Winter 2015, Week 6: Highlights of the Week

Phew, it’s been a long, long week since last Wednesday. The retreat went really well last weekend, but now I’ve got a career fair coming up a week from today and then I’m hoping things will really have settled by the time that ends, hopefully leaving me with more time to knock out some of the blog posts I’m really itching to write.

Garo

Your Lie in April, Episode 17: Pretty much a typical KimiUso episode; lots to love and lots to be annoyed about.

Akatsuki no Yona, Episode 19: Weaker episode this week, but generally saved by Hak.

Shirobako, Episode 18: People who stress out Aoi-chan and get in her way should just quit! It would not be an exaggeration to say that nothing makes me sadder during the week than seeing Aoi get stressed, worried, and bothered by the incompetent people who seem to care only for dragging Third Aerial Girls down (at least, nothing except for when my real life friends get stressed out). Following last week’s sudden and visceral emotional attachment to Aoi has made Shirobako a continuous exercise in loving worry, as there’s nothing I can do for our Best Girl Production Desk besides clench my fists and knit my brow in anxiety. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. The point is that I really like Shirobako and I really like Aoi and I just want everyone to be happy. Thank goodness Yano is back.

Garo, Episode 18: Hoo boy, was that an episode or what? Despite my displeasure with Lara essentially being reduced to a “girl dies so hero can move on in his journey” trope (which essentially implies that it’s less noble to love in peace than it is to fight), I can’t deny that this was the episode of the week. Putting aside for a moment how incredibly good Leon and Alfonso’s duel looked and worked in the context of the show’s themes and general narrative, there were a bucketload of other good moments, not the least of which were German and Ximenia’s anguished parting and Leon’s conclusive confrontation with his own rage. And then, yes, there was that amazing fight—animated brilliantly and perfectly weighted with all the emotional potency of Leon’s long-awaited redemption and return to knighthood.

Log Horizon 2, Episode 19: Maybe I’m getting distracted by stupid stuff like Roe 2’s identity, but this episode baffled me mentally like Log Horizon never has been. Granted, I was absolutely exhausted by the time I watched the episode on Sunday night, but I still felt like there were a lot of connections that I missed between Tohya, the Oydessy Knights, Minori, and Isuzu. The emotional logic just didn’t make total sense to me between the poignant reveal of Tohya’s circumstances before Elder Tale and Isuzu and Minori’s respective declarations of intentions. I dunno. It was probably just me being dumb. One thing that did stand out, though, was Rudy’s face while hearing the Odyssey Knight ridiculing their current existence as a mere game. Rudy’s been to the literal point of death in this world and, furthermore, it’s the place where he’s always lived. To him, at least, the world of Elder Tale is no triviality.

Log Horizon 2

Death Parade, Episode 6: It seems it doesn’t matter what gender the idorus are—I love them all. And their fangirls. The unrestrained, wanton energy of Mayu and Harada, whether it was fangirl shrieking or “DON’T UNDERESTIMATE AN IDOL!,” provided a beautifully bitter contrast to Ginti’s stoic grouchiness and their overall goodness of spirit did the same with his psychopathic treatment of the judgement game. Beyond that, the narrative irony of a game meant to drag out the darkness of the human soul ending up demonstrating the potential beauty of human relationships causes me a certain level of self-satisfied smugness. The judgement system is obviously broken (as are those administering it), and so to see people overriding the inherent dysfunction and unfairness of the situation makes me quite happy. To do it with an idol and his crazy fan in such a campy way just makes it all the better.

Death Parade

In a Sentence:

Durarara!! x2, Episode 6: Many things going on, but of primary interest to me is the looming reiinvolvement of Mikado and Anri in the action of Ikebukuro.

Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!: Dropped. Shows have to give me a reason to want to come back each week, and when I approach falling two weeks behind without caring, that’s a sign it’s time to reclaim another half hour of my week.

Behind On: Absolute Duo, Assassination Classroom, Rolling☆Girls

Durarara!! x2

20 thoughts on “Winter 2015, Week 6: Highlights of the Week

  1. So another anime blogger that I read just started doing his “Best of 2014” posts yesterday, and for his “Best Girl” the winner was Aoi, and the runner-up was Yuki Yuna. Made me smile a bit, since I knew you’d approve of those choices.

    As for the current season’s crop of episodes…

    Saekano 5: Seems like every week I say this was the best episode yet, but seriously, this was the best episode yet, and it isn’t just Kato carrying it for me anymore; I’m really warming up to Utaha the last couple of weeks too. Highlights: Kato rehearsing classic tsundere catchphrases in her usual deadpan, Utaha getting her sudden inspiration for the VN’s script, and Tomoyo surviving a trip to the mall by pretending it’s a crowded convention (as the saying goes, “To change everything, simply change your attitude,” right?).

    KimiUso 17: Thoughts shared on your post

    Rolling Girls 5: Settling into its groove, but also losing some of its early momentum, and has now dropped to third on my list. Still enjoying overall, though.

