I feel like I’m barely watching anything these days, but post ideas are starting to pop into my head and the reduced “I have to watch this now!!” stress is really helping me actually feel like blogging. Of course, this also means I feel weird saying things like, “This was a good week,” because my anime week this week consisted of watching exactly six episodes, thanks to Blood Blockade Battlefront taking a week off for a recap. That being said, I did think this was a pretty good week, at least for what I saw.
Ore Monogatari!!, Episode 10: Hey, it was cute! It was fun and nice! And I was on time with the post!
Sound! Euphonium, Episode 10: THE DRAMA NEVER ENDS! It’s just like real high school…anyways, Yuko’s the worst, but I’ve been saying that for a while. While I could focus on how radically unfair Taki-sensei’s decision was to Reina, I think I actually prefer to talk about how amazing Natsuki was this episode. I’ve liked her basically since she was first introduced, but the grace she showed in the face of failure this episode—and the honesty with which she admitted she’s a sucker for a grand vision—endeared her to me even further. I don’t doubt that this a mask of sorts for Natsuki, but dammit if she isn’t at least engaged with the band and the people in it—something widely-touted Best Girl candidate Asuka definitely doesn’t have going for her. President Haruka also had some good moments this episode, showing that she’s really grown from the drama of a few episodes back and leading the charge to make sure the band isn’t going to fall apart on her watch again.
Danmachi, Episode 11: Well, I guess I can’t be too surprised that Danmachi‘s bad-harem-LN versus emotionally-authentic-anime pendulum started to swing back towards the former side this week—after all, it’s basically a miracle already that Danmachi has been as good and free from LN atrocities as it has been. The episode wasn’t quite what I had hoped it would be—too much derping around with girls and Bell—but there were still moments that worked really well for me: Bell’s terrified/straining cries as he ran past the boss, his reunion with Hestia, his wonder at the beautiful 18th floor…even the fact that it was at Aiz’s feet he fell after his escape sapped him of his last bit of strength. Another element that was at play here, one I don’t believe I’ve actually mentioned in a post yet, is the fantastic quality of Danmachi‘s production courtesy of J.C. Staff. From the start, the show’s looked nice, but the fact that we’re still getting solid 2D fight animation in the eleventh episode, consistently drawn character designs, and occasionally beautiful backgrounds is pretty neat, especially for a silly light novel adaptation like this.
Nisekoi:, Episode 10: Speaking of production…wow, Nisekoi: looks absolutely terrible these days. A pretty sad downgrade from the glitzy shimmer of the first season. Without even the standard SHAFT tricks to spice things up and no Chitoge episodes in sight, Nisekoi: is really scraping the bottom of its entertainment barrel. The switch to Shu this week provided for some temporarily thoughtful reflections on unrequited love and selfishness via Shu’s melancholic rooftop reflections, but of course things ended up with Raku imposing his classically immature, lame perspective on top of Shu’s original stance. Thank goodness Kyoko-sensei is a good teacher and turned down Shu with a lovely teacher-student moment—if the episode’s emotional and thematic integrity hadn’t already been destroyed Raku’s Touma-ing, we could have had a legitimately touching episode. But this is Nisekoi:, after all…and what else would you expect besides what we got?
Hello!! Kinmoza, Episode 11: I had a terrible realization that this was the penultimate episode for this delight of a show, but I’m glad we had it for multiple reasons. First, Karen was basically the entire first half of the episode, the obvious highlight being her trolling of Kuzehashi-sensei with existential questions. Second, Karen and Alice’s departure to England opened up some character dynamics we haven’t seen from Kinmoza since the opening episodes of the first season; that is, Yoko and Aya with Shino. Shino’s obsession with Karen and Alice (along with all the Aya x Yoko shipping bait) tends to turn the group of 5 into two groups of 3 and 2, making the geographic shuffle and social one as well. To be honest, I actually felt a bit weird watching Shino interact with Aya and Yoko again—it’s been so long since just these three have been together that it was sort of like I forgot they were even friends in the first place. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any deep thematic gold to be mined out of this, but it was pretty interesting. Third, Mahou Shoujo Kinpatsu Shoujo.
Yamada-kun, Episode 10: It went away for a bit, but the stresses put on the anime adaptation by cutting out tons of material from the manga were showing again this episode. Unfortunately, the speed at which the story is moving is starting to infringe on the anime’s ability to convey emotional moments effectively, which is really a shame. The show’s generally consistent, if subdued, production also seems to be wavering a bit—Shiraishi, in particular, had a handful of shots where she didn’t look quite as gorgeous as normal, which is unfortunate when she’s supposed to be more charming to Yamada than ever. At this pace, Yamada-kun shouldn’t have any problem wrapping up this arc in the remaining two episodes, but I’m worried about how much will ultimately be lost in translation. When even the Yamada x Shiraishi scenes aren’t quite hitting right, it’s a sad day…
Backlog Rundown: Only backlog thing I got to this week (thanks to a busy weekend) was Rie Matsumoto’s Heartcatch! Precure film, entitled Heartcatch Precure! Hana no Miyako de Fashion Show…Desu ka!? I found it to be an utterly charming film, as well as being fascinatingly emblematic of what I like so much about Rie Matsumoto as a director. I’m actually preparing a full post on the film’s cinematography, themes, and Matsumoto’s influence. Look for that later in the week!