Midseason! Winter 2022 – Week 6

My Dress Up Darling - Marin falls for Gojou

Midseason – when I traditionally give a mini-review of what I’m watching, and sometimes drop shows that aren’t really making the grade.  <drumroll>  What shows survive the cut?  Hit the jump and find out!

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.

Akebi’s Sailor Uniform Episode 6
Akebi-chan no Sailor-fuku

Episode 6 was…  Well, not very good.  It fit the show’s friend-of-the-week pattern, but the storyline wasn’t all that interesting and Erika was never really fleshed out as a character.

Midseason thoughts:  Despite the weakness of the last couple of episodes, Akebi is still decent.  It’s not without redeeming qualities even if the overall structure is weak.  The fanservice and voyueristic elements are really starting to grate…

Midseason status: Against my better judgement, I think I’m going to stick with it at least a couple more episodes.

Attack on Titan Final Season Part 2 Episode 6
Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season Part 2

I’m running out of synonyms for “gut punch” and I’ve giving up even trying, because this week Titan delivers yet another one.

Weirdly enough, it’s effective because hews to a very old Titan trope – the quality of an episode is inversely proportional to how much screen time and how many lines Eren gets.  He delivers his apocalyptic pronouncement, bows off, and the grim remainder of the episode are the dominoes he’s set in motion toppling.

Everyone is fighting for the lives…  Though some factionalists take the opportunity to advance their cause – almost everyone is simply fighting for their lives.

Poor Gabi though…  Her worldview takes another beating.  And this time, I think she’s finally cracked.  There’s a ton of death flags a’ flying because she’s the type to take this personally, to decide she must atone for her sins.

The big one is the cliffhanger though…  Another key turns, another basement door (metaphorically) opens.

Attack on Titan - Annie

Lupin III: Part 6

No Lupin this week due to the Winter Olympics.

Midseason thoughts:  Since Lupin is a two-cour series, it’s not really mid-season.  I’ve enjoyed the heck out of it, and will definitely miss it when it wraps up in a few weeks.

Midseason status: Strong keeper!

My Dress-Up Darling Episode 6
Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru

My Dress-Up Darling - Marin discovers her passion - Gouju kun

Marin is certainly a girl of passion, and she’s discovered that willing or no, Goujo is now her passion.  And she’s not at all certain what to think, what to do, how to feel.

Unfortunately, just about as soon as that’s established – the narrative train was entirely derailed by Inui’s appearance.  It’s going to be interesting to get another view of cosplay, but hopefully they won’t shove Marin x Gojou into the background.  And parenthetically speaking, I’ve never been fond of the “romantic distraction” trope – where one partner is distracted by a third party before realizing their One True Love.

Midseason thoughts:  Despite the plot upset this episode, Sono Bisque remains a very solid show.  Marin is just a delight, and Gojou is a very believable clueless blockhead.  (Not the least because I’ve been him at time or two.  I get him.)

Midseason Status:   Right now, the race for AOTS is essentially over.  Given the paucity of strong shows elsewhere in my line-up, Dress-up Darling would have to seriously stumble to lose the top spot.

But what about Titan you ask?  Titan is Titan -a unique category all of it’s own.

(*) Police in a Pod Episode 6
Hakozume: Koban Joshi no Gyakushuu (F)

I actually had to go quickly skim the episode on Funimation’s website to remember what had happened, which was nothing much of note.

Midseason thoughtsHakozume has settled into a groove of forgettable mediocrity without much in the way of character growth.

Midseason status: Keeper since there’s no competition on a Wednesday night.  Demoted to “watched but not regularly commented”.

Salaryman’s Club Episode 3
Ryman’s Club (C/V)

Settling in to be an unobjectionable sports drama…  The brainstorming (SWOT) scene was pretty well done, the guys do take their work seriously.  Not sure how much of Shiratori’s rant I bought though, the characters are mostly not that well established.  We’ve really only seen Shiratori and Miyazumi in action.

And now we know Shiratori’s drama…  And I think I agree with him that Miyazumi relies more on raw power than any well thought out style of playing.  He’s not actually a good partner.

Midseason / third episode thoughts: Mild keeper, but I hope there’s more than just tournament action coming though…  There’s not enough character establishment to carry that narrow a focus.

Midseason / Third episode status: Keeper 

Slow Loop Episode 6
(F AP)

I want to comment, but it’s kinda hard…  Because this was just another quietly well done episode well within it’s lane.  But I don’t want to demote it to “watched but not reviewed” either.

