Summer 2021 week 3(ish)

Didn’t mean for my little vacation to stretch on so long… But I’m baaaack! It’s week 3, and y’all know what that means! What shows are keepers, and which got the gong? Hit the jump and let’s find out!

Love Live! Superstar!!

Love Live! Superstar!! Season 1 Episode 2I’m enjoying LL-Superstar.  It’s got some great OG energy and it’s gone two episodes without referring to μ’s or Aquors even once.

Downside of the OG energy – it’s borrowing a lot of “time honored” plot beats, including the obstructive student body president (who we already know will be joining the group).  One the other hand, the genki characteristics that defined Honoka and Chika have been transferred to Keke.  She’s annoying, but much less so because she’s not the true focus character.

The true focus, the center, would be Kanon.  And she’s easily made the transition from doubter (in herself and school idols) to fireball – the emotional center of the show.  There’s three more girls coming to the group, but so far she’s the only candidate for Best Girl.  (Though I admit to being intrigued by what little we’ve seen to date of Sumire.)

2nd ep status: Solid keeper, so far.  After the last two outings, I’m suspicious.

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid S
Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon S

Maid Dragon - Double Maids - Tohru and KobayashiThe central duo is still fun to watch – when we get to watch them.  Maid Dragon‘s cast continues to expand, and thus we’re spending more time on “side quests”. 

I have mixed feelings about that.  “Side quests” can, and do, shine a light back on the central plot.  They can also end up pulling attention and screen time so far away from the show’s central cast that it’s no longer really about them.  Ensemble shows can work, but it takes effort to keep everything moving along and properly connected.

Other than that, the series is perfectly fine.  KyoAni’s first full outing since the disastrous fire is (mostly) as good as anything they’ve ever done.  And the (mostly) is, I suspect, mostly down to the source material.  An anime’s staff can only work with what they’re given…  And the fans of a franchise such as Maid Dragon aren’t going to sit still for anything that monkeys too much with the source.

3rd episode status: Solid keeper.  As much as I complain about the weaknesses of the 2nd season, I’m solidly enjoying it.

My Hero Academia 5
Boku no Hero Academia 5

We’ve got three plots going on, so a quick look at reach.

First up, there’s the Meta Liberation Front – the latest incarnation of the League Of Villains.  Only, without Shiguraki (so far).  We don’t know much about what’s going on, so I can’t say much.

Deku, Bakugo, and Todoroki’s apprenticeship.  This has been kind of interesting, despite being a Grade A asswipe – Endeavor does know his stuff.  He’s not the new Number One for nothing.  (Though why is Hawks number two?  Is it all a popularity poll?)  A lot of what he’s saying resonates from my Navy days – keep doing stuff until it’s instinct.  That’s how we did things too.

Lastly, there’s Endeavor’s family issues…  He’s a changed man (notice he’s not always on fire now?), but he’s not getting off lightly.  The series isn’t making the mistake of wiping out years of abuse with a simple apology.  He’s not going to get off that easily.  He’s not letting himself off that easy.

My Hero Academia - EndeavorAnd it’s haunting him…  And the teaser at the end, wow.  I don’t think what he did to his wife and Todoroki are his greatest sins.  And he knows it.

3rd episode status: Keeper.

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X
Otome Game no Hametsu Flag Shika Nai Akuyaku Reijou ni Tensei Shiteshimatta… X

Slooow burn start.  And at least so far, I’m uncertain where it’s heading.  Political gamesmanship?  I dunno…

But Bakarina remains ever Bakarina, and isn’t that why we’re all adoring members of her ever growing harem what we watch the show for?

3rd episode status: Keeper.  Though of all the shows this season, it’s maybe the weakest.

The Aquatope on White Sand
Shiroi Suna no Aquatope

The aquatope on white sandAfter three episodes, the first question that comes to my keyboard is what exactly is this show about anyhow?

Elsewhere on the ‘net, I saw someone trying to fit it in with P.A. Works’ previous “girls at work” shows – Hanasaku Iroha, Shirobako, and Sakura Quest.  I can see why that’s tempting…  But it doesn’t work for me.  All of those have a sense of “running towards”, while Aquatope seems to me to more “running away”.  Fuuka is running from her past.  Kukuru is simply running from desperation and loneliness.  She’s a directionless ball of energy, lashing out because she simply doesn’t know what else to do.  (Her grandfather seems to be opposite – resigned and maybe a little tired of life.) 

