Fall 2017 – Week 9

Well, here we are…  Most shows moving into their final arcs and starting to build towards the climax.  Some are doing their own things, but that’s OK too.

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Hit the jump, and let’s dive right in shall we?

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 9

Honestly, in the manga this was probably a nice bridge between arcs.  On the screen, it felt mostly like filler.  It had enough material that it wasn’t actually filler…  but it still felt like it.

Anime Gataris, ep 9

After a stretch of decent episodes…  This week Gataris overplayed it’s hand.  Their “anime is for everyone” and “anime connects us all” themes are good and all, but they took it to a level that’s completely beyond ridiculous.  The show simply isn’t strong enough to spoof itself.  The episode closed with the return of the pointless “club is to be shut down” plot, in the person of the principal himself.

Blend-S, ep 9

Gotta say, I didn’t care for this week’s ep.  Once again, by concentrating on side characters, Blend-S loses touch with the workplace comedy and inter-personal hijinks that it does so well.

Girls Last Tour, ep 9

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Sometimes there comes an episode where I just can’t even do it justice…  This is one such episode.  Like March Comes in like a Lion, this week Girls Last Tour manages the impossible and simply surpasses itself.

Idolmaster: SideM, ep 9

Everyone else having had their time in focus, this week they returned to Jupiter.  This ep took a more personal turn than Jupiter’s previous episodes, and looked at them as individuals and on their individual personalities.  (315Pro’s other units have had this focus, but Jupiter really hadn’t until this week.)  Building neatly on their roles as leaders last week, they also showed how Jupiter’s experience and professionalism inspire the other idols.

But as the final arc gains steam, I find myself a little bit sad…  Unlike the previous two outings in the franchise, it appears that Side:M will only be one cour.  That’s a crying shame.

Inuyashiki, ep 8

Honestly, I clicked play this week expecting to drop Inuyashiki.  After basically four episodes centering on Hiro and his heel-face-heel turns with the titular character being all-but-absent, I’ve had just about enough.  But…  the short piece with Mari gave me faint hope even as the longer segments of Hiro all but crushed those hopes.

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Oh, and they casually dropped da bomb – what I’m guessing is the final arc of the story, some more conventional super-heroics.  I may yet drop the show.

Just Because!, ep 8

Ena defies Mio’s ban and (with some assistance from her cat) asks Eita out on a date.  They encounter Mio – and Mio is pissed.  Can’t quite figure out what’s she pissed at though.  Definitely pissed at Ena and Eita to some extent, but also at herself I think.  As shown in the first segment, the party at Hazuki’s, she’s very uncertain about her future – and her relationship with Ena is a huge part of that uncertainty.  I think she knows she wants something more, but lacks the courage to reach out and grasp it.  We’re also given hints that she’s on her current path more-or-less by default, and now (after the conversation with her sister) she knows it too.

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Konohana Kitan, ep 9

A bit of an odd and uneven episode…  But it had it’s funny moments and those were a nice change of pace after the increasing seriousness and depth over the last few weeks.

Land of the Lustrous, ep 9

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This week, Lustrous managed something I thought it never would…  It made me pity Phos.  She’s finally became everything she ever wanted, a seasoned veteran and quite possibly the most powerful of the gems in terms of sheer combat capability.  But despite her newfound exterior strength, inside she’s broken under the weight of the price she paid.  It really hurt to watch the blank emotionless Phos who now inhabits the body of the formerly ebullient Phos.

Outstanding episode, though I could have done without the other gems dressing and acting like pre pubescent schoolgirls.  Other than Bort of course, Bort is always Bort.

Love Live Sunshine, ep 9

Poor Ruby…  Not only is she stuck as the eternal little sister, her chance/episode to shine was buried under irrelevancies and stale Yoshiko (Yohane!) jokes – zura.   They didn’t even try when it came to final reveal and it had all the impact of a bowl of cold oatmeal.  In the end, we didn’t even get to see Saint Aquors Snow perform…  Instead, once again, we got a music video (with the full cast rather than the two sisters) dropped in place of a proper in-world performance.

