Spring 2015 Status Update: Week 3

You know the drill from last week. I realized talking about twenty-ish shows every week, now that first episodes are out of the way would result in way too long of a post, meaning I’ll be giving extra space to to titles I have more interesting things to say about, but only a short note for others.

(Note: I’ll start with the show which aired too late to make it into my first impressions post, then continue as normal…)

Ninja Slayer From Animation #1 – That sure was… something I watched? It seems like this show being a thing is a joke in and of itself. The video is in 4:3, the animation is Inferno Cop-tier, the colour sense is eye-searingly awful, even the audio is mono. The story behind all this is that it’s supposed to be a Japanese parody of what Americans thought Japanese anime was like in the 90’s, that goes right down to Ninja Slayer’s almost insultingly stereotypical story, cringe-worthy dialogue and over-the-top presentation. The biggest problem is that while its existence is a big fat joke, almost nothing within the product itself elicited a laugh. This is supposed to have 26 half-length episodes, airing biweekly for an entire year. I can’t fathom how this won’t get old when it has already outstayed its welcome in just one episode.

[HorribleSubs] Ninja Slayer - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.35_[2015.04.17_00.18.53]
Only part of the episode that was actually funny. I’d recommend watching Inferno Cop instead, its total runtime is just 40 minutes and it’s bound to make you laugh more times than this entire show.
OreGairu Zoku #3 – With not a moment of respite from the fallout last week, the fraught relationship between the Service Club members is pulled even tauter, with a situation that seems almost perfect in pitting Yukino and Hachiman against each other. Isshiki Iroha has been put up for the Student Council President election against her will, and she wants to throw it. Not only does this mirror the situation we had with the (also insufferable) character in the form of Sagami Minami in the Cultural Festival arc but it directly places Hachiman in a position to take the fall yet again.

[Commie] Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku - My Teenage RomCom SNAFU TOO! - 03 [57627F30].mkv_snapshot_09.41_[2015.04.19_17.02.24]
Yui feels just as strongly as Yukino about this, but she still finds it hard to interject herself between the two.
Yukino won’t be having any of that, and in her flustered suggestions of a poorly thought-out plan, she even mentions withholding the vote tallies, a direct callback to what Hikki suggested back in S1. Her philosophy won’t allow herself to stand by and let Hachiman engage in the behaviours that are hurting him (and the people around him), but her pride won’t allow her to state so outright, so she comes up with poor rationalisations. The relentless beatdown on Hachiman (and the viewer) continues as Haruno messes with him, even using his former crush. Hayama’s reaction to Haruno’s antics suggests that they have some historyOreGairu certainly isn’t holding back in putting its characters and audience in difficult positions, this episode was an extremely tense, but wholly engaging experience.

Haruno's magenta highlights are to die for.
Haruno’s magenta highlights are to die for.

Kekkai Sensen #3 – I loved pretty much everything about this episode! Some of you may know I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with this show, but the third episode helped me understand why. Kekkai Sensen is definitely going for very distinct Bebop-style vignettes that capture a different mood, theme and visual style every episode. Naturally that means some will resonate with me highly, while others will leave me cold (such as the first two). As long as it remains visually engaging throughout, and scores a consistent hit-rate for me with these episodes, I’ll be very happy with this show. Of course I would be even happier if it also manages to bring everything together in a cohesive fashion by the end, but lets not hope too much.

[HorribleSubs] Kekkai Sensen - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.48_[2015.04.19_19.20.28]
The beautiful shots and experimental transitions used in this episode didn’t sacrifice visual coherency, and only served to add to my engagement this time. The game of Prosfair was gripping, even though the rules were beyond our comprehension, the visual cues allowed my imagination to fill in the blanks in understanding the tension of Klaus’s life at stake in this endlessly complex game.
Hibike! Euphonium #3 – It’s already been made pretty clear to us how dysfunctional and uncommitted the band is, and we get to see the consequences play out this week. The practical effect is seen that arises when a group that does not share a unified goal is forced to work with self-motivation, the show is economical and precise about characterising the collective situation the band faces, with quick cuts of the slackers and disinterested students here and there. Taki Sensei’s brusque dismissal of their ensemble performance and cordially stated comments of the students not even being “ready for instruction” cut deep.

