Fall 2018 – Week 2

Release the Spyce - Tsukikage's Headquarters

We say goodbye to Titan as it goes on hiatus and to a couple of other shows as they hit the drop bin…  But here was also some darned good episodes this week.  Hit the jump and let’s chat!
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.

Anima Yell! Ep 2
Anima Yell - Kohane's reasons for cheerleading..png
Bog standard school club stuff this week.  Having recruited Hizume in the first ep, Kohane’s sights are now set on dragging Uki (her best friend) into the madness.  In the end Uki capitulates, though that was more because of Hizume’s Super Cheer Powers than anything of Kohane’s doing.

The pom-pom segment was cute, especially watching Hizume rescue Kohane from her own ineptness.  Yeah, but as with her sketchy source for cheerleading costumes (a vendor of erotic cosplay) I suspect Hizume correcting Kohane will be a running gag.  She was also amazingly gentle with Kohane’s training.

Hmm…  Who is the actual MC here?  Kohane or Hizume?

Attack on Titan 3 / Shingeki no Kyojin Ep 12 (Ep 49)

A very odd episode indeed.  It felt more like an OVA or an extended PV than anything else.  Either way, I loved the ending with the Scouts setting confidently out to retake the wall the full support of the populace.  Of the teasing about The Basement – dammit, I hope they mean to follow-up this time.

And with that, Titan goes on hiatus until April.

Bloom Into You / Yagate Kimi ni Naru Ep 2

I would describe this episode as disturbing.  With that sudden kiss, Touku certainly raised the ante.  Yuu, for her part, decided to play along with the gag and took hold of Touku’s hand while the group picture was being taken.  I guess that’s the disturbing part, she’s still feeling nothing yet decides to reciprocate out of consideration for Touku’s feelings.  I’ve never been fond of that particular mode of storytelling as it seems borderline abusive to straight up lie in that manner.

Bloom into You - Sayaka.png
It’s also interesting how fast Sayaka came and went from focus…  She seems to have been too important in the past for it to be that simple.  Even a strong friend, with no romantic entanglements…  Who gives up that easy who isn’t a doormat?

Boarding School Juliet / Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet Ep 2

This week’s ep could be best described as “good twin, evil twin”.  The first segment, the good twin, was touching.  I loved watching Romio try to be a good boyfriend, and the exchange of personal gifts was lovingly handled.  The bad twin…  Ick.  That “date” was as ham-fisted and trope laden as anything I’ve ever seen.

Taking both episodes into consideration…  The good does not sufficiently outweigh the bad.  We’re done here.  Dropped.

Bunny Girl Senpai Ep 3
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai / Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl-senpai no Yume wo Minai

Bunny Girl Senpai - Sakata and Mai confess..png

That was unexpected, and entirely too pat…  All Sakuta had to do was announce his love for Mai to the whole world, and the entire situation is resolved?   Bleh.  They just took everything that was good about the show, wadded it up, and tossed it into the garbage.  From the looks of it, we’re done with their relationship and are moving on to another problem with a different girl…

Is this going to turn into a harem?  Have we seen the last of Sakuta and Mai’s close-but-sarcastic relationship? I certainly hope not.

Iroduku Sekai no Ashita kara / IRODUKU : The World in Colors Ep 2

On the surface just another “starting at a new school” ep… But there was a ton of character development.  Just because the framework is something we’ve all seen before, that doesn’t mean there isn’t meat in the details.

Iroduku is a world of both magic and technology, marthaurion and Nichi Nichi-chan inspire some thoughts on both…

Iroduku - Hitomi and technology

I actually like this scene as it’s classic “showing rather than telling”.  If you watch a lot of anime, you’re used to massive infodumps and excessive details that are standard parts of LN and game adaptations.  OTOH, Iroduku is using what Robert Heinlein called “and the door dilated” moments [in SF].  That is, worldbuilding details are revealed implicitly in the course of the natural action rather than explicitly (the aforementioned infodumps).  This also serves to give us a sense of the world as Hitomi sees it, as a place strange and different from the one she grew up in.

