In which I am laid low before the forces of “real life…”
Let me just start off by letting you all know this week of work is kicking my butt, so today’s post is going to be a little shorter than you or I are accustomed to. As such, I’ll mainly just be focusing on the anime that are kind of the loves of my anime life right now (you’ll have to guess what I’m thinking about everything else, or update me on them yourself).
I’m a week behind on Rakugo Shinju yet again, so my top vote for this week’s Anime Power Rankings went to (surprise!) Konosuba‘s episode 6. Aqua and co. continue to be hilariously fun to watch, but more importantly to me were Aqua’s myriad successes (even if there were some consequences) against the Dullahan and his crew of undead. I mean, sure, she spent a lot of the episode running around for her life, but that just made her moments of glory all the greater. I’m now sort of at the point where Aqua’s successes feel like a personal triumph for me and her downs just make me empathize with her more, so am I too far gone? Yes, I probably am. Don’t bring me back.
Megumin’s still a blast, too (can’t believe it took me 7 weeks to think up that pun) and Darkness is growing on me more than I expected she would. There’s also Kazuma, who continues to be Not Bad—but when a superstar like Aqua is around, we don’t really need to think about the parts of the show that are good, but not great.
Speaking of things that have been good, but not great recently, Akagami no Shirayuki-hime returned with a vengeance Monday with a swashbuckling episode that climaxed in the triumphantly warm scene where Shirayuki and Zen hug at the top of the stairs. For me, that made everything I liked less about this arc worth it—and it also prompted some passionate thoughts on the show from me on Twitter, which I’ll share here:
If there’s one reason above all the others that I love Zen and Shirayuki’s relationship, it’s that their romance is fundamentally built on a close and trusting friendship. This is simply not a path we see relationships take in anime (Toradora!‘s another good example), and frankly I value that not solely because of its rarity, but also because of its importance for people to see. What Shirayuki-hime lays out is the way to build a relationship that will actually last. There’s passion to it, sure, but at its core it’s steady, warm, genuine, and trusting. And maybe it doesn’t make for a “compelling” or “interesting” story. Who cares?? Go elsewhere if you need your intense romantic kicks. And leave me to watch and love these friends-become-lovers who haven’t lost their friendship.
So, yeah, take that Obi x Shirayuki shippers—you’re all wrong!
MahoPri hasn’t been subbed yet (which is a shame and I miss it a lot), so I guess the next thing on the list is Grimgar, which had another impressive episode of meaningful conversations. Ranta has been the butt of most people’s annoyance, but I actually thought he made a number of really important points—and, perhaps even more impressively for Grimgar as a show—lined up to take a critical position in the show’s musings on empathy and understanding other people. Ranta’s an ass, but he’s still a member of the team and still a human being with thoughts, feelings, and needs. Just because he’s a brat doesn’t disqualify him from being treated with some level of dignity and respect, and I really appreciate that Grimgar extended that grace to him rather than just giving it to Mary and her tragic backstory. That’s an important, neat thing. Just another anime doing something anime don’t usually do.
Grimgar isn’t just an adventure story, and it’s likewise not just a MMO-inspired slice-of-life. It’s a contemplative take on a certain range of humanity, and I’ve started to think there’s something particularly compelling about the socio-economic class issues that underline the life and death struggle of just being alive. Maybe I’ll come back to that thought at a later point.
Everything else I’d feel compelled to talk about this week is really just highlighting small pieces out of otherwise decent, but non-notable episodes, which reminds me that I wanted to plug something not anime, but related to anime to you guys. I recently added the blog Wave Motion Cannon to my blogroll, and on Sunday tamerlane (one of the blog’s writing team) posted a really fascinating article on sakuga, anime fandom, and how we talk about anime called “At Least It’s an Ethos.” I highly encourage you guys to check it out, and there are a number of points in there that I find very salient to my own writing here. In the post, tamerlane talks a bit about the idea of excerpting small pieces of things from a larger whole an appreciating them for their own sake. I also left a large comment in the comment section, if you’d like to see some of my thoughts on the matter.
As for those other highlights for me, I’ll just bullet point them for convenience’s sake:
- Lelei and her sister battling it out in GATE (and it was well-animated, too!)
- So much of my trash husbando Oikawa in Haikyuu!!
- ERASED really revived itself by returning to the past timeline, although the cliffhanger at the end really raised my hackles.
- Durarara!! x2‘s latest episode somehow generated a whole bunch of thematic thoughts for me thanks to Shizuo and Izaya’s rather subtle showdown.
- And Dimension W continues to look pretty, even if Kyouma’s backstory did absolutely nothing for me due to the fact that Kyouma himself is boring. More Mira please. Please. Episode 3 was this show’s high point by a mile.
A full review of Hanayamata is coming soon, and apologies for my delayed responses to comments! But look! I made a real post in a half-hour! Cool! See you guys next week~