Well, I’ve had a busy week in real life to the point I don’t even find the time to finish this writing up. In term of anime, it’s a bit of a mixed bag in overall. I still legimately enjoy almost all the shows I’m currently watching, but come next week (as the midway point), I’m gonna drop about 2 shows. Double Decker and Thunderbolt Fantasy 2 really up their game this week, while the likes of Bunny Girl Senpai, Goblin Slayers suffer from its middle parts. While at the same times Golden Kamuy and GRIDMAN are constantly being weird in a good ways and shows like Tsurune and Fuiteiru are as sturdy as ever. We have quite a solid bunch this season, one that offers multiple reccomendable genre fares and overal above average production values. Let’s get into it nowGolden Kamuy (ep16)
I swear, this second cour of Golden Kamuy has been so much goofy fun. The show amps up its pitch black humor, and is completely comfortable with itself doing so. The show turns the whole bunch of maniac killers completely upside down, making them into formidable fools whom we enjoy our time with. The usual complaint is that Sugimoto, and especially Asirpa, have been pushed into sidelines, but its tone remains as strong as ever. This week, Golden Kamuy dances around the plot involving rescuing the King of Escape and how much he means to the group (not that much), it introduces two new characters that immersely over the top and memorable in their first entrance. And Leaky Brain has become a good source for gag-delivering, something that I didn’t expect at all.
Double Decker! Doug And Kirill (ep05)
Double Decker has a fantastic episode this week (well, not literally this week). It both supplies one of its strongest case yet, and it introduces the main storyline that I’m intrigued enough to follow it to the end of the season. On the first level the case has many solid twists and turns that constantly move the plot forward, and the reveal at the end, in The Usual Suspect’s fashion, opens to more interesting plot thread. The dynamic between Doug and Kirill is pretty good at this point, and I still enjoy its constant jab on the convention of the cop-buddy genre. Before this episode, it’s a constant entertaining show, but after this week, it offers one hell of a hook.
Yagate Kimi Ni Naru (ep05)
I still find Yuu’s coming to term with her own feeling annoying as hell. At many moments of this episode, she makes it clear that while her heart doesn’t skip a beat around her senpai, but she doesn’t hate that either. And because she knows Nanami sees her as someone special, she doesn’t have any issues to go along as well. That’s frankly the kind of attitude that I can’t stand in real life. I might sound like I’m making harsh judgement towards Yuu, but for me it’s a clear indication that when your heart doesn’t flutter with the other, that person isn’t meant for her. This week, Yuu brings Nanami to her home and her sister senses Nanami’s affection to Yuu. It still progresses in a deliberate but strong pacing (as opposed to Iruzuku where it’s just slow), as the two starts spending more time together.
Seishun Buta Yarou Wa Bunny Girl-Senpai No Yume Wo Minai (ep05)
Bunny Girl Senpai has its first dull episode. It’s not a bad one per se, but compared to what it has established so far, this one doesn’t offer much. We have the actual date between Tomoe and Sakuta, and in a pridictable fashion she starts to have a feeling for him. It’s one of the occasion where I feel the flow of time is a bit rushed, especially when it comes to the rumors at the end of the episode (how much time has passed again). It’s nice, however, to see Sakuta does something out of his charcter again (lead roles should do this more ofter), and their relationship has a solid foundation. It’s also nice to see a bit more of Futaba and her real personality, as opposed to a cold friend who info-dump the Puberty Syndrome to us. Overall, it’s not the bad arc by any mean, but I also know this series is capable of being much better.