March Comes in like a Lion, ep 8

This sounds kinda trite – but WOW.  Somehow 3-gatsu managed to not only raise it’s already high bar, but then effortlessly vaulted it.  In the first segment, Rei did what he should have done quite a ways back – brought his teacher/mentor into the loop with regards to Hina and the bullying.  In the second, we finally get Nikaidou’s full story…  How, despite his illness and how easy it would have been to be a dilettante supported by his inherited wealth, he’s chosen a more difficult path.  And he takes that path seriously.

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In the end though, Rei has to work through a difficult realization – he can’t smooth Hina or Nikaidou’s paths.  Trying to do so would not only make things worse and would threaten friendships he’s grown to treasure.  Sometimes doing nothing is the hardest thing to do.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie, ep 9

This episode is all about Moriko and Yuta stumbling and bumbling their way through the fallout of last weeks bombshell – Yuta is Lily.  (A bombshell to them, we the audience have known for weeks and weeks.)  Neither is at all sure where they want to go from here – as online friends, as IRL friends, or as something more.  Still, charming and relatable as all hell.   As a side note, Koiwai has resigned from the game.  I still don’t fully trust his motives, but he’s man enough to know he doesn’t belong on this field.

Wake Up Girls: New Chapter, ep 9

Something of a stumbling mess…  Everyone is still trying to figure out how to make the tour work and overcome the three years they’ve spent spinning their wheels.  Hayasaka makes a brief appearance, sends the music for a new song to the Girls, and then vanishes stage right.  The virtual idol plot is still stalled, and nobody understands what the hell the I-1 club is up to.  Well, President Shiraki no doubt does but he keeps his own counsel as always.

Yuki Yuna is a Hero: Hero Chapter, ep 2

It was all so easy wasn’t it?  Sonoko bullies the Taisha into returning their phones and they set off on their rescue mission.

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Something bothers me about the phones though…  Yuna, Fu, Itsuki, Karin, and a slot for Mimori’s.   What about Sonoko’s?

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We didn’t get a full henshin sequence (the episode was actually packed pretty full), but we did get this shot post transformation.

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Something else to note…  They only have one fairy guardian each, their original (pre-old system Mankai) one.

Transformed and fully powered up, they set off determined to rescue Mimori from the hell she’s imprisoned herself in.  The Taisha may have facilitated her, but she’s still determined to punish herself for her actions and the danger she put the world in.

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And…  mission accomplished.  Mimori is rescued, the world is stable and safe.  (Here we can also clearly see Wasshio/Mimori and Sonoko’s mirror image ribbons.)

But then the final, terrible, reveal.  It’s never that easy in the Yuna-verse, there’s always a price to be paid.  Always.  I think the Taihsa has lied to the girls, again.

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And there we have it…  Big things moving in a lot of shows.   How did your week go, what did you think of your shows?

15 thoughts on “Fall 2017 – Week 9”

  1. I have little problem with Blend S, but then I never thought it was anything all that special to begin with. I expected to drop it at episode 1, and I’m still watching and having fun, and that’s good enough. The low point, for me, was still the beach episode. Other than that, some episodes are better, some worse, but not by much. I find the series comfortable, fun, and expendable.

    Girl’s Last Tour had one of my favourite episodes yet. It’s such a reliable show, and as a show with such a minimal cast, it really, really, really relies on its voice actors. When we get others (like the robot this episode), they blend right in. Between this and Black Clover, I’m beginning to appreciate how important voice direction is: it can make or break a show (and does so respectively).

    Kino no Tabi had an episode full of short stories and aphorisms, which was at its best when actually having very little narrative. One of the very short skits is amongst my favourite this entire season. Still, I wish I’d watched the 2003 original instead.

    Also, today’s Urahara… doing endgame stuff so early is always obviously suspicious. I sort of expected a twist within a twist. So the predictable part played out as every viewer must have expected. And the climax is sort of disappointingly sappy, and I start to lose a little faith in the show, but they keep up the tone and turn the key… and it’s bloody brilliant. Didn’t expect it, makes sense, and thematically addresses a quibble I had with how the theme of creativity played out in the pesudo ending. This is a very, very smart show.

