Winter 2019 – Week 6 / Midseason Thoughts

Aaand… its that time again! Mid-season, when I take a look at what I’m watching, where it’s been and where it’s going.  Some shows are keepers, some… aren’t.  Which is which?  Hit the jump and find out!

Price of Smiles - times like these..png

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.

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I kept the episode reviews I’ve written but not posted over the last couple of weeks….  No sense in wasting them!

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Endro~!

Over at ANN, Christoper Farris (who is reviewing the series) raises an interesting point – doesn’t it feel like the anime should be selling something?  It hadn’t really hit me before, but now that I’ve seen it I can’t unsee it…

Midseason thoughts:  Endro~! is an enjoyable piece of fluff… but in the last couple of episodes, it’s starting to zig a little bit.  The Princess will make a nice addition is they actually do something her character…  And I’m not sure how to feel about the attempt at ‘humanizing” Mao, who has previously been cast as an antagonist.  It’s really at it’s best when it sticks to core party and their antics.

Girly Air Force

Episode 4:  After all the buildup about how Gripen was due to be scrapped if she couldn’t perform, she didn’t really perform and they just (mostly) blew it off.  Basically, plot armor sucks.

Also, as foreshadowed a mile off…  Kei took to the air with Gripen.  (Why does a robot plane have a second cockpit anyhow?)  And survived G-forces and maneuvering that should have put him intensive care.  Basically, plot armor sucks.

Girly started off interesting, but it’s on track for a mid-season drop.

Episodes 5-6: While Girly has avoided the worst of the harem tropes, it’s still…  pretty darn generic.  Now the tsundere has arrived on the scene, adding pretty much nothing worthwhile to the mix.

Midseason Thoughts:  Yeah.  I liked Girly at first, but it’s going nowhere beyond generic and I can’t really say I’ve enjoyed the last few episodes.

Status:  Dropped.

Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka / Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka

Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka - The pain of a dream.png
Many bloggers have discussed Asuka’s dream of becoming a Magical Girl and how that dream has turned to ashes…  But something occurred to me this morning.

You know who Asuka reminds me of?  Phosphophyllite (Phos) from Fall 2017’s Land of the Lustrous.

Like Phos, Asuka has gotten exactly what she wanted.  She’s become a Magical Girl, and by helping to win the Disas War she truly did protect and save everyone.  But achieving that dream has come at a terrible price.  She’s suffering from all she’s seen and done…  and she no longer has the energy to look forward to and hope for tomorrow.  That’s made all the worse as it’s becoming clearer to her that her war isn’t over.  It may never be over.

Another side thought on Episode 6:  The news report in the background mentioned illegal sorcerers…  Which implies that legal sorcerers exist too.  Why doesn’t the M-Squad have any on the team?  Or have we not seen the whole picture yet?

Midseason thoughts:  Though I’m enjoying the journey I’m still not sure where they’re going with this…  They’re still moving pieces across the board and the endgame is not quite in sight.

Status:  Keeper.

(*) My Roommate is a Cat / Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue

Midseason thoughts:  I haven’t been writing about this series much, but I am enjoying it.  At first I thought duplicating the action from Haru’s point of view was a bit much, but they’ve expanded that considerably and now it seems to work much better.

Status: Keeper.

Run with the Wind / Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru

Me being me, I looked up Tachikawa Airfield (the start and finish up the qualifying course in eps 15 & 16) and discovered something fun:

Run with the Wind + A place further than universe
Tachikawa Airfield and the adjacent Polar Science Museum

Right next to the airfield is the Polar Science Museum seen in Episode 3 of A Place Further than the Universe.

Episode 17 – The previews made this look like it was going to finally be the character episode for Jota & Joji…  Instead they were kinda pushed into the background so we could revisit the question “why do you run?”.  I guess it’s an important question, given they have a snowball’s chance of winning the race.  It’s a sports anime, so odds are they’re going to win it…  But I kinda wish they don’t.  One of the most brilliant part’s of the finale of Sound Euphonium’s second season is that they while they met their goal of performing in the Nationals – they only took bronze.

Episode 18:  A lovely slow building of tension as race day approaches…  I had guessed that Prince would run the first leg (allows the other runners to make up for him), but I had the last two reversed.  I guess it makes sense that Haiji would put himself in the anchor position – pride of place and all that.

But what’s up with that cliffhanger?

Current thoughts:  (Can’t really call them midseason thoughts)  What can I say but I’m still enjoying the show overall.  I can’t speak for the characters, but so long as they finish the race I think I’ll be pleased.

Status: Keeper.

Sword Art Online: Alicization Episode 18.5

One thing this episode accomplished is to really drive home just how little has been accomplished in 18 episodes…  300 odd minutes of accumulated airtime, and we still haven’t gotten anywhere or accomplished much!  Both of the previous seasons accomplished so much more in the same accumulated time.

Current thoughts:  (Can’t really call them midseason thoughts)  I’ve spent the last few years listening to light novel readers go on about how awesome the Alicization story is…  And as we approach the middle of it’s planned four cour run, I’m not feeling it.  I’m a fan of SAO, but my commitment of time is not being rewarded.

