Winter 2016 Anime Spring Shower

Whew, it’s been a while, huh? Apologies for the delay—weekend trip and video games have a bad habit of messing up my routines so thoroughly that I can’t get other things done even if I have the time.

Konosuba

Ah, where to start with this bounty of good anime that is the Winter 2016 season (and, looking ahead to Spring 2016, it seems this trend of goodness will continue in sync with the beauty of spring weather, which has finally arrived in the Midwest)? I suppose, to make sure I have to end on a high note eventually, we’ll cover the downers right at the beginning here.

Dimension W saw its departure from my weekly schedule this week, as being behind by two episodes and the general lack of presented reasons to care about anything finally outweighed my fondness for Mira on the “should I keep watching this” scale. The show’s collapse since episode 4 has easily placed it into the top spot of disappointing shows of the year for now, as I was genuinely excited for this project before the season started and even more so after the first three episodes. But, alas. I suppose there had to be at least one let-down in this otherwise wonderful season. I’ve also entirely given up keeping track of Phantom World—Guppy or no Guppy. That…actually might be old news, but I sort of forget when I actually chucked that one off the list.

There have been other shows with less-than-glamorous showing over the past two weeks, but I’m at least still continuing to keep those shows on my schedule for now.

Pictured above: me, continuing to watch GATE.

I jest a little bit about GATE S2, but the fact is that this show continues to fascinate me by its holistic and entirely devoted commitment to its particular set of ideologies. A new high-point was the most recent episode’s introduction of a hilariously overdone skeevy journalist straw man that is just another piece of the show’s hyper-suspicious worldview, aggressive-defensive worldview. In fact, it was good enough that I feel like I’m finally at the point where I have enough ammunition (intentional word choice, that) to actually put together that post on GATE that I’ve been promising to write since the end of the first season. That’s more of a reflection of my own mental processes than those of the show, though, as the most recent episodes have wildly varied from so boring I skipped through the whole thing (episode 8) to mostly boring but also kind of fun (episode 9). Lelei is still the best, by the way.

Speaking of shows of varying quality, Durarara!! x2-3 continues to march towards a potentially compelling finale without giving any strong signals as to whether or not its actually going to cash in on all the build up its been doing for almost three full seasons now. In all honesty, my hopes aren’t super high, but with only a few weeks left I feel I might as well finish it out and appreciate whatever goodness I am able to eke out of the show. There are a ton of loose ends still flopping around that I feel aren’t likely to be resolved, but as long as we get a somewhat satisfying ending for Kida, Anri, and Mikado, I’ll be happy enough.

Durarara!! x2

Another show with a lot of loose ends and not much time left is ERASED, which I’m no longer as down on as I once was—but I think it’s far to say that my emotional investment in the show, even in Kayo, has frayed quite a lot. It’s sad, really. Episode 8 should have been a genuine watershed episode and episode 9 should have been the warm conclusion, but I feel the show continues to trip over its own feet with stuff like Kayo’s grandmother showing up out of nowhere and the continued hints at the teacher being the murderer. I really don’t care at all who the killer is—I just want to see who Satoru is able to turn the tables on him, particularly now that the emotional core of the story (Kayo) is gone. ERASED certainly hasn’t lost its ability to be tense and thrilling, but no longer works on the emotional level it once did. But, I have some hope! I think Tomohiko Ito and crew can still make it a fun watch, and if they’re able to pull that off I’ll be plenty happy.

Of course, ERASED has a long way to go if it wants to catch up with the intensity of Haikyuu!!, which has turned on the afterburners the last two weeks with the Karasuno versus Seijoh game. I’ve made no secrets either here on the blog or on my Twitter that I think Tooru Oikawa is hot and a super fun personality, so getting to see him in glorious action has been awesome. And, more generally, the match itself has been as much a battle of personalities as it has been volleyball, which adds a layer of fun to the game that has been missing from battles past. I’d frankly be more than happy to watch this match stretch out through the end of the season, but I’m sure that’s not going to happen and I’m sure Seijoh isn’t going to beat Karasuno (sadly, since I’m genuinely rooting for Seijoh to win at this point). “Push it, push it, push it, push it, Tooruuuuuuuu!”

And with that, I’ll stop spinning my wheels and start talking about the shows that really matter most to me this season: Mahoutsukai PrecureKonosuba, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinju, and Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash—all of which have continued to be varying shades of unique excellence in the time I’ve been away.

I’ll start off with MahoPri, which continues to delight me with its feeling of freshness despite continuing to (sort of, I think?) follow the franchise formula. From the imaginative battle choreography to the crisp visuals to the ongoing loveliness that is Yui Horie’s performance as Riko to the whimsical feeling of the world, MahoPri has had good episode after good episode without ever letting up. I suppose it still remains to be seen how the series holds up over the long run, but if the misfits in Riko and Mirai’s supplementary class are destined to be the other Precure, I think things are going to work out just fine.

