Winter 2015, Week 10: Highlights of the Week

Only two weeks until the end of season review pile is upon me (or, for KimiUso, like…2 days)! I didn’t do any end of season reviews last season due to the whole Toradora! project, but I’m planning on doing a few this season. I’m still trying to decide on which shows I want to review, but I’m not certain yet. KanColle and Maria the Virgin Witch (yes, I’m planning on picking it back up) are probably both going to be completed by the end of the season, so let me know if you guys have any shows you’d really like me to cover!

Log Horizon 2

Your Lie in April, Episode 21: Where did that episode come from? Best episode KimiUso has had in a long, long time.

Akatsuki no Yona, Episode 23: Episode of the Week! (Stolen from Shirobako) Ahh, it was so good. Make sure to check out my cinematographic breakdown of the Su-won sequence on Tumblr if you haven’t read it already!

Shirobako, Episode 22: A marvelous episode, if only for the beautiful new outfit Aoi got (sadly, only for a brief moment). Not that the rest of the episode was bad at all. Tarou and Hiraoka getting drunk together and talking about their dreams was an adorable, shippable, and touching scene, even if they were bashing Aoi during their drunken buddy time. And then there was Diesel-chan’s chilling line, “What scares me is not being able to become a script writer,” which was essentially a callout of my own exact feelings, and Ema’s dilemma (heh) over whether or not to take the assistant animation director spot being resolved with the help of her friends and Sugie’s wisdom and the heartbreaking scenes of Zuka-chan watching a newbie voice actress talk about her struggles and Mii-chan getting help from Ema even as Ema struggled and Kunogi actually uttering a complete sentence. You got me, Shirobako. You got me with all these wonderful characters and you’re not letting me go. Please don’t go…

Death Parade, Episode 10: Man, what a serene episode to follow up the high-pitched emotion of last week’s episode. We’re clearly getting set up for a fiery finish with both Ginti and Oculus looking like they’re about to make their moves. Somehow, though, Chiyuki (yay, we finally know her name—and it’s a lovely name) is the key to all this because she’s the key to Decim. Although I’m not sure of the details, it seems to me that Decim is Nona’s chosen pawn for overthrowing the judgement system. Part of me is really trying to draw parallels between Jimmy (Decim) and Chiyuki (Chovvo), but the pieces of the story seem too mixed up for it really to be a 1:1 comparison. Perhaps what really needs to happen is for Nona’s statement in episode two—”You know what the most primal emotion is? Fear.”—to be overturned with something else entirely. Love? Friendship? Sadness? Something else? I’m not sure and to have all that swimming around when the episode itself was a peaceful, friendly card game between a generous old woman and two dolls is pretty incredible.

Death Parade

Garo, Episode 22: I think it’s really cool that Garo can do masterfully crafted stuff like the three episode stint starting with Lara’s death and going through the Ema episode, where the visuals are incredible and the story moving, but also execute episodes like this with absolute confidence, even when the production schedule is clearly suffering. The whole “guarding the gate” thing that German does is classic for a “race to the finish” story like this, as are the obstacles that keep showing up in Leon & co’s path. But, slightly wonky character designs and all, Garo continues to execute scene after scene with effective weight. The pacing is basically perfect, cutting between German’s battle and Leon’s journey at perfect moments to build tension, and Octavia taking one more insane step in her chilling commitment to Mendoza sets her as the final gatekeeper, the distraction that will probably cost German his life at the hands of mobs he no longer has the energy to fight. I’m super excited for the final two episodes of this show; it’s been a great ride.

Garo

Absolute Duo, Episode 11: So, it all ends next week with one more big boss fight. To be honest, the whole Miyabi x Tor ship is pretty hard to get on board with when the yuri undertones are so strong with Miyabi x Tomoe (I mean, sheesh, y’all have seen third ED song, you know what I mean). And, anyways, Tor is so obviously devoted to Julie that I wouldn’t want that torn apart. Nor do I want Miyabi to be sad all the time, so a good, old-fashioned yuri ship seems like the best way to solve that problem, you know? Err, but the episode! I thought it was pretty cool that the group actually did Miyabi to deal with the obviously overmatched Tomoe. It fell right in line with Absolute Duo‘s surprisingly consistent presentation of a Duo’s bonds as being both paramount in importance and exceptionally strong. Generic? Of course, but it’s still working for me 11 episodes in!

Absolute Duo

In a Sentence:

  • Durarara!! x2, Episode 10: Things continue to become more unraveled and more tangled up at the same time, and it’s a blast to watch.
  • Log Horizon 2, Episode 23: I actually think Isaac and Iselus are more adorable to watch than Crusty and Lenessia were.
  • Rolling Girls, Episode 10: I’m honestly just sticking with it hoping that we’ll get a few more really amazing looking fight scene before it ends and because of the music.
  • Assassination Classroom, Episode 9: I thought Ritsu was going to be something of a wash, but she turned out to be a pretty great addition to the cast even if she isn’t human.