Now that I’ve written that out, it doesn’t make nearly as much sense as it did in my head.  But I’m going to let it stand…  It’s kind of symbolic of my confusion over the show…

There’s also the magical/mystical/dream state that seems to keep recurring.  And the little sprite who keeps popping up in the background.  That’s too is nothing like previous outings in the genre.  Aoi’s puppets aren’t even close.

Don’t me wrong, I am enjoying the series.  Just trying to express the many questions it raises. 

3rd episode status:  It keeps me coming back, so I guess that means keeper?  Even if I don’t know exactly what I’m keeping.

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I only watched one other series so far, Girlfriend, Girlfriend (Kanojo mo Kanojo).  And it was so awfully done I noped out of there at the end of the first episode.

The only remaining premiere of interest is The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! (Jahy-sama wa Kujikenai!).  Maybe a low-rent The Devil Is a Part-Timer!, but with cute girls?

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A couple folks left their comments/thoughts on the early weeks of the season in the comment section of my preview post.  Scroll down to the bottom to see them.

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Honest, I only meant to take a couple of weeks between seasons as a break…  But it kind of got to be a habit.  Anyhow, should be back in the saddle and back to normal now.  Look forwards to next week’s post!

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Anyhow, what the season like for you so far?  Any greats?  Any stinkers?  Drop a comment and let’s chat!

8 thoughts on “Summer 2021 week 3(ish)”

  1. Neither watching Love Live nor BHA, but that shouldn’t be a surprise at that point.

    I’m enjoying both Bakarina and Kobayashi, and both less than season 1, but enough.

    I’d agree with you that Aquatope doesn’t really feel like Hanasaku Iroha et al. It’s more Iroduku/Glass Lip; porblems + magic realism. It’s non-the-less pretty much a typical PA Works show, for me. And I’m enjoying it so far. Good mid-tier, when it comes to PA Works, I’d say.

    I’m still watching Kanojo X Kanojo, but it feels too rote, and the voice acting tilts into annoying far too often (it might start out there for others).

    I don’t much care for the Dead Detective show, sadly. It feels like In;Spectre, but without the charm and quirkyness that made that show work for me. I’m still not sure what I’m even supposed to get out of this show.

    I’m finding a few shows fun enough to watch, say Peachboy Riverside, Tsukimichi: Moonlit Fantasy, Bokutachi no Remake, Kageki Shoujo, and Re:Main are quite fun, but nothing special really. If you need something to watch out of those I’d probably give Bokutachi no Remake the best chance (questionable, still).

    And then there’s the one new show I adore: Vanitas no Carte. A magnificent bastard main character (Vanitas) and a huge dork point-of-view character make for a fun dynamic. The plots servicable, but the visuals are great.

    And Shinigami Bocchan to Kuro Maid is growing on me, once they’re tuning down the Maid’s teasing a little (the main problem is that it’s repetitive). The character dynamic is great, though. And I like the visuals, despite the CGI. The preview was no lie: minimalist character designs make them easy to animate; they move like algorhythm dolls, but the colours and scene composition more than makes up for this. It’s likely one of the show’s I’ll remember fondly once the season’s done. Oh, the title character is fond of playing the piano, and we sometimes get spontaneous musical interludes. Yeah, I think I’ll like this.

    After 2 episodes, I’m still not sure what to think of Sonny Boy. It’s fine, I guess? I’m neither particularly into it, nor particularly curious, but there’s some potential. I’ll see.

    Then there are shows that are decent enough: Scarlet Nexus, Seirei Gensoku…

    Slime has spent the last couple of episodes with political talks around a table. That’s about two to three episodes too many.

    Realist Hero feels like unintentional comedy: “Let’s look at the finances, before we make a decision.” – “The finances? You’re a genius. Please be King.” The show’s so incredibly silly and plays it so straight. If you’re good at multiple choice tests and read Macchiavelli, I suppose you’re fit to run a country?

    As expected, Fumetsu no Anata e is easily the best show this season. No contest at all.

