Winter 2018 – Week 8

Everyone’s favorite grumpy old man anime blogger returns to shout at clouds once again for another week of insight, snark, and the occasional hot take!

Grumpy old man

And hey, you should be impressed, I learned how to make drop shadows to make that image…  It’s not a skill I normally use, as I mostly use Photoshop to edit photographs.

Anyhow, hit the jump and let’s dive into this week’s reviews!

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 – 9

When this ep started off…  It didn’t look promising.  But the story of the love struck young crew member spun into so much more.  Into one of the deepest looks into characters we’ve had so far…  and that’s saying something.  We finally get a good long look at the relationship between Takako and Gin, and the inevitable confrontation between Shirase and Gin.

The latter comes of as more a damp firecracker…  But believably so.  The two haven’t been avoiding each other because of how they feel about the other – but because of their mistaken beliefs of what the other feels about them.  And the root cause of that is their shared bond – grief over Takako’s death.  Exacerbated in Gin’s case because of her guilt…  Her belief that she may have abandoned her friend.

Gin’s admission of calling off the search hit me hard…  When I was in the Navy one of the things we always had to be ready to do was shut a hatch on a friend to save the ship or the mission.  Or, worse yet, order a friend to shut the hatch on us.  We rarely spoke of such things, but when we did there was general agreement that these were the two things we feared most.

But that same experience means I can’t fault her for making the call…  As the team commander she was in the unenviable position of having to balance the life of her friend against the life of the rest of team.  (Yes, after this episode it’s pretty clear to me they were close.)  Once it became clear that Takako was unlikely to have survived, further searching risked the lives of the team to no good purpose.

And now I think I understand what Shirase is seeking…  She doesn’t really expect to find her mother alive, or her body.  But she hopes to find what drove her mother, what she hoped to find on such a journey to such a place.

The ending though…  IN YOUR FACE! That was unexpected, but believable, and well done.  Shirase isn’t vindictive, but she’s sure as hell enjoying her moment.

And what does the final scene mean?  Why go out of their way to point out an email from Yuzuki’s mother?

Two interesting articles this week on Yorimoi… (Of the many this outstanding ep inspired.)

Ancient Magus Bride Ep – 20

Chise one again pays the price for her impetuosity and generosity towards others…  But honestly, it had little impact on me because that pitcher has gone to the well one too many times.  My feels are pretty much beaten into numbness on that point.

citrus – Ep – 8

And once again Citrus turns in a decent romantic drama – fueled by Matsuri being an out-and-out cold-hearted bitch contrasted against Mei’s recent humanization.  I’ve always wondered how such characters think though.  It doesn’t seem to me to be an approach to win the heart of a fair maiden.

Either way, we’re faced with watching Yuzu try to choose between two badly dysfunctional relationships…

How to Keep a Mummy / Miira no Kaikata Ep – 7

Good enough I guess…  maybe with all the lil’ critters introduced we can get back to Cute Critters Doing Cute Things.  As it is, the further Mummy strays from that central premise the less interest I have in it.

Katana Maidens / Toji No Miko

~ Now two eps behind, and my motivation for getting caught up is diminishing. ~

March comes in like a Lion

~ On hiatus, returns next week.  Yay! ~

http://dai.ly/x6fb2ry

A PV for the next arc was posted last week…  (Source)  No subs, but it strongly suggests that the Shimada/Yanagihara match will be the thematic backbone.  It could be interesting, Shimada’s arc was one of the strongest of the first season.

Märchen Mädchen – Ep – 7

In which we follow the antics of the Russian team while they try to cheat their way to a win make up for the failings of one of their team members.  An amusing enough episode I guess, though a bit clumsy in the execution…  The Russian’s hearts were in the right place, but did it never occur to them to tell a teacher that somebody had messed with Tatiana’s Origin?  Meanwhile the American team’s motivation for trying to rig the Hexennacht remain obscure (unless I missed it somewhere).  Really kind of a weak episode.

Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles / Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san Ep – 8

A bit of a beach/fanservice scene, followed by the usual ramen-related hijinks.  I have to admit a sneaking admiration for Koizumi-san’s dedication to ramen.  While some are higher quality than others…  instant ramen simply isn’t all that good even with proper add ins/toppings.  Lipstick on a pig and all that.

Speaking of fanservice…  The sheer amount of beach/swimsuit/fanservice episodes this week lead to a conversation on Twitter, and that in turn inspired Remy to write: Last Week Was Swimsuit Week for Seasonal Anime.  Funny, and worth reading for the discussion of why fanservice isn’t always a bad thing.  (I know, I thought, I posted something like that in one of my weekly reviews, but damned if I can find it.)

