To be entirely honest, it’s a minor miracle that this post is out on time this week, what with falling seven shows behind over the weekend thanks to Anime St. Louis. Despite that, though, I was treated to an excellent slate of episodes in the past week, with my “non-serious yet dearly beloved” crop of shows (Show by Rock!, Nisekoi:, etc.) continuing to be exactly what I need and want them to be: really enjoyable entertainment.
Note: Hoping to get the Blood Blockade Battlefront write-up out on Thursday. I’ve got all the ideas set, just need to pull it all together.
Ore Monogatari!!, Episode 2: Spent some time this week talking about why I really like how Rinko’s been written so far.
Wish Upon the Pleiades, Episode 2: In the early awards of the season, Wish Upon the Pleiades is running away with the top prize for “Best Use of the Color Blue.” Seriously, art director Hiroshi Kato is having a veritable love affair with all sorts of shades of blue in this show and I’m absolutely loving it. The team at Gainax is also doing a really marvelous job of making the sky scenes feel vast and expansive and awesome and wonderful, something that I haven’t seen many anime attempt or succeed at. As far as the story goes, episode two retained that same sort of inarticulable quirk that attracted me to it in the first place—but I’m thinking maybe the best way to describe it is as “easy to watch.” There’s not much here that’s new, even to someone like me who hasn’t seen many magical girl anime, but there’s a sort of fresh-faced eagerness and ease to the presentation that makes it feel kind of exhilarating to watch. Oh, and the car noises are still good. Incidentally, I’m feeling like this might be an early pick for my pet show of the season.
Punchline, Episode 2: I guess it’s a good thing noitaminA show are apparently no longer limited to 11 episodes because this episode kind of felt like wasted time to me (although maybe all the Cheermancy nonsense will become relevant later on?). Superficially, this was more or less just an episode of the female characters derping around together, but since we don’t really know any of them yet it was neither comfy nor really all that entertaining. The fact is that none of the characters, not even Yuta, have really been well fleshed-out to this point. Minus the action and plot elements of last episode, that leaves us with bad meta jokes—”That’s a random premise”—and panty shots. Yay. The golden duo of quality anime. In other news, the ED is still the best thing about this show and until Punchline can give some substance to its characters it’s going to be at risk of getting dropped. If next week’s episode ends up being the same thing as this week’s episode, I’m probably gone.
Yamada-kun, Episode 2: Dang, the OP for this show really is one of the best of the season, isn’t it? I still feel like I’m at something of a crossroads with Yamada-kun. It’s definitely not a bad adaptation, but I’m not entirely convinced it can be entertaining through the parts of the manga that dragged for me (which, incidentally, we’re kind of getting into already thanks to the speedy pace of the anime). I’m also not really sure that the animated adaptation is adding all that much to my original experience with the same material from the manga. The problem is that I still find the overall package kind of charming, despite all my reservations about it. I’m not quite at the point where I want to drop the show, but I’m sort of getting the feeling it might be one of those shows I just don’t come back to one week and never get the motivation to catch back up on. (It doesn’t help that I already bough the OP, so I don’t need to go back to the show each week for my fix of WEAVER’s slick track).
Plastic Memories, Episode 3: The whole first half of the episode—aka Tsukasa’s generic anime rom-com crap—was pretty banal despite the fact that the comedic timing was good and Michiru and Tsukasa both some great faces. Some of the jokes were even kind of funny isolated on their own (like Tsukasa’s attempts to bulk up), but the overall context of the situation made the show merry-go-round generic and unfunny. I didn’t help that the suggestion-action-reaction formula seems to be the only comedic structure the writers could think of, making things feel repetitive besides unfunny. The second half of the episode—aka Tsukasa tries to take Isla on a date without her knowing—was somewhat better (although the jokes were still lame), but I found myself asking the exact opposite question from the one Plastic Memories seemed to be trying to make me ask: “does Isla even need to be changed?” instead of “why won’t she change?” Everything is funneled through Tsukasa’s more benign motivations, but the show itself seems hell-bent on forcing Isla to change despite the fact she’ll be passing away in approximately 80 days. I won’t suppose too much about the future of the show, but I’m predicting a lecture for Isla eventually. Urgh.
Sound! Euphonium, Episode 3: Episode of the Week! Seriously, what a marvelous episode. Euphonium‘s been good from the beginning, but it really kicked things up to another level this week. I’m starting to have pretty serious regrets about not picking this one up for weekly blogging, to be honest—there’s just so much to say about each episode, even though each one does a fantastic job of speaking for itself. The conflict of interests I was writing about last week really did come to a head in this episode and, heck, this isn’t even the first time it’s happened with this band! I’m not gonna lie—at this point, I am fully on the side of those who want to try. Their frustration and the catch-22 between needing the lazy members to create a band but also wanting them to change is just too relatable. Push too hard and you lose half your members; don’t push hard enough and those who want to try will quit, just like the ones last year did. Pile on top of this the anxiety the whole situation has created for the powerless first years and you’ve got a real mess made by people who are only thinking about themselves and what they want to get out of the experience. I’ve also become a pretty big fan of Kumiko’s episode-ending narrations for maintaining Sound! Euphonium‘s novel roots and cleverly moving the story along.
The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, Episode 3: So, this show is basically a 16-episode argument for the validity of fan fiction, a medium that, while I never really scorned it or anything like that, I never really took all that seriously. But seeing what’s essentially a fan fiction play out before my eyes—and realizing the incredible amounts of entertainment I am divining from it—has definitely given me a lens into why people write fan fictions. Because it’s hella fun to watch characters you already know and love behave enough like themselves to be recognizable but enough not like themselves for it to be fresh and fun and everything you secretly wanted from the original material but couldn’t have. Actually seeing Haruhi show up (with a vengeance, I should add) and rampage around the screen like her usual self and seeing the way all the other characters react to her in slightly different ways was just a bunch of fun. Throw in a bunch of ponytail and a bunch of Nagato faces and I am a very happy fan of the Haruhi franchise.
Ninja Slayer, Episode 1: I get the joke. The joke’s just not funny at all. Dropped.
Danmachi, Episode 3: So, sometimes you write essays about shows in the middle of their runs and then the next episode makes your essay kind of unnecessary. That’s what happened with the editorial I wrote on Danmachi last week and the most recent episode. This episode was basically 25 minutes of exactly the sort of stuff I was talking about in that piece, plus with the added bonus of making Bell’s action of locking Hestia up to protect her look incredibly stupid. Danmachi certainly is no bastion of feminist values, but it’s nice to see that the show allows Bell and Hestia’s relationship to be that of narrative equals. It makes me happy. So yeah, go read that editorial and watch this episode—you should see exactly what I mean.
Nisekoi:, Episode 2: Oh, so I was not expecting an entirely new character this episode, but Paula and Tsugumi really held up the entertainment value of the episode well! Heck, even Raku performed well this week! Definitely didn’t miss Chitoge as much as I do when other characters (coughOnoderacough) are on-screen.
Show by Rock!, Episode 3: I had been kind of noticing this in earlier episodes, but I really heard it this week—Show by Rock! has a great soundtrack, even beyond the insert songs. As for the story, everything is still energetic and fun and great to watch and that’s all it needs to be!