I suppose I should be thinking up something insightful to say at this point, but I’ve really got nothing for you guys in terms of summing up the past week of anime. The season’s off to a good start and I’m enjoying pretty much everything that I’m watching, but as a season I’m not overly impressed or disappointed. Everything just kind of is, and if your kind of anime is airing (like it is for me) it’s a pleasant time to be keeping up with the shows that we’ve got.
Gakkou Gurashi, Episode 2: So, after the premiere’s big reveal, the question for Gakkou Gurashi was whether or not it could keep its premise interesting, entertaining, and appropriately tense. For now, the answer seems to be a resounding yes. Beyond the meta-level tension between cute girls doing cute things and zombies that want to eat human flesh, Gakkou Gurashi is mining a lot of breath-holding gold out of Yuki’s obviously shattered mental state. Right now, the priority seems to be keeping Yuki from realizing what’s actually going on—but it seems that can’t last. The look on our energetic pink-haired protagonist’s face after they encountered the ‘ghost’ in the library seemed to imply to me that, at least in her subconscious, Yuki knows the reality of the situation and is afraid of coming to terms with it. I’ll admit I’m fascinated not only by the show itself, but simply by wondering where it’s going. I haven’t read the manga, so every classroom door Gakkou Gurashi opens hides a surprise for me.
Classroom Crisis, Episode 3: I watched this episode with a friend, and it was a pretty cool experience—besides being an excellent episode of the season’s best show. We knew, as my high school AP US History teacher always said, the crap would hit the fan sooner or later for A-TEC…and apparently sooner it is. There was a whole heckuva a lot packed into this episode, but I think the biggest takeaway is that nobody directly involved with A-TEC (that is, Kaitou, Nagisa, and the Lady from Accounting) is altogether wrong about the way they approach this class of irresponsible geniuses. The cold reality of business is out there, bearing down on A-TEC, and some of the kids can’t take the pressure. More importantly, they can’t take not being treated as special. And they are special! But being special doesn’t always guarantee you everything you want. Half the class taking their leave after losing their technological playground hurt, and now it’s time to see how those who remain cope with what they have left. It’s compelling, it’s emotional, and I’m loving it.
Gate, Episode 3: Gate continues to be oddly fascinating in its ability to stave off complete and total degradation. There were even a few moments of genuine warmth—like the otaku commander flashing back from a crying fantasy world child to the crying child from the invasion in episode one. A crying child is the same, no matter what world you’re in. But, more importantly, this was the debut episode of a handful of cute anime girls. Lelei’s a bit more reserved than I had hoped, but her radiant blue eyes more than lived up to my expectations. Rory, who it seems because an instant audience favorite (surprising no one), is actually the more compelling character of the two so far—the image of a death-dealing oracle sitting with a trollish face in an army tank is just too hilariously weird to forget. And what are her motivations? It’s impossible to parse her when all we hear from her are mischievous giggles and cheeky grins. Either way, she brings an wilder kind of entertainment value to Gate that compliments well its generally blockbuster ways of going about its business.
Charlotte, Episode 3: This was…not that great an episode of Charlotte, to be entirely honest. Yu’s character felt off the whole time, and the side-story feel of the episode’s plot didn’t contribute very well to the entertainment factor of the whole deal. However, Charlotte did kind of strike gold with the very odd dynamic of an idol channeling her deceased pyrokinetic sister. How we ended up getting there wasn’t all that great (and, to be frank, Nao bullying the archery guy from last episode into submission wasn’t a super stellar bit either), but the final scenes with the the red-haired guy confessing his feelings to the sister rang surprisingly true to me (as did her admonitions for him to move on with his life). That was easily the highlight of an otherwise banal episode, although Nao’s incredibly self-confident way of going about her student council duties have made her consistently the most fun character to watch. It’s actually kind of a shame that Yu’s been pushed into such a sideline role—I miss his arrogance dominating the storytelling.