Midseason thoughts:  Loop has backed off on the found family elements, but the friendship and sibling plot threads have stepped up to more than fill the gap.  Koharu has gotten a lot more chill, and that’s also helped things a great deal.  About the only thing I could wish for is a lot less of Koi and her family getting in the way of things.

Midseason status:  Keeper.  And if you’re into quiet shows emphasising family and friends, you should be watching Slow Loop.

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Image courtesy of ANN.

A couple of weeks back, I entered the Attack on Titan X Secretlab Gaming Chair Giveaway.  And just now I found out that I won one of the two chairs!  Very, very cool.

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Screenshots…  This week Dress up Darling breaks Titan‘s streak of appearing as the featured image at the head of the post.  Partly because that was such a good scene, partly because there’s no ‘one’ screenie that really sums up Titan this week.  (The shot of Annie is more enigma than anything else.  So it didn’t work for me.)

That’s really why my posts this season has featured fewer screenshots than in times past.  I’ve been trying to use better ones rather than using whatever to fill out the post.  Probably need to find a happier medium as the more I look at them, the more my posts seem a little “bleh”.

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Anyhow, that’s all I have this week!  Drop a comment and let’s chat about this week’s anime, the weather, whatever crosses your mind or floats your boat!

8 thoughts on “Midseason! Winter 2022 – Week 6”

  1. So is it still true about AoT, that the show’s better off without Eren on Screen? I’ve recently watched a youtube video that claimed it’ll change how I see him. It was full of spoilers (ahead of the anime), so I now know the gist of everything. The gist of the character analysis was that ultimately Eren is a selfish brat, and… well, that’s how I saw him from episode 1 back in 2013 until just before they entered the basement (presumably) – when I dropped out. It was clear by the time I dropped out that the show knew he was a selfish brat, though I probably didn’t guess the extent. I am curious, but, well, the post Wit action scenes don’t sit well with my motion sickness and I just don’t care enough to suffer through that.

    I can’t say I’m particularly fond about the way Dress-up Darling introduced Juju. They didn’t have to go for the walk-in-on-her trope, complete with lingering too long. I did think the scene where Gojo inspected the dress with his grandfather was pretty cute. In fact, the entire scene from the moment Grandpa apologised to Marin to them inviting her for a balanced diet was probably my favourite part of the episode. I’m actually fine with Juju as a character. It makes sense to introduce an experienced cosplayer – that’s more the niche I’m seeing for her than romantic rival, to be honest. I must admit I was hoping for expanding the school characters next, but thematically this makes more sense actually. (What I expected was a social media link via the school, to be honest, but I’m fine with what we got.)

    I don’t even remember what happened last time in Slow Loop. Wait, was it the boat fishing trip? I do remember quite enjoying last episode though, no matter what it was. I quite like the show actually (with Koi being my easy favourite character), and I’d probably like it a tad more if I didn’t find it unpleasent to see people being happy at dragging a fish into a lethal environment via a hook in the mouth (personal hang up).

    Salaryman Club: I’m glad that the job features in the show, and it feels necessary, too. It’s also nice that the natto cola serial joke actually ties in, too. I still don’t care for the drama.

    I’m curious about my ranking this season, so I’ll take this post as an opportunity for a rough list. Those lists also help me put in perspective how much I’m watching:

