This is the second post of the second week of Winter 2017. Here are the episodic mini-reviews:
Akiba’s Trip (Episode 2)
I am starting to have second-hand opinions pretty early in the series. The animation isn’t as expressive as it was in the first episode. The fan service is forced and the script is not really funny. I couldn’t care less about the mysterious hat woman; Like the show, I can’t take the story seriously. I will be patient on deciding whether to drop this or not, though.
Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju (Episode 2)
The episode starts off with a TV report where it comments on Yotaro’s Yakuza past and consequently, he loses popularity and his show times. To add salt to his wounds, people start to write him off as stylistically unoriginal and prompts him to pull off something crazy near the end of his small show.
We also have a moment between Konatsu and Yakumo: where the nature of the dialogue got kind of long-winded but still managed to be attention latching.I am afraid to speculate who that umbrella-holder was… he looks too old to be the father (or is he?).
This episode was pretty character-centric in nature, and the animation of the mouth of Yotaro seemed sort of fast and dis-synced during his performances. But, as always, the show is spot on on conveying the quality of performance through just the sound design and voice acting (the audience reaction isn’t the sole indicator).
The voice of Megumi Hayashibara is still sending chills down by spine.
Masamune-kun’s Revenge (Episode 2)
This anime has reached a new level of mediocre- badly written script, poor scene transitions, and a serious lack of meaningful character interactions. The show is just playing with tones- most of this episode, it didn’t take itself seriously: even if it did, then it was really poorly done. Only at the end (when Adagaki held up”I decline”) did it get slightly attention latching. The only interesting character is Masamune himself; not even Adagaki is mildly amusing to me. And let’s forget about the fan service generator Yoshino.
But I would like to be optimistic: maybe the show is just laying its foundation in a poor way. Maybe the tower won’t topple down.
Saga of Tanya the Evil (Episode 2)
Well, that’s some development. A career-crazy salary man in a nine-year old mage? Now, that’s some original premise. I feel like I’m used to the odd character designs- maybe because of the variation of lighting in the episode (the last episode was just overcast, even inside the tents!). Not a bad pacing at all, given that this is an exposition episode. This episode definitely makes more sense than the last one and I think I have somewhat grasped the motives of the main protagonist. This anime might be more character driven than I previously thought. Nevertheless, I will continue to watch this anime. I don’t know, maybe I am attracted to cynical and mean-spirited characters in anime (yeah, in anime not in real life).
Fuuka (Episode 3)
Haruna is a well fleshed out awkward character- and his development in this episode was nice to see. The ‘kiss’ scene pulled off really anti-climatically and a beach episode came out of absolutely nowhere: I am not liking the awkward interactions between Haruna and Fuuka (maybe I am finding Fuuka to be an annoying character).
I have to draw some comparison between Masamune’s Revenge and Fuuka here: Fuuka knows what to do with itself. Sure, the whole setting and Fuuka’s character herself is not well-written at all- but the show is going somewhere (evident by the last scene in the episode). The story is going a bit too slow for me, though. At this rate, the show might end with the oh-so-common go-read-the-manga ending.
Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga (Episode 2)
The 15-year-old-exorcist-group (or whatever they are called) visit the inn owned by Ryuji’s parents. I found the scene where Ryuji’s mother and Renzou’s father point out their hair color: was funny. This episode is brought to you by: 15 year-old kids getting drunk, Ryuji’s backstory, a bro moment between Renzou and Rin and the villain standing on the edge of a building’s roof at the end of the episode. This show hasn’t yet sold me, but I’ll be patient… yeah. Great, now I have run out of things to say.
March Comes in Like a Lion (Episode 13)
It was refreshing to have half of the episode devoted to the point of view of Misumi. I really liked the jazzy breakfast scene that was amazingly pulled off in a long take (hatsoff to Kenjiro Okada. As far as I remember, I have never seen any proper long take sequences in anime; I love those: they make the viewer have an intimate and up-front look into the character’s life and it pulls you in (that’s one of the reasons why Birdman is one of my favorite movies of all time); and the anime was quite successful (call it choppy animation all you want- it was nicely animated).
That reminds me, this episode had a noticeably good sound design. From the jazzy breakfast sequence to the classical piano piece during the match between Misumi and Gotou and the guitar pickings during Rei’s match.
Yeah, Rei gets his screen time back in the second half where he unknowingly plays against Nikaidou’s older brother (the match didn’t end in this episode).
Now, this is where I will just mildly criticize the anime on their attempts on dramatization of the shogi matches. This wasn’t an issue previously because Rei’s character building was the main focus; and now that some things are happening in narrative terms- the show is experimenting on different styles of dramatizations- I’ve mentioned this in my first Anilog entry that the neko-shogi dramatization was really fun to watch and very easy to follow. Now that the serious matches are coming along- that would not work, and this episode tried to add character monologues and some visual metaphors that just seemed thrown together haphazardly: especially in the first half. I still don’t understand how Tatsuyuki’s lost after Gotou commented that he didn’t flinch no matter how injured he was. It just seemed rushed. But Rei’s match had less to criticize on and I feel that match’s dramatization and pacing was much smoother. Again, this is just mild critic- since the show patched this area up in the second half of the episode.
Interviews with Monster Girls (Episode 2)
Well, that went from zero to hundred pretty quick. Machi likes Takahashi-sensei and goes out on a date on him by claiming that it is an experiment to find out the problems that might occur in future dates. So far, this is a very chill and mildly funny anime. I am next to positive that this SoL is better than Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. Monster girls in SoL is a new thing for me- and so far, I am liking both from this season.
I won’t be watching Seiren, Minami Kamakura Bicycle Club and Chaos; Child (at least not week-to-week). I will be trying to catch up on Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans. I was worried that there won’t be any good slice-of-life to watch but I found three decent ones- Interviews with Monster Girls, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and Gabriel Dropout. I will, probably, be posting Anilog entries twice a week now: since I have 15 shows to cover.