Mid season gut check! -Winter 2021 – Week 6

I forgot to make notes this week – so it’s all a wing and a prayer from memory. Which is probably a good thing given that it’s mid-season gut check week… When I take a good close look to make sure I want to keep spending time with a given series.

So, let’s hit the jump and take a look!

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.

Mid-season gut check… a term that’s pretty much unique to me. That’s when I double check that I’m enjoying a given show and that I’m getting good returns for my investment of time. I have to do this because I have a very bad habit of sticking with shows I’m not actually enjoying all that much.

Attack on Titan: The Final Season Episode 10
Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season

I admit to being a little frustrated after this episode.  Part of it is the back-and-forthing with the flashback timelines is a bit confusing.  (Even without the whiff of “everything you knew was wrong”.)  And in some ways, this episode seemed to go back over the same ground as episode 9…  And we’re still missing how Zeke came to some form of an accommodation with the Paradisians, so there’s more flashback coming.

Nor did I care for the whole Hidden Heir bit around Mikasa.  We already got that with Historia, and a second one feels a bit like an ass-pull.  (As does Historia’s pregnancy.)  Political plotlines have never been Titan‘s strong point, so the plot is visibly straining under the load as the strands get more complicated.

Attack on Titan - Final Season - No prison for ErenMy favorite part was Eren’s outburst.  Hange is trying to talk him back down from the precipice (too late I warrant), and he reminds her in no uncertain terms that he’s restraining himself.  He’s explicitly placing himself beyond their constraints.  But still he waits…  for what?

Mid-season status:  Keeper, patiently waiting.  Though it’s gone further off the reservation than ever before – Titan has never truly disappointed me yet.

Cells at Work!! Episode 6
Hataraku Saibou!!

Honestly, I don’t remember a whole lot about this episode other than the “theme/edutainment park” for the platelets.

Mid-season status:  Entertaining, so, mild keeper.

Dr. Stone: Stone Wars Episode 5

Dr Stone - Stone Wars - Episode 5 - Great Detective SuikaThis could be called, at best, a set-up episode.   Despite that, the Great Detective Suika segment was pure gold…  Nice to see her get the spotlight again.

But it looks like it’s about to shift gears because Chrome has finally grown some self-awareness.   On the other hand, Tsukasa’s sudden “wisdom” was pure undiluted ass pulling.

Mid-season status:  I called this ep set-up, but really it’s just part of the larger set-up arc of the season so far.  But that’s par for the course for Dr Stone – can they make it pay off like they did in the first season?  Crossing my fingers and marking it a keeper.

Horimiya Episode 6
Hori-san to Miyamura-kun

Not much comment this week.  Sawada was an unwelcome addition, even if she did lead Miyamura and Hori to be a bit more open and firm about their relationship.  But then, the cat was already out of that particular bag when Miyamura was spotted coming out of Hori’s house one morning…

Horimiya - a welcoming homeHori’s mother certainly seems to accept the situation, as does Hori herself.  Still not sure about her dad though, mostly because it’s still not clear where he stands in relation to the family overall.

Still pondering about him cutting his hair…  He’s slowly paddling out into the stream, going out into the world beyond the few he’s accepted as friends.

Mid-season status:  If there’s a series that’s an AOTS contender (that’s not Laid Back Camp or Non Non Byori) then Horimya would be it.  (Sorry Titan and Dr. Stone, you’re both good but…)  Like any series it’s run a bit hot and cold, but it’s been the most consistently good.  That it’s not playing any of the normal anime romance trope cards is also a strong point in it’s favor.

Idoly Pride Episodes 5-6

Not too much in specific to talk about…  I don’t like it’s large cast, which it’s just barely managing to handle.  (The large cast is a symptom of the mobage I suspect – lots of potential waifus.)  But other than that, it’s mostly putting in the work to establish itself as a passable idol show.  Most multi-media franchises (read: advertisements for a mobage) don’t take the anime seriously, but Idoly Pride is at least trying.  It doesn’t hurt that they’ve soft pedaled the ghost angle.  If the show has a weakness, it’s that it doesn’t stop referring to Mana (who died in the premiere).  But then she’s there a ghost after all…

Mid-season status:  Despite my earlier fears, Idoly Pride has steadily grown on me.  It’s not just that it’s been too long since I’ve seen a decent idol show, it’s actually trying.  Mild keeper.