Likewise, Konosuba continues to hit comforting and joyful notes for me, even when its on what felt to me like a bit of an off week in episode 8. Aqua’s powerful on her own, but the rest of the cast really is very good and watching them derp around the world together just makes me really, really, really happy. As you’ve seen, I continue to write about the show for Crunchyroll, but no matter how many logically reasoned articles I write I don’t think I’ll ever really be able to fully express why Konosuba resonates so much with me. Some of it is tied up with Aqua, but some of it rests in the pocket of the show’s mood/atmosphere. And that’s okay, I think. I don’t need to completely articulate from top to bottom why I like something. I’ve done enough. I’m satisfied with that.

On the more serious side of things as this post draws to a close, I finally caught up with Rakugo Shinju and oh. my. land. What a show, people, what a show. It’s tragic, it’s sad, it’s insightful. It’s beautifully, heartbreakingly storyboarded and directed, and every movement of the camera, cast, and sound is precisely and delicately calculated. Just in terms of sheer artistic thoughtfulness, Rakugo Shinju is a marvel, but the maturity of the story is similarly powerful in effect. I’m in awe, I’m in love. And I’m so immensely thankful I didn’t try and do something crazy like blogging this show weekly—it’s one of those things I think I’ll have to sit on for a long time before I’m really able to write about it well (forget about the post I wrote at the beginning of the season).

And we’ll finish off with Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash today, which finally drew the post-Manato’s death arc to a close in episode 8 and started to look forward to a new healing for the party in episode 9. I feel like I remember someone in the comments of a past Anime Weekly saying they were going to write about Grimgar and grief (and they may have tweeted the link at me), but I wasn’t able to find it and read it—so if you’re out there reading, send that post my way again! Anyways, the conclusion to the Manato’s death arc was as satisfying and sensitive as I’d hoped—placing Grimgar up there along with Blast of Tempest as one of the best depictions of the grieving process in anime. That’s high praise.

Rakguo Shinju


P.S. Watch She and Her Cat!

 

26 thoughts on “Winter 2016 Anime Spring Shower

  1. One thing about anime there likes and dislikes fron one viewer to another as you wiil see in my rankings. This especially true of sci-fi anime where leeway should be given.

    I really dont want to go go show for show my rankings and Episodes of the week will convey my thoughts The FUNI DUBS made some shows stonger as things in the animation you miss and better understanding

    One show that continues to grow is Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash . Not only is it different but the great animation / artwork / emotional story that is going on. For now I am holding it’s spot and waiting foe season’s end

    BYW Toho released great Music Vidoes( Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash) in English Sub or the singers sing in English , There is a few references To God / Prayer that I think would interest you.

    Oh I watched She And Her CAT havent put it into rsankings yet

    EPISODE(S) of the WEEK / or Noteworthy (NW) POSTED BELOW / EOW or NW on RANKINGS

    43 SHOWS / 32 Full RWBY finished / 11 SHORTS TKZ Finished

    WEEK 9 / TIER 1 TOP FAVORITES

    RWBY earned the TOP spot IMO

    1 RWBY VOL 3 GREAT SEASON-Finished

    4 Way Tie for 2nd-5th

    2 Assassination Classroom 2 / Ansatsu Kyoushitsu 2[blue]FUNI [/blue] EOW
    2 Dimension W [blue]FUNI SUB / DUB [/blue] EXCELLENT EP
    2 Heavy Object [blue]FUNI SUB / DUB [/blue] [green] Ongoing Anime[/green] EOW
    2 Ajin – Demi-Human [blue] / Netflix [/blue] ! EOW

    4 Way Tie for 6th -8th

    6 Erased (Boku Machi) (The Town Where Only I Am Missing)EOW
    6 Haikyuu!! Second Season EOW
    6 Snow White with the Red Hair 2 EOW

    4 Way Tie for 9th -12th

    9 GATE 2 EOW
    9 Dagashi Kashi NW
    9 Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash EOW
    9 Mobile Suit Gundam/ Iron-Blooded Orphans EOW

    After the latest EP letdown a big drop for DRRR

    13 Durarara!!×2 Ketsu NW for it’s collaspe

    14 HaruChika
    15 Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku(Give Blessings to This Wonderful World)
    16 Pandora in the Crimson Shell EOW MOVED UP
    17 World Trigger
    18 Lovely Muuuuuuuco! SHORT
    18 TEEKYU 7 SHORT
    20 The File of Young Kindaichi Returns

    WINTER 2016 DUBS / Funimation except when noted

    Assassination Classroom DUB Up To Date
    Dagashi Kashi FUNI DUB Up To Date
    Dimension W Toonami DUB Up To Date
    Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash UP to Date
    Heavy Object DUB Up To Date
    Pandora in the Crimson Shell EP 1
    Snow White with the Red Hair 2 / Akagami no Shirayuki-hime On S 1 EP 7/ 2

    EPISODE’s of the WEEK EOW / or Noteworthy NW

    Assassination Classroom 2 EP 31 / Round Two Time

    When I first read the manga I thought this would be good and it was.

