Anime Weekly: Summer 2015, Week 9

Man, it sure is a good feeling when you get to the end of your anime week and not a single episode you watched let you down! Once again, it seems I’m experiencing the power of whittling down things to just what I’m really loving—and it’s exciting, fun, and refreshing. I swear I’m going to do this every season from here on out! And I know I said that after last season, but I mean it this time (spoilers: probably not ever going to happen because I’m too much of a sucker for shiny new things).

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

Gakkou Gurashi, Episode 8: I’m honestly not sure which is worse news—having the whole world turned into zombies and not knowing the cause or having the whole world turned into zombies and knowing the cause. Whichever it is, this week’s reveal, playing on the ridiculous convenience of the school setting that’s been mentioned for weeks by people, adds yet another layer of complexity to Gakkou Gurashi—this time on the plot level, instead of the psychological one. We also get to see Rii-san start to crack a little bit under the weight of having to baby Yuki and see Kurumi crack at the news of their situation. Fascinatingly, Miki is the one who seems to be most in control at this point, perhaps because she’s already started the worst in the face and come out of it alive. Once again, I’m not sure of the answers, but that’s a big part of what makes Gakkou Gurashi works. What’s going on with Yuki, exactly? What’s going on with this disaster? These questions fuel the tension of the show and make it, if not exactly fun to watch, at least compelling.

Gakkou Gurashi

Classroom Crisis, Episode 9: Ah, Seekirasee, how lovely though art. Well, at least for one amazing scene of Nagisa and Kaitou having it out…the rest of the episode felt a bit dull to me despite the fact that it totally flashed by. I think this is really just a case of me being engaged in the narrative, but the show wandering less into the character-based stuff I really care about. The closest we got (other than the aforementioned shoutdown) was seeing Murakami standing on the streets campaigning, a voiceless victim to Nagisa’s quest for revenge. It gave a sense of reality to Nagisa’s obvious discomfort with his actions—despite all of his tough talk, he’s still just a kid who’s had a really awful life so far, clutching at straws in an attempt to make himself feel better…and leaving behind the one place he could have actually found some happiness. And I guess that’s kind of the tragedy of his character. Nagisa sees himself as too far gone, too much a fool, to stop now, even if he’s found a reason that he doesn’t have to take this path. Kaitou sees that tragedy (as does Mizuki), and that’s why they both are so affected by Nagisa’s situation.

In their own way, both Mizuki and Kaitou have been reaching out to Nagisa almost since the very first day they came into contact with him. Despite Kaitou’s relative airheadedness, it’s obvious he has a huge heart for his students—and Mizuki is just preternaturally a good person. The painful part is that it’s obvious their efforts have had a positive effect on Nagisa, but to a degree he’s actually right about himself. He’s locked so tightly into this path of revenge that pulling him out was always going to be a long, difficult process, and the situation with Yuji being his direct supervisor has counteracted their efforts and overrun the slower, steadier work of healing. These things are tough. Can’t wait to see where Classroom Crisis goes next week!

Gatchaman Crowds insight, Episode 8: It’s not surprising everything’s going to pot for Japan, but the really discomforting thing is just how gentle the ride to the bottom has been. It’s been little steps, one after another, guiding the country down into the pit of mindless agreement. Which is kind of a weird thing for me to be unhappy about, because I’m one of the least comfortable people with conflict I know. I instinctively want harmony and peace between people, yet even I can see that Gelsedra’s power to wipe away the individual for the sake of the group is B-A-D. As one of the Kuu’s says to the former Crowds 100 member, “We don’t discriminate,” which, read another way, really means: “We don’t acknowledge differences.” And anyone who doesn’t conform to the system gets swallowed up by it. Literally.

The other big things going on are that Rui is apparently out of commission entirely, and that Katze seems to be so pissed off about Gel “the world’s biggest flower gardern” sedra that he’s starting to talk a lot more with Hajime (via riddles, still). The world’s not congealed into a giant festering pile of sickeningly nice groupthink yet! I dunno how the Gatchaman are gonna get out of this pinch, though…

