Third episode rule – Winter 2021 – Week 3


A raft load of third episodes this week… And some truly impressive episodes. I think this season is (mostly) shaping up just fine so far. Hit the jump, and let’s run ’em down.

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 not watched or with no comments this week.

A reminder for the Winter 2021 season: Due to the large amount of shows this season, brief comments and no comments are likely going to be common… This is about the only way I can remain sane.

Attack on Titan: The Final Season Episode 7/66
Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season


I’ve spent the last couple of weeks wondering where Armin and the Colossal Titan were… and this week we got our answer. The Paradisians unleash him against the Marleyean fleet and port facilities.

As a student of naval history, I approve. From a strategic point of view, the most dangerous threat to Paradis Island is Marleyean sea power. A threat the Paradisians have limited means to counter. (Not the least because they lack port facilities and so far as we’ve seen, heavy industry.) But I can’t help but wonder if they made a tactical error in not having the Colossal Titan go to Eren’s aid. Even with the amped-up Scout Regiment, that’s been a close run battle.

And it’s about to get worse – as Reiner and the Armored Titan are finally stepping into the fray.

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One of my regular commenters remarked he expected last week to break the internet… And I can see why. Not only Big Action, but also some serious moral dilemmas. (Which I mentioned in passing.)

Why hasn’t it? I think there’s two reasons. One the whole world situation right now. (*sighs in 2020*) But I think the main reason is that Titan isn’t the cultural powerhouse it was two or three years ago. And honestly, both parts of the 3rd season (and especially the first) were (relatively speaking) weaker material. Make no mistake – Titan is still a very good show! But the shifts in focus aren’t calculated to hold on to a mass audience. (Which is perfectly OK.)

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Cells at Work!! Episode 3
Hataraku Saibou!!

The first half, I’d call classic Cells, and worked pretty good.  The second half was close, but a lot weaker.  Honestly, if it’s not Platelets then Red Blood Cell (AE-3803) is the show’s main attraction.  White Blood Cell’s (U-1146) single mindness doesn’t seem enough to carry a segment on his own.  It did however do a decent job of showcasing his caring side…

Third episode status:  Mild keeper.

(*) Cells at Work! Code Black
Hataraku Saibou BLACK

Not watched this week…  I suspect my wife and I are going to have a conversation about dropping it Really Soon Now.

One thing I do want to say because it’s been bugging me for a couple of weeks – this series leans hard into “we are born predestined [to work, suffer, and die]”.  I think this inherent hopelessness is a significant part of why I’m not connecting with/enjoying this show as much as I might otherwise.  It’s just bleak, and not in a good way.

Dr. Stone: Stone Wars Episode 2

It’s been a long time coming…  But the moment we’ve all been waiting for.  Ooji and Senku reunited (after a fashion).  And Senku’s reaction was priceless.  I think he honestly did miss him.  He often seems/acts like a Vulcan, but really he isn’t.  There’s a very human side of him that he doesn’t let show very often. 

Think of the soda for Gen, or Suika’s corrective lenses.


But this makes Senku’s shift in strategy last episode even more odd… I mean, Ooji has obviously been anticipating this moment which makes me think Senku has Had A Plan since practically the very beginning.


Speaking of humanity… This scene was really effective in conveying the compassion of Senku’s cause versus the brutality of Tsukasa’s. And Magma’s characterization shines a light on just how thin the line really is between modern humanity and atavism.

Horimiya Episode 3
Hori-san to Miyamura-kun


Sometimes… simple, quiet, and sweet is best.

We still don’t have a good gauge on Hori’s story yet, but that’s OK. This episode was mostly about Miyamura and his struggles, and it was spot on.

And now they’ve confessed, and they both know it. (In episode 3 no less! How often does that happen?) But neither one is actually acting on that knowledge yet… Yet… And their friends and classmates have certainly caught on that Something Is Up. This is an unstable and untenable situation.

Third episode status:  Keeper. Especially if they can keep it up.

(*) Idoly Pride 

Not watched this week.

Laid-Back Camp 2nd Season Episode 3
Yuru Camp 2nd Season

Laid Back Camp - Chubby NadeshikoWould anyone think I was crazy if I said I think this episode marks season 2 coming into it’s own?  Don’t care, because that’s what I think.  (Also don’t care for Rin’s bugged out eyeballs in the restaurant, they really oversold that.)