    Other than that, Classicaloid hand one of the better episodes this season. Children of the Whales proves that, while it’s great at setting, it’s sadly incompetent when writing characters. Should have been emotional, came across as pointless melodrama. The setting is as interesting as always; I wish there was less plot, or a more suspense-driven plot. Sadly, emotions are a big theme and since they don’t handle characters well… Still not a bad show, but perhaps the biggest drop in enjoyment this season.

    Land of the Lustrous… I should like this a lot more than I actually do. It’s still one of the better shows this season; maybe it’s the CGI? One thing that’s really interesting is the relation between body and personality: you grow heavier, you grow more subdued? I did feel bad for Phos, but I sort of also wondered if there’s more going on. Remy has an interesting post over at the Lily Garden that everyone interested should check out.

    Finally, seeing those Yuki Yuna pictures both makes me want to watch the show, and gives me slow, subdued feeling of budding rage. I won’t give in. If I don’t watch the show, I won’t rant about it, and everyone’s going to be happier. But, boy, is this a pretty show. And if the soundtrack is on par with season one. I’ve rarely regretted not liking a show this much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. P.S.: I got a kick out of seeing you post that Blue Oyster Cult track. Lyrics by Mike Moorcock. Great song.

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    2. Girls Last Tour… has been an amazing experience. Either it or Abyss are AOTY for certain, and the other will take the second slot.

      Lustrous is good, but I can’t help but think it would have been better if it had gotten to this point two episodes ago. That’s why I was so surprised to find myself sympathetic to Phos, the long stretch of “less than competent Phos” took a bit off the edge they’d been building.

      As I said to Haruhi, Psychic Wars just seemed to fit Phos.

      I’m hearing lots of good things about Urahara, but I just couldn’t get past the silly bits and the lack of polish.

      Did my discussion of Mio and Just Because answer your question from last week?

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      1. @Urahara: You had a pretty negative reaction to the first episode, so I don’t think you’re ever going to love it. It’s probably not worth your time to give it another chance. About the “lack of polish”: that’s deliberate style. I suspected that during the first episode, but since there are episodes where they briefly slip and get it wrong, I’m pretty sure now. It’s all hand-drawn lines, no angles, everything on a single plain, no distinctive contrasts, etc. You can tell when they were pressed for time.

        @Just Because/Mio: You addressed the issue I had tangentally. I was going to let it go, because it’s complicated and sussing that out might take a lot of time. I think what’s at play here is a decided cultural difference. I have a hunch that what’s at play here involves the honne/tatamae distinction, as well as a weird triangulation of rivals/nakama relationship-types. I’ve never been to Japan; I have no Japanes friends. Everything I can say on this is based on reading about Japanese culture and consuming Japanese media, so I’m not actually confident I’m reading this right, and using the terms feels like I’m being a bit preposterous. But I find this interesting.

        In your post last week, you called Mio’s denying of Ena “cold”. I took issue to that, and tried to explain my reasoning. You replied that you still thought it was “selfish”. I didn’t want to go into greater detail, since I’d already seen the next episode by that time. Now, your post this week is mostly about understanding Mio’s position, while last week, I think, we focussed more on a moral evaluation, an interpretation of action in terms of acceptability if you will. This week’s post is personal, about Mio. Last week, at least the way I read it, was social, about both Mio and Ena: I got the impression that you thought that “Ena deserved better”. I personally think they both got what they needed, because they both managed to connect. And both of them know it. This week’s episode, to my mind, confirmed this. It’s not so much that Ena’s pissed. Yes, she is (though I’d probably use the word “frustrated” myself), but that’s not the point in the scene. She can, because of last episodes scene, now express herself to Ena, and Ena gets it. On the surface they’re rivals; but the way they’re shutting off Eita in that scene shows that they’re also nakama: they’re confused themselves, but more than that, they share a sense of frustration with Eita’s indecisiveness. It’s the one thing they have in common: they can’t be honest about their feelings with Eita, because he’s blocking off Ena, and holding back with Mio. There’s no social situation in which addressing that would be inappropriate.

