Winter 2015, Week 8: Highlights of the Week

Hey, this was a pretty darn good week for my anime! Durarara!! x2Rolling Girls, and Absolute Duo all had great episodes, Yona finally got back on track, and the old standbys of Shirobako and Your Lie in April were their normal selves. I’m so down with things being this way.

Durarara!! x2

Your Lie in April, Episode 19: Just trying to be thankful for what we have…

Akatsuki no Yona, Episode 21: Back to form this week!

Shirobako, Episode 20: Obviously, Hiraoka was the big news story out of Shirobako, what with the whole getting in a fight with Madoka-san thing…which, of course, made him Tarou’s hero because Tarou is an idiot, but what else is new? Actually, I just rewatched Tarou’s reaction with Hiraoka comes back to the desk and…yeah. He’s an idiot. It was pretty cool to see the president sit down with Hiraoka, though, and talk to him about what had just happened, rather than firing him outright. Looks like Hiraoka isn’t quite as content with his halfway work ethic as he lets on, if Madoka’s criticisms can rattle him like that. He’s lost the dream that Aoi has, but it seems he still wishes he had it. He’s just been through too much in the business to still have faith. Which is why I love Aoi so much; Aoi, who finds purpose through Aria in the ability to support others in their dreams, even if she isn’t quite sure about her own yet. Love her.

Durarara!! x2, Episode 8: See, this is why—this bloody episode is why I can’t quit this show despite the pain of waiting a week and despite weeks where the animation goes down the drain. Because when Durarara!! really starts rolling, there are few shows that can really keep up with the sheer kinetics of people moving, making decisions, taking action, and clashing with each other. Sure, the production values aren’t what they were in the first season (although the background art caught really caught my eye with some beautiful pictures this week), but even lackluster animation can’t entirely pin down the energy of a brewing conflict. The final shot of this episode, Izaya walking out of his dark room into the light, like a hero (good joke, Durarara!!) kind of sums up the feeling of anticipation I have for the incoming episodes of this show. There’s no doubt it was Izaya who’s been pulling the strings all along and it’s finally time to see where everyone is hanging.

Durarara!! x2

Rolling☆Girls, Episode 8: Episode of the Week! Oh, man, was that everything I ever wanted from this show or what? This was definitely my favorite episode of the week. The combination of explosions, friendship, positive emotions, and music were very much reminiscent of AKB0048‘s best moments, which is a very, very good place to go with any show. I do enjoy that there are a few more connections showing up in the larger plot (like Chiaya’s mother’s lackey being a former member of Momi-Ham), but the immediate conflict between the two Kyoto leaders reviving their friendship was resolved satisfactorily and with great style. Throw in the fantastic insert song “Stones” and you’ve got the formula for the best episode of the week. Extra shout out to the scenes at the river, which were quietly my second-favorite part of the episode.

Rolling☆Girls

Absolute Duo, Episode 9: Hell, yeah, Absolute Duo staying strong as one of the most consistently entertaining shows on my schedule. Major, major props to the team working on this adaptation, because everything about this episode (as with most episode of Absolute Duo) was incredibly tropey, but the spirit of the execution and the authenticity of its character moments really sold what could have been an utter wreck of clichés and mailed-in dialogue. Instead, we got Julie protecting Tor as much as he protected her and Tor literally protecting Julie with his own body in a way that transcended the potentially sexist implications of his attitudes towards her to the point of demonstrating genuine friendship and loyalty. The presentation of those moments has a lot to do with it. Tor isn’t glorified or shown as a hero when he grabs K’s knife to save Julie life. Instead, the camera focuses on his bleeding hand and the action moves on. It’s just one moment in a longer battle, an expected action from a teammate. So, yeah, you go Absolute Duo. Keep it up!

Absolute Duo

In a Sentence:

Death Parade, Episode 8: I won’t have too much to say about this one until we see how all the threads wrap up next week, but the chilling moment of the week came from Decim’s emotionless pronunciation that “everyone can be judged.”

Log Horizon 2, Episode 20: Isuzu’s song goes on and that’s a lovely thing.

Garo, Episode 20: Umm…so are we just totally forgetting about the thing that happened at the end of last episode for the sake of plot?

Assassination Classroom, Episode 7: Continues to be solidly entertaining, although I would have liked to see Karma and Nagisa in action more than Koro-sensei, but whatever…

 

19 thoughts on “Winter 2015, Week 8: Highlights of the Week

  1. Now I don’t mean to get all ‘Tarou-apologist’ on you, but I’m think sure you’re misrepresenting him here. He is an idiot yes, but I don’t think he looks up to Hiraoka for what went down. Recall, if you might, the staff party wherein Tarou was seen reaching out to Hiraoka to help him fit in and make friends with the rest of the office. I think this is a continuation of that, of sorts. Tarou doesn’t want Hiraoka to feel alienated by everyone and is making light of the fight to keep him from being too frustrated by it. He’s playing the fool, because Tarou is secretly a genius.

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    • Okay, Tarou, get off of whemleh’s WordPress account and stop trying to make yourself seem like less of a fool than you are.