I was concerned about introducing a new character, but Ayono’s role was deftly handled…  And Nadeshiko’s backstory was cute as hell.  It was also interesting to see Rin opening up more.

Third episode status:  Seriously?  How is this even a question?  KEEPER.

Non Non Biyori Nonstop Episode 3


I was chuckling to myself anticipating something like happening. I laughed when it did. And now I’m chuckling looking at the screenshot and writing this comment.

Natsumi, the gift that never stops giving.

Third episode status:  (Let’s just cut and paste, because it’s the same answer.) Seriously?  How is this even a question?  KEEPER.

(*) Otherside Picnic 
Urasekai Picnic

Not watched this week

So I’m a Spider, So What? Episode 3
Kumo desu ga, Nanika?

On the spider front, for the first time in a while, Kumoko faces a threat she can’t hope to fight…  And reacts by running like hell.  The result is a classic “frying pan to fire” situation!  Still not entirely certain where it’s going, but the ride is enjoyable.

Over on the human side, I’m hopelessly lost.  I have no idea what’s going on, or how it connects to the spider side.  To be fair, that’s not entirely on me either.  The novels are apparently known for how confusing and out of sync the two sides of the story are in the beginning.

Hopefully my patience will be rewarded.

Third episode status:  Keeper.  Mostly on the strength of the spider side of things.

The Promised Neverland 2nd Season Episode 3
Yakusoku no Neverland 2nd Season


That was… a chilling sequence, even if it didn’t come after the demons (including Sonju) showing affection for the children. And am I the only one who thinks Mujika doesn’t think the same way?

The rest of the episode was quiet in a way that didn’t leave me at all comfortable… I just knew it couldn’t be that easy. Could it? The double cliffhanger didn’t help resolve that question.

Third episode status:  STRONG KEEPER.

The Quintessential Quintuplets ∬ Episode3
Go-Toubun no Hanayome ∬ (Second season)


Now we know what transpired at the lake… And I’m left more confused than ever. Why not reveal her identity? Why the final goodbye?

But then, none of the quints are exactly open with their feelings, even to themselves. Or maybe we’re seeing Ichika’s dilemma from the first season play itself out again… Despite Nino’s concerns over the sisters drifting apart, none of them want to be the first to make an open, overt, break. All of the quintuplets know that’s a line that can’t be crossed back.

Speaking of identities, I shouldn’t be surprised at all that Nino saw right through Futaro. She may not be the best academically, but she’s one sharp cookie.

And why is Miku, disguised as Nino, in Nino’s room?

Last but not least, Best Girl Yotsuba is really getting shortchanged here.

Third episode status:  Still feeling like this season isn’t quite up to spec… Mostly because this episode pulled the rug out from under me… But still a keeper.

Uma Musume: Pretty Derby Season 2 Episode 4


Oh Spe, never change…

Third episode status:  Mild keeper.

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

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I hope you’ll pardon how the images are coming out… I’ve swapped completely over to the new editor, so I’m still fiddling a bit with how it works. Trying to find something that works and doesn’t look too awful. I think I’ve got it nailed now, but this is already running behind so I’m just going to live with how this version came out.

Anyhow, most of the third episodes are behind us, and there’s only one possible drop… (Code BLACK is teetering on the precipice.) Which is actually a pretty darned good batting average. This has not been a disappointing season.

So how did the week, the season so far go for you? What are your favorites? Least favorites? Drops?

Hit the comment section and let’s chat!

17 thoughts on “Third episode rule – Winter 2021 – Week 3”

  1. So as I feared, Quints did indeed skip chapters 36-38. I really, really hope they go back and fill in that gap either after this arc is over or during the next arc. The first season shuffled up some of the early manga chapters, so it wouldn’t be totally unprecedented. Other than that, though, I have no complaints. I like the new animation so far, and the pacing has been pretty close to what I expected.

    The whole theme of the “Seven Goodbyes” arc can be summed up as letting go of things in order to move forward. So far we’ve only actually seen two of the goodbyes referenced by the title (Rena saying goodbye to Futaro and Nino saying goodbye to Kintaro) – the next episode should have at least 2-3 more goodbyes. I can’t really say anything else about Rena without risking giving too much away, unfortunately, but her actions will make sense once all the puzzle pieces are laid out, probably in season 3. I’m glad they kept Futaro’s monologue intact about each of the girls being her own special brand of idiot, though. That was one of my favorite scenes from the manga.

