Spring 2015, Week 3: Highlights of the Week

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.

Danmachi

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.

Punchline

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).

Yamada-kun

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.

Plastic Memories

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.

Sound! Euphonium

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.

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan

Short Takes~

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!

Show by Rock!

30 thoughts on “Spring 2015, Week 3: Highlights of the Week

    • It’s just incredibly impressive how Euphonium continues to resist melodrama for realism and manages to be compelling in its constructions of conflicts through the competing motivations of its characters. The fundamentals are so, so strong with this show.

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  1. The thing that frustrated me the most about Plastic Memories is how utterly uninterested it is in fleshing out its world. How were Giftia developed in the first place? How could you become qualified to own one? Why did they bother to simulate human internal organs for the Giftia, to (the totally unnecessary and impractical) extent that they can pee and bleed? What are the social & politic ramifications of this Giftia-centric world? I don’t mind that the show focused on interpersonal drama instead of hard sci-fi (I actually like the Shirobako-esque individual conflict such as Tsukasa trying to prove himself despite getting the job through connection), but the fundamentals of the premise are so weak it’s actively distracting; and instead of exploring or even addressing the many interesting avenues it have, way too much screen time and energy are spent on making this a completely generic rom-com.

    Dropped for me. May check it out again after it finished if I heard it did something interesting, but I no longer have much hope for this.

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    • I don’t really care too much about the worldbuilding beyond the extent that it impacts the characters. Thus far, I don’t really think it does, but it could! And maybe even should! I think it certainly could work as a character drama without diving into the world too much, but since the first episode it hasn’t really shown that it can do that.

      And I definitely don’t disagree that the world, even for someone like me who doesn’t care about worldbuilding all that much, is really kind of…insubstantial as is.

      It’s definitely moved towards the bubble for me and I still haven’t watched a single episode of it on the airdate, which says something on its own.

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  2. Does this mean you read the Yamada-kun manga then? I try to keep track of who reads the same thing I do but most people aren’t as, uh, loud as I am about what they’re reading on twitter. ^^;

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    • Yeah, I read through ~140 chapters of it a couple of months ago and now periodically read the newest chapters. I kind of breezed through it all at once, which is why I didn’t tweet much about it.

      I really enjoy it!

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  3. Assuming I didn’t misunderstand what you meant, I actually don’t believe that the question being asked in PlaMemo is “why won’t she change”, although I could see why it might be thought of that way. “Why won’t she change” is the question that Tsukasa is asking himself, but it should be apparent why she won’t change – Isla knows that she’s going to go away and losing the memories will hurt, so she won’t accept a change from her closed off routine (never accepting gifts, etc.) because that’s the best way she knows to keep herself and others from hurting by being connected and then “dying” (as evidenced by literally every Giftia retrieval we’ve seen.) This is complicated, I think, because it seems like Isla wants to change and break out and fight her inevitable deactivation (staring longingly at the Ferris Wheel in episode 1, trying to get back in shape in episode 2), but doesn’t feel she can (or isn’t “programmed to”, which I took as code for “I’m not supposed to, and doing so would hurt others.”)

    I think the ultimate question being asked is going to be the more classic “Is it better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all?” (or to put it less romantically, should she build connections with her co-workers even if she, and they, know it’s finite?) I imagine the show will go with (as most of us, including me, probably would) “Yes, you should, connection is better than the pain of loneliness.” And it seems pretty clear that Isla has been stuck on that question for a while, because like I said above, she’s both tried to close herself off (gifts), but also shown she wants more and wants to connect (Ferris wheel, getting in shape).

    As to how the plot itself will progress, I’m not so sure Isla will get a lecture, though. Consider how she’s come to find out that the separation of a Giftia from her owner causes pain for everyone: by the sudden arrival of “death” in the form of an SAI retrieval unit. I don’t think she’s ever gotten to do a follow-up with any of the owners, because like with most people who lose loved one, they’ll tell you the separation was painful but that didn’t change the happiness that was born or the memories that were created from living on. If I were a writer, I’d make her coincidentally meet one of them (my money’s on the grandma who lost her Giftia grand-daughter from episode 1), and have her realize that the Grandma doesn’t regret those memories she made, even if she can’t make any more. Cue Isla trying to compromise that information with her experiences as a retrieval operative, and then you’ll see the emotional drama and Tsukasa will come save the day and they’ll go to the ferris wheel and yadda yadda romantic BS Isla dies sad feels the end.

