Fall 2016 Week 4 Recap

This was quite a good week. The season continued to be strong to the point that the number of shows I’m watching is a burden, but it’s a blessing as well as a curse. I got a lot of my Monogatari re-watch done and should be finishing that up this week. I love the series, but it’s so dialogue-heavy that trying to watch it successively can be a bit of a slog. Kizu part 2 was great as expected. Anyways, here’s the shows:

3-gatsu no Lion – Episode 4

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Part of what makes this series so powerful is how reminiscent it is of real life. I see frequent criticism on the basis that the comedy can be jarring from the more depressing moments, but I see that as a good thing here. Real life isn’t tonally consistent, and I wouldn’t expect a show like this to be either. Even at their lowest moments, most people can still find some level of humor or joy in some situations, and that’s something that’s really well-represented in this show.

Of course it still is really good at being emotional and touching on darker aspects. Rei’s inability to interact with others in a normal way is getting more and more explained. Every moment that needed to be emotionally compelling in this episode was — Hina’s sadness at her inability to give the bento, Rei’s feeling of guilt for being unable to understand Hina’s emotions, and most of all the extremely uncomfortable scene implying that Rei was raped. Every episode of this show makes me happy that I watch anime. I can’t believe I’m getting this only one season after Amanchu.

Flip Flappers – Episode 4

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This was a quieter, slower, and more down-to-earth episode without Pure Illusion, and it’s an episode that was necessary at this point in the series. This episode effectively showed Cocona’s massive growth due to Papika’s influence. Cocona has become much more willing to express her emotions around and towards Papika, seen both in how willing she is to be afraid when with her, and how willing she is to show affection now. Papika and Cocona’s relationship is great and the reason I’m watching the series, so this was a very good episode. It’s pretty shocking that we have two coming-of-age, discovering sexuality series this season, but we do and I’m glad that Flip Flappers is one of them.

Yuri on Ice! – Episode 4

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Another excellent episode. This episode focused heavily on how Victor and others have an affect on Yuri, and it was great. Yuri’s ability to open up around Victor was really shown in his willingness to be bolder than he otherwise would be, and the image of his friends and family really made it clear how much support he gets. Victor’s importance to Yuri is made most clear when Yuri says he wants Victor’s time for the next year, but the whole episode demonstrates it. The explanation of the figure skating system was a little clunky, but overall this episode kept going at the same quality the series has been at thus far.

Girlish Number

The subs aren’t out yet, so I can’t really post about it this week. It would probably be about here if I could, though.

JoJo Part 4 – Episode 31

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I’m really happy with how this arc is being adapted. Superfly is a great arc — it’s suitably bizarre while also using the freedom inherent to the concept of Stands to tell an engaging story. But it was a good idea by David Pro to mix in parts of other upcoming arcs. This entire build-up to the final battle works, but in the manga the arcs feel way to disconnected. This change makes it feel as if the entire lead-up is part of one deliberate path towards Kira, and I love it. Jojo is more interesting the more cool stuff they try out, and this was certainly a cool idea which has payed off so far.

Hibike! Euphonium 2 – Episode 4

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I wasn’t expecting the second-year drama to end this quickly, but seeing how will it was done here makes me fine with it. Episode 4 did what anime often fails to do; it delivered a satisfying end to the drama that had been building up, while at the same time leaving actual room for further drama that makes sense. Mizore’s sense of loneliness and her obsession with Nozomi was portrayed well and did a good job to characterize her beyond “is shy”, but what really stood out was Asuka. Asuka is clearly the centerpiece of this season, and this episode did a great job of making that clear by showing of her fundamentally broken and unhealthy attitude towards the end. I’m excited to see more.

Fune wo Amu – Episode 3

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Following up from last episode’s dazzling ending, we get an episode about social awkwardness and an inability to act. I have a lot of sympathy for the main character here. For a long time I had a hard time talking to those I didn’t really know, and this continues to some extent now. I love the way it’s portrayed here, because not only is his social awkwardness not seen as a sign that he’s a somehow lesser person, but it’s clear that while he may grow to be able to communicate better, his personality isn’t going to totally change. That’s a great message to send to those who do have similar personalities to him, and I really like where I think they’re going with it.

Vivid Strike – Episode 5

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I’m so happy that this show has some real pathos. Rinne’s backstory is kind of ridiculous, but Nanoha isn’t a franchise which is supposed to be highly believable. It’s stupid, but it feels genuine and made with feeling. Rinne’s backstory highlights why I like this show so much more than Vivid — it’s a return to the more emotional elements of Nanoha. I cared about the first three seasons because it felt like the conflicts meant something. Fate needed Nanoha to save and befriend her, Hayate and the Wolkenritter needed to be saved from their fate, and Vivio had to be saved. Rinne feels like she needs to be saved, and that gives me a reason to care about what Fuuka does. This show is reigniting my love of Nanoha, and that’s a great thing.