Laid-Back Camp 2nd Season Episode 6
Yuru Camp 2nd Season

I’m having a problem commenting on this episode.  On one hand, it was interesting to see Rin thinking enough about the other girls to be aware of the weather at their campsite.  And it was well done that their teacher took enough interest to go out and see to their well being.  (Unlike many anime, the girls actually do have parents…  They just don’t play a big role.  And it’s entirely reasonable that Rin didn’t know how to contact them.)

But having the teacher irresponsibly get so drunk that she couldn’t take the girls to safety is in character, but isn’t very funny. And that leave me conflicted.

Mid-season status: The bobble in this episode aside, a no question keeper.  The second season is within a hair of being as good as the first.

Non Non Biyori Nonstop Episode 6

Non Non Byori - HomeworkClassic!  Though I’d have like the camping segment to fill the entire episode. 

But then we wouldn’t have had the homework hijinks…

Mid-season status:  Nyanpasu!  One of the few series about which there is absolutely no question.

So I’m a Spider, So What? Episode 6
Kumo desu ga, Nanika?

I.. almost want to classify this as a “no comment” week, because it’s basically the same comment I’ve made for a couple of weeks now…  The plot of the individual episodes has varied very little.  But, it manages to bring me back each week because it’s kinda fun to see Kumoko quip and *ss-pull her way through this week’s perils.

As a one-trick pony, it’s more like a short…  But it’s actually working at full episode length.  Unusual, but not uncommon.

Mid-season status:  Keeper.

(*) The Promised Neverland 2nd Season
Yakusoku no Neverland 2nd Season

Recap episode this week.  And I haven’t heard anything about any new footage either…  Mid-season recaps without at least a little new footage are rarely a good sign.

Mid-season status:  Honestly, on the edge of the drop zone.  I’m conflicted as to how worth it the show is.  I suspect my wife and I will have a long conversation on that topic once we learn a little bit more on what’s going on with Norman.  That’s the make or break point.

The Quintessential Quintuplets ∬ Episode 6
Go-Toubun no Hanayome ∬ (Second season)

The Quintessential Quintuplets ∬ (Second Season) - Yotsuba perserveresIt was mostly a good episode. And not just because Best Girl Yotsuba got a long overdue defining moment…  It moved along  right smartly and covered a lot of ground.  It was a bad episode because it felt uncomfortably like a clip show.  Almost as if they were trying to hit just the highlights.  In particular, that resulted in the ending feeling a bit unearned.

Wing, how many chapters did they cover in this episode?  However many, it was too many.

I’d like to take a moment and give a shoutout to Ichika…  On top of working herself into a stupor for her sisters, she has to be the best wingwoman ever.  She’s very knowingly taking herself out of the running to push Miku forward.

Mid-season status:  Not nearly as good as the first season, mostly because they’re in such a rush.  Still, a keeper because they’re managing to (mostly) keep me invested in the characters.

(*) Uma Musume: Pretty Derby Season 2 

Not watched this week

Mid-season status:  It’s just barely good enough to make the cut.  Keeper.

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

Though I’m not commenting on every episode, as it’s really too basic for that…  I do want to say it’s cute and funny and very much well worth watching if you’re into pet/human relations.  It’s a [very] short, so it’s not like it’s  a huge time commitment.

Mid-season status:  Firm keeper.

=========

Though Uma Musume and Promised Neverland are riding so very close to the line… I’m middling surprised there are no mid-season drops this season. I suspect that’s because I was so brutal with the first and third episodes.

Anything that you’re considering dropping? What are your candidates for AOTS here at mid-season?

Drop a comment and let’s chat!

