Everything changes… – Winter 2021 Week 4

Last of the third episodes this week…. And on their third or fourth episodes, many shows either upset applecarts or double down on their narrative. (And yes, a couple of shows earn a third episode drop.)

Hit the jump, and let’s see what happened this week!

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 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 Episode8/67
Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season

There’s been a ton of electrons spilled in the last few days over Gabi and Sasha…  Killing a fan favorite was bound to be controversial, regardless of the circumstances.  I’m actually OK with it.  Seems to me to be consistent with the anti-war theme of this portion of the show.  People do die.  And they don’t always do so heroically.  It’s senseless.

And people do kill, equally senselessly, as a product of their environment and conditioning.  And Gabi is nothing if not well indoctrinated into what her world expects of her.

Meanwhile, the Scouts are split over the value and meaning of the operation just completed…  And it appears this wasn’t part of a considered strategy.  Eren forced their hand for his own, obscure to me, reasons.

It looks like the Scouts have finally had exactly enough of his shit.

Also obscure is Zeke’s role.   That’s a pretty high level betrayal if he voluntarily surrendered…  And it seems that he was cooperating with the Scouts.

Attack on Titan - shadows of the pastCuriouser and curiouser to borrow a phrase.  (Also “oh what tangled webs we weave.)

Cells at Work!! Episode 4
Hataraku Saibou!!

I guess I have to eat my words a little bit…  Last week I opined that U-1146 (White Blood Cell) couldn’t carry an episode segment on his own.  This week, the show did it’s level best to prove me wrong.  I have to admit that with the assistance of Ordinary Cell and a trio of cute lactobacilli, he pretty much managed to do so.

Cells at Work! Code Black
Hataraku Saibou BLACK

After the mess that was episodes 3 and 4…  And with our crowded Thurs-Fri schedule…  My wife and I kept putting off getting caught up.  Now, we’re two episodes behind and we’ve decided to make it official.

Code BLACK wanders off to the discard pile.

Dr. Stone: Stone Wars Episode 3

My wife: That was pretty cheesy!
Me: Well, it’s kind of a cheesy show… I mean Senku has gone from buck naked to radiotelephones in just a year.

Actual conversation after the end of the episode

I’m laughing over that conversation as I write…  But it’s so true.

But it was good episode I think.  Once again, as he’s done so many times before, Senku rolls the dice on human nature and wins.  As I said last week, he’s a very shrewd judge of people.  His only actual failure so far is Tsukasa – and he’s busting his ever lovin’ butt to make up for that mistake.

Senku isn’t just a good guy, he’s a good guy.

Also, the Fermi estimate he makes about Lillian’s album sales is an actual technique.

Third Episode Status:  Firm Keeper.  It’s ridiculous, sure, but it’s fun.

Horimiya Episode 4
Hori-san to Miyamura-kun

I guess you could call this The Backstory Episode, because we got a ton of it.  Hori’s, a girl thrust too young into familial responsibilities, is conventional.  It’s Miyamura’s that’s caught my eye.

Turns out, he’s had friends before.  And that illuminates something that I’ve been thinking for a while…  He’s not actually socially awkward in any usual sense.  He’s got manners, knows what’s expected of him, and once you get to know him a pretty nice guy.  It’s the italicized bit that’s important.  He’s not easy to get to know because he doesn’t put himself out there or defend himself.

Horimiya Season 1 Episode 4 - I'm in loveAnd his confession (the second one really) reinforces that.  He’s comfortable with Hori, and willing to take that risk.

Idoly Pride Episode 3-4

My estimation of this show is generally creeping up – it’s solidly putting in the work to be an honest idol show.  It’s worth noting that their manager is co-equal (in terms of character status) with the idols.

Could have done without the girl who can see Mana (the ghost) though.  That’s just a pointless complication.  They also aren’t doing the best job of managing the large cast, but above average is enough to keep me around because it’s so rare.

Laid-Back Camp 2nd Season Episode 4
Yuru Camp 2nd Season

Laid Back Camp - Nadeshiko and the lanternJust the girls derping around…  And the scenes over the end credits were just perfect.

Non Non Biyori Nonstop Episode 4

Non Non Byori - Summer SantaAnother Renge-centric episode…  Which is by no means a complaint!  Overall this season is really playing to it’s strengths.

Also, finally got some Kaede (Candy Store) time, and it was a classic.  And Natsumi got what she deserved…

Otherside Picnic 
Urasekai Picnic

I’m two episodes behind, and that really forces my hand to an extent…  Do I really want to spend the time to catch up?  After thinking for a couple of days, I’ve reluctantly concluded that I don’t.

After three episodes, we’ve barely gotten rolling.  We’re still largely right where we were at the end of the first.  It’s not that I mind slow paced shows, it’s that I ask that show at least give me a reason to believe there’s something worth watching.  After three episodes of repetitive action and the main characters still being mostly featureless blobs…  I don’t feel there is any reason to believe.

Otherside Picnic is thus consigned to the discard pile.

So I’m a Spider, So What? Episode4
Kumo desu ga, Nanika?

