Winter 2018 Grab Bag Week 2: Sangatsu no Lion, Mahou Tsukai no Yome, and Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku

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Why does it feel like I take on more shows every season?

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 35

Hey, this show is happy again. I’m really glad we’re through this arc. While I liked the content, there’s something terribly wrong with seeing Hina suffer. She seems like the kind of person who would deserve it the least.

The scenes between the teacher and the bully kid were pretty cool. I like how “no nonsense” that teacher is. It’s really easy to be swayed by comments about society’s influence, so I agree with his approach of forcing responsibility where it belongs. I also think it’s reasonable that everything isn’t magically resolved immediately.

Chiho’s letter was just a great development. It created such a grounded ending for the story. While it’s great that she’s doing well and that Hina gets to find that out, Chiho’s experience was still a harsh one. The whole ending gives a sense of “making the best of things” rather than getting the perfect happy ending.

This scene was another one where I found Rei relatable. I honestly agreed with him that he didn’t seem to contribute too much, because I similarly underestimate the effectiveness of just being supportive.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 14

While I quite liked the story with Joel and the leannan sidhe, I have issues with how this episode started. I mentioned last week that I felt like last week’s episode was a decent amount of nothing, so I was really bothered with how quickly the fox debacle ended. It really only amounted to a few minutes of screen time, so why didn’t it happen last week? Was it just meant to force a better cliffhanger?

That aside, I thought the main story of the episode was nice. I liked how Elias and Chise complimented each other. Elias provided blunt knowledge about Joel’s conditions without regard while Chise sought to console her friend. I also really like to see Chise so proactive about using what she’s learned about magic. It makes her feel less like a lackey relying on Elias all of the time.

I’m curious. How effective is this cliffhanger given the one we just got?

Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku Episode 1

I don’t really want to devote an entire post to this show because I know I won’t have much to say. From what I’ve seen from the manga, it’s really not doing anything too special as an isekai show. In my eyes, it was just a decent thing to casually read. As for the anime adaptation itself, I had a lot of issues with it from the first episode.

I wasn’t really expecting so much of the episode to be devoted to Suzuki’s job. To be fair, it was a fairly relatable portrayal, so it wasn’t boring. I mostly thought it was weird that they had to establish that he wasn’t a pedophile by showing that scene with the lost girl.

I think my major comment with this show is that it’s basically asking for the ending where the entire story was just a dream. The isekai experience starts when Suzuki falls asleep. The Meteor Rain mechanic also fits better because it would have been fresh in his mind. But I’ve been told that this idea gets addressed later, so maybe I shouldn’t say much.

Also, was it really too much to ask that the notifications get a translation? I found them pretty funny in many situations when I was reading the manga.


Kokkoku Episode 2: Learning the ropes

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I still find this series intriguing, but I have a bit of an issue with the way it presents information. This week’s episode felt like it had way too many repeated scenes to allow it to jump around in time in a way that I didn’t find constructive. That being said, I’m still pretty curious about the Stasis and its rules, so I want to keep watching for answers.

I don’t actually mind that the grandfather doesn’t know all of the rules driving the Handler. I’ve seen too many shows where characters that they’ve managed to figure out every rule of some alternate world just based on experience and list them out. The grandfather rightly acknowledges that there’s probably a lot more to the Handler and just states what he knows.

I wasn’t expecting comedy from this show, so I actually found the revelation that they had forgotten the father to be pretty funny.

This line about the Handler being some kind of “corrupted” human is pretty interesting and probably more than just an offhand remark.

I think Tsubasa’s “awakening” is probably the best example of a jarring shift in time. While it’s interesting that it happens, I feel like it would have made more sense if it happened as a side scene after Juri and the grandfather escaped, rather than a few scenes later. This variation forced a repeat that was pretty confusing at the time.

I did think the portrayal of Tsubasa after he wakes up was interesting, though. It makes sense that he would think that Makoto is dead given that he doesn’t know the situation. I’m also curious about this whole lighting effect that transferred to him. Sure, I can understand that it moves to someone else when the host dies, but what does it do? Is it only meant to let someone move in this particular Stasis or does it have further effects?

