Summer 2018 – Week 3

Traditionally, the third week of the season (the third episode), is a time of great change…  It’s also when a lot of folks make the call to keep or drop a series.  Hit the jump and let’s see if I drop any!

Ayano reflects on joining the team

The shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics, and strikethrough marks dropped shows.

Attack on Titan 3 / Shingeki no Kyojin Ep 1 (Ep 38)

There’s a lot of folks over the moon about this episode, but I’m not feeling it.  Being “better than Season 2” is a low bar, but one episode is not enough to judge.  Especially when that one episode wasn’t all that great.  It’s not bad per se, but certainly nothing to break out the champagne over either.

Cells at Work / Hataraku Saibou Ep 3

Actual viruses hijack the reproduction mechanisms of other cells to spread themselves, so having them manifest as a zombie apocalypse was pretty clever.

Cells at Work - Macrophage vs Flu zombies
That being said, now I envision the Macrophages in my body as teeny-tiny little Rory Mercury’s – in maid outfits.

Chio’s School Road / Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro Ep 3

I don’t know about the “Bloody Butterfly” segment…  Seemed to me to go on just a bit longer than there was really material for.  I laughed my tail off during the Kabbadi sequence though…  As I’ve said before, this series is at it’s best when it’s inside Chio’s head.  (Hah! the spellchecker tried to correct “Chio’s” to “Chaos”!)

Encouragement of Climb 3 / Yama no Susume 3 Ep 4

Hmm…  What shall we call this episode?  “Aoi grows (just a little bit)” or “Hinata is a devious jerk (for a good cause) – again”?  Either way a strong reminder of something often forgotten…  Though we’re used to thinking of a quartet this is really Aoi and Hinata’s story.

I’ve seen some folks talk about being done with preparatory episodes, and I get it.  I kind of agree with them.  But I also disagree with them too, Encouragement has had plenty of strong episodes that didn’t take place on the trail.  This wasn’t the strongest, but it was still plenty darn good.
Yama no Susume - S3 OP

Did anyone else notice this sequence in the OP?  Basically it retells the story of the 1st and 2nd seasons.  Also pretty proud of myself, made this GIF by myself in Photoshop.  It would have taken five minutes rather than fifteen if I hadn’t misread the tutorial and skipped a step…

Speaking of OP sequences, I thought it was clever as hell to have Aoi sing the S2 OP in karaoke…  It’s my favorite OP from the series.

Grand Blue Dreaming Ep 2

I laughed/chuckled all the way as the upperclassmen were “helpfully” (re)decorating Iori’s room…  One of the scenes I’ve been waiting to see, and they nailed it!  The scenes in the aquarium, not so much.  They just felt off somehow.  All I know is that Grand Blue switches moods and modes quite a bit when the story gets rolling and they need to up the non-comedic parts of their game too.

Grand Blue Dreaming Episode 4

It looks like they’re doing 2-3 manga chapters per episode, but I’m not going to look ahead to see where that might leave the anime ending.  IIRC, there isn’t actually any good/proper ending points as there aren’t that many actual arcs early on.  They’re nailing the funniest bits, so I’m content to let the anime stand on its own two feet.

Hanebado! Ep 4

I’ve been putting off writing this review, but I can’t avoid it any longer and still get this post out on time.  (For better or worse, it needs to go out today so I can prep for a class I’m teaching tomorrow evening.)

Ayano reflects on joining the team

I was pretty pleased with the first part of this ep…  Watching Ayano and her club mates interact on the bus seemed to mark a return to the more character driven plot we saw in the first ep.  They even gave something of a plausible explanation as to why she was willing to join the club…  She wanted the feeling of being on a team, part of something.  This makes some sense considering she’s lost her “partner” (her mother, the b*tch).

Hanebado Ep 4 - Connie Christensen

Then – BOOM!  In a series of ham fistedly executed dubious coincidences – yet another twin-tailed rival is air dropped into the middle of the plot.  At least she didn’t have that damm ojou-sama laugh.  Other than that, she’s largely just a re-skin of the girl from last week’s episode.  She’s also a seriously self-centered jerk…  refusing to play properly with her partner.

Dammit Hanebado!.  You’re four episodes in, its past time you grew the f*ck up and started to actually make progress on the plot.  I know that last week I said that “no shows were in the danger zone” – but Hanebado! has crossed the line.  Scratch that, it leapt across it and into the muck with great enthusiasm.  The Mid Season Gut Check approaches, and the chances of Hanebado! surviving the cut just went markedly down.

