Winter 2015, Week 11: Highlights of the Week

The week of no bad episodes (almost), with the only stragglers being Rolling Girls, which has really fallen off badly since the Kyoto arc, and Absolute Duo‘s disappointing finale. But that’s a small price to pay for the absurd level of excellence pretty much everything else on the schedule brought out. It was a very good week to be an anime fan.

Your Lie in April, Episode 22 [End]: And that’s all she played, you know?

Akatsuki no Yona, Episode 24 [End]: Second season when?

Shirobako, Episode 23: Episode of the Week! Bleh, hate this show. It’s the worst, really. Super mean and hateful and abusive and just bad. UGH. UGHHHHHHH. I was late getting to this episode due to having family in town, so I knew something was coming, but I didn’t realize it would be like this. Not like this. Like most Shirobako episodes, I feel like it’s a bit difficult to talk about the episode because there was so much going on. Yeah, the cowboy scene was great. Yeah, Nogame and Kinoshita’s conversation was really cool. Hell yeah, it was satisfying to see Funny Story-kun getting blasted back by Nogame shouting at him. But all that fades in comparison to the final scene. As much as I rejoice for Zuka-chan and celebrate her finally getting a break, it was Aoi who brought me to tears because the achievement of her dream is so much more relatable for me. Aoi’s conclusion to her existential crisis has been that she wanted to support others as they create and now all her work has come together to allow one of her dear friends to achieve a dream. I’m just happy for everyone. Now, cry with me.

Shirobako

Garo, Episode 23: When Garo is on its cinematic game, it’s truly an awesome thing to see. This episode was packed not only with good action, but with a wealth of beautifully done shots, lending a great deal of aesthetic impact to the force of the fights. It’s one thing to have good fights; it’s another entirely have good fights in combination with cinematography that enhances the merits of the scene beyond the mere excitement of the battle. In terms of the actual plot, I’m a bit bitter about how it seems pretty much everyone besides Leon is going to die (thankfully the show didn’t kill Ximenia this episode). I just don’t see the point in layering on more deaths at this point besides for shock value. If Ema dies, to what end? German is presumably dead; to what end? Is there a point beyond some sort of martial verisimilitude? I don’t really see one.

Garo

Death Parade, Episode 11: Whew, that was pretty surreal. Moving from KimiUso‘s final performance of unreal beauty to Death Parade‘s splendid ice skating sequence was a super neat effect. Long moments without dialogue are pretty darn rare in anime, so the trust extended by the creators to their material (and audience) in this episode of Death Parade is really something special—even more so considering this is a show that ends in another episode, so to assume that the audience has the capacity to understand everything that the show is trying to communicate without using words is…a gamble, but a successful one, I think. Contrasted with the somewhat ugly, but ultimately kind, ending to the Maya-Harada saga, Chiyuki’s ongoing suspension manages to achieve a sort of existential tension from the memories of her human life with the immediacy of impending judgement.

Death Parade

Durarara!! x2, Episode 11: That was some riotous fun! Besides the knockout joke at the very end of the episode—sorry, Celty—I had a blast watching this episode, despite the subpar animation (at least by the standards of a semi-climactic episode) thanks to all the different plot lines converging behind on schoolgrounds, because where else would you set a fight between rival gangs? There was also the element of seeing more Kida than we have in a long time, along with Saki giving him a bit of a boost. Both of them are still a bit of a mystery to me, but Saki’s little speech about the difference between girlfriends and friends (not that I necessarily agree with her) was a fascinating little bit of character revelation. I’m anticipating Kida’s return to the fields of play, hopefully outside of Izaya’s poisonous influence.

Durarara!! x2

In a Sentence:

  • Assassination Classroom, Episode 10: You know, it’s almost like the students are the side-characters and the various assassins are the actual main characters (along with Koro Sensei)—starting to wonder if the series’ gambit is to place the audience in the students’ seats…
  • Log Horizon, Episode 24: Lots of great parts to this episode—like the intensity of the raid—but, of course, the defining moments was the Log Horizon B team boosting Shiroe up with the lessons they learned on their own journey and Akatsuki giving him his glasses back.
  • Rolling Girls, Episode 11: Errr…things happened, but not enough of those things were understandable or cool action sequences.
  • Absolute Duo, Episode 12 [End]: Final arc kind of puttered to a halt, but at least we got to see K as a Gundam.