Gatchaman Crowds insight

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, Episode 9: I don’t know how this show does it. I simply don’t. Actually, maybe I do, but I’m just so often in a state of awed bliss after watching it that I don’t care to deconstruct what it is about Shirayuki-hime that makes it just so unambiguously good to watch. And I know I’ve already prattled on about the overarching traits of the show that make it work so well for me—the music, the delicacy of its character movements, the beautiful visuals (even if the cinematography and direction aren’t always as inspired), and the overall sense of a warm, dignified elegance. This episode, though, let the typical places where the show really works go to sleep (aka Shirayuki is passed out)—and proves that it can work at the same subdued level with other characters besides just Zen and Shirayuki. Zen and Obi’s conversation on the floor together was one of the series’ highlights for me, demonstrating all the lessons Zen’s accumulated to this point in subtle action and starting to build a relationship (however still uneasy) between him and his new attendant. Starting to think about how gorgeous the BDs are going to look…

Short Takes~

Miss Monochrome, Episode 9: Will someone please stop the menace that is Mana—wait. Mana’s words got Miss Monochrome in a ponytail and to do a happy fist pump? …all…is forgiven…

Ushio to Tora, Episode 9: I always forget how much I tell people about my job, but I work with a nonprofit that specializes in caregiving, so it was really cool to see a super accurate depiction of excellent relating to a suffering person with Ushio saying, “I’m sorry. That must have been hard.” Those are the words! No excuses, no pinking thinking. Just an acknowledgement of another’s pain. Good stuff.

Durarara!! x2-2, Episode 9: Man, how long have we been waiting to see 1) how Izaya and Shinra became friends, and 2) Izaya show even a hint of not being a complete sociopath? Not a particularly exciting episode, but with the production holding up much better than it did for the first season of the sequel, that’s fine.

Working!!!, Episode 9: And so, we take an ever-so-slight step towards a real Takanashi x Inami relationship. Three episodes left; please—let us witness it!

Miss Monochrome

25 thoughts on “Anime Weekly: Summer 2015, Week 9

  1. Nice to see that you are doing weekly posts again. Here are my thoughts on a few episodes I have watched:

    Gangsta: Finally, some action. It is still good and gritty, but the animation is at all time awful with this one. I hope they get their shit together next time.

    Charlotte: Pretty intense episode. Time travel is now confirmed. I like how so many things have been revealed, but just begs us to ask so many more questions.

    School-Live!: Nice and relaxing episode. We also get to find out the Umbrella Corporation has something to do with this. I did not think they would go in that direction.

    Prison School: The boys got expelled from school following what is the most intense episode yet. The plot is getting to the good stuff now, even as the fan service are getting old and worn off.

    Snow White with Red Hair: I know this show is slow, but latest episode is probably the slowest. It covers the events happening is a single night (with some flashbacks here and there). What makes me disappointed is that Snow White is drunk and sleeping almost the entire episode, and she is the main attraction for me. I just don’t really care much for Zena and Obi.

    Gate: Fan service galore. And why are American troops getting butchered like that by Japanese troops? They look so unprofessional compared to movies I see. Even in WW2 movies, the USF don’t win that hard against the Japs. Why anime are all about overpowering people crushing all opposing forces and lose nothing? Why can’t we have another Attack on Titan where characters do get killed in action?

    Braves of the Six Flowers: It was really REALLY difficult for me to make it through the latest episode. I was breathing my lung out by the time it was over. The fight lasts like 3 minutes and the rest is talking talking talking. It would have been a better mystery anime if they use more visuals to explain what the characters think happened instead of relying solely on flashbacks. I am a fan of mystery anime. I love Detective Conan. I hate Braves of the Six Flowers for its half-ass attempt at mystery.

    Aoharu x Machine Gun: It’s not funny anymore. It’s just weird an awkward and…I don’t know what to say anymore, but having a girl running on the track only to have her fall down and hurt herself constantly is NOT a good joke.

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    • Yup, with only watching 8 shows, these posts are a lot less intimidating and a lot more fun!

      And, oh boy, the Americans get smashed in GATE. TIME TO START WATCHING AGAIN.

      Rokka‘s something I’m like half-heartedly keeping up with, but it’s not really something I feel I have to watch each week.

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  2. Eight shows seems like a pretty good number for you, now that you’re a working stiff. Especially since you seem to be enjoying all of them. That’s one thing as I’ve gotten older, I’m more selective about what I pick up and faster to drop things that aren’t grabbing me, because having less free time thanks to work and other obligations means I don’t want to waste my time with shows that aren’t entertaining me on at least some level.

    As for my own viewings…

    Food Wars #21: It’ll be interesting to see how the pacing plays out over the last three episodes. Obviously they intend to end this at the conclusion of the fall election preliminaries, but with 14 more named characters left to spotlight, they can’t afford to keep spending half an episode on just two people, like they did here. On a side note, Nao’s cackly giggle just might be my new favorite anime laugh ever.

