Winter 2020 – Week 6/7 & Midseason thoughts.

Chihayafuru - Harada and Suo face the luck of the draw.
Mid point of the season…  Time to make a gut check and see what shows are really worth continuing to watch, and which shows aren’t.  Hit the jump and let’s see what makes the cut!

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.

22/7 (Nanabun no Nijyuuni)

When episode 5 aired, I found myself avoiding watching it…  The series is into the character roulette phase, and frankly I couldn’t bring myself to care.  None of the girls were anything other than walking tropes, and frankly they were still largely indistinguishable from one another.  The one thing 22/7 had going for it was The Wall, and that gag had worn thin.  Peeking at the weekly reviews on ANN didn’t give me any sense that I would enjoy the episode either…

Dropped at 4 episodes.

A Certain Scientific Railgun T (Railgun S3)  Episodes 5-6

I have long suspected that Kongo was (despite her behavior) a nice person…  and this season has proved that in spades.  And while her being nice cost her dearly – it finally pushed Railgun over the edge and snapped her out of her inactivity.

Screenshot (155)
With the henchman (a particularly nasty one, even by Academy City standards) out of the way – it looks like the Big Bad is finally going to enter the fray.  She’s already got two strikes against her though…  She’s hurt one of Railgun’s friends, and she’s holding a Sister.  If she was smart, she’d be practicing her “surrender to Railgun” speech long about now.  But that would make for an awful short and boring show wouldn’t it?

Either way, I’m buckled in for the ride and looking forward to Railgun kicking her ass.

Asteroid in Love (Koisuru Asteroid)  Episode 6

The school festival finally arrives…  and the Earth Science Club’s science themed maid cafe goes off more-or-less without a hitch.  CGDCT, competently executed.  Just not much more to say.

BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense  Episodes 5-6
(Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu.)

Bofuri - Kasumi
I kinda have a thing for samurai/ninja girls, so I was pleased that Kasumi has finally joined the cast…  Watching the episode, I knew I knew her voice…  and of course I did.  The inimitable Hayami Saori – the seiyu behind one of the most amazing pieces of voice acting ever.  (I do this all the time, recognize a voice actress, I need to remember to make note of it more often.)

Other than that, Ep 5 was largely unremarkable because of course Maple made friends with her.  Episode 6, buying a house and finding a guild, equally unremarkable.

Bofuri has settle down into a comfy, largely mindless groove.  Nothing wrong with that at all, I’m enjoying the heck out of it.

Chihayafuru 3  Episodes 18-19

I am honestly torn in several ways after this episode.

After spending most of the previous episodes on the Queen match, it’s unceremoniously shoved aside in favor of the Master match.  I get it, Queen Wakamiya is back on her game and thus Inokuma is fated to lose…  But they spent so much effort getting us invested in it that it feels kinda wrong to just leave it behind.  A rare stumble on this series’s part.

The match between Harada-sensei and Master Suo…  That puts us right in the heart of a moral dilemma on a scale Chihayafuru has never attempted before.  On one hand, Master Suo has (as we’ve been shown) a rather nasty interpersonal play style.  His victories are owed as much to his skill at manipulating his opponents into faulting as his own game skills.  (Notably his ability to discern what card will be read next simply by the way the reader takes a preparatory breath.)

So in one sense, you could say that he almost deserves the way Harada-sensei is manipulating him…  But it leaves a bad taste in my mouth to watch someone’s physical disability be taken advantage of.  Even if that someone is a Grade A jackwagon who is fully deserving of being taken down a peg or three.

On the hand – karma is a bitch me lads, and it’s hitting Harada-sensei but hard.  Matched against Suo’s physical disability is Harada’s own.  His bad knee is making it’s presence known.

Chihayafuru - Harada and Suo face the luck of the draw.

The show ends with the two in a luck-of-the-draw situation…  Pitting Suo’s superb game sense against Harada’s unmatched ability to know which card(s) won’t be read.  An irresistible force meets an immovable object.

One last thought, then I have to work on other shows…  It occurs to me that there are several interesting parallels between Master Suo and Queen Wakamiya.  I’ll have to work on those for next week.