    Ousama Ranking (A slight case of diminishing returns, and it’s still easily the show of the season.)
    Vanitas 2 (Every single episode is too short!)
    Dress-up Darling (favourite among the shows we’re both watching)
    Takagi-san 3 (It’s the same dynamics for three seasons straight, but it’s just so cute to watch)
    Sabikui Bisco (I like the way the show’s expanding its setting; it’s a well-written but fairly standard postapocalyptic action show – the weirdness turns out to be more of a flavour [as opposed to a show like Dorohedoro, which is weird to the core], but the flavour is quite refreshing; I mean it is fun to watch a guy shoot down a swarm of giant flying blowfish with bow and mushroom-sprouting arrows…)
    Tribe Nine (Extreme baseball; it’s the good kind of silly)
    Princess Connect 2 (if you’ve seen the first season, it’s exactly what you’d expect – good, solid fun)
    Sasaki to Miyano (extremely cute when it’s cute, and it’s cute often; ultimately a little too focused on romance – even the non-romance hook is BL. This isn’t Given or Bloom into You; it’s more Sakura Trick – but better)
    Akebi’s Sailor Uniform (I prefer ensemble shows to friend-of-the-week shows, and the character design has “squished faces” sometimes; the characters are servicable, but the mood is great and the backgrounds are gorgeous; overall still pretty good)
    Salaryman Club (sports anime)
    Roseking (severe diminishing returns; one of the shows that never quite bore me, but also never quite motivate me to watch; still, people in the market for melodrama should definitely check this out – the show knows what it’s doing)
    Slow Loop (pretty good slice-of-life, actually)
    Kuroitsu-san (occasionally actually funny; my favourite character is the gun-toting chicken… ah thunderbird)
    Shaman King (A competent adaption of a – presumably – competent source – its strength lies in its characters: Yoh is one of my favourite shounen protagonists – and the story shows hints of getting there every now and then, too, but not nearly often enough.)
    Leadale (I do sort of like the show. There’s way more plot than I expected, and that’s good because the mood can’t carry the show, but it’s also not quite as much of an advantage as might be if the plot was anything to write home about. I find it cute on occasion, but it can’t compete with Killing Slimes on that front, and Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear did a better job balancing slice-of-life with plot – it’s simply a competent entry in a currently underserved genre I like.)
    Koroshi Ai (It’s a weird mix of comedy, noir thriller, and mindgames show – it doesn’t do any of these particularly well, nor does it fail any of them, but it does sort of come together and give the show a unique identity.)
    Tensai Ouji (better at politics than Realist Hero, which is somehow a surprise, even though it’s not a hard feat to pull off. I actually find myself liking Nynim.)
    Gensou Sangokushi (that’s almost certainly either a Chinese show translated into Japanese; or one of those co-productions – anyway, it’s nice enough but nothing special)
    Orient (shounen fighter; there are aspects of the protagonist I hate, though it’s possible the show knows what it’s doing here – too early to tell. From the mangaka of Magi, I hear. But it’s not Magi, and Magi was hardly among my favourites to begin with.)
    Platinum End (Oh, look, it’s no longer at the bottom. The show’s actually gotten better in its second half. Sadly, this doesn’t amount to much. The angels are still the best thing about the show. And they still try to be emotionally profound about things like suicide or god, and they say things that make you hope it’s going to be interesting, only to smash that hope to pieces in the very same scene. I’d have more fun if I felt the show knows how silly it is. Alas…)
    Fantasy Bishoujo (not generally my humour; does work sometimes)
    World End Harem (There’s a thin line between hard ecchi and soft hentai, and that’s where the show sits. I actually liked the first few episodes, but the longer it goes on the more I feel a sort of…. misogynistic streak (?) coming through. It’s probably my own fault for expecting too much. If you do watch this show, don’t go for the censored version, even if you don’t care for the ecchi content – it’s so extensive, and they… just scribbled over the naughty bits with a felt pen? And that’s often most of the screen. I don’t normally go out of my way to seek out uncensored stuff, but with this show? The censored show is unwatchable.)
    Realist Hero 2 (I’m watching the second season, so I must be seeing something in this. The concept is just too silly, though: a multiple-choice trained student has read Macchiavelli, and that makes him a realist fit to run a kingdom)
    Strongest sage/Weakest Crest (baseline isekai)
    Kenja no Deshi (baseline isekai #2; hard to get them straight each week)
    Shenmue the Animation (a game adaption I didn’t expect of a game I knew about but never played. It’s on the verge of being dropped)

    So that’s 26 shows. As usualy I’ve dropped a few shows that are likely better than the bottom end of what I’m watching, and Shenmue at the very least isn’t likely to last the season. And World End Harem has the fastest downwards curve, so that might go soon, too. Not a bad season, all in all, but too reliant on carryovers and sequels for my taste.

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    1. Takagi-san 3 (It’s the same dynamics for three seasons straight, but it’s just so cute to watch)

      It’s progressed a bit… Takagi is gradually getting more blatant in her affection for Nishikata. He’s conditioned by her teasing to think of her as a rival by now but even so it’s starting to penetrate his thick skull that just maybe, this Takagi girl likes him.

      So that’s 26 shows.

      Holy cow, I thought I was bad…

      Like

    2. re: Titan

      It was clear by the time I dropped out that the show knew he was a selfish brat, though I probably didn’t guess the extent.