[HorribleSubs] Hibike! Euphonium - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.58_[2015.04.21_21.36.52]
We don’t need the agressive instructor from Whiplash here, ‘kind disappointment’ can be just as threatening.
The more weary and uninvolved students are quick to try and dissociate fault from themselves, choosing to instead take issue with the teaching methods being employed, however the true pain is felt by the students who actually do care about the concert band. With the cancelled practice sessions, the one who ends up feeling the most frustrated of all is Reina, she goes out solitarily on the hill, playing a forlorn rendition of From the New World, before screaming her anguish to the wind. Euphonium is as strong as ever this week, and its cascading drama and constant small cliffhangers of “to be continued”‘s at the end of each episode just make me wish I could just marathon the whole thing already.

[HorribleSubs] Hibike! Euphonium - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.37_[2015.04.21_22.08.32]

Owari no Seraph #3 – Probably the show I am having the most fun with this season, and if it weren’t for OreGairu sweeping the competition, this might have been my favourite of the season, maybe in contention with Euphonium. It’s a really solid execution of concept, everything just works, no matter what this show decides to engage in: The comedy is legitimately funny, the action scenes are great, and the preposterous setting and scenario just fit so well with the ridiculously straight-faced way the story and characters are presented. I find Seraph’s sincerity very hard to dislike, even the awfully translated official subs just serve to add unintentional humour and charm.

[HorribleSubs] Seraph of the End - 03 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.46_[2015.04.19_16.42.19]
The fights utilise a lot of smear effects, looking great in motion. They usually consist of a brief series of clashes but great care is taken to make the blows feel weighty, and the camera also works to lead the viewer to understand the actions of each fighter clearly. This comes together to create a satisfying and exhilarating rush every time.
Yamada-kun #2 – A nice episode with a lot of fun (and lewd) moments, but it feels to me like a lot of the conflicts and attempts at character drama the series is going for are really simple and over-explained. That may end up biting the show later, but it remains an enjoyable ride for now.

Jojo #39 – The Pet Shop arc ended just as strongly as it started, delivering one of the most simultaneously intense and hilarious battles in Stardust Crusaders thus far. This was greatly aided by the quicker pacing, which in my opinion should have been used throughout the show for a tighter viewing experience. By the time Iggy’s battle was over, there was still half an episode left, so there’s time for some quality time between the cast, as it turns out that Kakyoin is back (which makes for some absolutely ridiculous shots in which he wears his sunglasses like a total boss). The Jojo crew have finally located Dio’s mansion, bringing their travels to an end, while I thought this signalled the end of the many monster of the week battles, it seems we still have a few more to go before Dio himself shows up.

Vq08Rvc
The battle wasn’t just solved in a satisfying and entertaining way, but I enjoyed how much effort was put into explaining the scientific basis for the grounded events that were playing out on-screen.

Arslan Senki #3 – Continues to be solid, but we are definitely in for the long haul. The dry presentation does lead to me having some niggles though: I felt that Kharlan retreated too readily, when he handily outnumbered Daryun; and the Lusitanian Army were able to sabotage the King’s retreat order a bit too easily for my liking. The high point of the episode was old man Vahriz leaping from his horse and taking down a bunch of soldiers all by himself, good stuff.

Ore Monogatari #2 – Some aspects of this show I really like, but others only cause me frustration, I really want to like it, but it just might not happen. The main issue I have is the disconnect I feel as a viewer when the characters act in ways I find inconceivable. I can accept Gouda being dense enough to not realise Yamato likes him, I see that his past, in which all the girls he had a crush on ended up liking Sunakawa is supposed to feed into this too. But I just can’t buy Gouda misunderstanding the relationship between Sunakawa and Yamato, when there is barely an interaction between them to base it on, in addition to Yamato’s sole interest in Gouda himself to the sheer exclusion of Sunakawa. The show’s use of this factor as an roadblock to romantic progression causes the characters themselves to not feel natural in their action and being, taking me out of the show completely. It seems not even a falling steel girder out of nowhere is enough to break this quickly stagnating status quo.

Lines like these are the ones that completely break my investment in a character.
Lines like these are the ones that completely break my investment in a character.