If My Favorite Pop Idol Made it to the Budokan, I Would Die  Episodes 5-6
(Oshi ga Budoukan Ittekuretara Shinu)

Still working through the election…  It was interesting to see the internal ‘politics’ of ChamJam at work.  (OTOH, self-effacing idols are nothing new in the genre.)  I’m starting to feel a little sorry for Maina, as her almost crippling self doubts are really starting to eat away at her.

However, the ongoing missed connections and unable-to-vocalize are getting to the point where I’m just about ready to throw things.

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! (Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasuna!)  Episodes 6-7

Screenshot (157)
First off, let me say that as a space nut…  I appreciated the heck out of this reference.  The whole scene was well done, maybe not quite strict with the details but certainly richly imbued with the spirit.  Oddly enough, that’s something that actually wouldn’t sit well with either Midori or Tsubame…  They’re both “details and precision” people.  But isn’t spirit important?  Isn’t that where the meaning lies?

That’s one topic that Eizouken hasn’t really tackled yet.

Screenshot (158)
Meanwhile Kawamori continues to stay grounded…  and Best Girl.

The gap continues to widen in the race for AOTS.  It’s not even close any more.

Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka★ Magica Gaiden  Episode 6
(Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story)

Episode 6 introduces yet another rumor, and yet another cameo from the original series.  In this case, Kyoko.  And… yet another Magical Girl from Kamihama City.

This is getting old.  The problem isn’t so much the two episode arc structure as the repetitive nature of the arcs.  Three in a row is Just Too Much.  I’m having a hard time bringing myself to watch the 7th episode, but I can’t somehow justify a clean drop.

My Hero Academia 4th Season  Episodes 17-18

Karandi asks an interesting question: Am I Being Too Judgemental Or Is My Hero Academia Season Four Just Not Good?

I don’t think she’s being too judgmental, this season is still very watchable but it’s a long step down from the previous ones.  The storyline is not nearly as compact, and it’s not really hitting the emotional targets with any strength.  By the time Eri was rescued I mostly felt relief that the fight was finally over.  I had a hard time feeling much over Sir Nighteye’s death as they hadn’t spent near as much time with him as with his protege.  Etc… etc…

That being said, these two episodes are bridge material (not-quite-filler) into the next arc and what comes after…  So there isn’t much to be said about them.

Room Camp (Heya Camp△)  Episodes 6-7

Room Camp - Houtou
Oghaki’s mother makes houtou (hōtō) pretty much the same way I make a lot of soups…  The broth is pretty much standard, but often everything else depends on what I have on hand at the time.

I’ve got some udon noodles in the cabinet…  Though my wife would probably kill me if I used the cubed up turkey I have in the freezer.  Maybe next time chicken thighs go on sale I’ll make my own version of houtou.  I think the big question is how strong to make the soup?  Not as strong as a miso soup, otherwise the other ingredients won’t come through too cleanly.  Lots of room to play though.  That’s the fun part.

=========

Well, there you have it!  Drop a comment and let me know what your midseason thoughts are!

10 thoughts on “Winter 2020 – Week 6/7 & Midseason thoughts.”

  1. Somali to Mori no Kamisama has strung together several strong episodes. It’s no threat to Eizouken for AotS but has broken away from the pack into a solid second place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Chihayafuru would be my strong second… Then Railgun T, and then everyone else all bunched up with HeroAca at the trailing edge of the pack.

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  2. @22/7: You missed the creepiest episode yet. The wall decreed a swim suit shoot. One of the girls was embarrassed to wear the production-chosen swim suit. She sat alone in the bus while all the other girls dropped by one by one to emotionally blackmail her into joining the shoot. The other half of the episode (interspersed) was her backstory, which somehow managed to make things worse. The most terrifying thing about the show is that it doesn’t seem to know it’s horror. At the moment, I’m thinking Bodysnatchers, or maybe Stepford Wives. I’ll sit it out, but…

    Oh, I actually do like the music, for what little that’s worth.

    @Budokan: I actually find there’s good variety to the idol’s interaction amongst themselves. It’s not prettying up the industry, but neither is it condamning it. I’m fairly impressed with the way they’re using it as story backdrop. Even I’m starting to get tired of misunderstandings, though.

