Winter 2019 – Week 8

Promised Neverland - Mom comforts Emma

I rarely pick an Episode of the Week (maybe I should?)… But if I did, this week’s episode of The Promised Neverland would be far-and-away the only possible choice.

Hit the jump and let’s take a look at that episode and everything else that happened this week!

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 21

Misaka herself is finally on scene – hopefully time for some Electromaster butt-kicking!  (Please, please, please!!!)

Endro~! Episode 8

Endro - Rona Realizes.png
This ep continues the themes of the last ep – Rona (Princess) learning to appreciate the girls as people rather than as abstract roles in a story.  It was touching as hell to see her reaction to Yuuria proclaiming that she didn’t ride to the rescue because she was a Hero…  But because Rona was her friend.

It’s an interesting and different way of looking at heroism – using it as an ex post facto description of events rather than as a role or type.

But nobody seems to have remarked on Mao’s transition to and from her Demon Lord form.  Did they just think it was an act, something powered by Cartado?

Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka / Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka Episode 8

This episode was…  very freaking annoying.

The first annoyance was that the existence of a series of gaping plot holes was really driven home.

The bad guys can create Magical Girls.  The good guys can’t or won’t.
The bad guys have access to sorcerers.  The good guys don’t.
The bad guys have access to items and item users.  The good guys don’t.

Now some of this can probably be chalked up to the penury of Japan’s magical defense organization…  But, at least so far, none of the other good guy nations seem to be any different.

The second, and far greater, annoyance is that level of torture and gore has reached a level best described as purely gratuitous.  None of that was really need to drive plot or establish character.  The sexual content of the torture scene was basically there for titillation and nothing else.

I’m about this close to dropping Asuka and walking away.

(*) My Roommate is a Cat / Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue Episode 8

Run with the Wind / Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru Episode 20

And this episode is where Wind‘s bad habit of cliffhangers with no consequences came home to roost.  They were really trying to deliver the feels as Takahasi struggled against his illness to complete one of the toughest segments of the Hakone Ekiden…  But I couldn’t feel as much as they wanted me to because the team has never suffered even the most minor setback or slowdown.

Wind is excellent as a character drama, but it’s increasingly breaking down as a sports drama.  It’s just so weird that the two halves are so poorly integrated.

Sword Art Online: Alicization Episode 20

Lots of talking, not a great deal of action…   They teased the hell out of us getting to see Kirito dual wield again, only to have it (literally) snatched away at the last moment.

(*) That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 22

Reincarnated as a slime - overpowered.png
Seriously Rimuru?  After the number of times you’ve swatted aside dire threats without breaking a sweat…  Lines like this carry absolutely no weight.

The Price of Smiles / Egao no Daika Episode 9

Over on the Soleil side of things, Smiles has never really hesitated to moralize…  In fact, one could argue that the whole reason for Yuki’s existence.  But this episode, yuck.  They laid it on about as thick as possible without actually becoming a non-fiction documentary.

Price of Smiles
Mind you, I’m not objecting to the moralizing per se!  Allegory is a time-honored way of addressing real world issues and getting the viewer to think of things in ways they might not otherwise have done.  Even straight up morality tales can provide a strong dose of thinking wrapped up as entertainment.  I’m objecting to the particularly heavy-handed and clumsy way Smiles chose to clarify and deliver its message.

THE PROMISED NEVERLAND / Yakusoku no Neverland Episode 8

Just when I didn’t think Neverland could up it’s game any further…  Everything got punched up to 11.  Didn’t even ask me to hold its beer.  Didn’t spill a drop either.

I think these two images neatly sum up the episode…

One of my odder hobbies is a fascination with true crime books.  Isabella/Mom reminds me of several of serial killers and murderers I’ve read about – convinced that’s she’s saving her victims from something much more horrible.  Her delusion is so all-encompassing that she even interpreted Emma’s attack as an act of love.

The Quintessential Quintuplets / 5 Toubun no Hanayome Episode 8

Yay!  Finally, Yotsuba (undoubted Best Girl) gets her character episode and she really shines.  They really got me with her false confession, especially since just moments before they’d shown us just how bad she is at lying.  It was especially telling how she turned down the invitations from the basketball club.

