This week, mostly fast hot takes and I go full-bore grumpy old man on a couple of shows. (Hey! Maybe there’s my brand!)
If nothing else, do take a moment to read my discussion of Rokuhoudou. The second ep brings out some interesting things with regards to Japanese artisans.
So, let’s hit the jump and let’s dive right into it!
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
strikethrough marks dropped shows.
3D Kanojo / Real Girl
I’m a week behind here, but will almost certainly watch it as soon as I’m done writing this.
Comic Girls Ep 3
Kaos-chan once again fails at being a mangaka. Because she still doesn’t quite get what ‘normal’ high school girls are all about. (And she’s not gonna learn in the dorm! None of ’em are quite normal.) I’m not quite certain why she’s trying to become a mangaka, since (apparently) she’s been doing 4 panel so far… Of the fanservice portion of the ep, the less said the better. Fanservice and CGDCT don’t mix all that well, especially when so blatant as it was this week.
All that being said, I hope there’s some rays of sunshine coming for Kaos. This unrelenting gloom ‘n doom is neither attractive nor funny.
Crossing Time Ep 3
A teacher can’t figure out how to interact with one of his students outside the classroom… and comes off a creeper. Ick. Sadly, the first ep was the best and this series is rapidly going downhill.
Cutie Honey Universe Ep 3
Pretty much a mess from end-to-end. Very little in the way of action, and who the hell was that big ugly girl? I don’t think I’m quite ready to drop yet, but things are not looking good for the mid-season gut check.
Hinamatsuri Ep 3
The first part of the episode, about Anzu making her way in the world… was stunningly good. It was candycoated a bit, as they never did really adress her time spent sleeping rough, but realistic nonetheless. Her encounter with Nitta was impossibly well done.
The second segment, Hitomi as a barkeep, was not so bad. What’s she going to do with all that money?
The final segment, with Hina cleaning the apartment… Incredibly good comedic timing. Cutting to the credits right on the cusp of Nitta’s reaction was pure genius.
Hinamatsuri remains the best show of the season so far. (Rokuhoudou is starting to give it some serious competition though.)
Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits / Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi Ep 4
Aoi confronts her enemy Aoi is too kind, gentle hearted, and airheaded to even recognize she has an enemy… And as a result more-or-less wins Oryou to her side. (Though I bet she’ll flip from dere back to tsun as soon as she’s completely healed.) A large part of this, as we’re very bluntly told, is her food has “large amounts of spiritual power” (whatever that means). Which also neatly explains why the ayakashi are all so fond of her food.
And we see animation problems again. Last ep, they couldn’t remember whether her mask was tied on or had an elastic band. This week, they couldn’t keep track of whether the medical book was hardbound Western style or softbound Japanese style. (Bookbinding is one of my hobbies, so this leapt right out at me.)
And Oh Lord, this is going to be a two cour show…
My Hero Academia 3 / Boku no Hero Academia 3 Ep 3 (Ep 41)
A very slow-moving ep in which not much happens other than once again reviewing quirks of the various cast members. But, last season was much the same – it took a while to gain traction… With the League of Villains finally making their move, I expect the action to pick up next week.
Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori Ep 2
One of the few shows this week with some positive developments… Though the tea shop owner is a sour gatekeeping old bastard, I can see his point. I can see why he would think it better to simply quit. It hurts to pour your heart and soul into something only to see it not appreciated. (Or worse, treated as some kind of odd anachronism.) In the same way, I can see why he’d want Rokuhoudou to audition for the right to carry his teas – his name is on them, and he wants someone who will not sully it. It’s not a popular message in these more egalitarian times… But it’s also a level of personal touch and involvement that used to be valued.
It also speaks to an issue that the average anime fan may not be aware of, many of Japan’s traditional arts and artisans are an endangered species. When the country modernized and industrialized postwar, very few were interested in the traditional (and not very remunerative) arts and crafts and the lengthy apprenticeships involved. And because so many activities are intertwined, there’s a domino effect… If an umbrella maker goes out of business or dies, the papermaker no longer has a customer. (And the reverse, losing suppliers, happens as well.) I’ve been a customer of David Bull‘s traditional Japanese prints for years – and he struggles to get his materials. Finding both wood (to carve the blocks) and paper (to print on) has been an ongoing concern.
If you watched it, this was also covered (briefly) in last year’s Sakura Quest. It will be interesting to see if pops up in other anime, as the declining birth rate so often does.
The Japanese Government has the Living National Treasure program to try to staunch the bleeding… but it can only do so much. Stipends for Masters do little to attract apprentices. Ultimately, that’s where the real problem lies – without new blood, extinction is certain. And for many of these arts, once they’re lost, they’re lost forever. It’s possible for a future student to recreate the methodology, but the living traditions can only be passed down from Master to apprentice.
Anyhow, I hope this continues… That the show keeps going outside the teahouse and continues to be more than solving the problem-of-the-week for the forgettable-character-of-the-week.
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online Ep 3
Another boring infodump/flashback episode… Censored let’s just get to it already. The basic problem isn’t structural, the same structure has worked in many shows. The problem is the execution and delivery are so wooden and flat.
Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai / Tada Never Falls in Love Ep 3
Narrated totally from the point of view of Nyanko-Big, the coffee shop cat… That was an… interesting and unusual episode. It worked, and worked well, but strikes me as a diversion from the narrative flow. And they way over did the whole “eight seconds” bit.
On another note, they keep talking about how hard Tada-kun is working on his photography, but I’m just not feeling it. I should go back and look at the photos on display in the 2nd ep.
Uma Musume: Pretty Derby Ep 5
Hard at work training, and then Spe-chan gets a totally expected win. How are we supposed to take her “struggle” so seriously, when no struggle lasts more than an episode? It’s pretty hard to make a sports anime work/interesting when the protagonist starts at darn near the top of her game and never really flags for any length of time.
And don’t these girls have any lasting rivalries? I mean they’re teenage high school girls for gosh sakes, not professional athletes. They spent two eps setting up Silence Suzuka as a frenemy, and she’s barely even had a cameo role ever since. And for a top and highly touted horse girl, she sure doesn’t seem to race much.
Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku Ep 2
After a strong premiere… Wotakoi pretty much wimps out in the second episode. We did learn that Tarou, as I suspected (due to the OP), is an otaku too. And that he has some kind of relationship with Hanako. But other than that, the ep was mostly rather aimless time filler.
And there you have it… Sorry for the brevity this week, I’ve been dealing with a bit of writer’s block.
And the grumpy old man isn’t all that easy to write. Mostly comes off as whining I think. So that idea may need some more polish and work.
Next week, writer’s block or no, will also be brief so I can concentrate on the 2199 finale.
So, how did your week go? What are your thoughts on my thoughts? Drop a line down in the comments and let’s chat!