The whole concept of “entering the same Stasis” didn’t really sit well with me in this episode. I get that the episode later sets up the fact that the cult set everything up and was watching when the family when the spell was cast. However, the analogy of the “frame” makes it harder for me to believe that they’d be able to time it correctly. Just how much room did they have to enter the same frame?

Honestly, I was expecting the episode to hit a cliffhanger as Juri unlocks a hidden power to save herself. This cliffhanger seems targeted towards making it look like Juri is dead or in a critical situation, which is hardly believable. Plus, the preview kinda ruins that illusion.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens First Impressions (1): Kill them all?

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I always have a tough time with shows that feature a large cast because of the issue of keeping track of everyone across a long period of time. Maybe it’s because the characters are mostly hitmen, but this series managed to do a pretty good job of keeping the characters distinct and initially memorable. It’s more than I expected from a show about a company of hitmen (looking at you, Joker Game). Keeping track of names will be a nightmare, though…

Awkwardly enough, the first character introduced had the least interesting story from my perspective. Based on his sister’s name, I’m guessing he’s Chinese, but the whole concept of putting together money to find his sister doesn’t seem particularly interesting. That might change as things go on, though, since a lot of the story seems to be getting focused around him and the detective.

I really liked the progression of character introductions in this episode. It starts out by introducing a single hitman to set the show. Next, it introduces the new guy, which establishes the idea of a company of hitmen. The natural question after seeing that is “what’s keeping this city under control?”, and we see the introduction of the detective. The episode also introduces the “revenge seekers”, who would also answer that question.

Finally, the only remaining question is how the detective is still alive if he’s able to find the hitmen so easily. We see the inevitable hit on him, which the first assassin aborts…for some reason. I sure hope he has a good reason, as I expect it to be a heavy influence on my opinion of the show. If he says that he’s just helping the detective to get back at his boss or because it makes his real mission of going back to his sister easier, I don’t think that will be good enough.

There were multiple mentions in this episode about a hitman who targets other hitmen. Honestly, I thought that this new guy was going to be that hitman, but I’m really starting to doubt myself. Were they just talking about the revenge seekers? Or is the new guy hiding better than I expected?

Darling in the FranXX First Impressions (1): Finding a special someone

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I swear I’m not trying to sound like a contrarian, but I wasn’t super blown away by this first episode. The early interactions between the two lead characters didn’t seem too interesting, and I felt like they lingered on certain points a bit too much. That being said, the world seems pretty interesting and I’m definitely curious to see more from the mech fights.

Did we really need to have the symbolism of the jian stated twice by different characters? I feel like there could have been more subtlety in the way the concept was expressed. Maybe that’s just me.

To give a better example of what I’m saying, I want to point at another scene. When Hiro first sees the ship carrying Zero Two, the camera switches focus on to Zero Two as she says something like “found one”. Based on the drama of the scene, it seems like she might be looking at Hiro, having found her eventual “darling”. But if we remember the previous conversation, she mentioned wanting to find somewhere to swim. I liked the use of double meaning here.

The whole “outsider getting a special mech” story for Hiro didn’t feel totally new, so I hope there’s more to it. The synopsis for the show indicates that he was originally considered to be a prodigy, which has the potential for something more fun.

Does Zero Two really have to keep pointing out how similar the two main characters are?

There wasn’t too much to the fight in this week’s episode, but there were elements to it that I found interesting. Particularly, I’m curious about the fact that it looked like the “weapon” was pumping something into the klaxosaur. I’m looking forward to learning more about the world.

Rubik’s Cube Analysis: Overlord S2 Episode 1

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I haven’t done one of these posts in a while. Unfortunately, I don’t have too much to say about the Rubik’s Cube appearance in Overlord, as we only get brief glimpses of it. As I said in my post on the episode, the cube looked pretty good from what I could see. I didn’t see any obvious inconsistencies as I did way back when I last wrote one of these posts.

