Spring 2019 – Week 4/5

Fruits Basket - Choosing the onigiri!

It has been a fun couple of weeks…  And I don’t mean just in the anime I’ve watched.

Anyhow, hit the jump, I’ll give a brief explanation of how we got here and then run down the shows!

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

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Life has been fun…  I was sick Wens/Thurs/Fri of last week, and so didn’t get a post out.  Well, maybe not sick, it was more like jet lag and not being able to get and stay on a coherent schedule finally caught up with me.  (I’m all better now.)

So last week is collected here with this week’s writing.

Then, this week, Wens/Thurs has been disrupted by getting the AC out and setup and ready for a coming heat wave.  Then, this morning…  I accidentally put dish soap in the dishwasher, resulting in a helluva mess.  And almost created a second disaster because when I put the towels I soaked up the miss with in the washing machine – I automatically put soap in.  Caught it just before it overflowed.

I know, I know, you don’t wanna hear this stuff.  So let’s cut to the chase and talk about anime.

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Amazing Stranger (Chou Kadou Girl) Episode 4-5

Watching these episodes, two things became clear to me…  First, there is in fact some kind of other power with an unseen agenda interfering here.  Second, I’m not actually enjoying this show very much.  It’s a short, so it’s not a huge investment of time, but I do ask for a minimum return on that investment.

Status:  Dropped.

Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) Season 3 Part 2 – Episode 1

Mikasa using ODM gear at Shiganshina
And just like that…  We’re back in action.  And I’m loving it!

This episode ranks with best action episodes of series, nicely balancing tension and apprehension against explosive action.  I loved the spotlight on Armin, because it’s true that brains have been as important as brawn in the war against the Titans.  The momentary confusion of the troopers placed under his command was well handled.  A nice demonstration of how military discipline works, you have an order and a man in charge – and you move out with no further questions.

Bonus:  Eren got little screen time and fewer lines.  Is there any other anime where you wish the main character would just shut up and get less screen time?

Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) Season 3 Part 2 – Episode 2

A mixture of boring exposition and white hot action…  Titan at it’s finest.  It was heartbreaking to see the Scout pause in taking on the Armored Titan.  This is the first time they’ve tried to kill a Titan they knew was a person.  More than just a person, a former comrade.  Someone they’d shared much with.

Eren got some lines…  Actually decent for once rather than wallowing in self pity.  Is he finally growing up?

Cinderella Nine (Hachigatsu no Cinderella Nine) Episodes 2-4

Hachigatsu no Cinderella Nine.png
This series is steadily devolving into a fairly bog standard school club anime.  You have your enthusiastic girl.  You have your reluctant member.  You have the members who’ve joined for no particular reasons whatsoever.  You have improbable coincidences, and Student Council who (for no apparent reason) oppose the forming of the club.

This is not a problem, it just is.

What it does have going for it is two main things…  First, it’s taking baseball rather seriously.  Second, game elements (it’s adapted from a smartphone game) and the nearly inevitable male self insert character are absent.  (At least so far.)

It shows signs of wanting to break the mold and being a legit drama, but the staff appears to be holding back.  Maybe when (if) they get to actually playing rather than gathering the band and practicing, they’ll finally step out.

Cinderella Nine (Hachigatsu no Cinderella Nine) Episode 5

Nicely done…  Our Girls decide to hold a practice game against another team, and get whomped pretty good.  Not so nicely done..  Most of the girls stay away from the next practice, and then show up anyhow vowing to have fun and do better.

I can’t quite articulate why I didn’t care for the latter scenes.  Getting whomped and hitting bottom so you can grow is pretty much a standard thing in sports anime, so no problem there.  I just…  it’s been done better.  Cinderella isn’t a great show by any stretch, but it’s been more-or-less competent so far.  It just felt weak and little unearned.

Fairy Gone

As I was catching up post-hiatus, I was increasingly reluctant to watch Fairy Gone…  When the time came to commit, I bailed.  My wife watched one more episode and bailed as well.

I can’t put my finger on why…  it just didn’t catch me enough to make me really want to see more.  Doesn’t help that supernatural(ish) shows aren’t normally something I enjoy.  Neither did the rather muddled plot, the strange mix of CGI and 2D animation, or the somewhat repetitive nature of the first episode.