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    • All great points and I, of course, am also of the opinion that connection lost is better than the pain of loneliness, but I guess the point I was trying to make is that the show isn’t exactly endearing me to way it’s going about trying to communicate that message via Isla’s particular situation.

      I certainly do want Isla to make connections with others, but everything seems so heavy-handed and without nuance right now. Maybe it’s just because Isla’s a tragicomic clumsy moeblob and not much of a character right now, but everything around her seems to be going on without any sort of regard for her feelings. Of course, it’s not Tsukasa’s fault since he has no idea she has less than two months to live, but the way she’s consistently framed as being cold (and even rude) in her insistence on her chosen path just irks me.

      Basically, this has resulted me in sympathizing more with Isla’s desire for isolation, rather than aligning me with the eventual conclusion of “connection despite the potential pain.” Which I think is sort of a problem.

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      • Ah, you meant the framing and how it robs Isla of agency? Yeah, that’s a lot more problematic more often, because it’s basically Tsukasa’s perspective, and like you said, he’s both clueless and suffers from “anime male savior syndrome” which is like the death knell for non-MC agency.

        One thing that bothers me, and in particular with that whole “suggestion – attempt – failure” routine, is that while I did think the individual gags were funny in a vacuum (I’ve always found muscle jokes inordinately hilarious; its partly why I read Little Busters for as long as I did), it’s very disconcerting and downright worrying that her co-workers, even a fellow Giftia, don’t seem to realize/be sympathetic as to why Isla has chosen to be so closed off.

        But then, given how Isla’s former partner (the red-headed folded-ponytail hottie) acts, it seems like at least someone understands why Isla has chosen to remain apart. So maybe I just have more faith that the one-sided view is very purposeful here, and that’s to reverse it going forward (telling us she’s only got 80 days to live could lead to a perspective shift starting next episode.)? That is, I’m suspecting/hoping Isla will be given much more agency and a more sympathetic light than she’s being given right now.

        Of course, this is anime, and anime hasn’t the best track record at deftly managing things like this, and mortality certainly isn’t a light topic. I’ve giving PlaMemo some credit here for playing with fire, so hopefully it knows how to not get burned.

        P.S. This reminds me of the arguments surrounding KimiUso’s early perspective with regards to Kousei’s depression and trauma – that it wasn’t very sympathetic and tried to “force” him out of it.

        P.S.S. I know it’s a sore spot, but did you ever read the Lilly route in Katawa Shoujo? It deals with agency in some ways that I think you’ll find interesting.

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        • I’m actually about halfway through Lilly’s route! Right after the field scene, actually. I know what you’re talking about there with the agency and it’s definitely something that’s been hinted at thus far, although not yet fully expanded upon.

          I wasn’t even thinking it in feminist terms or even in terms of agency, but you could definitely read it that way. The thing that worries me is that even Isla’s former partner told Tsukasa to take her out, which she would know that Isla wouldn’t like. Again, I’m not saying they shouldn’t try to help her change, but just the fact that this episode was literally just about trying to make get through to her bothered me. I’m an introvert and I know how much it sucks when people try to “break you out of your shell” when all you want is to be left alone.

          I think that’s why the fact that they made jokes out of it all really irked me. Because that’s exactly the wrong tone to take with someone in Isla’s situation and so all the comedy made it seem like the show itself wasn’t really taking her situation seriously. As you say, they definitely can still nuance her position, but this episode just really rubbed me the wrong way.

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          • Just popping in to say that Lilly is easily the best girl in KS. I picked her first when the full game is out and doesn’t regret it for a moment.

