Winter 2014, Week 5: Highlights of the Week

Well, that’s another week in the books! If I’m being honest, I sort of felt like this was a weaker week in general, although being as busy as I was makes it a bit harder to pin that on the episodes themselves—a lot of time my mental state when watching has a big effect on how I feel about stuff.

This is also just a note that I’ll be gone this upcoming weekend leading a retreat, so after the KimiUso post tomorrow (and maybe some pictures of some new stuff I got on Friday), I’ll be gone until next Tuesday. After that, I’m hoping my schedule will start to be less crazy so I can crank out some of the posts I’ve had on the backburner for a while. Until then, cheers~!

Rolling☆Girls

Your Lie in April, Episode 16: This whole “too many narrative threads” issue is still looming over this show, but KimiUso was at least more focused this week.

Akatsuki no Yona, Episode 18: Yona spent a fair amount of time this episode going over things we already know, but it was still pretty entertaining in the comedy moments.

Shirobako, Episode 17: Time for the inaugural Best Girl of the Season gallery, featuring Aoi Miyamori! I was sitting in my chair, watching this episode like normal, when I realized something.

Now, while this little outburst (there was more than just that one tweet) about “being in love” was somewhat tongue in cheek, it did get me thinking about some interesting tangents regarding waifus and best girls and stuff. But I want to spend this space talking about why Aoi is Best Girl of the Season and probably one of my all-time favorite characters. Aoi Miyamori, simply, is the type of person I would actually want to date in real life: responsible, thoughtful, hard-working, dedicated, and kind. And she’s an adult. This is no high school girl; this is an adult being good at being an adult. And that’s like…an incredibly rare find in this medium. More next week.

Garo, Episode 17: I’m pissed. Really pissed. There are a couple ways I could go about this, including a rant about how the “lover dies to push protagonist forward” cliché is stupid and maybe even kind of toxic or spitting at the agressively misleading ED animation or how the episode was offensively well-executed or how I even wished for an Aldnoah.Zero-style absurd revival. But overall I just hate the Garo decided to kill Lara off and that apparently is going to be the kick to get Leòn back into freaking hero mode. He was fine where he was! There was nothing wrong with the way he was living! No reason for him to go back to being a Makai Knight! And, anyways, she didn’t have to die for him to go to that anyways! Whatever. I’m basically just looking for any mud I can sling right now to justify my unhappiness with this choice. I don’t think I’ll ragequit like I threatened I would if Lara died, but if Lara gets forgotten in 2-3 episodes and Leòn just goes back to being a Makai Knight, Garo will really earn my wrath.

Garo

Death Parade, Episode 5: Mmm, that was some slick action this episode. I dunno if I can really say that Death Parade has the best production values of any other show this season, but it’s certainly near the very top of the list. Obviously, the visuals were the standout player for this episode, but I actually found myself really digging the OST. With the OP as good as it is, I think it’s easy to focus on that when talking about the show’s music, but the OST is a sweet mix of urban and jazzy sounds—and Death Parade really likes to use them in good spots, like moving from a chilled out piece during Decim and Ginti’s conversation into an upbeat, jazzy groove for their fight. As far as the plot goes, I’m not all that interested in theorizing on the details of Quin’s suspended judgement, God’s absence, or all the people dying on earth. For that, I’m just happy to let it all play out and enjoy the ride.

Death Parade

Durarara!! x2, Episode 5: The pacing this episode felt a tad bit off to me, but after as much time as I’ve spent with this show, I’m at the point where I’m pretty much willing to overlook technical flaws as long as good stuff is happening. And yes, good stuff is happening. Of top interest to me (because it involves my favorite character) is Kida’s warning to Mikado. It’s not really clear to me how much involvement/power Mikado still has with the Dollars, but he’s obviously still the same type of person he was in the first season—one who craves the suspense of a moving world. Mikado’s obviously still somehow in tune with the state of Ikebukuro, and Anri will inevitably get caught up in whatever craziness is about  to unfold. In other words, all three of these kids are going to be in the middle of the mess that’s about to unfold. I know some people don’t like the high school trio, but I’ve always found the juxtaposition of their age and the danger of the city to be quite fascinating. I’m quite eager to see what they’ll do in the weeks to come.

Durarara!! x2

In a Sentence:

  • Assassination Classroom, Episode 4: I’m hooked now, although I wish they’d lay off the “Miss Bitch” joke because it’s not really that funny.
  • Log Horizon 2, Episode 18: This one was certainly one of the best episodes of the show thus far, hitting on a ton of interesting stuff, putting both Rudy and Isuzu through their (excellent) paces as characters, and starting to bring a whole bunch of different plot threads together at the same time—which is, frankly, Log Horizon‘s absolute best trait.
  • Rolling☆Girls, Episode 5: Kind of like the first episode, Rolling☆Girljust doesn’t have the critical hook to push it beyond being merely likable (which is totally is thanks to Ai, Chiaya, and the general colorful quirkiness) into being truly engaging and entertaining to watch.
  • Absolute Duo 6Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! 6: Having a crazy week, so behind on both of these. Of the two, CHED Club LOVE! is the most likely to get dropped in the future.

