After last week’s crazy schedule, back in the blogging saddle again. And bonus, that means you get to read about two weeks at once! Two for the price of one!
Anyhow, 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 italics,
strikethrough marks dropped shows and (*) marks shows that are watched but not regularly reviewed.
The Devil is a Part-Timer!! (The Devil is a Part-Timer! 2)
Hataraku Maou-sama!! (Hataraku Maou-sama! 2)
Episode 1 is largely a recap/reintroduction episode. It’s been nine years since the OG, so that’s to be expected. Until the bombshell in the final moments, it was largely predictable and kinda blah. Still chuckled in spots, so that’s a good sign.
First Episode Status: Keeper.
With the reintroductions over, this episode deals with fallout from the bombshell – the sudden appearance of the toddler who claims that Maou and Emi are it’s parent’s. They spend a great deal of energy re-arranging their lives around her (?) and almost none questioning the situation.
And is she connected to the mysterious woman that entered Maou’s (former) castle back in the first episode?
Love Live! Superstar!! 2nd Season – Eps 1-2
And Love Live! bounces back onto our screen with it’s trademark energy and boundless optimism.
And both of these are problem for Our Heroines. They’re now second years, and they’re having a hard time recruiting because the first years see them as intimidating. And the one raw recruit they do manage to snag sees herself (not entirely without reason) as an anchor on their dreams as she’s not at their level.
So far, so good. Especially in the 2nd episode this was handled fairly well and reasonably realistically.
Then… they blew it in the last minute or so by just going back to the “ganbatte and you will succeed” and “be true to yourself” bromides that permeate the series.
First Episode Status: Keeper.
Also: Dear Crunchyroll – in what universe are these the top searches for Love Live?
Luminous Witches – Eps 2-4
It looks like Luminous Witches is taking its plot beats straight from the Generic Idol Series checklist. There’s just enough window dressing to remind you that it takes place in the Strike Witches universe, but window dressing is all it is.
And taken as an idol show, so far it’s unobjectionable at best. No characters really stand out, and there’s nothing to really dislike about it.
Third episode status: Eh, basically mind candy. Might as well keep it, though I may or may not have much to say about it.
Lycoris Recoil – Eps 3-4
These two episode can best be characterized as… I dunno? They’re not quite CGDCT, more like “buddy bonding”. Though it’s Takina that undergoing the changes, Chisato remains a constant.
But especially with the terrorist attack in the latter part of episode 4, I’m seeing a tonal shift coming and coming hard. And speaking of Chisato as a constant, in the same episode they kept pointing out the radio tower… Which, by implication, played a huge role in Chisato becoming the person she is today.
And the “what she is today” is something to keep an eye on. Yeah, she does her own thing. Yeah, she’s casually insubordinate. Yeah, she seems to be a bit of an airhead. But the first episode also made clear she’s DA’s answer to the question – “Who ya gonna call?” That and allowing her to maintain her status as a Lycoris is clearly not an accident.
And I haven’t gotten to the many hints dropped about the larger plot… The importance of hackers and possibility that DA’s communications have been compromised. Shinji’s role in, well, a lot things. He’s tangled up on both sides of the plot and he and Chisato have… some kind of connection.
Third episode status: AOTS that isn’t Abyss.
MADE IN ABYSS: The Golden City of the Scorching Sun – Eps 3-4
MADE IN ABYSS: Retsujitsu no Ougonkyo
And once again, I’ve put this show off until I’m running low on time and energy. Doesn’t help that it airs the day before my post, so I have no time to digest or look around and see what others are thinking to spur my thoughts.
So… by the bullet points:
– Not surprised that we’re meeting someone who knew Reg “before”. It was bound to happen sooner or later. The surprise is that Faputa bears an eerie resemblance to the native islander back in the first episode.
– And two of the Three Sages bear the names of a member of the Ganja expedition.
– Given that Vuelo appears to have survived, it’s not impossible that Wazukyan and Belaf also survived and are two of the Sages. Is Vuelo also one of the Sages? I suspect she stands ‘outside’ of them and the villagers are unaware of her existence or the she’s the one behind the Balance.