    Wakakozake #1-9: Thanks for suggesting this, Derek! Good pickup. It’s a pleasant little summer series for foodies, and was easy to catch up with only 2 minute episodes. I kind of want to try that sea urchin and watercress dish now. And Wakako’s right that boiled eggs absolutely make potato salads better – I’ve always made mine with eggs (and without any kind of vinegar).

    Back Catalog Update:

    Hanayamata: Okay Derek, you wanted my thoughts. Here’s my review.

    On the surface HY looks like another cute slice-of-life about teens in a school club, in this case girls who start a new club for yosakoi dancing. It has some cute/funny moments, but what sets it apart from most of its SOL kin is that it’s closer to a serious character drama than a feel-good fluffy comedy. It was funny watching this so soon after Love Live, because I couldn’t help noticing how so many of the characters share similar archetypes, and they even hit some of the same plot points, and yet they’re two very different viewing experiences. HY delves far deeper into all of the main cast’s psyches and what really makes them tick than Love Live, or almost any other SOL that I’ve seen. It plays more like an ensemble piece, and most of the character development was paced really well, especially Yaya’s story; only the last girl’s arc got a bit rushed. And it was a good choice to make it more ensemble-ish, because I didn’t find de facto lead character Naru all that compelling on her own. She’s the shy/unconfident one in the group, and there’s a good reason why that role usually goes to a secondary lead or supporting character in this type of show. Naru’s a very sympathetic character, for sure, but her meekness means that most of the time she just isn’t as entertaining to watch as the other girls. HY is a manga adaptation, though, so Madhouse just had to do the best they could with it.
    This is also one of the prettiest shows I’ve seen recently. The colors, the costumes, and the artwork all look great, and some of the sakuga is fantastic. Unfortunately they must’ve had a really, really tight budget, because for being a show about a dance club, there’s very little animation of the girls’ actual performances, so I never got a great feel for what a real yosakoi dance should look like. Like with the character roles, I think the director recognized that problem and tried her best to work around it, but there’s only so much that could be done.
    Bottom line, HY wasn’t quite buy-worthy (though I’m seriously considering buying the art book), but it was the perfect example of a stream-worthy series. I enjoyed learning about yosakoi, which I’d never even heard of before, and it was refreshing to see a school-based SOL that actually gave us a very different type of story from the usual light comedies. HY’s not a “relaxing” show, but it is a heartwarming one.
    Current list ranking: #37, ahead of F/SN:UBW at #38, and below season 1 of Otaku Husband at #36.

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    • I knew W-Z would be right up your alley… and yeah, like all cooking anime, there’s a bunch of dishes I want to try. You probably wouldn’t like my potato salad though, no onions, no egg, and judicious splash of vinegar is a key part of the flavor profile. (With all the starch in the potatoes and the creamy/fatty dressing, acid is just the key for popping the balance.)

      Your take on HY is a lot different than mine though. While it wasn’t quite generic, it wasn’t particularly bad or particularly good… To be honest, I kept thinking of dropping it but I’d start the ep intending to just watch the OP and end up watching the whole thing. (The OP is still one of my all time favorite anime openings and songs.)

      There’s a video with the seiyuu singing the OP and dancing in some of the locations used in the show that’s just impossibly cute…

      With a strong secondary lead like Hana though, I can see why they’d feel safe in a weaker primary lead like Naru. Though, to be honest, leads with self doubts are hardly a rarity, the growth of the lead being the whole point of the show. I always presumed the lack of dance scenes was more about the assumption that the intended audience (which is Japanese, not us gaijin) would be familiar. Golden Time took much the same approach – only showing us the dance when it was particularly important to the plot.

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      • “I’d start the ep intending to just watch the OP and end up watching the whole thing. (The OP is still one of my all time favorite anime openings and songs.)”

        I think it’s hilarious you said that, because I’m in the middle of my Air re-watch right now, and I’m remembering how that show was pretty much the exact same way for me the first time I saw it way back when – every time I thought I was about done with it, the opening just kept sucking me back in. And yes, Air‘s opening is still a personal favorite even 7 or 8 years later.

        Back to HY, though, I actually get what you mean about it being not bad/not good. I think it is good (not great, but good), but I do think it had a lot of potential to be so much better, so that does kind of leave it in an in-between place (and why it’s only a streaming-level – or 6/10 range – series for me). And yeah, the vibe I got was definitely “budget saving” over “assumed knowledge.” I just saw too many of the classic corner cutting techniques – still pans, recycled animation, un-animated dialogue, etc.

