Spring 2020 – The Season So Far.

Price of Smiles - times like these.

A bit hard to write creatively what with everything going on, but I’m going to do my best to get back on that beast and keep going… So, hit the jump and let’s dive into what’s left of my anime season.

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.

A Certain Scientific Railgun T (Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T) Episodes 11-12

We’ve reached the traditional endpoint for a Raildex arc…  The plots, goals, and protagonists are all out in the open – and battle has been joined.  And what a battle it is!

Shokohou vs. Gensei –  One of the highest ranked level 5’s in Academy City faces off against Gensei, a wily old fox and an experienced player of the game.  You’ve heard the saying “Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance”?  That certainly applies here….

Kuroko vs. Kouzaka – This fight is much more evenly matched, with two level 4’s going head to head.  Kouzaka isn’t quite sure what she’s fighting for, while Kuroko is fighting with Railgun’s respect on the line…  and that’s giving her the slightest edge.  The game isn’t over, but Kouzuka is in way over her head.

Touma and Sogiita vs. Railgun – The unlikely duo is in way over their heads.  With Railgun progressing (as per Gensei’s plan) towards Level 6, the best they can do is keep her contained…  And this fight also had the biggest shocker, Railgun was able to shrug off Imagine Breaker.  Let that sink in for a moment – Imagine Breaker failed to inhibit or halt Misaka’s berserker rage.  I don’t know how this is going to play out, but that’s a huge change from previous depictions of the power.

But there’s a wildcard here…   Gensei has interfered with the Misaka Network.  Which means he’s hurt Last Order.  And who does that piss right off?  Accelerator.

And electromagnetic waves are vector quantities…

The bad news is that Railgun has gone on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It’ll be some time before we know how the battle plays out…

Appare-Ranman! Episode 1

I couldn’t bring myself to watch the second episode…  And after a bit of thought I finally figured out why.  I might have liked Appare more, or at least tolerated him better, if I hadn’t met Ishigami Senkuu (Dr. Stone) first.  They’re both geniuses out of their own times, but Senkuu has a certain humanity to him that’s far more approachable.  Pairing Appare with the milquetoast Kosame (who is merely being dragged along in his wake) doesn’t help matters much.  That leaves the race and the wacky side characters to carry the show while Appare and Kosame grow as characters…  and I’m just not feeling it.

Status: Dropped, 1 episode.

Arte Episode 2

The basic problem with Arte is that all the characters are cardboard cutouts…  That means that there’s little surprising, or interesting, about each episode.  They’re basically variations on the same tired theme.  Plus (as Xenodude points out), the story feels “modern” – as though the period elements are nothing more than window dressing.

We plan on giving it one more episode, but unless it wows us, Arte is headed for the discard pile.

Addendum:  When it came time to plan out our weekend, neither of us much felt like actually watching episode 3…  So there’s that.

Status: Dropped, 2 episodes.

Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater (Houkago Teibou Nisshi) Episodes 1-2

I know, I know, CGDCT is normally right smack in my wheelhouse.  But when it comes to Breakwater, I’m just not feeling it.  I don’t care for how much Hina is being bullied and as a result I’m not sold on her conversion from the Handicrafts club to the Breakwater Club.  The cardboard side characters aren’t helping much.

Status: Dropped, 2 episodes.

Listeners Episodes 2-3

Episode 2 was an incomprehensible surreal mess.  Episode 3 wasn’t surreal, but it was equally incomprehensible mess.  And now Our Heroes are off on some kind of journey to recover something I’m not clear on for hand waving reasons.

Status: Dropped, 3 episodes.

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Episodes 2-3
(Otome Game no Hametsu Flag Shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei Shiteshimatta…)

Catarina continues to make friends with the characters that will treat her badly in the future.  (Basically, building a reverse harem.)  Could this blow up in her face?  When the actual protagonist shows up, she’ll likely become the antagonist…  And Catarina will be the catalyst for her unhappy fate.  It strikes me that she’s not the kind of person who can condemn another for her own survival.  But she’s not going to undo everything she’s done and sacrifice herself either…

And then the time-skip happens…  Seems nothing has actually happened in the interim, they’re all just now 17 and the “Time to be Romantic” switch has suddenly been flipped.  I can’t say I’m fond of the bishi art style, and time will tell if I enjoy the “new” show.

Nami yo Kiite Kure (Wave, Listen to Me!) Episode 2-3

Not much to say beyond I’m enjoying the heck out of it.  Minare is certainly one of the most interesting characters to show up on my screen in a very long time.  She puts on an aura of toughness and roughness, but she’s actually vulnerable and worried as hell.  I think if she gets more friends (and fewer drinking buddies), she might find life is a lot better than what she’s had to date.