Status: Reluctant keeper.

The Price of Smiles / Egao no Daika

Price of Smiles - times like these..png

Midseason thoughts:  On one hand, I want to echo the thoughts of some folks that this series has been a slow burn – possibly too slow.  On the other hand I can’t think of anything that could really be cut out.  Some minor scenes could be trimmed a bit here and there, maybe saving as much as a full episode.  So, it’s more like a chess game where the action is unfolding in slow motion.  You can’t really cut much without affecting the flow and turning it into a different show.

Speaking in chess terminology – it’s fascinating how both Stella and the Princess are being portrayed as pawns.  Neither actually has much room to maneuver or act on their own.  In the case of the Princess, it’s even crueler as she’s been allowed to maintain the illusion of being in control and having freedom of action.

I’ve blown a bit hot-and-cold over the show so far, but I can’t deny that I look forward to each episode.

Status: Strong keeper.

THE PROMISED NEVERLAND / Yakusoku no Neverland

Episode 4

Norman confronts Ray with evidence that Ray has betrayed them.
Haven’t I been looking a little askance at Ray for a couple of episodes now?  Is this where I got to say “I told you so!”?

That twist was not unexpected…  But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a brutal punch in the face.  And now the conspirators face a serious dilemma…  One that’s going to be difficult to handle considering Emma’s desire to save everyone.  Her desire to see the sunny side is going to be real trouble.

One other fronts…  The confrontation between Mother Isabella and Sister Krone was interesting.  Isabella seems to know of Krone’s intentions – and is keeping her on a very tight leash.  (Which just pisses Sister Krone off to no end.)  I had tagged Gilda a mouse, but she’s shown unexpected strength of character.  Don on the other hand, they took the camera off of him.  I don’t know quite what to make of that.

It should go without saying that this is a show where you can take nothing for granted.

Midseason thoughts: I’d have to say that Neverland leaves me conflicted…  I’m enjoying it on the whole, but the constant cliffhangers are getting a bit wearying.  I’m finding it intriguing and interesting, but in some ways I’m not looking forward to it if that makes sense.

The Quintessential Quintuplets / 5 Toubun no Hanayome

It’s interesting that it’s Itsuki who keeps who keeps getting involved in the Uesugi family’s home life…  And now she’s been confronted with the reality of how the ‘other half’ lives.  Kudos to her for not being a snobby b_tch about it.

The festival episodes were fun…  and interesting to see the lengths that Fuutarou will go to support the girls.  How much is him slowly falling for them, and how much his desire to show Nina that he supports their family?

Either way, I loved the ‘private’ fireworks at the end.  The girls are a family, and they don’t want to forget or mess that up.

Quintessential Quintuplets - the price of failure..png

Episode 6:  It couldn’t be smooth sailing forever…  I’m curious to see how he can win Nino over.  She’s the most implacable of his foes the quintuplets.

Midseason Thoughts:
  Quintuplets remains a fun little romance show while avoiding most of the tropes typical of the harem genre.

Status: Keeper.

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Watched but not reviewed this week:

() A Certain Magical Index III Ep 17
(
) That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Ep 18

For midseason status…  neither are particularly bothersome, so they’re keepers.

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And there you have it!  What are your thoughts?  Drop a comment and let’s chat!

10 thoughts on “Winter 2019 – Week 6 / Midseason Thoughts”

  1. I really like Endro, didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. I’m fine with Mao, she’s part of the series’ charm, but I’m less sure about the princess. I definitely agree, though, that the best episodes involve the four girls doing stuff together.

    Never watched Girly Airforce (horrible for motion sickness), but what little I’ve seen didn’t look attractive, anyway. I’d probably prefer Kotobuki, which I did enjoy for as long as I watched it, but I don’t like the CGI, and, well, motion sickness.

    Cat is really cute. Not every episode is a winner, but when it works it works. One of my favourites, and one of those I’m always looking forward to. I’ve had several cats in my life, and I see so much of them in Haru. She’s adorable.

    As far as I’m concerned, Run with the Wind‘s mid-season slump is over. I’m still not quite as invested as I was in the first cour, but I’m fully on board again. Great character work.

    Price of Smiles… I still don’t quite know what to make of it, except that it’s probably the most gundam non-gundam show I’ve seen in a while. It has some very strong scenes, and I don’t mind the pacing at all; it’s perfect. I’m still wary though, and if you ask me why, I couldn’t quite tell you. It’s this season’s wild-card.

    Neverland is on a very gradual downward curve for me. I’m enjoying it, but there’s this idea that the show’s squandering a lot of its potential by focusing on suspense. The show’s keeping me guessing about character motivations at the cost of character involvement. I’ve said it before, but I’m more curious about them than actually feeling for them. I keep thinking, this is no Shin Sekai Yori, which is unfair, because it doesn’t want to be that, anyway. But that’s sort of how I watch the show.