    Weekly Yotsuba, since the anime isn’t giving us enough of her:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EH4Z3vzU4AAWe9X?format=jpg&name=large

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad they kept Futaro’s monologue intact about each of the girls being her own special brand of idiot, though. That was one of my favorite scenes from the manga.

      That was a good bit… and kinda runs counter to the quint’s idea that he doesn’t pay attention. I think he and they are paying attention to different things.

      I’m hoping it gets a season 3, but that’s pretty dern rare. Especially for a manga that’s completed it’s run…

      I wish Pixiv made it easier to legally embed. There’s some great fanart there. I could make an account and back door it via a (seperate?) Twitter account?

      Like

  2. @Shingeki no Kyojin: I found myself mildly surprised at just how violent this week’s episode was. It’s not like I haven’t read the corresponding manga chapters multiple times, either. Maybe some of it was me being a fast reader, some of it was just the difference between still B&W panels vs. animation with color and sound… and some, perhaps, was an unconscious assumption that MAPPA would censor scenes the way WIT did in in the first three seasons (silhouetted images, chomping occurring just barely off-screen, etc). But MAPPA didn’t flinch, and so the scene of Eren ripping the Jaw Titan limb-from-limb and using the jaws to nutcrack the War Hammer Titan ended up being the most viscerally horrifying thing I’ve seen from TV anime since, maybe, Eren’s mom being devoured in episode 1, and before that, Evangelion Unit-01 ripping up Unit-03 way back in… ugh, 1996. 25 years ago this next weekend, actually. F**k, I’m old.

    @Hataraku Saibou Black: Calling it now, the show will end with the host body dying of multiple organ failure from his various lifestyle choices. The final scene will be Red Blood Cell and White Blood Cell dying side-by-side on the shoreline of a sea of pus. WBC’s last words will be “Kimochi warui.” Fade to black. No, I haven’t read the manga. Why do you ask?

    @Yakusoku no Neverland: I’m also fascinated by the existence of demons who draw an ethical distinction between farming humans and hunting them and hope the show explores this more. Also hearing this episode represents a (possibly permanent) break between the anime storyline and the manga (I haven’t read this manga either, which is probably for the best).

    @Yuru Camp: Really needed this after the heaviness above.

    @Go-Toubun no Hanayome: Also on Team Yotsuba, FWIW.

    @Kumo desu ga, Nanika?: Fell asleep again during second attempt watching episode 1. It’s not like it’s a horrible show, either, but if I can’t stay awake on the third attempt, it’s a drop.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Shingeki no Kyojin:

      I found myself mildly surprised at just how violent this week’s episode was.

      It was astoundingly effective though… And kind of on theme? Hiding the brutality would dilute that.

      I’m surprised you didn’t mention the extra note I added to this week’s comments.

      On Old: I don’t wanna hear about it. :) I’m closer to sixty than fifty five!

      @Yakusoku no Neverland

      Also hearing this episode represents a (possibly permanent) break between the anime storyline and the manga (I haven’t read this manga either, which is probably for the best).

      I’m hearing they trimmed a ton out of the chapters that should have been covered in the anime, but nothing about it being anime original.

      And yeah, I have a regular online thing Thurs nights, and Dr Stone and Yuru Camp are the perfect palate cleansers after Neverland and before I head into the game. I don’t recall which show it was, but we did the same with the first season of Neverland.

      Like

      1. “It was astoundingly effective though… And kind of on theme? Hiding the brutality would dilute that.”

        Oh, absolutely. Nothing gratuitous about it… the scene depicted both how Eren has improved as a tactician (S1 Eren would have charged in like Porco and gotten his ass handed to him) and how ruthless he is at achieving his goals.

        “I’m surprised you didn’t mention the extra note I added to this week’s comments.”

        Wanted to get my episode comments on record first, then work got in the way. I guess it comes down to definitions and expectations. These episodes were never going to break the internet like r/wallstreetbets did, but they did meet my expectations (both CR’s and Funi’s servers are regularly crashing due to overload when new AoT episodes go “live”, for example).