 

16 thoughts on “Winter 2014, Week 5: Highlights of the Week

  1. Derek’s weekly wall o’ text…

    Aldnoah Zero ep 5: The politics continue to build within the Vers Empire. There’s a lot of infighting coming, and do the Terrans now have an ally within one faction?

    Kan Colle ep 6; Allez Cuisine! The shipgirls compete in a curry cooking contest to be named the best cook in the Naval District and to have their curry served throughout the fleet for the next year. A thoroughly silly, but enjoyable, episode and an unexpectedly clever solution to the problem facing the show runners – how to get the most screentime for the most shipgirls. Once again however, it was marred by clumsy references to game mechanics.

    Koufuku Graffiti ep5: A bit on the weak side, but we do learn a bit more about Kirin. I think this weeks review on ANN nailed it – this show would play to it’s strong points (food, and the emotions around it) much better if it were a short or told two half episode long stories per week. Though there are exceptions, trying to tell one full story each week tends to leave too much dead time. (http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/review/gourmet-girl-graffiti/episode-5/.84218)

    Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal ep 15; With this episode we’re in new territory. All my lady and I have ever seen is the first season of BSSM (in dub) and PGSM – we’ve never been beyond the Dark Kingdom arc. That being said, I’m not overly happy with the show to date… BSSM was often criticized for it’s reliance on filler, but PGSMC goes the opposite route and (clumsily) pares away too much.

    Saekano ep 4; Another strong episode… Yeah, it’s a harem, but the girls are not content to be run of the mill tropes and neither does the MC. He’s no Andou (Inou Battle), but he’s not a completely clueless trope either. Also of note, Saekano has been promoted to the “We Watch” list – my lady marathoned it over the weekend and enjoyed the heck out of it.

    Shirobako ep 17; Though there was a lot of set up here for future eps… it was a bit on the weak side overall, once again reaching for the “stuff happens now we gotta work overtime” trope. I did however enjoy Director-san’s ‘trip’ during the taping of (what I presume to be) the Aerial Girls OP theme.

    The Rolling Girls ep 5; Actually I thought this was one of the better episodes so far, well paced and with the focus off of the largely cardboard cutout main characters.

    Watched, but no comment this week; Absolute Duo ep 6, Military! ep 5, The IDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls ep 5, The Testament of Sister New Devil ep 6.

    In other news;

    Spirited Away; watched over the weekend. Not a bad movie (no Miyazaki/Ghibli truly is), but not one of their strongest either. If I were to rank it among the others, it would likely fall in the lower half of the list.

    Osamu Tezuka’s Metropolis; also watched over the weekend. A very interesting movie, but I’m still scratching my head over the ending. It follows from the themes implicit in the setting, but not really from the threads explicit in the movie. Like many movie adaptations, I strongly suspect stuff got left out in cutting it down and adapting it from the manga.

    Gundam Build Fighters ep 8; I started watching this back in January but stopped when my my computer died. I’ve had a new computer for three weeks, but feel no compulsion to pick it back up. So it’s been formally moved to the “Dropped” list.

    Selector Infected WIXOSS ep 1; This kept popping up in some of the Magical Girl discussions in YuYuYu‘s thread, so I decided to check it out. I did not much care for the first ep… and it’s been sitting in my queue since Dec. I checked some reviews of the series on Anime Planet and decided to drop it as well.

    _ Arpeggio of Blue Steel_ ep 6; This kept popping up in Kan Colle‘s discussion thread, so I decided to check it out. It’s actually not that bad so far, with no more than the usual quota of plot holes and inconsistencies.

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    • I actually watched this week’s Aldnoah.Zero with some friends! I laughed a lot. ^_^

      Also, the more I hear about KanColle, the more I want to watch the show—even though I have absolutely no time to do so.

      I also was less than awestruck by Spirited Away. For whatever reason, it just didn’t resonate/appeal to me like I expected. GBF dropped =( & WIXOSS?? Ah, that’s something else entirely. I have some posts on it archived away if you want to see where it went. Arpeggio I actually like quite a lot—but I’m usually pretty generous about overlooking plot holes and inconsistencies…

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      • I try to be generous about plot holes, inconsistencies, etc… which is kinda why I introduced the “Watched without comment” section. There’s an awful lot of the bell curve there in the middle where shows aren’t particularly bad, but they aren’t particularly good either… (though some are closer to the extreme than others) and some weeks, there just isn’t anything to say about an ep that doesn’t sound curmudgeonly, mean, bitter, whatever. It’s not so much “if you can’t say anything nice” as “no need to beat everyone about the head and shoulders”.

        Plus it does cut down some on the size of the wall o’ text.

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  2. For Shirobako, Best Girl… for me anyway… has to go to painfully shy Mori-Girl Kunogi. Aoi is strength and patience and resourcefulness, she is a wonder! But I need to stand up for my socially awkward sister here!