This is older and more literary form of world and character building than we might be used to.  Personally, I find it refreshing.

On the magic front things are…  less well handled.  As mages live in the world rather than separated from it, it makes sense for Hitomi to attend a normal high school.  From what little we’ve seen, magic runs in families, and we can assume so does training in the magical arts.  What doesn’t make sense is that mages can cause property damage and nobody seems to care.  I mean, how is teenage Kohaku allowed back in school and all they want from Hitomi is a simple waiver?  It seems somebody would care.  And what about Grandma Kohaku and her time magic?  That’s some powerful sh_t right there…

That’s one the thing that The Irregular at Magic High School (Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei) got right…  If mages are powerful enough to be living weapons, folks on both sides of the law are going to be very interested.

On the more positive front, I loved the restrained way they showed Hitomi viewing Shou’s artwork…  only a faint reflection in her eyes (which I missed the first time around) and a quiet private smile.  Impressively intimate.

Release the Spyce Ep 2

A fairly slow-paced training montage episode.  For all that, it was pretty well handled and showed the wide variety of skills a schoolgirl spy would need to master.  Yuki took her role as sensei/Master very seriously, as did Momo in her role as student.  A hint about “being prepared” was all she needed to rig the final exam in her favor.

Release the Spyce - Tsukikage's Headquarters

I admit to giggling through the introduction of Tsukikage’s headquarters.  It was so freakin’ over-the-top but they played it with an absolutely straight face.  Thinking back, that was true of the training montage too.  I guess you could say that’s fast becoming Spyce‘s defining characteristic – it’s practically a parody of itself and somehow they’re making that work.

Run with the Wind / Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru Ep 3

After two strong episodes, Wind was bound to eventually bobble one and that was certainly what happened this week.  The basic framing, getting started on their training, wasn’t bad…  But the execution was all that great.  The sub-plot with Hanako felt, frankly, a little on the slimy side even though she was a willing and knowing participant.  Even if it had been a college age girl, rather than minor, it would have been distasteful.  I get it, Haiji needs to motivate everyone, but that could have been handled much better.

On the other hand, getting involved directly in Yukihiko’s business make more sense.  It still casts Haiji as a SOB, but that’s consistent.  We’ve known he’s a SOB since the middle of the first episode.

And could we just be done with Kakeru’s issues?  Did we really need Someone From The Past to make an appearance?

Sword Art Online: Alicization Ep 2

Alicization continues it’s almost maddeningly slow amble into telling a story.

Instead of jumping on last week’s cliffhanger, they took an entirely different tack.  We don’t see the IRL consequence of Death Gun’s attack…  Instead, Kirito reboots into the Underworld.  I’m guessing he’s in the Soul Translator equivalent to a Medicuboid?

Inside the alternate reality, it looks like years (almost a decade?) has passed since the events of the first episode.  But two things stick out…  The first is that Eugeo has no memory of Younger Kirito, and only dim memories of Alice.  The second is that Underworld Kirito has aged right along with Eugeo and grown from pubescence into young adulthood.  I’m thinking that neither of these things are accidental – somebody is actively manipulating that reality.  Why?

Not at all surprising was the ‘new’ Kirito.  In the first ep, he seemed like a meat puppet without any memories of the real world (though with a not dissimilar personality).  In this ep, he’s himself again…  And that means he’s once again brash and getting in everyone else’s business.  Somebody needs saving?  He’s there, dual swords in hand.

This is both SAO’s greatest source of interest and its greatest source of annoyance.

Sword Art Online Alicization - Selka.png
And who, or what, is Selka?  And why is she using Asuna’s face?  If I were a Bad Guy intent on manipulating Kirito, I’d get to him through Asuna.  Is that what’s happening here?