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  4. My top 5 episodes of week 3 (out of 11, because Nanoha Vivid’s fansub got delayed this week and I haven’t seen it yet)

    Euphonium ep 3
    Ore Monogatari ep 2
    Yuki Nagato ep 3
    F/SN: UBW ep 15
    Danmachi ep 3

    Thoughts on selected episodes:

    Euphonium: So Ore Monogatari is the first show I watch this week, and it holds on to the “episode of the week” crown all the way up until the very last episode on my list snatches it away at the finish line. I loved the drama and the tension Euphonium brought to the table this week, and what makes the situation even more deliciously tense is the fact that it’s a problem that defies any neat/easy solution, so we really don’t know yet how they’re going to move forward from this obstacle. I also really appreciated how perfectly it was set up by some of the things that happened in episode 2 – even though those things weren’t necessarily the main focus last week, they laid the foundation for this episode so that the drama didn’t catch us totally off-guard. This is clearly a show where the people creating it understand storytelling and how to construct a narrative properly, and thank goodness for that.

    Food Wars: I’m enjoying the heck out of this show (way more than I ever expected to), but I really hope they start showing some restraint with the food ecchi. This was heading for an easy top five finish this week (probably 3rd or 4th) after an all-around thoroughly enjoyable episode, but then it had to give us a throwaway scene near the end with another girl being tentacle-raped by Soma’s food. Come on guys, really? It wasn’t even funny the first time; doing it twice in three episodes is heading straight for “creeper” territory. Too bad, because there was so much other good stuff going on that I would’ve rather talked about instead.

    Plastic Memories: Rolling Girls déjà vu? After PlasMemo’s first two episodes both topped my first two weekly lists, episode 3 would have ended up on the bottom of my list this week if it hadn’t been slightly redeemed by the last four minutes. Unfortunately, the first 17 minutes or so (everything up until they get to the tea shop) basically felt like a complete waste of my time. With the sudden switch to co-ed roommate hijinks after two episodes of pretty compelling drama, I couldn’t help remembering Haruhi’s “Adventures of Mikuru Asahina,” when Kyon’s commenting on the way the SOS Brigade’s terrible movie abruptly switches from sci-fi/fantasy to heated romantic comedy with no warning (in other words, how not to construct a narrative). Of course, the AoMA episode was also completely hilarious, while most of the “comedy” in this episode was painfully unfunny and run completely into the ground (the “Michiru barging in on Tsukasa” bit, especially, went on for way too long – I guess they don’t have door locks in the Future).

    Pleiades: Even though I’m watching 12 good shows (well, 11 good shows and Gunslinger Stratos), something always has to finish last on my list, and this week it was Pleiades. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, it just didn’t stand out as much as the other shows, not even the four minutes of PlasMemo that wasn’t an epic fail. It’s definitely in no danger of being dropped right now, though; everything is solidly executed and it’s had no trouble pulling me in and getting me rooting for these girls while I’m watching it.
    I think what makes Pleiades feel fresh, even though it isn’t (as you said), is that it’s really a throwback series. Ever since Madoka came out we’ve had this barrage of dark/depressing mahou shoujo. Yuki Yuna offered a rebuttal to Madoka’s pessimism while still acknowledging its POV, but Pleiades is the first late-night magical girl I’ve seen in a long time that feels like it’s rejecting Madoka’s despair entirely and going all the way back to the positive/optimistic feel of pre-Madoka classics like Cardcaptor Sakura and Shugo Chara. Actually, except for the Subaru sponsorship, this really feels a lot more like it belongs right next to those two shows in the daytime block, not in late-night otaku land.
    And now that I’ve said all that, watch one of the girls get sideswiped and killed by a drunk broom driver next episode.

    Yuki Nagato: It’s amazing (or maybe not) how the entire energy of the show changes as soon as Haruhi shows up. Suddenly “nice guy” Kyon turns into Mr. Snarky-Sarcastic again now that he has her to spar with, and the jokes go from low-key smile-inducing stuff to full-on LOL. It’s going to be a bit of a balancing act to make sure Yuki stays at the center of the show, though, since she’s the title character and all – I love Haruhi, but she’s quite overpowering too.