Harukana Receive Ep 3

This episode introduces us to Éclair – Emily and Claire Thomas, an improbably busty pair of twin sisters.  They’re every bit as enthusiastic about beach volleyball as Kanata is reluctant.

Harakuna Recieve - eclair - Emily and Claire Thomas
Speaking of Kanata, I’m pleased with how they’re handling her arc…  She’s got a lot of issues stemming from her size and no longer being a champion, but they’re addressing them plausibly.  No sudden insight and barely heralded huge changes here, just steady growth and progression episode by episode.  Haraku isn’t much different, she’s athletic but also something of an airhead – so while she plays well, she’s picking up the finer points only slowly.  It probably doesn’t help that Kanata’s issues make her a less than completely effective coach.

Harakuna Recieve - Episode 3

It looks like Our Heroines will be joining the school volleyball club and head off to tournament play.   Three guesses who they play in the final ep – and the first two don’t count!  Harakuna takes itself pretty seriously  (it’s not just jiggle-and-bounce), but that doesn’t mean it’s not at least a little generic.

My Hero Academia 3 /  Boku no Hero Academia 3 Ep 15 (Ep 53)

Another setup/transition episode…  I know I’ve been saying that a lot, but the middle third of the season (actually most of the third season) has been characterized by a series of short arcs.  And for many other anime, setup/transition eps can be the kiss of death.  Not at all true for HeroAca!  There’s still a lot of stuff going on.

Screenshot (729).png

– I loved Ms. Joke and her easy relationship with Eraser Head.   They used to be partners, and that closeness comes shining through.  They almost made him seem human.  Particularly in the Final Exams arc, I love how we’ve been shown the “man behind the mask”…  The contrast between his outer persona and inner humanity is striking.  I wonder if we’ll ever learn where that came from?

– We the audience really needed the reminder that UA isn’t the only hero school.  It’s at the top of the heap, but that doesn’t mean the others are slackers.  But that still raises the question of why someone would be accepted to UA, only to turn down the invitation.

– And once again we see Midoriya using his true superpower…  the ability to lead and to adapt and improvise tactics.

Music Girls / Ongaku Shoujo Ep 3

Not the strongest episode to date.  I just can’t see Hanako in the role of inspiration/muse.  Still enjoying though.

Revue Starlight / Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight Ep 2

Honestly, it’s been a busy week and I don’t remember too much about this ep, not a good sign.  Mostly, bog standard school drama followed by another fight scene.  Here’s hoping this is not a sign of things to come.

=========

Sorry for the quick (OK, almost non-existent) “reviews” of the last two shows…  It’s pretty warm here today and I’m already running out of steam.  I really should work on these in a more timely fashion, but as I said this week has been busy.  Not to mention all but one show are on Fri-Sat-Sun.  Hate to move the post to Thursday though, too much of a delay, too much chance of collision with the next week’s episodes.

OK, it looks like pretty much every show makes it past the three-episode point, even though Hanebado is just barely squeaking by.  How did the week work for you?  Any third ep drops?  Drop a comment and let’s chat.

14 thoughts on “Summer 2018 – Week 3”

  1. Attack on Titan: Well, what can I say. I’m fine with it. Better than season 2? Hey, I liked season 2 better than season 1. They embraced being cheesy more and excluding Eren significantly reduced the raging, which was a plus. Eren didn’t rage at all in this episode, so that’s a plus, too. The biggest surprise was the gentle nostalgic opening with all the childhood moments. I’m liking that opening quite a bit. As for the show: I don’t remember the people who bit it this episode. Red-shirt syndrome? Really, AoT is AoT, and I was fine with this ep.

    Cells at Work: was okay, too. It’s a cute and entertaining show, which I wouldn’t miss if it went away, but which also does its job really well while it’s there.

    Hanebado: I like the show more than you do, but I, too, didn’t really welcome that plot development. It’s so bloody obvious she’s mom’s protegee, so part of me wished that Ayano had given up on Badminton just so our Danish girl would come all that way for nothing. It’s not hard to see where the show is going with this: oh, look, mum hasn’t forgotten her after all, but she’s talking or thinking about her often enough for the protegee to get jealous. Whoda thought? (Maybe I’m wrong.)

    Harukana Receive: The more characters they introduce the more the weakness in the character designs stand out for me. There’s too little variety; on some level they all look the same. The character desings are pretty, but not exactly very distinct. (Compare them to Hanebodo to see what I mean. My least favourite episode so far, but still entertaining enough.

