Winter 2019 – Week 2

Given the choice between ever-increasing stress because I’m late…  or pushing out something that’s not quite complete…  I’m going with the latter on the principle that if “no publicity is bad publicity” then “no blog post is a bad blog post”.

That being said, let’s hit the jump and dive right in!

Girly Air Force Ep 2

If I was the kind of guy who put reaction GIFs or image memes in his blog posts…  There’d be one of Spock with a raised eyebrow and “WTF?” right about here.

After the action and suspense of last episode, we got what amounts to half an hour of SOL.  Kei taking Gripen around the town and, for reasons not entirely clear, teaching her about humanity and human behavior.  Worse yet was the excruciating infodump that spanned a good part of the first half of the episode.  The denouement however was…  kinda expected, kinda interesting.  Turns out that one of Gripen’s many operational flaws is that she passes out after three hours.  Only today, only with Kei, has she ever exceeded that.  Expected of course because it’s pretty clear that Kei is meant to be the Chosen One.

The conflict between Yashirodoori (who sees her as a machine) and Kei (who sees her as a people) is a tired old trope, and in retrospect I should have expected it.

The next episode preview promises some action though…  I think it’s the third or fourth episode that will determine whether I keep up with this series or not.

Endro~! Ep 1

From the promotional material, I expected CGDCT…  What we got is still (kinda) CGDCT, but with an interesting (and unexpected) plot twist.   My main concern?  The central plot of “Loli Demon Lord vs. CG adventurer wannabees” can wear thin so very easily.

Still, worth keeping for the moment.

After writing the above, I read Karandi’s episode review and she said about the Loli Demon Lord that really resonated….  “so far she’s kind of petty and pathetic and her schemes are transparent and juvenile”.  I think that nails why I feel this could wear thin so easily.

Endro~! Ep 2

Easily summarized – ‘mostly harmless’.  And does Mao really mean to give up her ambition to be Demon Lord?

Kaguya-sama: Love Is War / Kaguya-sama wa Kokurasetai: Tensai-tachi no Renai Zunousen

Somehow, this didn’t make it into my Winter 2019 premiere posts…  That dammed narrator just would not shut up, and I didn’t find the characters interesting at all.  Dropped about ten mins in.

Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka / Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka Ep 2

(Watched, but no comment.)

My Roommate is a Cat / Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue Ep 2

Cute enough I suppose…  All about Subaru naming Haru (the kitten) and both of them learning to live together.  How that cat ‘knew’ it’s name was a bit of a tug on the heart-strings.  I think Cat may soon go into the “watching-but-not-reviewed” category as frankly, there’s not a lot to talk about here.

Pastel Memories Ep 2

I kind of avoided watching the second ep, which a bad sign.  And honestly when I did watch it, it just didn’t set well.  There was a sudden uptick in fanservice (way out-of-place here), and the Evil Villain was quite frankly…  pathetic.  The straw that broke the camel’s back was fully a third of the episode was devoted to post-battle indulgences.  By that I mean hanging out in the cafe of the world they’d saved, and then hanging about in their own cafe.  (And that’s setting aside the indulgent scenes earlier.)

Maybe I’d feel different if it was an anime (world) I like, maybe not.  Either way…  Dropped.

A commenter on Cactus Matt’s episode review nailed what I was trying to express above…  “It felt like they were trying to run out the clock”.  With such a thin plot, that’s not a good sign in the second episode.

A tip o’ the hat to Karandi who retweeted this interesting link:  Pastel Memories’ commercial apocalypse or, who is this for?  Well worth reading!  And I have to admit I’ve asked the same darn question about any number of anime.

The Magnificent KOTOBUKI / Kouya no Kotobuki Hikoutai

By the end of the first few minutes, we’d learned that one guy was a horndog and one girl was really, really, enamored of pancakes.  Between the slow start and the awful character animation I was just not feeling it.  Dropped roughly five-ten minutes in.

The Price of Smiles / Egao no Daika Ep 2

OK…  I expected to see the war.  I did not expect them to kill off someone who was plainly being built up as an important character.

The Price of Smiles / Egao no Daika Ep 3

Stella Shining…  Is it just me, or is she a real piece of work.  I can’t figure out what her deal is, but she is horribly broken.  I don’t think it’s PTSD.  But I don’t know what it is.

