Whoa, highlights are on a different day this season! That’s right, they sure are! Due to Ore Monogatari!! being a blog show and airing on Wednesday, Wednesdays are going to be pretty tight for me schedule wise, so I’m bumping highlights back to Tuesday for Spring 2015. This actually works pretty well, as it means the majority of shows will be on the same episode number, with a few shows (Nisekoi:, Punchline, Pleiades, Ore Monogatari!!) being an episode back. For full disclosure, there’s also a matter of search rankings: the Ore Monogatari!! posts will rank better if there’s been posting on the blog in the days prior. So, that’s that! Hope it doesn’t bother anyone much! Let’s get to it!
Blood Blockade Battlefront, Episode 2: Visually dense, totally thrilling. An incredible episode.
The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, Episode 2: If I survive this season alive it will be a honest to goodness Christmas miracle because holy wow the adorableness that this season is putting out is just absurd. It’s not like Yuki-chan has a monopoly on the cute, but this week’s episode was some genuinely squeal-worthy stuff—like Kyon and Nagato in a fake snowball fight using cotton snow and sharing Kyon’s Santa outfit to keep warm out in the cold under the snow. I’m not even a Nagato x Kyon shipper from the main series and I can’t resist how freaking cute this stuff is. The other big note this episode was the real debut of Haruhi Suzumiya herself, who in this alternate timeline recruits a glasses-less Nagato to help her draw her sky drawing. I really liked how Haruhi’s crazy need to encounter the supernatural has been preserved in Yuki-chan and that the force of her personality remains intact enough to actually serve as a plot point in motivating Nagato along in her goals. This is fan fiction, sure, but it’s very well constructed fan fiction.
Show by Rock!, Episode 2: I liked this show last week; this week, I love it. I didn’t think Show by Rock! could one-up itself in its sophomore outing (I was just hoping for it to stay level, honestly), but forget that! Thanks to the absurd introduction of SHINGANCRIMSONZ and more amazing Cyan faces and sheep girl being sheep girl, this episode was even funnier, even crazier, and just generally even better than the premiere. This isn’t even guilty pleasure level stuff—it’s just plain good fun, a running collection of gags, nonsense, and J-Pop that fulfills my need for campy music anime with aplomb. The other big thing to like here is that all the characters—especially the SHINGANCRIMSONZ guys and even Mamoru Miyano’s Syu☆cho—are just huge dorks, which is my absolute favorite kind of cast for a show like this. Crazy fun is well and good, but when you have characters who are lovable just because they’re a little bit dense in their own unique ways, crazy fun becomes endearing as well as just fun. Anyways, the fears that Show by Rock!‘s premiere was just a flash in the pan is gone; this is a good show.
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU 2, Episode 2: Wow, I didn’t realize how totally clumsy that tile was until I wrote it all the way out. So, anyways, a lot of the issues that I was having with SNAFU 2 in its first episode were alleviated by this episode—the chemistry between Yukino, Yui, and Hachiman was back, I felt like I started to remember what kind of relationships these people all have with each other, and the character designs even started to look a bit more normal to me (although they do look flat/plain bad in some spots). The side-effect of all those worries going away was me remembering what I really like about this show and, most importantly, that I think I’ll get the most out of it if I’m marathoning it, not watching it weekly. Particularly for arcs like this, where the emotional connections carry over from one week to the next, I’d rather be able to see the entire situation spin out at once than have to wait and remember every week. So, SNAFU 2 is going on hold until it’s done air—hey, maybe I’ll get a chance to rewatch the first season between now and then!
Plastic Memories, Episode 2: I feel a bit bad that I waited until late Monday to watch this episode, because it was really good! Not quite great, but really good. Tsukasa (I can’t not hear “tú casa” every time they say his name) is proving himself to be one of the top male characters of the season with his combination of good-heartedness, his strong work ethic, and his ability to empathize with other people. His little speech to Isla about the manual (accompanied by some of Dogakobo’s signature silly character acting) and the subsequent suggestions that he handle the negotiations was the highlight of the episode for me. It’s a little early, perhaps, to be making sweeping statement on the show, but it really feels like Plastic Memories has settled into a nice groove in terms of the show it wants to be. This episode was more comedic and the moment of retrieval was kind of shuffled to the background of the episode’s structure behind the ED, but it really does feel to me like the show know where it wants to go. That’s a good place to be two episodes in.
Sound! Euphonium, Episode 2: A great episode of Sound! Euphonium this week. Aside from all the typical KyoAni strengths—nice character animation, good comedic timing, gorgeous background, and nice character designs—the the thing that’s impressed me most is the accuracy with which the show is portraying one of the fundamental high school club conflicts: the tension between those who really want to try and those who just want to have fun. Having been in show choir for three years in high school, this is a battle with which I’m all too familiar. The club senpais putting things to a vote puts a lot of pressure on those who don’t really want to conform to the desires of those who really do want to go to Nationals, and I’m absolutely certain we’ll see the stress lines show up sooner rather than later. What’s interesting is that Taki-sensei allows them to take this route without intervention; I’m quite fascinated to see what his role is going to be in the inevitable conflict.
- A short tumblr post on my experience with high school clubs
Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic, Episode 2: “Open sesame!” This show kills me; it’s terrible, but there’s no better way to die.
Yamada-kun, Episode 1: I was worried they wouldn’t really be able to capture the charm of the manga, but, while it’s still not quite the same, Yamada-kun the anime is still pretty darn charming, although it definitely could be crafted with a little more skill than it is. The Liden Films production values are pretty barebones, but the characters generally stay on model and the animation is at least substantial enough to convey the action of the scenes. The characters are Yamada-kun‘s greatest strength anyways, so as long as the spirit of the characters is coming through, all is well. The OP song (and minimalist animation) are pretty great, too!
Danmachi, Episode 2: Eyaaaaa, so cute! Bell is a gift. We’re very nearly to the end of the first volume of the light novel, so new territory (for me) is cropping up soon. I’m very pleased with the adaptation so far and I’m currently working on an editorial-style piece on Danmachi for Thursday, so look forward to that!
Mikagura Gakuen, Episode 2: Kind of a dull episode thanks to the club tour bit and the battle itself wasn’t all that exciting until Eruna got her power and the sakuga bits actually kicked in. Cool to know Dogakobo has the staff to be able to do that for an episode like this even while they’re doing two shows. Overall, though, Mikagura is really show the seams of its tropey magic high school premise, so hopefully Eruna getting powers will open up the rest of the things the show can do.
Assassination Classroom: I haven’t forgotten about it or dropped it! I’m just behind! I’ll catch up soon!