7 thoughts on “Mid season gut check! -Winter 2021 – Week 6”

  1. QQ hit chapters 55-58, and the start of 59, so about 4.25? This arc in the manga was structured so that each girl got a focus chapter with her exam score revealed at the end. Ch 55 covered Miku’s chocolate making and her plan to confess to Futaro after she got the highest exam score, 56 was the park visit starring Yotsuba (that part of the episode was everything I hoped for), 57 dove into Itsuki’s mommy issues, and 58 showed Ichika’s struggles with her feelings, with the surprise reveal at the end that she beat Miku’s score (that part definitely had more impact in the manga since we got Miku’s score at the end of 55 and had three chapters of buildup to her potential confession before Ichika accidentally(?) cockblocks her at the last minute, versus the anime showing their scores like ten seconds apart at the end of the episode). 59 is Nino’s chapter and we’ll get the rest of that this week.

    Now I always figured the anime would just make everything from those chapters chronological to keep it simple, and they did. It covered every plot point with no major cuts, but it probably felt rushed because there was no down time. Quints is often at its best in those little in-between moments with small character interactions, and everything they did cut from these chapters to fit in all the plot was those smaller moments where the story gets to breathe a little bit. That said, I still enjoyed this episode myself. I always knew this part would be awkward to adapt – it was really a question of whether they’d cover it one or two episodes, and when last week stopped at the end of 54, I figured they were going to do it all in one. Now there was one decision they made that surprised me a lot, but we’ll talk about that next week.

    Weekly Yotsuba (the last panel of ch 56, such a beautiful moment): https://i.redd.it/yifrqcveqmz21.jpg

    This episode of Laid Back Camp definitely caught me by surprise. The show’s normally so lighthearted and chill about everything that the girls actually getting stuck in a potentially dangerous situation never occurred to me. Definitely gave it plenty of impact for being so unexpected. I agree with you on the teacher up to a point, although it didn’t bother me as much just because I’ve seen so many drunk anime teachers and many of them much worse (the one from Bakuon immediately comes to mind). But yeah, definitely not the show’s finest moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It covered every plot point with no major cuts, but it probably felt rushed because there was no down time. Quints is often at its best in those little in-between moments with small character interactions, and everything they did cut from these chapters to fit in all the plot was those smaller moments where the story gets to breathe a little bit.

      That could practically be a mid-season review of the series… But yeah, I can see how this episode would have been better split in two.

      And that is a beautiful moment for Best Girl!

      And yeah, we’ve seen plenty of drunk &/or irresponsible anime teachers… It just seemed so out of character here, more driven by having them see the dawn than anything else. That might have been a more powerful moment if it wasn’t a card they’d played before.

      Like

  2. Typing as fast as I can since I don’t know when we’ll lose power/internet again…
    @Shingeki no Kyojin:

    I admit to being a little frustrated after this episode. Part of it is the back-and-forthing with the flashback timelines is a bit confusing.

    Yep. Was afraid this episode would have that issue. MAPPA is clearly trying to flatten the narrative here but these chapters were a challenge. If it’s any consolation, the manga chapters had a three-deep flashback that got flattened to two in the anime… the flashback to Zeke meeting the Azumabitos (which in turn was a flashback from the Azumabitos meeting the Paradisians) originally had yet another flashback to Zeke betraying his parents!

    And we’re still missing how Zeke came to some form of an accommodation with the Paradisians, so there’s more flashback coming.

    I really hope they circle back to the flashback they cut, since it does give a lot of insight into Zeke’s motives, or at least what he told the Azumabitos his motives were.

    Nor did I care for the whole Hidden Heir bit around Mikasa. We already got that with Historia, and a second one feels a bit like an ass-pull. (As does Historia’s pregnancy.)

    It did feel a little less like an ass-pull in the manga, since some set-up scenes were cut in the anime, e.g. in the anime there was very little screen-time between Eren’s rejection of Zeke’s plan to maintain the threat of the Rumbling by having Historia bear as many children as possible, and the reveal of Historia’s actual pregnancy (for very different reasons). Just like in the previous episode there was too little screen-time between the introduction of the Volunteers (in flashback) and Pyxis’ detention of the Volunteers (“present-day”).