This episode was mixed at best.  On one hand, Kumoko’s increasing tactical skill and cleverness was well displayed.  On the other hand, she was saved from her mistakes by some very conveniently timed authorial meddling leveling up.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again, K?  It makes it look like the writers are running out of ideas.

Also, the flaws in 3D animation were on full display here…  The rage monkeys simply didn’t look all that good.  I don’t know if it was an uncanny valley problem or just straightforward animation/quality problems, but either way it didn’t work for me.

The Promised Neverland 2nd Season Episode 4
Yakusoku no Neverland 2nd Season

First, the plot points by the bullet point:

  • So, the first stage of the “Underground Railroad” has been compromised. That does not bode well for the future.
  • I’m not sure what Isabella can accomplish that a trained force of hunters cannot… But it’s consistent with what seems to the demon’s ethos: “Don’t waste material”. (And they’ve invested a lot of effort into her.)

And the elephant in the room…  It seems the series is/has diverged greatly from the manga (the source material).  On one hand, that’s bad.  (Right?)  On the other, the mangaka themselves is involved with producing the scenario and the show…  So it’s reasonable to think this is being done with their cooperation and blessing.

But…  is it actually bad?  I mean, I’ve had manga I enjoyed adapted and I grok the urge for a faithful adaptation.  I’ve been bothered/angry/outraged by adaptation choices.   I’ve also been overjoyed when they nailed it.  I’ve also watched anime-original productions and greatly enjoyed the sense of wonder and anticipation because I don’t know what’s going to happen next.

In the end, I don’t really have a dog in this fight because I’m anime only.  I don’t have any basis for comparison, so that’s how I’m going to approach it.  Mind you, that doesn’t mean that manga reading commenters taking it to task are unwelcome or anything!  It’s just that we probably won’t share a common ground and I won’t be able to make cogent replies.  I apologize in advance if that leaves the impression that I don’t care or think less of you.  Neither are true.

The Quintessential Quintuplets ∬ Episode 4
Go-Toubun no Hanayome ∬ (Second season)

One of the things I’m trying this season is keeping running notes on shows…  there’s too many to try and keep it all in my head.  This is my note after this episode of Quintuplets:

Quintessential Quintuplets Season 2 - WTFThis episode seemed…  well, rushed?  Like they tried to pack way too much into it?

I get the Quints trying to lure Fuutarou back, I mean they all have some degree of feelings for them.  By why the abrupt resignation in the first place?  The whole episode (failure/resignation/change of scene) almost feels like the author breaking out of a corner he’d written himself into.  Or (more likely) the adaptation left a lot of stuff out.

Took a lot of wind out of the sails of my enjoyment of the series.

Uma Musume: Pretty Derby Season 2 Episode 5

Well, somebody had to win and somebody had to lose.  And the W went to the character we’ve spent the least time with and know the least about.  This season is supposed to be Mejiro McQueen and Tokai Teio’s story, but so far it’s been all about Tokai…  What next?  A redemption arc?  Or will one of the plethora of side characters they keep focusing on get her time in the sun?

(*) With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun Episode 16
Inu to Neko Docchi mo Katteru to Mainichi Tanoshii

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Whew. Last season I was looking forward to this season, fully expecting it to be lit. As this week shows, by and large it has not disappointed in that respect. I’m only seeing one, maybe two shows that are close enough to line to be mid-season drops (and I’ll keep those to myself for the moment). Hopefully Quints can plug the leaks and get back on track…

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Anyhow, enough from me, over to you! Hit that comment button and let’s chat!

12 thoughts on “Everything changes… – Winter 2021 Week 4”

    1. To my mind, eps 3-4 is a particularly bad time to rush too… If you’re having pacing problems that early, that does not bode well for the rest of the season. I think Neverland kind of puts itself in that corner as they seem to like ending on a cliffhanger.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. @Shingeki no Kyojin:

    There’s been a ton of electrons spilled in the last few days over Gabi and Sasha… Killing a fan favorite was bound to be controversial, regardless of the circumstances. I’m actually OK with it.

    I liked the symmetry of the whole thing. Sasha snipes the two gate guards, but doesn’t shoot Gabi when she sees she’s a child. Gabi takes a rifle from one of the dead guards, boards the airship, and shoots into the crowd, killing Sasha. Whatever people might say about Sasha being a comic relief character, she lived by strong principles, and ended up dying for them.

    And it appears this wasn’t part of a considered strategy. Eren forced their hand for his own, obscure to me, reasons.

    The “new basement” is inside Eren’s head.

    @Yakusoku no Neverland:

    And the elephant in the room… It seems the series is/has diverged greatly from the manga (the source material).