      You’re definitely an idiot, but a lovable one nonetheless. Believe me when I say I call you an idiot without even a hint of malevolence. Now get back to work so Aoi-chan can go home on time today.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think Garo’s forgetting what happened at the end of the episode 19 so much as it’s simply not making much of a big deal of it. The series has a movie and a 2nd season to look forward to in the future. That’s plenty of time to explore relationships. Right now the show needs to focus on moving briskly towards a thrilling climax.

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    • Yeah, but that moment was like…directly related (or should have been) to Leon’s relationship with Lara, which was billed as a Really Big Deal for his character, and the farther we get away from her, the less likely it becomes that Garo will actually come back to really deal with the implications of that. Leon just cut off his own guilt, not his feelings about Lara. If his encounter with Ema was a reflection of their respective losses and pain, Garo needs to actually tease out how these characters are being shaped by their losses, or those moments become cheap plot points for character development.

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  3. Glad I’m not the only one who noticed the fab backgrounds in Durarara this episode. I likewise think the animation (and artwork in general) was better in the first season, but Durarara makes me honestly not mind all that much – especially when we get episodes like this. Definitely one of my favourites of season two thus far.

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    • Yeah, this episode was moving so well narratively that all the animation problems were kind of just swept along in the flood of moving pieces. Now if we could actually get the moving pieces moving visually…

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  4. I like your list , For me Absolute Duo has been better lately I always like Julie and Tor but felt the anime lacking until now!

    Some of other Top anime that are good for me , Of Course Ronja and The Seven Deadly Sins!Ah being orphans.

    One that has vastly improved at the end of the 1st cour and really kicked in gear the 2nd Cour is World Trigger . And I am not alone in seeing that! Oh 50-60 EPS for this

    For Winter that was doomed before it started should has turned out quite well!

    When Winter is Over there might be a Tie (s) for my top spot and others in my Top 10! Seriously!

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    • Absolute Duo is kind of a funny case of a show that really shouldn’t be working for me, but it is, so I’m gonna stick with it until it ends or until I get bored of it.

      Glad to hear World Trigger has somewhat pulled itself back together. I quite liked what I read of the manga back when I review it & it was a shock to see how much more life the manga had when compared to what I’d seen of the anime.

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  5. Time for the weekly wall of text recap! As you said, this week seems pretty good all around.

    Shirobako: Great as usual, and Hiroaki shows how much of a prick he really is. Still doesn’t hate him as much as Mr. Funny Story though, at least he doesn’t actively ruin the project. And while Iron Yano becomes a strong contender for the title of Best Girl after her glorious return, Aoi secures the place with the end scene.

    Durarara: I think I read somewhere that the author explains that Season 1 Shizuo won’t bother putting on the act in front of the little girl, and would just smash through Izaya’s door instead of ringing the doorbell until his fingers bleed. So, character development. I fully agree with the first one, but doesn’t really buy the second one – even people with less anger management issue would try to break in somehow under that situation. And really, if he does then most of Izaya’s plan would fall apart. Oh well, things are now in place to chaos to begin, let’s see how it comes about next ep.

    Rolling Girls: The conflict still doesn’t really grab me, but the second half is truly a sight to behold. I want more like that, for sure. Although, are there really only 4 episodes left now?

    Log Horizon: It’s nice to have a cool-down ep to deal with the conclusion of the arc, as well as setting up future conflict like always. Isuzu’s song is nice and revolutionary, but immediately calling it hope for the people seems like a stretch…back in Akiba though, they stress again the growing discomfort of the people (there’s no way this won’t end in a rebellion or war) as well as the new ‘genius’ NPC (isn’t this the enemy Kanami was dealing with?). There’s no way they can address with this in the remaining 4 eps though, and it will be a long time until season 3 (if it’s even there) since they pretty much cover all the available materials already.

    AssClass: Apparently this is the exact same stuff the OVA covers, in case some of you watched it already. Anyway, it’s fun as usual, though the dark, rapey threat is incredibly jarring. Sure, it’s always been all about assassinations, but that one was covered in the most cheerful way possible.

    Saekano: Last week was Utaha, this time the focus is on Eriri as per the rule of treatment for eventually losing girls in a harem. She doesn’t get the full ep though, having to share it with two new siblings that I don’t really care about. I’m still not sure why the MC hates the brother that much though, sure he exploits his money and connections and is probably more ‘casual’ about the anime world, but that’s how it works in real life. Is it just because Tomoya is too idealistic? That’s the problem, by still not caring about him or his goals the whole rivalry at the end doesnt’ do anything to me.

    Maria: Things are finally happening now, and those things are not good at all to Maria. The antagonist finally shows why he should hate him, and I can’t deny his methods are very effective. I saw the last part happening as soon as the rule is out, too. I really hope for a happy ending here, but unfortunately it seems things are going to get even worse for Maria before it can get better.

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    • Yano was a storm this week! Between her description of the people working in the industry (basically, “they’re well-intentioned losers”) and her smile at the episode director as he tried to run away, she’s definitely a force to be reckoned with.

