Man, it’s been hard to finish up this entry today… The weather is finally much more clement, but the air is still smokey. On top of that, the landscaping crew has been hard at work today and their !#@$ leaf blowers always give me a mild headache.
Anyhow, ’tis done – so hit the jump and let’s run down this week’s shows. Afterwards, drop me a line in the comments and let us know what you think of this week’s shows.
No review this week, as I had a meeting last night. A very productive one, I’m on the team that’s putting on Yule Feast for our local SCA branch and we visited the site we’ll be using and the staff brainstormed on a variety of things related to the event.
And the kitchen! Swoon! A proper professional kitchen! Among other things, I’m helping to cook and we’re going to have a great team in a proper kitchen.
Love & Lies, Ep 10
Booooring! The first half of the episode was largely spent in not being able to get into contact with a newly introduced character. The second was spent with said character monologuing on how she wanted to ‘protect’ Misaki. Or more accurately she wants to support Misaki’s childish notion of ‘love’… and we all know that Misaki is in ‘love’ with a Yukari that’s largely a creation of her own imagination.
A picture is worth a thousand words… Misaki has known of Yukari for some years, but she’s only actually known him for a short time, really only a few days more than Ririna. In that short time however, Ririna has learned (and remembered) much, much more about Yukari. Misaki may ‘love’ Yukari, but Ririna cares about him and consciously or consciously displays that care. Even her ultimately misguided support of Yukari x Misaki comes back to that central theme.
Love & Lies is so frustrating. It tries so very hard – but it just keeps missing its own point. Crushes and/or sexual attraction are not love. There. Done. Let’s move on.
Oh, and if they don’t do something with the Checkov’s Gun represented by Nisaka, I’m gonna throw things.
Made in Abyss, Ep 9
If I hadn’t found out that this was anime unique ‘filler’, I’d have never guessed it. Reg has been a large part of the focus of the last few eps, but this week the camera takes Riko into its gaze. And what we see is an extended look at her grit, courage, and determination. None of this is counter to anything we’ve seen before, but it was nice to see it all laid out so cleanly.
My wife, who loves all cute little creatures, fell in love with these little fellows. She thinks the noise they were making wasn’t anger or threats – but wheeking like her guinea pigs do when they’re ready for veggie time.
For comparison here is Miss Molly informing us that she is ready for breakfast:
Also, it’s always interesting to see the ebb-and-flow of posts on various shows… Earlier in the Summer MHA predominated with thoughts on the Hero Killer arc. Now, as Abyss‘s full impact is being felt, there’s a lot of striking pieces on it starting to appear.
- Scott at Mechanical Anime Reviews posts on why Abyss is his Summer 2017 Standout.
- Carriage writes a deeply personal piece on Maruruk and the Seeker’s Camp.
- Atelier Emily writes a powerful piece on Riko and how her motivations, agency, and curiosity drive her to seek the Abyss. It was written before this week’s ep aired, but none the less powerfully foreshadows it.
My Hero Academia 2, Ep 21
I went and looked it up on the BNH Wikia, and to my surprise this ep wasn’t filler. Which is kinda surprising since it was such an end-to-end lame/weak episode. A transition between arcs is a useful thing… I have to wonder if this ep was adapted too slavishly from the manga. (What works in a manga doesn’t always on-screen and vice versa)
Anyhow, now we know how the finals eps of the season are going to play out. It will be interesting to see how it works after the strong ending of Season One. Though, unlike S1, this time they all but know there’s going to be a sequel. (Two cour, probably premiering Summer or Fall 2018. You heard it here first folks!)
Princess Principal, Ep 9
Yay! An entire episode dedicated to Best Girl – Chise!
I’m a bit less than pleased that so much of the episode seems based on viewing her through Western stereotypes. On the other hand, that would be representative of how she’d be viewed in-world in a milieu that’s largely western. On the balance I’d have to say it was decently done if a little annoying.
But this week, the cracks in Princess Principal as a show continue to deepen and widen. It’s the third episode in a row that’s been more character based than action based. Characters have certainly played a large and successful role in PriPri, but early on they were much better integrated with the action. And it’s action that the show’s early rep was built on. The shift from “show” to “tell” changes the nature of the show, and not (IMO) for the better. Telling is boring, and episodes should not be mostly infodump. It’s still a good show, but it would be better if the needle swung more back towards a balance of characters and action.
They’ve spent a lot of time on extended setup, but we still don’t have much of a clue where they’re actually going. Operation:Changeling is obviously very important, but we still don’t know much about it. Did I miss somewhere that this is supposed to be a two cour show?
Re:Creators, Ep 20
That was… a crowded and busy episode. The Good Guys deployed their Ultimate Weapon, only to have their plans foiled. (Mostly I suspect because of the plot requires that it fail.) All of the Creations on humanity’s side are now by one means or another out of the picture… except for Blitz Taaka. Why him I wonder? Could it be that, having suffered the loss of his daughter and gone on a rampage as a result, he’s the closest thematically to Altair? Because he’s a father figure? I’m seriously curious and hopeful that they actually do something with him.
But that ending… that ending.
We knew Sota had an additional secret weapon. We knew Magane had a role yet to play. Combining the two was frankly brilliant.
And that final frame… Notice whose glasses she’s wearing…
For the second ep in a row, Re:Creators ends not on a cliffhanger – but paused in that moment after they’ve ripped the audience’s heart out.
OK everyone… Now, breathe. One final thought… the ANN reviewer expects a finale and then a farewell ep. I suspect at least somewhere in there, the Good Guys are going to have to find Magane and stuff her back in her box.
- A bit late, but Humble Ace takes a look at Re:Creators’ now (justifiably) famous recap episode.
Sakura Quest, Ep 23
Man… that speech struck home. Back in the 90’s, I owned a bookstore downtown and was a deeply involved in the downtown revitalization effort… And we grappled with this question regularly. Who were we doing this for and why? Most viewed it as a kind of community service thing, business was good for the town. Me? I just wanted to sell more books. I was pretty much in it out of enlightened self-interest. (And I even entertained thought of a cafe much like Noge’s, but lacked the necessary capital.)
But Manoyama is in a different boat. They’re not trying build business (as we were), they’re trying to save a community and a way of life. (Best illustrated a few episodes back in the Warayiba Village arc. Those are probably the best articulation of Sakura‘s theme in the entire series.) That’s a much taller order and the Queen put her finger right on the crux of the problem – you can’t save a community by dividing it. But then they dropped an un-foreshadowed bombshell… Manoyama faces a fate worse than death. The village will simply be absorbed into a larger entity. This is a real thing, and actually happens, but it really sucks that they just airdropped it in. It’s entirely too big a thing to deal with (and avert realistically) in the few episodes they have left.
The series has been very uneven all along, but there’s always been the hope that they’d stick the landing. Now that too is in serious doubt.
And what is the Queen’s college degree in? She seems to have no marketable skills whatsoever.
- And very timely – this article from The Atlantic came across my twitter feed earlier this week: Can Anything Stop Rural Decline? An article on Japan’s aging rural population and what effects it’s having.
Tsududure Children, Ep 10
This weeks ep can be best described as frustrating. While the individual segments were as well done as usual, overall it felt like they were marking time. It’s too early to start rolling out the happy (or tear jerking) endings, so they drop some random roadblocks.
And that wraps up the week! Some good, some less so, but that’s pretty much par for the course. What did you think of this week’s shows?