This week, with Hanebado is on leave (apparently due to the earthquake) and Hi Score Girl new episode is nowhere to be seen (I don’t blame the fansub though, this one has flied under the radar this season), we have a relatively shorter compare to other weeks. Yeah, turn out I still ended up watching Tsukumogami Kashimasu, and since I already watched FLCL Alternative first episode back in April Fool, I won’t review it here. Will pick it up in the second episode onward. It’s hard to tell whether this week is good or bad, given many shows still deliver and other shows are just functional. If I have to pick a word to describe the last week, it’s “predictable”. My favorite shows continue to soar. Since I’m running out of meaningful grouping for this week, I’ll sort the shows by linking them to the same themes. Let’s go for it
Grand Blue (ep09)
Even Grand Blue must feel like it’s running out of ideas. As this episode repeats the same jokes with the same premise in previous episodes. Iori and Kohei try to trick Chisa and Aina into setting up a date by playing King game. Tripping, betrayal and hijinks ensue but the gags mostly fall flat because they feel empty. For example, I was a bit intrigued to see how Azusa and Nanaka plan to trip the girl but the show doesn’t develop it much. The payoff isn’t that rewarding on top of that. The second part is where it gets boring with the cast going to buy diving gears. It tries somewhat to improve the chemistry between Chisa and Iori but then nothing is really happening. Hopefully next week when they go for their Okinawa vacation it’ll be a change of fresh air as well.
Steins;Gate 0 (ep20)
Speaking of the change of fresh air, Steins;Gate 0 latest episode goes there; flash-forwarding to 25 years into the future where Okabe sees for himself the destruction of the this world. I’m split between this change. On one hand, it’s a perfectly serviceable episode. Okabe finds himself as an old man is something we’ve never seen of this franchise before, so it’s a welcome change. On the other hand, this change now is way too late into the game, and makes me further realize that Steins;Gate should have done this long ago. For a show that is about time-travel it’s stuck way too prominently in one era. The plot to get where he is now fill with some implausible details too. Chief among them is the side characters: Rika and Ferris. Ruka died at the right moments he meets Okabe again (after single-handed killed and shot the whole unit of enemy), and everyone asserts that “he’s fulfilled”. Is this a freaking soap opera? Ferris, after like 25 years, still talks with -nyan at the end, IN THIS DYSTOPIAN FUTURE? It’s heading back to 2011 in the next episode so it’s all back to status quo now. Although to be fair I really like the striking visual image of Okabe standing at a metaphorical clock. He’s fighting time after all.
Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight (ep09)
Speaking of striking visual image of someone standing at metaphorical something (this time, poster) and another character who also fighting time, this week of Revue Starlight marks the end of Banana arc. This episode, for me, is almost perfect in its storytelling department. First, it builds up Banana’s conflict and then resolves them in an insightful manner. It puts Karen back again as the main protagonist (and the one who changed the fate, figuratively), and it introduces the Starlight play, in which serves as a foreshadowing to our pairs. I especially like how Revue Starlight conveys her emotion visually. The swords she draws hiding her eyes, indicate that she rather turns her eyes away from the present. As she draws the 99th Starlight show poster on the stage, and Karen refuses to be a part of it anymore, it’s almost heartbreaking. But the calm moment after the duel is what seals the deal for me. Junna has a great moment of comforting her friend. I love the way Nana rather curious reaction to see Junna breaks out of her strict personality for her friend. It’s that, even if things never be the same again for Nana, they will keep making new memories, go through the stage light again in a brand new experience. And again, this new “side” of Junna, or “Bananice” can only happen in this timeline.
Shichisei no Subaru (ep10)
Speaking of the whole “blinded by jealousy”, it’s basically the arc of Nozomi right now, in which I … (sigh). It’s true that I prefer she goes against the team so that they have to fight to rescue her back, but in the name of romance? No!! How long has it been since Nozomi seeing Takanori anyways? This is just silly drama for drama sake and I do feel like the group just keeps heading in circle to wait for the plot kicks into gear. They don’t actively seek for Asahi’s truth, instead the enemy moves the plot forward for them. I suppose the person the gang meets at the end is Clyde in real life. If so, he seems to spill some beans without letting Asahi know. As for Nozomi the character, since we don’t know much about her, and her crush to Takanori is implausible to begin with, her personality comes off rather weak. Never mind, since I can say the same thing to the rest of the cast.
Banana Fish (ep10)
That was the whole team rescuing their friend, but how about one-man rescuer? This week in Banana Fish, Ash escapes the mansion in a Rambo-style grandeur fashion. Although all the sequences remain spetecular (it never fails to be entertaining), I can’t help but feel the show glamors Ash too much. He’s just bad ass in any conceivable way (after last week “classy” who can tell the wine, this week he’s an international-level of acrobatic) that it’s hard to believe if he’s a normal human being like us. Amusingly while watching his reunion with Eiji, I had a thought that it’d be cool if they kill Ash now, so that Eiji can become a sufferring hero (well, the parting words do raise some red flag). But yeah, Ash will survive. He’s too awesome to die midway. In addition, some sequences become just ridiculous that it takes me out of the story. Killing the next presidental candidate? So far-fetch!!! Having Sing abbadonned his friends like nothing happened? What?? I don’t mind the fast-pacing anymore, but I just hope the show gives more attention to some of its details because it’s hard to take it seriously otherwise.
