Winter 2015, Week 4: Highlights of the Week

Cuts are finally complete at 11 shows for the season. With the end of the week bearing the bulk of the season’s weight, this is a manageable schedule for me with everything that’s going in real life and with all the project I’m hoping to do in the coming months with the blog.

It’s been a tough week-ish for the blog in terms of page views as it looks like my SEO ranking were pretty much reset with the new domain fully taking over. That’s…kind of a disappointment after it took literal months to build up my rankings to what they were before the crash, but I’m trying to look at this as a new challenge for me as I continue to hone my content creation and digital marketing skills. I’ve got a plan to work my way back up the list and a big part of it is continuing to create new, interesting content! Hope you guys enjoy!

Absolute Duo

Your Lie in April, Episode 15: As always, a mixed bag with KimiUso this week, but I’m still coming back for more!

Akatsuki no Yona, Episode 17: I think this is the week Akatsuki no Yona will return to my APR ballot, because this was one fantastic episode.

Shirobako, Episode 16: And, so, everything turns out a-ok minus one month of production time. Small victories, guys…It’s pretty cool how invested I am in the entire studio’s success with their new show—seemingly all the forces in the business world are arrayed against them to prevent them from actually completing Third Aerial Girls successfully. As with most episodes of Shirobako (excepting the last), there were a ton of great small moments like Ema’s rooftop calisthenics (a clip I watch ~10 times before continuing the epiosde) and Iguchi’s relieved smile at the end. Shirobako seems pretty entrenched in the “creative stoppage is liberated by doing something else” mentality, but I can’t help feel that we’ll eventually run into a situation where just hearing someone else’s story or going outside won’t help. But until that days comes, it’s good to just be happy with what we have.

Shirobako

Death Parade, Episode 4: So, we’re already to the point where we’re allowed to question the very validity of the games as a judgement mechanism. The fact is that both Misaki and Yousuke lived hard lives (perhaps somewhat self-inflicted, but still) and neither of them deserved to die when they did. And neither of them was really totally evil or totally good; instead, they were human—a little bit of both. Sometimes given to acts of kindness and sometimes able to act in really awful ways. Is it fair to judge someone on the darkest parts of their soul when those parts may be but a fraction of their entire person? The games are specifically designed to pull out that fraction, leaving the rest of them, their better parts, unevaluated. In that sense, it’s an entirely unjust system. Anyone judged on their sins alone will be condemned, as no person is purely good. It seems Death Parade and Kurokami are aware of this, so it will be interesting to see how the increasing humanity of the participants and Decim begin to intersect with the question of the judgment’s validity.

Death Parade

Durarara!! x2, Episode 4: Just some more of Durarara!! doing what Durarara!! does best—bringing weird assortments of people together to have fun together. Whether they’re eating hot pot, fighting off mobs of motorcyclists in the streets, or otherwise being themselves together, this is a pretty magnificent cast to watch bounce around the streets of Ikebukuro. But it’s not all fanservice (like the hot pot scene was); there are other things afoot in this town. Ruri and Yuhei are caught up in their own doings (even if Yuhei doesn’t want to hear about Ruri’s past, I do), Aoba wants to go toe-to-toe with Izaya, and Izaya himself is just biding his time to start stirring up things again. It was quite satisfying to see him bitter about the hot pot party. I hope Anri and Mikado were taking notes from Celty and Shinra on how to be a couple. Kida and Saki back when???

Durarara!! x2

Rolling☆Girls, Episode 4: The show continues to grow on me. The wider plot and the thematic implications of Chiaya’s relationship with mother are quite fascinating to me (especially when contrasting her parental problems with Nozomi’s solid parent situation), but on its own the episode was quite enjoyable to watch. The first half, until the Always Comima Leader showed up at the house, dragged a bit for me and the reveal of the “Dynamite Bombers” was retroactively lame, but the climactic battle (yay for sakuga!) was really well edited and effective. As suspected, the Love Stones do indeed grant people the powers of the Best, so it’s quite interesting to hear that they’re being offered as rewards for problem solving. Fighting Nozomi when???

Rolling☆Girls

Absolute Duo, Episode 5: After a hilarious and very entertaining episode 4, Absolute Duo was a little less exciting this week, but made up for it with Tor and Julie’s conversation after he returns from his “date” with Lillith. It’s not rare to see anime characters apologizing to each other, but Tor comes clean about where he was and about the circumstances of his absence not because Julie is throwing a tantrum (she clearly trusts him enough to not pry), but because of the trust their relationship as a Duo is necessarily based on. This may not be a romance, but we’re seeing some actually valid, healthy relationship dynamics between these two characters—all stacked on top of a protagonist who actually takes initiative beyond a plot event level. Cheers to this show. Also, the new ED is growing on me.