Assassination Classroom

19 thoughts on “Winter 2015, Week 10: Highlights of the Week

  1. Death Parade was as you say. And I spent some moments in silence afterward soaking it in.

    Shirobako, making a bee line for my work-life again. Ema (?) showing Misa how to space the in-betweens in her CG. I don’t know what’smore golden, being shown something like that and vaving the Aha! moment, or being the mentor and seeing the understanding light up in someone else. I’m gonna miss these guys!

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  2. Aaand – the weekly wall o’ text.

    Aldnoah Zero Ep 10; More silliness and two expected confrontations. Sometimes it seems, though I mostly enjoy it, that I’m just watching this out of habit. This weeks ep was like that.

    The IDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls ep 9; After last weeks decent episode… we get this weeks drek. I hate it when they’ve portrayed a character one way, and then do a complete 180 to pull themselves out of the corner they’ve written themselves into. (And, as expected, they’ve announced the second cour will air starting in July.)

    Kan Colle ep 11; Wow… death flags much? Next week will probably make or break the series… It’s been a fun ride, but the Evil Twin seems to be writing the script this week and probably next.

    KimiUso ep 21; Commented on your blog entry this week.

    Koufuku Graffiti ep10; Honestly, one of the better eps this seasons – sticking to the show’s main theme without many distractions or ero-eating. We finally meet Yuuki (the neighbor), and she makes Kirin look normal without being herself unbelievable. Sadly, most of the web commentary this week centered around the pizza rather than the show… This is Japan folks, not Brooklyn. They do things differently, get over it.

    Saekano ep9; OK, the emotional catharsis was needed (and almost as well done as Hatoko’s famous rant in Inou Battle), but other than that I don’t know what the writers were thinking this week. Even if the individual episodes are well done, time is running short. Yeah, I’ve blown hot and cold here in the second half, but it’s still a show I would commend to you Bless. If you’re looking for another to review, I’d pick Saekano over Koufuku Graffiti.

    Shirobako ep 22; Up until the last few seconds… one of the best of this cour. A slice-of-life episode where we check in with all the MC’s, from Ema’s bold steps to poor Zuka. It turns out we weren’t done with with Hiraoka either – we finally get his full backstory. And then, funny story, the writers close out the show by introducing the recurring monster-of-the-weak. I know confusions and deadlines and delays are endemic to the anime industry, even if Shirobako hadn’t pounded us over the head with it – my objection is that the pretty much solve it the same way every time… they combine forms into one mighty warrior and with ganbatte!, hard work, and good cheer good once again the day is saved.

    No comment this week; Sailor Moon Crystal

    In other news;

    T-15 days from Con… and the preliminary schedule is out. Depending on what some panels actually are, and we won’t know until the program guide comes out closer to con, it looks like I might have to clone myself.

    Nisekoi has been bouncing on and off my radar for a couple of weeks… now that they’ve announced a second season airing starting next season, it’s moved to the top of the “off season marathon” list.

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    • Whoops, I forgot to comment on Koufuku Graffiti in my own post. I’ll just say that I agree with you and leave it at that. In fact, this might have been my personal favorite episode of the season so far. I didn’t realize that Yuka Iguchi was the neighbor girl’s seiyuu until another reviewer pointed it out, but that also means, amusingly, that this episode had Index and Railgun sitting down for pizza together.

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    • If it means anything, I really enjoyed Nisekoi except for a few episodes centering around a particular character (but I don’t want to sway your opinion—just know Chitoge is best girl, kay?).

      I’m gonna grab the final three episodes of KanColle next week when it ends, so I hope it doesn’t entirely capsize.

      As for picking up more shows, I actually went back to Junketsu no Maria last night (I know, I know, after the big stink I raised all the way back in week 2…), so my end of season marathons are pretty much set right now. Yurikumi Arashi would be another high candidate for late season marathon, but I don’t think I’m going to get to it.

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      • About Maria…I’m not sure how far are you into it right now, but I think some of the recent events will be even more uncomfortable to you. Sorry, I won’t spoil but to be honest despite it may be done well objectively or whatever it still isn’t going to be easy to watch, actually I’m just going to wait until it’s over and marathon the last 3-4 eps straight – it will be easier if I don’t have to wait and ruminates things weekly, I think.

        But of course, that’s just how I feel, you probably will react differently (and I know many who aren’t that bothered by it). In any case, I think Maria is still a very well made anime, and that I can be that bothered could possibly mean that I’m emotionally invested, so they’re pretty successful at that I guess.

