The anime this week is pretty solid overall. I watched 16 shows and I had an enjoyable watching them. I might cut down 1 or 2 shows come next few weeks but I’m pretty happy with the line-up so far. Many shows kick into full gear (like the formidable Thunderbolt Fantasy 2 or Karakuri Circus), while others just content of being themselves (lookin’ at you Golden Kamuy). While again I don’t have clear favorites, the wealth of this Fall’s selection, spanning across many genres and settings, is something worth happy about. You might say I’m an optimistic dude, but at long as we have “there’s too many anime to watch” as a complain, it’s not a bad place to be at all. As for my film projects, rest assured that I’ll be back this week.
Cute Boys/ Cute Girls Exclusive-Clubs
Kaze Ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru (ep04)
Fuiteiru has another solid showing this week. There are two sequences that this episode handles so well that makes it a worthwhile episode despite its general slow pacing. In the first sequence, we get into the mindset of Kakeru. We get to see all his panic, from the shoplifting to basically everything that happens to him. He’s the kind of guy who keeps the feeling bottled up inside him and can’t let it our. What I appreciate the most is that Fuiteiru displays all these visually without the need to spoon-feed us. He has to face his ex club-mate this week, and I figure overcoming his past anxiety will serve as this show’s central character’s arc. At least at the end he manages to win a small victory: he says to his ex club-mate what he really thinks. The second sequence is the Prince’s speech, which feels so right and it single-handed sells me on the show’s main concept that I was skeptical about: Haiji could easily form a better group but it has to be those guys who share the brotherly bonds for many years and who never judge each other. I can totally buy that.
Tsurune: Kazemai Koukou Kyuudoubu (ep02)
Okay, I know I still need to update the first episode of Tsurune for my First Impression’s post (In case you wonder it’ll be behind Double Decker). So far, while I’m not too thrilled about this all-male cast and its familiar story beat, the production is still all-around solid. I can clearly identify to Minato’s target panic. Just like how a singer can loose their voice before a performance, psychological affect can do wonder to even professional players (the most curious case that I know of is Guillermo Coria and his service yips). Tsurune refers to the sound the bow makes when it releases the arrow, and it’s both significant to Minato as he feels like he lose the sound, as well as it’s an appropriate excuse for the show to pay extra attention to the sound designs. Chemistry-wise, Tsurune’s second episode splits between the day-light archer club activities where the newcomers learn the basic and every team member wants to bring him back; and the night tale of him meeting another gorgeous boy who advises him to go back to the sport. It’s predictable, I agree, but as long as it keeps the pacing right, it still has plenty more to offer.
Release the Spyce (ep04)
Switching from all-boys club to all-girls club, this week of Spyce also switches the focus to another pair, Fu and Mei. To be frank, I find this episode one of the most boring one this week. It needs to improve a lot more in the next few weeks to keep me wanting more. The issues with the show so far is that, we don’t really learn anything new or interesting about these characters. This couple’s conflict can be seen in previous episodes, and here it treads the familiar road. They are fond of each other, they have a fight, one girl leaves and both are reminded how important the other half is. Add to the tropey chemistry is the mediocre of the case this week, especially the sadistic villain whom we can’t even take seriously. I mean, at the end of the day I feel like I learn next to nothing new about these characters, well, except that Mei can play some slick guitar. It’s just not enough, Spyce.
Zombieland Saga (ep04)
Just 4 episodes and I can see Zombieland Saga runs out of its steam fast. In the last two episodes, Zombieland Saga unfortunately becomes a product that it satires on in the first two episodes. I expect a snappy, more slapstick humor that poke fun of the idol industry and brings the “zombie” aspect to an absurd level. Instead, it becomes a mild idol show that happen to have a zombie cast. The direction, which was so dynamic in first two episodes, becomes unmemorable and lazy. And I still haven’t gotten to the cheap CG-looking dance routine. The “horror” segment near the end doesn’t do a good job either, since we all know what coming it spoils all the fun. Even the zombie girls which I enjoyed so much last few episodes become stalled and bland the whole way through. Just remember Zombieland Saga, you work much better as a comedy show than a straightforward idol show.
The Great Escape/ Ambush
Banana Fish (ep16)
Banana Fish sure is busy as heck this week. While the main event remains relatively straight-forward – Ash escapes from the hospital – it interweaves with many plot lines involving Ibe and Max attempt to look for Ash and papa Dino’s side that the episode itself is just as hectic as Ash onscreen. Like a thriller Hollywood film, it’s over the top and entertaining. I could complain about the incredible Ash which is borderline of protagonist-worshipping (which is an usual complaint at this point), or some oddly-placed humor that doesn’t mesh well with its urgency (I do have a good laugh at Ash’s frustration of saving his friends, yet again) but it’s true this episode is essentially a Banana Fish at its most pulpy. Not a bad formula by any stretch.