    All in all, I’d say the season is a little better than it looked on paper, but it’s misfortune is that it comes on the heel of the more then awesome spring season, and thus feels worse than it otherwise would. What I’m missing is a good slice-of-life show to relax to. There’s really only the Apothecary show, and it’s… better than nothing?

    In any case, this season’s fine in terms of shows, but it hasn’t got much that stands out, and there are a few days I have nothing to watch in the mornings. (Not that big a deal, since my work rhythm is unpredictable anyway during the pandemic.) Could be better, but could definitely be worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m enjoying both Bakarina and Kobayashi, and both less than season 1, but enough.

      Agreed… at least that’s what I was hoping to convey.

      I’d agree with you that Aquatope doesn’t really feel like Hanasaku Iroha et al. It’s more Iroduku/Glass Lip; porblems + magic realism.

      I didn’t mention it in my write-up, but aquatope shares major creative staff with Irodoku. But otherwise, that’s a good way to look at it. But it’s cause for concern too… Both of those shows have one thing in common – they blew their endings. Which was really bad for Irodoku, which at least had a path to a clear ending.

      I’m still watching Kanojo X Kanojo, but it feels too rote, and the voice acting tilts into annoying far too often (it might start out there for others).

      Yeah. The show was already tipping over the edge for me (heavy tropes, bad writing, quationable storyboarding), but voice acting was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It was just so awful. I’ve been one bad role here and there, but this was both the actors (awful acting) and the directors (awful pacing). I’ve never seen that combo before that I can recall.

      What I’m missing is a good slice-of-life show to relax to.

      Maid Dragon veers closest, but not very. So, yeah, not any “just chill” shows is a major weakness of the season.

      I don’t think I’m going to pick up any more shows after Jahy (if it survives). I’m hoping to spend Aug/Sept working on some feature content. It’s been way too long since I’ve really put any out. It’s two years this week since my mother’s funeral, and I realized that I’ve never really recovered from that. (Of course, 2020 and the pandemic didn’t help very much.)

      Just realized I don’t even know what you do beyond occasionally having weird hours… (I apologize if that’s prying and of course you don’t have to answer, your business is your business.)

      Like

      1. I attended a Commercial College and went on to study sociology at university, but lacked any sort of ambition, so after a couple of odd jobs, I ended up a night porter at a hotel, where I’ve been working since 2008. I tend not to talk about my private life much in public, so it’s no surprise you didn’t know.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay, you’re back posting again! Missed you!

    I will definitely be watching LLSS and Maid Dragon, but I haven’t started anything this season yet. Karandi’s posts about sports anime a week or two back inspired me to finally get back to watching Chihayafuru again (after I started it a few years ago and then got away from it for no good reason that I can remember). I started over from episode one and I’ve already sped well past where I inexcusably stopped the first time. I’m actually little less than halfway through season 2 at this point (after Arata got caught playing ringer for another school), and I want to get at least to the end of S2 before I start watching anything else. At the pace I’ve been going, that won’t take very long. :D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! As the resident expert on the franchise, I’ve been looking forwards to your thoughts on LLSS.

      Ah! Chihiyafuru! Such a good series… Well worth finally catching up on. When you get to season 3 (and you shouldn’t sleep on it, that’s all I’m going to say) you can check my weekly coverage. Interested to hear your thoughts.

      Like

      1. Oh no worries, I’ll definitely be all over S3, I just don’t want to put off starting the new shows for too long, especially as much as I’ve been looking forward to those two shows anyway. And it won’t be long, because I only have four episodes left to go in S2. And I’ll look forward to those S3 reviews. I’ve been reading Nick Creamer’s episode writeups for S1 and S2 as I go, but I always like having more perspectives.

        My top 4 favorite characters so far, BTW: Kana #1, then Shinobu, Taichi, and Chihaya. Lots of good characters of course, but those four are well ahead of everyone else for me right now.

        Like

        1. Kana is certainly Best Girl (sorry Chihaya)… Shinobou and Harada-sensei are both very interesting too. (Some of that due to S3. It’s not spoilerish to mention important characters get more development? Right?) My fourth, you won’t meet until S3.

          But overall, aren’t we really choosing “First among Equals”? There’s no awful characters (in the sense of being badly done) in the series. Doesn’t mean there’s not a couple who aren’t the nicest in the world or who aren’t shining examples of humanity…

          Like

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