Winter 2019 – Week 10

Promised Neverlan - Emma has not given up

Strong emotions this week in The Promised Neverland…  Probably the strongest episode this week.  And that’s saying something when you take Run with the Wind into account.

So, let’s hit the jump and dive right in!

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.

Endro~! Episode 10

Back to the normal round of CGDCT – our stalwart girls are off on a Quest!  Only the quest kinda gets forgotten due a monster encounter…

This episode felt, a little phoned in I guess.  We’ve had a long of episodes that were better than you’d expect in a CGDCT type of show, and an average episode just felt out-of-place.

Didn’t help that they ran the episode’s one gag right into the ground.

Enjoyable, but Endro – you can do better.  You have done better.

Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka / Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka Episode 10

Magical Girl Spec Ops Asuka - Mia's strength.png
Mixed feelings this week…  On one hand, a LOT of red shirts died to fill time and convey how desperate the situation is.  On the other, I love the interactions between Mia and Sayako.  I can’t decide if Mia is resigned to her lot…  Or actually believes that she was lucky to be chosen as a Magical Girl.

Run with the Wind / Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru Episode 22

Deciding to save some of the characterization for so late is an odd decision, but it seems to be working out.  It was interesting to learn more about King, and how his prickly nature is a result of…  Partly his disappointment in himself.  Partly self-defense to cover up what appears to be some kind of social anxiety.  Can’t quite get a handle on it, though it was relatable as hell.

I think I’ll talk more about Kakeru’s stunning run next week when we know more about his encounter with Fujioka.

Hiroshige - Yugyoji Temple in Fujisawa.jpg
I could only find one brief page about the history of the Yugyoji Temple…  However it was the subject of a Hiroshige print.  But King, the King of Trivia, no doubt knows all.

Sword Art Online: Alicization Episode 22

After all the buildup to the fight versus Chudelkin…  Kirito whipped out a new power, and it was all over in just a minute or two.

Let’s return to the days of yore, when Kirito could whip out a new power – and the show could make us care.  When they could make it seem as if battles actually mattered.

(A tip o’ the hat to Karandi who inspired the above.)

Worse yet, that was only the first of two battles in the episode that were both quickly over and ultimately without consequence.

The Price of Smiles / Egao no Daika Episode 11

Jumping back and forth between the sides of the was has sometimes been a bit confusing, but we hit the payoff this episode….

On the Soleil side of things, Princess Yuki has once again seems to have (once again) changed her approach to the war.  On the surface, with the help of a Vunderveapon, she’s going on the offensive – confronting the Empire directly.  But…  (isn’t there always) it’s an elaborate cover-up for a private scheme to shut down the chrars that power the planet’s civilization.  While the offense begins, the Princess is way off to one side, sneaking past the Empire’s forces in hopes of reaching a conveniently available (and previously unknown) method of doing so.

Does she really believe that throwing the planet back into the stone age will end all conflict?  Seems that just a few episodes back, Harold made it clear that it wouldn’t.  (And he’s right.)  Her advisers are, once again, conveniently unable to talk some sense into her.

Meanwhile on the Imperial side, without their commander, the Buerger squad is coming apart at the seams…  And they’ve been shuffled off to guard a remote pass while the main action is taking place elsewhere…

Guess whose transport is using that pass?  Gah.  How convenient.

Yeah.  The plot finally comes to a head here in this ep…  But so do the many flaws of the series.

THE PROMISED NEVERLAND / Yakusoku no Neverland Episode 10

Tense, tense, tense…  But left me wanting more!

At first I thought Norman’s departure was overwrought…  But the more I think about it, just maybe a touch.  The big question is, of course, is he actually dead?  Neverland hasn’t been shy about this before – but here they’re playing it a little coy and inconclusive.

Isabella trying to recruit Emma as a Mother…  creepy as hell.  But it does make a certain kind of sense.  Take your most rambunctious sheep and make them sheepdogs, and it gives them investment in perpetuating the system.  (This has been exploited by tyrannies of all stripes.)  That makes a whole lot of problems go away.

Promised Neverlan - Emma has not given up.png
Emma’s face when Ray asks her if she’s given up…  You ask me, that’s one of the most terrifying scenes in the show so far.  That’s the face of a very clever, very strong individual – who has not given up.  And never will.

It’s a frightening contrast to the happy and confident Emma at the start of the series.

The Quintessential Quintuplets / 5 Toubun no Hanayome Episode 10

Oooh boy.  Futaro old chap, you’ve in a right bad spot right now.  You’ve got three of the quints wanting to dance with you…  and you’re also going to have to juggle two identities to avoid trouble.  Well, more trouble.  He’s perpetually in some trouble or another with them.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the whole mistaken identity shtick?  Maybe hate is too strong a word, but it’s so often badly done.  I expected it to happen with the girls, and they’ve done it well in those cases.  I just don’t think Futaro (or the show’s staff) can carry it off.

=========

So, that was my week…  How did yours go?  What did you think of this week’s episodes?  Drop a comment and let’s chat!

14 thoughts on “Winter 2019 – Week 10”

  1. After the last episode of Neverland I’m now totally unable to tell whether Run With The Wind or The Promised Neverland will be my choice for best of the season. Both are spectacular at doing what they are setting out to do but so different. Choosing between them is just too hard and it is going to come down to the final episode for me.
    Otherwise, the rest of the anime this season have more or less continued the same as always. Some good things, some not so great, but fairly entertaining nonetheless.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. For me… I’d say Run has a slight edge despite my occasional bouts of being annoyed at it. But only slight. I wonder if, being a two cour show, that’s because I’m more comfortable with the characters?