    What I gather (from comments of manga readers actually trying not to spoil us anime-onlies):
    1) Most readers were disappointed with the manga ending, but
    2) the manga didn’t start going downhill until after the second story arc (S2 of the anime), and
    3) the changes so far actually seem to be doubling down on the aspects of the manga ending the readers didn’t like.
    So I don’t know what to make of it so far, either… but I’m content to judge the anime on its own merits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Attack on Titan:

      It’s not that I’m not OK with killing a popular character… Narratives are rarely neat and sometimes it’s a necessity. I think that’s the case here, killing a red shirt just wouldn’t bring the same effect in the viewer. And that’s kinda the point of killing her off – to grab the viewers attention and drive a point home. It’s not the author’s fault the viewers are refusing to learn the lesson. (Many viewers are more akin to Calvin than Hobbes.)

      I agree with you on Sasha. Her focus episode back in S2 made it clear that she had principles and a purpose.

      The “new basement” is inside Eren’s head.

      OK, you’re going to have to explain that one please, because I don’t get it.

      @Promised Neverland:

      Yeah, as I said, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I’m sympathetic to the plight of the manga readers, but it doesn’t affect my thoughts. As you said, I’m judging the anime on it’s own merits.

      (And yes, you need a return and a blank line after quoted material. I can edit your comment if you’d like.)

      Like

      1. @Shingeki no Kyojin:

        OK, you’re going to have to explain that one please, because I don’t get it.

        Probably just as well, since in hindsight it probably needs a mild spoiler warning.

        (And yes, you need a return and a blank line after quoted material. I can edit your comment if you’d like.)

        That will probably clarify things all around, if it’s not too much trouble.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. OK, that (inside the spoiler) makes sense when you put it that way. Thanks!

          I edited your original post, that will help any future readers.

          Like

  2. You’re not imagining it. This episode of Quints crammed in five manga chapters instead of the usual three (even skipping the OP and ED to fit it all in). It did hit all the major plot points, and we got a couple of scenes I’d been looking forward to seeing animated (especially Nino staring down the track captain), but at the cost of a lot of context and texture, with probably the worst omission being Futaro’s phone conversation with their father (there is a scene upcoming – assuming that isn’t also cut – where we could still see it inserted as a flashback though). I mean it’s still a good episode for what it was – the source is so strong that it’s impossible to screw it up completely – but if anything I wish this was the part of the story they were taking their time with, because this arc and the next few upcoming were the high point of the whole manga IMO.

    Weekly Yotsuba: https://i.redd.it/mt4iv6epfmv21.png

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nino staring down the track captain would have been something… Next to Itsuki, she has the strongest personality. I kinda felt they blew that whole thing off.

      I think if they back off the gas pedal a bit, everything will be fine. (Guessing and crossing fingers.) Maybe they’re rushing a bit to fit those strong arcs in?

      I appreciate the Weekly Yotsuba! :)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. @UraSekai Picnic: Yeah, it feels a little stuck in a rut. There is development, but I get not wanting to catch up in a season that busy, especially if you feel the mains are “featureless blobs” (I don’t, I get quite a good feel for both of them). Personally, while the show’s lagging a bit behind my expectations, I still think its one of the better shows to air this season.

    @Horimiya: I find it interesting that Hori is prone to hitting guys if he opens up to them. I hope this doesn’t get out of hand.

    @Quintuplets: I’m not sure what to say here. I had no conscious issue with the pacing, but now that you mention it, I do feel like my involvement wasn’t as deep as usal, so there’s that. They did put the scene Wing’s talking about into episode 5, though (I’m late this time around).

    @Promised Neverland: I’m a little confused, actually. I had the impression that the demons chasing them in episode 1 were from the farm, but now we get Grandma’s goons? They looked human, to me, but you couldn’t really tell. So are they raising shocktroops, too? Why? How is this a good idea? It’s obvious there’s something the show hasn’t revealed, but at the same time Neverland isn’t a show whose writing I instinctively trust.

    @Spider: I didn’t much mind the last-minute level up. Happens to me all the time in RPGs. But now that you mention it, it would have been easy to turn this into strategy. She caught on earlier that leveling up gives her a full heal, so all they’d really have to do is switch camera from hp-bar to exp-bar and set up suspense that way. Maybe make her a little more reckless to get a quick kill?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Quintuplets: Yeah, I have a lot to say about ep 5… Next week. :) tl;dr… A marked improvement.

      @Neverland: I meant to mention that but missed it. Armed human troops don’t strike me as a terribly good idea on a variety of levels… But the bunker is scaled to humans, not demons (who are physically larger), which limits their options.

      @Spider: It’s not that haven’t seen or experienced it… It’s that it felt like a deus ex machina. Almost certainly if they’d used it in one of the ways you suggest, that would have dulled that knife.

      Like

      1. ******@Neverland: I meant to mention that but missed it. Armed human troops don’t strike me as a terribly good idea on a variety of levels… But the bunker is scaled to humans, not demons (who are physically larger), which limits their options.*********

        I didn’t consider the bunker, but then they could have used them like we use, say, ferrets or dachshounds in hunting. If you send them alone, shouldn’t you prepare them a little better for the local wildlife? I mean considering how quickly they went down, it’s a miracle they arrived at all. And then there’s the political aspect…

        I still want to know how they connect to the chasers in episode 1.

        Liked by 1 person

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