Fall 2020 – Week 5/6 – The mid season gut check issue.

The last week has been… tumultuous to say the least. I try and keep the outside world separate from the blog, but that’s not always possible. Either way, it’s the middle of the season, and that means it’s That Time. What time? Hit the jump and let’s find out!

When I say it’s That Time… Everyone knows the Three Episode Rule, but is three episodes enough to determine how you’ll feel for the next nine weeks? Not for me! There’s been more than one show that poured all it’s effort into the early weeks and then petered out. It’s not unusual for a show to stop growing either. And I have a really bad habit of sticking with shows long after I’ve stopped really enjoying them.

That means, it’s time for the Mid Season Gut Check. When I sit down and take a hard look at each show and ask myself if it’s honestly still worth my time.

The shows that I’m 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.

Adachi and Shimamura Episodes 3-5
Adachi to Shimamura

A fairly interesting series of episodes… Despite being content to drift closer, Shimamura shows sparks of impatience and action. It’s Adachi that wants to openly move things forward, but Shimamura is the one that ultimately forces the question into the open.

But… she then stops short, not really buying/believing that Adachi is interested in her as her. She thinks it’s a result of Adachi being lonely because of her home life. I can’t say I think she’s entirely wrong though. (It would also help if both of them didn’t have such awful self images.) And Adachi wouldn’t be the first lonely person to confuse like and companionship with something more.

Midseason status: Firm Keeper.

Dropout Idol Fruit Tart
Ochikobore Fruit Tart

One episode behind, but not really missing it. Fruit Tart is proving to be second rate at best. It really hasn’t yet found it’s groove.

Midseason status: Meh, keeper mostly because I’m not actually annoyed enough at it to drop it. Yet.

Iwakakeru! Sport Climbing Girls Episode 5/6

The tournament is solidly underway… Mostly good, but they’re building Konomi up just a bit too much. They’ve given solid reasons why she’s better than she should be as a newbie… They’ve also shown her weaknesses. Pride goeth before a fall? There’s at least six episodes left, and that strikes me as too much for it to all be this tournament. There’s just not enough meat on the show for that to work.

Midseason status: Moderate keeper. Let’s give it another episode or three.

Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club
Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai

It’s been two weeks since I’ve been able to muster the motivation to watch… My enjoyment of the show has been steadily decreasing since the first episode. It has all the flaws of any number of badly done idol shows, and none of the personality or character that marked the OG series. No doubt fans of the game it’s based on have some investment, but as someone who’s come in cold they haven’t put in the work to hold me.

Midseason status: Dropped at three episodes.

The Irregular at Magic High School: Visitor Arc
Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei: Raihousha-hen

A couple of episodes behind.

Midseason status: Honestly, not enjoying as much as I thought I would. Edging towards the drop zone?

TONIKAWA: Over The Moon For You Episode 5-6
Tonikaku Kawaii: Fly me to the Moon

Tonikawa is just darn cute. What more can I say? Well… Mostly cute. I can’t stand Chitose and her maids. Tsukasa’s background is important to the story, sure. But I think there’s better ways to handle it than constant irritating interruptions that aren’t funny, don’t actually advance the plot, or provide anything new.

Midseason status: Keeper.

Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle Episodes 5-6
Maou-jou de Oyasumi

Every time I think it’s getting a little stale, they manage to mix it up… :) Who knew how much a harpy who just wanted a friend would bring to the show? (Though I feel a little sorry for her to be honest.)

The best part is how even the Demon Lord has basically given up on trying to keep a leash on her… She wants to hang out in a secret meeting? Fine! Just be quiet please!

Midseason status: Keeper.

Strike Witches: Road to Berlin Episode 4
Dai-501 Tougou Sentou Koukuu Dan Strike Witches: Road to Berlin

I don’t remember Shirley and Lucchini being that close, or Lucchini being quite that childlike. (As opposed to kinda childish, which she’s always been… The only Witch to actually act anything resembling her calendar age.) Other than that, the mix of action, slice-of-life, and various oddities… this was Strike Witches solidly in it’s well worn groove. Which is a good thing, because that’s why I watch it in the first place.

Midseason Status: Two episodes behind, but no reason to think it won’t remain a keeper.

Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 5
Majo no Tabitabi

Elaina shows up in a new country, everyone worships her because Fran, she leaves. This show is not living up to it’s potential. Very, very tempted to just go ahead and drop it because feeling annoyed after each week’s episode is just not pleasant.

Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 6
Majo no Tabitabi

That was… well, lame and flat. They tried to be ambitious, but the infrastructure was weak and the edifice crumbled. This kind of episode only works when you’ve taken the time and put in the effort to set up for it. They haven’t done so.

They also, once again, had to remind us that Elania is self centered and vain.

Midseason Status: Dropped at 6 episodes.

(*) With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun
Inu to Neko Docchi mo Katteru to Mainichi Tanoshii

Still funny. I look forward to it every week.

Midseason Status: Solid keeper.

=========

So, that’s where I stand at the midpoint of the season. How is it going for you? What shows have or haven’t lived up to your expectations? Drop a comment and let’s chat!

6 thoughts on “Fall 2020 – Week 5/6 – The mid season gut check issue.”

  1. @Adachi to Shimamura: Probably my favourite show this season. I like the little touches, too, like Shimamura’s little sister warming up to Adachi without actually making contact. (That wave, just before she went away.) It just feels so emotionally plausible.

    @Fruittart: I actually thought I’d dropped the show this week, and then I remembered that I didn’t and watched the stalker episode… Really, it’s pretty much the opposite of what I hoped it would be. I wonder if I’ll get through it all. I might or might not. Time will tell.

    @Tonikawa: It’s just cute. Not a fan of the rich household either, but they don’t seem to annoy me quite as much as you, and I actually like the maids. That said, their relationship is definitely the draw.

    @Sleepy Princess: I don’t really have much to say, but it’s really, really fun.

    @Wandering Witch: Yeah, that’s probably the disappointment of the season. I’m still enjoying the show, but it’s pretty much only for the spectacle. It’s a really pretty show with really nice scenery. But the story’s a dud.

    @Maesetsu: It’s interesting: to the extent that I’m souring on Fruittart this show is growing on me. The last two episodes in particular were pretty good. They’d introduced a mixed-gender grown up team who are sort of looking out for the girls, and that makes a lot of difference. And in the last two episodes, they had a perfermormance at one of the girls’ sister’s ryokan. On the first night they totally bomb, because all their material is tailored to compeletely different audience. The grown up pros go last and have time to adapt their material to the audience, so the evening is saved, but they’re all down about the failure. So the next day the grown ups take them on a trip; ostensibly to cheer them up, but it becomes clear that it’s really for them to gather material. So they go down better (not in hilarity, but better) the next night. It’s a fairly straightforward story, but it was surprisingly effective, which means that they must have built the characters well enough while I wasn’t really paying attention. It’s rising up the top list.

    @Jujutsu Kaisen: Yeah, it’s a solidly entertaining horror-themed shounen fighter. Nothing much to say, but there are promising developments here and there, without it trying to do anything out of the ordinary. It’s also not afraid to be gruesome when it has to be, but it doesn’t feel gratuitious. I could see this be a hit with genre fans.

    @Magatsu Wahrheit: Dystopian SF with a standard but well-told story. The story’s escalating and forcing the characters to make decisions, and it’s not clear yet what they’re going to decide. It’s clear there’s something very wrong with the society, but it’s not clear how deep it goes. It’s quite interesting, and outside of the two protagonists (who are currently getting parts of the story on opposite sides), and maybe one more character, you don’t get the feeling that anyone’s safe, and it’s not clear that “defeating a villain” will solve the core problem. That said, like Jujutsu Kaisen, it’s pretty standard fair, just well done. I like it more, because I prefer the genre.

    Copy-pasting my list from week 2 and updating the rankings (as always it’s just a rough thing):