To paraphrase Hank Hill – “that girl ain’t right“.

My wife made an interesting observation…  “They’re not making the bad guys unlikable”.  Reflecting on that, they’re not really making anyone (other than the Empire’s command structure) unlikable.  Both sides are being given human faces, which is resulting in an interesting kind of ambiguity.

THE PROMISED NEVERLAND / Yakusoku no Neverland Ep 2

Echoing what a lot of other bloggers have said…  If Episode 1 set the tone, then Episode 2 started setting the scenario.  And one by one – the walls and traps are set into place.  Our stalwart duo faces the challenge of acting normally to avoid discovery, yet they also must rush because there’s something of a deadline.  Making this rush difficult is both the real wall surrounding Grace Fields (the little fence wasn’t actually it), and the discovery that Mama is more prepared than they thought.  (Even if they are preternaturally intelligent, they are kids just encountering stuff for the first time – they’re going way beyond their knowledge and experience here.)  And the duo becomes a trio…  One that’s already badly fracturing over their chosen course of action.

But, you have to admire Emma – if we’re going to do this thing, we’re going to do it right!  There’s some heavy family and togetherness things going on, and Emma isn’t going to back down from protecting hers any more than Mama is.  Though of course their reasons for doing so diverge…. wildly.

I have to admit in some ways to being a little disappointed in Ray…  And not disappointed I guess.  In the comments on other blogs, I tagged him as the Guy Who Knows…  a potential quisling.   In reality, he’s the Guy Who Figured It Out – that Emma and Norman were Up To Something.   But he accepted their account of events a little too quickly and easily.  I still maintain there’s something up with him, something we haven’t been told/shown yet.

The Quintessential Quintuplets / 5 Toubun no Hanayome Ep 2

And so… the character roulette begins.  But that’s to be expected, to convince the girls to cooperate with him, Uesegi has to start somewhere.  And just by chance he starts with Miku – who is actually very smart about the stuff she want to be smart about (Sengoku period warlords) but suffers from severe self-image problems.  By recognizing this, and reflecting it back at her, Uesegi manages to convince her that she’s not stupid at all.

Of course, he’s a bit of an overbearing ass in the process…  but that just seems to be his nature.  He’s a very smart dude, and very driven by his family circumstances, but not very humble or socially skilled.

Kudos to the series for sticking to its guns…  There’s a (very) few fanservice-y bits here and there, but they feel natural and slide quickly past.  (Feel natural?  Does that make sense?  I mean Miku did have an actual reason for taking off her stockings, it didn’t come out of nowhere.)  Ditto for the ‘accidental pervert’ moment that most other harem anime would make a huge (literally) screaming deal out of – slid past as just the accident it really was.

=========

With all the heavies this season…  I find myself thinking that I’m going to have to either drop some shows, or limit my reviews on the not-heavies.

=========

Apologies for the half-ass post, but I felt I had to get something out…

=========

Looks like Wednesday is going to be the best day for me to post.  Means I’ll be way late on the biggest shows of the season, but that’s just how everything works out.

=========

Anyhow…  What are your thoughts on the week?

11 thoughts on “Winter 2019 – Week 2”

    1. If I don’t push it out… then the pressure-spiral of having gotten nothing out just builds, making things worse. So, decent if incomplete seemed to be the better option. Get it done, dust myself off and try again next week.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I dropped both Girly Airforce and Kotobuki almost immediately; both for the same reason: I’m not going to watch shows with CGI shows with airplains in them. This is almost sure to be murder on my motion sickness. (Promised Neverland has isolated instances of nausea cam, too, but since they’re isolated and the show’s good enough, I’ll stick with it for now.)

    Oddly enough, I liked the second episode of Endro better than the first; given the feedback I’ve read so far, this seams rare.

    I’m still not sure what to think about Price of Smiles. I half expected them to kill off the character, though: it’s the comparatively small role he plays in the OP. Halfway through ep2, the flags mounted, so by the time it happened it wasn’t a surprise at all. It wasn’t that obvious, though, that I took it for granted. Ep3 was interesting. Stella seems completely out of it: as if she’s suppressing a backstory to be able to function (the way she talked to the girl suggests this: she’s got a place to belong now – ask yourself who orphaned her [if that’s what happened], and I think you may have the key to her behaviour.) It’s a clumsy show, but it’s its own thing and interesting. Can still go either way.