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        • I’ll keep that in mind. At this point, I’ve kind of steeled myself knowing I might be a little bit uncomfortable at times, but I’m kind of hoping it’s a good experience in that way.

          Who knows, I might end up quitting again if it really aggravates me, but I do like the characters a lot, which is a strong motivation to stay.

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  3. My thoughts this week.

    It looks like Rolling Girls is going to end up being my “Rage of Bahamut” for this season. Last season, RoB started off as one of my favorite shows, started to slip back to the pack around midseason, then I got really busy for a while and had to give up a show, so I put it on hold planning to marathon-finish it later, and three months later I still haven’t finished it. Rolling Girls is now falling into the same pattern, as I haven’t watched an episode of it since I got busy with some things about three weeks ago. Both of them were also Funimation shows though, which made it easier to lose touch with them since I only subscribe to Crunchyroll.

    OTOH, Assassination Classroom seems to have found its groove, and I’m having no trouble getting motivated to come back to that every week, despite the delaycast and commercials.

    I’ll be sad to see KimiUso end tomorrow. For as much as it’s sometimes exasperated me with its inconsistency, it’s still been a very enjoyable show overall.

    I was wondering how Kantai Collection planned to generate some dramatic tension for its climax. Based on today’s episode, it looks like they’re opting for the “tease the heck out of the historical parallels” approach, taking full advantage of the fact that any viewer with a basic history education already knows what happened at Midw…ERRR…”MI”. Heck of a cliffhanger to end this week’s episode on, though.

    Saekano 9’s narrative was dominated by the squabble between Aki and Eriri that began at the end of ep 8. I actually really liked Aki in this episode, for maybe the first time all season, and I thought the way the show handled their squabble was great. Both parties were given time to air legitimate grievances, and Aki refused to play the “generic nice guy MC” role, instead telling Eriri things she needed to hear rather than whatever would make her happy again. I also appreciated that they didn’t 100% make up/make nice, but still reaffirmed their desire to keep working together. Real people who harbor the hurts that they’ve both apparently been carrying around since grade school don’t just suddenly get over everything in two seconds – forgiveness still takes time even if you’re well-disposed towards the other person, and Saekano recognizing that fact gave their quarrel extra weight that made the whole arc feel much more realistic. Also, volume 1’s disc sales have been very strong so far (nearly 10k combined BD/DVD after 2 weeks), which raises my hopes for getting the second season that this show looks like it’s badly going to need.

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    • Good comments on Saekano. And yeah, it badly needs a second season. I don’t see how they can wrap it up in the time they have left.

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    • I think I’m going to make it to the end of Rolling Girls simply on the hope of some sweet tunes and some sweet action, but any chance that I would have considered buying the show is gone by this point.

      And yeah, Assassination Classroom is doing great work. As I wrote, I was worried about the 2D girl, but they managed that whole episode really well. The show’s still pretty simple, but it’s simple in a way that allows it to be comfortable, rather than insulting.

      Hm, sounds like Saekano was doing some things I’d like to see in this week’s episode, but I just don’t think I’m going to end up picking it back up. Too much other really good stuff to get through out of my backlog.

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      • TRG:
        Yeah, at this point I’m just watching for the flash and not really the substance. It’s too bad since I have a much greater expectation for it from the first episodes, but at least the flashier episodes are really entertaining so it’s not all bad.

        Assassination Classroom:
        Finally, best girl Ritsu makes an appearance. Regardless of quality, more than any other show this season this really is the easiest and most comfortable show to watch (contrast to say, Maria). I think I saw that this is also reflected in Japan – I think it’s top trending or the characters is in top position or something, though I don’t know if it’ll translate to BD/DVD sales. I know the manga is very popular though.

        Saekano:
        Agree fully with WingKing’s post – it’s not a resolution, but still a good conclusion to Eriri’s arc. I still think Eriri is the more unreasonable one though – but this is the first time I see Tomoya as an actual character, which is a long time coming. It’s good to know that he has issues unrelated to his VN otaku hobby as well.

        Overall, the last few episodes focusing on Utaha and Eriri works pretty well. I was hoping that this shows why exactly are those two so smitten by Tomoya, but while I’m still not entirely convinced by their reasons, I think it shows something else. That is, Kato will win this without a doubt. Because really, what the arc shows me is why Utaha and Eriri won’t win. For Utaha it’s her work – or more specifically, the ethical dilemma between a creator and her fan, and with Eriri there’s long-lasting issues between them that isn’t going to be really resolved anytime soon. I mean, it’s not impossible to work with, but I really think they’re better off as friends and that Kato aka best girl should and would win this.

        Despite all this though, I’m not sure if it’s good enough that it’s a must watch which you should come back on, especially if you’re having better shows in your backlog.