Shachibato! President, It’s Time for Battle!

Based on a game…  and the first episode was basically a lifeless rendition of it’s tutorial mission.

Status: Dropped, 1 episode.

Sing “Yesterday” for Me (Yesterday wo Utatte) Episodes 2-3

Though this is supposedly a review of episodes 2-3, I ended up mostly looking at it through the lens of where we are not that (presumably) we’re done with the setup…  And that’s most easily done by looking at the three main characters, as the episodes have more-or-less covered them in this order…

Rikou – He’s basically all but dropped out of life.  Not really a NEET, and certainly not hikikomori, just…  stuck in a rut and without much energy to get out of it.  His one attempt to change things, confessing to Shinako, nearly broke him.  On the other hand, he’s certainly taking Haru seriously…  He wants to change, wants to grow, but is being dragged down by the past.

Shinako – Still burdened by a debt of grief from years ago, she’s basically broken under the load.  Rou is a living reminder of the origin of the grief, and Rikou reminds her of what could have been. (Though not with him.)  She’s drowning and has all but given up hope of rescue.

Haru – Frankly, I find her the most interesting.  A woman-child with some serious intimacy and trust issues.  A lot of that springs from whatever went wrong with her relationship with her parents.  She puts on a facade of being an adult, wants to be seen as an adult…  But doesn’t know how to be an adult.  (No good role models in her past.)

You should also check out Bless-senpai’s blog posts on episode 1, episode 2, and episode 3.  Good stuff!  Dawnstorm, a regular commenter here at the Lounge, makes some good point in his comments to episode 2 and 3.

Tamayomi: The Baseball Girls Episode 2-4

Pretty much a bog standard sports show so far.  They’ve got the band together, and set their sights on the Koshien.  I wouldn’t expect much less – making it to the regionals isn’t much of goal, especially with players that have already made it to the show Koshien.

There’s not really much to say other than I’m enjoying it well enough.

Oh, and episode 4…  Jayzus, but the animation quality (not that great to start with) took a nosedive.  Off model characters (sometimes almost caricatures), janky & jerky motion…  It was bad.

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Sorry for the big wall o’ text, but most of these shows are on Funi…  and it’s a massive PITA to get screenshots.

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Between drops and cancellations…  I’m left with only five shows this season.  (Fruits Basket 2nd Season, My Next Life as a Villainess, Sing “Yesterday” for Me, TAMAYOMI: The Baseball Girls, Wave, Listen to Me!)  That’s about as small a season as I’ve ever had, and it’s not impossible for it to go lower…

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Anyhow, that’s my thoughts – drop a comment with yours and let’s chat!

17 thoughts on “Spring 2020 – The Season So Far.”

  1. That Price of Smiles image…pretty fitting but man, I forgot about that show (did it pick up towards the end?)

    I’m a little tempted to drop Arte myself. It’s alright but it beats you over the head with its theme. At the same time though, dropping it would mean one less show to watch and this season is dwindling in what’s still airing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was scrolling though my uploaded images to find one that fit the post… and when I saw that one, yeah, I knew. And no, it did not pick up towards the end. Which is sad, because it had so many good ideas.

      I know the “one less to watch” feeling… But I just wasn’t enjoying it at all. There’s a certain minimum to meet, and Arte failed to meet it. I’ve always got tons of other stuff to do/watch. (Too many hobbies, too little time.)

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  2. @Appare Ranman: Interesting. I didn’t think of Dr. Stone at all, but now that you’ve made the comparison, I have to say that Appare is a scientist, while Senku (as I fas as I went with the show) was just a technology worshipper. I like the show, probably the most fun show PA Works has done since Uma Musume. But, boy, do they go in for cultural stereotypes. Still, I’m quite fond of it, one of the better mid-tier shows, for me.

    @Arte: Oh, I quite enjoy it, but I really don’t feel like defending the show. It’s certainly not a period piece (watch it as one, and it couldn’t easily fail more), but it has its moments. It’s a little clumsy, but surprisingly I find myself charmed. (Middling Mid-tier; perfectly entertaining, but absolutely not memorable.)