Status:  Dropped.

Fruits Basket Episode 5

Fruits Basket - Choosing the onigiri!.png
Half of me says that much sadness and pathos and happiness couldn’t possible be earned in just five episodes.  The other half tells that have to just shut up.  Just like this week’s ep of Kono Oto Tomare!, it shouldn’t have worked – but oh it did.  Oh it did.

What struck me as really sad…  how little she had to take back to the Soma’s house.  I know, stuff is stuff and not all that important.  But even for a child, being able to fit all of your life into a pair of small bags is just…  saddening.  Maybe it’s just me.

(*) Joshi Kausei Episode 4-5

Very cute, and probably the closest in style to manga so far.  I’m still not sure what to think of the reaction noises…  They kinda add to the episode, but they also kinda detract from the style.

Anyhow, Joshi Kausei is going on the “watched but not regularly reviewed” list because it’s going to be hard to come up with much to say about it on a weekly basis.

Kono Oto Tomare!: Sounds of Life Episode 5

Oh. Em. Gee.

Kono Oto Tomare! - Satowa Houzuki - lonely dragon
Sorry about the screenshot…  Couldn’t figure out how to not get Funi’s playback controls in the shot.

The performance scene was incredibly good.  I’d put it up there with some of the best I’ve seen.  At first, I questioned the addition of more of Chika’s backstory, but as the performance continued it just simply worked.  Satowa got some GREAT character moments as she grew to realize she’d misjudged Chika.  And changing up her playing to bring the group back into sync, a wonderful way of showing how she’s becoming less of a prima donna and more of a member of the group.  (And who wants to bet that she and Chika aren’t a couple by the end of the series?)

It’s really rare for an anime to showcase such a powerful early climax, and practically unheard of for it to work so very well.  But it also sets up a problem.

Kono has been pretty darned good so far…  But this ep set a nearly impossible bar.  How can they keep up this momentum?  I’ll be tuning in on Saturday to find out.  I just can’t help myself.

MIX: Meisei Story Episode 4-5

One Punch Man 2 Episode 3-4

Eh, what a long dull slog.  This goes double for ep 4, which has a lengthy dose of exposition delivered by a side character.  (Who will almost certainly be important late on, but whose introduction was excruciating.)

I’m already seeing folks dropping the series, and the temptation to join them is growing.  If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 isn’t available commercial-free, I may drop it simply because One Punch Man 2 by itself isn’t sufficient to justify subscribing to Hulu.

Senryu Girl (Senryuu Shoujo) Episode 4

Senryu Girl - Nanako and Kino converse
Cutest.  Conversation.  Ever!

This episode introduces Kino – who, like Nanako, has a bit of a problem communicating with others.  Nanako communicates via poetry, Kino communicates via cartoons (drawings?).  The result is just charming as all get out.

The drawing contest was fun to watch.  Nanako sees the world as cute, bright, and sparkly…  and despite himself, Eiji sees other people as threats – even Nanako.

Theoretically, Senryu Girl should be candidate for the “watched but not regularly reviewed” category…  But nah.  For now, I’m just gonna gush over it each week.

Senryu Girl (Senryuu Shoujo) Episode 5

We finally meet the last girl in the OP – who turns out to be a fortune teller, who isn’t actually all that good at telling fortunes.  (Because she can never quite get the kanji for the names of her customers right – when she does, boy is she spot on.)

Loved the bit where Eiji got all hot and bothered because the fortune teller told them that he was incompatible with Nanako.  Of course his denial of that made her all bubbly and sparkly.  Which made me happy as hell.

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You may notice that the “to check out” anime have disappeared from the list.  With a bunch of busy weekends this season, I’ve got to trim my list.  Also, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns next week and I’ve got to both catch up and make room in my schedule.  Something had to give.

Speaking of busy weekends, I have a medieval cooking demo on Saturday (and a two hour drive each way)…  That’s going to push my Saturday shows into Sunday.  (Assuming I have the energy to watch them on Sunday.)  May or may not impact next week’s post.

(Lined out because that was for last week and it’s no longer relevant…  Didn’t make the demo anyhow, too much housework to catch up on after being sick.)

Also speaking of schedules, I’ve updated my schedule page to reflect this season.