    My favorite part was Eren’s outburst. Hange is trying to talk him back down from the precipice (too late I warrant), and he reminds her in no uncertain terms that he’s restraining himself.

    Hange is a bit awkward at small talk, isn’t she? Mocking Eren for talking to himself, then pivoting to how much she likes his new hairstyle…? She’s trying to get Eren to reveal his motives and only succeeds in pissing him off. That was one of the scenes I was most looking forward to, and both Eren’s and Hange’s VAs nailed it. My other favorite scene was the railroad scene with the 104th veterans arguing over who would inherit Eren’s titan powers, with Sasha (RIP) and Connie arguing over who’s the bigger idiot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So you’ve been HAL this whole time? I had to admit I’d kinda wondered since ‘you’ commented on my FB and not here… (For other readers, Jorge and I have known each other online since the mid-90’s.)

      I really hope they circle back to the flashback they cut, since it does give a lot of insight into Zeke’s motives, or at least what he told the Azumabitos his motives were.

      Yeah, so do I know that I know about it. Next to Eren’s motivations, Zeke’s are a mystery and both are huge plot drivers – no? The whole narrative structure is increasingly fragile because all we’re getting are bits-and-pieces. Not that that’s all bad mind you… I mean, they can’t let us know everything up front!

      That was one of the scenes I was most looking forward to, and both Eren’s and Hange’s VAs nailed it. My other favorite scene was the railroad scene with the 104th veterans arguing over who would inherit Eren’s titan powers, with Sasha (RIP) and Connie arguing over who’s the bigger idiot.

      Both good scenes… and dammit, enough with Sasha already! I mean that in the best way, that’s a raw wound… But it’s also a reminder.

      Typing as fast as I can since I don’t know when we’ll lose power/internet again…

      Yeah, I’ve been watching the affair because I have family down there too, frightening. You stay safe and warm!

      Like

      1. So you’ve been HAL this whole time? I had to admit I’d kinda wondered since ‘you’ commented on my FB and not here…

        Yeah, Chrome autofill puts my name in there when I enter my email address, then I have to remember to change it to my nom de plume. Forgot this time, so that cat’s out of the bag now. Might as well stick with it.

        The whole narrative structure is increasingly fragile because all we’re getting are bits-and-pieces. Not that that’s all bad mind you… I mean, they can’t let us know everything up front!

        Absolutely. And Isayama’s always had a bit of nonlinearity in the narrative, but with the first few chapters of this arc there’s no question he overdid it a bit. The titles of the upcoming episodes do indicate that MAPPA is continuing to try to untangle things a bit.

        Yeah, I’ve been watching the affair because I have family down there too, frightening. You stay safe and warm!

        One more night of subfreezing temps before things warm up. They say the rotating blackouts are over, but they say a lot of things. We did learn our house is at least decently insulated… temps in the master bedroom got no lower than 55 deg F, and with a sleeping bag on top of the bed it was no worse than an early spring/late fall camping trip. Would sure love to have full water pressure back, though.

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  3. @Horimiya: If I’m not mistaken, that’s the first time we saw Miyamura’s mum. I’ve been waiting to see signs of his family other than the cakes from the cakeshop. I’d wager he takes after his mum, though we haven’t seen his dad yet.

    Don’t have much to say this week. Not sure why Neverland had a summary episode, but I notice World Trigger also didn’t have an episode this week. Maybe something’s up? A rare disease that only infects shounen?

    And Gekidol has settled into being interesting and eye-roll-inducing at the same. Too much melodrama to be my thing, but also not that easy to see through. Definitely its own thing, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Horimiya: If I’m not mistaken, that’s the first time we saw Miyamura’s mum.

      I’m going to have to go back and look, I don’t remember seeing that…

      Not sure why Neverland had a summary episode, but I notice World Trigger also didn’t have an episode this week. Maybe something’s up? A rare disease that only infects shounen?

      Unheralded clip shows have become increasingly common of late… a product of how overloaded the studios are with the amount of anime being produced each season.

      Like

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