It’s interesting how I just flipped through my first impression reviews I wrote a year ago at the other website, I am struck on how opinions on one show can change the more we watch it, even within consecutive episodes. Not because it changes the formula itself (although some do, like *coughHanebado*), but more because its own formula starts to wear out after the initial catch. This middle period before the climax is when shows suffer the most. It has to build the main conflict up without loosing our interest – not an easy feat to do. As it stands, I’m on the fence whether I will keep Tsukumogami or pick up Angolmois again (or dropping them both), as this week’s Tsukumogami didn’t offer much. No Steins:Gate this week (weirdly I don’t miss it much), so let’s see how this week in anime fares. This week we’ll go with reverse-alphabetical order.
Another side note, as you can tell by the above screenshot, I just watched (and enjoyed a fair bit) the OVA Aggressive Retsuko, so expect a review some time this week. I’ll update the show into 2018 Spring Anime Season (since it debut there). It’s my intention to update my First Impressions and Final Impressions as a massive list so that they can be a reliable point of reference.
Tsukumogami Kashimasu (ep07)
I’m not exaggerate to say that its candy-looking aesthetic is the only thing that keeps me watching, and at this point it just isn’t enough. The episodic story is a mashup mess that tries to cramp up too many threads at once, without the subtlety or even the logical sense to hold them up. This episode features ghost, new tsukumogami, the great fire and revenge plot that somehow all connected in a clumsy way. We still have some ‘quiet’ moments to dell into the main’s flashback but even in 7 episodes, with too many backstory details I still don’t know, or care much about them. It’s unfortunate but I guess it’ll depend on my mood if I want to see more of the show.
Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger (ep08)
Now, we’re getting more into the core ingredient of the show, the MacGuffin-of-sort Sirius Ark as both Yuliy and the Vampires heading towards it now. Things otherwise set up to be a big battle in London. Yuliy meets a new Jaeger but he sounds like a red flag to me. Mikhail is still the most interesting character, especially how his werewolf’s pride is still apparent. I don’t really like Yevgraf as a big villain yet as he’s still a bit one-sided. Yuliy’s quest to find out about the Ark will eventually lead him into this sacred place, which would fall right into Yevgraf’s masterplan. So far, the show moves with sure steps, although it sacrifices much of character’s depth in service for plot.
Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight (ep08)
Last week, with the earth-shattering revelation of Banana’s secret, I expected Revue Starlight addresses 2 developments. First, Nana and Hikari’s chemistry in the present now that we see the true reason why Nana is so fixated to Hikari and Second, why does Hikari crashes this timeline which she doesn’t in previous loops. As it turns out, we learn most about the Second part this week (and next to nothing on the First part) given this episode plays out through Hikari’s perspective. One important detail in this world-building this episode manages to spill out is that the Revue Audition doesn’t strictly happen at Karen’s school. The extra-dimensional duels occur in London where Hikara studies as well. While this episode isn’t as crucial in term of changing the plot into another direction like last week’s, it’s still a perfectly fine episode that moves the narrative forward. We see again how important Karen and Hikari’s childhood promise that guide them to basically give their all. I was struck at first how Hikari was too energetic earlier compared to her stoic current self, so imagine my satisfaction to learn the reason behind her lack of enthusiasm. She literally has her ‘drive’, or ‘radiance’ (depend on which subs you watched) taken away from her. I particularly enjoy the contrasting in weapons’ choice this week: Hikari with her dagger and Nana with double swords. The duel has a nice dynamic, and the stunning compositions with strong dark red color and shadows motif certainly give a strong impression. Revue Starlight also set itself up for a melodramatic climax, with Karen and Hikari have to fight one another in the end.
Shichisei no Subaru (ep09)
Shichisei sure is fond with its dramatic approach. Everything has to deal up to 11 to get the point across. Case in point, instead of simply talking things out, Hayato and Satsuki has to resort into fist fight. Instead of having the last girl Nozomi joins the club, she has to see her crush Satsuki dancing with other girl and then runs off and gets kidnapped immediately. Dang it. And in the middle of all that we have a prom (okay, ball) where the show deals with its entirely unnecessary romantic plots. That might be one of the reason why I prefer Clive character the most since he isn’t involved in all that love fest crap. Main story takes a bit of backstage so that the show “develops” the core cast by shipping them together. No, Shichisei doesn’t work quite well as compelling drama, it doesn’t work well as a fantastical game and it’s at its worst when it deals with romance. So the less it deals with the latter the better (well, we’re talking about a show where elementary kids give rings to each other and heartbroken and stuffs so I won’t hold my breath). I’m still a bit intrigued to see Nozomi’s power, however.
