yuuga no Nichijou: It’s a show that looks completely unassuming, has no highs and lows, and patters along pleasantly. Then suddenly your realise that the Youkai (and the humans, too) are actually really strange, once you take them out of context, and you wonder how they do it. It’s a slow-burn series. It’s never going to wow you with anything. It looks all down-to-earth and competent, maybe a bit rough around the edges. And a couple of episodes in you realise, you’re completely on board. (“You” here means “I”, but that’s how it goes.) It’s been climbing up in my appreciation week by week, and now that it’s been announced as a two-cour, I wonder where its ceiling is. I can see it overtake Princess Principal, but I doubt it will reach Cheerfruits.
Gamers: If I would compare this to anything it’s those good old screwball comedies of the fifties with Spencer Davis and Katherine Hepburn, except it’s about gaming geeks and it’s very definitely core-otaku anime. I love it, and I really shouldn’t: it’s all misunderstandings, after all. But it works just so well. I really, really hope they involve the rest of the game club soon. Oh, those lovable dorks.
Koi to Uso: This one’s success rests almost entirely on the narrative. The characters are likable, too, but out of context not strong enough to carry a show. If KTU is anything, it’s interesting. I do root for the characters, too, but it’s secondary at that point, because to properly root for them, I’d have to know what’s actually going on. This show has me curious in ways I haven’t experienced a lot in recent seasons. If only I could get used to the character designs.
Kappeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun: About a clean freak who loves to play football. Interestingly, they don’t focus on the MC at all; instead so far, they focus on a different person in his vicinity every week and characterise him by the difference. My favourite episode involves a mangaka who bases a villain on Aoyama who – to the mangaka’s chagrin – becomes more popular than the hero. Thing you never knew you wanted to see: Vampire Tuxedo Mask. After week one, I thought the job couldn’t possibly carry a season, but the off-centre focus makes this show viable. I love it.
Mahoujin Guru Guru (2017): So there’s been an anime of this before? Never heard of it. In a line? A Rumiko Takahashi fan plays Dragon Quest, and this is what goes on in her mind. Little to say other than that it’s good fun, and it’s even more fun when – once in a while – I actually catch a reference.
Youkoso Jitsuryouku Shiju Shugi no Kyoushitsu e: The core premise of Baka to Test treated with the sentiment of Oregairu. It’s interesting, but it walks a thin line between being really itneresting and being slightly stupid. It has the chance to rise up, or to drop down – dramatically, and it might just never change and sit where it sits now forever. I can’t tell. I do really like the art and character designs, though.
Centaur no Nayami: The show that could have been better. It’s an odd feeling to watch an adaption. So far, all the adaptions whose source I knew were either games or – sometimes – novels. I never compared too much. Here? I find myself constantly comparing, and that sort of activity makes it impossible to guess how I’d feel about the show if I came in cold. The world-building feel flater and the creepy background feels more in your face. So I tend to think it’s worse, but then they do sometimes (in little things) improve on the source, and they generally get the characters right (even if the designs have been cutified). It’s hard to place on this list for that reason. Episode 3 was the best one so far, I’d say.
Aho Girl: Embarassment-based humour isn’t my thing, so why is this so fun? First, the voice acting: Yuuki Aoi and Tomokazu Sugita totally live up to my expectations. Second, it’s utterly over-the-top. Third, the jokes aren’t only on the titular character: they share out the embarrassment fairly well. The titular character has the super-power of being completely immune to embarrassment, though. So there’s that. The show’s smart enough to know that that’s not only a disadvantage, but it’s also smart enough not to try for any depth. Finally, it’s smart enough not to try to be smart. It’s openly dumb. What you see is what you get.
The Reflection: I have to put this somewhere so I put it here. I’m enjoying it, but it doesn’t feel the least bit like anime. They’re doing a lot of interesting things. The style is strange, as if they used rotoscoping and then went to make that look like a comic panel? It works, I suspect. Characterisation is good, and I really loved the wheelchair robot episode. It’s very much its own thing, which is good, but which also makes it hard to rank.
Ballroom e Youkoso : A fairly standard shounen sports series which doesn’t know what to do with girls. It had a really good first episode, so I’m sort of sad to see it drop so far. It’s got little chance to rise, either. Oh, well.
New Game!!: The second season of NG is exactly what you’d expect it to be. It should probably be further up, but I have a hard time to place it. Why? It’s one of those shows that enjoy the most while I’m watching, but I tend not to think about it much when I’m not. Luckily, I don’t have to talk about it. If you’ve seen the first season, you know what to expect (it’s just as good, maybe even a little better). If you haven’t seen it, you should start there.
Konbini Kareshi: Like New Game!!, this is a show I don’t think about much when I’m not watching it. It’s good fun, but the animation isn’t the best. The art is expressive enough to get subtle feelings across, though; I appreciate that. The writing is good. The characters are likable, but not memorable. I’m enjoying what is there, but I have little to say about it.
Fate/Apocrypha: With the exception of Fate/Zero I haven’t liked a single entry in the Fate franchise. This one is almost uniformly panned, and I’m enjoying it. Go figure.
Sakura Quest: The quintessential PA Works show continues to be itself. I’ll have to revisit my PA Works ranking list sometime. I suspect it’ll in the very middle.
Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul: I’m enjoying this one more than the first season, and that’s about all I can say about this one. It’s good fun.
Re:Creators: Fairly far down, isn’t it? But, yeah, I’ve sort of lost interest. I’m still enjoying it while watching, but I don’t nearly care as much about what happens as I did during the first season. It’s picking up again, so maybe it’ll rise, but who knows.