    Almost any anime that spends a lot of time school there is career counseling. Most of thre focus is on Nagisa who is thinking about being a career assassin. Kore tells him to think it over. However when he gets home his mother is not happy he got 54th / when a cutoff point is 50 to be considered for a better High School. His mom Hiromi is a liitle bit on the scary side using her shortcomings to have Nagisa replace them. She even wants to bribe the teacher of Class 3-D but Magisa insists he wants to stay a3-E. Nagisa is the way he is because of his mothers abuse even keeping his hair long and having dresses for him because she wanted a daughter.She meets with Kore dreseed as Karasuma and he discovers how nasty she is.

    Later Hiromi wants to burn down the school and Koro tries to stop her but Nagisa uses his skills to to stop him from hurting his mom. She is shocked at what she saw and passes out . Koro drives them both home . ( Kore is funny he can’t go fast ) Nagisa tells Kore he will think about other careers . Next day his mom says she dont care anymore but Nagisa says I wiil help out since she was busy even cooling breakfast every morning instead.

    Active Raid EP 9 / “In the Name of Logos”Noteworthy

    Finaslly Active Raid is starting to make sense / a little late to change my ketdowns for most of the season. Basically all the players are pretty much revealed.

    Dog ( working with Logos ) goes Rogue robiing banks etc Mythos orders a hit but Dog survives and wants to expose Logos.by stealing the tape linking Logos and the Corrupt govt

    Gis freeze cannisters finally backfire catching him.

    Erased EP 9 / Closure

    With just 3 episodes left can they finish or we need a S2 ?

    The showndown( Accusations / denials ) between Akemi / Satoru and Sachiko,/ Kayo looking on get violent with Akemi swinging a shovel hitting Sachiko . Kayo tries to hold her mom back / then Yashiro ( CP SVCS ) show up and say they are taking Kayo who says she is going to the ploice , But Akemi’s mom shows and says sorry for lettting her be abused .and not helping with Kayo Akemi breaks down and goes with CPS for hopefully help and Kayo goes with her grandnother now safe from being killed.

    Satoru is sad that Kayo is gone but now has to protect Hiromi Sugita, his classmate, and Aya Nakanishi at another school next door .

    In a seperate segment while Satarou is on tailing duty he runs into his mom who has a lot oy grocies and has to help her. Yashiro offers them a ride when a bunch of lollipops fal out of the glove box but he says it’s for nerves Mom / son take some of them

    Meanwhole the bus withe the evidence is clearecd out.

    Heavy Object EP 21 / You Can’t Put a Price on Honor – The Critical Running Battle on Victoria Island II

    Now facing seven Objects, including the Indigo Plasma, and with only a semi-damaged Baby Magnum on their side, Qwenthur and Havia try to figure out if this is a battle they can fight and win.

    Prizewell City Slicker again annouces his intebtions of wiping out Immigration City ( as in Genocide ) Also his target is the Legitimacy Kingdom mobile base which get evacauted just in time.

    Qwenthur and Havia are cutoff and come attack but by the Battlefield Cleaning Service Mercanies ( dressed as maids ) from Of the Capital Enterprise but Qwenthur gires them with the diamonds from the mine. They figure out the other Objects are fakes after checking out the one damaged last week as having thin armor and the depth of the tracks as 7 Objects would cost too much and are Just AI’s

    They find out Granny / Ayami Cherryblossom ( Maint Boss) went to Victoria City to rescue her Daughter Family and the City cmes under attack but our Duo is just arriving

    Imigaryion City and LK Base are targets Genocvide Grannt went to I City

    Granny some driver / there is a reson she got mad skills.

    Pandora in the Crimson Shell EP 9 / “Assault”

    Clarion has become one of my favorites of the season. Like Motoko Kusanagi( Ghost in The Shell ) who she is based off from the same author She is Just so OP and fun to watch whether feeling awakard from Nene’s attention or in Combat mode she is just cool.

    After getting fixed Up Nene / Clarion Clarion deduces that the Fire was caused by BUER firing a laserv after being hacked by Ian Krutz

    Clarion mission come to ligy that is to protect Nene which means protecting Buer /Cencale Osland.

    She makes a deal with Takumi to give her some battle Gertsecommas and super battle droid that has some kinks . Takumi is after Uzal’s Buer too but wants nobody to get hurt and makes larion promise . Thar reminded me of Terminator 2 when he is for bidden to kill asnyone,

    Well Clarion storms into Buer which is protected by Bunny ( another faction against Uzal ) She justbsnashe through the defenses ( Like Ghost in The Shell ) Then takes out Kutz soliders but no one hurt bad . The Gertsecommas tie them up and give them light first aid.

    She then runs into Kurtz’s Cyborg which destroys her droid but escapes and a showdown is brewing. Meanwhile Nene finds Clarion’s note .

    Dagashi Kashi EP 8 / “Super Scary Story Gum and Typhoons and… / Kendama and Pop Pop Fortune Chocolates and…” NW

    More on the humannside of things than snacks / candy though Scary Candy Gum plated in the firs set up about Scary stories which Sata is horrified of which makes for amusing moments

    The 2nd half is again more human with To Koko playing the cup and ball which To is bad t but Saya ( dont forgewt they are twins) is just good naturally.