    Also, in regards to your recent thoughts about Haruhi on Ask. The fact that Haruhi is a deeply flawed and even contradictory character is one of the things that’s always made her so interesting to me. Yes, she’s obnoxious and unlikeable at first (even though I just said I love her, it really took me almost the whole first season to warm up to her), but she grows and changes tremendously over the course of the series, to an extent that’s very rare for most anime (or light novel) characters. And I appreciate that her bad behavior early on isn’t just there for quick characterization and cheap laughs, either; it feeds into her maturation process too, especially at the times when Kyon forces her to confront some of her worst behavior. Which brings up one of the things I like most about Kyon & Haruhi’s relationship – it’s so mutually beneficial. Both of them really help each other grow up and become better people, and not in a forced way either; they do it just by being themselves. Kyon’s compassion and loyalty and his willingness to stand up to Haruhi when necessary helps to humanize her, and influences her to start thinking at least a little bit more about other people’s feelings and put more value on her social links (there’s a nice side scene in book 8 that shows she’s even started warming up some to the rest of her non-Brigade classmates). Her ambition and energy helps him find purpose and direction in his life, and influences him to be more proactive about setting goals and pursuing the things he wants (and we also saw her do the same for Disappearance!Yuki in ep 2 of this series, to bring it back full-circle, again just by being herself).

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    • Definitely agree on the difficulty Yuki-chan is going to have dealing with Haruhi’s presence. I know this was her introductory episode and all, but she DOMINATED the screen after she came on. I almost wonder if we’ll just see her shuttled out of events just to keep her under control, lol.

      Ah, that’s really interesting stuff about Pleiades being in the mold of old-school mahou shoujo anime (a genre which I’ve not even seen a single show). If I’m liking Pleiades, I guess I should bump some of those up in my backlog priorities.

      And yes, Eupho is just fantastic right now.

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    • I think part of the reason I can enjoy Haruhi so much in her anime is because I always view her as more of an antagonist. Not a villain, but not likable and is always the source of conflict for the other protagonist (namely Kyon) to deal with. And yes, especially when you see it in chronological order, the event actually serve to show her character development to be less unlikable.

      Also, there’s a reason why it’s easy to still enjoy her despite how unlikable she can be. She definitely has charisma and presence, something that draws people attention to her and hold their interest. And this is something that Nagato never really have, so it’ll be interesting to see how having Haruhi will do to her show, as it’s very easy for Haruhi to just steal the spotlight, center stage, pretty much the whole theater building really.

      Also, regarding PlasMemo, I pretty much echo your sentiment (which is also shared by some other people here), except it’s the opposite way with Rolling Girls for me. With RG, the first episode leaves room for a wide and wild setting that I can’t wait for them to explore (and ultimately failed to live up to, unfortunately). Meanwhile, PlasMemo had a fantastic first ep, but I don’t really see how they can carry a whole season if they don’t branch out much. I suppose I also agree with beobatcher above that I wish they expanded on the setting a bit more – not just to show more of the world they live in, but also to make the story richer because I still don’t think Isla can carry the whole show alone.

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      • Well, heck, if you saw Haruhi as an antagonist in her own show, I think you could definitely repeat that to some degree with Yuki-chan. As we’ve seen, Haruhi has no qualms about commandeering Nagato’s space or her love interest, and I could see that creating some interesting tensions.

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  5. No excuses a true anime fan always keep up and in your case being a blogger Oh My Just Kidding!

    Anyway I will do a comparsion on yours to mind ! My whole show ranks had major shuffling after the third (2nd) outing !

    Ore Monogatari!! / 8TH A very good anime but a lot of other shows to get through on my list!

    Wish Upon the Pleiades / Sorry only 36th on my list ! No danger of a drop just watching that many shows!

    Punchline / 32nd Had such good promise actaully dropped down a few! / Personally noitamina should stick to SCI-FI

    Yamada-kun / 28th actually not bad it moved up into a my Tier 2 of Very Good shows which is crowded !

    Plastic Memories / 18th Dropped out of my Sweet 16 into the Tier 2 Still think the comedy / serious nature is out of sync but with better comedy could bounce back! I had high hopes for this one!