Hataraku Saibou (ep10)
Still on the topic of rescueing, this episode of Hataraku Saibou feels like a powered-up version of earlier Saibou’s episode. That makes this episode plain compared to previous ones where they changed the format. The “stars” of this episode are undoubtedly these oddball masked unit turns out to be our mad maids Macrophage. Other factors feel pretty familiar with almost nothing stand out, even the villains this week are the type we already encountered before. While the story feels “been there, done that”, it’s the show’s love for its chqracters and world-building that makes it reasonable to follow.
Asobi Asobase (ep10)
Speaking of madcap crazy girls, Asobi Asobase foes completely crazy this week, even for the show’s standard. First, I’m glad that many supposedly thrown-away gags get picked up again. Fujiwara’s whole gag revolves around how she looks exactly like someone out of the old Japanese paiting, yet she’s influent in English. Kudos to her voice acting that brings a stark contrast to Olivia’s character. She steals the scenes there but the MVP is our “trap” girl who complicates the entire affair in an unexpected way. I don’t even know (nor does the cast) if her flirting to Kasumi qualified as yuri or straight. Another shoutout for the show to not spelling out the truth about her true gender. Also, Hanako just being Hanako in that she wants to trick her friends to say “unko”, yet gets completely sidetrack when she learns about Kasumi’s kiss. We also have another spoof at the sci-fi genre, I’m glad that the show uses Kasumi’s character to her full potential, provided that her personality is easily the least standout out of the three mains.
Tsukumogami Kashimasu (ep08)
While we’re on the track of “is this yuri/ straight” romance, let’s head to Tsukumogami. Well, in the end I stick to this show. Still overstuffed and ridiculous in its story-telling department, this episode is surprisingly deep and effective than its usual affair. It has to do with the new character whose has a compelling backstory (or the lack there of). While it’s still a stretch how our lead figures out the truth, it’s the new character’s tragic tale that says a lot about feminine theme, something that I don’t think the show can pull off again. The 4 towers metaphor doesn’t do much for me to be honest, and this episode shamelessly includes grey CG walking sticks like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Well, it’s not. I don’t consider this cheap technique as the show’s aesthetic at all. The main characters, however, remain attractive design-wise.
Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro (ep10)
We seem to have a routine of one below-average Chio-chan’s episode, follow up by one above-average as of late. This week is amongst Chio-chan’s better ones as it fleshes out two side characters with great effect. As you might remember, Momo wasn’t that memorable when she first appeared. Her uptight attitude is a nice foil for our Chio and Manana, but taken as an individual, her character is damn plain. Adding her having a weak spot for sweet, however, is awesome. Seeing her just go loose and dandy while eating sweets make this segment sooo worth it. In the second segment, I should’ve seen this coming that Chiharu is Andou’s imouto (I mean… with hair colors and stuffs) and extra point for her contrasting appearance (she wears rich-girl school uniform) with her personality (disappointed that her brother comes clean… or in her own words: “uncool”). That set up quickly escalates to Chio admits that it was her who changed Andou (in a hilarious but believable way). Kudos for Andou and Chio’s combined silliness that things can’t go like planned. And Mamana late arrival gives the whole situation an interesting mix.
Planet With (ep10)
Speaking of CAT, oh god this is like the fifth time Planet With closes off its episode as a perfectly appropriate closure for its show. Yet it continues to raise thing up and resolves again in the most satisfying way. That’s what ‘epic’ truly means. This episode has the most action aince its epic battle at episode 6, thus in terms of story it’s the most straightforward Planet With come up with. By own mean, Planet With’s “straight-forwardness” is still packed with endless themetical reach, this time the fight between the factions who care for the same goal but do different means to achieve the goal. Most of its quirks are still there, from how Sensei and Generalissimo talks with their usual “gowl” before drops the act and talk directly to each other. What I like the most about the show is that how it consistently changes the roles of all characters and give them significant payoff. Like how the Old man just basically charges in in the middle of the battle, yet somehow it makes sense. Next week the cast will meet up again for what could be the final battle and I can’t wait to see how the show raise the stake.
My Hero Academia 3 (ep60)
My goodness THAT GIRL is back, and I was thinking how the show just repeats the same “some eccentric girls weirdly attracts to Midoriya” schtick. Such a bold move of her regarding how ahe was under the professional guard and still hets away with it. Now she completely wins my heart, guys. I unfortunately can’t say the same for the episode. This is easily the show’s lowest moment. Not particularly theilling or insightful. The match between him and Bakugo is a long time coming, yet at this point it feels contrived. The factct that he and the talented kids don’t pass have no real consequences either. I just hope the show can burn theough these slow moments quickly because it’s always at its best when there’s a battle.
Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger (ep10)
Jeager moves along with its plot nicely, although I must admit that this is one of the show that easily slips off my mind. I was expecting that the cast will gather in London. Turn out that no one comes to London at all. Ryokou and the Policeman just basically rely on luck to meet Yuliy. He gets to know more about his father, but I suppose next week is where that relationship is going to pay off. The nice little thing in this episode is that the rest of the Jaeger comes to Yuliy’a birthplace Dogville, both to find out more about the Ark and to properly put those poor souls to rest. Now I feel like Ryokou is just a filler character and she doesn’t add up much to the plot. The rest of the club isn’t that well-realized either, save for Mikhail and perhaps Yuliy. Hopefully this show sticks the landing.