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  4. Off-topic, but I’m the person who suggested Cross Game in your ask.fm. It’s ostensibly about baseball, but it’s really, really good. I ended up marathoning all 50 episodes over the last three days.

    I would avoid looking it up online because of spoilers, but just watch the first episode. If that isn’t enough to interest you, you probably won’t like the show.

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    • Phew, I dunno if I can do a 3-day/50 episode marathon right now 😛

      As I said on ask.fm, I’ll take a look at it eventually and see if I’m interested enough to drop it into the old backlog. ^_^

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      • Seconding the Cross Game recommendation, it’s one amazing anime and is a real contender for AOTY when it airs. Like Rohan said, stay away from looking it up to avoid spoilers and try to at least saw the first episode – that one episode is all it took for me to completely fell in love with it. But yeah, it’s a 50+ ep series so you’re going to need some free time if you want to properly marathon it.

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  5. So to avoid long wall of text, I separated some of my thoughts as replies to other people’s comments. I think it works better too.

    Arc-V:
    Almost every author will face a problem where they know where the plot is going to go and what should happen, but the hardest thing is executing the transition in between. This is especially true in this show, where instead of actual fights the action is done through card game duels. This is why we have the longest duel ever which canonically took place over a day (seriously, even stall decks tag duel won’t last this long) because they need it to start early enough to give Yuya his development, but late enough that it will end just as Selena get there after getting all the info first.

    This being a thinly-veiled commercial for the products affect this, too. Some of the duels are done to highlight the newest product to hype them up, which sometimes can be worked well into a plot, but the actual duel suffers for it. Really, I think one of the better recent duels is the Yuzu-Gon tag duel one, and that one doesn’t really have that many new cards to promote and isn’t that vital to the plot, which gives the writer more flexibility.

    Rant aside, it’s nice to finally see Yuri and Yugo in action, and also to see Yuya trying to figure it out and not misunderstand as he normally would. Of course, with the kind of Deus Ex Machina-ish effect of Yuzu’s bracelet, this won’t last for long and the plot will be even more complicated.

    Shirobako:
    With Tarou and Hiraoka broing it up over drinks and the stuff at the very end, I think it’s clear and settled that Funny Story really is the absolute worst of them all. I think they’re going to this well a bit too often though -but anyway, this seem like the final hurdle before it ends and I hope that they can get through it in a new and interesting way too. I’m optimistic abotu the second season as well – there were initial plans to make it 52 eps already, and the sales are really really good.

    And I agree with iblessall, that red-black getup is by far Aoi’s best outfit and makes her even more of a best girl.

    Durarara:
    Akane’s flashback is very well done, and it reminds people again why Izaya is the absolute worst. It kinda slows down the plot again though, so I really hope there’s no more brakes on the next few episodes – we only got two more before it’s over, and there’s still so many plot threads.

    Log Horizon:
    Again, why do you make me fall in love again just when it’s almost over? This really isn’t fair.

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    • You agree with the red-black outfit. You agree that Aoi is best girl. Please never leave my comments section!

      I’m not too worried about Durarara!!’s impending ending since we still have two more cours to go, but I do sincerely hope we aren’t looking at a cliffhanger at the end of this cour. That would be…very bad indeed.

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      • Oh, I definitely won’t leave, though I might be too busy to post that often especially next quarter. Writing those wall of texts really took longer than I thought. A shorter impression on twitter might be better, but 140 character is way too limiting.

        Anyway, the fact that Aoi is best girl (Yano has best smile though) and that the red-black outfit is fantastic on her (I blame Rin Tohsaka for this particular fashion preference) is basically truism though. Speaking of Shirobako though, I definitely won’t spoil you the latest episode, but I think this one deserve a separate post for it like you often do Yona and Shigatsu. Although it’s the penultimate episode and you might as well leave it until the end.

        One more thing I forgot to say about Log Horizon – beyond what you already said, I really like Akatsuki’s character after her arc. She’s definitely less insecure and more confident, and by being more open she’s able to branch out socially and isn’t as dependent on Shiroe as she used to be. She even gave some good advice to Shiroe (with a stepladder I’m sure she carries everywhere for situations like this) which makes their relationship seems more equal. Despite her arc running a bit too long for my liking, it’s great to see that it’s actually relevant.

        I don’t even consider the possibility of a cliffhanger…that would suck so much. I think it’s going to be a bit of both – the current arc will be resolved, but not all questions are answered and some things (like the Russia mafia or Yakuza) will be explored further in the next cour.

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        • Oh, yeah! I totally have been noticing that Akatsuki and Shiroe have had some legitimate chemistry, rather than just Akatsuki pining over Shiroe. A really great improvement & generally just good, as you said, to actually see her character arc’s development impacting her now.

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