        “leads with self doubts are hardly a rarity, the growth of the lead being the whole point of the show.”

        And that of course was the point here with Naru, also. But while shrinking violet lead girls are quite common in romance anime, magical girl, and non-moe dramas, they’re actually kind of rare in moe SOL shows, or at least all the ones that I’ve watched. The only other moe SOL show I’ve seen in the last few years that put the shyest girl in the series front and center was Yama no Susume with Aoi. Otherwise it’s typically the Honokas, Yui Hirasawas, and Ryou Machikos who take the POV role, while the Hanayos, Mio Akiyamas, and Yuki Uchikis are relegated to secondary lead or supporting roles.

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    • Yup, it’s a new paradigm in my life of watching anime—still got some things to figure out, obviously! I always feel best about writing about stuff I love, so now that I’m apparently doing only that with this season’s shows, it’s a good place to be.

      And I’ve heard good things about Hanayamata! I think I’d like to watch it some time, as the director’s pretty well regarded.

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  3. I’m still behind on almost every show. It’s been nice to just take a break and binge some stuff instead.

    Finished watching Vision of Escaflowne. I really, really enjoyed that. I had tried to get into the show twice before and failed, but this time it clicked though it still took several episodes to get really good. But man, what an eclectic show. Mechas, divination, Atlantis, dragons, war, action, politics, romance, beastmen, destiny. I just wish that it wasn’t compressed down to 26 episodes. I read it was originally supposed to be 3 cours. It really deserved more time to explore its story.

    My husband and I also watched Blood C (without having watched Blood+ first). I understand not a lot of people liked it, but I found it quite compelling. The juxtaposition of the peaceful, country slice-of-life atmosphere in the daytime with the full throttle, extremely bloody monster battles at night in the first half was extremely well done. The transition period where the status quo starts falling apart but isn’t totally destroyed yet was also extremely well done. The climax in the last few episodes got pretty melodramatic at times but I thought it worked for the most part. I just wish there was more of a resolution. I guess that comes from the movie? It was a great show stylistically. The story fell a bit short, but I think it was still a good all around experience. (Though very, very gory.)

    Now we’ve started K, since the second season is coming. I’m not really sure what I think of it yet. Shiro kinda annoys me. But then Kuroh definitely makes up for it by being voiced by Daisuke Ono and having long black hair in a pony tail and a sword. Yes, sometimes I’m shallow.

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    • @Blood C: It’s utterly unnecessary to watch Blood+ first. The shows are unrelated, except for concept and name overlap. (Although I’d still suggest watching it some time; I think you might enjoy it.) I personally think Blood C might have been a better show had they gone for perspective character drama (reveal the set-up from the get-go) than for a twist. There’d have been a lot dramatic irony concerning Saya, and fleshing out the other characters might have given us more tragedy. The twist, on the hand, wasn’t all that surprising and altogether didn’t have much of an effect on me (emotional or otherwise). I thought Blood C was excellent slaughter porn, but didn’t have much beyond that.

      Also, Jitsuwa Watashi wa managed to make its swimsuit episode one of the cutest, most touching episodes so far. I don’t find myself saying that often about a swimsuit episode.

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      • That might have been an interesting way to do Blood C. And it probably could maintain that lovely juxtaposition of the opening episodes.

        I agree about Jitsuwa Watashi wa! Asahi and Yoko are really developing a cute relationship. I like them together, despite the fact that Aizawa is my favorite character. I’m enjoying this show a lot more than I thought I would.

        Charlotte is also proving to be more interesting than I thought it would. I just got caught up last night and oh man, what a change in direction. I can wait to hear more.

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    • Well, there’s more to Shiro than meets the eye! And yeah, Kuroh’s hot—no need to worry about it. It’s a good deal. I’ll be curious to keep hearing your thoughts on K as you continue through it.

      You’re honestly not missing out on all that much this season (as my 8 shows demonstrates), so it’s a good time to check out some other stuff. Escaflowne‘s one of those that I’ve heard about a few times, but just hasn’t made it into my backlog yet.

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      • Well, I have every intention of finishing all my shows. Just not committed to watching new episodes as soon as they’re out. Some I do watch right away (OreMono, always), some I put off a few days, some I put off weeks and watch in chunks. But I will finished the majority by the end of the season. Plus watch some other stuff on the side. It helps that, as a mom of 5 kids, I don’t really do much after they’re in bed except watch anime with the husband. 🙂

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  4. And now… the Wednesday wall. After I go brew a second cup of coffee!