    Assassination Classroom 4: You’d think a professional assassin would spend more time studying her target’s strengths and weaknesses before making her move.

    Koufuku Graffiti 6: Hey, who dropped this sultry fanservice episode into the middle of my sweet slice-of-life series? Not that I mind seeing cute girls doing their slo-mo eating thing in the bath, but it’s a good thing I didn’t try to watch this on my lunch break at work.

    KanColle 6: We interrupt this life-and-death struggle with the Abyssals to bring you…a cooking contest? Good grief.

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    • Yuna-chan and Aoi-chan? That blogger has good taste.

      I’m glad to hear Saekano seems to be improving. Hopefully it turns out well for all of you watching it!

      AssClass 4 was… >_> …not my favorite installation of the series.

      KanColle is starting to sound more and more like a show I would really enjoy… >.<

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      • That’s a weird sensation.

        I’ve been lurking around this site over the last month after being drawn by your piece about Maria and Catholicism since I’m Catholic as well and got really wound up about that anime too. I wanted to comment on that post but was ultimately unsure I could get the tone right without causing trouble – which I would never do to someone else’s blog.

        So, I’ve been looking for another opportunity to say thanks. Thanks. And by the way, I remember seeing Sword of the Stranger on your Backlog List and wanted to mention, since you point out the great fight in Garo ep. 18, that from ~7-16 seconds of that clip the animator makes a very clear reference/homage to the climatic fight from Sword of the Stranger and you should really do yourself the favor and watch Sword of the Stranger – there’s tons more epic fight scenes and the story is simple yet very poignant.

        When I scroll down to see if anyone has pointed this out already what do I see but people obviously talking about something I posted on my blog and that’s never happened before. Thanks, that was cool to see. Also, how could you not have Aoi and Yuki Yuna at the top of the list for best female main characters of 2014?

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        • I was seriously wondering from the clip whether Yutaka Nakamura did the keyframes for that scene or not, it’s super reminiscent of him but there’s no way I can tell just by looking at it. s_s

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        • You’re welcome! I’m glad you liked the piece on Maria.

          I really want to watch Sword of the Stranger for a lot of reasons (the director of my favorite anime, Blast of Tempest, Masahiro Ando, also did SotS), but yeah I’ve heard the fights are amazing.

          & of course! Aoi and Yuna are fantastic. Aoi has taken something of a gradual path to the top of my lists, but I adored Yuna almost from the first episode.

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  2. I will personally vouch for Rolling Star Girls episode 6. Really, genuinely enjoyed it. Still not at the level of the first two episodes (the animation just isn’t coming back ;__;) but it hd a lot of really nice moments. The main story was genuinely sweet, the whole episode flowed fun and breezily, and the girls even got involved! Excellent use of its music, and good Chihaya faces abound, too! So yeah, ROLLING GIRLS! If you turn out not to enjoy it I will gladly take on all the blame.

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    • You vouched wisely! I very much enjoyed this episode—it was much better than the first episode of this mini-arc & I may have even got a little misty-eyed over the final moments of the race.

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  3. And now – the weekly wall o’ text.

    I apologize in advance, there will be minor spoilers for shows you’re behind on Bless.

    Absolute Duo ep 7; Except for about a minute or so new material, this might as well have been a clip show as it goes through the same lather, rinse, repeat cycle it’s followed so far. Dropped.

    Aldnoah Zero ep 6; Whoah! Even though looking back they telegraphed and flagged at least part of what happened – I did not see that twist coming. And post-credits scene was just creepy as all [curse word]. The sleeper awakening, well we all knew that was coming at some point.

    Kan Colle ep 7; a zig back into “Believe in yourselves and your friends and you will prevail”. Don’t get me wrong, I like the show and am enjoying it, but the tone shifts are giving me whiplash. The individual episodes are decent, but taken collectively the show is a real mess.

    KimiUso ep 17; A good episode, a bad episode, all in one (for all the reasons you have in yesterday’s blog post)… but the plot wheel is turning at a steady pace finally, so overall a good episode.

    Koufuku Graffiti ep 6; A huge change in tone this week, with the cooking de-emphasized and the ero-eating amped up to 11. Pretty creepy actually. Back to slice-of-life next week please!

    Military! ep 6; Dropped.

    Saekano ep 5; What WingKing said – this show just keeps getting better and better. The meta is still there, but overall in much better balance. Eiriri and Utaha are tropes on the surface, but we’re getting more and more glimpses of the depths. Megumi continues to steal scenes right and left though.

    Shirobako ep 18; If ep 19 opens with Aoi-chan sitting in their favorite little izakaya pounding them down while Zuka hovers over her… I think nobody would blame her.