      Yeah, that’s been clear for a long time now. (Though I didn’t really grasp it until recently.)

      I can’t say I’m particularly fond about the way Dress-up Darling introduced Juju.

      I meant to mention that. The fanservice w/Marin makes a kind of in-world sense… But Juju was purely gratuitous and they rubbed our collective noses into it just in case we hadn’t got the point.

      Agreed, the whole scene with Marin/Gojou/Grandpa was very good indeed.

      I don’t even remember what happened last time in Slow Loop. Wait, was it the boat fishing trip? I do remember quite enjoying last episode though, no matter what it was.

      Second boat trip… And for me, not quite remembering/’ordinary’ episodes aren’t really a flaw here, that’s kinda the point of SOL isn’t it? And it’s not quite the same as Hakozume were nearly every damm episode has the same plot or at least plot points.

      Salaryman’s Club, it was no surprise that guy who liked natto cola suggested ginger-onion soda. One thing that just occurred to me, and the show missed… Ginger & onion are two thirds of the ginger-onion-garlic trilogy that underlies a ton of Southeast Asian cuisine. (Not Japanese, they tend to go very light on the garlic if they use it at all.)

      Akebi’s Sailor Uniform (I prefer ensemble shows to friend-of-the-week shows

      When the ensemble is well managed, absolutely agreed. (And of course, as you know ensemble management is a pet peeve of mine.) “______ of the weak” is, well, kinda lame. Akebi’s batting average so far is pretty good, but the trend isn’t reassuring.

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      1. @Jorge Frank: Yep, there’s progress (just, IMO, within the character dynamics set-up from the beginning). Also, it’s now 25, as I went to watch current anime right after typing this and couldn’t bring myself to watch World End Harem (airs on a busy day; might have stuck with it on a lazy day).

        @Derek: Forgot to comment on that chair: it looks pretty good. I hope the material holds up; it does look pretty comfortable.

        Like

      2. It was clear by the time I dropped out that the show knew he was a selfish brat, though I probably didn’t guess the extent.

        Yeah, that’s been clear for a long time now. (Though I didn’t really grasp it until recently.)

        I’ll half agree with you both. Brat? Sure. Annoying, rage-filled, stubborn, reckless, impulsive brat? Sure, I’ll agree with that, too.

        But selfish? Were we watching the same Eren the first three seasons?

        The Eren that leaped into a Titan’s mouth in S1E5 to save Armin from being eaten? That Eren?

        The Eren that, at age 9, took on a gang of human traffickers in S1E6 (flashback) to rescue Mikasa? That Eren?

        The Eren who offered himself up to be eaten by Historia in S3P1 (multiple times, in multiple episodes) when he was convinced that she could use the power of the Founding Titan to save their people from the Titans while he couldn’t? That Eren?

        Mind, I’m not arguing that Eren is level-headed or ethical. Given the trolley problem, he’d gladly sacrifice five strangers on the main track to save one loved one on the spur. So whether he’s selfless or selfish might be somewhat… situational. He can be recklessly selfless when it comes to his loved ones. He can be amorally (perhaps even genocidally) indifferent to anyone else. Giving further examples past the point where he kissed Historia’s hand at the end of S3 would risk spoilers, so I won’t.

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        1. [quote]The Eren that leaped into a Titan’s mouth in S1E5 to save Armin from being eaten? That Eren?

          The Eren that, at age 9, took on a gang of human traffickers in S1E6 (flashback) to rescue Mikasa? That Eren?[/quote]

          Selfish mightn’t have been the best word. Self-centred, perhaps? But, yes, that Eren.

          I’ve got a bit of a hang-up with people who a stubborn about their own values and world-view to the degree that they ignore other people, and Eren fit that mold from episode one. The flashback scene about rescuing Mikasa showed he was a psychopath back then in the way he overkilled the traffickers (comparable to, say, Kirito rescuing Asuna and taking his sweet time to fully punish the cartoon villain, instead of checking up on Asuna once the villain was no longer a threat).

          The scene of rescuing Armin (if I remember correctly; I might be conflating stuff – it’s around 9 years ago since I last saw this) follows on the heels of him just acting on his rage and getting team mates killed – despite their protests. It’s the latter part, here, that matters most (he might just have come across as a hot-head otherwise)

          I don’t remember Eren offering himself up to Historia; I might have dropped out by then? Unsure. In any case, it sounds awfully in line with his titans-must-die line of thought.