    Back, much better… on to the matters at hand.

    Akagami no Shirayukihime ep9; As bibotot said, a very slow episode. The first half just drove home what we already knew about Shirayuki’s devotion to her job and patients, a quick reveal followed showing she was in fact being observed and followed (by who?), then a meandering conversation between Zen and Obi. It was the last bit that was the useful part, revealing more of Zen’s past and how he came to be who he is today. In the background, a bit more about Izana, and actually… I’m starting to like him. He’s an asshole in a lot of ways, but with a reason. He’s shaping Zen for… well, we don’t know yet. But it is happening.

    It was also announced that they’re taking a season off and a second cour will air in the Winter 2016 season. Though I’ve been a bit down in spots, I’m looking forward to it already. Despite quibbles with details, I have enjoyed it.

    Gangsta ep9; Though there was a lot of action this week, but overall the episode left me cold. The main action of the story was all about secondary characters (which we’ve been given very little reason to care about) and the internal politics of the Four Fathers of Ergastulum (the show’s major weak point). OTOH… Nic stands revealed as a faker. He’s not naturally a powerful badass, rather than taking Celebrer just to survive and maintain, he’s been ODing. (And Worick has known this all along. Despite their connection, I think he really does hate Nic and wishes to see him dead in repayment for his past actions.)

    Gate ep9; Sigh A lot of controversy over this week’s ep, and I’m not going to bring it here because it’s all tangential to the show itself. I’ll list the show sans comment and resuming commenting once this sub arc is over.

    The IDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls Second Series ep7; More corporate shenanigans and unheralded changes… I simply don’t know why I’m still watching this dreck. Habit I suppose.

    Million Doll ep8; In which we learn the origins of Itorio – and that not all want to become more than locodols. The interesting story is Mariko’s, she’s mostly a side character but watching her struggle against Itorio and her own demons has actually been the best part of the show. In most idol anime individual struggles are usually neatly disposed of in a single ep, but the extended treatment here has given depth to a show that otherwise would be just a piece of fluff. Bless, I won’t go so far as to say you must watch this, but it’s a short and an easy marathon if you have a spare couple of hours.

    Miss Monochrome 2 ep9; I just didn’t care for this ep… No central pun and no real progress. The main thrust seemed to be re-introducing Kikuko, who we haven’t seen for a couple of episodes.

    My Love Story ep 21; WOW. I’m going to go on a limb here and anoint this one as one of the best eps of the series, certainly in the top five. The camera swings mostly off our lovebirds, and settles on Sunakowa and a new character – Yukika Amami, who has been stalking Sunakowa for years. He’s been turning down girls who confessed to him, ostensibly out of support for Takeo, but there’s some other stuff going on. Amami has been writing him of her affections for years, and surprisingly Sunakowa has kept her anonymous love letters (and discarded the many others he’s received). But that’s not the best part… The best part is seeing how our lovebirds have learned from their previous sallies into interfering with other people’s love lives. Takeo is as Takeo as ever, but he’s definitely more caring about the Amami’s feelings than he has been in previous attempts at matchmaking. Of course, that this is Sunakowa we’re talking about probably held him back as well – next to keeping Rinko happy, seeing his lifelong friend happy is Takeo’s most fervent wish.

    Non Non Byori Repeat ep9; The main focus this week is on Natsumi, and as usual Repeat delivers in spades. (I know you’re behind and marathoning this, so I’m trying to avoid overt spoilers.) Once again, the final scene is an absolute gem. Never change Natsumi.

    Overlord ep9; I’ll leave off my standard comments about Overlord‘s excruciatingly slow pace, other than to say this was the worst ep yet in that respect. We do learn that the least of Ainz’s guardians is more than a match for the best of this world. The outcome of Ainz’s battle with Clementine left me unsettled though… Momonga is starting to blur the difference between him and Ainz. He’s starting to become Ainz rather than playing a role in a game – and Ainz Ooal Gown is not a nice person.

    Sore ga Seiyuu! ep9; A bit of a different ep this week – Futaba’s career told from the point of view of her manager (who is herself also a newbie). I enjoyed it, and I wish they’d done more of this.

    Sore‘s OP/tune is my ‘always watch each week’ of the season. Though the lyrics are generic, the tune is bouncy and attractive.