    Hotaru does a good job of playing the punchlines.

    Oh did To / Koko see her Pantsu? Was there a Homage to Erase ?

    Saya is just cool !

    Gate EP 21 / “Deadline”

    The Rose Knights push back Zorzal’s Henchmen

    Meanwhile there is infighting between ( Japan ) Tarou Kanou The Japanese Minister of Defense ( others supporters ) who want to rescue The Japanes Delegation and refuregee from Jade Palace while PM Morita says no because media / other Country officials are there

    Lelei in a helment driving is just a cool IMO Itami / his troupe arrive in Rondel where another attempt is made von their lives . They want to get the mastermind behind the attempts . They are also cut off due to the a bad area for rasdio and all the bridges have been destroyed but news of the Jade Palace Arrives .

    A huge Zorzal army shows up to takedown Jade Palace / Pina is hel by Zorzal , But The OK is given for Japan to intervene as it getting bad.

    Durarara!! X2 The Third Arc Episode 33 – Walking on Thin Ice NW for it’s letdowns

    Little bits of action / lots of dialouge has left me saying it could have been a very top anime . but now just on the tails of other deserving shows .

    Whoever did the night scenes make it so we dont need Night Vision Goggles

    Also this episode left me feeling like Saika’s children . In an endless loop.

    HAIKYU!! 2nd Season Episode 22 / The Former Coward’s Fight

    CHP 136 Something to Turn The Tides Part 3 / CHP 137 The Struggles of The Formerly Weak-Willed / CHP 138 The Ultimate Attack / CHP 139 OLD Enemies

    Yamaguchi gets redemption / Tsukishima -Tanaka help but Aobajousai and Karasuno play all out. Both teams are kinda in a weird respect for each other. Final set next

    [blue] Dimension W EP 9 / The Key to Adrastea [/blue]

    This was a well crafted episode. I dont care how many revelations / flashbacks / it was just perfect / No Tease just set us up very nicely.

    Kyoma / Loser so sarcastic . Loser knows Kyoma was Grendel

    Loser is mad that Kyoma cant remember anything and says he should have come / Also Loser has an Energy Shiels anf Illegal Coil.

    As Kyoma asks for Loser to explain The Dimensional phere shows up and knocks Kyoma out Loser leaves saying Kyoma is the Key?

    Kyoma wakes up in a flashback with Al / Grendel training.He has vision then new Of African Central falling

    Salva-Enna-Tibesti / Lwai-Aura-Tibesti / Lashiti watch as their country falls but from spies and others not frtom the citizens . Salva says to a power dont come out now.( Himself ? )

    Back to Al / Kyoma they are helping Africa Central / The Traitor within New Tresla is Haruka Seameyer was a Student of Dr Yurazuki but was expelled for dangerous thoughts.

    Back to Salva he had his own plans beyond even Lwai but an attmpt on his life his robot points the gun at the sniper and Lwai is caught up in it.Haruka is there pulling strings

    NEW TESLA is well aware of Haruka but Haruka’s reason for revolt is that want shackle Dr Yurazuki and takes over Adrastea

    Loser ( Julian) / Elizabeth are at Adrastea’s vault . Liz hope thet can find her mother but almost sets off one of Kyoma;s spin darts.( Spins at 60.000 KPH until it self destructs ) They get into the vault but is nothing . Loser speaks of Sophia ( Julian’s Wife later / did she escape in a trasporter)and says ne needs one more Key * ( They were searching all over in orevios episode(s) )

    Grendel knows where Haruks is Easter Island ( Adrastea’) NT Top Secret resesrach facilitly

    Kyoma gets news Miyabi needs Emergency Sugery and has 6 hours before invasion.He see Mira in a ghost form when he visits Miyabi . He has other flashbacks of Mira after touvhing Miyabi’s lifeline on her palm . He then has a confratation with himself ( the Sphere ?)

    He thens make a promise to Miyabi thinking he is going to wake up but ends up with Salva / treatin Lwai in an medical machine ?

    He is seeing all memories ( The MC Haruks ) says it’s the Notingness ( or the Esscemce of Dimension W ) Haruka wants all of Kyoma;s memories.But Miyabi says he contols the Future. Back to Mira / The Diggers Mira sais he has 6 Heartbeats per minute and his Temp is falling but findsMiyabi’s ic asns says she dont know her bur rembers from EP 2 her memory file.Mary says Miyabi would be his wife if still alive.Mira was going to be Miyabi’s Body Also Kyoma thinks Easter Isle and Miyabi’s accident were lnked

    A nice job teasing Mira might be Miyabi but not ( yet ?? )

    Then a new Robot (Security)appears and Mira says she will protect Kyoma

    GOD EATER EP 10 / Scattered Petals or Glorious Death

    This was a hard very episode to take in .

    Lenka was abandoned and Iroha’s family rescued him

    In a flashback the Camp needs medicine / food fuel so able bodied people have to search.

    Lenka Iroha get rescued by Amamiya / he suggest to they do the test(God Eater 0 and gves them a kit.

    Both Lenka / his stepmom a really ill have one vial of RX / mother says give RX to Lenka after being Postive.