Gatchaman Crowds Insight, Episode 3: Wow. What a whopper of an episode from Gatchaman Crowds this week. In any other show, this would have been a midseason climax or a penultimate episode, but we’re getting it in episode 3! Which is good, because holy hell this show has a ton of ground to cover as it moves forward. There are so many different ideas and ideals and motivations and modes of communication bouncing around right now that it’s almost dizzying—Rui, Rizumu, Tsubasa, Hajime, Katze, Joe, Pai, OD…everyone is doing the best they can to live the best they can in a volatile and increasingly discomforting world. But the killer scene was, of course, Rui’s face off with Rizumu and seeing that orange-haired trash take the gesture of Rui’s faith in humanity and drive literal knife into it. It’s painful both to see it happen and to see Tsubasa leap into action against Rui’s will. But it’s also relieving to see Tsubasa, perhaps the truest hero-hero of all the Gatchaman, leap in to save a life. It’s delightfully and awfully complex. It’s Gatchaman Crowds.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, Episode 3: Masahiro Ando’s fantasy shoujo took a step in the right direction this week after a couple weeks of spinning its wheels a bit. Things are really starting to happen now, despite the veneer of peacefulness and understated romance (which I’m loving, by the way). People with opposing motivations are starting to show up in Zen and Shirayuki’s pleasant fairy tale world, and the ways each of them individually respond start to help fill in their characters beyond “happy-go-lucky prince” and “hardworking herbalist.” Of course, the climactic moment was the superbly directed scene between Shirayuki and the noble, as Ando’s timing of the cuts between foot, sheathing sword, and the result capped an already intense moment with a few seconds of sheer directorial brilliance. Michiru Oshima’s OST continues to be an incredible highlight for the show—it’s approaching making Shirayuki-hime recommendable for that factor alone.
- Danchigai, Episode 2: Still liking it, although it’s much closer to being dropped than it was last week. But, at 3 minutes a pop…
- Miss Monochrome, Episode 3: The Fake Yui Horie and moe Kana Asumi show continues on full-steam, with a crapload of references to Yui Horie anime OPs show up to make Hocchan fanboys like me get real giggly.
- Ushio to Tora, Episode 3: Probably the show’s greatest display of vintage shounen anime power yet—the dynamic between Ushio and Tora continues to improve, although I wish we’d got a little more time just with them being jerks to each other. Tora laguhing his head off at Ushio getting beat up was gold.
- Durarara!! x2-2, Episode 3: Akabayashi’s story was interesting (although I’m not exactly sure how it lead into the “he hates drugs” thing, but whatever). Durarara!!‘s kind of at the point where too many things are going on for it to be able to handle them all effectively and the lack of my favorite characters (Mikado, Anri, Kida, Celty) and focus on characters that have only been bit players to this point in the story is starting to weary me a little bit.
- Rokka, Episode 3: Basically good for a whole bunch of Flamé Speeddraw quips and not al lthat much else. When a side-character literally says, “Let me explain in more detail,” you know you’re in for a rough ride.
- Working!!!, Episode 3: Actual romantic progression is overshadowed by Yamada being Yamada. What else is new give me more Takanashi x Inami plz.
- Overlord, Episode 3: Continuing to impress in bits and pieces—there’s definitely been enough in the last two weeks to merit weekly blog posts. Might try and catch up on this one.
- Castle Town Dandelion, Episode 3: And, closing down the post with my pet show of the season. I know a number of people have complained about the split-episode format, but I personally am liking the flexibility it offers the show. I’m not watching this for a long, drawn out, thoughtful plot. I’m watching it because the characters are cute in design and behavior and I want to see them be funny every week.
This is actually everything I’m watching this season, so if it’s not here—I’ve dropped it. Still unsure if I’m going to be picking up anything for weekly blogging; super backlogged on reviews I need to write, so finding room for those seems like it’ll be tough for a little while longer. Bear with me until then. If you can…