The other half of the plot…  meh.  Childhood friends as so overdone.

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And…  that’s my week all neatly summed up.  A bit short and a bit late because class on Tuesday (and a club photoshoot on Wednesday) really ate up my time this week.

How did your week go?  Your thoughts on these episodes?  Drop a comment and let’s chat!

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8 thoughts on “Winter 2019 – Week 8”

  1. So, how’s class going?

    I didn’t really have those problems with Run With the Wind, though I do have different one. I thought it was fairly obivous that Takashi shouldn’t have run, but finished anyway. There’s something about group pressure, about not wanting to be the one to let others down. If he were the last, it wouldn’t matter as much, but as it is, they’d be dropping out if he didn’t run, and the others wouldn’t have gotten to run. We’ve seen Haiji question his motives as early as with Prince, and this is a step up: why do we run? Is risking your health worth it? (This appears to be a personal problem for Haiji as well.) They’ve been bringing up Takashi’s family from time to time, and showing them was, I think, a good move. Basically, it ties in with the original theme: was Haiji right pull this?

    As far as story telling goes, they dodged the bullet: and that’s my proble here. Thematically, Takashi shouldn’t have recovered as quickly. There should have been more of a cost to Takashi’s decision to drive the theme home. As it is, we just affirm that the mountains of Hakone are the steepest in the world. It makes character sense, but feels a little… cheap, dramaturgy-wise. It feels a little like glorifying group pressure, if you get what it means. Haiji’s actions in the first cour weren’t really that great, IMO. I was fine with Prince excusing him, and I fully expect everyone to be on board, but if you’re going to gloss over it like that, don’t threaten someone’s health (especially in anime, where a simple cold is apparently cause to fear for your life).

    Quintuplets: Yeah, Yotsuba was great fun, and yeah, the other half was so-so. I fully expected a childhoodfriend angle (because someone else brought it up mostly), but the show’s already dismantling my theory a little, and I expect the dismantling to continue.

    Slime: Heh. Yeah, nobody who watched the show up to now can possibly buy this line.

    Neverland: I didn’t make the connection between Mom and serial killers, but Irina did (via the “trophy collection”). I’m coming closer to accepting this view. This was a great episode. At this point I’ve already seen the next one, so I’m not saying much more.

    Endro: It wouldn’t surprise me if the kids know Mao is a demon lord, but don’t care as she’s not doing anything bad. Would be totally in character with the happy-go-lucky nature of the show.

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    1. As far as story telling goes, they dodged the bullet: and that’s my proble here.

      That’s my problem too. They’ve dodged so many bullets… For me, there was no sense of drama in Shindo’s run because they’ve conditioned me to accept that nothing untoward will happen and everything will more-or-less reset. The scene of him in bed at their lodgings just took the broken spell and ground the fragments into dust as if to drive home the “no last consequences” theme.

      I’ve been pretty high on Wind all along, but my opinion is really shifting here in the home stretch.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if the kids know Mao is a demon lord, but don’t care as she’s not doing anything bad.

      So people claim there are hints that Rona knows, but I’ve gone back and looked and can’t see them. If she does know, she’s certainly not doing anything about it. It would be kinda cute if the kids did know.

      Neverland: I didn’t make the connection between Mom and serial killers, but Irina did (via the “trophy collection”).

      It just goes to show the writers have done their homework in making Mom frighteningly believable.

      Class was fine, mostly introductory material. We get into the real meat next week. Also next week, I’d totally forgotten the second half of my bookbinding class was starting… and it’s the same day as the photo class. And both will be requiring homework. Yuck. The next few weeks are gonna be “fun”.

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      1. Two classes a day can be taxing. At least you have a week for the homework (imagine doing it all on the same day, too…).

        @Endro: I got the feeling that Rona may know from the episode that introduced her, but nothing since then, including this episode. It’s just that “so you’re a demon lord, so what?” fits pretty well with the show’s motifs.

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        1. Two classes a day can be taxing. At least you have a week for the homework (imagine doing it all on the same day, too…).

          And it’s stuff I want to be doing… not stuff I’m grinding out as a requirement. That helps a great deal.