    Lenka goes out the A attack the camp father is pinned Lenka / Iroha take a bike but is cut. She grows ill give him thre compass To Fenir but he wont go so she slashes her own throat .She also explains he was an orphan yet family. He gets away and Iroha has dream in a beatiful fiekd woth one flower blooming ans see Lenka and tells him she loves him.

    Lenks gets his new God Eater

    Mobile Suit Gundam/ Iron-Blooded Orphans EP 22 / “Not Yet Home”

    The aftermath( Of Biscuit’s Death ) has a profound effect on Tekkadan,Also Gjallarhorn may be going to what is considered Tabbo but actually saved humanity originally.

    Mika has to knock sense into Orga .to get going again!

    Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash EP 9 / How to Rest

    Just the water color scenes and the Song (which reminds me of The Pillows) is nice but a different hunt is discussed .

    A chance meeting with Hal / Mary at her woman only lodging .

    A new hunt ? The Cyrene Mine but Hal forgot that is where Mary lost her party
    .She takes off but Hal catches up and says sorry but Mary says it’;s time to face her fears ‘

    Hal wants to learn how to do a Spider move and his trainer(Barbara) gives him a rough lesson but is fanservice heavy.

    They go the Cyrene which humans once controlled but the hunt is for Kobolds which took the Mine over.

    Snow With The Red Hair EP 21 / When I’m with You…

    Zen / Shirayuki / Mitsu / Kiki / Obi are almost back to Clarinies border but a heavy rain mahes them stop in a border town where rooms are scare A mysterious woman naned Trow shows up who actually knows Obi they go to retrieve a rich prince who ran away from home.Apparently they worked together But Zen comes and finds him and yells him he is important to them.

    AJIN EP 8 / Brace for Impact

    The Ajin gather Sataou talks mass murder of humans / some disagree and get shot at / chased One Ajin boy Rayou gets away but is then pursued by Tosaki but gets picked up by regular rescue squad

    Meanwhile Kei was seen by Rayou is trying to have more control of his IBM .

    Prison School OVA

    Prison School OVA

    I have to self censor here but it was way over the top

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  2. Haven’t written much myself, as our schedule got gorked too… Just got caught up Monday, just in time for Agents of Shield to return and throw our viewing schedule for a loop.

    My Shows
    All on hold and not caught up on.

    Our Shows

    Akagami no Shirayukihime eps 6-9; Shirayuki continues to disappoint. She continues to be mostly a passive quest object with only passing moments of actual activity and personality. And what the hell is up with meeting her long missing father, and then disposing of what should have been a huge event in less than half an episode? Watching Zen has been interesting though, as he struggles between Acting Princely and acting on his love for Shirayuki. Ep9 was a complete waste of time other than giving us a brief and interesting glimpse of Obi’s background.

    AOKANA eps 6-9; Finally the drama inherent in the genre emerges (I’ve decided AOKANA is more like an idol show than Magical Battle at Magical High), and from a direction only quietly presaged and is rather quickly wrapped up with a quick visit from the childhood mystery inspiration to boot… This sounds worse than it is, overall AOKANA reminds me of last seasons Asterisk War – a show that’s fairly generic but it still much better than it has any right to be.

    Dagashi Kashi ep 6-8; Still a one trick pony, still worth watching to see what rabbit they’re going to pull out of the hat this week.

    Dimension W eps 6-9; The contest for “biggest disappointment of the season” seems to be all but over for the season as DW lurches in confusion around the final turn and into the homestretch. At this point, we’re only watching to see just how bad the trainwreck will be.

    ERASED eps 6-9; Like you Bless, I was a bit bothered by the sudden appearance of the grandmother, but on the other hand the teacher does have a demonstrated history of butting in… But where will they go from here? A clue may be found in something very subtle – after Satorou’s first time loop, the details of Kayo’s (now averted) death changed. The time stream has been redirected in a way that has escaped Satorou’s notice. The staff is just too good for this to be an accident. And just who the hell is Kenya?

    Other than that, Episode 8 and Kayo’s actions (and reactions) when she was taken into the Fujinuma home represent a new high water mark – something I would not have thought possible.

    Gate ep6-9; Yeah, the events are just too convenient for the worldview the show is pushing. They haven’t been this blatant since the visit to the Diet way the heck back in the first season. Still, it’s enjoyable if you turn your brain off to the inconsistencies and just enjoy the ride.

    Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash ep 6-9; Still a quiet delight as it continues to go Where No Show Has Gone Before – the catharsis of ep8 was just friggin’ wonderful. I still think Mary, even though she’s obviously warming up and returning to the land of the living, is getting a bit of a short shrift though. She’s the closest thing Grimgar has to to being a “trope with legs” and thus really stands out by contrast to the rest of the cast.

    I don’t know if this is the essay you were looking for, but it is quite good; http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/feature/2016-02-24/grimgar-of-fantasy-and-ash-and-the-consequences-of-death/.98975

    Gundam Tekketsu ep 18-21; IBO is descending into a directionless morass… or they’re just breaking through the thicket into the next arc. I don’t know which and increasingly I just don’t care. They’ve just stretched the basic themes that have carried the series to date a bit too far.