    Wakaba*Girl ep9; No comment this week.

    Wakako-zake ep 9; No comment beyond “is good”. This is no slam against the show, it’s just so simple and short there’s no realistic way to comment more than that.

    Working!!! ep9; Our couples inch slowly towards each other, ’nuff said, not much more to say.

    In other news;

    The last of Orange was published… and the onion ninjas were out in force. Though it’s getting a live action, I wish it was getting an anime. Outdoor scenes being important, the redemption of a flawed but human character, a strong female lead filled simultaneously with a desire to atone for her mistakes and with despair over whether she can or should… PA works could make a minor masterpiece out of this one. Yeah, they’ve blown hot and cold of late, but I’m still in the “unabashed fanboy” camp.

    No other (anime) news this week, as it’s been (County) Fair Week and I’ve spent a lot of time working the photo competition and display and that’s taken a huge chunk of my spare time.

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    • Yup, I was super super weepy about the last chapter of Orange. Planning to buy it when it comes out physically in the US, might write something about it then. I think a halfway competent staff could make a masterpiece out of Orange. It’s just that good (I’d absolutely HATE to see it butchered, though).

      Sounds like both Ore Monogatari!! and Overlord are doing some semi-interesting things (maybe more the former than the latter), but not enough to pull me back to either of them, sadly.

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      • Overlord has never not been at least somewhat interesting… my main beef is just the pacing.

        I’ve been enjoying Ore Mono much more than at the beginning (if that’s even possible), the shift in focus slightly away from the main pair has been a wonderful to illuminate their relationship (even if it is sometimes almost too saccharine to be believable).

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  5. I cannot imagine another seiyu to voice Shirayuki. I think it is the best voice for her. I don’t know if this is because I loved the show or because Hayami Saori is really the best person for the character, or which comes first. No matter, the point is the show is so damn good that I don’t care to figure that out.

    Also I like the current direction very much. No couple drama like in your typical romance shows. No misunderstandings and infighting. It is a team vs the world. I like this setting a lot. Doesn’t have all the unnecessary heart-wrenching-bad-anxious-causing-dramas. Just pure relationship building and light-hearted stories that are accompanied by some real and deep moments.

    Incidentally, Akatsuki no Yona does not have those bad parts, too. This is my attempt to describe the familiar feelings both shows have that is just slightly deeper than the “Both red haired strong female characters”.

    Looking to pick up either Gakkou Gurashi or Ushio to Tora. Not sure which.

    Tried the first EP of Classroom Crisis and I’m not that fond of how the show sets up the ‘Transfer Student’. Not sure to continue or not. I mean, it really just seem to me too big of a difference between the ability level of him and the class, including the teacher. Feels a bit like your majorly over-powered main character.

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    • I wasn’t sure about Saori Hayami at first just because she’s such a familiar voice to me, but I really feel she’s settled into Shirayuki’s character well and is starting to really do some amazing work.

      I’d recommend Gakkou Gurashi over Ushio to Tora in terms of overall quality, but they’re very different shows, so it might depend more on what you’re looking for.

      And Nagisa definitely gets more nuanced as Classroom Crisis goes on! I’d say give it a few more episodes!

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    • I had a real problem with Hayami Saori’s voicing for the first few eps (too many older roles bleeding through), but she’s settled into the role wonderfully.

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  6. Recent thoughts on shows, from the one I liked most.

    Ore Monogatari: I’m inclined to agree with what a lot of people saying, which is that the last several episodes have been sterling. The thing I love most from the ongoing Suna arc is the role reversal between him and Takeo; Takeo is surprisingly awesome in his new wingman role, and totally circumvented the typical dudebro “just man up and hook up with her, you need someone to date!!” behavior. His “hey, if you’re not comfortable with all these, it’s okay not to be nice for once and say ‘no’ [to the date invitation]. Your feeling is what’s important here.” advice is just a great moment and further highlighted how the friendship between these two is the strongest element in this show.

    Wakakozake: oh man, this is so delightful. Love the detailed food art, Wakako’s commentary, and the occasional glimpses of her personal life intertwined with whatever dish she’s having.

    Arslan: trending up after a rough middle period (goddamn, Alfreed’s such a horrible character). It’s really getting more interesting now with all the political shades of grey and characters becoming more nuanced; should even out as slightly above average fantasy show by the end.

    Gangsta: trending down. Not a fan of the recent power rankings nonsense and rather clumsy exposition, and the fight scenes in the latest ep are a pain to watch.