Absolute Duo

In a Sentence:

  • Assassination Classroom, Episode 3: Aired this week after being delayed last week.
  • Garo, Episode 16: German x Ximenia are really cute together, but can they keep up with the moetrain of Lara x Leon coming next week?
  • Log Horizon 2, Episode 17: Well, the girls teasing each other about their respective romantic interests in the bath was pretty cute/funny, but where’s the real guy talk?
  • Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!, Episode 5: Starting to wear out its welcome, but I’ll stick with it for another week to see if they end up changing the formula next episode.

16 thoughts on “Winter 2015, Week 4: Highlights of the Week

  1. Death Parade is still as intriguing as always.

    I’m still on the fence about Absolute Duo, but it still keeps me watching so that’s a good thing.

    I feel sad for Hak… Dense Hime is dense!

    Still have not pick up Garo. I need a push to start the series.

    Otsukaresama deshita. I believe your SEO ranking will get back to where it was and continue to improve. I’m looking forward to your new contents!

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    • For me, Absolute Duo is just so far away from sucking like I thought it would that I can’t help but stick with it!

      Yeah, Yona was supppppeerr dense this week—Hak basically hearing everything he didn’t want to hear from her.

      If you have the time/interest in the style of show, I’d definitely recommend Garo! It’s had like…two down episodes, a bunch of solid ones, and a handful of really, really amazing ones.

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  2. I’m beginning to wonder if Death Parade is an indictment of the very idea of judgement. At least the binary fate kind.

    And as incongruous as it is, Death Parade has my favorite OP of the season, followed by The Rolling Girls 🙂

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    • Could be—they definitely have a lot of room to explore, although it seems that maybe it’s not quite as “one goes up, one goes down” as it appears on the surface?

      Eagerly awaiting the DP OP. Already have The Rolling Girls OP and love it, but between Yona’s new OP and DP’s OP, I’m ready for some dance music!

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  3. Interesting synchronicity on the “liberated by doing something else”… I’m participating in National Haiku Writing Month, and just before reading your entry I posted this to my Facebook page;

    Feb 3rd prompt – Nervously
    Feb 4th prompt – Nakedly
    Yesterday, for “Nervously”, I kept coming up with images of fearfully waiting… though in the margins I kept doodling on the notion of engagement rings. (It may or may not be strictly coincidence that about this time of year 25 years ago I proposed to my lovely bride. Makers and Creators all know the mind works in the strangest ways.) Getting up this morning, I couldn’t get those images out of my head… maybe it was today’s prompt that broke the logjam. Maybe I just needed to sleep on it.

    golden ring
    heart bared – hoping
    young lovers

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  4. Garo IS really good…i’m surprised it’s not a lot more popular…
    It’s like…a really darn good medieval fantasy. I think it’s better than Shingeki no Bahamut in terms of storytelling, but SnB had really fantastic art + animation.

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    • I like Garo pretty much better than Bahamut on all fronts. In its best moments, Garo easily equaled Bahamut’s best in terms of animation and both have very cool art styles (and it’s not like Bahamut’s production quality stayed consistent the whole season…)

      The kicker for me is that I got bored after Bahamut’s 10th episode and didn’t even finish the series, which is…rare.

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  5. Now that today’s watching is done… my weekly summary;

    Absolute Duo; Just not doing it for me. But, it’s my only Monday show and it airs just when I’m ready to take a break and sit down with a cup of coffee and it’s enjoyable enough. Lilith I’m ready to strangle though.

    Aldnoah Zero: Continues to be something of a trainwreck that I can’t take my eyes off of. There was one nice bit however, Count Troyard-Saazbaum realized that inheriting the title and privileges wouldn’t silence the mutterers or establish respect and sets off to earn his bones. (Somewhat realistic politics, one of the show’s few strengths.) OTOH, if he could wipe out the Terran base so easily all by his lonesome – how in the heck did it survive last week? (Oh, yeah, Inaho The Magnificent was present last week.)

