Fall 2016 Week 5 Recap

I fell behind this week, but thanks to a four-day weekend I managed to pull through and catch back up. I’ve spent a lot of the last week formulating plans for writing projects that could take months to complete due to the necessary research, but it’s fun to embark on new adventures. For now I’ll just work on writing my Monogatari article and keep delivering these recaps. Enjoy!

Flip Flappers – Episode 5

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This was a really good one. Flip Flappers has been great the whole time, but this episode really nailed its appeal. Episode 5 felt like something out of Yuri Kuma Arashi — it was one big critique of Class S style yuri. Cocona and Papika displayed blatantly romantic behavior, but it never actually did anything with it, and this was represented by the resetting of the days. What made this so good however, was that it in turn did develop their relationship. They were willing to get more romantic with each other without being uncomfortable, even if they were affected by Pure Illusion. The “discovering sexuality” interpretation also gained more traction in Cocona some obviously being attracted to Yayaka as well, and practically leaning in for a kiss when Yayaka got close to her. This was just a great episode which really added to my interpretation of the series and the series itself.

Sangatsu no Lion – Episode 5

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This episode really cemented this show as tied for my favorite of the season. As a visual medium, anime has the ability to portray people’s feelings incredibly well, and this episode showed that off. Rei’s loneliness was constantly shown in how isolated he was in the wide open spaces he walked through. Indoors the shots had him taking up the entire screen, giving a sense of claustrophobia which really showed off how trapped he felt in life. And the constant framing of the other characters as “better” than him really showed off how much he’s assaulted by his feelings of guilt. Rei is an extremely relatable character, and this show does such a good job at portraying him. Everyone can sympathize with the feeling of being trapped, and this episode showed it off brilliantly.

Yuri on Ice – Episode 5

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The animation couldn’t keep up this episode, but with the narrative improving with every minute, I don’t really mind. At this point it’s clear that love is this series’s theme, and this episode got incredibly explicit about it. The episode ended on what was basically a confession to Victor, but it did more than that. Yuri acknowledged fully how much his community did to help him, and how Victor was similar but fundamentally different in some way. It’s rare to see anime go this far with queer romance, and any idea that it’s baiting has been thoroughly shed at this point. Let’s just see where it goes from here.

Girlish Number – Episode 4

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Chitose realized she was bad last episode, but after discovering that she can pass as an actress by copying other peoples’ roles, she’s regressed to her narcissistic self. And that’s great. We don’t really need Chitose to become empathetic and to understand her own limits yet. She obviously will at some point — there’s no way things can work out for her forever, especially given how terrible the anime she’s in is. But this episode was just a solid way of showing of Chitose’s actual strengths — despite being a thoroughly mean-spirited person, she can be quite charismatic when she needs to. This will all fall apart eventually, but I’m glad it didn’t happen this episode.

Girlish Number – Episode 5(Also came out this week because ep 4 took a while to get subbed)

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Chitose was at her most insufferable this episode, and that’s pretty important. While she was a bad voice actress before, she wasn’t nearly as egotistical about it. Sure, she believed herself to be much better than she was, but she wasn’t as bad as she became. After tricking herself into believing that her bad copies of already mediocre and cliche tsundere voices made her a better actress, she needed to get knocked down a peg or twenty. And while we haven’t seen her evolve past her attitude yet, it’s pretty clear from the comments she’s receiving that she will soon be forced to actually work hard and improve, lest she fail to get the attention that she clearly needs.

JoJo Part 4 – Episode 32

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David Pro’s decision to merge multiple arcs was a great idea, and that became even more clear this episode. The somewhat boring Rohan arc gains a lot more value when it’s put alongside all the other arcs, as it along with all of the others contribute to the tension building that the show is currently engaging in. That tension is key especially in the episode, and I felt a sense of dread and tension I hadn’t felt since near the beginning of the show. If I could decide I would just leave out this Rohan arc, but it needed to be there for completion’s sake I guess, and the show is doing a good job at leading up to the final battle arc.

Hibike Euphonium 2 – Episode 5

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This was the best episode of this season since the premiere. Hibike always shows off KyoAni’s superb visuals, but this episode took it to another level. It’s rare for me to be able to watch a show with just music for 8 minutes straight — these scenes were part of what made me hate Grimgar — but here it worked perfectly. I really felt as if I was watching their performance, and that was a great effect. The emotional payoff of the episode was also excellent — it was obvious that they would make it to Nationals, but that doesn’t make it any less rewarding. I’m sure we’ll be returning to the drama fairly soon, but it’s great to see an uplifting break in the middle here.

Vivid Strike – Episode 6

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This show’s fights are fucking brutal. Every punch and kick seems to have a real effect on the opponent, and when people get punched in the gut you can tell they’ve had the wind knocked out of them. I hate to say this so many times, but this brutality really illustrates what I find so appealing about this as opposed to Vivid. The show is still clearly optimistic. A Nanoha show that doesn’t believe in the power of friendship would no longer be a Nanoha show, but Vivid Strike manages to keep itself from becoming saccharine. The tournament in Vivid felt like a game, but the battles in this one feel like actual fights between magically-enhanced martial artists. I love it, and I’m sure we’ll get plenty more where this came from.

