As I already mentioned in my previous post, for this Summer season, this week in anime moves back a day to every Tuesday now. The reason being I don’t have any show to catch up on Tuesday, so it’s a good break to gather my thoughts on these anime I’m currently watching. This mean, I’ll run down 2 episodes of Asobi Asobase, Hanebado! and Planet With this week. As for this week 5 of Summer season, well, Asobi Asobase 04 just beat everything else in terms of pushing the limits on what this cute girls show is capable of. Many shows don’t hold up well but comedy shows seem to be consistent as ever. Let’s get right down to it.
Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight (ep04)
Such a cool catchphrase, I tell ya (Bananice!!). This week Revue Starlight goes relatively quiet, but by no mean it’s a bad episode. I bet most of us coming out of this episode feeling a little underwhelming. Where’s all these revue duel? Where is the talking giraffe? To its defense though, this week builds the central dynamic of our main Karen and Hikari, and giving the rest of the cast the whole “we are together” vibe. These 9 girls, as competitive as they are, still need to work together as a team for the Starlight production. In addition, I enjoy the way the show highlights Karen and Hikari’s lack of emotional bond by the showing the physical distance. I also enjoy the way their communication getting better as the day progresses. At first we have blurry pictures that prompt Karen to pick a totally wrong location (the miscommunication?), to Karen figuring out of aquarium but ends up in the wrong aquarium, then they have phone conversation together which is actually their first heart-to-heart conversation since Hikari moves back to Japan and finally, they meet up face to face at their destined place, the Tokyo Underground. I still feel the confidence from the production breathing through in every detail of this episode.
Steins:Gate 0 (ep16)
I wouldn’t be Steins;Gate without those slimy green bananas, right? For once, I’m gladddd that the show kicking up into gears again, proving a solid drama and game-changing development from the three main members: Okabe, Daru and Maho. What great about this episode is how they confront Okabe’s fear upfront and provide an alternative solution that he tries to look away. They’re reaching out for Steins;Gate route, a route where both girls are alive and there won’t be a WWIII, even if they have to try again and again. Mayuri, however, has a scene-stealing moment where she shows Okabe that she aware of all this and she suffers because Okabe is suffering. It’s a standout drama all the way, reminding us of the original’s finest moments. Shouting (and hitting) might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s a necessary fight to ignite the fire within Okabe (and the show) for this final arc.
Hataraku Saibou (ep05)
banana peanut-lookalike is Cedar Pollen Allergy, so he’s cutely nasty. As for the show, I’ll be frank that my enthusiasm for it shrinks as each episode passes. It takes a nice interpretation to our biology, to the way our cells work in the body so Hataraku Saibou works best when you can connect real life sickness to how these characters function. Which I don’t. I stay for the liveliness of the characters and the creative take on its world settings. For now, I don’t care much about our cast and the repetitive format of monster-of-a-week make it an anime that easy to get into but easy to forget as well. Still, it’s edutainment enough that I don’t think I will leave this ride soon.
Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger (ep04)
In which a new artificial monster appears out of a lab and guess what? It’s Frankenstein. I guess our Vampire Slayers will deal with him in next episode. As for this one, while the plot introduces many more new faces and unveil many loose ends, the show starts to take shape now and I consider it a successful episode. Tenrou is a plot-eccentric show, so I’m done delving too much on the lack of characters’ development as long as they are bearable. The main plot revolving around the Vampire force (Alma company – which itself splits into 2 factions), our team of destroying Vampires (V Shipping), the police force in the present of Iba (which we spend a great deal of time in the first half), and that Hyakko party which I don’t think will last very long. Still, I like the ambiguous relationship between Yuliy and his brother (I consider his scene where he thinks to himself that he wanted to meet his brother as this episode’s best moment), and Ryoko becomes an adorable-if-still-predictable addition to the cast. The production remains outstanding (heck, it has theatrical movie’s quality here), hopefully the writing can match its strong production.
Time for Ridiculous, Spectacular Actions
Asobi Asobase (ep04-05)
I swear, Asobi Asobase ep4 just knocks everything down to the toilet. I wouldn’t be hard pressed if I consider that episode the best episode of the season so far. Remember the gag of Hanako thinking shogi is a game of fire lazer from the bum? Well, the show actually builds an actual story out of it, resulting in moments where it’s just flat out strange and hilarious and risque and delightful. This is comedy when it’s done right. At one point of the show, Olivia thinks to herself “this is exactly what they said, except it’s not it”. It’s the sentiment for this show as a whole. “Pretend” as a cute girl playing cute games show with that deceptive cute OP, the show constantly surprises me how far it can go for its jokes. Even when it goes back to its “simple game” premise, it provides the game in its most extreme and hilarious. Finally, As I complaint last week about Kasumi, she more than made up in episode 4 with many quirky qualities: chief amongst them afraid of men but love yaoi content (in a hilarious Harry Potter’s fanfict). The only-male character so far Maeda is a welcome addition to this cast.
