Can’t believe we’ve already reached halfway of this anime season. It feels like all the first episodes just aired last week. The more I do this thing the more I realize time passes in a ridiculously fast pace. This week, I decide to drop 1 more show, with other 2 are in the bubble. Many shows grow on me, many shows stay the same and a bunch of them start to fall off the cliff. I might settle down for 12 new shows (plus Steins;Gate 0 and My Hero Academia) so the bubbling shows will have to fight hard next week to claim the last spot. Read on to find out which show gets the short straw. By the way, I’m quite happy with how I group my shows this week. Let’s jump in:
“All the Good Ones Die First”
Banana Fish (ep06)
Watching Banana Fish is just like watching a motor race in a stadium. You can’t see the vehicle clearly because it moves so fast, all you here is the roaring sound. Banana Fish moves in such a fast pace that episodic characters like Ash’s father and Jennifer can’t have time to leave much of an impression. All we know about them is not about the characters themselves, but more about their relation to Ash. That is to say I don’t feel much for Jennifer getting shot at the end, but on the opposite spectrum the show does a hella good job of putting Ash into more context and explains why Ash turns out the way he is now. I still don’t buy much of Eiji presence, but there’s some ambiguous in the way Ibe sees in Eiji’s issue, as if there’s some level of affection from the guy to Eiji. Speaking of that context, while I don’t mind with the way Banana Fish portrays homosexual abuse so far, this episode is the time where I feel they push that topic down a bit too much. We have a pretty good idea what has Ash been gone through, why put another sour taste to the mouth? I’m still pretty much into the main story and now that the gang is in LA with a promising awesome villain, let’s see how the show deals with it.
Planet With (ep06)
In which the good guy turn out to be the main villain but might be he’s not that bad at all. That’s how you twist around all the conventions to squeeze out something fresh. I figure that this episode closes off the first arc, which I must say feels complete. Not a bad stretch at all since anime medium is known for messy ending. There are still elements that don’t work quite well, namely the dynamic but unispring CG battles (which take a huge chunk of the episode) and the characters themselves aren’t someone I consider deep or relatable. Still, the show addresses the notion of hero/ justice in such a original way I’m happily to put aside all the minor issues. My favorite bit is how “His Excellency” just breaks his character and talks directly to the guy. I don’t expect myself to connect to Ryou so consider my surprise when I feel a little sad for his departure. Despite my grumpiness from the first episode Planet With turns out to be exciting and unpredictable.
Steins:Gate 0 (ep17)
In which, despite Okabe best effort, he can’t save certain character from getting shot down. Poor, suffering Okabe indeed. Now, I do recall the time counting multiple in this episode, which very well means that Okabe will travel back through time to stop this event from happening, or rather, finding the Steins;Gate route. What I like best about this episode, however, is how Mayuri steps up as an active role in the story. She comes to term that things can’t stay this way forever, that she prefers the old Kyouma Hououin much better than this gloomy Okabe, and most of all she doesn’t want to be a burden for him anymore. This sets up to be a rewarding conclusion arc.
Satsuriku no Tenshi (ep06)
In which Zack in his maniac state sliced his belly open… which could make for a nice little surprise, except that the dude manages to get up, kill the woman and walks like nothing happen? Wait, what? I know Tenshi never concerns with realistic but it’s just way too far-fetched to be taken seriously. Moreover, don’t get me on the ridiculous Deux Ex Machina, in which Rachel gets the gun out of freaking bag (have we seen the gun before?) just as convenient. Unlike the Pumpkin Head where we know a bit about his mentality, we know next to nothing to this Woman (which I don’t even bother to look up her name), except she wants to “judge” people. The bond between Rachel and Zack doesn’t improve much either. At this point I feel like this show offers me very little that I’m happy to stop it halfway point.
“Even so, I don’t want to give up this feeling”
Hi Score Girl (ep05)
Even just remember the line above made my eyes tearing up. This episode has many of my favorite moments from Hidaka. Hi Score Girl nails the fleeting feeling when one realizes that they fall for another person. Just look at her jumping in her room at the thought that Haruo MIGHT think about her. This moment is just so perfectly intimated. Then, the realization at the end of his home visit that he doesn’t paying any attention to her and her chocolate gift is so brutally honest. On that note, I actually prefer how the manga frames it better: “Being with him today, I understood something. YAGUCHI-KUN WASN’T LOOKING AT ME AT ALL”. Although we tend to say that Hidaka is more open compared to the silenced Oono, the truth is that she’s also the kind of character who bottles her feeling up inside. Then the line up there further underline how honest she is with her feeling. Now that Oono is back to the table, things gonna get much more heat now.
Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight (ep05)
Revue Starlight is back to business this week with its bizarrely entertaining duel. In a way, this duel is a long way coming as this is one of the development I expected to happen sooner or later. What I didn’t expect, however, is the overall light-hearted tone with cartoonish paper cut-out design and Mahiru -Karen fight literally stage-crashing other duels at the same time. I guess it’s because Mahiru is a kind-hearted person so we see her point of view in a rose-tinted glass with almost too naive outlook. Overall, while I have some nitpicks over the episode, it’s a delightful one from start to finish. My only beef with this week is that, for an episode that is about jealousy, we get little to no exposition of that theme. We see Mahiru feeling left out by the appearance of Hikari, but it plays out mostly for laugh (good one at that though). Moreover, Revue Starlight frames her conflict more as her own insecure with the rest of the cast, with all the country pumpkin imply and “sparkle” stuffs. Which again, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that “jealousy” isn’t really much there to begin with. But what this episode of Revue Starlight does extremely well, it’s how they manage the comedic beat. There are recurring gags about whenever Mahiru doing something “perverted”, Hikari appears with that deadpan expression and walks away. The visual cues sum up very well Mahiru’s situation than many words can tell (it’s show, don’t tell). We have Mahiru’s affection to Karen and we also sense how she feels Hikari invading Karen and her own space. Another notch for great visual gags come later in the duel, where other various auditioning girls get distracted by the duo’s crashing their stage.
Tsukumogami Kashimashu (ep04)
In which there’s a real jealousy between the main guy and other guy who he thought was hitting on his “step” sister. I’m still not quite sold on giving this show a full season watch, given the way it develops its characters is still way too clumsily. There’s still many elements that I quite like from this show, the aesthetic is so distinctive this season, combining the traditions of its settings and the spirits with some soft but pleasing color and backgrounds. I also like how each episode we learn more about each tsukumogami, which makes them enjoyable to watch. I can’t say the same for the human cast, however, especially the main guy who quickly judges other people through rumors and pep talks and indeed, pep talk is one of the main ingredient for this show. The human relies on the tsukumogami’s pep talks to gain information. This episode goes to opposite side of the equation to show that those spirits can manipulate information from their side as well. This new guy introduced this week is a pain to watch. He has no charisma whatsoever and I could say the same for the entire human cast. If next week this show doesn’t fare any better I’ll have do bid it adieu.
Hataraku Saibou (ep06)
So… this show has shaken up a bit… by giving us a flashback story of how young Red Cell and young White Cell first met. Now, there’s some chemistry development right there and who could resist the cutie kawaii version of their young selves? If there’s one thing this show does absolutely best, it is that they can create a so damn cute kid characters. Although we can see their some solid chemistry between them (together with the history of Red Cell’s terrible sense of direction, and her tendency to attracts bad Gems, and White Cell’s tendency to save her), they themselves don’t remember each other from that fateful day. I blame that on White Cell. How often in that world that you encounter a red-headed girl, White Cell? The second segment is its attempt of bringing some cliffhanging instead of its sitcom format, so at least the show offers something different. I heartily welcome all that. And just look at this cute young Red Riding Hood.
The Power of Teamwork
My Hero Academia 3 (ep56)
Indeed, everyone in class-A made it through this first test. That’s the thing about MHA, it has too big heart. It loves its characters wholeheartedly and while it shows us that they work hard and earn it, the result is still the same, the show gives its characters a bit too much credits. I don’t argue, however, that this rushing minutes are still thrilling (and emotional rewarding) beside being predictable. Another important note is how Kacchan improves for the better now, in this episode he demonstrates two qualities that the old Kacchan would never care to consider. First, he starts to rely more on his friends, even to the point of sacrifice himself so that his teammates can have the advantage. Second, he begins to regard Midoriya as a worthy rival now. He’s one of the few people who catch on with the One for All quirk Midoriya inhibits and he doesn’ make a fuss about that, instead trying to improve himself. This is some great character development from him here.
Shichisei no Subaru (ep06)
In which after a stupid move last week, that high horse glassed boy agrees to team up with Haruto, and guess what? Them two, with the assistance of Satsuki, destroy the whole Divine party with one whoop. Boy, sometimes you don’t need to use the brain much huh? just charge on and incredible things will happen. It’s just a normal pitfall for a incompetent writer I suppose, who always give his main characters too much power that it kills all the credulity. Putting that aside, since I never give the main plot much thought, it still takes way too long for the Subaru team to meet the other two members. We see Clive there and it appears he might be at the opposing team (although he did help his ex-teammate out), but where’s the heck is this other girl? The chemistry amongst this group isn’t that exciting anymore, but I’m still in for this ride to see whatever contrived plot regarding Asahi’s past 6 years come to light.
Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger (ep05)
Okay, many side characters quickly appeared and killed off. Farewell to our Frankenstein which appears like 5 minutes, says zero line and blown off into thin air. Farewell to that other terrorist who died just as fast. But this episode does a tremendous job of putting everything together on the same page. We have Ryoko who finally contribute to the main story by killing off her first vampire (oops. I killed a person huh?), we have the Cop finally catch on to the main events and we have the whole team together in this express adventure. Mikhail and Yuliy also take some solid development as the way the older brother consistently talk and act contradictorily towards Yuliy, teasing and belittle Yuliy, but always goes out to save him, and finally, ask him to kill him if he becomes out of control. Mikhail is building up a tragic character here, I suppose in the end he’s either die in the hand of his brother or die by saving his brother. Whatever the case, their solid bond is what makes me coming back to this show.
Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki (ep05)
Angolmois becomes a straightforward historical thriller now. I can’t say I’m fond with this. It fairs worse, in addition, that sometimes it takes some unbelievable superpower strength that keeps reminding me that don’t take anything from the screen as a historical fact. This week. we get into 2 main developments. First, Jinzaburou’s influence that can motivate his team to fight this battle. Second, his backstory that once again too forced and on the nose. The moral of that story seems to be around “you have to stand up and fight, otherwise people will keep abusing you” with I found it a bit like a propaganda story where the abused, the abuser are clearly defined like a black and white picture. The only bit I like from this episode is when Princess can’t stop herself from anger that she shoots the scouts dead. The more the show goes full battle thriller the less it focuses on characters, the less I care about everything happen onscreen. This show will have to fight with Tsukumogami up there to claim its place here.
Classic Friend’s Betrayals
Grand Blue (ep05)
In which the boys try to betray each other to hook up some girls. This is we have… what… another 3 nice looking girls with too much make-up. And at the end does this new girl have a feeling for Iori? Nooo. This episode is entirely about the mixing with boys act with too much hormone. It’s another male-fantasy put up in max volume. And the humor is pretty much your mileage may vary. I find myself chuckle a bit but at the end of the day it’s just not the humor I’m particularly fond with. Some says the manga delivers its jokes much better and the lack of animation hurts this adaptation. Well, I can partly agree with the lackluster of production, but base humor doesn’t really grab me much.
Asobi Asobase (ep06)
Asobi Asobase climbs its way to be my “darling” of the season now. The show isn’t perfect. There’s many segments where the jokes can go really flat, but when it hits it’s so goddamn quotable and hilarious. This week we have one of its most heartfelt segment, with the Occult girl and her friend who spirited away. And damnit can’t believe I’m saying this but the best lines of this episode (and this week) involving two older men talking creepily about young girl. Olivia with various hair styles is also a delight. I also appreaciate how Asobi can start off with the skit of Hanako’s “resentment” by only finish 2nd of the class, and it takes some bizarre loose turns into a robot boy who talks in Maeda and her grandpa voices with his head rolls on the floor. Keep up with weird sh!t like that because you shine the brightest there, my darling!
I was wrong. I don’t enjoy this dead-eye expression of Ayano at all. It feels as though we’re watching a completely different Ayano characters compared to the first few episodes. That just means in no way I’m identified with this anti-hero version of Ayano. I could’ve understood if she meets the Mom and that causes her brutal emotional state, but Hanebado frames that all this was just heartless Ayano being heartless Ayano. One of the issues this episode have is to flesh out the perspective of Kaoruko by introducing her teammates who we don’t know or care an inch for. Heck, I don’t pretty care for Kaoruku to begin with, but it’s nice we know more about her vulnerable side. It’s a good touch of Hanebado that we get into her perspective during the match, but again this match is never meant to be thrilling. I say that because I can’t see other reason to explain why Hanebado skipped the entire second set and showed the match point instead. For a player who was hyped up as Ayano’s rival, we don’t see any sense of rivalry at all. Just the resentments from each other. As for the big picture, I’m slightly disappointed that Hanebado focuses too much on Ayano and not enough on the other members. Nagisa is again delegated into background characters, as does the coach Tachibana as he leaves next to no impact to his students so far.
Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro (ep06)
Chio-chan… well… doesn’t go well this week. Not necessary because of the reappearance of crash fanservice gags – which for now I pretty much roll with, but because it’s a replication of Chio-chan’s previous (and better) segments. It adds up with the fact that both segments this week feel longer than they needed be. Take the first half, the Kabaddi captain reappears, training herself in a nearby park to “revenge”. There are some amusing bits here and there: Madoka realizes her ultimate technique is just basically embrace her own desire to the next level, the story of her homeless sensei is so off-putting and dark it’s actually clever the way Chio-chan sold this, the constant betrayals of both Chio and Manana are certainly a joy to watch. But then again this part A is pretty much about the joy of grabbing butts, so yeah it’s pretty much for an “acquired” taste. Although I said that I’m okay to put the issues aside, I still don’t like Madoka much as a character. Unlike Andou who we see him in various out-there situations, with Madoka we pretty much associate her with kabaddi and her yuri urge. The latter half plays like a variation of the premiere episode, where our Chio stuck in game-mode, thus bring all the troubles upon herself. The bit where we get into the first person shoot-them-up POV is particularly well-done. I find that scene most amusing where she’d scan the “hallway”, but completely misses the Mother and Son right behind her (they boy seems to be impressed). Chio and Manana come to the point where their chemistry become too solid that they can carry the segment themselves, but the show has been relied too much on these two. Shake things up a bit by adding new characters would benefit Chio-chan much, much better.