    Adachi to Shimamura (steady enjoyment)
    Sleepy Princess (steady enjoyment)
    Magatsu Wahrheit: Zuerst (cumulative intrigue; a slight rise)
    Tonikaku Cawaii (steady enjoyment)
    Fire Force 2 (steady enjoyment)
    Golden Kamuy 3 (steady enjoyment)
    Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear (grows on me)
    Talentless Nana (steady enjoyment as long I don’t think too much)
    Haikyuu to the Top (long-running-show with diminishing returns and still this high)
    Maesetsu (riser of the season)
    Jujutsu Kaisen (steady enjoyment)
    Majo no Tabitabi (disappointment of the season, but still a very pretty show)
    Cat & Dog (it is what it is)
    Osomatsu-san 3 (steady enjoyment)
    Hanyo no Yashahime (Inuyasha spin-off) (grows on me)
    Gymnastics Samurai (diminishing returns are setting in)
    Danmachi 3 (After a strong start it became clear that it’s really the same as always)
    Ikebukuro West Gate Park (steady enjoyment)
    Noblesse (good geeky fun; when a show ends in a cliffhanger I’m very invested, but by next week I’ve forgotten – a good candidate for a binge)
    Akumdama Drive (non-stop action, doesn’t give me time to be bored, but doesn’t give me anything to hold on to once it’s off screen)
    Moriarty (It’s a pretty show, but it’s just too simplistic)
    By the Grace of the Gods (It’s cute and occasionally likable, and often dull)
    I’m Standing on a Million Lives (most uneven show of the season; some very good scenes, and some very annoying aspects)
    King’s Raid (Silly and mostly dull; I’m watching for the witch-hat character who I adore)
    Our Last Crusade (This show could actually be interesting, but it’s suffering from lots of silliness: the moe-fication of some of the girls here really hurts this show; I don’t often mind, but hear it’s fatal)
    Gochumon wa Usagi desu ka? 3 (Why am I still here?)
    Guraburu! (Shorts that assume you’ve played the games, which I haven’t)
    Kamisama ni natta hi (Angel Beats, Charlotte… Jun Maeda + PA Works. Yeah, it’s not working for me)
    Fruit Tart (I hate the producer and she sets the tone; every now and then there’s a nice moment)

    Dropped:

    Rail Romanesque (I still don’t get it)
    Assault Lilly Bouquet (It’s better than some of the things I’m still watching)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Fruittart: I actually thought I’d dropped the show this week, and then I remembered that I didn’t and watched the stalker episode

      Oh dear, that doesn’t bode well… I’m already not that motivated to catch up…

      Adachi to Shimamura (steady enjoyment)

      Doubly, triply, so when that space-loli isn’t in evidence. I still don’t see what she’s bringing to the table. That being said, I agree with your comment on subtle touches. Another place to look for it is in their body language, especially Adachi’s. Puts me in mind of Just Because.

      re:Maesetsu Glad to hear it overcame such an un-promising start (for me).

      re:Sleepy Princess Yeah. It’s hard to say much, week-to-week it’s mostly the same thing just done in a different way. Kinda like watching your favorite comedy act? You just can’t help but enjoy.

      Like

  2. Yeah, my plans of managing a weekly viewing schedule went up in smoke pretty quick. I’m still watching Nijigasaki, but Elaina ended up being a huge disappointment, and I never got around to starting Tonikawa. Oh well, best laid plans and all.

    As for Niji, I feel like it’s kind of equal parts enjoyable and frustrating. I do like some of the things it’s doing, like the more low-key/grounded personal dramas of the girls vs. the high-stakes melodrama of previous seasons (and episode 6’s Rina-centric story was probably the best so far). At the same time it’s all been nothing but character vignettes, with no hint of an overarching plot, and I’m getting kind of impatient waiting for it to do something, you know? It’s actually kind of hilarious because Niji’s in-game story actually is a high-stakes melodrama in that classic Love Live style (thus far the MC has had to overcome not one but two obstructive bureaucrats, take the lead in organizing and running the school idol equivalent of Comiket, and now in the latest arc there’s a rival group who swooped in and stole the mantle of Niji’s “official” idol club away from the main characters). That’s a lot of potential storylines to choose from, so I don’t know why the anime team decided to ignore all of them in favor of this purely episodic approach.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kind of a shame about Nijigasaki, I knew you were anticipating it… But if you’re still enjoying it, it’s not a total loss, right?

      If you can find the time Tonikawa is worth catching back up on. I gripe about some of the detail choices, but overall it’s pretty good. The latest episode has me turning over an idea for a “Photography in Anime” post, but it may or may not gel.

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  3. I’m currently not watching any of the new shows. Because of health reasons I dropped off the grid last year and early this year so I have a lot of catching up to do😊 It is nice to see that there are some good shows this season as well, and I’m sure I will eventually get to some of these😊

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