    My Hero Academia: Not excited about yet another training arc. As for Erasorhead: “where that came from?” My best guess is this comes from having to deal with heroes. He’s very close to how I would look if you forced me into the show.

    Music Girls: Didn’t watch the episode. Very likely dropped.

    Revue Starlight: I’m not feeling it. It’s decent enough, but it feels the weirdness is skin-deep, and in the end, it’s yet another show about friendship overcoming the odds. We’ll see.

    Chio’s School Road: This is probably my favourite show out of the lot. I wasn’t to fond of the lesbian groping joke, but other than that it’s consistently funny and entertaining and of the highlights of the week. Not easy to talk about, though.

    The one dark-horse show of the season for me is Planet With. I genuinely can’t tell what to make of this show yet. It’s got the most potential to improve, but it’s also got the most pontential to fall. What I like about this show is that there are plenty of factions that don’t devide easily into good vs. bad, with aliens that attack your will to fight rather than your bodies, but might push you into complacency under the guise of pacisim. It’s certainly the show that keeps me on my toes the most this season.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Eren didn’t rage at all in this episode, so that’s a plus, too.

      There’s no shortage of people who think an episode’s quality is inversely proportional the amount of screentime Eren gets. I can’t find myself disagreeing with this thesis.

      Re: Harakuna character designs:

      I kind of agree with you… The assorted busty characters certainly suffer from a degree of sameness. There’s a visible difference though between the shorter and stockier Kanata and the leaner and more athletic Narumi. This makes sense since one of the key drivers of the plot is Kanata’s body issues.

      Did you that Crunchy picked up We Rent Tsukumogami? I remember you were curious about it. Looks like it’s worldwide (except for Asia) so you should be able to check it out. I’m not seeing much buzz about it though.

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      1. Ah, yes. I did watch the Tsukumogami show. It’s good but nothing special, so far. A little rote in execution, with measured and tried-and-true emotional beats. The banter between the tsukumogami is fun, but almost everything else comes from the cookie cutter.

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  2. God, this episode of YnS really hit home. Being a strong introvert myself, I was right there with Aoi so many times when I was younger, watching my friends casually socialize with anyone and everyone and wondering how it’s so easy for them and what’s wrong with me. That’s classic introvert (over)thinking. And then getting dragged off to sing Karaoke with a bunch of people she barely knows – that’s a special kind of hell right there. One of my preschool teachers was always trying to make me come up and sing in front of the class. I think he thought he was doing me a favor just like Hinata thinks she’s doing here, but I absolutely hated it and always fought as hard as I could to not have to do it, so I totally understood what Aoi was feeling like. Having said that, I did enjoy that we got a peek at life outside Aoi’s bubble and got to meet some of her classmates as more than just background faces. It was a nice changeup.

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    1. It’s odd, I’m an extrovert but still I’m uncomfortable with public performance. I can stand up and teach (thanks to the Navy) and stand up and make announcements (thanks to the SCA), but karaoke requires dutch courage. OTOH, I’ve only ever done karaoke in public, with alcohol present, might be different in a karaoke box.

      I’m not sure how introverted Aoi is though… She wants to have a social life, but can’t (or won’t) find the key to unlock her shell. The introverts I know seem to more of the “don’t care for”/”actively avoid” social interaction flavor. Like so many other emotional states, it’s hard to sum up a complex spectrum in one word…

      Having said that, I did enjoy that we got a peek at life outside Aoi’s bubble and got to meet some of her classmates as more than just background faces. It was a nice changeup.

      Agreed! YnS is a damn good show, but it’s also one of the few that could actually stand a little more character roulette.

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      1. I’m not sure how introverted Aoi is though… She wants to have a social life, but can’t (or won’t) find the key to unlock her shell. The introverts I know seem to more of the “don’t care for”/”actively avoid” social interaction flavor. Like so many other emotional states, it’s hard to sum up a complex spectrum in one word…

        Off the top of my head, I can’t really gauge Aoi. But it’s not that introverts don’t want to have a social life; it’s more that social life is a demanding activity rather than something you do to unwind (and that in itself is complex, too, because social life comes with different demands depending on the wehere/when/who).

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        1. “it’s more that social life is a demanding activity rather than something you do to unwind” Yeah, that’s pretty much it exactly. I can only speak for me, of course, but socializing is something that I always have to make a conscious effort to do. I can pass an entire three day weekend at home without talking to anyone and not give it a second thought, but getting in touch with my friends and inviting them over to hang out? That takes a lot of mental effort. I’ve gotten better at communicating with people as I’ve gotten older, and my job as a librarian has helped me get a lot of practice with that, because even though that’s stereotyped as a job for introverts, I actually spend at least half of my normal workday interacting with customers. But even after all this time I’m still not comfortable with small talk, I’m terrible about keeping in touch with people, and even if I actually want to get in touch with someone I can always come up with a thousand excuses to overthink myself out of doing it.