Shuumatsu no Izetta – Episode 5

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Last episode was extremely gratuitous in its fanservice, so I’m happy to say this episode wasn’t. This was a good episode in a good war story, and might be my favorite episode since the second. What stood out to most was how well-done the writing was this time around. In particular, the plan concocted in order to hide Izetta’s inability to use her magic was genius. The final scene was a huge plot convenience, but most of the episode was quite solid. This series thrives off of its quick pacing and smart action, and this episode showed that off well.

WWW.Working!! – Episode 5

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This show’s character dynamics are great, and probably just as good as the first show’s. I think it’s quite interesting that so far the show is advancing the relationships every episode. The original only started advancement in the third season, so are we only getting this one season? I would hope not, but either way it’s fine. This episode showed that advancing the relationships a small amount while remaining funny is a job that can be done, and I’m happy the show is doing its job so well thus far.

Kiss Him, Not Me – Episode 4

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I’ve been waiting the whole time for this episode. The reason I started this show was for Sawashiro’s character, and everything about her was perfect. I’ve had a few issues with the show’s humor before, but seeing Nishina totally destroy all of the boys’ chances of victory in 15 minutes was fantastic. The humor in general landed more often this episode than previously. I’m really starting to warm up to this show, and this episode was a good first step.

IBO Season 2 – Episode 5

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I wasn’t expecting another political episode, but I really enjoyed it. The actual effect caused by the time it takes to get from Mars to Earth wasn’t something I expected to be explored, and introducing a traitor into that already interesting premise was a great idea. The idea of an actual war starting soon gets me eager as well, since it gives plenty of opportunities for the show’s direction. Nailing the political element is pretty important to Gundam, and this episode pulled it off quite well.

Drifters – Episode 4

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After an episode as action-packed as the previous one there was little chance that this wouldn’t be a slower episode, but that doesn’t make it great. The comedy was much more prominent in this one, and seeing as I’ll likely never like this comedy that was a major flaw. The clear sign that the Black King is Jesus is cool I suppose, but this episode didn’t excite me that much. To top it all off, it was lacking the OP, my favorite part of the show. This show wins on its action, so episodes like this don’t really draw me in. Fortunately it’s not bad enough to turn me away, but I wish they could do the slower episodes in a more interesting way.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku – Episode 5

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Sister Nana and Weiss are going to die very soon, especially after seeing that they’re in a relationship, but I’m surprised they didn’t die this episode with all the focus they got. Instead we got Magicaloid’s comedy scene, which I have to admit was quite funny and added to the episode. This episode still had the issue of making it clear that the show’s tone is just cynical though. Madoka had dark stuff going on, but I never felt like the show was looking down on the idea that magical girls are good. This show seems to, and while Snow White still believes in the good of magical girls I expect her to be shed of that belief by the series’ ending. I’m not looking forward to that, but at least I can enjoy the ride.

Keijo!!!!!!!!!! – Episode 4

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This was the best episode so far. Keijo’s characters and themes are weak and totally uninteresting, which means episodes like the previous two in which the focus is character development and training get boring really fast. This episode leaned heavily into what Keijo is actually good at — absurdity. The entire episode was a display of Keijo’s ridiculous premise, and it worked quite well.

The use of such a stupid sport as the sport of choice for a shounen sports anime works wonders when focusing on battles, which is why this episode stood out. No time was spared to the actual characters, leaving only the ridiculous situations that this sport creates, and that made this the best episode by far. Unfortunately it also shows that there’s a heavy limit to how good Keijo can get, but if every episode were as enjoyable as this one I’d like the show a whole lot more.

Lostorage incited WIXOSS – Episode 4

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This episode cemented what I was afraid of: that the show was going to get so cynical and suffering-heavy that it would become less fun. I hardly love the original WIXOSS, but I have to say that Mari Okada had much more subtlety and tact when it came to her suffering. Both of the guys and Chi-chan were just the most cynical, inhuman people in this episode, and it’s not fun to watch. What made the first Wixoss enjoyable was how hopeful it often seemed in spite of all the suffering it had, and Lostorage just doesn’t capture that. It’s a real shame, and I hope it improves, but the way it’s currently written just isn’t good.

Occultic;Nine – Episode 4

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As the show gets more and more Durarara-esque I enjoy it more and more. The bits with Aria were the best in this episode, as they were in the previous ones, but this episode was nearly as good as the previous one even in the parts without her. The show seems to have found a pacing which isn’t ridiculously frantic, and that does it a ton of favors. At the rate it’s going, it won’t be my least favorite show of the season for much longer. It can never undo the damage that the first two episodes did, but at least it can become enjoyable for the rest of the run.

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