    Koufuku Graffiti: A very cute episode this week, some nice backstory on Ryo, quiet and different from the earlier ones… Bless, if you’re not watching this because of a crowded schedule (IIRC) watch this space. I’m starting to think that you might think about adding it to your “marathon at end of season” list. It’s rough in spots, but it just keeps getting better.

    Kan Colle: Another plot zig, this time as much funny as serious… the writers really do seem to be making it up as they go along. But Fubuki-chan is so very cute and so earnest! I’ve decided not to get annoyed and file this one under “pure mind candy”.

    Saekano: Slowly getting better and better and Megumi is such a gem. A bit of a personality shift this week, I don’t know if it will explained or if we’re just supposed to accept it and move on. I’m fine either way. If it’s permanent, things could interesting.

    Shirobako: I was a bit annoyed the meme repetition, but loved learning more about Goth Loli sama. The scene where she gave the production staff what for was priceless. We’re learning more about the Director too… he’s a very interesting fellow, and easily the most fleshed out character after Aoi. An odd choice, but let’s see where they go with it.

    The IDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls: Still enjoying it, even if they did zig back into submerging the main girls into the ensemble mess. I probably would have enjoyed the ep more if the plot device employed hadn’t been (much better) done in the original series. Like Kan Colle, they don’t seem to know what direction they want to go in.

    The Rolling Girls: Still not feeling it here either, though it shows promise and is slowly growing on me. I’m giving it a chance, but if this was spring or summer when we’re busier on the weekends I’d probably have heaved it overboard after this week without a second glance.

    The Testament of Sister New Devil: Oh boy, did they make up for last weeks lack of fanservice – and then some. But really, that’s about all this show has going for it. This week was all butts, boobs, and boring conversations/infodumps. Maybe .27 seconds of action and 2.04 seconds actually advancing the plot.

    My lady and I finished Golden Time, with plenty of onion ninjas running around during the last ep. Haven’t started anything new because a friend clued me in that a whole bunch of Heinlein was now available for the Kindle, so I’ve spent a good chunk of the evenings (and money) catching up with some very old friends. It’s been thirty five or forty years since I read some of these and it’s an enjoyable trip down memory lane. Will have to look at our backlog and get rolling though, the second series of Broadchurch starts in Mar (which will take a chunk of time each week) and winter isn’t that far from being over… Once April hits, we start getting busy on the weekends.

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    • Lillith being voiced by the same VA as Inou Battle’s Tomoyo is helping a bit for me.

      I heard Kofuku Graffiti was really nice this week. I kind of want to watch the episode. It was a schedule casualty more than me not liking it, so I might put it on the list. Plus, I do like good ole SHAFT, so there’s that too. Thursday’s just such a tough day.

      The Rolling Girls, I admit, is definitely still not quite as good as I’d like it to be, but for me right now it’s good enough—and Chiaya is a gem.


      So she liked Golden Time, I assume! I’m glad—I had a lot of mixed feelings about it when I finished, but overall I like it.

      I’d be curious to hear what else is on your shared backlog. ^_^

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      • Yes, she loved it!

        Our current shared backlog is Nagi no Asukara (we’ve been working our way through PA Works since watching Hanasaku Iroha last fall and that’s next up) and Shin Sekai Yori (my lady found this while scrolling through Crunchy). I’ve got another 8-9 shows I need to watch the first few eps of to see if we want to watch them as well. Generally, we pick our own shows, but I do the vetting before suggesting shared shows. It’s odd, but it works for us.

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        • Ah NagiAsu seems like another great pick for the two of you (especially considering the kind of stuff it seems to me you guys like).

          I haven’t actually got to SSY myself, but I know its well-regarded in the critical communities I frequent.

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  6. Brief thoughts on the latest episodes I’ve seen. I’ve also arranged them in order of favorites so far (for the season, not just the week):