    _ The IDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls_ ep 6; Well, the moment/trope practically every idol anime can’t resist has arrived – one of the idol candidates has decided she’s getting off the bus and no longer wants to be an idol. Kudos to the writers for at least coming up with a semi-original reason though. And damn you Daisuki – when you license an idol anime, you’re supposed to license the songs too. Not licensing the OP and ED I can understand, but the idol performances are as much part of the show as the dialog is.

    The Rolling Girls ep6; It appears the MC’s exist mostly as a framing device to transport the viewer to this weeks Land Of Hats (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PlanetOfHats)… My interest in this show has been waning, and this weeks ep gave me no confidence in the future of the show. Dropped.

    The Testament of Sister New Devil ep7; Well, they managed to get through this episode with only six or seven seconds of gratuitous (and censor steamed) fanservice… and that’s about the best that can be said. There was some plot advancement, but the show really isn’t grabbing me. Dropped.

    It may seem like a lot of drops this week, but… The really bad shows don’t generally survive the first ep or three. (Though it has to be really bad to not at least make three.) For me, there’s a gut-check about midseason – am I willing to commit to the rest of this show? If it survives past mid-season, odds are I’m going to finish it. (There are exceptions – I dropped Space Dandy halfway through the penultimate episode.)

    In other news;

    Arpeggio of Blue Steel; Overall I enjoyed it, but the last two eps were a real let down. Though, to be honest… in retrospect the “love and friendship conquers all” ending was telegraphed from very early on. I’m moderately annoyed that they never went beyond paying lip service the larger philosophical issues displayed on the card at the end of each ep though.

    Cowboy Bebop: The Movie; Enjoyed the heck out of this one… once I figured out that it wasn’t a Cowboy Bebop movie – it was a noir thriller where they’d hired the crew of the Bebop to play themselves.

    To Aru Majutsu no Index Movie (The Miracle of Endymion); Sigh, what a hot mess. The characters drifted on and off model, the voice acting was phoned in, and the plot was all over the place. Or, to be more specific, the writing wedged the ‘plot’ in between the Signature Characters entering stage right to deliver their Signature Lines and performing their Signature Schticks before exiting promptly stage left to make for for next one. I know the writers were hamstrung by the large-ish ensemble of characters in the four seasons of Index/Railgun, but surely they could have done better.

    And in the “over-the-moon-dept” (pardon the pun) – I just got an email from Netflix, and the BD of Ghibli’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is in the mail.

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    • I caught up on everything before I came back to the comments, so no worries! ^_^

      Absolute Duo is definitely just spinning its wheels, but I’m at the point where I’m comfortable enough with the show to not really care. I enjoy watching the dynamics of these characters as they interact with each other, which is enough for me.

      It’s especially weird, I think, for iM@S not to have the songs on Daisuki. I mean, heck, Daisuki is owned by Japanese companies! Why won’t they stream their own lyrics?

      Halfway point seems as good as any as a place to drop stuff. I don’t blame you there.

      I’ve seen the Index movie (might be reviewing it in the future, actually) & yeah, it’s a mess of “here’re your favorite characters!” fanservice. I also detest Touma in a way I detest few other anime characters, which made it no less painful an experience.

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      • It’s a rights thing probably, even domestically this can be a problem. It’s why the soundtrack on the DVD of Kirari Super Live! is different from what was performed live for example. Here in the US, the home video release of Heavy Metal was delayed over a decade, and then the DVD/BD release delayed a decade after that over licensing issues.

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  4. ‘Camp’ is an excellent word to describe the latest episode of Death Parade. I found the whole thing pretty entertaining, but I think my favourite scene was the brief after-credits one. I love Decim’s completely deadpan reaction to absolutely everything, and seeing him clap along like that to an over-the-top idol performance with a totally straight face was hilarious. 😀

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    • I’m just a sucker for this kind of unrestrained excitement and embracing of the actual absurdity of the situations, so I think my favorite moment was the screencap I have in the post, but yesssss the after-credits scene was amazing (also gave me the impression that we might see more of Mayu and Harada next week????)

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  5. Death Parade 6: What a … vulgar … episode. Not only for the rather unsettling “fanservice”, but the overall attitude of the two “judged “characters.

    Looking at the opening, I guess the new girl is going to stay, like the assistant.

    I think the judges are the gnostic version of Archons… even in the previous episode the white haired girl was playing with planet looking billiard balls… or, they could be some characters based on some eastern myths, after all, there are similarities between gnostic myths and eastern myths.

    Military! : really pointless show, and I’ve read new episodes are getting worse.

    The new Durara: Does this new season still has the incestous characters?

    Assasination clasroom: As said in a previous comment, terrible episode, and with various vulgar scenes I skipped. I’ll have to read before watching next chapters.

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      • A display of vulgarity?

        The girl, with the fanaticism and idolization of another human being, plus how she was somewhat trying to show herself to him in a certain way…

        The guy, a shameless womanizer, an example of the kind of life of some “celebrities”.

        What improved these characters was near the end, when she reminded him of a purpose, and he remembered about the importance of his fans.

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