Wow… Some very, very good episodes this week. Konohana Kitan hits one out of the park, Girls Last Tour is once again quietly excellent, and Yuuki Yuuna: The Hero Chapter hits the ground running.
Hit the jump and let’s dive in!
Just as a reminder, shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics.
Ancient Magus Bride, ep 8
Is anyone else getting as frustrated with Magus Bride as I’m getting? It started out pretty good, if a bit repetitive… But it’s slowed down and gotten mired under it’s own weight. This week was lots of exposition intermixed with odd bits of action, and so much of it was left unexplained.
Magus is set to be two cour, but at the moment I just can’t see it.
I think this tweet sums up my feelings – Magus Bride has lost the sense of wonder that characterized the OVA and the early episodes, and replaced it with a rather pedestrian drama.
Anime Gataris, ep 8
At first I thought the whole bit about “getting other clubs to talk about anime about their activity” was a cynical gambit to try and meet the impossible goal of filling the stadium. But, the more I thought about it, turns out I was the cynical one. In reality, it’s a subtle way to bring one of AG‘s points to life – “anime is for everyone and connects all of us”.
And of course this scene was funny as hell – Minoa learns the truth about her father.
Otherwise, it was pretty much a “meh” episode.
Blend-S, ep 8
I dunno… honestly, this episode didn’t work for me. I’ve been awaiting the introduction of the idol character, and then they really didn’t do anything with him beyond lame relationship advice leading to the usual misunderstandings. Yeah, him, turns out the idol character is a crossdresser. Kudo’s to the writers and the director for simply taking that in stride instead of indulging in the usual tropes and insulting characterizations.
Girls Last Tour, ep 8
This is one of the last shows I’m writing about this week… and I’m running out of steam and superlatives. Despite that, I will say that I’m astounded that Girls can continue to turn out such a variety of episodes that range from the merely very good to f*cking outstanding.
I did see this tweet this morning, and I think it’s interesting and relevant:
Idolmaster: SideM, ep 8
It’s an idol show, that means you’re eventually going to get either a beach episode or a training focus/training camp episode. This week, SideM serves up both on a single platter.
It’s a curious coincidence though. The boys of 315Pro use the exact same facility the girls of 765Pro used in The Idolm@ster Movie. This was probably the studio saving a few bucks by reusing existing background art. However, just as the girls of 765Pro go into a water fight, the younger boys of 315Pro get into a water gun fight… Oh, and another callback to the earlier series – the ‘big production number’ that will cap the big concert is also the series OP. I know I’ve praised SideM for being true to the franchise roots, but maybe they went a little far this week? :) Or maybe it’s just that I’m a fanboy and thus prone to noticing these things.
Anyhow, overall it was a well done episode and once again much flowed from the characterizations previously established. Jupiter fell naturally into their roles and professionals and sort-of senpais to the new idols. The members of Dramatic Stars (the first hired and thus also senpais) also settled in their role in leading the other idols.
I kinda liked this bit… Emphasizing the difference in ages between the various units. While the high schoolers are having a pillow fight (another idol training camp staple), the older members are sitting on the porch enjoying a cold one.
Inuyashiki, ep 7
The subtitle of this episode should be “Shishigami’s Redemption??” Shion, unwilling to accept that Hiro is a merciless killer, appeals to his better side. I can’t call myself surprised that this works, as we were given and glimpse at that two episodes ago… But the episode following (last week) he returned to form as he sought revenge for his mother’s death. Whatever he actually is (and few humans are actually black and white), he’s definitely not stable. But in the end, in the cliffhanger, he’s still a wanted killer. Next episode, he’s going to have to face a difficult choice – own up, or go full murderous.
Just Because, ep 7
This week, it’s all about Eita. He’s long held feelings for Mio and finally decides to put them into practice. It’s still not clear that Mio reciprocates fully, but she stomps hard on Ena’s request for permission to ask Eita out on a date. Which is pretty cold if you ask me. I wish we knew more about Mio and Ena’s relationship, Ena seems like she’s an outsider if not outcast.
Ena explains why she loved the photography club… I get it, I really do. When you finally find a place where your tribe gathers, it’s hard to let it go, hard to watch it die. Her expressions and tone during this sequence were what’s leading me to believe she’s something of an outsider – clinging to the one place where she has found a home.
And just for reference: Taking pictures of people in public places is not illegal in Japan.
It some ways it was hard to watch this weeks ep… Any other show, the animation wouldn’t be a problem. But Just Because was written and storyboarded based on the animation quality of the first couple of episodes.
It also appears there was a recap episode last week, but it’s just now appeared on Strike.
Konohana Kitan, Ep 8
O… M… G… One the most fantastic twists I’ve ever seen, and quite possibly the best episode of the season. Not best episode of the series – of the season.