Karakuri Circus (ep03)
Well, I expected this arc to be several episodes in length, turn out (like last episode), the actual ambush happens pretty quickly. They charge in the mansion like a typhoon that sweep away all the opponents. It’s a bit too fast pacing-wise, but Karakuri Circus accomplishes something else: the mains’ character development. At the end of this episode, the kid matures beyond imagination (if you can look pass the 4-stories fall that somehow he remains uninjured). And that goes hand to hand with Shirogane’s development, herself behaves more emotional because of Narumi. The second development feels a bit too abrupt, the collected Shirogane does’t sip in yet so I don’t feel her change to be much rewarding. As a whole, Karakuri Circus doesn’t have a “wow” factor to me, but it’s a goddamn well-grounded production that both stylish and know exactly where it’s going.
Goblin Slayer (ep04)
Out of all the shows I’m watching this season, Goblin Slayer is the show that I fear the most. My afraid lies in how much fuel it has left after the shocking goblin gore starts to wear thin. After all, there are only two main themes the show underline so far, neither of them that praiseworthy: goblins are rapist monsters and we’re here to kill goblins and kill and kill. This last episode doesn’t change much of that view either, but it does a fine job of putting some more variations, making the stake much higher than we had witnessed. This ambush is colored by the perspective of The Elf, who was firsthanded experience the real terror of goblins (by another elf victim, which to be fair we had seen it before), and her desenseitive with killing the goblins. In addition, the appearance of the Troll is a nice change of wind and we come to learn how badass the Goblin Slayer is. As it stands, this episode successfully raise the series’ core themes, but I’m still not quite sure how it will go from here.
Golden Kamuy (ep15)
I have to tip my hat off for Golden Kamuy for its willingness to just doesn’t give a damn of anything and continue to be its own thing. It’s a bit if a shame that both Sugimoto and Asirpa don’t have a lot of focus in these episodes, but everything happen around them is moving forward with the speed of a horse race. This week, the main event happens with the ambush in the taxidermist’s house. The most entertaning part of them all is how in the middle of the chaos, every character still maintains their awesomeness. There’s at least 1 or 2 instances where these characters go beyond human’s strength, but God it’s awesome. The decision for Sugimoto’s group to split up randomly gives room for more absurd interaction, and Ainu’s cuisine makes a much welcome return. It’s still one heck of a time to watch these human monsters reaching for gold.
The Reset Button
Seishun Buta Yarou Wa Bunny Girl-Senpai No Yume Wo Minai (ep04)
We’re at the start of the new arc and I must say this episodes sells me for what about to come. First, I’m a sucker of time loop. Trying to break out from the loop is so much fun imo. Second, contrary to my initial worry, Mai still plays as an important character in this arc and I like the way she actively comes to his house at the end to resolve the misunderstanding. To go through the loop, the show unfortunately embraces many cliche ANIME tropes (which I think you know which scene I’m referring to). Lastly, the chemistry between Sakuto and his kouhai is damn natural that I already enjoy their banters. The main plot suggests some more forced misunderstanding, which personally I’m not a fan of, but I hope the show has more tricks under its sleeve. So far, I’m all in for what about to come next.
Before discussing this week’s episode, I feel the need to mention the weekly voice drama of GRIDMAN that provides more context and dare I say, more personality to the cast. These voice drama, along with the content of this week 4, also marks a shift in GRIDMAN’s perspective and now I come to suspect that Rikka is a crucial character that hold the emotional core in this anime. I mean, the voice drama of episode 4 (4.4) raises a red flag about Rikka’s life threat and based from what happened this week, I have very goods reason to believe that would be the case. The main key to that plot thread lies in the relationship between Akane and Rikka. Granted, the main reason why Rikka approaches our girl in this episode is purely to confirm whether Yuuta is Gridman or not (and she fails miserably on that, but boy, did she try); but there’s hints about their already gone established friendship, and slowly Rikka comes to the realization that all the incidents happen around her. That might just be her hormone’s actin’ up (that everything revolves around her), but I come to suspect the core reason for Akane becoming a psychopath has something to do with her and Rikka. Episode 4 also spends a healthy amount of time developing the high school romantic saga that involves a group date, a stalking and many more. Most prominent of all is the pair Yuuta and Rikka, as the last few episodes we see more of their chemistry from Rikka’s point of view, so it comes as a bit abrupt that in this episode we see Yuuta already fallen head over heels over Rikka (well, abrupt to me anyways). Yuuta still remains the most boring character out of this cast, but it’s fun and a bit cute to see how both him and Rikka are too dense to make any progress. Like how Max points out, it’s painful to see them trying to talk to each other. There’s still a lot to admire about GRIDMAN, even to the non-fan of its Tokusatsu homage and Gridman franchise like myself.