    KonaSuba ep5-8; Like a couple of other shows this season, KonaSuba kinda lost it’s way midseason… It’s a fun watch, but a lot of the sheen has worn off as the pitcher makes repeated trips to the same well.

    She and Her Cat: Everything Flows ep1; a new entry… and it looks very good even if I’m not sure where it’s going yet.

    In other notes… was sick as a dog last week, and spent most of one of the days dozing on the couch in between watching anime I’d already seen. Watching Mother’s Rosario was not among my best decisions ever though.

    Wow – is it not easy to catch up on so much in so few sentences… But life is like that, so off to push the “Post Comment” button.

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    • Aokana as an idol show? Interesting. To me it’s a classic sports anime, although there are some admitted similarities between the two genres. One of the things that really stands out to me about Aokana though is that, for a VN adaptation, it’s basically relegated the boring player-insert who’s usually the main character to a side role, and made Asuka and Tobisawa co-main characters instead. I can’t remember the last time (if ever) that I saw a VN adaptation do either of those things, and it makes the material feel fresher to me than if it adhered to the conventional formula. Doing it this way also gives the two girls so much more agency, since we get to see them actively working through the challenges they face, either on their own or by helping each other out, instead of just sitting around waiting for the MC to fix all their problems for them. “Female helplessness” is an issue I’ve had with a lot of VN adaptations, even some like Kanon that I otherwise love, so it’s nice to see one where it’s not an issue.

      In looking at web forums, it looks like there are two major complaints about Aokana above all others. One is complaining about the animation. Which is perfectly fine to me most of the time, but whatever. It is what it is. The other common complaint is, “When is MC going to start acting like an MC?” often with the appended corollary, “Where’s the romance?” Those are obviously the people who expected a traditional formulaic VN adaptation and haven’t adjusted to the fact that they aren’t going to get that from this show.

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      • My experience with sports anime is largely limited to Prince of Stride (which I dropped), the Magical Battle Tournament variant seen in Asterisk War, and Aokana… so I was reaching for what I knew as a comparison. One of the idols deciding she wants off the bus and the balance of the group seeking to bring her back into the fold is one of the prime tropes of the idol genre… So that was just the best way I could describe Asuka’s arc.

        I hadn’t known Aokana was adapted from a VN, but knowing that now explains why the show has felt ‘off’ in some ways. Subliminally, I’ve been expecting the (classic VN trope) setup they’ve hinted broadly at off and on (especially the first couple of eps) – Hinata (the player insert) strapping on a pair of Grav-Shoes and stepping into the fray to carry the day. If that’s the ending they’re setting up with the reveal of Asuka’s Mysterious Childhood Friend… That’ll actually be disappointing now that I know. (Knowing too much is sometimes a curse.)

        Doubly so since Asuka is slowly pulling ahead in the race to be this seasons Best Girl.

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        • Noo, the last episode of Aokana, what with the whole “I wonder who that boy was … Oh well, whatever” closing line is pretty clearly the production team thumbing their nose at that particular trope and VN adaptations in general.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I hope that doesn’t happen either, but I don’t think they’re going that way. Masaya’s VA has fifth billing in the credits, and if you look at the show’s official website, the four main girls all have their own character pages, while he’s lumped in with Shindou, Satouin, and the club advisor on the “other characters” page. I’m guessing that Asuka will ultimately be the one to break this tactic and take Miss Avalon down, probably with Tobisawa and Masaya’s help.

          I don’t think I’ve watched as much sports anime as Bless – it’s not one of my favorite genres – but I’ve seen enough to recognize some of the common tropes and character types they’re using. Like Asuka’s the beginner prodigy MC, Tobisawa is the MC’s half-friend/half-rival teammate, Masaya is the burned-out veteran who wants to quit the sport but can’t, and so on.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, man, I totally disagree about episode 9 being a waste of time, but I’ve lately started to think that the way I think about and watch Shirayuki is different from the way others do. I do agree this last arc was pretty mixed, but this episode I liked a lot.

      I find GATE enjoyable even with my brain on! Too much fun seeing how eagerly it pursues its specific agenda.

      Aokana as an idol show? Man, you guys are really pulling out all the stops to get me to watch this thing, aren’ t you? 😛

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  3. I ended up throwing in the towel for Dimension W as well. Everything after episode 3 just felt like a waste to me, with the story becoming increasingly incoherent and poor Mira becoming increasingly utilized as nothing more than fanservice fodder. I guess it’s one of those shows that I wanted to like a lot more than I actually did.

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  4. Most people seem to find Dimension W disappointing, but I actually enjoy it a lot. It works for me as good-old pulp SF; science as metaphor. What I’m seeing is a metaphoric exploration of quantum theory re-imagined as relationship drama. I don’t find it confusing at all; everything makes intuitive sense to me (though obviously there’s a lot we don’t know yet). It’s not perfect, but it’s good stylish sf entertainment. (I’ve read a lot of SF all my life, and I’m a fan of the genre. Anime doesn’t often get it right, but I feel comfortable with this one.)