It raises a high bar for itself, that naturally episode 5 feels like a letdown. The show introduces a wide range of new characters, but more often than not they function as an introduction – still distinctive enough but in no way they’re standing out. The only exception is that Occult girl which is both hilarious and delightfully weird. The jokes fall flat this time and I only find the last segment a fair bit amusing. Hopefully this feeling of letdown is not a permanent one since this show sure knows how to stretch its boundary.
Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro (ep05)
…in which a JUGGLING BUTT is out of the window and somehow the show gets away with it. Chio-chan this week has plenty of panty-shots, and toilet humor – or put it better, all the humors happening in the toilet, but I could argue that the show has some context behind it so it works out in the end. First off, everything involving Chio’s decisions work well for me. The overly complicated but somehow-it-works plan that runs like a domino effect is so absurdist in concept it’s actually funny to see if it works out. Her tactic involves distracting the cat with the toilet ball she uses, that in turns distracting the two school girl then as a consequences distracting the businessmen for looking at girls’ panties. There’s an awful lot of coincidences requirements here but I don’t mind one bit of that. I also love the exaggerated sound effect of the person who used the toilet next to her, and cute little George.
The new addition Momo, on the other hand, doesn’t really stand out in the second segment since her role is playing straight against Chio and Manana’s antics. While the setup is dime a dozen and in truth I think Chio and Manana’s dynamic doesn’t need this kind of reassurance, it produces what might be two of my favorite moments this week. The first of them is a total crash and embarrassing Mananacchio dance which basically how 5 year old kids would do when they imitate cats (cats appear to be the MVP here) and second, one of this sharpest line: “when people find out the relationship between teacher and student, all the blames will go to the teacher, so just try your best”. Goddamn Manana, listen to her advice and heads certainly will roll.
Banana Fish (ep05)
…in which Ash’s plan of revenge is literally get on top of the moving truck to shoot Papa Dino down? What the heck? Is it the best method you could come up with, Ash? Apart from showing your face to the world as the shooter, why running truck? Why don’t just stay at one of the building and shoot the guy? That must be because of escape plan, right? Except they don’t even consider about escape plan!!! Okay, that aside, Banana Fish still runs at a breakneck pace that upon this episode we have many details already build, and unfold. The whole assassination, for example, is raised, build and resolved in a mere 10′. In addition, we don’t really have a good grasp of the time flow. In the beginning Max is still in prison, but at the end he’s already out for example. In the positive notes, I really like Shorty character, and I consider Ash and Max having a solid chemistry. I can’t say the same for Eiji as I still consider him a dead weight. Next episode we surely learn more about Ash’s backstory as they move to his hometown Cape Cod and hopefully a change of scenery will do this show good.
Planet With (ep04-05)
…in which… What’s the hell did I just watch? A mecha cat drinks energy boost to power up (in a advertisement fashion to boost)? A boy surrender to his “kingdom of girls” world? But I can’t deny it’s a whole lotta fun that fresh ideas and stupid ideas and stupid fresh ideas just keep popping up and catch us off guard. As I pointed out last week, I still feel that we just slowly get into the meat (pun-intended here) of the story and this show is a glaring example of “this isn’t what it seems” kind of story. First, I like the way the show deals with common hero-enemy tropes. A we don’t know the motive in any of the players, it’s hard to pinpoint who is the hero/ villain and as the story progresses, Souya (from anti-hero) starts to (unintended) act like hero and save the village. Second, the plot just keeps escalating in weird turns that it’s nearly impossible to guess what come next, and I’m saying this as a big compliment. In an industry with tired story and predictable plot it’s refreshing to watch this incoherent mess and see if it can hold up at all. One thing though, I believe class rep will play an important role in the end. She seems to catch up with the events rather too quickly.
A Little Romance Around the Corner
Hi Score Girl (ep04)
I’ll be honest. Hidaka is my favorite character out of this triangle romance. She’s the best representation of Hi Score Girl’s themes of games and growing up. For both Oono and Haruo, they’re a game enthusiasts as far as they remember, but for Hidaka, everything here is a whole new world to her. With Oono-chan we mainly see her in an outsider’s point of view, which somewhat aliens us as a viewer, whereas with Hidaka, we get to know her perspective and every steps of her emotions that she comes off as one of the most well-grounded character from this cast. It just comes naturally that she would attract to Haruo. She’s the one without any reference so at least she’s curious to witness a boy who has nothing but cares passionately for the things he loves. I have a feeling the anime play up her affections to Haruo a little too fast, but overall the anime nails her feeling down admirably. “I prefer watching you from behind”. That’s going to be her position towards Haruo. Always watching – can never be equal”.
Tsukumogami Kashimashu (ep03)
Whyyy the show keeps playing up the romance between this two non-blood related siblings? This show’s aesthetic is so distinctive (for this season at least) with its mixed of traditional settings, playful spirits and (surprisingly) recurrent side-characters. And the romance is my least favorite aspect actually. I still feel all the dialogues are hammy, and I’m still not sure if this is the show I’m willing to follow through the end. But it has this unique air. At its heart, tsukumogami is already a sentimental object, that the spirits can only be formed by the care and cherish of its owners. I’m glad that we know a bit more about our own tsukumogami, but I will take an episode or two to see if the story can shape up in its best form.