        Ena is way more open that Mio, more forcefull, and definitely more direct. It’s her “bad personality”. Her straightforwardness makes her uncomfortable in a culture where people are used to holding back and keeping face. Their situations are different, too. It’s obvious to Ena that Eita likes Mio, and Mio is at least suspecting it; so Ena’s “going out” has to be considered in that context.

        For Mio, it’s a situation of threat: she thinks she might be losing something she’s never really understood she had, and she’s not sure she’s fine with that or not. It’s a confusing situation to be in. There’s a sense of jealousy: but is she jealous of the sheer fun, or does actually have feelings for Eita? What is it?

        Ena, on the other hand, knows that Eita is fixated on Mio (going as far as considering the same school to stay with her). She’s the underdog and she knows it. But while Eita is blowing her off and is being cold to her, he’s not rejecting her as a person, being there for her when she needs it (but ignoring her when she doesn’t). I suspect that’s a rare thing for Ena to find, and in many ways it’s a minor analogue to her club. They get along, despite her “bad personality”. She can be herself around him. Is her interest romantic or not?

        In a sense they share a confusion, but neither of tham has an anchor. Eita is being indecisive: almost confessing to Mio and then holding back, considering going to the same school as Mio… Neither of them can, without risk, confront him about it. Of course, in a situation like this, it’s Ena who makes the first move. Why does she go to Mio first, though? They have no special relationship; she owes her nothing. Is it a coutsey? I doubt it. Ena isn’t the type. She’s confused and doesn’t know what to do, and the only person she can think of is Mio, who is – in a way – in a similar situation (she knows about the school thing and is smart enough to figure out what that means).

        Now, how do you broach the subject? You can’t be open about it, because you have no sort of relationship. The only thing you can do is put yourself out there. She’s not sure it’s a good idea to date Eita, so asking Mio “for permission” is a good “ice breaker”, so to speak. So she contacts Mio by phone and asks to meet her.

        Mio’s internal dialogue shows that Mio doesn’t suspect this is going to be about Eita. She thinks it’s gotta be school related. That sort of shows us their relationship. It’s formal; they’re class mates and little more. Mio’s seen her with Eita, but she has no reason to suspect that’s what it’s going to be about. Maybe she doesn’t think Ena’s perceptive enough? Then she’s suddenly confronted with Ena’s question. I’m sure it came as a surprise, but I’m not sure how big a surprise it is. I can’t quite guess that. She has to react, but how?

        She can give permission, then that’s it. There are three sub-scenarios here:

        1.a) She gives her permission, and decides to give up.
        1.b) She gives her permission, but makes sure, through her manner, that Ena knows she’s she’s lying (signalling “tatamae”, so to speak).

        Both 1.a) and 1.b) cut off further interaction, and when they run into each other it’s going to be awkward (especially with b). The situation would have gotten more complicated rather than less. It’s a multiplication of uncertainty from which nobody profits.

        1.c) She can go into the common anime cliché of “Sure go for it, but I won’t lose”.

        The problem with this option is that it demands a level of romantic commitment to Eita that neither of them has. They’d be defining their relationship to Eita right here over their rivalry and be “locked” into a certain way of behaviour. Mio would have signalled too much commitment, and she would have nailed down Ena too much, too. The situation, at that point, is too open for that.

        She can refuse to talk to Ena.

        This is the worst possible response, as it can only lead to hostility down the road. In anime terms, we’re talking about things like: “I don’t know why you’re asking me for permission,” or “This has nothing to do with me.” Now this would be cold. Deep freeze winter. Thawing’s very, very hard.

        She can stall. (“Let’s talk it out….” etc.)

        This is not an option. They’re not close enough for that. It’s going to be uncomfortable for both of them, since they don’t quite have the words for what they’re feeling themselves. They’re going to part without a resolution, but they’re not close enough to really get back together later. This, too, is a complicator.

        So Mio chooses the only real option. Reveal how the question made you feel right here and now, and stand by it:

        Mio denies Ena’s request.