    Sound! Euphonium / A tie for 5Th with Arslan Senki it didnt do anything wrong just my Top 4 shows are just sheer delights Special Note MY TOP 4 Ongoing or 2nd cours

    The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan / only 34th on my list! No drop danger just a crowded list!

    Ninja Slayer / 41ST basically last. Saying that will it last? Whats wrong with the anime world so many shows could use a S2 and we get this??

    Danmachi / 10TH It moved not only into my sweet 16 but did so by at least 10 spots . Enough said!

    Nisekoi 2 / 4th My Episode of the week I mean Paula and Tsugumi what a great battle ! S2 just doing an outstanding job / Haru is next and the big surprise coming the True BOSS ! Just wait!

    Show by Rock! / 13TH Also moved into my Top Tier ! I said last week it was underated!

    MY Week 3 Top RANKS / My Top 6 notes! / Sleeper Series 15th The Labyrinth of Grisaia / The Eden of Grisaia Just a great anime(s) could go much higher

    TIER 1 Top Favorites

    1 Baby Steps 2 Just does a an amazing job from Manga to anime
    2 Ansatsu Kyoushitsu / Assassination Classroom / more students stories and Karasuma role is growing
    3 Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki / One of my favorite sc-fis So much this week
    4 Nisekoi 2 / explained above

    A TIE for 5TH

    Hibike! Euphonium / Sound! Euphonium expained above
    Arslan Senki / The Heroic Legend of Arslan / Think Yona of the Dawn but more serious

    7 Kekkai Sensen / Blood Blockade
    8 WORLD TRIGGER CR ONGOING
    9 Ore Monogatari!! / My Love Story
    10 Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon?
    11 Shokugeki no Souma / Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma
    12 Triage X
    13 Show By Rock!! FUNIMATION INTO TIER 1
    14 Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic / Kiniro Mosaic Season 2
    15 The Labyrinth of Grisaia / The Eden of Grisaia
    16 Fate/stay night

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    • Yeah, I like seeing that upwards movement for Show by Rock! and Danmachi!

      Glad to hear Arslan is holding up pretty well, too. I’m looking forward to going back to it eventually.

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  6. Behind on various anime, but I will say that Sound! Euphonium is really great, because that’s one show that I will not put off every week.

    This week it helped me to realize that the anime I enjoyed the most are those that are grounded in reality and tackle the real life issues.

    Happened when I try to think of why Euphonium is in my enjoyment category of Oregairu, Silver Spoon, Nodame Cantabile, etc etc, and why am I so attracted to this show.

    What all these shows have in common is that they all sought to reveal and understand real life matters, no matter how simple or how complex they are.

    Much thanks to Euphonium in helping me reaching a better understanding on my preferences and me, myself.

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    • Assuming you’re talking about Eupho and there are a couple things I want to say.

      1) re: avoidable drama—to be entirely honest, this seems a pretty silly complain to make. Drama in any fiction is avoidable if people behaved differently, but they don’t always behave in ways that avoid conflict, just like in real life. Complaining about avoidable drama is like asking for an entirely different show!

      2) I also don’t agree that the drama would go away if the teacher was less hands-off in his approach. And, as Kumiko pointed out, he didn’t ask them to do anything particularly difficult—the song they’re learning is easy and they should be able to do it if everyone was committed. Is it the teacher’s fault that half the band are a bunch of unmotivated slackers? Of course not. And him being there to impose authority on them wouldn’t change the fact that there are people in the band who don’t want to try, even though the majority of them voted to try for nationals. I don’t think he’s being irresponsible and I don’t think the drama arises from the way he’s handling the situation. The seeds of conflict were sown last week—this was going to happen eventually and he probably knew it. So, rather than waiting, he took a path that would allow the tension to emerge sooner, rather than later.

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      • He already failed his first task at establishing a common goal. The voting is just a complete farce that achieves nothing, so he deliberately let them rot instead of guiding them. Where did you think the tension came from? There’s no unified goal because he didn’t stamp it down early. He should know this type of thing will happen if he doesn’t do something, and he just shirks away from his responsibility while creating a bigger schism within the group.

        Let me know once the story actually addressed the root of the issue instead of dance around it like fairies.