          I’d have applied that “selfish brat” line in a similar way to Deku from MHA, but here it’s tempered with genuine kindness (something I never felt from Eren). On the other hand, if AoT had catered to Eren the way MHA catered to Deku (before I dropped out), I wouldn’t have lasted through the first season.

          Self-sacrifice becomes self-serving in my estimation when it ticks a few boxes:

          Romanticising the conept (it’s cool, and if I do it, so am I) – appicable to Deku, I think, but not to Eren.
          Self-sacrifice accomplishes a goal that’s more valuable to me than what I sacrifice – that’s where I’d have put Eren.

          The latter is a little more complex, though, when what you value is your friends. Here the question is: do you think of what they want, or do you imagine a world without them in it. And then, there’s how you react to your friends’ reaction to the sacrifice. The most selfish people would expect gratitude, but that’s never been how I see Eren. With Eren… it’s difficult to say… I’ve always felt his inner drive is a force of nature and it doesn’t even occur to him that he could be trying to curb it, and as a result goes on as he has to, even when he fully expects that what he does for his friends isn’t what they want.

          In a nutshell, Eren’s never going to give anything up that’s important to him. Never. It’s just that his life’s not all that high on list of priorities. I’m not really sure about my Eren history anymore. I know I found hime immediately annoying, but that’s hardly a surprise. And I’m sure I full-on hated him by the end of season one. And I don’t remember any breakthrough moments, or a steep decline in respect, or a sharp rise in hatred. If there was a change it would most likely have been gradual.

          I’m not sure I explained myself well, but, yeah, none of these scenes change my mind.

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  2. @Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season Part 2:

    The big one is the cliffhanger though… Another key turns, another basement door (metaphorically) opens.

    I got some big season 1 nostalgia from this episode, and not just due to the return of you-know-who. We get to see the old 104th fighting pure titans again, complete with “Barricades” playing as the background music, training corps commandant Keith Shadis recovering from his injuries enough to act as a bad-ass and lead the Jaegarists against the titans, and the good old WIT-style animation of soldiers flying down the streets in their ODM gear. Unlike season 1, it’s tempered by the characters (and us) now knowing that the titans are former humans… and particularly that they were former comrades and officers who were transformed just minutes ago. RIP, Pixis and Nile.

    He delivers his apocalyptic pronouncement, bows off, and the grim remainder of the episode are the dominoes he’s set in motion toppling.

    The magnitude of it is sinking in with his friends, too. If he succeeds, his friends get to live… with the knowledge that he wiped out the entire outside world in order to do that.

    @Sono Bisque Doll wa Koi wo Suru:

    Unfortunately, just about as soon as that’s established – the narrative train was entirely derailed by Inui’s appearance. It’s going to be interesting to get another view of cosplay, but hopefully they won’t shove Marin x Gojou into the background. And parenthetically speaking, I’ve never been fond of the “romantic distraction” trope – where one partner is distracted by a third party before realizing their One True Love.

    Given the extent that Marin was fangirling over Inui, there’s almost as much odds of the romantic distraction being Marin x Inui rather than Gojou x Inui. Which would be an interesting twist on the trope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Re: Titan

      I got some big season 1 nostalgia from this episode, and not just due to the return of you-know-who. We get to see the old 104th fighting pure titans again, complete with “Barricades” playing as the background music

      Very true… It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the main cast in such brutal human x Titan action. And it’s no less chilling.

      The magnitude of it is sinking in with his friends, too. If he succeeds, his friends get to live… with the knowledge that he wiped out the entire outside world in order to do that.

      And just as Armin had convinced them that Eren couldn’t possibly actually mean to commit genocide. How has Armin managed to remain so innocent? Eren is a very, very angry young manchild – with all the lack of sense, self control, and balance that implies. AND he has ‘superpowers’. Not a good combination even if the literal fate of the world wasn’t in his hands.

      And as the flashback reminds us – Eren flat out told Armin & Co. the lengths he would go to in order to protect his own.

      re: Sono Bisque

      Given the extent that Marin was fangirling over Inui, there’s almost as much odds of the romantic distraction being Marin x Inui rather than Gojou x Inui. Which would be an interesting twist on the trope.

      I kinda doubt it’s going that far outside it’s lane… Unless maybe it’s a bromance type of setup. But Darling doesn’t strike me as the type of show to swerve like that.

      Like

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