Winter 2019 – Week 3

Aahhh! Week three, most shows are starting to hit their groove and/or make their big reveals.  It’s also the week of the (in)famous “Three Episode (or Madoka) Rule”…  (I should write more on that one day.)  That’s when a lot of folks decide whether or not they’re going to stay with a show.

thepriceofsmiles-thepriceofwar.

How did this week fare for me?  Did I drop anything?  Hit the jump and let’s find out!

The shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics, strikethrough marks dropped shows and (*) marks shows that are watched but not regularly reviewed.

(*) A Certain Magical Index III Episode 16

The plot of Index has become so convoluted that it has collapsed under its own weight into a sort of black hole…  and no information escapes a black hole’s event horizon.

Which is an over complicated and probably excessively clever way of saying that I have no idea what’s going on anymore.  I’m just onboard for the explosions and over-the-top battles.

Girly Air Force Episode 3

The reveal about Gripen’s origins and Kei’s response was…  about the clumsiest execution that I’ve ever seen.  On the other hand, Yahsirodoori’s rationalization for continuing testing is quite realistic even if he is something of an ass about it.

But now they’ve worked themselves into a corner…  They’ve made it clear, multiple times, that if Gripen failed this test – she’s history.  And now, she’s failed the test Big Time.  I’m not sure how they’re going to _ss-pull their way out of this.  Girly is a keeper for the moment, but the next ep or two may change that.

Also not praiseworthy – of course the American Daughter is blonde and busty…

Endro~! Episode 3

True to her word, Mao (the loli demon lord) seems to have retired and makes no appearance in this episode.  (And I’ve obviously watched too much anime if I can type a phrase like “loli demon lord” without batting an eye…)  But as annoying as she was, something seems lacking with her being absent.

Endro - Slice of life.png
With this episode, Endro goes in a different direction… Pretty much stock SOL/CGDCT, but set in a fantasy world with very obvious RPG elements.  I don’t think I was too fond of it at first…  But on reflection, I liked it.  As any long time reader knows, both SOL and CGDCT are smack dab in the middle of my wheelhouse.   Let’s wait and see where they go with this concept.

My Roommate is a Cat / Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue Episode 3

I’m not sure how to feel about this episode.  So far, Cat has done well handling the smaller slices of life…  While I appreciate Subaru’s backstory, the dip into mysticism wasn’t a good fit.

The Quintessential Quintuplets / 5 Toubun no Hanayome Episode 3

Quintessential Quituplets - Nino.png
Once again, Quintuplets defies expectations!  Even though Fuutarou converted Miku fairly easily last episode, with Nino he’s hit a fairly solid wall.  No one (episode) and done here!  She’s not only not interested in studying, she’s actively sabotaging his attempts to get the other girls to study.  When Nino was slyly getting the other girls to bail on the study session, they also made it clear that Fuutarou is going to face a variety of challenges.  I hope they follow-up on that.

What I found interesting is her motive…  She’s afraid of  Fuutarou changing the family dynamic.  She’s afraid of change upsetting her familiar life with just her sisters.  It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

(*) That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime / Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken Ep 15-17

Boring!  We’re now on the third episode of more-or-less endless talk, talk, talk.

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The last three shows are out of their normal alphabetic order because this was the order we watched them in last week…  It was quite the punch in the feels.

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Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka / Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka Episode 3

Quite a bit to unpack this episode…

First up, we meet another of the Magical Five – Mia (Just Cause).  Of course, being American she’s blonde and sexy (as mentioned in Girly Air Force above).  Asuka then proceeds to double down on the stereotypes by adding “hyperviolent and addicted to guns” to the mix.  On the other hand, you just have to admire her “Mia smash!” attitude.  A refreshing change from overly introspective magical girls.   The same sequence also reveals something disturbing, a connection between the drug cartels (in Mexico) and the Queen (in Japan).  Whatever is going on…  we’ve only gotten a surface look at so far, and it’s big.  (The cliffhanger is another clue in that direction.)

Then there’s Karumi.  Her relationship with Asuka is…  not healthy and borderline obsessive at best.  She’s constantly trying to one up the others and get herself between them and Asuka.  Is she searching for comfort and the familiarity of having Asuka as a protector?

Lastly, the pool scene.  A huge dose of fanservice that this series did not need.  On the flipside, it was interesting to see Sayako take charge of herself and try to get around her fear.  It’s no substitute for professional help, but it’s a start.

cheerleadersamuraivsmegatonshark
And I can’t be the only one who wants to see this movie…

THE PROMISED NEVERLAND / Yakusoku no Neverland Episode 3

This episode was not their best outing.  Emotionally it stayed strong, but the execution was decidedly weaker than the first two episodes.