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        • The question is, does he really know that the voting is pretty much a farce, or does he truly believes that the overwhelming majority of the club really want to go to nationals? Because there’s someone who doesn’t want to, and she got away fine despite doing something different. If he’s knows this can happen, then it does feel manipulative and ultimately self-sabotaging.

          It might also be possible that he’s really that trusting and optimistic. The song is apparently easy enough that you don’t need to have to be taught personally to perform it decently, as long as you actually try to do it. Or maybe he’s forced to be hands-off? Maybe in the past there were complaints that he, or some other teacher in another club, was forcing their will too hard and the student protested, and that he’s limited in his actions to begin with.

          I don’t know, I really still haven’t got a good handle on the teacher, and there’s the whole 2nd year drama in the past that may play a factor into it too.

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        • I haven’t seen Ep 3 yet, but I agree with you about the voting in Ep 2. I thought it was very unfair, and actually extremely brave of the one girl to vote against going to Nationals.

          Very few people are willing to take the social hit of stating that they will not try in a competitive activity. At the very least, that vote should have come after a reasonable evaluation of the group’s skill.

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    • Looking at some of the replies to this… Keep in mind this is a club (a voluntary student directed activity), not a class (with involvement and participation mandatory and directed by the school). He’s not a teacher here, he’s an adviser.

      I too question his approach, but I can also see how it’s driven in part by this dichotomy. And, just maybe, he doesn’t want to be there… rather than being the stereo-trope-ical enthusiastic cheerleader. (Which would not be unexpected given the direction the show has already established.)

      Like

  7. Still waiting on your post for BBB and Ore Monogatari episode 3, aka Super Death Chess and Why Sunakawa is the best bro ever. As for the rest:

    Oregairu
    I wish you’re still covering it weekly, I could produce an actual essay with how dense every episode is and how good it is. For now I’ll go to other blogs I guess, but I hope you’ll do a whole season review in the end when you’ve watched them all – there’s definitely enough material for it.

    Show By Rock:
    I’ll be the first to admit it – I like Kemonomimis, there’s a reason I watched all 3 seasons of Dog Days. So when the already cute Cyan not only get a cat ears, but wears a bunny pajamas on top of that, it really is too cute it must be criminal. But seriously, the show is cute and fun, but I’m not sure about them adding new bands every episode. So far they’ve been a bunch of fun, but they can’t throw that all the time and make the cast too large.

    Punchline
    Still don’t get this show. I want to drop this, but there’s nothing I want to watch on Thursday evening anyway, so it probably will get more chance than it deserves.

    Danmachi
    As you said, while the rest is really generic LN harem fantasy stuff, what makes htis series so charming is really the two adorable pair. I think I’m in for the long haul, hopefully it won’t do anything stupid to ruin this.

    Assassination Classroom
    Even in the manga, Takaoka always feel like a plot device than a character. At least hes eves his purpose for Karasuma and Nagisa’s development? It still feels very comically exaggerated, even for this show.

    Arslan Sennki
    There are some shows that can still work even with a low budget, like Seitokai no Ichizon where they mostly just sit around and talk, but it definitely won’t work as well when you have a huge battlefield with 100000+ army fighting each other. Also, I feel some of the plot stuff doesn’t feel as tight as it could have been. Still though, the show is still very good and I really like it.

    Sidonia no Kishi
    Well, that’s a crazy new character to pop in. Should be an interesting one too, which is badly needed with how many other interesting ones are dying this season.

    Like

    • I’m getting to the BBB post, I swear! Today, maybe…

      Yeah, sorry about Oregairu. I just felt like I wasn’t processing things well in the weekly format, so I will probably just watch it all and write something about it towards the end of the season.

      Danmachi looks like it might be transitioning into happy friends going on adventures time, which I think could very easily keep this show totally lovable and endearing.

      Like

  8. And now, the weekly wall… (skipping the comments above until I’ve finished my entry.) Delayed beyond what I expected, as we spent Wednesday evening in the ER getting my Lady checked out because she had a fender bender on the way home. (She’s fine, the car is toast… and of course it’s the car that’s paid for…) Thurs I didn’t get home until after midnight because I drove an hour and half away to attend a haiku society meeting. (And well worth it, learned a ton and got good feedback on the one poem of mine that got critiqued. I can only go so far sitting here in my computer room, so I’ll put up with the trek.)