Thunderbolt Fantasy 2 (ep05)
In a Thunderbolt Fantasy fashion, the moment Lang Wu Xiao gets a hand of the dragon’s horn and the formula, he double-crosses Gui Niao. But I can’t hate this guy, given his motive is purely because he cares for his partner Shang Bu Huan. The allied from the other side of the war is also bound to be broken very soon, as it’s clearly the Catching Fox is manipulating the Princess of Cruelty now. But the absolute peak of this episode (and the whole season so far) is the battle of wits between our Gui Niao, Lang Wu Xiao and the one-wing dragon. It has everything that I want from Thunderbolt DNA, and then some: it has absurd dragon’s design, it has the sheer ridiculousness of the whole situation, it has campy quality, it has the grand visual spectacular and most of all, it has one of Gui Niao’s wittiest lines. Just imagine the ridiculousness of a giant fire-breathing dragon raises from below the ground (how on earth does he hide underground in the first place? To sleep? I think not), or that he’s powerful enough to speak human language (consider how there’s no human in the Wasteland of Spirits). This quality proves to be his fall from grace, as Gui Niao is an expert of deceiving everything by his words. It’s certainly charming as heck to see him politely asks the dragon for his horn (more than mocking based on his tone of speech), before runs like a maniac in a very quirky manner that only puppetry can produce, and finishes with a line: “doesn’t matter how nice you ask, anyone would be angry for that request”. Damn you, Gui Niao
Tsurune: Kazemai Koukou Kyuudoubu (ep03)
Tsurune has a pretty strong episode, one that I regard is its strongest yet. It brings the whole main male cast together, with every single character has something deeper than their first appearance. Most of all, Tsurune brings many intimate dynamic among this cast, chief among them Minato and Kaito. They both love archery, but they express that love in different ways. Come to understand each other’s view make them respect each other more. The other 3 guys also add so much to the table with their different attitude. The best moment is when Minato tells his friend about the reasons he come back to the club. While it does feel a bit contrived (that all the club members are there to hear the conversation), it feels so right that it elevates everything that comes before nevertheless. While I’m not too sure if I’m happy with the last-minute reveal (it’s… predictable), if the show is still adept of developing its main male cast (not the female cast unfortunately) like this episode has displayed, we’re sure for an emotional and intimate ride.
Irozuku Sekai No Ashita Kara (ep05)
If I have one word that could describe Irozuku so far, it’s “slow-burn”. Indeed we have something burned this week (Hitomi’s failed attempts of making star sand), and “slow” is definitely on the table here. Even to my taste where I much prefer deliberate pacing than bombastic climax in every episode or cheap cliffhanging that anime today is guilty of, usually after finishing an episode of Izoruku I have a hard time recapping what happened in the episode. There are two main themes this week 5 of Irozuku develops, one of them regarding the tangled love interest of several players in the cast, and the other is about the cast’s struggling with their own creative sides. I’ll address both themes later, but first let’s talk about Hitomi. Hitomi has been a mixed bag as far as central protagonist concerns. She has clear struggles, but she remains unclear towards her goals to the point the supporting cast has to take charge, and in most cases, it’s her (young) granny Kohaku. It’s good, then, to see her become more active this week as she’s trying to fit in with this current world: practicing magic again, spend more times with her clubmates and be useful when helping out with her relative’s shop. When it comes to Aio’s pictures she’s no subtle about it, as in many cases she says to him his drawings mean a lot to her. Their scenes together are amongst Hirozuku’s best. It’s intimate, it’s understated but it’s also grounded and magical at the same time. The moments she gives him her star sand this week, it comes so natural and beautiful that it remains a highlight of the episode.
Akanesasu Shoujo (ep05)
Akanesasu Shoujo closes another mini-arc in a mild manner, both showing its strengths and its shortcomings. One one hand, the alternative world itself is a weird mix of traditional western and some modern era gadgets that it’s fun just to watch how they can be in the same setting together. Second, the way our cast meets our counterparts from other worlds, many of them with different personality is amusing to say the least. Finally, it does some development to the central girl in the arc, this time Silverstone, and her concept for justice. One the other hand, like previous arcs, it’s clunky in exposition and half-baked in how they tie up the plot together. The fact that its formula is predictable (new charcters introduced in the arc will ve villains) doesn’t support its case either. Next episode gonna decide whetehr or not I’ll keep up with it till the rest of the season.