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime / Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken Ep 3

A power fantasy story line is common enough in isekai that it would normally pass with little comment.  But Slime took it to a new level, with Rimuru becoming a truly benevolent dictator with strongly liberal politics.  (No judgement, just the facts.)  But he does have his limits…  He ruthlessly killed the leader of the pack, and when the direwolves refused to depart or submit he was not afraid to use his newly acquired powers.  He’s also a realist, when they did submit he made the best of the situation.

That being said, I’m kind of tired of the endless setup and slow pace.  With this episode, I’m dropping planned weekly coverage.  I’ll comment as the spirit moves me.

The Girl in Twilight / Akanesasu Shoujo Ep 3

True to the post-Madoka template, episode 3 is where Everything Changes.

Seriousuka (Asuka-653) lays out the true nature of the world…  Something, or someone, called King Of Twilight is messing with reality for as yet unexplained reasons.  One effect of this is the ongoing degradation of Seriousuka’s world.  Her quest, her reason for roaming the parallel worlds, is to put a stop this.

That Girl in Twlight - Nana Transformed..png

The other big reveal – when a being overcomes their shortcomings, they gain the ability to henshin into something called an Equalizer.  Basically a bad-ass magical girl with the ability to destroy the King’s minions.  Seriousuka has obviously already done so, and now Nana can too.  (I wonder if we’ll get Seriousuka’s full background?)  Anyone who doesn’t think the rest of the girls will gain this ability over the rest of the season is obviously very new to anime…  (And yeah, for the same reason, I shouldn’t wonder about Seriousuka’s background.)

So…  here’s the question.  Twilight has some interesting ideas.  It also has some seriously generic/tropish elements.  It either just got good, just went generic, or completely descended into crap.  Which way is it going to play out?

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My new computer arrived on Monday, and it’s been a joy and an annoyance…  Having a keyboard that isn’t balky as heck makes the writing process much more enjoyable.  On the other hand, now I have to retrain my spellchecker to speak otaku and half a dozen other specialized vocabularies for one of my hobbies or interests.

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And there’s the week in a nutshell!  How did yours go?  Drop me a comment and let’s chat!  (Yes, I saw the Big News about various streaming services earlier this morning…  I have a post in work on that.)

13 thoughts on “Fall 2018 – Week 2”

  1. I’ll be able to watch Girl in the Twilight soon with the recent news regarding Funi and VRV…

    I agree on SAO. I don’t get why episode 2 needed to rehash so much of episode 1. What was the point of the hour we spent on exposition if we were just going to do more of it again? Were we supposed to forget or not follow it? I am interested but the pacing needs to pick up.

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    1. HiDive actually has a decent catalog, I suspect you’ll find a lot to watch that isn’t current season too. It’s kind of annoying because I just set up the new computer so it would screen mirror to the TV so I could watch HiDive w/o burning up my tablet’s batteries… As soon as HiDive is available on VRV, I’m jumping ship.

      From what I understand, the LNs start off that slow too… So this isn’t really the anime’s fault. But I agree, it is annoying.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would actually get HiDive if it had a PS4 app so since it is on VRV soon that circumvents that. They have a lot of stuff, especially dubbed, that I would really like to watch.

        Ah, well that makes sense but still…

        Liked by 1 person

      1. That scene was the final straw for me. I stayed strong during the four year gap between seasons 1 and 2, and the one year gap between 2 and 3, but Sunday I gave up and started binge-reading the manga where the anime left off (Chapter 73) and caught up to the current chapter (110) yesterday. So now I can’t talk about the anime lest I inadvertently spoil something.

        I will say this: I am looking forward to the April cour more than ever now.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I will say this: I am looking forward to the April cour more than ever now.

          I have heard that from several people who’ve read the manga!

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  2. @Anima Yell: It’s a CGDCT show. Kohane Hizume is the axis around which the show will spin. I don’t think it makes sense to pick a main character, here. The balance is in the middle. A lot of CGDCT shows have that dynamic. It’s the Ichigo Marshmallow linage, rather than the Azumanga Daioh linage. They’re actually doing really well developing Hizume Uki to some extent. That’s the sort of relation that usually remains underdeveloped. I think I underestimated the show (during the season-preview phase).