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So…  What are your thought this week?  What are your thoughts on my thoughts?  Drop a comment and let’s chat!

13 thoughts on “Spring 2019 – Week 4/5”

  1. I tried out Fairy Gone, thinking it couldn’t be as bad as folks been saying. That was a mistake. It was a hard turnoff , and I usually like that sort of thing. OPM S2 has been pretty eh… I don’t hate it but. We don’t seem to have any other overlap this season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If this week’s ep of OPM doesn’t get significantly better… We won’t have any overlap. :) I don’t hate it, I just don’t feel like it’s worth my time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m only two episodes in. There was just enough there to keep me interested but from the sounds of it, I may have made a mistake picking it up. Either way, I’ll watch the whole thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Using baby Tohru in this episode is unfair. How dare you. And I don’t know what it is, but Tohru is just so emotionally honest that she can easily get into my heart at least. She’s too good and too powerful.

    And I’m pretty excited about Agents of Shield as well. It’s been too long.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I read this comment in my email, I was thinking – “Baby Tohru? Why is Scott talking about Maid Dragon?” :) Then I realized who you were talking about. In my defense, it’s been a long day!

      Either way, I couldn’t not use that screenshot… such a smile!

      Somehow I missed the last season of S.H.I.E.L.D., so I’ve been marathoning it on Netflix so I can watch this season in real time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rough weeks, huh? Well, to be honest, if you get a rough start with any season, this one is probably the best sacrifice; not much to miss out on.

    That said, keep Hitoribocchi in mind. It’s really cute (and I learned it’s from the mangaka of Mitsubochi Colors, which surprises me, since it feels different [and is not really on that level, either]). It is a really sweet show, though, and the only one I’d consider a potential loss, from the ones your not watching.

    @Mix: Guardian Enzo from Lost in Anime (Adachi fan) thinks it’s going to be a two-cour for now, since My Hero Academia is coming back in fall, and it’s likely going to air in its slot (all the previous seasons have).

    @Attack on Titan: Frankly, I think I’m out. I thought that after episode one, and then watched episode two anyway, so who knows. But the CGI is getting even more prominent and ugly, and as the opening teased the cellar I realised I don’t even care what’s in there anymore. I should drop this show, but I’m not quite sure I will.

    @Cinderella Nine: After really liking the first episode, I considerably cooled off towards the show. For a show with a huge cast, they’re all too similar (the same lipstick design, which wouldn’t be so bad if it were more cliché but it seems a little like a signature of the show; the same reactions to surprising events, etc.). That’s not how you do a huge cast. Some scenes are good, some less so. There are solid ideas there on occasion, but it also feels cheaply produced and only with a modicum of affection. A so-so show I might drop any other season, but I need what I can get.

    @Fairy Gone: It’s hardly a masterpiece, but I’m fine with it for what it is, once I adjust my expectations. I dislike the CGI fairies, but that’s probably no surprise to anyone who knows my comments. I find the plot actually one of the stronger apsects of the show; a little clumsy and I’m horribly afraid I might change my mind on it being decent, but so far it seems they know what they’re doing, even if they don’t always know how to best achieve their goals. It doesn’t rank among the best PA Works shows, but it also doesn’t rank among the worst. (Seeing the crossed out title I couldn’t help reading it as Fairy GONE, because I like puns no matter how bad they might be.)

    @Fruits Basket: I’m really happy with the adaption. They nail all the important scenes.

    @Kono Oto Tomare! I really, really loved the performance. A great piece, played well. I like the show much, much better when it’s actually about Koto. I’m hoping that’s getting more foregrounded from now on, as the set-up phase is over. Scenes like that performance are worth all the drama (and it was never painful to begin with).

    @OPM2: Shrugs It’s pretty much what I thought it would be. I liked the first two episode best so far. I do have to admit that I’m more into the Garou story line than I thought I would be. Sadly, that’s still not very much. Well, I expected little, so it’s not a disappointment at least.

    @Senryu Shoujo: That conversation was really cute. They made the right decision to go with silence (no musical score). It felt quieter than the rest of the episode, and the little noises they made stood out. Definitely among my favourite premiers this season (along with Mix and Hitoribocchi).

    Here’s a list of what I’m still watching, in rough order. Optimisitically, I’ll leave out AoT, but as I said, who knows?