Fune wo Amu – Episode 4

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This episode was mixed for me. On the one hand, I really liked that Hiroshi Kamiya’s character is getting more screen-time. I like Kamiya as a voice actor, and his character is a cool counterpoint to Majime. On the other hand, I’m realizing that this show doesn’t actually appeal to me that much. I don’t actually relate to the characters that much and dictionary making can only be so compelling. It’s definitely a solid romantic dramedy, but it just doesn’t do what this season’s best shows do. It’s still very fun though, and I definitely look forward to seeing the rest of it.

WWW.Working!! – Episode 6

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It’s interesting to see that this has more of an overarching plot-line than the first Working, even if only in the form of chocolate based gags. I usually find the hilariously bad cook to be a pretty boring trope, but here I find it quite funny. The sense that it’s a somewhat supernatural level of bad makes it funnier, and it fits with Muranushi’s whole ghost thing. I also enjoy that the show is going at a much quicker pace than Working did up until season 3. All I need now is a real cameo, because this is just a thoroughly solid comedy anime.

Shuumatsu no Izetta – Episode 6

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Fine sure is good at making speeches. This episode wasn’t as good as the last one, standing as part of a trend in this show for the even episodes to be worse, but it had some really solid moments. Jonas getting popped was expected the whole time, but I was actually surprised and somewhat pleased that the information he had gleaned previously wasn’t leaked. It’s nice to see Fine and Izetta happy and enjoying their time together, though that won’t be lasting much longer. Overall this kept the plot going without doing anything stupid, and for a show like this that’s all that it really needs.

Kiss Him, Not Me – Episode 5

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The best part of this show continues to be Nishina. She’s basically just Kanbaru, and seeing as Kanbaru is 2nd best girl that’s a very good thing. It’s not clear if she really does like Serinuma, but I really hope that she does. It’s fun seeing the guys realize that all of them are less appealing than she is. It’s also good that this episode criticized the fact that all the guys liked Serinuma just based on her looks. Pretty solid episode all around.

IBO Season 2- Episode 6

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The war in this episode is interesting. Usually wars in Gundam are very clearly defined. They’re stupid and cause pointless deaths, but they have clear reasons for occurring. Major ideological differences almost always exist, and while the cast might hate that they have to fight, they usually agree that the side they fight for is the lesser of two evils. In this episode there’s no sign of any of that. The war is over flimsy pretenses, and there’s no real sense that it matters ideologically. I think this is a cool way to show that Tekkadan isn’t like other Gundam groups. They’re just mercenaries, and for all the talk of revolution they engage in shitty wars just to make money.

Drifters – Episode 5

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The OP is really good, so I’m disappointed that it keeps getting skipped. This issue really highlighted my biggest issue with the show, which is how violent it is. I’m sure some people enjoy this kind of ultra-violence, but it does nothing for me, and it’s so prominent that it actually detracts from the show. Despite that, the show is still quite fun, and the actual action is always fun to watch. This continues to be one of my popcorn shows this season, but at least it’s a consistent one.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku – Episode 6

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We’re really into that edgelord shit now, and I couldn’t be more pleased. Ordinarily something this cynical and edgy would turn me off, but I really enjoy this when I’m not comparing it to other magical girl series. It’s pretty clear that this show won’t appeal to me on thematic level the way most magical girl series do, but sometimes it’s fun to see a lot of people get killed, and this show does a good job at that. If they manage to make it thematically interesting as well that will be great, but it really isn’t necessary. They just need to keep things like this and I’ll be happy.

Keijo!!!!!!!!!! – Episode 5

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Continuing last episode’s trend of focusing on ridiculous battles, this episode did a good job. The show has basically committed to having stand battles at this point, and that’s a very welcome decision. The actual emotional core of this episode wasn’t all that interesting — everything the show does emotionally is the most generic battle shounen moments possible. What was good was the fight, as this show gets all of its power from the absurdity of the premise. As long as it keeps leaning into the premise heavily and treating Keijo like a serious battle/sports shounen while it clearly isn’t, it’ll keep being a very fun show.

Occultic;Nine – Episode 5

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What the fuck was with the camera angles near the end of this episode? These felt utterly pointless and only served to make the show bad to look at. Moving past that, I’m quite curious about the show’s use of belief. It seems pretty clear that the show is using belief in the occult as a theme, especially in the way that belief in something can cause it to occur even if it would not otherwise. That’s the most interesting thing about the show so far. I still can’t really say I like the show but I don’t think I’ll drop it, so we’ll see how I feel next week.

Lostorage incited WIXOSS – Episode 5

I didn’t finish this episode. Everything that I don’t like about this show — how mean-spirited it feels, the shitty dialogue, the complete lack of subtlety, and other things finally made me drop it. I don’t plan on coming back to this, especially seeing as I’m not exactly a giant WIXOSS fan in the first place. This isn’t a very good series, and I don’t need to waste 3 more hours of my life watching it. If I ever pick it up again, it won’t be until the show is actually over.

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