– Speaking of Reg, it hit me in mid-episode that Majikaja is (at least partially) a synthetic organism as well. And so is Faputa’s unnamed companion. And also possibly the snake-thing (Belaf?) there at the end. Is there a connection?
– Mitty? Mitty?!?
The Maid I Hired Recently Is Mysterious – Ep 1
Saikin Yatotta Maid ga Ayashii
*sigh* Another one-trick-pony, a show with just one gag. Which it plays on repeat. This does not bode well.
The only interest in this show (other than Lilith’s cleavage) is the hint of a past relationship between the two leads.
First episode status: Reluctant keeper, I suspect my wife will drop it before I do.
My Stepmom’s Daughter Is My Ex – Eps 3-4
Mamahaha no Tsurego ga Motokano datta
I don’t think I have much to say about this show other than I’m enjoying it and that characters are fun to watch. But let’s take a moment and look at where the characters currently stand.
Mizuto – I don’t get him. Other than a trace of arrogance, I’m having a hard time getting a read on what’s going through his head. He seems to be mostly done with the relationship, though he’s not in a hurry to move on.
Yume – Hoo, Boy. She’s not done with the relationship and she’s not ready to admit that to herself. Her attempts to one-up Mizotu seem more directed at herself than him. She really doesn’t care much for her past self, and Mizuto serves mostly as an unwanted reminder.
Kawanami & Minami – we’re not done with either I think. And… I don’t get Kawanami’s deal. There’s no evidence so far that he either want to peel Minami off for himself, or to get Mizuto out from between him and Yume. A quandary.
Third Episode Status: Keeper. I really am curious as to what is going through the character’s heads. Especially Mizuto’s. The explanations given so far seems superficial.
And isn’t it curious that in two anime this week, our protagonists visited an aquarium. And these sea eels showed up in both. In Lycoris Recoil, they were a way for Chisato to show her spontaneity. Here in Stepmom’s Daughter, they’re both stuck in place – and their poses mirror the main characters bickering during this scene.
Prima Doll – Eps 3-4
So, the basic plot is pretty clear – each of the Dolls has a problem, and Haizakura is serving as the key to solving them. Problem is, they’re running out of Dolls. I guess at that point the meta plot about the war and some kind of terrorist organization will take over, but that’s gonna be a hell of a tone shift from what’s currently basically a CGDCT series.
And I’m calling it now – Haizakura (who you’ll recall is a new build, unlike the others) is some kind of Chosen One. The
prophesied Doll who will bring balance to the Force save everyone and bring Humanity and Dolls together.
Third episode status: Keeper, mainly out of curiosity.
Rent-a-Girlfriend Season 2 – Ep 4
Kanojo, Okarishimasu 2nd Season
It’s interesting to Kazuya flip-flop. Talking with Mami, he’s just as much a dirtbag as always. But with Ruka he’s actually trying to be… noble? But on the other hand, it’s still all about him (and Chizuru) because he’s still not actually honest with Ruka.
Speaking of Ruka, I think she’s the only character in the show who is completely open with her feelings and intent…
Third episode status: Keeper, I’m not certain why other than it’s only show on Friday.
Shine Post – Eps 2-3
My enthusiasm for Shine Post is tempered by the plot twist that hasn’t happened yet, but which is clearly incoming according to the OP.
But overall, I’m enjoying it. The girls are a bit tropish, but that’s more because this feels more like the managers story. They’ve used his “superpower” sparingly, and mostly painted him as very competent if a bit unorthodox.
They haven’t really made clear where his competency comes from though. By inference, he’s been around the biz a while but that’s about it. We do know (from the first episode) that he feels guilty about his superpower and his competency and what it costs him personally.
Either way, I’m enjoying it. I’m especially liking the performance sequences because they’re traditionally animated rather than the awful CG that’s now common in idol/music anime. I mean, even Love Live with it’s budget looks like complete shit. Lesser shows (such as Luminous Witches) look even worse.
Third episode status: Keeper.
Tokyo Mew Mew New~♡ – Eps 2-4
TOKYO MEW MEW NEW
We’re still in the “putting the band together” phase of the series. Nothing particularly wrong with that… Except if this is, as rumor suggests, only going to a 12 episode series they need to get a move on. If they’re banking on a second season, well, Mew Mew New is no Fruits Basket. I don’t think it comes with near the level of adoring fandom, which means this is a risky bet.