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  3. There’s something quite… “odd” in the directing of Death Parade. First, about Oculus (the old man that talked with Nona), did he said he’s the closest man to God, or the closest being to God? Cos I’m remembering that he said he’s the closest “man”, plus, his eyes, unlike the arbiters, are normal human eyes like Onna. This actually raises another question behind the nature of God, the arbiters, and Oculus himself (remember that arbiters are not human, Ginti stated this). Second, I find it quite daring of Madhouse to open some plot points that usually will be opened at the end of the show, but instead opens them quite early; Like the fact that Onna was actually a judged human but remembered her death; normally, plot points like this will be revealed at the near end of the show to build a good climax (Cos the nature of Onna is pretty big thing). I wonder if Madhouse has some kind of cool tricks up on their sleeves…

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    • Frankly, the way Death Parade has been since like…the third episode, I’m expecting cool tricks every week (and, yeah, I’d consider this last Friday’s episode to fall into the pattern). I’m pretty glad they have opened their plot points this early; if not, I think I’d be worrying about the overall direction of the show moving towards the endgame.

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  4. Assasination Clasroom:

    What a terrible episode… well, from the introduction of that new character I should have suspected that vulgar scenes were to appear… now, it looks more like a typical contemporary Shonen producion… possibly dropping it.

    More on the other series latter,

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  5. Death Parade: It keeps getting more interesting… until episode 6, it was… vulgar (not only because the “fanservice” [rather unsettling], but for the overall atmosphere and tone), very different from the previous episodes.

    Some people say that the show has many elements from Eastern myths and philosophies, but I think is possible it comtains gnostic elements, although it could be a coincidence, because gnostic myths shares some similarities with Eastern myths and concepts.

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  6. Been unable to watch anime let alone post here, but I’ll try to keep up and give some quick thoughts:

    Durarara: I wonder why you say the pacing is off? I think going a bit slower is fine for me, the last few weeks is a bit too fast even for usual Durarara standards and like this is fine for me. Still, like you said good things are still happening and I have no problem with this. Probably my favorite anime that starts airing this season.

    Log Horizon: Isuzu and Rudy are clearly the best of the newbies and focusing on them is a good choice, too bad the rest still kinda drags it down. The whole 42 songs part is a great stuff that is what I love the most from Log Horizon, though.

    Shirobako: Yeah, you can really make >1000 words essay from the ‘best girl’ concept in anime alone. I mean, best girl and waifu and whether they’re different, the whole different standards for 2D/3D…you mention that Aoi is best girl because she’s the kind of girl you can see dating in real life, and yet I’m sure many different group of anime fans have their own personal definition of what ‘best girl’ constitutes.

    Regardless though, Aoi is undoubtedly best girl of the season, rivaled only by Celty.

    AssClass: Yeah, sorry about that. Bitch-sensei at least sounds slightly better and bitch means a bit different in Japanese, but still. At least she’ll get some good character development in the future, though I’m really not sure the anime will reach that part.

    Also, the list of names all over the world does reference, in part, about the names of Manchester United players, though I’m disappointed they didn’t update it to the current roster (Where’s Marcus, Radamel, and Angel?)

    Saekano: I still like it overall, but the MC is getting even more annoying for me. Thing is, a protagonist is supposed to be awesome but still relatable enough for the audience. He got the latter part good (the procrastination hits close to home) but the former is severely lacking. Especially his whole spiel about why Kato is lacking good heroine attributes – sure, he’s set up to be in the wrong and will learn his lesson later, but it’s still infuriating. (although this does remind me again about that best girl/waifu debate thing again).

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    • Yay, you’re back! ^_^

      I’m actually not sure exactly what happened with this week’s Durarara!! x2 (especially as episode 6 “recovered” nicely).

      Rudy x Isuzu for life. But really.

      Heh, yeah, someday I’ll get around to detailing my thoughts on Best Girl vs. Waifu and what I think constitutes a definition of each. Certainly, what makes Aoi best girl in Shirobako is very, very different from what make Chitoge best girl in Nisekoi.

      Yeah, Tomoyo was a large part of the reason I dropped Saekano. I just didn’t find him funny and, although I enjoyed Kato bulldozing him with her common sense, knowing that their relationship would inevitably turn into her being in love with him pretty much totally turned me off from the show.

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  7. Thanks, it means so much that at least one person is actually looking forward to my anime ramblings. I’ll try to do it again, maybe even something a bit more than weekly recap if I have time as there are some anime part I want to discuss.

    Anyway, about Saekano, now that they lay off the meta jokes the MC really is the weakest part of the show. I also fears the thing you mentioned, though I personally still hope it’s the other way around and that the MC is the one who falls in love with Kato first, and grow to the better because of it. Not sure how likely is that though, but it would definitely make it more interesting and different than the usual harem anime, instead of just pointing out cliches.

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    • Glad to hear Saekano has laid off the meta jokes. At least for me, they were nothing but a huge drag on everything I enjoyed about the show.

      & yeah, I hope you are able to find time to participate more around in the comments. I read everything that people post here & love hearing their thoughts.

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