        Anyway, tomorrow’s episode marks the end of what I define as “the Ride”. Not that the following episodes will be worse, but the pedal does come off the floor. A bit.

        I suppose this is as good a time as any to share my watchlist:
        Fully caught up, keepers:
        Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season
        Beastars 2
        Horimiya
        Wonder Egg Priority
        Yakusoku no Neverland 2
        Yuru Camp Season 2
        Jujutsu Kaisen
        Go-Toubun no Hanayome S2
        Dr. Stone: Stone Wars
        Ura Sekai Picnic
        Hataraku Saibou BLACK
        Hataraku Saibou!!
        Yatogame-chan Kansatsu Nikki 3 Satsume
        Inu to Neko Docchi mo Katteru to Mainichi Tanoshii

        Picked up after start of season, catching up:
        Jaka-chara Tomozaki-kun
        Mushoku Tensei: Isekai Ittara Honki Dasu

        Falling behind, possible drops:
        Kumo desu ga, Nani ka?
        Uma Musume: Pretty Derby S2

        That’s a pretty imposing list (18), now that I look at the whole thing… drops are inevitable, but this season is so stacked that even some shows I like may not make the cut. It’s pretty rare that I even finish 12 series in a season. And to think I’d be trying to watch even more if I’d been fully caught up on sequels (not even trying to watch Re:Zero, for example, since I’m not caught up on the previous seasons).

        Meta question: how do you quote/style properly in this blog? Tags of some sort, I’m sure, but is there a quick reference somewhere?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I guess it comes down to definitions and expectations. These episodes were never going to break the internet like r/wallstreetbets did, but they did meet my expectations (both CR’s and Funi’s servers are regularly crashing due to overload when new AoT episodes go “live”, for example).

          Definitions and expectations… makes sense. I was thinking along the lines of “tons of commentary on/by blogs and on Twitter”. And the response in those places was definitely muted compared to what I might have expected.

          That’s a pretty imposing list (18), now that I look at the whole thing… drops are inevitable, but this season is so stacked that even some shows I like may not make the cut. It’s pretty rare that I even finish 12 series in a season.

          And I’m going crazy with (effectively) 15! But, yeah, I think the next couple of weeks are going to see some drops from me too. Code BLACK is already gone, and there’s a couple not far behind. Of course, it would also help if I could stick to my resolution to make shorter comments and simply not comment on some shows some week.

          Meta question: how do you quote/style properly in this blog? Tags of some sort, I’m sure, but is there a quick reference somewhere?

          Do you mean down here in the comments? I have Reddit Markdown enabled. I don’t think all of it works, but the quote, bold, and italic do… and that’s all I really use. Feel free to experiment! (And leave a comment if you want a particularly failed experiment to be deleted.)

          https://www.reddit.com/wiki/markdown#wiki_new_reddit-flavored_markdown

          Like

          1. Test quote:

            I have Reddit Markdown enabled.

            Ok, cool! Test bold, italic, bold-italic, ~~strikethrough~~.

            Test spoiler 1: >!It’s made of PEEEEEEEOPLE! !<

            Test spoiler 2: Spoilers
            Type 2 probably won’t work here…

            I was thinking along the lines of “tons of commentary on/by blogs and on Twitter”. And the response in those places was definitely muted compared to what I might have expected.

            Also makes sense. I’m not on Twitter. Reddit is another story… r/anime tracks a variety of stats for the weekly episode discussion threads, and SnK S4 is on track to hold the entire top 10 all-time by the time the season is over.

            Liked by 1 person

        2. Have to reply here rather than to the actual message because of nesting limits in the comments…

          FYI: Type 2 spoiler markup works, it’s hidden in my browser AND in my emails.

          Also +1 for the classic SF movie references.

          I avoid r/anime as my experiences there… have not been pleasant. (YMMV of course.) Unless it’s a particularly controversial anime, I tend to browse/participate in series specific subreddits. If it’s a particularly controversial anime, I typically skip reddit entirely.

          Like

    2. “The final scene will be Red Blood Cell and White Blood Cell dying side-by-side on the shoreline of a sea of pus. WBC’s last words will be “Kimochi warui.” Fade to black.”