    I don’t much like Asuka. I’m not into the plot, and I’m certainly not into the villains. I do generally like the main cast, though, except maybe Kurumi whom I don’t dislike but I can’t really get a handle on her. The show occasionally has very strong scenes, but they’re not enough to sell me on the show. I’ll probably finish the show at this point, though who knows?

    Quintuplets is fun, but beyond that I have little to say. It’s the sort of show that invites you to play favourite girl, so: Miku. And that’s it. But it’s one of the better shows in terms of enjoyment for me.

    I’m honestly not sure what to think of Slime at this point. I like the show, it’s still among the better ones. As they seem to be mixing up the formula a little with the latest episode, I might actually get to like it more again (the kids are cute). However, there are unfavourable elments that stand out: post-evolution character designs are almost always less interesting, for example. And the show’s pace is a little strange: for example, I have this dim recollection that at some point Rimuru promised Millim a new weapon, but he didn’t seem to have kept the promise and now both she and he are away. It’s a little thing – but it makes you wonder. On the other hand, every now and then the show has really good moments. That otaku guy in the big city getting increasingly suspicious, was rather well done, and avoiding destructive fighting with the “Warui Slime ja nai” line was a rather great momtent, too… and then things went way too fast again (otaku guy too easily convinced). On the plus side, the kids are extremely cute. The show’s far, far from perect, but I still like it.

    My faourite this season, no questions asked, is Mob Psycho 100. Some episodes aren’t that hot, but, boy, when it’s good it’s among the best I’ve ever seen. If it were more consistent, it could make a good all-time favourite.

    And Dororo isn’t all that far behind; never reaches MP100’s highs, but is way more consistent in quality.

    Meanwhile, Domestic na Kanojo is a cringe fest, a show that attempts to maximise awkwardness. I doubt I’d keep up with the show if it weren’t for Rui, but I like her, so I’m in. It’s also sort of fun to see just what element they can introduce to make the show even more awkward. Sort of…

    Also: Colorful Pastrale. It’s not a good show. As a CGDCT show it’s middle of the road. The art is cheap, the characters aren’t anything special. That they’re mermaids and live at the bottom of the sea doesn’t seem to make much of a difference: they pour drinks and sprinkle sugar/salt on things, they take a shower before they take a bath. They watched a movie with a heartwarming scene where one mermaid sheltered another with an umbrella from… the rain? What? It’s all so inept that it ends up having its own charm, a bit like your two year old’s first drawing which you pin to the fridge. It feels genuine and fun, somehow. Last episode ended with a Manta ray musing that he was young once two, and he sang a song whose final line was “Shark, shark” (in English). It’s not a good show, and I’m fond of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The thing about Cat is that even when it doesn’t work (last night’s ep really didn’t for me), it’s still adorable. It’s just a plain comfy show that delivers just the right amount of “d’awwww” each week.

      I can’t find myself disagreeing with you on Neverland. I could go so far as saying you captured how I feel better than I did myself…

      I think the ANN reviewer captured why this week’s “slow burn” episode of Run with the Wind worked so well… As you say, it’s the character work.

      PS: The best Quintuplet is Yohtsuha.

      Like

  2. I’m definitely with you on Alicization. It isn’t dreadful, but having listened to so many people going on about how this arc ‘fixes’ SAO and is so great, the reality of the anime is decidedly mediocre and as a long time SAO fan I’m feeling like this is more or less what we normally get from a third season of a long running franchise in American television. And that is something that just doesn’t satisfy what originally drew me to the show but has just enough to keep playing on my nostalgia for the series that I don’t walk away.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Making it worse, the ANN reviewer has been dropping hints about what was dropped or reworked from the light novels. I’m getting the impression that adaptation issues are also playing a role here.

      I’m feeling like this is more or less what we normally get from a third season of a long running franchise in American television.

      Yah. Afraid to step too far out of the comfort zone and alienate fans. Afraid to stay within the lines and bore fans. The result is often comfortable mediocrity, nobody is really angry but nobody is really fired up either.

      Like

      1. I still think my biggest issue is Kirito himself (you know, outside of the pacing and the exposition dumps). He just doesn’t feel like the Kirito I had so much fun with back when this all started. And I know he’s been through stuff and would have grown and changed, but he’s not as fun anymore.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. That and somewhere along the line the whole goal of getting in contact with the real world seems to have been misplaced. I accept that he may have substituted his classic goal of saving people for bad fates may have taken precedence, but if that’s true it would have been better to be more overt about it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. It does feel kind of like they just keep moving the objective. Get in contact with someone, help Eugeo save Alice, climb the tower and defeat the administrator, save all the souls inside Underworld… I get that as Kirito learns more it makes sense for him to expand his goals, but that idea of contacting someone seems very much to be on the back burner and you would think it would be a far more pressing issue.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. “You know who Asuka reminds me of? Phosphophyllite (Phos) from Fall 2017’s Land of the Lustrous.”

    I really like this comparison! We saw how Phos dealt with the aftermath (and some of the reactions were absolutely haunting). I’m really interesting into seeing how Asuka ends up handling it.

    I think that as long as she stays close (especially emotionally) to Kurumi, she’ll be fine. But talk about a knife’s edge!

    Like

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