    Gakkou: also trending down, my enthusiasm has worn off since the impressive first 3 ep. Thing is, the “humorous” slice of life bits really didn’t work for me at all considering the circumstances, and there’s a couple of scenes sexualizing these kids that felt wildly out of place and made me cringe really hard. At least, the recent revelation (as cliched as it is) should provide some much needed tension and urgency to the whole proceeding.

    Ranpo Kitan: it’s consistent. Consistently bad, I mean. Your write-up had me convinced that I would’ve had a better time with either Shirayuki or Ushio instead, but even then, I kind of don’t regret watching this; it’s a mess, but an interesting one. In any case, do me a favor and watch this recent live performance of the ED:

    Cuts really deep, especially considering the lyrical context; she really did sing her heart out. Such an interesting voice and personality.

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    • Yeah, Gakkou Gurashi‘s fanservice stuff REALLY work against its overall mood, which is super disappointing. Particularly since Manga Time Kirara’s supposed to be the alternative to mainstream junk like that. And Gakkou Gurashi doesn’t need that stuff to work, so why put it in there! Ughhh.

      Like

  7. I am on the opposite end of the spectrum the more I watch the more I even like my good shows better! My Top 11 looks the Presidental Polls First 3 Tied / 4 way ties for 2nd and 3rd! What a logjam but nice to see shows so differrnt but good!

    [b]EPISODE(S) of the WEEK[/b]

    [blue]Week 8 / 9 Split [/blue] [b] Some really good ones [/b]

    Non-Non Biyori EP 8 / “I Took Lunch Duty”

    This was such a joy to watch ! This was a 3 part ! The first they have basic woodcraft ! Then have a flashback EP with Renge as baby and Hikage brings her to school because is sick ! Then actually Komari is the highlight of part 3 with her Plushie Shokichi-San which carried over from part 2 when Renge was doing her thing.

    Comedy / ingenuity / reminscing / cutenees / and a great life lesson

    Himouto! Umaru-chan EP 8 / “Umaru and Christmas and New Year’s” Some nice moments revovling around the Holidays ! Taihei has to work late on Christmas Eve because his boss Kanau doent want to be alone on Christmas Eve more like she has a crush on Tahei which is revealed in the ED . Funny on New Tears Eve when Takeshi comes over and has a food swap with Umaru. He is impressed with her collection of Colas > So At midnite he chugs his beer while Umaru takes a big swig of cola !

    School Live EP 9 / “Future” A nice mix of light comedy / then a discussion about the Future ! / A search then goes forr what the key is for ! They find it and a big reveal how the school was set up to survive and the staff knew about it

    Food Wars EP 21 / “The Unknown Known” With only 4 out of Soma;s group of 64 making it out things are intense or so are the judges ! But the most of the story was focused on Megumi and the Nao / Hisako dueal!

    Eveybody thought Megumi was a klutz and boring until she unveiled an upright stand with a moniker fish which is difficult to cut up but the backstory about that show how she got her skills and wowed everybody at the cookoff !

    The other story was on Nao who wants to be by Erina’s side was defeated by Hisako in a battle to take Hisako’s place ! Quite interesting !

    Senki Zessho Symphogear GX EP 9 / “The Middle of a Dream” This weas a really good episode with both Hibiki and Tsubasa with previous father problems ! Tsubasa and Maria go back to Tsubasa home ( Shrine ) to protect a Keystone but her and dad dont see eye to eye ! Phara attacks twice but the 2nd time Maria tells Tsubasa her dad cares about her by not cleaning up her room ! That was left with a cliffhangar !

    Meanwhile Chris and Kirika go to the Undersea Dragon’s Palace, where many relics are sealed and run into Carol Carol and Leiur to stop them stealing a relic, only to suddenly come up against Dr. Ver.That was a big surprise DR VER returns Oh My !

    Aoharu x Machinegun EP 9 / “That’s What Makes Me Cool!” After being defeated Hotaru is not hersel and Kanae confronts her and after learning that you can get bruised thinks she should quit ! But then remembers how bad their class was getting in Dodgeball and Hotaru said being cool is not if you win or lose but that you try! So she challenges Hotaru to a dash which she loses eveytime and Hotaru wants her to stop but reminded Hotaru of the dodgeball story ! And to not quit BTW what is really bothering Hotaru is that she needs to tell Masamune and Yukimura!

    The brief look into Fujimoto being scolded by his boos for almost being late while Midori was early because Fujimoto woke him uo and Midori took a cab while he had a bike !