    Rolling Girls – No need to say anything since episode 3 came out almost two weeks ago now, just looking forward to seeing episode 4 tomorrow (I’m a week behind because no Funi subscription and I’m not big on fansubs when I have other options).
    Saekano #4 – The race for best girl of the season isn’t a race, it’s a steamroller job with Kato at the controls. That said, not only was this the funniest episode of the series yet, it also started to humanize Utaha, who I’d been utterly indifferent to until this week. Now if they’d just start to work on humanizing Aki, who even got on my nerves a bit this time, then this show will really be in business.
    KimiUso #16 – Comment posted on your episode review
    Assassination Classroom #3 (also no Funi subscription): Ups the stakes a bit by introducing a student who actually seems competent enough to kill Koro-sensei eventually, unlike the rest of them. This is still primarily a comedy (and a good one!), but the new wrinkle makes it more interesting, for sure. Also, Kana Ueda’s character got some dialogue this episode. That makes me even happier.
    KanColle #5: Follows up the dramatic emotional scene between Fubuki and Mutsuki last week by…separating them, and putting Fubuki in a new fleet with a totally different group of girls (who – surprise, surprise – are nearly all among the most popular ships in the game). I’ve basically given up on the writing for this series: the same pacing issues and jarring tonal shifts that have plagued most episodes were here in force again. But I do like most of the characters, and as a piece of turn-off-your-brain fluff, it still succeeds in entertaining me every week. Sometimes that’s good enough.
    Koufuku Graffiti #4 – An interesting shakeup in the structure of this week’s episode. Could have been a big backfire, but it actually really worked, and helped us learn a lot more about Ryou. Still my least-favorite of the six shows I’m following weekly, but this episode succeeded in giving it some substance and pulled it further away from the Drop Zone, to which it had been edging dangerously close.

    Back Catalog: This week I’ve watched Trigun and Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts. I last watched Trigun about ten years ago, and happily it’s still just as good as I remembered – I’ve been looking forward to watching more episodes every night. Baka & Test is one of those shows that’s obviously well-made, but just isn’t doing anything for me. It’s really for people who enjoy slapstick comedy, especially of the Love Hina -esque “idiots getting punished for saying/doing stupid things” variety. If you like that stuff, then you should enjoy Baka & Test. I don’t, so I’ll probably end up dropping it.

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    • In my estimation, episode 4 was better than episode 3, so I hope you enjoy it!

      I might be more inclined to agree with you on Kato as the season’s Best Girl is Shirobako’s Aoi Miyamori wasn’t already long gone with that prize.

      Seiji Kishi’s comedy, from what I understand, is much more well-regarded than his drama—I think we’re seeing that a bit in Assassination Classroom. I usually get a few good laughs out of it each week.

      Still hoping to get back to Koufuku Graffiti, if only to see episode 4, which I’ve generally heard was good.

      Glad to hear Trigun is holding up! I seem to remember hearing some people say that it hasn’t aged well, but for the sake of me eventually seeing it I’m glad to hear the opposite from other people. Baka & Test sounds like Kill Me Baby, perhaps? In which case I would probably like it.

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      • You may be right. It looks like we’ve both watched four Kishi efforts, three of them the same (Angel Beats, Yuki Yuna, and now AnsaKyo). Jury’s still out on AnsaKyo, but with both Angel Beats and Yuki Yuna I felt like one of the strongest elements of both series were the main cast and the chemistry between them, and the comedy scenes were a big part of forging that camaraderie. He also directed Arpeggio of Blue Steel (which I haven’t seen), and the first Persona 3 movie, which was definitely not a comedy and I was honestly not that impressed with – P3 is one of my favorite games but I thought the movie was too faithful to the game, to the detriment of the story.

        The only thing about Trigun that hasn’t aged well is the animation, which wasn’t exactly top-shelf even in 1998. But the characters, themes, and story are timeless, the soundtrack is a classic, and it’s still as entertaining as ever.

        From the shows on your list, I’d describe Baka & Test as sort of like Assassination Classroom (main characters are all kids the school dumped in the rejects class and would rather forget about), crossed with Wixoss (they can fight the other classes in the school’s equivalent of card battles), crossed with Nisekoi (very slapsticky romantic comedy triangle between some of the main characters in the class), all thrown into a blender along with lots of 4koma-ish gag humor a-la Azumanga Daioh or Hidamari Sketch. The director, Oonuma, used to work at Shaft as a Shinbo apprentice, and that really informs his style – he’s also directed Watamote and Kokoro Connect, though I haven’t seen those either.

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        • Yup, camaraderie through comedy is a great way to phrasing it. I actually feel that’s very much lacking in AC right now, as the focus hasn’t really been on the students much at all thus far. That’s actually my biggest problem with the show, but with 22 episodes I’m hoping they can working it out.

          I have seen Arpeggio of Blue Steel and I actually think quite highly of it. I remember being a bit down on it in the first couple episodes, but found it very, very engaging and likable in the later. It’s cool source material, but the anime diverges from the manga and (I think) did an excellent job doing so.

          I know Baka & Test is pretty well liked, so I’d like to at least give it a shot eventually.

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