      Yeah, of shows I’m worried about closing well in their remaining time, Rolling Girls is probably at the top of the list (along with KimiUso). Unless they leap into the stone collection plot they’ve been teasing all along, I can’t see them trying to get in another exploration arc and having it end well. Heck, it still feels early to go into the larger plot anyways. Hopefully things go okay.

      & pretty that was the same enemy Kanami was fighting back in her episode. Shame the source material is almost out. I’d watch more Log Horizon, for sure.

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      • Yeah, there’s several shows I’m worried about closing well given the time they have left.

        Hopefully, I’ll get time later today for my weekly wall o’ text, but I’m getting ready for an event this weekend and am all kinds of busy.

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          • Short version, I was generally pleased this week. Some shows (Shirobako) had season highs… others (Saekono, and Koufuku Graffiti) were a little bit weaker. Kan Colle managed to cover both bases, mostly due to constant clumsy references to game mechanics but was otherwise excellent.

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            • Hey, if you don’t know the game mechanics (I don’t) you can’t be unimpressed by clumsy references! All the game-related stuff mostly goes over my head, so I don’t even know what I’m missing!

              Liked by 1 person

  6. I decided to follow Durararax2 weekly instead of marathon-ing it because it is just so attractive.

    Picked up Garo based on your recommendation and I’m really loving it. (Also recommended it to a friend.)

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    • Yeah, it’s hard to stay away from DRRR!! once you get started! I was thinking about doing it in a marathon, but I just…couldn’t…not…watch…

      & glad you’re liking Garo. Idk where you are with it, but although it can be a bit inconsistent, it’s best episodes are truly phenomenal.

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      • I’m at its latest episode. Really, really phenomenal background arts, and like you mentioned in twitter, beautiful screens with darker colors and contrasts.

        My friend did raise the issue of the CGs being out of place. I can accept this level of CG so it didn’t affect my enjoyment.

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  7. Quick Thoughts:

    Saekano 7 & 8: Interesting development in ep 7 with the intro of a rival trying to poach Kousei’s talent, and a nice Eriri focus in ep 8 where she finally got some real character development. I found Aki less annoying in these episodes, but I don’t know if he’s actually softening up or if I’m just finally getting used to him. I don’t see any possible way that they can finish this in 3 more episodes, though. Aki’s game is supposed to come out at Winter Comiket, episode 8 only got us halfway through Summer Komiket, and one of the girls from episode 0 still hasn’t even shown up yet. If this goes to an open ending with no split-cour or second season announcement, that’s going to be a big black mark on its final grade.

    KimiUso 20: Just posted on that.

    Koufuku Graffiti 8: Still being its usual light, charming self. Kirin got a lesson last week in not loafing around and letting Ryou do all the work, and she really took that lesson to heart this week. This show’s ending has grown on me in a big way, too. Somehow, nobody else in anime ever captures the flow and movement of hair as beautifully as Shinbo. I even noticed that tendency in Lyrical Nanoha, which he directed several years before he joined Shaft, but KG’s ending is a masterpiece of gorgeous hair animation. Throw in a catchy song I’ve caught myself humming a few times, Kirin’s weirdly hilarious arm-flap dance, the three girls doing their little booty shake in time to the music, and other neat little touches like Kirin (big eater) still chomping away on more food in the last scene while the other two girls are nearly unconscious, and it all adds up to a big winner for me.

    KanColle 9: Possibly my favorite episode of the series so far – a great balance of humor and seriousness, and the first time we’ve seen all season that they’re willing to step beyond the limits of the game mechanics if it serves the story. I saw from your tweets that you just started watching this – I agree that Kongou’s a great character…it’s not hard to see why she’s one of the most popular in the game. BTW, did you know that Nao Touyama’s playing six roles in this series? All four of the Kongou sisters, plus Akatsuki and one other destroyer (so that was her having a four-way conversation with herself whenever the four Kongous were all in the same scene in episode 4). Oh, and to answer your other question, it’s had the same ending song throughout, except for episode 3. That episode ended on a much slower song after the girl got sunk.

    Didn’t have time to watch Assassination Classroom or Rolling Girls last weekend. I’ll catch up on those later, but I needed to get started on Lyrical Nanoha Strikers, so that I can have it finished before Vivid premieres next month – it was the only season of the first three that I hadn’t seen yet. Looks like finishing won’t be a problem, though, since I’m already nine episodes in (out of 26) and enjoying it almost as much as the first two seasons.

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    • Ah, okay, KanColle had a different ED for episode 3. That must have been why I heard the ED after episode 4 for the first time, just by way of contrast. & I’m actually all caught up now! Summary blurb will go up on next week’s post—I’ll probably end up just saving the last few episodes to watch all at once, though, rather than going at it weekly. I did know Nao was all of the Kongou sisters, but I didn’t know she was Akatsuki, too. She’s one talented VA!

      Ah, interesting. So Saekano is running out of space, huh? I didn’t really expect that, but I suppose it isn’t surprising as it is an adaptation.

      Sounds like I need to check out the Koufuku Graffiti ED sometime soon haha.

      Like

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