Planet With (ep09)
Speaking about show that literally (well, not literally) takes my breath away, Planet With proves one again how completely wild it can go and how dense everything work together. It’s such a pleasant feeling to see a show that consistently throws you off in mere minutes but always in the service of building its story up. Imagine watching this show is like how you play around the rubik cube. There’s always a formula to solve it but it’s in the hand of an experienced player who like to tweak around for weird shape but always knows the foundation. This week we have Yousuke, arguably one of the weakest character personality-wise who turns full villain and actually succeeds. We see the cost it takes if the Sealing Faction (now I understand its name completely) controls the world. It further brings Souya back into the game as it reminds him about the people he cares around him. 3 episodes left and we still have Souya fighting the great dragon and Nozomi’s hidden strength (and maybe they’re related, who knows with this series) and if it continues to surprise me every step of the way, it’d be a winner show for me.
My Hero Academia 3 (ep59)
While this episode is still entertaining to watch, it’s the weaker effort from the show. This second test gives a interesting concept of rescuing citizens as the hero’s top priority. But to allow “villains” to the test it does lose its message somewhat. Adding to that we have a clash between Shouto and Yoarashi which, to be fair, is lame. The reason he leaves his favorite school because of one single moment and its intense hatred for Shouto and his Dad is unsatisfying. This conflict is a backbone for them working together in the end, with the right intervention of our main Midoriya but I can’t help but feel I have seen all this before. The show falls into its own trap by playing a bit to safe here, and that ridiculous characters’ tension and the low stake don’t help either.
Hi Score Girl (ep08)
This episode can be seen as the show’s most brutal moment. Painfully brutal. Not because of the fight, or any twisted tension like Flowers of Evil, but the pain of growing up. Haruo’s always chasing Oono and always feels inferior to her Godsend game skills. It’s a thunderstruck for him then, to learn that Oono fighting him in the final with an handicap. The game tournament itself is a nice setting for these two can go all out with the thing they love. For Haruo, the tournament (and their fight afterward) marks the rapid change in him. From a carefree kid he starts to think more seriously about his future. Hi Score Girl is so adept at developing characters over time that these growth always feel natural and substantial.
Hataraku Saibou (ep09)
We have a side story of the side characters about immature cells who learn to become proper cells. I enjoy how Saibou shuffles around its formula, as this week again we don’t have any bad germs or bacteria to kill. Admittedly I don’t care much for both characters this week, but I don’t deny that their contrasted personalities support each other well. This episode is also one of the few times where the show scraps its educational showcase for more dramatic route, but it pays off in the end. As different as these cells are in terms of personality and function, at the end of the day they’re all working towards the same goal: to do their job sufficiency and to protect this world with all they got. Now, give me back my Red Blood Cell, White Blood Cell and Platelets por favor.
After some hyper melodramatic for several weeks, this episode unfortunately stumbles on another issue: too plain. The main plot taking a backseat as the final match between Ayano and Nagisa is nowhere to be seen, thus this episode mainly plays around with the boy’s prelim – whom we never spend any time with. Most surprisingly plain is Ayano. After last week in which she went into some sort of a trance figuratively, this week she meets the Bad Mama and guess what’s she doing? She’s emotionally numb. Which makes sense but it doesn’t justify everything that goes before it. If there’s a period where she can go nuts, it’s this time. In addition, we have some confusing messages from Hanebado that I’m not quite sure what they want to bring across. In one scene, Coach Tachibana asks Nagisa to consider her knee in fear of permanent injury. We then learn that he had the same experience in which he stops – and loses his Olympic’s position. What?? It’s contradicting. Yuu’s crush for her upperclassman goes the same way too. Hanebado shows us how Yuu cares for him in many instances, then it turns out she confesses but not really confess, saying it’s her love for badminton rather she likes him. What? Come again? I don’t get it at all since the show isn’t quite clear on how it wants to approach the characters.