Assassination Classroom

16 thoughts on “Winter 2015, Week 11: Highlights of the Week

  1. I’m optimistic for Garo…they have the record of pulling the “darkest before dawn” penultimate episode where everything is bleak and tragic only to reverse it at the end. Agree with you though about the cinematography…it’s only a pity that their budget isn’t bigger to make this kind of thing consistent enough.

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      • I just hope Ema is alright. I don’t think Alfonso really is in danger and with German’s death I’m kinda ok with.
        His death would – judging from the preview – play into the solution of the plot (weakening Anima?) and may be of narrative/subtextual value as well (emancipation from the past & paternal figure). Additionally, it might be that Ximena is now pregnant and Leon might be called upon to be a mentor of the “next generation”.

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  2. An emotional week. Shirobako is just… joy. Musani really gets dreams going. It’s like a place that rewards hard work and perseverance. I hope real world workplaces are like that, I really do.

    Death Parade… I’ll admit, the Maya and Harada scene shocked me. I know it can be interpreted that Maya can be together with Harada forever, considering Maya’s dream and her perspective on her core existence. It might seem kind but it’s just…

    Falling into darkness forever, is that something that a person would want?

    I really would prefer them to be reincarnated, taking into factor that the correct way of performing a judgement is yet to be clear.

    Moving on to something less heavy on the emotions, Durarara!!x2 is crazy fun. Let’s see how many episodes more they can keep it up. I liked Celty in season 1, and I like Celty now even more. She’s strong, badass, thoughtful at times (that cute little scene with Akane last week), but she’s a little girl at heart. Her innocence is warm.

    I wonder what would happen if she gets back her head though. Lol.

    Final raid in Log Horizon S2? Shiroe can actually stutters. I’m really happy that they make use of the glasses-pushing antics to show character development, instead of just a decorative action. Also his smug face at the end after his recovery.

    Akatsuki no Yona season 2 please. Let us have another shojo/josei manga-turned-anime as successful as Nodame Cantabile, featuring a whooping 45 episodes, 2 OVAs, and 2 DVD specials. It’d be glorious. One can hope and dream!

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    • Like I did last week, I’m going to reply on some other commenters anime thoughts to reduce the wall of text.

      Shirobako:
      Really, any one of the scenes iblessall mentioned is enough to launch it to top 5 best anime episode of the week, but that they’re all together is just amazing. And it’s not just ‘cheap’ catharsis, but this is a result of episodes of foreshadowing and character development, and that’s what makes it even better as it feels earned.

      I don’t know what more praise I can say except this: all anime-watching people really needs to watch Shirobako. Maybe not to a first-timer as it can get overhwhelming, but not only is it full of knowledge in many stuff your usual anime fan has no clue about, it’s just plain good anime that’s enjoyable for everyone.

      Oh, and apparently the last episode is going to be delayed a full day until Friday.

      Durarara:
      Many other shows would use the last mini-flashback to explain things like how Shizuo got there. Durarara just uses it as another opportuntiy to poke fun at Celty, which I love. Really, despite her actual species Celty is without a doubt the most human after all, and this is what makes her the best girl. Sometimes I feel they make it a bit too perfect though, especially in a world full of messed-up people like Durarara.

      As for the episode itself, great to see the brawl finally happening. Kida will finally get over his drama and hopefully come back, and it’s been a long time coming since we last see Anri being a badass again (I don’t mind her having some sort of rivalry with Vorona, can do with more sword action scenes), now all that’s left is Mikado. Don’t just smile in crazy situations, but do something cool about it to make it interesting!

      Log Horizon
      I kinda feel the impact of the lower budget here, story is of course important but visuals really affect how invested you are to the scenes as well. For me the thing that bothers me the most is the songs, it seems they always use the same track for the fights and while it’s great at first, it kinda gets boring after a while. Wow, those People of the Land really have it bad with just 42 songs ever…

      Oh, and another thing. Despite all I said about Akatsuki last week, there’s a reason her main love rival is Minori – if it’s Henrietta, she’ll never stand a chance. Seriously, Henrietta is my 2nd favorite female character in this show (closely behind Lenessia) and it’s great to finally see her in actual action too. Yeah, there’s no way LH can end in anything but a cliffhanger, and we’ll wait years for season 3 (if even possible) since this is pretty much all there is of the source material.