While all the reviewers and many of the viewers have been concentrating on the fox girl yuri and the characters in the foreground… The show has slowly been laying the foundations brick-by-brick in the background. Episode by episode they’ve gotten us to accept that the fantastic is the commonplace at Konohanatei. That the supernatural is just another day at the office for Yuzu and the rest of the staff. That wonder and imagination are just another form of reality…
And it’s all been leading up to this:
Honestly, it’s going to be hard to top this and I’m not sure they’re even going to try. It would take an exceptional show to make two episodes like this, yet alone four more. So long as the storytelling doesn’t fall below the previous standard, I’ll still be glad to have watched Konhana.
Land of the Lustrous, ep 8
If metals are not really useful to the gems, then why did Antarcticite even try them to replace Phos’s arms in the first place? I hate it when anime characters say “this won’t work”, and then do it anyway…
Did anyone else notice that Phos’s chrysalis strongly resembled the crystalline structure of Fool’s Gold? And yes, considering what happened next, I think chrysalis is the proper term. And… interesting. Until just now, looking up “chrysalis” to link to, I hadn’t known the term derives from the Greek word for “gold”.
And when the chrysalis opens… we meet a transformed Phos. Not just physically, but emotionally as well. Something about Antarcticite’s capture (death?) has finally tripped a trigger inside the gem.
For the first time in several episodes, I’m actually looking forward to see What Happens Next.
Love Live Sunshine, ep 8
Aaah… Poor Ruby, always the little sister, never really a person in her own right. With the exception of Dia’s, the character episodes/beats this season have been something of a mess and not at all kind to their subjects. (And we will not speak of this week’s reduction of Hanamaru to little more than a running gag.) The second season has not really lived up to my hope that they’d let the girls flower naturally and their interactions and actions flow from there. These few moments were the best part of the first season.
Saint Snow doesn’t fare much better, seemingly to have been created to fail and leaving Aqours without any canon rivals… On the other hand, I honestly think this is a good thing. It leaves the thematic field clearer for their struggles against fate and emphasises how isolated and distant Uranohoshi Girls’ High School really is.
March Comes in like a Lion, ep 7
It’s hard to call an episode this intense a “relaxing” episode, but that’s what it really was when compared to the balance of the arc to date.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie, ep 8
This episode was something of a mess to put it politely. Between justifying last week’s twist, getting Yuta’s background into the record, and the long overdue IRL heart-to-heart between Moriko and Yuta… lots of talk and infodump this week, and little of the charm that’s marked the series to date. And we still haven’t gotten the full story of Moriko’s background. With only two episodes left to go, there’s a lot to pack in yet.
Wake Up Girls: New Chapter, ep 8
OK, I’m an admitted fanboy of WUG – but I am getting frustrated. They keep talking about the “first time doing this” and “the first time doing that”… No wonder they’re still unknowns – they’ve spent the last three years essentially sitting on their butts.
That being said, it was heartwarming watching the girls of (that will become) Run Girls Run and their earnest struggles to be hired at Green Leaves. It’s no accident that Mayu became their champion… Much more than the others, she understands those struggles.
Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Hero Chapter, Ep 1
First episode of the sequel series… and it starts out with the girls of the Hero Club going about their ordinary daily life. It didn’t take very long to figure out something was very wrong – where the h*ll was Mimori?
Of all the clues they dropped – this one chilled me the most. At a memorial to the war dead, the marker on the left is Minowa Gin’s… The marker on the right, blank. I don’t know why it chilled me so, it just did. (And is the blank one for Mimori/Washio, or for Sonoko?)
Various things remind the Hero Club of Mimori, and it doesn’t take them long to come to the realization that something is very wrong. Their memories have been tampered with… And now they do remember her. A flashback sequence makes things even odder. The tampering is fairly recent, after Sonoko joined the Hero Club and her and Washio were re-united. A very touching scene – and did anyone else catch that Sonoko’s ribbon, seen in the screenshot above, is a mirror image of the one she gave to Washio? (And which Mimori treasures greatly.)
And then things get really weird… before the memory wipe, Mimori was operating as National Defense Mask – doing good deeds and righting wrongs to atone for her previous actions. (Trying to destroy the world would weigh heavily on me too…) I really don’t get what’s going on here – the Taisha doesn’t normally seem to be that incompetent. (Unfeeling and inconsiderate sure, but not incompetent.) If they wanted to erase everyone’s memories of Mimori, why wait so long?
And then the final disturbing image… who is the girl in the flames? It’s not Mimori… but she does (possibly) appear to be in a Hero outfit…
OK, and there you have it for the week! How did your week go? Drop a line in the comments and let us know!