    Calling Rakugo Shinju the best show of the season is an understatement. It just works on every level for me. It’s beautiful, the soundtrack is amazing, the characters are excellently written and the character descigns are greatly detailed down to the single hair on Sukeroku’s nose. They use cinematography very well, with shots of feet showing comfort levels for example. It’s culturally interesting. It’s got a lot to say about how you make your way in the world if you’re not the top dog. Also I sort of see the show as kitsune (Kiku) and tanuki (Sukeruko) do rakugo. Miyokichi is an awesome character; I feel bad for her, but I can’t tell whether the prospect of meeting her or the prospect of being her scares me more. This is a sharp drama developed clearly from all its characters; you don’t need villains for tragedy, just the regular differences between people and some economic and cultural pressure. I thought the show would spend more time in the present than it now can manage, but I don’t care. I take whatever this show gives me with gratitude. The best show I’ve seen in a long, long time.

    I’m sort of miffed at Konosuba for skipping a character introduction and adventure, which surprises me since I’ve always seen it as primarily a comedy, with plot as a background excuse for entertaining character antics. But finding myself miffed at missing plot points suggests that I’m more into the story of the show than I thought. Interesting.

    Haikyuu has finally delivered an episode on par with season one with its latest installment.

    Durarara is a show I always enjoy while watching, but I’m never really looking forward to it, and if it got cancelled I’d be left with a mild curiosity, but it wouldn’t be a tragedy. It’s an odd feeling.

    Grimgar continues to both attract me and keep me at a distance in a way I can’t quite pin down. And it’s not just about my goblin issue either. For example, I thought Mary’s development was excellent, and I sort of like her, but at the same time I have this strange sense that the development just leads to some sort of unappealing ideal. It’s one of the strangest viewing experiences I can remember; a show at odds with itself, and I don’t know how or why.

    Interestingly, I sort of enjoyed today’s Phantom World episode, and that’s especially surprising because it was a Ruru episode, and I find her infinitely annyoing. So the only Phantom World episode I enjoyed focusses on a character I don’t like? Also, the aspects I dislike about Phantom World stand out even more if you actually like the episode.

    I still don’t like Albrecht, and that leads me back to something I said a couple of weeks ago: I tend not to like anime teddie bears. So why am I bringing this up again? Because I’ve recently re-watched Gakuen Alice. The show was less funny than I remembered, but it was actually better at human interaction than I remembered to make up for that. And yes, it contains a teddy bear I like. He’s called Bear, lives alone in a cabin in a wood, and allows only people close who are friends with the guy who made him. He’s got a violent disposition, and the episode that focusses on him (and the boy who made him) is one of the most touching in the entire show. I highly recommend this goofball show.

    Also, I’ve watched the third Tamayura film this week, and boy, are the films better than season two. Tamayura consists of the original OVA (4 episodes), two one-cour seasons, and four films, the fourth of which is yet to come. It was running out of steam during the second season; important stuff happened, but I couldn’t feel it. The films? Oh, they’re great again. Tamayura, to me, is the epitome of healing anime; a girl slowly works through the grief for her photographer father, reclaiming life by getting into photography with her late father’s old analogue camera. The ending of the third film was one of the entire franchise’s most powerful moments; showing up the turmoil that’s still underneath the show’s calm exterior – all of that triggered by pending graduation, and the need to make choices as to what to do afterwards. One of the things that the show does better than many other anime I can think of is its central theme: photography. The show isn’t about photography. Photography is a vehicle for our protagonist to overcome her grief and reclaim her life. But the photos they shoot? Everyone has their own style; you can tell which picture our protagonist shot. They’re almost always snaphsots full of motion. I’m still in awe about how natural those snapshots seem in the context of the show. And it ties in so well the show’s theme. Our protagonist starts out as a watcher, behind the camera, only slowly turning the camera from a safe spot to hide behind (and a memento of her father) to a tool of the trade. The show’s one weakness is its overbearing sweetness; it’s actually part of the concept and a strength when you watch indvidual epsiodes. But you can’t marathon this show; you’ll die from diabetes before the finishing line. Still, anyone who likes healing anime could do worse than watching Tamayura.

    Finally, I found out that I really like the work of art director Matsumoto Hiroki. Matsumoto’s been responsible for last season’s Concrete Revolutio, but this season he’s doing Koukaku Pandora, which has very obvious budget issues, but none of them matter because of splendid art direction (or so I think; I don’t know much about the job). If you want another good example of why I like Matsumoto so much, watch the pre-credits scene of A-channel episode 10 (which I think he’s responsible for). I’ll be watching out for that name in the future. (It might also be a good idea to find out what an art-director actually does.)

    I’m watching other stuff, too, but these are too many words already. For me, this is a really good season to watch anime.

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    • I am showing my support for Dimendsion W . Yes it’s not perfect but this week was so good !And there are a lot of people that like it

      Before I read Mage In A Barrel thoughts on Dimension W (week 9) I read three other Professional Reviews this week that were mostly positive even a 3rd which was critical more for all the infro reveals and the sci-fi aspect of the Dimension Shift but stiil thought it was a good episode.

