Busy, busy week… lots of shows and a new format for my weekly post…
All that after the jump!
Just as a reminder, shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics.
This season is just gonna kill me – there’s simply too much stuff… So, I’m going to have to rethink how I do things. On top of that, the stress of the last two seasons is also leading me to rethink how I do things. To explain… Over the last couple of seasons I’ve slipped into a more analytic mode, and coming up with that each week is stressful as hell. Even without that, there’s too much stuff this reason for one human being to reasonably analyze every show every week.
So I’m going back to what worked so well when this blog as in the comments section at Mage in a Barrel as well as my first season or two of blogging on my own… Shorter blurbs with longer form writing only as warranted. I’m going to try and concentrate on what Karandi (at 100 Words Anime) called a more conversational style. This feels much more natural to me.
All that being said, let’s dive in shall we?
Ancient Magus Bride, Ep 2
Basically a quiet episode devoted mostly to exposition and character development. Is there a problem with that? No, not when it’s handled so deftly and easily.
What I did find especially interesting is Chise’s reactions the fairy creatures that she can see. Unlike her childhood (as shown in the OVA series), now she’s accepting of them. How much of that is due to her constantly being surrounded by them now? Or is the nature of the ones she’s seeing different than the ones that assaulted her when she was younger? I strongly suspect the latter plays a role.
- Crunchyroll posted a very useful article by ZeroReq011 from therefore it is outlining the differences between how magic works in Magus, and how we’re used to seeing it depicted in Hollywood.
Anime Gataris, Ep 2
Frankly, I spent a good chunk of this ep smiling my fool head off… Not only because of the many clever references they weave in, but because of how well they spoof otaku culture. But, being tropish as it is they couldn’t resist reaching for the classic “the Student Council is going to shut this club down!” routine. On the other hand, I look forward to seeing how the handle it given their track record to date.
Blend-S, Ep 2
Honestly, the smiling/cold version of Maika’s “Sadistic” personality strikes me as far more intimidating than the simply brutal version in the first ep… Though mildly tropish, it’s still funny.
Girls Last Tour, Ep 2
Charming… Horrifying… Wonderful. Chito and Yuuri manage to remain innocent even in the face of the existential crisis they face on a daily basis. Instead of collapsing in terror or putting on a strong a brave facade, they simply go about their lives and take pleasure in the little things like a warm bath or a clean clothes.
Idolm@ster: SideM, Ep 2
If you have never watched the original series (shame on you!), this episode is a an example of what made Idolm@ster so good… It’s not about drama, or flash, but about letting the personalities of the idols come through by their behavior and interaction. Oh, and because the basic plot threads of this episode were lifted directly from eps 2 (photo session) and 13 (concert in danger of not happening) of the original series.
Which isn’t actually all that bad, as they aren’t direct copies and SideM puts it’s own spin on both of them. The photo session emphasises the individuals finding their places in the groups and the groups finding their identity. The original (which had no sub-units at that point) put all of it’s emphasis on the individuals establishing their identity.
In the same way, SideM works with it’s own narrative continuity at the concert. Rather than some of the idols being late/not showing up, it’s the staff. Thanks to their years as ronin idols, Jupiter are used to taking a role in setting up the concert… Their example inspires the newer idols of 315Pro to pitch in as a group to make the concert happen.
Like the original series, SideM is setting up to focus less on the external challenges that idols face and more on how they face them as individuals and as part of a group.
- Over at Isn’t It Electrifying, illegenes wrote Passing The Baton, a nicely done piece on the narrative and stylistic connections between the original Idolm@ster and SideM.
Inuyashiki, Ep 1
I find Ichiro an interesting protagonist, because he’s a rarity in anime – a modern character who is my age. (I’m fifty something as you may recall.) My life hasn’t always been smooth and I too have had those twinges in my body, and at this age you’re starting to wonder if those are the first signs of Something Serious. On the other hand, my wife randomly calls or texts me in the middle of the day to see how I’m doing so I can’t even begin to imagine the hell that side of his life must be.