Slow Start – Ep – 8

Returning to its roots, Slow Start is much better this week than last…  The rest of the gang helps Hana expand her horizons and address her social phobias.  Though I don’t think she has any actual phobia, it isn’t like she’s headed towards being a hikikomori or anything like that.  She’s maybe a little shy, but that’s enhanced by the whole year-gap thing making it appear worse than it is.

Yuru Camp / Laid-Back Camp Ep – 8

Well, even the best series turns in a substandard episode now and again and this was Camp‘s week in the barrel.  That being said, “substandard compared to their usual” means it was still a pretty decent episode overall…  Who couldn’t fall in love with the girls derping around a camping store and watching Nadeshiko go all agog at a gas lamp?  The less said of the immersion-breaking narrator and “educational” bits the better.

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And there we have it!  What did you think of this week’s eps?  I’m especially curious to know what folks thought of Yurimoi!  Drop me a comment and share your thoughts!

12 thoughts on “Winter 2018 – Week 8”

  1. Yorimoi’s “In Your Face” was GLORIOUS. Shirase had to put up with so much to get here that a bit of gloating was definitely in order. And it paralleled the struggle to get the actual expedition happening so the entire crew joining in worked SO well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One part of me thinks they could have ended the series right there and I’d be happy… Probably the most glorious scene this season.

      Like

  2. Universe, at that point, could easily be the best show if the season. It’s not my favourite, but it’s pretty much all-round strong. Maintaining an upbeat mood in the face of tragedy isn’t easy – can come across as either forced or inappropriate, but they weave in and out of the heavier feelings with such ease… A good example of a mood-brightener is when Shirase and the expedition leader spot the penguins at the same time and have roughly the same reaction. “Life goes on,” is such a cliché, but it comes alive in this episode.

    Magus’ Bride: I found the scene near the end with Chise and Elias talking very strong; Chise’s sentiment is one I know inside out. There was a little more overt petty selfishness on my part, but in essence I just get it. The scene where Chise talks to a lot of people but all you hear is music, is spot on, too. You open up easily to a point, but it doesn’t really matter what you say, and beyond that point you don’t even really think about yourself.

    Katana Maidens… well, I like it, but it’s no must-see, and I’ve been there with a couple of series: once the episodes pile up and there’s no motivation… Drop it now, I’d say. If you hear good things that catch your interest you can always come back (it’s how I currently feel about Citrus – maybe I’ll watch it some day in a couple of days, while fast-forwarding through the unappealing stuff). Rest assured, you’re not missing out on a master piece. Things do take shape currently, and we’ve recently learned how the previous genration fits together, and there have been strong hints at the signficance of the swords. I doubt Yukari sama is the complete villain (though she’s certainly a villain) the show makes us think, and I think it’s the sort of story where the young generation will find a way to mediate. The pacing would support it, but who knows.

    I found the Russian team in Märchen Mädchen hilarious, but, yeah, the show is what it is. I’m moderately fond of it, sort of like the painting of your child pinned to the fridge. It’s fun, but that’s all.

    I really like Miira no Kaikata, but it’s not show that invites much talk. The baku would probably the most useful creature for me, personally.

    I barely remember this week’s Yuru Camp – it seems I really do need Rin to make the most out of this show.

    And, yes, finally March Comes in Like a Lion returns. I miss the show.

    Also, Sanrio Boys seems to… spill. Earlier this season, there’s been Sanrio characters in Miira no Kaikata (in chara-ben form? Some sort of food anyway). And now there’s a Sanrio cosplay eye-catch in Gakuen Babysitters. Anime offensive, Sanrio?

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    1. @Katana… I’ve never been that high on it, and if I can’t find time to catch up by next week, yah, it’ll be officially dropped.

      @Mädchen: Can’t disagree, the Russian team was funny and their heart was in the right place. It’s the ass-pull motivation that I was questioning.

      @Yuru Camp: I actually almost wrote just something like that: “This eps points out how much the Rin/Nadeshiko dynamic and Rin herself have been powering the show”.

      Like

  3. Thanks for mentioning my post.

    Hmm. I was actually a little anxious that the beginnings of yet another age-gap relationship in Winter 2018 would emerge in Yorimo. Since the whole cloud thing was sort of brought up and then dismissed, I guess the whole thing was similarly blown over. It really had me thinking that Shirase and Gin were each other’s clouds, though.

    Aaaaand given that you referred to the series as Yurimo, I suspect you had similar feelings! Just kidding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You ever experience that sinking feeling? The one where you press “POST COMMENT” only to realize that you forgot an “i” in Yorimoi? Which means you’re poking fun at a typo while committing a typo and you can do nothing to stop this error from transgressing since you’ve noticed a bit too late?

      Well, that just happened.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The cloud metaphor does kinda work though… “Distant and unreachable” to start – but they did bridge the gap in the end so maybe it doesn’t.

      And aaaaaack that was totally a typo and not a Freudian slip. I never had any such thought.

      Liked by 1 person

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