Here we are for another week! Some really good eps this week, and some that are just average. Also, my mid-season thoughts on each show. Hit the jump and let’s get started!
The shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics. Question marks denote shows not watched yet (during the premiere weeks), and
strike through marks dropped shows.
A place further than the Universe / Uchuu yorimo Toui Basho – Ep 7
I’m… not sure how I feel about this episode. We’re finally on the boat, but something feels like it’s missing. Seeing the girls finally having to directly confront the same reality as the adults, a very good thing. Getting to see the resolution of the adult members in the face of those difficulties, also a very good thing. Finally getting a glimpse of Takako? Practically the best part of the episode.
But why was there no reaction to Shirase introducing herself? Surely the majority of the crew knows of her relationship. Everyone we’ve met so far knows. Why did I get a creepy cult vibe during Kanae’s speech? There’s some mysteries here, and they leave me feeling unsettled. It’s almost like the first episode of a brand new show.
Midseason thoughts: Things have gotten a bit rocky in the last two episodes, but at its rockiest Yorimo is still a damn fine show. It refuses to settle into a groove, or let the viewer get too comfortable – without relying on cheap plot zigs.
Ancient Magus Bride – Ep 18
Chise finds a friend in Stella, and Elias is… less than pleased. OK, he’s jealous as hell that Chise is showing affection to someone other than him. Unable to handle the flood of emotions he turns bestial and flees the house. Chise pursues him, but after he metaphorically smothers her, she has to threaten to self-harm to get him to turn her loose.
That’s basically the first half of the episode… And it was wonderful. It really showcased how Chise is becoming her own independent person. This was nicely balanced by Elias having difficulty with handling his own emotions, as he has practically zero experience in even having emotions.
The second half… Beyond bringing out Chise’s devotion to Elias I have no idea what was going on there.
Midseason thoughts: I’m enjoying Magus Bride, but I’m also getting a bit numb from getting poked in the same spot by the same themes.
citrus – Ep 6
Wait, what… Did someone at Crunchyroll stick the wrong disk into the machine or something? citrus was actually halfway decent this episode. Mei’s realization of the wrong path she’d been on, Yuzu’s support of Mei and active interventions – solid character moments all. Might have been a bit better if Daddy hadn’t been such a cardboard cutout stock character… But other than that, decent melodrama. (So long as you don’t think too hard about the shaky foundations.)
Midseason thoughts: The recent half-decent melodrama aside, citrus remains trashy and exploitive at its core. The next episode preview foretells a plot zig.
How to Keep a Mummy / Miira no Kaikata (ANN) – Ep 5
Well, once again they spent most of the ep with Mii-kun offscreen… and the show suffered heavily because of it. Asa and Isao just weren’t enough carry the episode. The constant hints of something dramatic in Tazuki’s background are more annoying than anything else. Get on with it or drop it.
Midseason thoughts: Mummy started out a decent sitcom, but now it can’t quite decide what it wants to be… and lacks the foundation to be anything other than a sitcom.
Katana Maidens / Toji No Miko – Ep 6
This episode is best described as “running in place”. We only learned one new thing, the Elite Guard are using Noro injections to summon the power of the Aradama. Other than that, a great deal of ado and rushing about over nothing.
Midseason thoughts: Honestly, this show will be the death of me yet. Its pendulum keeps swinging between “lets stretch this stuff out” and “strap in, we have a lot to cram in this week”. All the parts are there for a fair-to-middlin’ tale… It just can’t seem to mesh the parts together smoothly.
March comes in like a Lion
Midseason thoughts: We’re caught between two arcs, but March has been it’s usual stunning self so far – so I see that continuing.
Märchen Mädchen – Ep 5
As predicted last week… they certainly were setting up for “the last-minute return of the Heroine”. Though Hazuki’s newfound support from her modern-world family came kind of out of left field, overall they carried it off much better than I would have expected. And I’m more convinced than ever that her biological mother was a Mädchen. I also suspect that her step-mother knows something.
I can’t help but wonder, what’s the Headmistress’ angle? She’s putting her thumbs on the scale, why?
Midseason thoughts: On it’s best days Mädchen has been pretty much generic (strongly influenced by Harry Potter) “magical girls at Battle High School”. I don’t expect too much, but after the uptick in quality in ep 5 I’m curious to see how things go from here. Ep 6 could be a make-or-break point.
Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles / Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san – Ep 6
Though Koizumi’s fluency in German did come as a bit of a surprise… Otherwise, mostly standard hijinks. I should have expected she’d make her way to the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum at some point.
Midseason thoughts: Koizumi-san is, at best, mostly harmless mind candy. I’m not learning much new about ramen, but that’s just me as I’ve studied it somewhat.
Slow Start – Ep 6
This week’s (mostly) Tama-centric episode was much better than last week’s creep-and-stalker fest. A study session and a sleepover are genre staples for CGDCT, and both were handled… decently.
Midseason thoughts: After a strong start, Slow Start seems determined to settle into a rut of comfortable mediocrity. In some ways, that’s not actually bad. CGDCT is generally a comforting genre without much in the way of drama or surprises. However here it’s being accompanied by the gradual loss of the above average character acting that marked the first few eps. Multiple one-note characters can create a wonderful harmony, but flat characters are nothing but flat.
Yuru Camp / Laid-Back Camp – Ep 6
Possibly the slowest episode of a series noted for its slow pace. But wonderful nonetheless. Watching Rin and Nadeshiko bond over gadgetry and food was delightful. I think my only complaint was the rather abrupt stopping point.
Midseason thoughts: Honestly, I’m loving the hell out of it. Great characters, great acting, wonderful writing and story, wonderful animation… Really, it’s the whole package.
So, what did you think this week? What are your thoughts on the season so far? Drop a line in the comments and let me know.