In which things, aside from one prominent outlier, stay mostly the same.
Someday, I will learn to leave inferior sequel series alone and just rewatch good things. Today is not that day. But, lest you get the wrong idea from the combination of this opening paragraph and the lead image, let me note that Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is unequivocally not one of those shows. In the last few weeks I feel my thoughts on Shirayuki-hime have really started to come together in a coherent fashion, and if I have get out of this blogging slump I’m in, I think I’ll have some really substantive to say on the series as a whole once it’s finished. In particular,the idea of unchanging people has been recurring with far more frequency than I expected it to, confirmed that Shirayuki-hime‘s chief concerns are not really those of “telling a story,” per se. It’s not even what I would consider “character driven,” as it seems more interested in changing the world around Zen, Shirayuki, and the others than in changing them.
I think that’s okay. Good, even. We humans are kind of terrified of stasis (and not for good reason), but the facts are that the changes we experience are constantly minor—and constant. This is the kind of reality Shirayuki-hime depicts, the little ups and downs of relationships. In this week’s episode, specifically (and aside from Ando’s continued use of the window motif), the real highlight for me was the moment when Shirayuki says she wasn’t worried about the marriage interview. It’s a recognizable impulse, to downplay your own emotional turmoil to keep a strong face, but in this case in backfires when it causes Zen confusion and worry. Of course, they work out the misunderstanding and reconcile, but that little motion of weak humanity… I loved it. And I love this show. This is one of the “sames.”
Grimgar is another show that’s dealing with the little piece of humanity that bump up against each other (although I don’t love it the same way I love Shirayuki-hime). And the fact that it’s coming via Ranta is cool, because Ranta doesn’t really deserve it, all things considered. He’s a jerk, hard to work with, and thoughtless. His perspective on the party is the antithesis of what Haruhiro is trying to create in the void Manato left, but just because he’s different doesn’t mean he’s entirely wrong. He’s certainly not completely right, but neither is Haruhiro. The really interesting thing about the situation, as I see it, is that Haruhiro’s ideas about being a party and a group of friends necessarily means that he’s inclined to give ground to Ranta, but Ranta’s ideas mean he’s never going to do the same. It’s an uneven, and Ranta’s a fool if he thinks they can continue on like this without serious consequences down the line. But, to some extent, you have to feel for Ranta—the way he is now, he’s likely not going to be happy, no matter where he goes or who he’s with. (This is another “same.” Duck.)
Yume continues to be a joy, かな~.
This week the subs for MahoPri got released earlier than normal, which means I have two episodes (5 & 6) to talk about! Although… both episodes kind of covered the same ground, so that doesn’t mean I have twice as much to say. It’s not a bad thing, though, as we’re continuing to explore Riko’s insecurities as a magician. Precure isn’t really a show you should go to for nuanced characterization and journeys, but it still typically does a really nice job of taking its characters seriously and sympathetically. I think Riko’s character is such that she could hover dangerously close to being insufferable, but the material with her sister this week was a nice pivot from her tantrum from last week. I don’t expect she’ll ever entirely give up her mild tsun traits, but I think we’ll likely see a much more confident, fun-to-watch Riko in future weeks. Now for some Mirai drama… (Duck.)
It’s been a long time since Rakugo Shinju has been this far down the list and I want you all to know that is in no way a judgement on Rakugo‘s quality this week. After last week’s vivid colors and flaring emotions of separation, anger, and pain, this week was all about the stark and drab and empty appearance of loneliness. It wasn’t just Kiku’s climactic performance and his willing(?), thankful(?) adoption of solitude, but everything about the way the episode was shot and handled. From Kiku’s rejection of the student to the current (now deceased) generation’s Yakumo’s death and guilt over his name, Rakugo plumbed into the depths of isolation—but it seems it can only stay there so long, for humans are built to be in community with each other. And so we see Kiku take a break from his beloved rakugo to seek out Sukeroku and Miyokichi… what will he find there? A child. The sheer product of human togetherness, no matter what pain it was borne out of. (Duck.)
(Goose!) The outlier appears! It’s Konosuba! As I said in the comments last week, you guys were wise to warn me of episode 9. It was… huh, not quite as bad as I was expecting it to be, but it was still deeply uncomfortable in many ways. To be honest, I do think there was more to this episode than just off-the-rocker uncontrolled fanservice and nasty attitudes, but what was there was buried somewhat deep. There was almost a sense of bitterness to the scene of Kazuma in the succubus shop and the scene with Darkness in the path was profoundly horrid without gloss. Somewhere in there, with all the “pick your sexual perversion” and the “inability to distinguish between dream fantasy and reality, and the ugly effects thus enacted on a real person” and the “boy guards the fetishized deliverer of his sexual fantasy form actual women” is a pretty scathing, maybe even angry, critique of otaku sexuality, but I think it unfortunately got lost in the execution. So it goes.
The rest of the week, as I’ve said, kind of held par for the course. ERASED started really nicely (so nicely that I actually wrote my weekly column for Crunchyroll on it!), but then dove straight into emotionally empty (albeit it totally fun) thriller camp. Haikyuu!! continues to use three-deep flashback in the most tension-breaking way possible, while Durarara!! x2 spun its wheels for yet another week. I couldn’t honestly tell you what happened in this week’s GATE besides Lelei being good and Shandy (whose name I finally learned by tweeting it a whole lot) being good, too.
And that about covers it for me. I’ve banned myself from playing video games during the week to keep myself more productive, so I’ve gotten back on track with Dennou Coil and have started Gunbuster (which I kind of wanted to do a weekly series on, but my early impressions are that it wouldn’t hold up to that kind of analysis well). I’m also clipping through Puchimas, which is delightful if you’re an idolm@ster fan, and eying finishing up the second half of Fullmetal Panic soon.
That’s about all from me, but here’s a picture of a robot balancing on one foot with tires on its head.