I’m not fond of Sister Krone as she’s just a wee bit over the top…  Not a good fit with the more subtle characterization that has been Neverland‘s forte to date.  (Not to mention the rather distasteful stereotype of her character design.)  As useful as the information was, her infodump about how the world worked and her ambitions was clumsy as hell.  Though some of the cinematography in the scenes was fantastic, the same general complaint applies to watching Our Heroes talk, talk, talk.

Also could they be more obvious who the plant/quisling/mole is?  Though I still don’t trust Ray.  Something about that boy bothers me, though I can’t put a finger on it.  One unsubtle bit, one subtle bit…  very strange.

The Price of Smiles / Egao no Daika Episode 4

The Price of Smiles - the price of war..png
This episode left me with mixed feelings.  I get it, Princess Yuuki is a proxy for the horrors of war…  As a character, she’s very useful in that role.  But what in tarnation are the adults in the room doing letting a twelve-year-old make critical strategic and tactical decisions?

Having her almost but not quite play act kinda made sense in the first episode…  But it makes no sense for her to directing the course of the war.

As to the reveal about the possibility of Stella’s parentage…  Taking it as real, that would go a long way to explain some of her behavior and feeling like she doesn’t belong in previous episodes.

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If you’ve read this far, you’ll have seen there are no third episode drops.  I do have to say that I feel that Girly Air Force, Endro~!, and My Roommate is a Cat are all starting to veer a little off course.   They’re on probation pending the mid-season gut check.  Except for Price of Smiles and possibly Neverland, all the rest are pretty much staying in their lanes.

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One good thing about not watching any shows on HiDive this season is that means I don’t have to fight their wonky UI to collect screenshots.  But before dropping our sub we’ve been watching and enjoying the hell out of Mitsuboshi Colors.  Thanks Dawnstorm for bringing that series to our attention!

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And that’s the week all wrapped up in a pretty little bow!  How did it go for you?  What are your third episode thoughts?  Drop a comment and let’s chat!

6 thoughts on “Winter 2019 – Week 3”

  1. Yipes, I’ve only watched S1 of index and I have to agree with you. Index can get really convoluted. Haven’t seen girl force, but it reminds me of arpeggio of blue steel. Have you seen arpeggio?? If so is there any similarities with them. The rest I don’t know much about or because I haven’t seen them or spoilers. Mostly spoilers for Asuka, and neverland. Nice post Derek!! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s been a few years, but I have seen Arpeggio. I can see how the promotional material for Girly would create the impression that there’s some similarities… Though there are one or two, most of them break down pretty quickly once you start watching Girly. (Of course that presumes my creaky old memory is recalling Arpeggio correctly.)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked this episode of Endro. I sort of found it funny that they looked more beat up after catching cats, than after fighting monsters. Little thing, but relatable to someone who’s had cats for large streches of his life. (None now.) The show’s really bog-standard, but it’s got a cheerful energy that carries me along. I’m fond of the show.

    Also, I’m glad you’re enjoying Mitsubochi Colors. It’s sort of timely as the cartado collector in Endro has been reminding me a little (not much) of Kotoha. MC was one of my favourites in Winter (and despite that didn’t even make the top 5; what a season Winter 2018 was!)

    I’m with you on the cat show. I wasn’t fond of including ghosts, though I sort of understand what they were going for (there’s a “what are the seeing when they suddenly jump around like mad,” running gag among cat owners this obviously hinted at, but it still didn’t work for me). Other than that, I did like the episode. Next episode is better again.

    I have little to say about Quintuplets. I like the show, but it’s not one I think much about when it’s not on. I agree with what you said, though.

    Is this the time to bring up Domestic na Kanojo. This show has strong scenes sometimes, but the rest of the time it’s a cringe fest for me. It’s as if all the characters are actively trying to embarrass themselves as much as possible. It feels like a less dour-faced Kimi no Iro Machi, or a more soapy Fuuka. Not a recommendation, but I’ll finish it.

    And 3-D Kanojo, god this show. This recent arc must have been the silliest near-divorce drama I’ve ever seen. At least the kids are kids… It still gave us some interesting scenes, but also some horrid judgemental ones. You got off in time.

    Asuka: I’m not interested at all in the villains. There’s nothing there at all. I’d much prefer a slice-of-show with a PTSD magical girl. Asuka is an interesting character, and her school friends are likable. I wish the entire edgy plot weren’t there to be honest.

    Promised Neverland: A really good suspense show for me, but little beyond that. If I didn’t like the show so much I’d drop it on account of the camera. The panning speed is lethal to my motion sickness at least once per episode, and you never know when it strikes. No comments on this episode as I’ve just seen the next one.