DanMachi #3 – I must say that this episode was a step up from the previous two. The situation presented at the end of the last episode plays out, and everything came together nicely. Hestia won’t just sit back and let herself be protected by Bell, putting herself at risk in order to deliver the knife that the skilled blacksmith Hephaestus forged. The action was nice, but what really stood out was the scenes between Hestia and Bell before and after the fact, they are quite the endearing couple and this episode sold me on them as characters. Looking forward to watching more of this show now.

5ToXNXY
D’aaaaawwwww

Unlimited Blade Works #15 – Last week heavily hinted at a big fight… and that sorta happened? But not before we get Illya’s backstory, it does fill in some space that ties into what happened after Fate/Zero, but the attempts at eliciting emotion from the relationship Berserker and Illya share, as well as their bloody demise at the hands of Gilgamesh? It felt horribly mawkish, almost laughably so. It is also worrying how limited the animation in this fight was, Berserker vs Saber back in the first season was some of the best action this show has had, this was pathetic in comparison.

Show By Rock!! #2 and #3 – Continues to be a ridiculous bundle of fun. SHINGANCRIMSON’s antics and the casual way the characters talk about the absurd machinations of their world continue to provide for solid humour. Retoree is the best.

RetoreexCyan number 1 OTP of the season.
RetoreexCyan OTP of the season.

Plastic Memories #3 – We are in a dire place right now, I mentioned last week was kind of a dud, but it still had some good moments. This one was outright awful, the obnoxious comedy is ruining this show.

Nisekoi: #2 – A new character arrives! Paula McCoy (White Fang) is a fellow hitman that Tsugumi (Black Tiger) knew back from her time in America, and she shows up in Japan to settle a score. Paula was super fun to watch, and not only was her white-haired and yellow-eyed character design super cute, but this episode in general was a total visual treat. 

6wiV0I7
White Fang and Black Tiger’s gun-fight felt like a hilarious re-enactment of the one from Madoka Magica Rebellion.

Assassination Classroom #13 – Last week I mentioned the show had been quite consistent with few bad episodes. However it turns out this week was one of them. Not only was it dull, but the attempts to inject some hamfisted morality fell to my complete disinterest. The “enemy” teacher that showed up was extreme and overplayed, the portrayal of his abuse, and then the way it was turned around by Nagisa was almost insulting in its binary simplicity. This manga chapter should have been cut from the adaptation.

Pleiades #2 – Everything feels a bit too light and episodic for my liking. I appreciated how the ONA told a standalone arc, but this series seems to be stretching similar material thin over the course of its run. Of course, it is telling a more complete and fully realized story, but the slow pacing makes it a very unengaging experience. Dropping it, may revisit if I hear good things.

Kyoukai no Rinne #2 – A reasonable episode with a few funny moments here and there. I am still enjoying parts of the show, but I can easily see myself getting tired with the episodic structure and lacklustre visual delivery soon. I don’t think I will end up finishing this show, so I may just drop it here, or after next week.

Back at ya

Closing Message

This post ended up being a whole lot more lengthy than I wanted it to be for a weekly thing, I don’t want to have to cough out words on the less interesting shows and restrict myself on the more interesting ones, so you may see a radical change in format by next week.

I would greatly appreciate feedback on these weekly Status Updates, what would you readers rather have, posts that cover everything or just the longer coverage on a few shows only?

P.S. Knights of Sidonia isn’t here, because I am waiting for more consistent fansubs to come out, which will probably be available by around episode 4-5, and I’ll catch up on it then.

P.P.S. Punchline, Nagato Yuki-chan, and Grisaia no Rakuen are not included in this post, I haven’t seen the episodes yet, and I might just drop them. Not sure yet.

Advertisements

One thought on “Spring 2015 Status Update: Week 3

  1. I’d recommend you do what I used to do or wanted to do for a while, and which I’ve reminded myself of recently – pick the handful of shows you have the most interesting things to say about, and cover those. Ignore the rest. If you have interesting things to say of them all, then either say it all, or skip to keep your sanity.

    When you watch many shows, writing in detail about all of them weekly isn’t the best, so you could every 3 weeks do a longer post about where all shows are at.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s