Winter 2017 Week 1 Recap + Eupho

This took out a bit longer to get out than I expected it to, but oh well. This season is a bit weaker than last, and I’m starting with about as many shows as I ended with last season. It’s a season much more oriented towards comedy and SoL, but after last season’s much more drama-focused and cerebral anime, I’m happy to have a lighter season. Aside from that, I’m working towards getting out my next Why I Love It post out by the end of the month, and hopefully a few other posts as well. Without further ado:

Rakugo Season 2 – Episode 1


Rakugo doesn’t miss a single beat in this season’s premiere episode, instantly hooking me into this new tale. Yotaro wasn’t covered in much depth last season, since it focused on Kiku and Sukeroku’s backstory, but from what we saw of him last season he was a very charming rakugo performer, and that carries over here. That charm and happiness helps a lot, as it balances out the more quiet melancholy going on within the story. Rakugo is still on a decline, and at this point there’s only a single theater left for it. It’s a dying art, and it’s one that Kiku intends to see die with him.

Fortunately, this season starts off with some hope. Unlike Kiku, Yotaro is willing to take up his namesake’s legacy and experiment, intending to go so far as to write new works in order to bring more people to the seats. Yotaro isn’t consent with Kiku’s rakugo double-suicide, and it’s clear that a great deal of the series will focus on his attempt at arrival. The show’s tone is now much different than the first season, but the quality certainly hasn’t dropped.

3-gatsu no Lion – Episode 12


I really liked this episode’s continued focus on the family. This is a trying time for Rei, a time where the stress of his matches is piling up with the realization that he is depressed. The light that the Kawamoto provides him certainly is beneficial, but it makes him realize just how stagnant and boring his day-to-day life really is, something which is inherently painful. In the long run this is something he’s going to have to deal with in order to make a lasting improvement in his life, but for now it’s just extremely painful. The Kawamoto family will help him, but it seems he’s beginning to realize he must take his own steps towards happiness.

Gabriel Dropout – Episode 1


This episode was fantastic. I was already fairly hyped for this show, seeing as it’s a CGDCT show from Doga Kobo, but I wasn’t expecting the sheer quality we got here. Episode 1 of GabDro nails everything the genre needs to: the characters are fun and likable, the interaction allows for various jokes, the comedy is well-timed as well as consistently funny, and the visuals are vibrant and well-animated. This episode was on-point from beginning to end, and managed to consistently keep me excited to see what the next joke was. I’m far more excited about this show than I was to start, and I’m eagerly awaiting more.

Little Witch Academia – Episode 1


I watched this raw, so I can’t say that I perfectly understood all the material, but even with my shoddy understanding this was a very fun watch. I was quite worried over how the movies would transfer into the structure of weekly TV anime, and while that remains to be seen to some extent, this episode was a good sign. Akko’s lovable brand of incompetence and bravery worked just as well here, and while it seems that this show is in a separate continuity to the movies, it certainly doesn’t seem to have a different tone. The show is just as full of child-like wonder and fun as the films, and that’s just what I wanted out of this show.

Kobayashi-san – Episode 1


This is a show about a gay dragon made by KyoAni. There’s little that they could do to ruin this other than fail at comedic timing, and that’s one thing that certainly did not happen. This episode was–like GabDro–consistently funny, and it managed to have a fair share of touching moments such as the bed scene as well. Tohru is very clearly weird, seeing as she’s a dragon, but her love for Kobayashi is genuine and cute, and makes for a stronger emotional and comedic core for the show. I’m excited to see where this show goes as more dragons are introduced.

Konosuba S2 – Episode 1


This is one of the funniest episodes of KonoSuba. Kazuma is often a funny guy, but he’s also a piece of shit in a way that the other characters often avoid. This episode really shows him getting his just rewards for his bad behavior, and it had me dying of laughter constantly. I do kind of wish they had executed him, but even without him this episode felt like it consistently nailed what KonoSuba is good at. Darkness is still totally unfunny to me, but Kazuma, Megumin, and Aqua really were at their best for this premiere, and made me confident I’ll enjoy this second season as well.

Urara Meirochou – Episode 1


I can’t say this was an excellent first episode, but it was suitably enjoyable, especially after last season’s drought of good CGDCT shows. The fanservice here managed to be part of a funny enough joke that I didn’t particularly mind it, though if they use the joke too much it’ll certainly get old soon. Aside from that, the characters so far seem funny and enjoyable enough, and I can see room for chemistry. The yuri content is already quite high, which also helps keep me invested. Overall this is only a good episode, not a great one, but for a genre I love, good is enough.

Hibike Euphonium 2 – Episode 13


I’m quite satisfied with this finale. I made it clear in my K-On essay that I love shows that tackle the theme of splitting apart, and this episode managed to do it great. Asuka became a very good character this season, and her two conversations with Kumiko were the highlights of this episode, alongside the underclassmen performance. Kumiko’s really grown over the series, but so has Asuka, which we can see in how willing she was to accept Kumiko’s affection at the end. This episode really made me happy to have watched that show, even with my issues.

And now it’s time to address those issues. This season was worse than the last for a number of reasons. Reina got much less focus outside of the brilliant first episode, and a lot of the drama–while narratively strong–was focused on people I frankly didn’t give a shit about. Kumiko continued to be brilliant and Asuka managed to rise as a character, but outside of those two this season was unfortunately lacking. Helped by its excellent visuals and a few stand-out episodes though, it still managed to be a good series that I’m glad exists.

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