I didn’t really have enough information to replicate the position seen in the episode this time. It’s probably possible, but the position seemed mostly random (like someone had just scrambled up a Rubik’s Cube for reference). It might have helped if I got a more continuous view of the cube, but the scenes mostly jumped to different shots of it. Oh well…

I want to talk a bit about the statement about the difference in difficulty between solving a single side and solving two sides. It’s a fairly intuitive aspect of solving a Rubik’s Cube. You can only make progress on a second side by messing up the first solved side.

This idea is why it’s generally more efficient to line up as many pieces as you can before you solve a side. If you watch me solve, I generally don’t solve the first side for the first 10 or so seconds, which is a bit more than halfway through the solve.

So what exactly does it mean to “solve” a side? You just need to get all of the colors on one side to match, right? That’s certainly what we see in the episode. The cube’s appearance ends when all of the orange pieces are lined up.

I want to draw your attention to the bottom of the cube, though. Although, all colors on top are orange, the pattern adjacent to the orange side is yellow-blue-yellow. In a “true” solve, those colors would all match as well.

When solving a Rubik’s Cube, we have a concept of “orientation” and “permutation”. When you make all colors on one side match, you’re solving those pieces’ orientation. If the colors on the adjacent sides also match, you’ve solved the pieces’ permutation. You can think of orientation as making sure the pieces are facing the right direction and permutation as making sure the pieces are in their correct locations.

An example of the same side correctly permutated.

Overlord S2 First Impressions (1): Back to business

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Well, this episode certainly was good for making me realize how much I’d forgotten about this series in its absence. I think I have the important bits, but I’m curious to see how it will affect my perception of this season. Still, I always saw this series as fun, and this episode was pretty entertaining.

I actually don’t have too much to say about this Rubik’s Cube scene. At least, the cube was displayed well. I didn’t notice any lazy animation when it moved and the pieces didn’t look obviously wrong.

I was also paying too much attention to the cube to actually read what the two characters were saying. Are these people supposed to be the enemy?

The first scene in this second season referenced a “vampire” who pretty much has to be Shalltear. This dragon also flashes back to an encounter he had with Shalltear. Is this just some random background for her or she supposed to be even more important in coming events? I suspect I’m just forgetting something really obvious from the first season.

The fact that this guy’s name is “Climb” makes me wonder if Renner should actually be “Runner”. The names would be equally ridiculous then.

Okay, I admit that I forgot this piece of Albedo’s introduction. At least it’s a useful flashback, right?

Watching Shalltear pretend to be drunk was pretty funny. Poor Shalltear…I have to remind myself that she was the final boss of the first season. The exposition from Ains helps.

Violet Evergarden First Impressions (1): Hope for the best

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This show certainly had its share of hype surrounding it. I guess I’m only adding to it as I quite enjoyed watching this first episode. To dispense with the pleasantries, I’ll go ahead and say that it looked really good even if I know that means little coming from me. But other than that, I thought that the premise of the show was introduced pretty well.

I liked the way this paper scene played out in the opening. It seemed like it was helping to set the story. It started by flying through ruined buildings, likely ravaged by the war, before floating past a giant ship, reminiscient of the ships used to bring soldiers home from war. This scene felt appropriate for depicting the aftermath of a war.

Violet was pretty well-established as a tragic character. I didn’t get the sense that they were mentioning her somewhat “inhuman” self-image too much. I did kinda feel like the series was somewhat forcing me to just accept that she was a super soldier trained from a young age. That part just felt a bit weird. Maybe there’s more to it.

I did like how the series approached Violet’s past with Gilbert. The episode seemed to give bits and pieces that were enough for the audience to put together the full story. But the flashbacks also made me wonder just how much of it Violet realized herself.

The scene where Benedict sees Violet’s hand was pretty interesting to me. I would expect a normal character to freak out and apologize for forcing her to show her prosthetic like that, but Benedict just accepts it and moves on. I wonder if it’s just meant to further display his nature or to indicate something about how this world is.

Honestly, the fire imagery in this scene as Hoggins talks about Violet’s metaphorical “burns” seemed a little bit too overt.

Violet’s reason for joining the Auto Memoir Dolls seemed reasonable to me. The way that the client’s letter was transposed on Violet’s own memories seemed a little cheesy, but I guess it worked. I was going to question the random female voice that didn’t belong to Violet, but it made a lot more sense when the new character was introduced.