    Yeah, Slime’s been incredibly repetitive for a while now. I’m still getting the warm fuzzies when a new episode pops up. I feel similarly about Run With the Wind; I loved the first cour, but since after the break I’m not really getting back into it. I still like it a lot, but nowhere near as much as during the first half, and I’m not sure why.

    Price of Smiles: I didn’t actually get the idea that the general let her make the decisions; more like he had to make a spur of the moment decision and let her sway him, which didn’t turn out well. That scene actually looked like plausible dithering to me (which he probably shouldn’t have done as a matter of principle, so there’s that). I’m still not sure what to make of this show.

    Dororo continues to be excellent, but it’s an excellent samurai drama with supernatural elements, and not something that transcends the genre (which makes sense since it’s old enough to have left its mark on it). I love it, and it’s possible that you’d enjoy it, but if the sort of show isn’t your thing there’s not much you’re missing, I’d say. If you ever feel like watching such a show, you could do a lot worse than picking this one.

    And Mob Psycho 100‘s going strong as my favourite of the season. So far, episode 1 has still been my favourite, though the current set-up promises an excellent arc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did like this ep of Endro – once I wrapped my head around the bait-and-switch. I’m just hoping they keep this course, and hoping no other shoe drops. It’s funny though, I was thinking the exact same thing about Maiza and Kotoha… They remind me of each other too.

      In the case of Smiles, it could be that she swayed him… But there’s also the mechs she refused to allow to be deployed, but they deployed them anyhow. I thought I understood it until this week’s ep, which just stuck in my craw. I don’t think it’s zigged, I think it’s always been this way and I didn’t get it until they shoved our faces in it.

      I didn’t talk about this weeks ep of Wind, but I can’t really find myself disagreeing with you. It’s been a bit off, and this week really seemed so. Can’t quite put my finger on it.

      Like

  3. And for once I’m fully caught up on everything (as of yesterday, anyway).

    Quints: Even though Nino’s in the antagonist role for now, I still find myself liking her. I think she’s an interesting character with an understandable (if misguided) motive. It’s obvious that despite whatever fantasy she’s dreaming about of the five girls living together forever in harmony, they were already growing apart a little bit (in a normal healthy way) even before Futaro came along. Which is not a bad thing, even if she doesn’t see it that way. It was amusing how Futaro’s last attempt at empathizing with her only seemed to rekindle her resolve to defeat him, though.

    Asuka: As I mentioned in replying to Karandi’s review of ep 3, Kurumi is one of the most interesting mysteries to me here. Even though she plays the “healer” character, she doesn’t have the stereotypical personality of a “healer,” and in particular she seems almost devoid of empathy. I’m really curious to get to know her more and find out what her deal is.
    Also, from reading a few reviews and discussions about the manga, it sounds like fanservice is present throughout the series, even if it isn’t the focus, so that pool trip probably won’t be the last we get.

    Neverland: I could write a whole article about all my thoughts and theories, but to boil it all down succinctly, I’m enjoying the heck out of it so far. I watched 2 and 3 back-to-back, and had no serious complaints at all. This is classic “bomb under the table” suspense, and the director really knows how to feed that tension with the voyeuristic camera angles on Emma and Norman’s conversations and the tight, claustrophobic interior shots. With every new twist seemingly making their escape attempt even more difficult, I have no idea at this point how they’re going to pull this off, but I sure can’t wait to see them try.
    As far as the mole among the kids goes, I’m not ruling anyone out at this point besides Emma herself, not even Norman (though I do think that’s very unlikely). Glinda is the obvious suspect, of course, but she seems almost too obvious, like we’re supposed to think it’s her. I’m actually wondering about the boy (Don?) who called Norman away in ep. 2 just before Mama interrogated Emma. If he’s her mole then she might have put him up to that, to get Emma alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not that I dislike Nino, it’s that her active sabotage and general tsundere nature puts her at the bottom of my list. If I have a fondness/potential Best Girl candidate, it’s probably Yotsuha / Miku / Isuki in that order.

      As far as Kurumi goes… Yeah, I saw that comment. She’s been hurt pretty bad, and (from her POV) her protector had abandoned her. It’s not impossible that all that has combined to overwrite any empathy.

      Neverland, it may be a classic technique and it is well executed (other than Miss Krone’s infodump), it just isn’t my cup of tea. But then I’ve never been a huge horror/suspense fan. Are they being too obvious with Glinda? Possibly. But this show veers back on forth between subtle and in-your-face, so it’s hard to tell.

      Like

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