That being said, I am enjoying it even if it is a little paint-by-numbers. Nothing wrong with mindless fun.
Third Episode Status: Keeper, no significant reservations.
Uncle from Another World – Ep 1
That was… Tedious to watch as the formula was “introduce gag, run gag into ground, lather, rinse, repeat”. I didn’t help that only had one or two arrows in it’s quiver and kept reusing them.
Which is a shame because the basic concept has a lot of promise.
The Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting – Ep 3
Kumichou Musume to Sewagakari
I can see what they’re trying to do here… But the basic problem is the emotional beats rely on groundwork they didn’t do. So, there’s no reason to care about the characters or feel sympathetic for their circumstances. The second and third episodes felt more like they should have been mid-season and finale episodes respectively.
Third episode status: Dropped.
Bunch of real life crazy, stuff due and meetings several nights in a row, meant I didn’t get this done last week.
Sadly, not the last schedule jam-up coming down the pike. At the end of August we have the Geocaching Birthday Bash. Two weeks later, I have the An Tir Crown Tourney. Two weeks after that, I’ll be out of town for two weeks and will miss the season finales entirely. Well, I’ll miss writing about them – if we have an evening free and the hotel TV allows for streaming, we’ll try and watch them if we have the energy.
Man, this week the weather is stupid hot. High 80’s-low 90’s isn’t unseasonable, but potentially five days in a row will be a record. Lots of salads and sandwiches for dinner this week to prevent overwhelming the already insufficient air conditioner in the apartment.
How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?
Spotted on Twitter this week, and I found it amusing:
And I think that’s it for me this week. It’s getting too hot in here to think straight. (No wise ass comments from the peanut gallery, thank you very much!)
Over to you, drop a comment and let’s chat about this week’s anime or whatever else tickles your fancy!
5 thoughts on “Summer 2022 – Week 3/4 – a week of some mini-reviews and some drops.”
Whether it’s Tokyo Mew Mew or Hataraku Maou sama, a reboot and a sequel, the shows just don’t measure up. Hataraku Maou sama relies too much on reaction faces and lingers a tad too long; the story’s, as far as I can tell, not dropped down, but that was never really the main draw. I’m starting to tolerate the character designs. As for Tokyo Mew Mew, nothing particularly wrong with it; I’ve only ever seen episode one of the first series, but I can’t shake the feeling that I should be watching that instead of this. Why, then, am I still on board: weekly schedule habit. If both were airing right now, I know which I’d be keeping up with.
I’m not that into Lycoris Recoil, to be honest. It’s good, no doubt, but I’m watching a mostly decent show with spots of brilliance. The writing’s convinced me that they know what they’re doing; it’s just I’m not all that in interested. Good while it lasts, but I pretty much forget the show the moment I close the tab. (The aquarium parallel is intersting; there sometimes are those clusters that come out of nowhere. I sometimes wonder if that’s all coincidence or if people just talk, or if there’s a hidden something in the short-term zeitgeist?)
And, oh dear, Made in Abyss. I’d forgotten just how good it really is, and unlike many other sequels, there’s no drop in quality at all. I can’t predict Made in Abyss, but of all the things that I didn’t see coming, Mitty has to take the cake. I’m pretty sure they daid in the second episode, that Majikaja is just wearing a body that suits him. We’re in a place where it seems (to me) that body’s are more like clothes than anything we’d recognise as bodies. And Bondrewed’s experiments seem to have to do with that, which is why Mitty’s appearance makes sense (even without clear explanation) – I’m currently wondering if Bondrewed even still has a body. As for Reg, it’s clear that part of his body has been replaced; but it’s a tad confusing that Faputa knew Reg as Reg; one has to wonder how linear time is in this space, and what that golden glow is all about. Quantum foam? Meanwhile Riko’s white whistle is getting more valuable and harder to get back, unless the whistle still counts as Prushka, in which case the whistle might be subject to balancing itself, and that might make Riko have value in turn (I’m thinking in terms of the white whistle simply being a shape that suits Prushka, as in Riko’s words she didn’t mind the treatment). This is so weird, that you can take nothing for granted. What’s a person? When do things happen/is this a weird space-time bubble? That’s amazingly addictive world building. The abyss is quite the place; It’s incomprehensible to me, but still feels coherent somehow. And the direction is perfectly bringing this across, through characters who could often stand to be more cautious. Show of the season by a huge margin.