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    • I definitely like Celty more in little bits than in whole scenes. I just think she works a lot better that way.

      And yeah, it was so cool to see Shiroe actually stumble and lose confidence for a little bit. Not because I dislike him, but because I think it’s really important for Log Horizon to keep him from becoming Kirito, except with brains instead of two swords. Plus, that meant we got to see a little spark of Minori backing him up—her dream, you know!

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  3. The weekly wall o’ stuff;

    Aldnoah Zero Ep 11; Tension and body count builds as Hime-Sama decides she’s going to a player rather than a prize.

    Kan Colle ep 11; Delayed due to production issues. (But it apparently has aired in Japan, so probably a subbing problem like Shirobako had a couple of weeks back.)

    KimiUso ep 22; Commented on this weeks entry and the season review.

    Koufuku Graffiti ep11; They finally do what they should have been doing all along – two mini eps in one episode. Sadly, both were pretty weak.

    Saekano ep10; Some character development and not much plot this week, but plenty of “plot” as Michiru, the musical cousin, and her (ahem) casual attitude towards semi-nudity makes an appearance.

    Shirobako ep 22; Ok, I take back most of what I said about the “monster of the weak” last week – but only because they pulled a fast one on us and served up one of the best episodes of the season. (Mmm… braised crow with a side of mashed root vegetables!) If the Director stalking the halls of Yotaka Bookshop wasn’t enough, his face to face with Nogame (Third Aerial Girls‘s mangaka) and their heartfelt conversation as equally passionate Creators was exceedingly well done. A few weeks back, I noted that the Director was the best developed character outside of the girls and wondered why – and this week all that screen time was paid off in spades. This episode simply wouldn’t have worked otherwise. Then on top of what was already a damn good episode, Zuka chan finally gets her big break… damn onion ninjas. Serious kudos to the writers and production staff for making it flow naturally from events rather than simply being a last minute ass-pull.

    The IDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls ep 10; Another week of drek… It’s a well worn trope, and it could have been good, but they blew it.

    No comment this week; Sailor Moon Crystal.

    In other news;

    Miss Monochrome; This one has been on my radar as an idol anime (and because of her role in Girlfriend Kari) for some time… with last weeks announcement of a sequel we sat down to check it out and ended up marathoning it. (Though to be honest, at three minutes of show per episode it wasn’t a huge investment in time.) Turned out to be very enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to the new season.

    Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199; We had a friend over for dinner who, like me, watched Star Blazers way, way back in the distant days of our youth. (By which I mean the 1970’s.) He’d heard me talk about 2199, so we watched the first few episodes. However… there was an unexpected wrinkle… My lovely lady ended up getting interested! She gave me the DVD box set of Uchuu Senkan Yamato/Star Blazers for Christmas a few years back and sat with me as I struggled to watch them (they have aged very poorly, and I gave up on both a few episodes in) and as a result was not at all interested in 2199 despite multiple tries on my part to get her to watch it. So, we spent Sunday and then Monday evening marathoning. (My fifth time watching it completely through, partly because nostalgia, partly because it actually is pretty good.)

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    • I realized after I wrote the above that I should clarify-Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 is a reboot/reimagining of the original Uchuu Senkan Yamato, not a sequel.

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    • Saekano:

      Yeah, I’m far from the guy who gets too bothered about ecchi but even I feel that it’s really distracting this episode. I mean, a few at first is fine to establish that the new girl is a tomboy with no compunctions about being seen by her cousin, but it’s like the show wants to make up for lost episodes by frequently zooming on all parts of her body.

      I mean, there’s some things that can be interesting beyond that too – I feel that unlike his other friends , Michiru actually wants him to get away from the otaku lifestyle. In contrast, Utaha and Eriri is a fellow otaku, Kato even starts to enjoy otaku works and the parents doesn’t seem to care. Well, ultimately she’s going to supply the music though, and I have to admit I really like the music she’s playing at the end there.

      Also, is it true that the last episode tomorrow will be one-hour?

      Assassination Classroom

      Well, I actually like the teachers too, so I’m all for it if Assassination classroom focus on the teachers as well (they’re actually assassins and is in the classroom too). Karasuma gets to show that there’s a reason he’s picked to teach there, and I like how they make the seductive honeypot assassin into a total dork. I also like how they make Irina wins against Karasuma – not through moe begging like some other works might do, but by sheer persistence.