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  2. Yeah, I definitely would’ve had to revamp my post if I’d waited until after episode 8 to publish it. Yotsuba was wonderful in this episode, though. The shot of her leaning over him, with that wicked grin and the way her head is bathed in light while her face is covered in shadow, might be my favorite still image from the whole series so far. I’m not a huge fan of the “forgotten childhood friend” angle either, but this series has built up enough goodwill with me that I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and see how it executes it. As for which girl it is, my guess would be either Yotsuba or Itsuki. Both of their interactions with him could be reframed in certain ways if we assume for discussion’s sake that they recognize him but are keeping quiet about it (for instance, the way Yotsuba immediately and fully trusted him and her very ambiguous “confession” in this episode, or Itsuki’s demeanor during lunch in ep 1 from when they sat together up until he started insulting her and the air of regret when she talked about how they weren’t getting along in episode 7). Neither Ichika nor Miku have had any scenes so far that can be reinterpreted through that lens (IMO), and if it’s Nino then she has a hell of a poker face, since she didn’t betray any signs of recognition on seeing that picture.

    I’m behind on Neverland, so no comments there (hope to catch back up this weekend, so I skipped reading your thoughts for now), and I’m still enjoying the heck out of Dororo and Kaguya.

    Had another big RightStuf order arrive in the mail today…volumes 5-7 of the Silver Spoon manga and volumes 3 & 4 of the Toradora LNs. Between those and intending to buy the digital manga of Quints as soon as the season ends, I’ve got a lot of reading to look forward to.

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    1. Yeah, I definitely would’ve had to revamp my post if I’d waited until after episode 8 to publish it.

      And I’m not going to say anything more than “ep 9 really throws some monkey wrenches”. :)

      Nino’s poker face… Nah. She’s easily the most open of the quints.

      I really need to read the Silver Spoon manga someday. How does it compare to the anime?

      Bought Liz this week, but haven’t had time to rewatch it… And I REALLY want to. Also bought “Touch Off” and “Break the Blue” on iTunes. (Neverland and Girly Airforce OP’s) I’ve been adding a bunch of songs to my anime playlist and really need to get an updated article out. (In my copious free time… I’ve already got two feature articles that MUST come out in the next three weeks.)

      The full version of “Touch Off” rocks… and the video version seriously rocks. Makes me feel like it’s 1983 again.

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      1. Yes it does, in some very good ways. After 8 and 9 I’m really, really starting to like Yotsuba a lot. I’m still not setting her in stone yet, but it’ll be funny if that holds up, because I can’t even remember the last time we agreed on a best girl. Kato, maybe?

        This has been a strong season for OPs. I love “Touch Off,” “Kaen” (from Dororo) and “Love Dramatic” (from Kaguya-sama). Unfortunately US iTunes only has cover versions of the latter two songs, or else I would’ve bought both of them by now (c’mon Japan, get your s*** together – this happens way too many times). They do have “Gotoubun no Kimochi” from Quints, though, so at least I was able to pick that up.

        Seems like Silver Spoon’s anime was pretty faithful to the manga, at least so far. Anyone who enjoyed one should definitely enjoy the other. The biggest change I’ve noticed through the first four volumes was with the “Area 51” episode. That incident doesn’t happen in the manga until after the end of the Pork Bowl arc, but I think it was moved up to episode 5 – before summer break – in the anime. And that makes sense, since if they’d kept strictly to the manga timeline it would’ve been the last episode of season 1, which wouldn’t really work.

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  3. I’m still not setting her in stone yet, but it’ll be funny if that holds up, because I can’t even remember the last time we agreed on a best girl. Kato, maybe?

    Kato sounds about right… Which is funny synchronicity given that Saekano is the subject of the other post this week. :)

    Unfortunately US iTunes only has cover versions of the latter two songs, or else I would’ve bought both of them by now (c’mon Japan, get your s*** together – this happens way too many times).

    Yeah… I forget that the other song they had that I wanted, but it was an absolutely awful cover. I try to go legit when I can, but they don’t make it easy. Supposedly you can shop iTunes Japan via workarounds, but from everything I’ve researched it’s a bit of a headache.

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