      Since I dropped the show, I will adopt this as head canon.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m wondering if the final arc of HS Black will be when the human who they inhabit finally listens to his doctors and goes on a health kick or something like that. If they do kill him off, that would almost be a landmark moment in anime hehe

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m getting dangerously close to dropping Uma Musume. It’s not bad, but I keep comparing it to season 1, so there’s this lingering disappointment that just never goes away. Season 1 was fun with lots of little details on the side (e.g. a plush donut prize for a donut eating contest is pure genius). This season is competent but rote. Few characters feel the same as season 1, and there’s just not much to keep my interest here. We’ll see how I feel when the next episode rolls around.

    @Spider: I don’t mind he human side. I don’t find it confusing either; the characters who are in a position to are searching for their missing classmates and dealing with their current struggles. I sort of appreciate the break, as ~23 minutes of spider running frantically to and fro might be a tad exhausting for me. Still, the spider side is definitely the draw of the show. There’s no question of that.

    @Neverland: See, The visual coding and emphasis on Sonju being a predator is, as far as it concerns me, the show’s weakness. It’s that sort of thing that undermines the hunting lessons of last week, thematically. On the one hand, they’re drawing parallels; on the other hand they’re still playing it for easy monster coding. I might have found the scene chilling if he’d said that in his usual tone, but it just ended up being cheesy. That sort of decision is what’s holding Neverland back. It’s a fun show to watch, but ultimately it has no chance to rise beyond a solid three-star show for me.

    @Horimiya: Yeah, I really like the show. What I think I like most about it is the group dynamics. They just feel so real to me. Also, I can totally relate to Miyamura’s third-wheel feeling, even though nobody else sees it that way. If you’ve been alone for so long, you just don’t have the social instinct that makes a lot of the minutae invisible.

    @Yurucamp, Non Non Biyori: I have nothing to say, but I’m happy they’re back and true to themselves.

    @Gekidoll: And now they’ve tied the catastrophy and our main characters’ issues with being unable to make roles her own together, and overlayed this over other latent issues. So the show’s now actually interesting, but it’s also teetering at the edge of overbearing melodrama. Aside of all that, there’s this anti-industry strain here I hoped against hope last season’s Fruittart would have. The show knows what it’s doing and it’s taking the time it needs. What I don’t know yet is if what the show wants to do is what I want to watch, but it’s definitely come a long way from the rather generic beginning.

    @Last Dungeon/Starter Town: Well, this show’s definitely cemented its place among my favourites. The show takes its basic premise seriously: In RPGs, monsters get ever stronger so you can level up better. It’s one of those things that – in most games – makes no worldbuilding sense but we turn a blind eye for gameplay’s sake. The show’s built around that incongruity, and I find it hilarious. I’d liken it to shows like Magical Circle Guru Guru, or Last Period. Smart about it’s genre and fun, with just enough depth to keep you going, but not so much that it breaks the comedy. The opening arc’s done now, I can say that the handled the plot well.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. @Uma Musume: Yeah, especially considering that next episode seems like it’s going to be the capstone of what I understood this season to be about. I don’t blame you… Right now I’m mostly watching it for Spe+carrots and the occasional Silence Suzuka cameo. It’s also nice mind candy after Otherside Picnic.

    @Horimiya: Yeah, I get it too. What he thinks he is (and his experiences) is an unpleasant reminder of my own younger days. But what I like about it is the kinda Tsuki ga Kirei feel I’m getting – it’s quiet and very realistic.

    @Neverland: I thought Sonju’s face-heel turn was very effective… Especially with Mujika’s borderline horrified reaction.

    Like

  5. A confession in Horimiya’s 3rd ep. definitely was not standard. My only worry is that they might play it like that didn’t happen and continue this “more than friends less than lovers” dynamic for quite a while.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For me, if it’s decently done, the “more than friends less than lovers” dynamic can be interesting. It’s an area not much explored in anime. (I meant to invoke Tsuki ga Kirei by way of comparison in my review, but somehow forgot.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It surely can be interesting, but only if there’s still progress, and it is gradual. Tsuki ga Kirei is a really good example of such development, and hopefully Horimiya will do something similar. What I’m afraid of is a development to “I love you” which then is treated like a misunderstanding, later is left totally neglected, and the characters have to repeat the same path again.

        Like

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