    @Attack on Titan: The last moment of the show will have everyone dead, and dying Armin sits at beach, tossing the key into Sea.

    Well, maybe not. The thing is, I’m really not invested in the show. I liked last season much better; I’m not here for the politics. In any case, “season 3” continues in spring. I sometimes wonder what people go by when naming seasons. I’ve seen shows that must have split cours, number each cour a season of its own, and here we have two inbetween seasons, but it’s still the second cour of “season 3”. Is it strange that I’m more curious about this than about the actual show?

    @Bloom into You: Yeah, the handholding scene… I was sitting there, thinking, “what are you doing, girl?” I’m not so sure she knows herself. That’s the strangest sort of jealously I’ve ever seen in anime: basically, Yuu is jealous of Touko’s feelings for her, so in a sense the handholding could be a hot mess of revenge and wishful thinking. And I’m not even sure how Yuu feels about Touko apart from romantic confusions; I’m not convinced she’s sure herself. I find it less creepy than a messy anything-goes game, where every move is a risk in the sense that the other party stops playing. A really strange back and forth. If anything, I feel bad for Sayaka, who I now think was referring to herself when she said that Touko’s even been confessed to by girls. Can’t be fun watching a game that makes no sense, other than that you’re excluded.

    @Iroduku: Still like it, but it’s not a show I have to say much about. That’s a fun gif you have there. PA Works are on their game here.

    @Bunny Girl Sempai: Since I’ve never had too many expectations, I wasn’t too disappointed with this conclusions. It’s a little tacky, but at least it makes more sense than the dodgy science philosophy. Looks like we’re going to misinterpret determinism for a while from now on. The opening and preview descriptions always suggested a harem, so I’m not surprised here. I’ve seen comparisons to Monogatari but I could never really see it. However, when it comes to loose harem structure I can see the comparison: I fully expect Mai to remain present as the girlfriend, much like Senjougahara. I wouldn’t be surprised.

    @Run With the Wind: Definitely the weekest episode so far, and the let-a-girl-motivate-them line isn’t exactly my favourite either. But I’m fine with most of the rest. I doubt the show’s going to compartmentalise its character arcs in episode bundles, so I expect we won’t be done with Kakeru’s issues until the show is done. I’m fine with that, depending where this goes.

    Also, is Haiji trying to kill the prince to sell off any rares in his collections? I’m fairly sure, when someone’s completely untrained they shouldn’t start out with daily 10 km runs. That’s nuts.

    @Slime: I’m a little confused: are you dropping the show, or only the coverage. (I always assumed a crossed-out show meant a drop.) I’m fine with the show as always. It’s definitely a power fantasy, and one thing the show’s never going to be is interesting. I find it cute and relaxing. It does have a cavalier attitude towards death: the MC own death was strangely unmotivated, and there was a matter-of-factness to the you-don’t-give-up-you-die execution of the trapped wolf-leader. Dictatorship? Not so far. More village chief. Part of what makes a dictatorship is direct control of the military; the village is too undeveloped for this to make sense. In the future? Who knows. Maybe we’re looking the entire world’s future overlord. The key problem is that the unashamedly fantasizes away dissent.

    I just like the little touches, like the director having the slime voice actor howling along with the wolf-skill. It’s so incredibly silly. The show knows how seriously to take itself. Other jokes fall flat: Wolf playing doggy with tornado tail is silly, but without the charm. Actually, strike power-fantasy: it feels more like an admiration fantasy. Everybody’s sempai. As if they were all new workers in his company, rather than him being the new kid on the block.

    I’m actually a little curious about Girl in Twilight, but not enough to pick it back up. My problem was never with the story; I just felt the exuction was incredibly dull.