    Promised Neverland: Good suspense and likable characters, but I’m not seeing the masterpiece everyone else is seeing. The direction is a little on the knows; they don’t quite go as far announcing bad things with jingles, but the direction comes close. It’s still one of the better shows of the season, though.

    Quintessential Quintuplets: Fun enough. The characters are well individuated and easy to tell apart, but I liked the second episode a little less than the first, and I fear that it’s early signs of diminishing returns. I do think there’s a bottomline it won’t drop past, so I excpect an enjoyable show. Don’t like the English title: the Japanese one clearly has “bride” in the title, and they started with the imagery, too. The English title seems to get rid of an important framing device. Not sure what to use instead; I think of it jokingly as “Groom with a Few”, but that’s not really a good title. It’s surprisingly hard to come up with good title translations.

    I like Kaguya sama, but yeah, the narrator is a test of patience.

    My enthusiasm for Slime is slowly waning; I still like it, but the cuteness is wearing off, and I get fed up with evolutions messing up interesting character designs: I really didn’t need the lizard girl turning more human (same with the ogres, who looked cooler before). The empire building exercise is starting to foreground its colonialist flavour more and more… None of this is a deal breaker, but well, if it’s a really long-running show it’s likely to lose me at some point. The show’s biggest saving grace is that I tend to like the characters they keep introducing; so if they can outpace my boredom with spitfire character introduction, I may be fine.

    Similarly, I’m hitting a rut with Run with the Wind. The second cour episodes so far were good, but not quite the top material the first cour was for me. We’ll see.

    I do really like the cat show. The bodylanguage of the cat is so spot on. But, yeah, it’s not really something that’s easy to talk about.

    I’ll try a tentative rundown of the season. The order is very loose, as always.

    Mob Psycho 100 2
    Dororo
    Run With the Wind
    Dokyun wa Hiza
    Slime
    Kaguya sama
    Meiji Tokyo Enka
    Endro
    Manaria Friends
    Neverland
    Mononokean 2
    Price of Smiles
    Kemurikusa
    Quintuplets
    Karakuri Circus
    Domestic na Kanojo
    Circlet Princess
    Ueno san wa Bukyo
    Tate no Yuusha
    Boogiepop
    Asuka
    Wataten
    3-D Kanojo
    Colourful Pastrale
    Grimms Notes

    Impossible to place: Rinshi Ekoda chan (wildly uneven)

    Waiting for: Piano no Mori 2, Hulaing Babies (seen a raw on youtube; looks like surreal fun)
    Grimms Notes

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The most sensible translation that I’ve seen online for Quintuplets’ Japanese title is “The Five Equal Brides,” which I think is good and ties in well with the “mystery bride” hook. As to why they changed it, my guess is that it was something like Kodansha USA (who licensed the manga) didn’t think their target demographic of teenage boys would read a manga with “brides” in the title. We’ve seen those kind of decisions made before.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah, so that’s the direct translation. I don’t like this sort of change, but at least this isn’t a title I refuse to use.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Re: Run with the Wind, yeah… They’ve been in a bit of a rut the last couple of episodes, but I think this week’s ep was a turning point. Prince now his official record, so they can leave off that part (which was getting a bit repetitive) and really start moving towards the Hakone Ekiden itself. It would also help if they backed off the “all for one, one for all” just a skosh, they’ve been laying it on pretty thick of late. We get it already.

      Re:Endro I’m forseeing a shift to “watched but intermittently reviewed” for this one two. It’s certainly executing it’s one party trick well enough… But it really needs more. That’s why I kinda perked up at Mao’s declaration. If they play with that, the show will be a lot more interesting.

      Re:Cat And then of course this week’s ep turns everything on it’s head… But we’ll talk about that next week.

      Re:Price of Smiles/Stella. You may be on to something there… That could also explain the ‘broken’ behavior I noted.