    @Breakwater: I’m enjoying it, actually. I’m not really seeing it as bullying, and more as a sort of training not to be squeamish. I don’t buy the conversion, either; that much I agree with. And I have a serious problem with fishing itself. Whenever people get happy about catching a fish, I can’t help but think that they’ve just put a hook into its mouth and yanked it out of the water, where they can’t breathe. Sounds like one of the cruellest surviving hunting methods to me. I can’t get that out of my head. (I don’t eat fish, but it has little to do with that; I’m perfectly capable of practical hypocricy. I just don’t like it.)

    @Listeners: Heh. Episode 2 was my favourite so far. Frankly, I’m not sure what to think of this show. I like it best when it’s weird, apparently. But the general direction of the show isn’t anything special. Okay to great and back and again is how I’d discribe the episode curve so far. (Haven’t watched the latest episode yet.)

    @Villainess: Oh, I adore the show. I don’t much mind the time skip, but I also wouldn’t have minded spending the entire season just with these adorable kids. One of my favourites this season.

    @Wave: After being uncertain about it, I’m now fully on board. It’s a show that obviously loves its entire cast, and it’s willing to give anyone the light of day, and to vary the mood. Glad to say it went with the good bits of the premier, rather than confirming my worries. (I heard it’s the mangaka from Blade of the Immortal, a show I quite enjoyed, too.)

    @Yesterday: If you’ve read my replies over at Mage, you know what I think. Show of the season. Nothing comes close.

    @Tamayomi: I said it’s better than Cinderella Nine; I’m not so sure anymore. Episode 4 was the second worst production desaster I remember (that Orange episode was worse), but even before then I could have sworn there was a scene where a girl levitated the ball with her psychic powers rather than pitching it… The more generic a show, the more important it is that it looks good…

    @President: This show is so generic that even saying why you dropped it is dull. And yet I’m still watching. Why? I don’t really want to think about the show while I’m not watching, so no explanations. They’re probably not interesting anyway.

    Also, I agree with HAL; BNA is great. It’s got good characters, above all. For example, there was a scene where friends had a falling out, and I sided with girl who I like less, while also understanding her position. That’s a fairly complex response for a cartoon. (Happens often in good shows, though, so it’s not that rare.)

    Also, for a while I thought Gal and Dino was the weirdest show this season, and then Bassastu Olympia Kyklos premiered. A greek guy who doesn’t want to compete in the Olympics gets isekaid to Tokyopolis. That should be generic, but the execution… Neither show’s going to charm you much, though, I think.

    Of the shows you’re not watching, the only one you might give a chance (because you never know) is Princess Connect. It’s cute, inoffensive, and fun in the vein of Endro~. You’re not missing anything, though, if you’re not watching. (Do put BNA on your list, once Netflix releases it from detention, though.)

    Also, for some reason Crunchy has the entire season of Jasshin chan Dropkick already released. I don’t want this to become a trend. (The show had one of the strangest summary episode after the finale. Both main character summerised the show in their own unreliable ways [telling a story that never happened by re-mixing scenes that did for Jasshin, and dramatising the plot by using footage from the preview of season one that never made it into the show for Yurine], and then they spent the second half of the show on a ten minute reprise of Jasshin singing an enka song from season one, and – I think – mixing in scenes that never happened? I’m still not sure if they hinted at season 3 or not at the end – the meta game of this show is something else.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. @Yesterday: If you’ve read my replies over at Mage, you know what I think. Show of the season. Nothing comes close.

    Yes, and agreed. My only caveat is that if it wasn’t for Yesterday, then Listen to me! would be in that slot. Minare is a very interesting character, even if I can’t entirely put my finger on why (beyond her contrasts).

    @Villainess: Oh, I adore the show. I don’t much mind the time skip, but I also wouldn’t have minded spending the entire season just with these adorable kids.

    It’s not so much the time skip itself as the art and narrative style changes… It’s basically a new show, and even though I have confidence based on the “first season” (first three eps) I kinda feel obliged to approach it on that basis. If that make sense.

    Re: Tamoyami “The more generic a show, the more important it is that it looks good…”

    And Tamoyami has always been on the edge in that department to start with. The action scenes were well done, but everything else was workmanlike/tolerable at best. It had better get at least back to that minimal quality level and fast.

    When it comes to Appare and Senku, it’s not the difference in what they do, it’s the difference in how they did it. Senku was very human and cared for those around him. Appare was just indifferent and cold and not at all attractive (to me) as a character.

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    1. @Tamayomi: Apparently we’ve seen an unfinished version. The version that aired on Japanese TV looks normal (and so do other streaming services, such as the local Wakanim). Interesting. I wonder what happened with Funi.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is, decidedly odd. Especially because it looks too finished (polished?) to be unfinished. I can see jerky movement, pans, or still frames as being unfinished… But completely animated & colored but off model?