Grand Blue (ep04)
We end this episode with Chisa and Iori as the winners of beauty contest and Chisa “dates” Iori. It’s obviously another fragments of boy’s fantasy in its wildest. sigh. Oh wait, we have another girl confessing randomly to Kouhei and while we learn a bit about her backstory, it all just comes down to “here’s another jerk who jerk off disgustingly” kind of treatment. Okayyy, with this kind of story it’s best to just shut your brain down and enjoy the waves of jokes as they keep hitting you at full speed from every angle. Some of them are quite amusing (like how Iori and his friend tricked that jerk) but overally it still relies too much on tropes and male fantasy to work. Again, it’s just the matter of whether the humor works on you or not and sadly I’m amongst the naysayer here. I don’t plan on dropping it but I don’t reckon the female cast will get any better treatment than this.
Shichisei no Subaru (ep05)
And talking about romance, here’s a show that loses its credibility the moment “romance” gets in place. So far, I don’t mind all the stupidity and plot contrivance of this show, but with Takanori and his quest to kidnap Asahi I come to a breaking point. Here’s the guy who willing to live forever in this game world to protect his dream girl. Well, if I have spent 10 episodes with him, I might get around that but as of now I can’t take this guy seriously. And then he proceeds to kidnap the girl but isn’t bright enough that his plan backfired the moment he traps Asahi, thus single-handed ruin the whole thing. I also feel the show taking too slow to reintroduce the remaining two members. We’re nearly half way point for god sake. Other than that, depending on how contrived the plot will become, I will see if I’m still up to following it.
Games of Life and Death
Well, episode 5 of Hanebado was pretty inconsistent in tone. Just take the two scenes: these naked girls taking to bath together with Ayano’s psycho expression at the end and wonder if it comes from the same show. And guess what? These two scenes aren’t the real representation of Hanebado either. Connie becomes somewhat bearable after the match, and I like how Ayano using the loss as an excuse. Comes episode 6 where the show heads into its more subtle (by the show’s standard) drama and frankly it works better that way. . It’s the glasses Riko who takes the spotlight this week, as Hanebado challenges her own badminton’s ambition by putting her against the tough opponent right at the first round. There are two scenes that stand out for me. First, Riko and Nagisa are on these steps, and Riko just stops midway as Nagisa walks by. It speaks right there the situation Riko currently faces and Nagisa as a distanced supporter. Second, the shot where Nagisa finds her sitting quietly on the stairs (again!), with the towel covers her head. It’s the saddest moment Hanebado captures in this episode.
Satsuriku no Tenshi (ep05)
Of all the Summer shows I’m currently following this week, sadly this one was the only show where I keep pushing back on watching until yesterday. The main reason for that is I don’t care much about these characters. As of now the duo functions in one long-running mode of “I want to die – but you have to kill me – so I’ll try better to be useful to you” that even the characters themselves are tired of this dynamic. The over-the-top manners of these characters don’t help, and all the challenges scream the game mechanic “solve this puzzles and you can advance”. In addition, sometimes it breaks the reality so severe that it becomes laughable bad. I can think of 2 sequences: Zack throws Rachel into the roof; and Rachel solves this by bombing the place. What? Thankfully though, this episode delves into the Zack’s past that it pains him in a more relatable light. I’m still mildly interested on the settings but if I can’t care for any of those characters, I have no reason to go back to this.
Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki (ep04)
Although this wasn’t the worst episode I’ve seen this week, this certainly was the plainest. It’s business as usual here as it becomes more of good guys vs bad guys now, with the appearance of the enemy’s general. It becomes rather questionable that Jinzaburou could be an effective leader. He’s talent for sure, and like Gus he has an amazing combat skill. But there’s more than one time where he shows the lush for more bloodshed, and I don’t think his strategy holding up at all. Charging to the enemy outnumbered but turns out unscratched? That’s some stretching here. Using teeth to stop an arrow? What the heck? The Princess also realizes this, but for now Jinzaburou’s the most capable person in the unit now. I really hope they can develop her dynamic to Jinzaburou into more complex affair and not just in the name of love.
My Hero Academia 3 (ep55)
Last week I was over the moon with this arc, but with this episode I’ve become more skeptical. It’s one of these instances where you wish you can watch these episodes in bulk instead of waiting for weekly airing. This episode changes the focus to other’s 1-A members and while it has some good moments here and there, it doesn’t make much of an impact. At this point I consider that most if not all students of 1-A class will pass this P test. This episode again reaffirms the notion that these kids need the support of each other, and it’s the trust (and the inspiration) that put them above other schools, that make them tougher than anyone else their age. It’s a pretty straightforward message, but damnit give me more time of Midoriya.