      And most readers problem with Dimension W How Kyoma treats Mira but the events of the past might accountb for that Mira was going to be Miyabi’s body

      That being said I think SCI- FI gets a bad rap sometimes because people tried equate it to realitly.

      Here is something on Star Trek remember Bones using devices to cure illness . injury . Well another step in that direction A DR is using Radio waves to treat Acne and it works w/o meds.
      So science is important . always have an open mimd.

      Speaking of Sci-Fi the Ajin Anime ( yes the dark side of viewing anime ) is just so Tension filled it’s to the point of Human Genocide, It’s not for weak of heart.

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      • Hm, the only positive review of Dimension W I came across are on Guardian Enzo’s blog. But then, I don’t get around much. Disappointment seems common.

        I’d like to watch Ajin, but I just can’t get past the CGI. I may come back to it later.

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    • Okay, I am sorry calling Rakugo the best show of the season isn’t enough for you!! What more do you want from me!! What other words can I give it!! 😛

      Grimgar is most definitely at odds with itself; the creative staff adapting the source material seem to constantly be struggling against the confines of poor light novel writing to create something good. They’ve done a marvelous job with what they had—here’s hoping they get better source material in the future.

      Hm, maybe I should check out an episode of Pandora, if only to see what Matsumoto’s doing there…

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      • @Rakugo: Oh, sorry. I just really, really like the show.

        @Pandora: I have no idea whether I should encourage or discourage you here. It’s one of my favourites, and it’s really cute and postive, but there’s also the really odd fanservice. You get full nudity… of robot-bodies who lack certain details by design. And it has really awful sexual jokes, the worst offender being BUER (if you never see that five-legged lion thingy, your life won’t be any poorer for it).

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  5. Dimension W – I like this show. It’s not amazing, but it’s solid and enjoyable with decent sci-fi.

    Grimgar – Grimgar is a good show, but it is not quite as good as it thinks it is. It’s a hard thing to explain, but sometimes Grimgar does things because it feels that is what a “good” show would do, rather than something being demanded by the story. When it stops doing that, it is a very good show indeed.

    AOKANA – thoroughly enjoyable. I’m quite enjoying the way they completely sidelined the male MC, and are even lampshading it at this point. It’s like they realized that the two main female characters were the strongest, and so they focused on them.

    Active Raid – this is surprising good, and probably the most underrated show of the season. It’s finally getting into full swing (it’s two cours) after going through all the introduction and setup episodes.

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    • To be honest, I’m not quite sure what you mean regarding Grimgar. Can you clarify a bit more?

      And I’ve heard good things about Active Raid as of late—part of me wants to try to get back into it.

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      • It’s kind of like the parable of the Pharisee and the sinner. Grimgar is the Pharisee. The Pharisee is a good person, but draws attention and boasts of how good a person he is. Similar, I think Grimgar is a good show, but it is continuously drawing attention to the fact that it is a good show. The long pauses, the attention paid to mundane scenery, the conversations between characters which are repetitive and awkward. All of that is Grimgar saying, “Look at me, I’m not like those other RPG shows”.

        That’s probably a really awkward explanation/analogy, but it’s the best I can do. (I guess in this analogy, Konosuba is the sinner. Which is oddly appropriate.)

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        • The irony is, a lot of that seemingly deliberate pacing was allegedly due to executive meddling: the producers were ordered to showcase the music and to do that dialogue had to be cute and you got those long, silent montages.

          For me, this worked because it meant you got a great contrast between the frenzy of their dayjobs as murder hobos and what the gang does in their free time.

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        • Hm, yeah, I really don’t agree with that at all. The things you mention as “drawing attention to it being a good show” are, in my opinion, a critical part of what makes Grimgar a good show. To me, those parts are inseparable from the rest; I don’t think it would work as well otherwise.

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  6. It would’ve been me who talked about doing a post on grief in Grimgar, though it sort of morphed halfway through into a post comparing and contrasting grief in Grimgar with how it was handled in Kanon. (no link, as WordPress doesn’t seem to like links in comments)

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  7. I think you’re a bit off target on the emotional core of Erased. That would be Sachiko Fujinuma, Satorou’s mother, which is why it’s imperative the world be set to right.

    And a word of warning: Just skip episode 9 of Konosuba. Trust me on this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Konosuba 9 was one of those “If I had a blog” episodes, because I’d have a whole lot to say about it. I still thought it was a good episode overall, but it was without a doubt the most uncomfortable episode of the whole series to watch – as it really should have been, given how horribly wrong everything almost went.

      And then I find out today that Konosuba’s only going to be a ten episode series? What the frig???

      Like

    • Hm, I frankly don’t think Satoru’s mother has been given the screentime to really serve as the emotional core of the show—half the time it’s like the show has forgotten she died in the future.

      And that was a good warning for Konosuba. I still watched it and I’ll have thoughts on it next week, but it was good to know in advance things were going to be happening.

      Liked by 1 person

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