On the other hand, the author seems to have a low opinion of “young’uns these days”. There’s not a single sympathetic younger character in sight. In one fantasy sequence and one real life action sequence, Ichiro is shown standing up to these little demons and putting them in their place… Frankly, that’s not much to build a show around. Doubly so since the young’n that features in the fantasy sequence also undergoes the same transformation as Ichiro.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Inuyashiki has great promise! But it needs to step back from edge it currently has it’s toes over to become truly great.
Just Because, Ep 2
An episode where almost nothing happened, yet a whole bunch went on. The main plot involved a trip to an aquarium that grew from just a couple to a handful… Yet they managed to bring out so much of the characters personalities and relationships.
Dangit… This is one of those shows that needs a longer writeup, but I left it to too near my deadline. Going to have to rethink exactly how I schedule all this.
And the big reveal – Natsume wasn’t pining for the absent Eita. She was pining for the very much present Haruto. It’s going to take a tall bit of explanation as to how four years have gone by without her confessing. Not to mention how she’s still so stressed over the near miss to threaten Eita over the possibility that it’s existence might be revealed.
- Edsmac over at Anima & Anime made an interesting post about something most Western viewers (like me) probably missed – how the choices of dialect and accent alter perceptions of the characters.
- kViN at the Sakuga Blog posts some interesting and distressing news – Just Because!‘s production appears to be in deep trouble, and he provides some of insight as to the reasons why.
Kino’s Journey, Ep 2
I wasn’t sold after the first ep… but the second ep intrigued me. But the longer I think about it, the less there is to like about Kino’s Journey. We’re two eps in, and we know little to nothing about the protagonist, and have even less reason to care about him and his journey.
- Scott at Mechanical Anime Reviews compares the second episode of the current series to the same story as told in the 2003 version, and the modern version comes up short. (That seems to be a pretty common opinion.)
Honestly, I think Kino’s is teetering on the edge of the drop zone.
Konohana Kitan, Ep 2
Tsundere Satsuki and charming innocent Yuzu have a mutual day off… and Satsuki takes Yuzu into town to see the sights. After an improbable encounter, the girls discover their mutual affection.
As Dawnstorm said Satsuki is no Minchi, but even so we don’t really have enough of a handle on her personality to really make this episode work for me. The same thing goes for the rest of the personal relationships between the various staff members at Konohatei. It really kinda felt like I’d managed to skip ahead a few episodes and was watching ep 5 or 6.
Land of the Lustrous, Ep 2
I wasn’t really sold on Land after the first episode… But I am warming to it. I absolutely loved Dia – the hardest of the gems, but also among the most fragile. Her characterization was wonderfully done.
I could do without the pseudo-scientific gobbledygook though. It adds nothing to the show, and it’s poor handling actively detracts significantly from it.
Love is Like a Cocktail, Ep 2
Honestly, this is a short without much going on… I’m still watching, but unless there’s something particularly noteworthy I won’t be mentioning it each week.
Love Live Sunshine, Ep 2
This episode mostly left me annoyed. It starts with a sudden miracle out of nowhere – the school can yet be saved! The middle portion was mostly phoned in… Not only can the girls not get along well enough to write a song together, they can’t (or won’t) even try to compromise. I know I’ve said before that the natural interaction of the girls produces some of the best moments of the show… But you can overdo it, and they did. And in the end, another miracle happens and (offscreen) a song is written – fade to ED.
I know the Love Live franchise is built on irrepressible optimism, ganbatte, and sudden miracles – but they can do better than this. They’ve done better than this. The second season is off to a very shaky start. Now that the introductions and setup are out of the way, maybe they can move more confidently forward.
March Comes in like a Lion, Ep 1
An absolutely lovely episode showcasing Rei in his new role as a member of the Afterschool Science Shogi Club. Even he marvels at how natural it feels to take part in the activities and to have fun doing so. I think this comes in part from his opening up and learning to interact with people as part of Shimada’s workshop last season. The Kawamoto sisters accepting (adopting!) him as essentially a member of their family didn’t hurt either.