Clione no Akari: I recently looked up the voice actors for this one, and it appears they’re all rookies who’ve done shorts like JK Meshi and little else. Figures. The production is solid, actually. I want to root for the show in the same way I want to root for the characters. I really like the writing in this one. It’s one of the very few shows that handles bullying with care, but rather than being judgemental about the social phenomenon, puts the psychology of the affected forefront. Yeah, it’s a cheap looking production. A really good amateur product, but a rather mediocre professional one. Still: it’s obvious that the people who make this care about their subject, and I wish more people would watch it.
Boku no Hero Academia 2: I’ll have to admit to myself that I just don’t like this very much. I mean, I still enjoy watching it, but ultimately its attitude towards heroism rubs me the wrong way, deep down, and I can’t get past that. I said earlier that this show is trying to make me a villain; I feel differently now: this show doesn’t know I exist. My sense of morals don’t seem to figure one way or another in this show. There’s no point of contact. I don’t get the show at all, and it doesn’t get me. I’ll finish this one, and I’ll probably watch season 3, too, because it’s stylish, but well… there it is. I want to like this show more than I do, but at this point I think I should just stop hoping that I’ll connect.
Nana Maru San Batsu: It’s… there I guess. It’s not good, it’s not bad. I have nothing to say.
Isekai Shokudou: Very low on my list, isn’t it? But yeah, sadly, despite actually having good ideas, it just doesn’t come together. The art and character design isn’t actually to my taste either. Disappointment of the season. (But then it would be, since it was about the only show I expected much from.)
Hina Logi: From Luck & Logic: Unexpectedly, I’m having fun watching it. And then I forget it exists until it shows up in the queu again. Soul Eater:SoulEather Not = Luck & Logic:Hina Logi. Yeah, except that Soul Eater was very good, while Luck & Logic was decent at best.
Isekai wa Smartphone Tomo ni: I really didn’t know where to put this. It could go beat out Nana Maru San Batsu actually. It’s unassuming and fun. This show is like a wide-eyed newbie who does things everyone’s done before – without reflecting that it’s all old hat at all. There’s an innocent naivety to this show I wouldn’t have thought possible. It’s amazing in a way. This show embraces cliché as if it was the best thing ever. Once you realise this the enthusiasm is almost contagious. Almost.
Enmusubi no Youko-Chan: Oh dear. See, I’m actually invested in the story. I actually want the characters to succeed and be happy. But the humour… gah! I hate the humour. It’s sexist. It shames fat people. There are obnoxious serial jokes… It’s a long, long list of things I cannot laugh about. And it’s almost always trying to be funny. But I’m invested in the story, so I’m not dropping it. Why is this show doing this to me. Can’t it just be dull, so I can drop it? Or can’t it just dial down its futile attempts at humour? This seasons most frustrating watch.
Musekinin Galaxy Tylor: The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is one of my favourite space opera comedy shows. This? It’s dull to begin with, and it gets worse if I compare it to the show it’s supposed to refer to. I have this theory: lately, there are all those franchise revivals in the works (from FLCL to Kino no Tabi). To prevent this to happen to Tylor, someone made this forgettable five-minute show. Don’t mess with classics. It’s a deliberate warning sign. How do you like my theory?
Nora to Oujo to Nora Neko Heart: It’s a bad season for very short shorts (well Teekyu‘s probably as good as ever, but I’m not up to date with that). I have no idea why this is a short. It’s got the makings of a decent normal show; I can’t tell how good it would be because what’s there makes no sense. A harem show where you turn the harem lead into a cat who wants nothing so much as run away from the girls who fawn over his cuteness but can’t because then he’ll be stuck as a cat forever? It’s a good idea actually. But this? This? Grrr…
I’m keeping an eye out for 18if. I’ve watched three episodes: one was okayish, one was aweful, and one was great. It feels like one of those episodic shows where the style varies greatly from episode to episode. Think Space Dandy or Sengoku Collection. I’ve decided not to watch the show, but if I hear good things about individual episodes, I’ll tune in for a guest watch. (Do watch episode 3 – if that’s the one with shy girl stuck in her own world all alone; people said it was great, and it was.)
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It’s been more like 80F (26C) plus here, which isn’t that unusual, but for nearly a month – which is. No chance for anything to really cool down. Worse was the inversion layer that held the smoke from the wildfires up in BC down to the ground and let it spread down here. But it broke over the weekend and temperatures are now much more seasonable and reasonable. It’s almost 76 (24) as I type, almost time to think about hooking up the AC. (We have a little portable for keeping the living room cool because the heat is Really Bad for my wife’s guinea pigs.)
Abyss – Yah, I’m glad you and a couple of others wouldn’t shut up about it… AOTS by such a wide margin that it isn’t even funny. It’s been quite a while since a show has gone so deep into the season with no missteps. I’m almost starting to be afraid for it…
PriPri – ‘Stylish’ is a good term, I just may ‘borrow’ it. :)
Re:Creators It was getting a bit slow there, but I think that now that we’re into the final battle things will be picking up. That confrontation with Blitz Takka was a hell of a thing wasn’t it? And there’s a couple of characters not accounted for yet…
Yeah, I should do a mid-season review too, but I just can’t see that happening. Especially since I have two other posts I hope to get out this week, plus the weekly review post, plus spending all day tommorrow out at the Fairgrounds. (Supporting the judging of the photo contest.)
Oh, yeah, that scene with Blitz and his creator was great. The setup is interesting, too. And we certainly don’t know what the original character is that Souta proposed. The thing is, I sort of slipped out and I’m unlikely to get invested if the rest is all final battle (multiple episodes, true to shounen style). If they change tracks next episode (or the one thereafter) the chances look better.