Yeah, that’s right—I’m back, and I’m going to make this all work, one way or another! Getting away from my normal routine for a solid 10 days and just doing something different than the regular grind was hugely beneficial, and I came up with some ideas about how I can keep things headed in a positive direction from here on out. So, yeah, let’s talk about some anime! The order they crop up in the post is most likely the order in which I caught up to them, so there’s a secret there about which shows I’ve heard the most good things about and became a high priority for me.
Gatchaman Crowds insight, Episode 7: Every week I come to this show, expecting the crap to finally hit the fan, and every week Crowds manages to convincingly extend the suspense of wondering when Gelsedra’s increasingly obviously bad way of dealing with human beings will finally blow up in his face and in the face of the entire nation of Japan. Well, until the final minutes of this episode, it seemed we were in for more of the same almost frightening continuity of Gelsedra’s campaign to wipe out individual thinking from the nation island, but when he started vomiting thought bubbles and a small army of groupthink minions appeared, I knew the time had finally come. But the creepy crawlies only precipitate the beginning of a much more interesting conflict—one between ideologies and individualism and the Gatchaman and Tsubasa and all the different pieces that have been falling down one after another. I still don’t find Crowds totally engaging every week, but there’s no question that it’s absolutely fascinating right now on myriad levels.
Ushio to Tora, Episodes 7-8: Looks like we’re finally out of introduction mode and into real story mode, although it also seems that the monster of the week format isn’t going away quite yet. That’s alright, especially if Tora continues to be a hilarious old man fascinated with modern technology and totally incompetent when it comes to navigating these new metal machines. Tora’s an old-school creature, one who understands simple provocation and simple retaliation far better than he understands everything else. Episode 7, which was probably the show’s best looking episode to date, played this out in the most straight-faced way possible (in contrast to episode 8 playing it in comedic terms)—setting up all three of the major characters in the show so far (Ushio, his father, and Tora) as legitimate actors inside of the larger plot. I’m hoping Ushio to Tora doesn’t drag its feet too much in following the main plot for the sake of the episodic monsters, but the show’s still entertaining as heck either way.
Classroom Crisis, Episodes 7-8: Let me begin by saying—I really, really love this show. After the beach episode’s relative weakness, I began to find myself wondering if Seekirasee was going to fall apart, but these two episodes (as the best episodes of the show since the premiere) restored my confidence entirely. While episode 7 imbued the show with a new sense of narrative motion, helped soothe away the worries about Angelina’s character, and generally proved that Classroom Crisis can be super fun and super well-executed, episode 8 took everything up a notch by adding in a healthy dose of emotional authenticity and character agency. Between the sublime sequence of the bottle rocket launch (the music!) and the bittersweet-triumphant moment of Nagisa passing on Mizuki’s 5:00 festival invitation, Classroom Crisis just seems to have all of its Bless-pleasing ducks in a row—how can I not be charmed by its frontier spirit?
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, Episodes 7-8: Let me begin by saying—I really, really love this show. And yes, I meant to write that. Between this and Classroom Crisis, I’m kind of beside myself with happiness over how well these two shows have turned out as of late. I know I talk about it basically every week, but oh my gosh Michiru Oshima’s music (and the way it’s integrated into the scenes) is absolutely stunning. The music basically cues you into exactly what the mood of any respective scene should be, and guides you through each episode with an elegant grace that is frankly unrecognizable as an anime technique. The only other show I can think of with even comparable effect is (you guessed it!) Blast of Tempest, but even there Ando and Oshima weren’t as apparently artistically in harmony as they are for Shirayuki-hime. And that’s to say nothing of the delicacy of the character writing and the continually amazing relationship between Zen and Shirayuki and the beautiful visuals. This is a good, good show.
Miss Monochrome 2, Episodes 7-8: Although seeing Miss Monochrome mess around with a horror-style episode in pieces (and yeah, idols crawling up walls and ceilings is super creepy), the tragic friendship story between Miss Monochrome and Battery-kun was among the show’s best absurdist set pieces from either season. It made no sense; it was great.
Durarara!! x2-2, Episodes 7-8: Kida’s back! And everything is moving! I still maintain that the high school trio are the most interesting and internally dynamic characters in Durarara!!, even if they aren’t as entertaining to watch as some of the others. They’re just kids, and they have a lot of room to grow and behave unreasonably and unpredictably. It also makes them pretty sympathetic, even if following their emotional logic is difficult thanks to Narita’s spacey writing.
Working!!! and Gakkou Gurashi: Neither dropped, just haven’t got to them yet! More Yamada in Working!!! and continual positive buzz for Gakkou Gurashi have hyped me up for both of them.
Man, nothing like falling two episodes behind on everything to really make you consider which shows you care most about watching. Late cuts like this invariably lead to other things getting picked up (Charlotte seems like the prime candidate, with Gate coming back decently likely as well), as well as freeing up more time to watching things I’m loving—like Heartcatch Precure. None of these drops were precipitated by ill will towards them. It’s simply time.
Dropped: Overlord, Castle Town Dandelion, Gate