      By the way, anyone knows where I can get myself my personal Ritsu app? And it’s nice to see Killua at the end there.

      Rolling Girls

      I was always wondering about how I often get lost when watching Rolling Girls – is it the show’s fault for not being clear enough, or am I just beign too inattentive and slow? if it’s the latter, is it my fault or the show’s for not being engaging enough? It probably is actually my fault in some parts, but nice to see I’m not the only one with this problem. Oh well, it’s just one episode off from ending anyway. I really expected more from this show, though.

      YGO Arc-V:

      The duel writing is forced to fit the plot as usual, but I really like how they are successful in making previous ‘jerk’ characters into someone we can really symphatize with this episode. That’s not even mentioning Sawatari, which becomes better and better with each appearance. Now, let’s see if they can do this same treatment for Sora…

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      • As far as Rolling Girls go, this episode was the first time I got really lost (although the seeds of that were sown last week). The show just doesn’t do a very good job of giving you things to latch on to with the characters to make them distinguishable from each other and then suddenly those characters are go and you’re on to the next set. I’d like to think I’m paying attention each week, but I’m still struggling to stay engaged since the Kyoto arc ended.

        Irina x Karasuma ship, yes???

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    • Kancolle ep12 was delayed a day, so I’m dropping this here since it would normally go in this week. (Here be spoilers!)

      Well, that was a waste. After a big build up last week, they let it drop for a Miraculous Save. Then they built up again, only to let it drop for a Miraculous Save… lather, rinse, repeat. (And in between pack all the Magical Girl, Magical Battle High School, and This Is Our Last Stand tropes they could manage.) Every shipgirl of note gets her final turn in the spotlight and then they sail off in formation into the sunset – fade to announcement of Season 2.

      And really, the final ep just recounts the basic problem with the whole show; the writers/production staff never could make up their mind what kind of show they wanted it to be. As the series reviewer over on ANN said, the series was better than it had it right to be given what they had to work with – but I think there’s a corollary there, it’s not nearly as good as it could have been.

      At the midseason break, I gave it a tentative ranking of 2.5 – average. Final ranking – a solid 2, pulled down by the clumsy execution of the final arc and disappointing finale.

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      • Yeah, definitely a stock ending for KanColle. I didn’t mind too much since I never really expected anything different. Hopefully the next season will be back to shipgirls derping around and leave the dramatic stuff alone for the most part.

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    • Miss Monochrome is delightful! Good for a joke an episode, which isn’t terrible!

      Man, yeah, the director and Nogame talking to each other really was a fantastic scene. Two passionate men, two creative forces running into each other and ultimately coming to understand each other. Idealistic and supremely positive? Perhaps, but even so…it was wonderful to watch.

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    • Hey, thanks for asking! I have a philosophical aversion to season previews, but you can check out the Current Watchlist page to see everything that I’m planning on giving a try for the spring season. I also did an ask.fm answer a while ago with a few more detailed thoughts.

      I have actually given some thought to which shows I want to blog about on a weekly basis and while those choices will probably be somewhat decided by my impressions of the first episodes of the shows that seem like I can talk about them each week, here’s a quick list of the shows I’m thinking about doing weekly posts for (everything else will get shuffled into the weekly highlights posts):

      • Mikagura Gakuen (Mon): Not many people blog shoujo and I’ve really liked doing it in the past, but I don’t know if Mikagura will have the substance to merit it.
      • Ore Monogatari!! (Wed): Pretty much a lock for weekly blogging. Another shoujo and I’m almost certain I’ll have things to say.
      • Plastic Memories (Sat): Lots of thematic potential for Dogakobo’s original series, but seeing the first episode will be important for deciding if I want to blog it weekly or not.
      • Blood Blockade Battlefront (Sat): If nothing else, Rie Matsumoto’s style should provide a lot of fodder for discussions of form, to say nothing of the potential narrative and thematic kindling the show might provide. It could also end up making a lot of interesting mistakes.

      So, yeah, not a huge list (and I definitely would only be picking one show from Saturday). One important note is that the weekly highlights post will probably get bumped to a different day of the week if I do end up blogging Mikagura. And, of course, there is always the chance that I’ll end up blogging none of these and pick up other shows instead!

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