Another really good week, and a new challenger appears on the list! I’m in the midst of job applications/interviews time, so wish me luck!
Your Lie in April, Episode 20: Lots of ranting this week, sorry!
Akatsuki no Yona, Episode 22: Whoo boy, that was one good episode.
KanColle, Episodes 1-9: As per my midterms tradition, I marathoned some random fun show for kicks in the middle of midterms week—which was, this time, KanColle. To be entirely frank, the show is far from gripping, but there’s a nice level of comfortable entertainment that shows up in episode 4 with the Kongou sisters and then never leaves. Overall, the conflicts (and even, sometimes, the actual battles) aren’t all that compelling, but KanColle is much more about settling into watching some familiar characters go about doing their cute girl stuff. The weakest material thus far has come when KanColle has attempted to go for the dramatic (the early loss of…uh..Kisaragi and Mutsuki’s subsequent collapse, Fubuki’s jealousy at Yuudachi’s remodel), but everything else works pretty well. The battles are fun enough to not be boring and Fubuki has turned into a much more interesting lead than I thought she would be at first. And then, of course, there’s the transcendent Kongou, without whom I fear KanColle would entirely sink.
Durarara!! x2, Episode 9: Just more of what makes Durarara!! itself this episode—crazy misunderstandings, manipulative people colliding, and an absurd number of different plot lines winding together and spinning off in different directions. The adult gangsters are still the most difficult group of people for me to get a handle on; there are so many of them running around that I have trouble actually knowing who is allied with who and who has hired who. Chances are good that Izaya is the one “bullying” Varona, which means she’ll eventually get roped into the wider implications of this conflict. What really makes me happy, though, is seeing Mikado, Anri, and Celty all together once again. Now if only Kida was back…but that’s asking too much, isn’t it? Oh, and we’ve got Shizuo running around after an Izaya who appears to be leaving Ikebukuro—where that chase will end up is anyone’s guess.
Shirobako, Episode 21: Ah, man, Shirobako just being very good, once again. This episode actually felt kind of long to me (not in a bad way) with all the different things that happened—working with Hiraoka, the roller coaster scene, the first watch party, and the director actually getting the storyboards done in time (funny story, I have a bad feeling about this). It’s really nice to see that Aoi has mostly come to a satisfactory place in her struggles to find her sense of purpose in an industry driven by the twin engines of creativity and business realities. Hiraoka, then, actually ends up feeling like a really neat foil for Aoi thematically. If Aoi is the production incarnation of the creator’s passion, then Hiraoka is the creator’s battle against the insanity of deadlines and creative desolation.
I still don’t forgive Hiraoka for being such a wet blanket, but I do really appreciate Shirobako taking the time to detail his character—I don’t understand people like him in real life and, honestly, I’ve never taken the time to try and understand them. So, thanks, Shirobako. You made me think a little bit more about the people I run into and how I can be better about trying to understand where they’re coming from. That’s a pretty special thing and not many shows do that. And now for the weekly Best Girl album:
Death Parade, Episode 9: Episode of the Week! To be honest, it feels pretty weird to add a superlative like “episode of the week” to something like this. This episode was complex, winding, hopeful, and brutally depressing. In the end, Decim didn’t need any games to drag out the darkness in either Shimada or Tatsumi’s souls—Tatsumi was more than happy to reveal his own and push Shimada to the exact same point. But what a farce of a judgement. Shimada once put down the knife, once took the path that would have lead him to reincarnation and back to his sister. All he got for that was another chance to take the wrong path and that time the temptation was too great. Really, nothing here was new to us. We’ve already seen that the games are designed to push people until they turn dark, and push and push and push even when they refuse to turn. But it’s still a choice and the fact that we have seen people who have escaped with their good selves in tact just serves to emphasize how unfair the process is—standardization, as Kurokami says, is impossible.
Absolute Duo, Episode 10: First off—Darkray Disaster!? DARKRAY DISASTER!?!? Is this just not the most perfect blend of LN silliness and sensitive character writing ever? Is this not Absolute Duo? At this point, I basically feel like I’ll be saying the same thing at the end of the show as I was at the beginning: Absolute Duo has absolutely no reason to be as not-terrible as it is, but that’s the reality. Whether it was Usagi-sensei laughing at the graduated students or Tachibana crying in the shower or the lovely moment of Julie comforting Thor after his dream (no fanservice, no silly reactions, just understated intimacy), Absolute Duo continues to miraculously nail its small character moments alongside the absurdity of the plot. A killing game with your students? Are you kidding me? It should be so absurd. It shouldn’t work. But because Absolute Duo neither revels in nor treats these silly things like their entirely serious, instead just running along with them in a matter-of-fact manner (just like the way it handled Thor and Julie saving each other last episode), it works. Again, huge kudos to the adaptation team. This is the triumph of good creative choices.
In a Sentence:
Rolling☆Girls, Episode 9: Production in the dumpster, Chiaya’s a freaking alien, other things went on—next episode, please.
Log Horizon 2, Episode 22: Wow; wasn’t expecting for Log Horizon to start touching on endgame (heh) stuff already, but with talk of going home it seems the end of the series is in distant sight.
Garo, Episode 21: I was kind of hoping Garo had forgotten Ximenia in order to reduce the risk that she dies horribly like almost every other female character in the show, but looks like no such luck.
Assassination Classroom, Episode 8: More fun in the sun with this show—a very nice way to wind down after the intensity of Death Parade and Garo.