    The OP song in full ( instrumental ) was quite nice !

    GATE EP 9 / “The Hakone Mountain Night Battle” This had so much the girls reaction to Toyko and Pina’s / Bozes interest in manga ! Then the defense minister and Itami are manga buddies !

    But off they go the Hot SPRINGS where the SDF is fighting agents ( USA ) aND OTHERS ? to capture the guests! Then apparently there is a scandal and The JSDF has to stand down!

    Charlotte EP 9 / “The World is Not in Here” While at the hiend concert Yuu has a flashback to an faciltly where Ayumi and his okder btother are alive ! He wakes up in the hospital and Kumagami takes him to his brother ho is alive ! what a turn of events !

    DRRR 2 (TEN ) EP 9 / “Eloquent & Competent” A very good backstory about Izaya and Shizuo
    back in high school with both forming a crazy biology club ! Also at the end Celty knows Izaya has
    her head !

    The Heroic Legend of Arslan EP 21 / ” A Song Of Farewell”” A very good episode ! With jealousy among some of the Pars forces towards some of Arslan inner circle especially Gieve who has a fight with Esfan the son of Shapur ( the Pars loyalist on the cross ) who Gieve shot ! Farangis stops the fight but is banished by Arslan actually a scheme by Narsus to send Gieve on A special mission nuch to Arslan;s dismay ! However Gieve saves Esfan .Zaravant and Tus the ones who despised by playing a song when they got captured because of their arrogrance ! Then Guiscard is planning to get rid of Silvermask when Arslan is defeated ! A nice touch by Farangis to say goodbye to Gieve and tells of Arslan’s true feelings !

    Gangsta EP 9 / “Siblings” This was intense ! After the singing by Alex Loretta is attacked by a Twilight whose daughter who is being held by the Anti- Twilights ! Ivan is seeting things up betraying the Monroe family ! Then Erica and Mikhail ( Anti-Twilights ) show up killing many of the Twilights and Loretta tries to stio them but is attacked but defended by Marco and Galahad ( A/O like Nic ) Worick see panic in the streets ans sends Nic to the Club who takes on the Duo ! But buys time to send uo Flares for Chad and The Guild for Help ! The Duo get restrained especially by Ginger ( S / 5) Too much to highlight !

    [blue]TIER 1 Top Favorites[/blue]

    [blue] Weeks 8 / 9 Split [/blue]

    [u][i][b] Lots of changes 3 WAY TIE For First [/b][/i][/u] SEE EPOTW Above for all 3

    1 Non Non Biyori Repeat
    1 Gangsta. /
    1 Gakkou Gurashi! READING MANGA

    [blue]4 Way Tie For 2nd / 4-7 [/blue]

    2 Working!!! 3 / Wagnaria!! 3 Stiil very reliable
    2 Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX / S3 SEE EPOTW Above
    2 The Heroic Legend of Arslan ONGOING SEE EPOTW Above
    2 Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri READING MANGA SEE EPOTW Above

    [blue]4 Way Tie For 3RD / 8-11 [/blue]

    3 Jokamachi no Dandelion / Castle Town Dandelion Moved up Again Just many Life Lessons
    3 Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma ONGOING READING MANGA SEE EPOTW Above
    3 Durarara!!×2 Ten Could move up? SEE EPOTW Above
    3 Baby Steps 2 ONGOING READING MANGA Best Sports Anime Period !

    12 Charlotte SEE EPOTW Above
    13 World Trigger ONGOING The Girls Squad Nasu
    14 Akagami no Shirayuki Hime / Snow White with the Red Hair I wish I could like more ! But there is a new Season
    15 Gatchaman Crowds Insight Now it’s getting interesting
    16 Sore ga Seiyuu! / Seiyu’s Life Holding Steady
    17 Himouto! Umaru-chan Moved up SEE EPOTW Above
    18 My Love Story / Ore Monogatari. Still very fond of this show !
    19 Aoharu x Kikanju (Aoharu x Machinegun) SEE EPOTW Above
    20 Classroom Crisis Fought back to the high level Tier 1 !

    Like

    • Hey, I see you there Classroom Crisis, sneaking in at the very bottom! It’s always fascinating for me to see how things shift around on your lists. Lots of reliable stuff holding steady, but then always a lot of stuff bouncing around.

      Sounds like Gate‘s gotten even more ridiculous, so maybe it’s time I returned to it!

      Like

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