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SO I decided to finally drop Karakuri Circus, and catching up with the current Double Decker (so… 1 more episode). Karakuri Circus has its unique charm, but it has a string of mediorce episodes as of late to the point I don’t care for any of these characters any more. With the last season of the year is shaping up towards its end, I pretty much have my top 15 shows of the year ready. How they fare in final ranking will be depend on how these current shows land though. As of late I am watching many shows from early 2010s as well, and maybe at the start of next year I’ll do a film/anime log with basically list down movies/shows I have watched every 2 weeks with my general thoughts. That way I don’t have the burden to do full review (unless I want to), and you guys can still keep tab with what I’ve been watching. But that’s for the future and let’s run this week down:
Into the Wilderness
Zombieland Saga (ep10)
It’s good to see Zombieland Saga brings its focus back to our girl Sakura, it isn’t good to see her struggling for something as contrived as this episode’s event. So she’s hyped up for the coming event, but she’s let down by the other team members who give little attention to that event. I mean, it makes sense if we’re in the first few episodes when some of them might not take the idea of zombie idol seriously, but at this stage we’re quite clear about their quest and at no point I feel Sakura’s issue at all. There’s some nice slapstick comedy but ultimately this episode fails when it tries to be seriously. Now that Sakura gets hit by a truck again and seems to remember everything (maybe know about the person who hit her as well?), let’s see how it can hold up till the very end.
Goblin Slayer (ep10)
Goblin Slayer has a breather episode and it’s pretty much pointless. The gabg hangs out together, Goblin Slayer has a chance to eat with his small harem team and so on so forth. I don’t feel like I gain much from these characters, and I certainly don’t learn any thing new from its standard world-building. I certainly don’t get the reason why people riled up for this anime at all. It’s just a simple show where a guy slays goblins and kills goblins and destroys goblins. And it becomes dead boring once you get used to with that fact.
Golden Kamuy (ep21)
Well, this sure was an interesting episode. The method these blind bandits approach and kill their victims is pretty unique. It adds a lot to the central mystique around the show itself and the era it’s in. This tattooed mini-boss doesn’t stand out like the others from season 1, but he still proves to be a dangerous foe for all our naked warriors. Speaking of that, Golden Kamuy’s macho hormones are still in full stride. One thing I am afraid is that I don’t think it can wrap up meaningfully in its last few episodes. It has been good fun but it’d amount for nothing if it stops halfway and we never get to see the end of it.
Thunderbolt Fantasy 2 (ep10)
This week, Thunderbolt takes a left turn to resolve side conflicts, or even new minor conflicts it thought of, mostly to boost up the status of our main cast. It’s still enjoyable, in an admittedly predictable way. We have a guy literally flirting with his sword, a yaoi love where a guy willing to put his life at stake to save his partner, and a backstab where we have this ridiculous line as a climax: “These are… swords!!!!!”. First off, I hope Enigmatic Gale scheme against Dirty Cop goes beyond this humiliation as it’s underwhelming at best. It’s true that it takes guts for him to trick the Dirty Cop in a factor that he was most confident in: his special glasses. It’s the scheme goes right in front of his eyes, but he’s too arrogant to realize the trick. Freak-out Dirty Cop is nice and all, but I hope this is only a warning from Gui Liao. Lang Wu Yao, on the other hand, is on his way to the suicide mission. This must show how much he cares (in an unhealthy way, that is) for Shang Bu Huan since I don’t see the reason why they would just join forces to beat the enemy. Isn’t two head is always better than one? This leaves Shang Bu Huan the opportunity to sneak out to his other boyfriend, Gui Niao. The moment I see the man having enough time and pleasure to go fishing again with the glasses on no less, it gives me such joy. Finally, Di Kong, under a new alias Lou Zhen Jie, basically goes through episode talking about how much devotion he is with his sword, and further demonstrates how he isn’t necessary a vessel under her power.
Into the Future
Double Decker! Doug And Kirill (ep10-11)
Double Decker episode 9 was nice and all but it’s episode 10 that push all the buttons of moving the plot along with too many earth-shattering twists. Too many that I’m afraid it can’t hold up in later episodes. First, we get to learn that Kirill is instead special, as he was a citizen from an upper race. Then, just as he decides not to move to the police force, his team-mate robot sacrifices herself in one hell of a situation. If that doesn’t sink in yet, we have Z being set up by B and how B is way overpowered at this point. He’s too powerful to the point he’s indeed the Police Chief in disguise that luring Kirill in so that he can kill our protagonist. It’s one hell of a reveal for sure, and I just hope the show can uses those twists to its full potential.
RErideD: Tokigoe No Derrida (ep10)
How the hell that RERideD’s best segment has nothinng to do with Derrida or the current plot? The first half delves deeply to Donna’s split personality and it does a good job of both addressing identity issues – or how a person starts to lose her own identity, and raising the issue regarding the advance and risk of creating a robot with emotions. It does it with styles as well: mirror shots, creeping atmostphere, nausea editing. The rest of the episode can never follow up this great sequence, and I pretty sure it never will. Next week, I’m gonna finish it with the last 2 episodes, and while I’m still a bit curious to see how it all ends, I don’t have much hope that it can redeem itself at this point.