Grand Blue (ep08)
Gosh, Grand Blue. I’m not always in tune with its crash humor but I never downright hate it. But this episode comes close to irritating because it’s so goddamn mean-spirited. You suppose to take all this at face value, sure, but keeps pestering one of their friend’s date so that they break up is just… low. It’s a cringe-worthy level of awfulness how they keep wasting their time and effort for something as juvenile as this. I guess my 16-year-old insecure self would find all these hijinks applaud-able (scratch that. 16 still too old. Maybe 14 yo?), but I swear this show has zero understanding of characters at all. Especially the girls who always come up as boys’ imagination of how they want girls to be than function like a real human.
Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro (ep09)
So… the sequence which I’m waiting the most from the PV made its to the screen this week, and it underlines both the strengths and the weaknesses I found in Chio-chan so far. The sequence in question is Chio pole dances by herself. On a dark side, since that arresting dance sequence was basically the first thing I watched in Chio-chan, I expected it more outrageously over the top. Imagine how awesome Chio-chan would have been if it embraces its wild nature more. I mean, I would love to see Chio actually has to do real pole dancing in some pub. As it stands, this version we have in Chio-chan is a slice-of-life show with Chio – a slightly more eccentric and acrobatic than normal girl. Both two fragments this week are mundane in its concept, which occasionally elevated by some amusing gags and rock-solid chemistry from Chio and Manana. Chio-chan might turn out NOT that special than I’d love to be, but as a slice-of-life comedy with mild situation-based gags it does its jobs nicely. Despite as I said earlier I wanted her to do it for real in a club, this sequence is still the episode’s high point because A) everything about her appearance doesn’t match at all with the pole-dance. She does it at a shrine. She has traditional outdated hairstyles AND she wears a freaking school uniforms. Just the thought of her doing it like that brings a smile on my face and B) she manages to do it effortlessly. Although as silly as the premise sounds, I pretty much enjoy all Andou’s wayyy too on-the-nose plan to get Chio’s attention. The jokes boost up nicely when we get all those in the point of view of Manana, whose head isn’t as thick as our Chio, and whose taste is “normal” enough so that she can see something absurdly wrong (or put it better, niche appeal) in Aidou’s plan.
Banana Fish (ep09)
It’s certainly a gruesome way to punish Ash. I like the idea behind it: by turning his best friend against his team under the influence of Banana Fish so that he has no better option but to shoot him, effectively kill Shorter, who is (was) amongst my second favorite character. It’s true that in this series no one can really be safe. But the presentation still leaves me mixed. The scenes go too quickly, especially the events lead up to that climax, that I never feel a clear passage of time. The dinner sequence feels out of place towards the rest of the episode tone-wise and everything is just damn over-the-top. Let’s take the one-bullet aspect, for example. If Eiji has a gut to defense himself (not by killing Shorter but shooting in the leg to calm the mad dog), then Ash could use his one shot to kill Arthur or Dino without hesitation. It’s just… full of holes in this plan. In addition, at this point I pretty much see the homosexual context in the show as something of a fetish. It’s just way too much the way the show tries to cramp in many plot points with sexual abuse and such.
Asobi Asobase (ep09)
This is just a mild Asobi Asobase episode. But a mild Asobi Asobase still has many hilarious moments than your normal average shows. This week is the introduction of two new weird addition: a vulgar sex doll/android who looks uncanny like Olivia and who likes to talk dirty a lot (kudos to Hanako: “it pronounces “six” perfectly) – and Olivia’s brother, who turns out to be a big, fat otaku dude who has a creepy obsession with “raw” high school girls. While these are amusing and consistently turn the girls’ (and our) expectation upside down, my most complaint lies in Olivia herself. The show needs to expand her character more. She’s at her best when she plays mean for her own amusement, and when she can’t keep up with her own act. This episode plays too much on the second part without the proper set-up of the first, as a result she doesn’t stick out like her friend Hanako. Still, Asobi Asobase is shaping up to be one my favorite show of the season.