But speaking of last season, that was the one thing that felt ‘off’ to me about this episode… It felt more like it should have been last season’s finale rather than the somewhat OVA like episode we did get. According to the season reviewer at ANN, this is a consequence of their adaptation choices… They’re simply ticking through the manga chapters in order, with little to no compromise with the demands of a seasonal anime. It’s a darn good thing that Lion is so good, any lesser show would founder under the weight of such an error.
My Girlfriend is a Shobitch Ep 1
Well, I will say this – My Girlfriend spends pretty much no time pretending that it isn’t a garbage fanservice comedy with no redeeming values. What you see it what you get. It’s actually painful to watch though because while tries so very hard, it isn’t actually funny.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie, Ep 2
And now our two future lovebirds have met in real life through one of those coincidences so beloved of anime – only they don’t know it yet. And when they do know it, things are going to get complicated as Morkio/Hayashi is living a lie… She’s letting her guildies (including love interest Yuta/Lily) believe that she is actually a he.
But despite being a bit tropish, Recovery is basically mindlessly enjoyable. Nothing wrong with that.
Two Car, Ep 2
A bit of an odd narrative choice here, the second episode seems to take place before the first episode… It worked to introduce the characters I guess, but the second ep felt a bit off as a consequence. Not helping matters was the two (somewhat forced) riding/racing sequences that ended up blurring together and confusing themselves with the “warm up” (non) race in the first episode.
We also learn that the main characters aren’t the only team with… err… issues between the driver and the passenger. Issues serious enough that the passenger and driver end up staying in different (though adjacent) inns. So, it looks like much of the narrative of the season will be the teams working through those issues.
Surprisingly it turns out my favorite character so far is the narrator from the Broadcast Club. Sleepy, dopy, and a bit of a pill off camera – she goes all genki as soon as the cameras roll.
Wake Up Girls: New Chapter, Ep 2
President Tange has a brainstorm – to increase WUG’s visibility before the upcoming (and still somewhat tenuous) national tour, she’s going to get the girls a bunch of solo appearances. But since that means the girls will see less and less of each other, she arranges for the girls to all move in together. Tange-donno gets it. WUG’s greatest strength is their mutual friendship and absolutely unshakeable faith in themselves as a team. Living together will help maintain that bond while they’re all off on solo or small group work during the day.
Of course Kōhei once again gets the short end of that stick – driving all over town to ferry to girls to their new dorm.
The value of that bond is almost instantly demonstrated when Kaya starts hiding the fact she’s avoiding eating (claiming she’s already eaten) because she’s gained weight… Under the guise of jogging to the konbini, she’s been eating stealthily (and unhealthily) and when the girls decide to accompany her one evening, she’s caught at it. Rather than judging, the girls as a group chide her for not being open with them and look for ways to help her. She realizes her mistake and accepts the help.
Two quick scenes show us something interesting… We’re told in the first ep that the idol business is faltering, to the point where even the mighty I-1 Club is taking hits. What’s behind all this? Virtual idols. In-ter-esting.
Yuki Yuna is a Hero, Ep 2
As we started watching Yuki Yuna the other night, my wife remarked how horrible it was to watch… And really, the show doesn’t rate that. The horror comes from the viewer knowing, in detail, the fate of each of our young heroines. Especially the worse than death fates of Washio Sumi/Togo Mimori and Nogi Sonoko.
In reality, so far it’s been a bog standard magical girl series. The only standout feature is that the girls are shown visibly dirty and worn after battle. This week’s bog standard episode is the Team Training episode – the girls learn to work together and a Leader is appointed. It’s been hinted that Washio is the main character, but instead Nogi is chosen… Cheer to the nice continuity touches though, their training takes place at the same beach hotel that the girls relax at in the original series. Jeers to the unwanted and unneeded fanservice surfacing again. What are they thinking?
Should be clear here… Bog Standard isn’t a qualitative evaluation, it’s a descriptive term. It can be good or bad depending on how it’s executed. (And, to be honest, the viewer/critics bias.) In this case, thumbs up.
So, there you have it! How did your week in anime go? Let us know down in the comments.