Banana Fish (ep17)
It’s one of the slower Banana Fish episode and it intorduces what could be one of the more interesting villain against Ash. I’m not that hot into Ash and Eiji relationship, and I still feel Eiji is a real drag for the material. Other development is far more significant, now that Yut Lung takes up the reign, finally successfully killing his older brother and allying up with papa Dino to hunt Ash down. Ash certainly is a curse himself, as he attracts more troubles than he ever wishes for. I don’t mind Banana Fish slows things down for a change and I’m looking forward to how Ash is goingn to deal with this new assassin.
Kaze Ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru (ep05)
It’s another solid performance for Fuiteiru. This episode sets up (and bookends) the new conflict of King as he decides to not going through with the running in pursuit for his career. Which is all fair, if not for the fact that the show tries to antagonize him by showing him being a jerk to his friends. This so far remains my complaints to the show. It tries damn hard to make us like/ hate a character. I have the same issues when Fuiteiru downplays Haiji’s manipulation towards his teammate. It’s one thing to pursuay your friends to join the club, but it’s another thing altogether to force them quit their part time job for running. On the bright side, Fuiteiru is an expert of building its characters’ chemistry where in every single episode, some characters develop stronger understanding to each other. Such is a case here with Yuki (the lawyer student) and Musa (the smoker). The reason Musa wanted to run is purely for his health. It echoes perfectly Haiji’s earlier sentiment that running is not exclusively for the elite. In addition, Prince’s delivery is just so damn fun and provides a neccesary comical relief to the story.
Release the Spyce (ep05)
I still don’t feel Release the Spyce. It has some nice action sequences, it puts effort on developing its main cast, but it’s just empty. I believe my main issues with it is that the cast just doesn’t stand out in any way. They have a predictable character’s arc, all the relationship isn’t that refreshing, and so far, it’s a clear black and white, evil and hero in that world. Momo has grown gradually, which is good but the way she idolizes her master is too much to take in. Next week can prove to be a game-changer with the reveal of the double agent, and it can move the story into interesting direction. I hope it can deliver, because otherwise I don’t see any reason keeping it up.
Karakuri Circus (ep04)
Zombieland Saga (ep05)
Zombieland Saga now truly embraces its “idol girls as zombie” premise. Someone pointed out to me that these events happened in the episode are indeed, real events from Saga prefecture. That bit of trivial actually gain my appreciation for the episode because otherwise, I don’t see the reason it exists at all. Well, to be fair the second part is somewhat hilarious but taken as a whole this show feels like a promotion for Saga prefecture with cute zombie girls than “a satire to idol genres” or even a straight idol genre. It’s a shame because it can be so much better, yet it settles for a low bar here. The production values aren’t that good either and now all the girls sort of having the same personality. It’s a crying shame, really.
RErideD: Tokigoe No Derrida (ep05)
REdrideD is still as messy as ever, but with this episode, it opens to another interesting door. Apparently Derrida can relice the past, and doing so he slightly changes the present. What causes him to come back to the past, and how great his action back then affect the future are all up in the air. Its main issues remain though, not any single character feels like real people, especially Derrida who is a really bad lead. He’s moping around, people has to protect him and even then he just acts like a total ass. With the way the show presents so far, I’m not confident at all to expect it can get better. Regarding the plot, now that his issues with his father gone, there could a flashbacks at the dinner birthday party again.
Goblin Slayer (ep05)
Goblin slayer the anime suffers from transitioning to a new arc this week. There’s simply nothing much happening, and this kind of stories is OVA-filler material at best. There’s no stake to raise, and this time we have closer look to Goblin Slayer the character in mundane everyday life. The problem with that approach is that, With a stoic character like the titular Goblin Slayer, you don’t really need a harem. It cheapeans the whole story, especially the fact that him remains awkward and two-dimensional. In an essense it’s Goblin Slayer issue all the way, it’s not commit enough to the titular character to be a character study, and it’s not broad and world-building focus enough to be an all-out adventure. As a result it’s kind of stuck in this middle ground, with dark, brutal tone that doesn’t neccesary translate into realistic.