        Not that I don’t believe you, it just seems hard to believe.

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        1. I first read about it on the animesuki forums. So I researched this. Amateur blog posts are easy to come by, but the only official News site I could find is in German. Here’s a side by side comparison of the Funimation and Wakanim streams. Apart from fixing some character models, you’ll notice they also added backgrounds such as trees and clouds. I have no idea what happened. Maybe someone sent the wrong file by accident?

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  4. Last Monday I gave in to the inevitable and signed up for Funimation. I was getting tired of them poaching all my seasonal shows anyway, but the immediate catalyst was the “Rascal” movie, since I wasn’t able to go see it in the theater. Anyway, I finished signing up around one in the afternoon, went to look for the movie, and it was nowhere to be found. Even though the press releases said they’d have it up until 4pm Eastern on Monday…nothing. Not off to a good start with me, Funimation.

    That said, they do have quite a few shows in their back catalog that I’ve been meaning to get around to, on top of seasonals. This was the initial queue of ten shows that I put together once I got over my frustration with the bait-and-switch on the movie and started browsing: Air Gear, Black Lagoon, Chobits, Claymore, Cowboy Bebop, Death Parade, Ergo Proxy, Jormungand, Kaguya-sama season 2, and Kurau Phantom Memory.

    Death Parade and Jormungand (and Kaguya, obviously, since that’s airing now) are the only ones of those I’ve never seen at all before, but it’s been at least ten years or more since I’ve seen any of the rest, far too long in some cases, and some of them I never got to finish. There are lots of others in their catalog that I want to get around to later, but I don’t want too many in the queue at once or I’ll get paralyzed.

    I did finish another long-overdue rewatch this week with Scrapped Princess, which had been sitting on my shelf for too long since I bought it. I was happy that I still enjoyed it just as much as I remembered – that’ll go into my list as a top 25, borderline top 20 show for me.

    And since the main topic is supposed to be seasonals, I’m also happy to say that Kaguya hasn’t lost any of its mojo from season 1. The season premiere especially had me laughing my a** off.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t heard of Kurau Phantom Memory. Sounds like an interesting SF show. What’s it like? Looks like it could be mainly episodic with an overarching plot?

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      1. Keeping in mind that I’m going on memories from ~12 years ago, what I remember of Kurau is that it’s the kind of serious sci-fi drama that anime used to be really good at. It’s from the same era as GitS:SAC and Gunslinger Girl, and tonally similar to those as well. I remember it being a more “human” type of show, though. Like while the themes and ideas were interesting, it cared more about making you feel a connection to the characters than making you think too hard. I suspect this is a show I’ll enjoy more than I did the first time, since I’ve grown to appreciate shows like that more as I’ve gotten older. It also has some action spots, and from what I remember the animation was really good when it needed to be. Of course it was made by Bones, so that’s to be expected.

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    2. That sucks about the Rascal movie… Though, TBH Funi does sometimes make things hard to find. Via the Roku app, only the dub version of Harakuna Receive was available, I had to go in via the website and watch the first ep sub version to get it into the “recently watched” list in the app. Not the first encounter I’ve had with that either.

      Chobits… I watched that back in my larval stage, no idea if it would hold up now. When I rewatch, it tends to be newer (relatively speaking) stuff that I know I’ll like. Went back and watched too many larval stage shows and found them unwatchable by current day me.

      And since the main topic is supposed to be seasonals

      Nah, the comments section is a free-for-all. Have at it on pretty much any topic that floats your boat.

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      1. That’s why when I was starting my MAL list several years ago I decided to only include shows that I’d watched since the beginning of 2014 (or post-K-On, since that was basically the demarcation line). My tastes have changed too much from when I was younger to try to rate and rank something I’d last watched in 2001 or 2007. Sometimes I get shows like Scrapped Princess and Noir that hold up really well for me, other times I get shows like Air that…don’t. Or I get one like My-Hime that I tried to rewatch more than once in the last several years and never got any further than episode 5. That’s part of the reason why I want to go back and rewatch this group of shows, though – a lot of them were part of my formative years, and I’m genuinely curious in some cases how well they will hold up. Or with something like Bebop where I already know it’s going to hold up, I just want an excuse to watch it again so that I can finally fill the gaping hole in my list where it already should be. I’m not really worried about Chobits either, since I still tend to like Clamp’s stuff even now.

        (Don’t ask about my MAL list, BTW, I haven’t logged into that site in over two years – I have my own computer files now where I keep track of all that stuff)

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