          I can’t say where on the spectrum of “mild” to “extreme” Aoi’s introversion goes, though I think she’s a milder one than, say, Oreki from Hyouka, but there are so many little tidbits through the whole series that ring true. As just one example, take last episode when Hinata couldn’t go with her on the hike she wanted to take. She never even thought of getting in touch with Kaede or Kokona to see if one of them could go, she just immediately started making plans to go by herself. That’s very typical. Even though as we saw, Kokona would’ve said yes in a second if it had just occurred to her to ask.

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      2. AIUI Aoi has been portrayed as being disconnected from her classmates – not as not wanting a social life. She’s certainly eagerly socialized within her circle on several occasions.

        She reminds me of a friend who is very social within her circle, but only slowly accepts new people into that circle… and only if there’s some solid connection. (Strong shared interest, club activity, etc….) M. describes herself as an introvert, but I suspect that’s because (as with so much else) society insists on a binary box where reality is a spectrum.

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        1. What you say about M, though, is very compatible with introversion.

          Introversion/Extraversion isn’t actually primarily about the social sphere: it’s more generally about how you approach the world (and of course people are part of that).

          The idea is that there’s each person has an optimal level of stimulus: too little leads to bordom, too much makes you tired. Now, introverts tend to process stimulus differently from extraverts. I’m not sure about the details, but introverts remain stimulated in the absence of new input, and thus a rate of stimulus that satisfies an extravert overloads an introvert, while a rate of stimulus that satisfies an introvert bores an extravert. If a society is biased towards extravert stimulus rates, then introverts will either need to retreat from time to time or find alternative ways to deal with stimulus.

          Focussing on pet topics can reduce the amount of stimulus intake; reducing the number of people you interact with on a regular basis can reduce the amount of stimulus intake; etc. Of course, if you worry about being an outsider than making more friends will reduce the amount of internal stimulus (social situations will lead to less worries), and thus you’re open for more external stimulus.

          For example, when I’ve got a task, I need to get it done as soon as possible, or I’ll be busy thinking about it all the time until it’s done. The exception is meaningless routine (such as homework at school), which I can safely leave until just before the deadline (if there’s no deadline, I need to do it as soon as possible, or I’ll be thinking about when’s the best time to do it).

          If I, as an introvert, want to make friends with someone the best way would be to plunge ahead as soon as possible, or I’d use the time in-between to make up all sorts of stories about them to fill a troubling uncertainty. So, initially, I’ll be very interested in reducing that uncertainty and replacing my interior story machine with habit, but once habit sets in, it takes very little from my end to keep the relationship going, i.e. I’ll want to be around you less. Extraverts tend to only see the drop-off in interest, and might start to worry, when it really just means that I’m comfortable around you now, that I no longer have to deal with an erratic model of you that harrasses me inside. The conundrum here is this: I can make an effort to combat this effect, but this introduces a level of tedium: I’ll be distracted, things I say will be less sincere… And that tends to have the same effect.

          People also often have problems understanding the overload state, telling me that if I want to “talk about it” I can (because they can sense my discomfort, but can’t gauge it). But there’s not “it”. It’s just overload. And when I’m talking about it, having to talk about it is the most acute instantiation of it. But if you just say “thanks,” but don’t follow up, it’s often seen as a rejection (“he doesn’t trust me enough”…). And often there are problems, but there are many of them, and it’s hard to extricate them. Whether or not the effort is worth it, isn’t easy to see, but during overload state is definitely not the time to do so, as you need less mental stimulation, not more.

          It’s true that it’s not a binary (google the not-as-popular term “ambivert” sometimes), but generally there’s a certain amount of stimulus a society expects you to process, and a certain amount of activity you’re supposed to engage in, and if that’s below your level your threatened with boredom, and if that’s above your level you’re under constant threat of mental exhaustion. And since Western societies tend towards extrovert levels of stimulus, introverts tend to withdraw, and that’s why “introversion” often carries social stigma; not because it’s inherently a social trait.

          I think WingKing makes a pretty good case for Aoi’s introversion.

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  3. “now I envision the Macrophages in my body as teeny-tiny little Rory Mercury’s – in maid outfits.”

    That’s an image that’s stuck in my head — and I’m really happy about it!

    Liked by 1 person

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