      At lot of bottles of beverage-of-choice could be emptied debating the finer points of the choice.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think you are right though. Run With The Wind has had two cours to build up the cast and while it was slow build up, each step has been fairly well thought out and well executed (Kakeru’s back story being stretched out a little too long before being revealed). As such, even though I’m loving The Promised Neverland, Wind is getting that slight edge because I’ve invested more time in it and have more of a connection with it at this point.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes. Having two such great series running this season that I’m loving so much is a fantastic problem. I would love to have this problem more often because I love what I’m watching so much.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Endro: Without a doubt my least favourite episode of the show so far. Very repetitive. (I do sort of wonder whether Mao knew about the snow…)

    Run With the Wind: It makes sense to give them they’re characterisation while they’re running. The show has very been very good from episode one about making the characters distinct, but it did so by playing them off against each other, so to waste to much time on backstory would have bogged the story down. The actual running, though, might be a little dull from a story telling point of view, because nothing’s really going on. So to use these segments for backstory and motivation is a really good idea.

    Price of Smiles:

    “Guess whose transport is using that pass? Gah. How convenient.”

    The show has many flaws, but I don’t see this as being one of them. If you’re telling a story, why do you do so? Because you think it’s interesting. The other side has many soldiers to pick from, so why do we choose this particular troupe? Why, because their stories will converge. In other words; if they enemies had sent someone else to guard this pass, we’d have followed those guys instead.

    Also, I don’t think the point of shutting down the Chrars is to stop violence: it’s to conserve the nano-particles that literally make the planet habitable. The war is fueled by the tragedy of the commons: if both sides know that the Chrars deplete their environment, then the one who stops using them is practically handing over resources to the other party for no good reason. In this war, it’s rational to deplete the nanobots, even though ultimately that’s the end of all life on the planet. The only way to protect life is to render all chrars useless, even though that itself will reduce quality of life and will likely spark local conflicts over what little remains. But it’s not a global, centralised war that’s almost certain to leave no winners at all.

    Neverland: It was a good episode, certainly better than last week’s, but it doesn’t quite touch the one before that, IMO. What hampers Neverland to me is that it relies too much on surprise and suspense at the cost of motivation. I never thought Emma had given up, so the back and forth was tedious: watching a blackbox isn’t that fun. It doesn’t ruin the episode, but it renders it less memorable and less impactful for me. The flashback with sick Norman was adorable, though. I interpreted Norman’s final expression as surprise rather than terror, so I’m assuming he’s not dead. (Grandma might have other plans for him?) I’m not ruling out he’s dead, though. Between Neverland and Run with the Wind there’s no contest. It’s Run with the Wind, and it’s not close.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. re: Endro… I think we’re more-or-less in agreement. I’ve seen the same speculation WRT Mao is a couple of places – is she up to her old tricks as we head into the finish line?

      As far as Smiles goes, I agree with you viewpoint characters… But the several times over the course of the series, you can practically see the authorial hand moving the chess pieces. It just bugs me for some reason.

      I interpreted Norman’s final expression as surprise rather than terror, so I’m assuming he’s not dead. (Grandma might have other plans for him?)

      My wife theorizes that he’s being raised to stud… Which makes sense, if he’s top quality goods then he’s potentially more valuable standing at stud than as the centerpiece of a banquet. That would also make sense as it’s pretty clear the demons are engaging in long term planning. None of the defenses against escapees are ad hoc, they’ve plainly been put in place and tested… and Isabella knew the warning signs to look for and how to react.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, something about Smiles is off, but it’s surprisingly hard to place. This far in, I still don’t quite know what to make of the show, and at this point I don’t think the ending will make a difference. It’s a little like Aldnoah Zero in that respect, except less obvious what went wrong. It’s not all bad, and it’s definitely itself.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “I can’t decide if Mia is resigned to her lot… Or actually believes that she was lucky to be chosen as a Magical Girl.”

    I’m not sure Mia herself knows. And did you seen the exhausted resignation on Tamara’s face? That episode drove home how existentially tired those Magical Girls feel!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And did you seen the exhausted resignation on Tamara’s face? That episode drove home how existentially tired those Magical Girls feel!

      I can’t even imagine what it must be like to be back in a war they thought was over… Plus she has the additional burden of her sister, which her bosses are somehow holding over her.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Neverland is just too good right now. I’m with you when it comes to Norman’s death. I can’t help but want to believe that the boy is still alive somehow. But the end of the epsiode, damn! Emma’s come a long way and that face gave me chills! She’s been through a lot and that’s the face of someone determined to give the crap back that’s been dished at her.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Way after the fact here, but an interesting note from the Sakuga blog that the episode director and storyboarder for Neverland 10 (which to me was right up there with 1 and 12 as the strongest of the series) was also one of Encouragement of Climb’s episode directors. I looked her up and she directed episode 20 of season 2 (Kokona’s new shoes), and four episodes of season 3 (1, 7, 9, and 13).

    Will save thoughts on the show proper for the end-of-season post, but just thought that was cool. EoC, the gift to anime that keeps giving.

    Like

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