    Mix
    Dororo
    Senryu Shoujo
    Hitoribocchi
    Fruits Basket
    Bungou Stray Dogs 3
    Sarazanmai
    Kono Oto Tomare!
    Mayonaka no Occult Kumin!
    Isekai Quartet
    Million Arthur 2
    Karakuri Circus
    OPM2
    Yatogame no Kansatsu Nikki
    We Never Learn
    Magmel
    Fairy Gone
    Kenja no Mago
    Senko San
    Shield Hero
    Cinderella Nine
    Amazing Stranger
    Nobunaga Sensei

    That’s 23 shows, and Cinderella Nine downwards is threatening a drop. If that happens… well, I haven’t been down to 20 shows, I think, since 2011.

    For what it’s worth, I can’t believe it, but I watched the Märchen Mädchen final two episodes. Not that I was waiting with bated breath; in fact I’d forgotten the show existed. But this must have been the latest conclusion I remember. I doubt many people cared. Worth it? Turns out I’d forgotten most of the plot and most of the characters, and in any case the ending is no more than solid. At least it looked okay. I didn’t waste my time, but it’s hardly a recommendation.

    Also, as the season is so weak, I find myself replaying Disgaea 3, and I wish the Disgaea anime had the quality of the intro (here) – instead we got… what we got.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Hitoribocchi That’s at the top of my list if my schedule opens up!

      @Märchen Mädchen I almost went and watched those eps, then I remembered I’d dropped it. Yet another show with great ideas and poor execution (on top of the production problems).

      @Cinderella Nine I meant to mention those… the uneven animation and the problems with both the animation and managing the huge cast. (Though I did mention the latter WRT stereotypes.) They’re trying so very hard, but just missing.

      Senryu Girl and Kono Oto Tomare! really are my saviors this season… The shows I look forward to most each week. Fruits Basket is slowly creeping up on joining that list. I have never seen the original anime or read the manga, so I have no particular dog in that fight. I think coming in free of preconceptions is something of an advantage here.

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      1. I actually quite liked Märchen Mädchen; I thought it was charming and cute. But I’m not blind to its myriad flaws, and it’s not the sort of show that survives this long a break, and it’s also not the sort of show that I’d want to re-watch just for the finale.

        @Hitoribocchi: It’s a weekend show, so it’s not like you have too little to watch in these slots. Personally, I’d dump Cinderella Nine for it in a heart beat, if I could stand to wait for a day (which I probably couldn’t). In any case, it’s really cute and fun, but it’s not a must see and not a priority. And it’s most crucially not a show that you can ruin with being accidentally spoiled.

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    2. @AoT: There’s a part of me that wants to tell you, “Stick with it, it’s about to get awesome!” There’s another part of me that wants to tell you, “This is all a matter of personal taste; if the first two eps didn’t make you feel what it’s building up, then drop it with no regrets.” Listen to whatever voice you prefer.

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      1. I’m fairly sure I should drop AoT. The biggest problem by far, though, is the CGI movement: so far there were only borderline cases (as opposed to Kimetsu no Yaiba, which I had to drop for full blown sickness), but they’re extended and that’s a risk (as opposed to Kimetsu no Yaiba, where the moments are brief but intense). The story’s never been that much of a draw for me, and now that things got moving I just noticed how little I actually care. I’ve always felt (from season 1) that AoT is at its best in its quiet, creepy moments, or when it’s over-the-top-silly. When it tries to tell the story, it’s never quite worked for me.

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  4. I think I’ve finally filled in my watch list this season and the last show I’ve added in was a surprise even to me (though I’ve only watched one episode). I guess I’ll see what I end up dropping in the next couple of weeks though because there’s a few shows I decided to leave in the watch list just to see how long I could put up with them (Amazing Stranger falls firmly into that category).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d been moderately annoyed with Amazing Stranger from the start… If it hadn’t been for the minor twist at the end of the first ep, I might not have even stuck with it this long. Dropping it was an easy decision. YMMV of course.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m just not sure who it is even catering for. I’d actually understand it more if they went for something a bit more fan-service filled but in the end it isn’t an overly satisfying story nor does it really play all that far into pandering to an audience that would appreciate that kind of fan-service. In the end it just kind of exists.

        Liked by 1 person

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