Into the Wind of Present
Kaze Ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru (ep10)
Fuiteiru again has a solid week. I like the way they form a chemistry between Kakeru and Prince, the two who are in opposite spectrum when it comes to running. Turn out the reason for Haiji’s pass out last week is due to over-worked, which make the whole cast realize how big an effort he has been making. Kakeru, in particular, starts to look out to his teammates for the first time. I enjoy how he puts himself into Prince’s shoes, as he spends more time with him and even asks him to reccomend some manga. The track meet, while obviously is just there to raise the emotional impact, is nicely done that I don’t care about being forced one bit.
Seishun Buta Yarou Wa Bunny Girl-Senpai No Yume Wo Minai (ep10)
It’s the end of Nodoka arc and most of the time it closes up the arc neatly. The biggest part of this arc is that Sakuta isn’t the guy who fix girl’s issue, it’s Mai who confronts her half-sister so that they can be honest to each other. Character-wise Nodoka isn’t the best character-written this show has, her inferior complex is relatable but a bit on the nose, and she doesn’t bounce off Sakuta as nicely as Futaba or Mai, but it does a decent job to put Mai into central attention again. Next arc is the act I’m worried the most, which is about Sakuta’s little sister who decides to shape up because Sakuta has brought a harem of young girls to his home. Yeah, really! Hopefully the show doesn’t fall into any cheap imouto tropes and instead develop her into a full-fledge character.
Banana Fish (ep22)
One more encounter where Ash gets abducted and raped, and then jailbreaks like a Rambo. One more encounter where the bad guys aiming to harm Eiji because they consider Eiji as Ash’s aschilles. Only difference is that this time Eiji gets shot and might likely be dead for good. Consider wr have only 2 episodes left, I have a good reasons to believe that Banana Fish won’t cop out on this. Eiji had always been Ash’s switch. Now that Eiji is out of the picture, there’s nothing to hold Ash back and that can be dangerous for both himself, people around him and people against him. This adaptation has been very shaky but I hope that they save the pacing in these last two episodes. Let’s go out with a bang.
Yagate Kimi Ni Naru (ep10)
This is another pretty good with for Bloom into You, now that they’re preparing for the original play. Well, it doesn’t take much to know that Yuu will eventually play the partner part, but I enjoy how the play again addresses many Yagate’s core themes: the queer aspect and the true personality underneath the facade. Yuu is now more into Nanami as well, and because we know those two quite well at this point, I’m curious to see how this relationship pans out. If Yuu decides to go into another step, it might cause Nanami to step out of this relationship; and they have gotten to the point where it can’t stay still anymore. Such grey area between just friend and couple is something I don’t like in true life or in any relationship, but Yagate prives to be so adept of depicting it that it’s always a joy to watch.
Tsurune: Kazemai Koukou Kyuudoubu (ep08)
Tsurune gets into the team competition day and as far as it goes, this is a solid episode. We see how the nervousness gets into these boys, and how they can be able to shake it off and improve it. The result is that they barely make it through the qualifying, but now with so much more confident and more teamwork. I found the Seiya’s conflict at the end a bit contrived, but well it all depends on how well they approach that issue in the next episode. Production-wise, the show still rocks with not only the visual, but the sound from the bow bring much atmosphere to life too. The story department unfortunately is quite generic and predictable so far. Nothing is out of beat yet and that’s the main reason it leaves little emotional impact for me. They need to tey harder to get me hooked.
In the Realm of Dream
After a crucial episode last week where GRIDMAN reached its highest bar to date, it’s understandable that everything that follows it would be a letdown. Nothing in this new episode can beat the moment Akane jumped off the crane last week in terms of sketching her depression. This episode is where the entire cast goes through some sort of existential crisis. Yuuta, Rikka and Shou are processing the thoughts that they might be some sort of non-playable characters, being created and programmed to in the service of Akane. The Neon Genesis Squad is also going through their own Gridman’s identity – are they Gridman themselves or just parts of it. Anti goes through crisis regarding his kaiju origin and finally, Akane for her very purpose of creating this world in the first place. Akane receives the most damage as it stands, but it doesn’t help us that the episode doesn’t get into her own point of view, as a result we’re more like observer from outside looking in. Nor does we gain any more characteraction from Yuuta, Shou and especially Rikka this week.
Irozuku Sekai No Ashita Kara (ep10)
Irozuku, as meandering as it always is, has some stunning sequences this episode. It furthers proves the fact that 1) the magical sequence is where Irozuku really takes off and 2) its strength always come from its visual department, not in the storytelling. Take the sequence where Aoi steps into Hitomi’s dream, for example. He sees the young Hitomi keeps drawing pictures of her and Mama drifting apart. As he draws several ways of her crossing the middle gap, she silently throws them away – refusing to accept at all. This single scene speaks to her insecurity and her afraid of using magic more than the last 9 episodes had ever conveyed. Or the image of stone-Hitomi gives you a good idea how she blocks away her own emotions. These scenes speak to the same strengths of Aoi’s dream back in episode 6 and I would argue that this is Irozuku at its best.