        It’s performative. It’s not a real question for permission, and it’s not a real denial (it’s more complicated than that, but phrasing it like that, I think, does make the point easier to see). What happens here is that Ena signals willingness to take Mio’s feelings in account, and Mio honours that by stating them plainly. There’s no real commitment, here, and it’s a mutual opening for what I think is a nakama relationship.

        And that nakama relationship is all about waiting for Eita to make a decision (or for them all to graduate, whichever comes first). I think this week’s scene that involves the three of them bears this out. The way they snipe at each other, but are in complete synchronicity when they shut him out (“it’s a secret”) couldn’t have made this more clear. Mio wasn’t being cold last week; on the contrary she was taking an extended hand. It’s just that the performative aspect of their relationship isn’t going to be one of harmony. But that’s fine, because it’s good to be able to have an outlet, even if what you share is uncertainty and frustration.

        There’s also the fact that this rests on a fundament of them all being in their last year, and whatever they do is not likely going to last, and they know that, too, but the post is long enough as it is. I hope I explained my perception of the situation well enough for you to see where I’m coming from. Not only do I not think that Mio was being “cold”, I think it was the kindest possible reply in the situation, and I think this week’s scene confirmed this.

        Sorry for the really, really long post (even by my standards). But I don’t really know how to say this with fewer words. (And believe it or not, that’s still a simplification. Some things are easier to grasp with intuation than to explain…)

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        1. OK, I think I follow all of that… But we’ve gotten into a situation again where the episode has overtaken theorizing. :) (Mostly because of the posting schedule.)

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          1. Oh, it’s also a disproportionally long post for two rather short scenes. It’s good to excercise my mind every now and then, and posting on message boards (or blog comment sections) can be part of that. I’m naturally scatter-brained, and if I don’t make some sort of mental effort every now and then, I get worse. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity, and I also appreciate that you actually read all this. It’s a very long post even for my standard.

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  2. I’ll take any excuse to plug a Blue Oyster Cult song, bless you Derek!

    Totally agree with you over the Love Live performance or lack thereof. I didn’t quite settle in at first, because I thought “oh, they’re saving it for next episode”. But, yeah, it’s clear now that all we’ll be getting is that full cast performance which, while not awful, really undermines what the whole episode was about. I’ve really liked this season overall but I will admit that there has been some bizarre creative decisions.

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    1. When I thought of Phos and what she’s seen and going through… It just seemed to fit.

      They’ve been doing that (music video performances rather than in world performances) ever since the first season, and it’s annoyed me all along. But this time, it really did take away from what should have been Ruby’s moment to shine.

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  3. And I’m falling behind in my viewing again…

    While I do wish LLS hadn’t gone for the music video format in this particular case, and it would have been better narratively to give us the Ruby/Leah solo version of the song, I still thoroughly enjoyed everything else about the episode and this arc. In fact, I re-watched episodes 8 and 9 back-to-back a few days ago, and those are the first episodes of Sunshine that I’ve re-watched from either season. Oh, and Ruby has now surpassed Yoshiko as my #2 character. Just sayin’.

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    1. Well, in the end, LLS is the ne plus ultra of modern anime: one polished and tightly focused cog in a marketing machine. So it’s understandable why they made that choice. But on the other hand, there were individual songs from the various members of μ’s… My guess, it’s a financial thing – by making it an Aquors song, they don’t have to keep Sato Hinata under contract.

      So who is #1? I don’t keep track below #1 myself. (Which would be Dia or Kanan for me…)

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      1. I’m sure the main goal was to promote the upcoming joint Hakodate concert. I don’t know about financial details, but all of the rival group songs have been made available for sale on either the soundtrack CDs or as B-sides on singles, so the A-Rise/Saint Snow actresses are likely getting performance royalties either way. Regardless, both of us are in agreement that this served the producers’ commercial interests better than it served the story – it just didn’t bother me quite as much.

        #1, Hanamaru (as soon as I found out she loved books and libraries, that contest was over)
        #2, Ruby
        #3, Yoshiko (really could be 2a/2b, though, they’re still very close)
        #4-8, almost everyone else
        #9, Mari

        On the u’s side, it’s Honoka, Kotori, Nozomi, and then everyone else – that’s been the same for years.

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