RErideD: Tokigoe No Derrida (ep04)
Amist of its intriguing premise and ambiguous world-building, RErideD is still a hot mess of a show. Its weakest link is the characters themselves, who are unmemorable to begin with and inconsistent as a whole. Derrida this week, for example, switches from whiny spineless to takes command of the action, and the switch is so jarring it might as well be two different characters. The plot remains very bumpy as well. There’s too many expositions and over the top chasing scenes, but in the end you feel numb because it has little to no lasting effect. It’s an ambitous project for sure, but the presentation feels half-baked and leaves a lot to be desired
Akanesasu Shoujo (ep04)
it’s a new arc for Akanesasu Shoujo, but it remains as messy and nonsensical as the last arc. To be frank, I’m more interested in the relation between those alternative worlds and the girls’ real world, but the show instead is content with throwing them into a different world settings and see how they react. This time it’s Mia’s turn as the arc-protagonist and voila, it’s the Western settings just like how she dreams of. While it’s still fun to see our characters, especially Mia gets accustomed to the new world, and see other versions with constrasted personality of themselves, it’s often the case that they do it in expense for our characters’ personality. Our leads, more often than not, behave like a plain faceless character and the plot is clunky at best. I will stay with it until the end of this arc, but if it isn’t improving, then down to the trash bin it goes.
Double Decker! Doug And Kirill (ep04)
Episode 4 switches from our titular pair to an even more constrasted female pair Deana and Kay. Just like Release the Spyce, the actual case is bogged down by an extremely annoying one-dimensional villain, but apart from that it’s a enjoyable ride. There are three factors that work in the show’s favor. First, the attractive character designs and gorgoues coty backgrounds have so much personality of its onw. Even look at those characters we have a firm idea who they are even before they talk. Second, there’s always a sense of the show’s self awareness, which normally is not a good thing but for this show it works like a charm. It adds some effective charms to the show and it sometimes betrays our expectation towards its characters, making them more enjoyable to watch. Finally, the bouncing off between Deana and Kay is a joy to watch and their opposite personality gets in their way more often than not. So far, Double Decker is a buddy cop show done right, I can’t wait to see more fleshing out of the other members of the team.
Irozuku Sekai No Ashita Kara (ep04)
This episode marks an official appearance of Kohaku, and she is indeed brightens the screen and quickly becomes my favorite character out of this series. She’s both an interesting character in her own right (I love how she’s in ‘conflict’ between eccentric and act like an responsible adult), and she fits into the surrounding very well. For a show that has always been slow, she’s a neccessary dynamite to blow things up a bit and drives the narrative as the series goes on. For instance, this week, because of her courage, Hitomi finally reveals to her club-mates that she comes from the future. While it’s an opportunity for the show to go all out emotionally, I don’t mind the understated way it addresses. Even the cast members don’t seem to be very taken aback by the reveal. There’s some romantic potential here, chief among them Shou and Hitomi (while the other girl shows sign of one-sided love to Shou) and it’s interesting to note that Yuito shows some feeling towatds Hitomi too as he’s too shy to call her by her first name. While it’s P.A Works’s template that romance is bound to happen, which I’m not totally keen of, I will reserse my comment until I see how well they develop the romances at hands.
Yagate Kimi Ni Naru (ep04)
I’m still on the fence with this show. Granted, my concern about it isn’t about its craft. As far as how the story progresses and how Troyca adapting it thus far, it’s a solid production all around. My issue with it lies in how I can’t relate at all to Yuu the character. The show makes it clear that despite she denies it (more like she’s still unsure about it), she does have a feeling for Nanami given how she thinks about Nanami before herself. But I fail to see the sparks of her regarding Nanami. Romance and love need certain spark in order for the fire to spread. This week also marks a formal introduction of Maki, an observer who is the first person to witness their romance. I don’t know how relevant he is in the future, but I do like the way the show represents his mentality, which remains me a great deal of Scum’s Wish. Maybe he serves as a catalyst for Yuu to understand her own feeling, but it remains the same that I don’t care much for Yuu on a personal level.
Thunderbolt Fantasy 2 (ep04)
I’m glad to say that Thunderbolt Fantasy slowly goes back to its own charms, namely the witty banters between all the cast where they bounce off each other to reach a sort of agreement. This episode has two such cases. First, the villain side decides to team up together since they have the same goals: destroy Shang Bu Huan. Second, the allied side decides to cooperate because they also have the same objectives: to save Shang Bu Huan’s ass. The injured Shang Bu Huan is in the middle of all this and lurking behind the scene is the monk Di Kong and whatever his goal is. My suspect last week is proved wrong as Di Kong and the Princess of Cruelty don’t know each other, but there are two other takeaways from their meeting. First, Di Kong is far superior in terms of combating than the female assassin. He just decides not to. Second, what the hell happen to the Seven Blasphemous Deaths? I mean, is it still there? What if Di Kong is in possession of it? It’d be cool to see a guy who is adept of channeling toxic handles the ultimate toxicity sword. The more I think about it the more I feel he’s the only person who can control that evil sword. My biggest enjoyment from this episode comes from the interaction between Xiao Kuang Juan and Cruelty-Hime. It’s the moment where their true personality is clearly presented. And in this case you can see how corrupted and how much of a bastard Xiao Kuang Juan is. Such bombastic energy and the newly formed allyship that you aren’t quite sure if you can trust the others are what essentially make Thunderbolt Fantasy such a fantastic show to watch.