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho Episode 2: Still fun

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I have way too much fun watching this show. There’s just so much stuff happening on screen that the show makes me want to pay more attention. I also really like how the show presents information.

I liked the way this joke was presented. It didn’t feel like it was being overdone because they never truly reveal the punch line. It also seemed useful for characterizing the main characters based on how they react.

These impressions were great. I wasn’t convinced by this character’s voice, but this scene made me come around.

This chase scene was way more intense than I expected it to be. It looked really nice and the song that was playing was cool. My favorite part was definitely when Hinata hid at the table with the two drunk ladies.

This scene goes into what I was saying about how this series reveals information. I had to check the first episode to make sure, but Takako is the name of Shirase’s missing mother.

If this scene is a memory of the two ladies that chased the main characters, it would mean that they were probably on the same expedition as Takako when she went missing. It explains why they know Shirase, why they wouldn’t want her to go looking for her mother, and why they’re personally motivated to go to Antarctica. The entire scene just felt really impressive to watch.

Quick Impressions Winter 2018: Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san and Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san

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I’ve read the manga for both of these series, so I actually don’t have much to say. However, I’m trying to get through a lot of first impressions in this season, so have some quick impressions.

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san

I’m really surprised that this series ended up being full-length rather than being half-length given that each interaction between the two main characters, Takagi and Nishikata, tends to be pretty short and self-contained. The premise of this series is pretty simple. The main character, Nishikata, is on a quest to embarrass the girl sitting next to him, Takagi.

I said it in the preview post, but I ended up getting tired of reading the manga for this series. I’m still caught up, but I’ve gotten a bit tired of the premise. The fact that this series is basically reliving those moments again is just making things worse.

Still, I can see the appeal of this show. It’s got a similar vibe to Tonari no Seki-kun, and I can see it being fun in small doses. I probably made the mistake of going too deep. Takagi’s got a lot of cute moments, and it’s fun to wonder whether the two main characters will actually make it.

Seriously, who are these people?

Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san

I really liked the manga version for this series, but I didn’t end up feeling too strongly about the anime adaptation. I kinda think that this kind of show is better digested in manga form. But hey, maybe I’m biased towards shows about ramen.

The descriptions of each type of ramen were the parts that really appealed to me, and I think it’s easier to focus on those when you’re reading. Wait, am I just saying that I should skip through certain portions of the episode? Possibly…

I also had a lot of issues with the sound in this adaptation. The background music didn’t really sound that appealing. I felt like I was taking notice every time Koizumi’s theme music played.

Seriously, what’s up with me and side characters this season?

(I’m kidding. I somewhat remember these girls…)

Kokkoku First Impressions (1): Let’s try it

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I was intrigued by the premise of this series, but this first episode has left me with too many questions to give any form of judgment. At the very least, I’m still interested in knowing the answers, but it largely depends on where everything is going. The idea of a time-frozen world seems interesting, but I’m not sure that I’m completely interested in focusing on how people abuse it.

There was something inherently confusing about this opening scene to me. Knowing nothing about Juri’s family, I inferred from this scene that her brother and father were dead. The interviewer asks about her brother and father, and the screen inexplicably switches to a view of a cemetary. Is it supposed to indicate that she considers them to be dead weight?

Perhaps this is isolated to the first episode because it was trying to introduce a new world, but I thought the show went a little far when it was showing off the time stop. Do we really need to pan around frozen objects so much?

I like this question. It’s a valid question. However, the fact that the series acknowledges the question and refuses to answer it anyway makes me think that the series doesn’t care what the answer is. It almost seems worse.

It might seem like I have a lot of complaints, but I’m legitimately curious about this series. The fact that people in this world have special powers definitely has my interest. I’d be happy to learn more about it.

I also have questions about this “herald” monster, which seemed to appear around Juri earlier in the show. Is it supposed to be some form of warden in the world? Juri’s grandfather seemed to indicate that people tended to act immorally in the world and get swallowed up, so it’s possible that the herald punishes people. I guess we’ll see.