The Maid-show. Yeah, well. I’m okay with it… if it’s got cards to play in its hand. If that’s all there is, this is going to not last me all that long. Biggest problem is that I’m constantly reminded of Shinigami Bocchan, a much better show (presumably). What this actually reminds me of more is the annoying-maid show, with the ex-army maid and (half?-)Russian girl. What it doesn’t do, though, is make a case itself as a show of its own. Pity.
Mamahaha: I do get Mizuto, but intuitively, so I can’t explain. For example, when he said at the end of last episode that what hurt the most was coming to hate the stuff he used to love, I nodded my head. I couldn’t have predicted the line, but it’s as if the show expressed my intuition. That sort of feeling. What I’m still trying to figure out is the timeline between her changing and him not; before/after/during/near-the-end/always? Because there’s this narrative that would fit with the line about love-to-hate: the things you lack encountered in someone else can be admirable and inspiring at first, but will soon become exhausting if you can’t keep up. I’m in two minds of the show; I like the main pair’s relationship, but the other characters and the rom-com-plot conspire to make it annoying somehow. It’s not that I dislike the side characters themselves; Minami feels like a straightforward force of nature, while the guy feels like a manipulator (probably well-meaning to some degree). It’s their place in the plot. It’s like with careful writing this could be a subtle show about why people break up, but it covers all that up in a layer of embarrassment-is-funny (and while that can sometimes work for me, it doesn’t here). It’s still probably second-favourite show among those you’re watching, but it’s on a downwards trend, whereas Lycoris recoil is fairly stable, with occasional upwards strikes (that never last). So who knows.
Prima Doll: I dropped it at episode 2, and I had to read this post to remember. It’s just not very interesting. For some reason I’m still watching the Arsnotoria show, which is equally dull. I sometimes don’t know why I stick with one show and drop another. Huh.
Isekai Ojisan: Yeah, I wasn’t talking about it, as you haven’t seen it yet, but it’s just dull. None of the metajokes land, but some of the more slice-of-lifey stuff works for me. Also, I was a sega kid, too, so I get many references. I’m still watching it, but I can easyily tell you it hasn’t gotten any better. You’re not missing anything.
I’m also still watching the Yakuza’s Guide to Babysitting, and I’m actually usually having fun with it… the last episode I’ve seen, though, was a drag from start to finish, and in the end it was all a dream? Sigh Wasted episode on any level. I’m not sure the show knows what it’s doing.
Also, it’s a little frustrating to watch Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer. I can see how the content would be great and engaging… in a better show. I mean, this season has Made in Abyss, which is an elite show. And Buscithammer could easily be a great show. But it isn’t. It’s merely good. And the better the story, the more you see what’s missing in the show. I don’t think it’s quite as bad as fans of the manga keep saying, but really, I feel for them: waiting for years and years, and then you get… this? Guardian Enzo from Lost in Anime says this should have been Rie Matsumoto show. Oh dear, how would have loved to have seen that show. I can only imagine how threatening the biscuit hammer would look with her sense of scale (as demonstrated in Blood Blocade Battlefront). And after I’ve said all this, it’s still probably near the top of the season for me. (I could see the show give the manga a boost; the show’s just good enough to let you see the potential of the story, but not quite good enough to bring it out.)