    Anyhow…

    Labyrinth of Grisaia ep2; Yuuji’s background is not pretty, but we’re starting to see how he becames a caring yet merciless man. Despite the grimdark, this a pretty good episode overall.

    Yes, I’ll be repeating grimdark pretty much every week, it’s a good show but it is anything but light ‘n fluffy – it’s a tragedy by design. I actually respect the game and shows creators for keeping the lighter aspects in balance and for not introducing fruit flavors merely to cover up the nasty taste. It’s a very hard show to watch, but I am actually enjoying it.

    Ore Monogatari!! ep3; commented in the weekly post.

    Otaku Husband ep 3; Quietly excellent as always… Even though our M(ain) C(ouple) only had less than a minute of screen time, once again they manage to pack more character and charm into that minute than most shows pack into an entire arc. (Dammit, how can I praise the heck out of this show for the next 10 weeks without spoilers?)

    Otaku Teacher ep3; Lame, lame, lame. Another weird setup and bizarre ep all so Junichiro can make a Noble Gesture at the end – thus making three such in a row. A quarter of the way into the season, and we’ve seen pretty much no character development since ep1… the drop zone is in sight.

    Plastic Memories ep3; Sigh Dammit. This show could be so good, but once again they blow it. Last ep they blamed Tsukasa for what any experienced observer should have seen was Isla’s problems, and this ep they bully him into forcing himself on her. (Setting aside the fact that he’s been on the job a couple of weeks, and just now told him (and us) that partners must live together.) They’ve told us how Giftia are sentient, and last week went to some lengths to explain how and why Isla is feeling (emphasis intended) and acting the way she is… but this week they treat her like a rag doll or a machine that would function as expected if only Tsukasa would punch the right buttons. Not one of the co-workers, despite their claims of emotional involvement, seems to actually give a damn about her beyond veiled threats to Tsukasa if he fails to consider her feelings. (On reflection, I’m open to the argument that they’re using him as a proxy to cover their own pain – but passive/agressive male bovine exhaust sucks no matter how you slice it.)

    Of the lame “comedy”, the less said the sooner it will pass from my memory.

    Sound! Euphonium ep3; If it hadn’t been for ep 3 of Ore Monogatari!!, this would have been this weeks Episode Of The Week hands down. A nice blend of drama with some subtle touches of light comedy while plot and the main themes of the show quietly unfold in the background. (Dare I say it, but this is the “musical” structure KimiUso kept aiming for and missing so badly.) The highlight of the show remains in how lightly the characters are written – and how, from Kumiko’s angst and disappointment to Reina’s anger and frustration, they stubbornly insist on being real rather than usual sack o’ tropes. Euphonium shows every sign of being this seasons Barakamon or Silver Spoon, quietly excellent and not need flash (or flashing panties) to carry the show.

    Urawa no Usagi-chan ep2; WTF? (Pulls the handle and watches it swirl around the bowl and vanish into the darkness.)

    Wish Upon the Pleiades ep2; Has been sitting in my queue all week and I simply couldn’t be bothered to watch it as I was so unimpressed by ep1. I’m gonna make it official and pull the handle.

    Watched without comment: PGSM Crystal.

    I dunno if I’m just a grumpy gus, or if this season really does have so much dreck in it… With the caveat that my experience is limited, I have never dropped such a high proportion so early. This season it looks like if it makes it to midseason, it’ll actually be a keeper.

    Like

    • Sorry it took me so long to reply! It’s been an insane week. Hopefully this coming one will be better.

      I threw Pleiades on hold this week—maybe I’ll pick it up for a late season marathon. Seems like it’d be good for that.

      Eupho actually beats out Ore Monogatari!! for me, if only because it was quietly brilliant—while Ore Monogatari!! was super loud about what it was doing. Quiet stuff like that, I like a lot.

      I dunno if I’ll even go back to PlaMemo. Maybe, just for the faces…

      Like

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