    For what it’s worth, I just watched the first two episodes of Gridman after hearing good things about it. The story is fairly genric tokusatsu fair, but the pretty pictures are such fun to look at, and they’re actually taking their time with the characterisation. It’s good fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Attack on Titan: The last moment of the show will have everyone dead, and dying Armin sits at beach, tossing the key into Sea.

      I must admit, I laughed my _ss off reading this. Well played!

      @Bloom into You: If anything, I feel bad for Sayaka, who I now think was referring to herself when she said that Touko’s even been confessed to by girls. Can’t be fun watching a game that makes no sense, other than that you’re excluded.

      That theory makes a lot of sense… except for her passivity in this episode. My mind just keeps coming back to that, it’s a puzzle piece that doesn’t seem to fit anywhere unless she’s a doormat. And it seems unlikely to me that Touko would keep a doormat around, she doesn’t strike me as that insecure. (Or as someone who spends a lot of time building up the people around her, too independent?)

      @Slime: I’m a little confused: are you dropping the show, or only the coverage. (I always assumed a crossed-out show meant a drop.)

      I’m dropping the coverage… I only have limited tools here, and thus limited iconography. Sorry for the confusion. The show isn’t bad per se, just not worth my time to write about. (Though I’m happy to discuss it.)

      And I can’t disagree with you about Twilight, great ideas, poor (passive?) execution.

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      1. @Sayaka: I don’t find her a doormat at all. The problem is that the situation is such a muddle that you can’t really figure out what to do. She quite openly (for anime) confronted Touko about not making her the campaigner, and she was obviously not entirely satisfied by the answer (but pushing it is bad manners).

        So far, Touko’s – in her eyes – would have been someone who turns everyone down. And now it’s fairly obvious she has a crush on the new girl, so the why-not-me question gets redefined. There’s very likely a conflict between what she should feel, and figuring out what she is actually feeling. If she has been turned down in the past, that being turned down has just become a little more personal. It’s entirely possible that part of her resists that and she’s still trying to tell herself (unsucessfully) that she’s wrong about what she’s clearly seeing. (She may have never confessed, based on her perception of Touko – that would make things even more complicated, as maybe-I-did-have-a-chance-after-all-but-I-let-it-slip-by would be… more rival-like in the outcome?) It wouldn’t be an easy situation at all.

        So, in the end, when Sayaka’s cautioning Touko about not letting her feelings take over the campaign, in a sense she might as well be talking to herself, too. It’s not even an easy situation to describe.

        @Slime. Gotcha. I wouldn’t know what to say about slime either. I like the show, but there’s only so much you can do with that. It’s just not that interesting to talk about.

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  3. Still haven’t gotten around to watching anything new yet, as I wait for Tsurune’s premiere (and finding out who’s going to stream it). But I did start rewatching Euphonium this week, in advance of the movie. Funnily enough, out of the 12 shows in my “tier 1” group (those I consider my all-time favorites), that’s the only one that I’ve never rewatched before now. No worries about it holding up for me, though, not that I ever had any. I watched five episodes in a row the other night and had to force myself to go to bed after the last one, or else I would’ve happily kept right on going.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Crunchy still has a “?” box on their fall lineup page (https://www.crunchyroll.com/lineup), and I expect that’s for Tsurune. There’s nothing else big that hasn’t premiered. Crossing fingers!

      But I did start rewatching Euphonium this week, in advance of the movie.

      Great minds think alike! This was my 5th rewatch of the 1st season, and I fell in love with it all over again. Started the second season night before last, and watched the “fanservice” ep (ep 2) last night. Only my second time through though, it’s good but not to the level of the 1st season.

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      1. I was going to make a joke that CR could still be holding out for that Capsule Hotel series, but then they went and announced Tsurune first anyway. I’m happy about that, of course. It gives me something to look forward to watching on Sundays besides the Bills inept offense.

        Yeah, it’s going to be interesting when I get to Eupho season 2 to see if it’s grown on me at all, or if I still have the same issues with it. First time around it ended up in my third tier, in the same general neighborhood as Danmachi and Amanchu. Still good shows, but not all-timers.

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