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Just for fun, I’ll try to make a seaonal ranking, with tier breaks:
Made in Abyss 2
Shadows House 2
Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer
Utawarerumone – The Mask of Truth
Aoashi (surprisingly, I’m still watching it, and it doesn’t look like I’ll drop it any time soon)
Jasshin-chan Dropkick X (Diminishing returns after 2 seasons; still fun)
Hataraku Maou-sama 2
Mamahaha no Tsurego ga Motokano Datta
Kami Kuzu Idol
Soredomo Ayuma wa Yosetekuru
Kumichou Musume to Sewagakari
Classroom of the Elite 2
Tokyou Mew Mew New
Tensai Kenja no Isekai Life
Yurei Deko (artsy has a generic mode now)
Decent airing-spot filler****
Kinsou no Vermeil
Saikin Yattota Maid ga Ayashii
Warai Arsnotoria Sun
Kuro no Shukanshi
Isekai Meikyuu de Harem wo
When I said this season had no great anime I forgot about Shadows House. Shadows House is great. (You can’t start with season 2; season 2 relies heavily on season 1.) Also, the apothecary show is the best Isekai. I’m surprised at how high up both Ao Ashi and Summertime Render ended up being. They weren’t anywhere near that high last season, and they didn’t become better.
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Sorry for the extraordinarily late reply… lost track of time amidst the stupid heat we’d been having.
I’ve only seen the original Mew, so I don’t know, but I can’t say I disagree with Maou Sama. The new season just isn’t measuring up. (This is after seeing the next episode after the one covered in this post.)
That seems to be a general feeling… Those familiar with the source seem really disappointed.
Absolute dead truth. And the last couple of lines hint at something coming WRT Balance. I’m almost dreading the next couple of episodes, but that seems to be the normal mode for watching Abyss.
Re: Your tier list, I should try that sometime… When I have time, which I never seem to do.
This is a good season for idol shows I think. I just spent a pleasant evening last night watching only seasonal idol shows. I started with a catch up on a couple of episodes of Extreme Hearts. Extreme Hearts mates Sci-Fi Sports and idols into an extreme sports national idol competition (because reasons). If you can accept the basic premise, Extreme Hearts is pretty good. It is helped by Seven Arc’s animation in both the sports and idol scenes, both of which work well. The show’s sci-fi world is also interesting but not overbearing.
Next up was (for the sake of brevity) Luminous Witches. I will declare now I am a hard core Strike Witches fan, and I m very happy with this latest iteration of the alternate 1940’s magical witch franchise. By episode 5, the characters are set and character development and their mission has begun. I dont think this is really an idol anime, it’s an anime about witches working as entertainers, undertaking a morale boosting musical tour. Character building has started and has gone in an unexpected but rewarding direction so far. The songs are nice, Shaft’s version of 3D choreography is okay but not maybe top class for 2022, however the rest of the animation has that lush colorful Shaft design style that I really like.
Next up last night was Love Live Superstar!! Of all the Love Live series, Superstar!! is my favorite. Its animation is far better than any other Love Live version I have watched so far. After the excesses of “Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club”, Superstar features a much more stripped back animation style and the 3D is much better without much of the flatness and simplified movement of earlier versions. The songs so far are much better too. I think also Superstar!! story, while its as contrived and tropey as previous versions, feels more authentic and human than the earlier shows. Im finding it enjoyable and so will keep watching. Its also introduced successfully new characters this season, which refreshes the character dynamics from last season too.
Last up was “Shine Post”. I didn’t like Shine Post’s first episode and thought it an unfortunate mess of idol series tropes. however its really grown on me. The story is developed in a more human direction than many idol shows, and its centering in the professional world of idols is also interesting. The dance animation is as good as any, All in all, it’s an enjoyable show so far.
I’m watching some other shows too but I thought I would give these shows some highlights as they get little coverage and are all pretty decent shows. This has tired me out so I will stop now as I’m getting over a nasty little non-covid virus at the moment.
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re: Strike Witches
No, it’s not an idol show per se. But it is taking a lot of it’s plot beats from the Generic Idol Show checklist. They’ve filed off the serial numbers and given it a fresh coat of military issue paint to cover it up, but it’s there.
I used to love Strike Witches, but once you take away the fan service, there’s not much left… So, for me, now it’s more serious like that love.
I mostly love how they’re shaking up the formula a bit… (And not repeating Sunshine’s crippling flaws.) It’s legit good, but it’s going to be hard to replace the OG in my heart.
Re: Shine Post
I like it – but I’m withholding final judgement until I see how the twist the OP has spoiled works out. I have this feeling it’ll make or break the series. I agree, it’s paint-by-numbers in some spots, but there’s enough originality to make it work. I especially like that the dance/music scenes are conventionally animated rather then CGI garbage.