    @Madoka: It’s a gaccha game adaption, and it shows. I don’t mind, actually. It’s pretty, and the music’s good. I generally like character design. I’m not sure it was in episode 6, but I felt Kyouko was a little out of character in one short scene, but pretty spot on for the rest. That said, I’d rather they do without the cameos, but, well, franchise.

    @Chihayafuru: Yeah, I’d have liked a bit better match balance, too. But I’ll say this: season 3 beats season 2 easily for me. I’m much more invested than I was for the second season. Good showing so far, and I can’t believe we’re already 19 episodes in.

    @Eizouken is still great, and I’m still not sure what to say.

    Bofuri and Room Camp are really good at what they’re doing, too.

    Hanako-kun has just had the first character episode for Hanako-kun (providing his real name, which is not Hanako), which opened up the show a lot both in terms of emotion and mystery. He seems to be good kid, basically, but he doesn’t feel like a safe protagonist. The show’s starting to cement its lead over Eizouken, which is no mean feat.

    And then I’d like to mention a little 5-minute show I don’t think I’ve mentioned so far. Natsunagu. Basically, it’s a show about a girl trying to find an online friend in Kumamoto, but an earthquake has made tracking her down difficult. The locals are helping. It’s really charming and pretty, and makes the most of its limited time. You see that mascot bear all the time, too. I’m wondering if the prefecture is sponsoring the show? It’s well worth a watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. re: 22/7 – it was actually the ANN review of precisely that ep that pushed me to the drop point. About the only character (other than Miu) that I have any interest in is Nicole. Maybe I’ll watch her ep, maybe I won’t.

      Other than the one song they sung in the concert and the OP, I haven’t much cared for the music. Doesn’t help that it’s stylistically all over the place.

      re: Madoka – “It’s a gaccha game adaption, and it shows.” Precisely! They’re not even bothering to hide it either. Game adaptations aren’t doomed to be bad by any means, but you have to work at the adaptation and they haven’t put in the effort.

      re: Natsunagu Yes, the prefecture is sponsoring it… There’s been quite a few of those lately, none (that I’ve watched) have been all that good. Sadly I can’t find a legal stream to check it out.

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      1. Some of the shorts don’t get licensed. It’s a pity. I’m still trying to find a stream of last year’s Hulaing Babies. The raw episode I found on youtube was awesome. Natsunagu starts out a bit drab but it grows on you. It’s well among my favourites now, which I didn’t expect at the start of the season.

        If you’ve escaped 22/7 it’s probably best not to come back. It’ll try to convince you that being an idol is a cure-all medicine. The wall knows best. Ngh!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with you about My Hero Academia. It’s still watchable but it doesn’t have the same pull orevious seasons did. The fight felt way too long for its own good and Sir Nighteye’s death didn’t pack the emotional punch it should have. All Might’s last fight was a better example of the emotional punch Nighteye could have had but didn’t.
    These bridge epsiodes always make me feel kind of lost because it’s such a lull in the anime. They’re not terrible episodes per se, I just find them kind of on the boring side if I’m totally honest.
    Hopefully the next arc will be more enjoyable but I don’t have high hopes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder if it’s hitting a sophomore slump? Or is this season just off because they’re trying to hit certain points to fit the arcs into the season? Everything feels a bit stretched as if they’re trying to make the material fit so they can pick up at a certain point with the next season.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, it does all feel a bit stretched doesn’t it? Scenes that you think are going to finish just go on a little longer this season. Maybe they are trying to stretch the content to end on a certain note. Who knows.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d completely forgotten that scene by Hayami Saori. Thanks for the link to the YouTube clip. Wow. That’s good stuff.

    “Either way, I’m buckled in for the ride and looking forward to Railgun kicking her ass.”

    I’m seriously enjoying Railgun T. I was worried about Index III; glad to see (so far!) I was worried over nothing. It’s just like watching Railgun S or the first season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For whatever reason, Railgun always “feels” different than Index… I watched the first season of Railgun before Index, and I’m kinda glad I did.

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