      And yeah, Slime is slowly losing a ton of it’s charm. We keep seeing more of the same, and it’s getting old.

      Like

  2. Here’s how the seasonal shows are shaking out for me so far.

    1 – Dororo. This has been both really good and really enjoyable, with three quality episodes in a row to kick things off. I’m glad to hear it’s going to be a two-cour, because this is a series that deserves to not be rushed.

    2 – Quintessential Quintuplets. Not as “good” as Dororo, but I had a ball watching the first two episodes. I really like all six main characters, and with three other serious shows on my docket, I’m glad to have a light comedy like this to balance things out a bit. I’m already thinking about picking up the manga if the rest of the series is this much fun.

    3 – Love is War. So far I’m enjoying Quints more out of the two Romcoms, but I’m still enjoying this one too. I just have more reservations about it, chief among them the opening narration, which we’ve now had to sit through in its entirety two weeks in a row, and hopefully never again. I love the OP though, it’s really stylish and reminds me a lot of those classic James Bond openings (and as a longtime Bond fan, that’s a Good Thing).

    4 – Spec Ops Asuka. I think we’re just scratching the surface of the story so far. I see some good potential here, but there are a few flags giving me some pause, too, moreso in the second episode than the first. It’s too early to judge, but definitely intriguing enough to keep watching.

    5 – Promised Neverland. No knock on this series for being 5th, it’s just that it’s the only one I’m behind on, so it could still go zooming back up the list in a hurry. I’m planning to watch episodes 2 & 3 together after work tomorrow. The first episode was good, but unfortunately the effect of the reveal was slightly ruined for me only because I couldn’t help mentally comparing it to Chicken Run. That’s one of my favorite movies, but it probably isn’t a comparison the mangaka wants me to make. Hopefully the rest of the series will dispel that association and not reinforce it.

    6 – Girly Air Force dropped. I was lukewarm on it to begin with, and once I tried Kaguya and Asuka and knew they were both going to be keepers, that sealed its fate.

    Other stuff:

    I finally started watching YuruCamp last week, when I was looking for a new “chill” series to relax with before I go to bed at night. I’m at about the halfway point, and naturally, it’s been just perfect for that kind of thing.

    I’ve been reading the Amagi Brilliant Park LNs since they started getting English ebook releases, and I’m currently in the middle of reading volume 3 after that came out earlier this month.

    Also, after I finished watching Bunny Girl Senpai I found the blog for the person doing fan translations of the LNs, and I read v1 “cover to cover” on Monday night. Good book, and very polished by fan translation standards. I definitely want to keep reading them as time permits (and for however long the fan keeps working on them; as of now they’re translated up to chapter 1 of book 4 – roughly around anime episode 9).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. re:Neverland Comparing it to Chicken Run is… amusing as h_ll. I’m seriously sitting here chuckling.

      re:Asuka

      I see some good potential here, but there are a few flags giving me some pause, too, moreso in the second episode than the first.

      Agreed… It’s still at the “could go either way” stage. I think Queen’s existence is going to require some serious explaining to make it work. Bad magical girls? That seems somewhat at odds with the scenario so far.

      ReYuru Camp That was a good one for certain… It’s my go-to “comfy” ATM, when I’m feeling grumpy or down. If you get a chance, I did review it last winter. If you’re at about the halfway point… then you’ve seen Two Camps. Two Campers’ Views? Hands down my favorite episode.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “OK… I expected to see the war. I did not expect them to kill off someone who was plainly being built up as an important character.”

    That surprised me, too. Gutsy move if they use it right!

    “My wife made an interesting observation… “They’re not making the bad guys unlikable”. Reflecting on that, they’re not really making anyone (other than the Empire’s command structure) unlikable. Both sides are being given human faces, which is resulting in an interesting kind of ambiguity.”

    I’m really interested to see how this plays out — especially with promotional shots of Stella and the princess hanging out together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That surprised me, too. Gutsy move if they use it right!

      Her parents are dead too… Lots of baggage for a twelve year old. Too much?

      I’m really interested to see how this plays out — especially with promotional shots of Stella and the princess hanging out together.

      That’s got me curious too. There’s no obvious road from here to there, and no viable guess based on what we know so far. Twist incoming soon I suspect.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s