Darling in the FranXX Episode 10: These klaxosaur battles are starting to feel like cheap openers

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This episode really left me with a lot of questions about this world. We finally get a look at the adult world and it’s full of mysteries. I think the ultimate verdict on this episode depends on whether we get any payoff in the future, as the episode was really intriguing and deserves a reveal. The focus on Zorome in the episode also felt reasonable since he’s always the most enthusiastic about becoming an adult.

I really question the effectiveness of a door that doesn’t let you know whether you can pass until you try to do so.

The whole concept of the “infected” kids was pretty interesting in this episode. This rejected handshake doesn’t seem like much until it’s combined with the disinfectant part later in the episode.

I guess this is still relevant. Points for not just ignoring the confession from last week.

There’s a fun question here. What are the kids really protecting? The adult world we’re shown seems to be a bit of a standard dystopia where the adults just kinda numb themselves to the world outside. What are the adults doing that’s so worth protecting?

The fact that the woman in this episode knew Zorome’s code and Zorome’s own comments make me wonder if this woman is Zorome’s mother or something. That makes me wonder if the adults are kept around for reproductive purposes. Also, I’m wondering if the city is actually full of adults. Zero Two calls the city lifeless and Zorome wanders around for a long time without seeing anyone. It’s very possible that the adults are all secluded, but part of me wonders if the city’s just empty.


Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Episode 10: The war begins

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This week’s episode felt like it had a lot more of what I like in this show. We’re back to showing multiple parallel stories that eventually converge on each other. I’m curious where this story will go…mostly because I don’t see Feilang as a future ally.

These two have a pretty fun rivalry. Their banter’s pretty entertaining to watch…probably because it’s a swirl of baseball and killing style talk.

I’m not sure how much I’m supposed to read into this line because we’ve seen this guy come to Saruwatari’s aid in the past. I guess you could make the argument that Saruwatari still has some use or something.

I like that this scene omits the unnecessary detail. We saw Saruwatari remembering that he has to leave his shuriken as a calling card in the first assassination, so it’s reasonable to conclude that he leaves his shuriken at the second location to fulfill his contract. At first, I was wondering why they would place the second killing on him, but now I realize that it makes sense for Saruwatari to want credit for both assassinations.

You’re really making your contribution there, Saito…

This scene’s another example of omitting the unnecessary detail. We saw in the earlier scene that Enokida asked his informant about the person in charge of evacuating the Kakyuu execs. Here, we see Banba using the information without a scene between him and Enokida. We’ve seen Enokida tip Banba off in the past, so it’s a reasonable conclusion that he asked the informant for Banba.

Okay, I was wondering why Feilang was relevant, and using him to force a rift between Banba and Lin makes sense. I guess we’ll see where this goes. Also, I sure wonder what they’ll do with that bomb Enokida found.

Violet Evergarden Episode 10: Right in the feels

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Alright, fine. I thought this week’s episode was great. I pretty much knew where the story was going, but I’m a sucker for time skip epilogues. I didn’t have any clue what this show would be like after the “finale” we got, but I might be inclined to call this episode my favorite so far.

I really liked watching Anne as she warmed up to Violet in this episode. It didn’t seem forced. She just naturally wanted to play with someone after feeling neglected by her mother.

I think the most surprising part of this episode was just how knowledgeable Anne seemed to be. I wouldn’t expect a child to understand that her mother was dying and be willing to reason out that every moment left with her mother was precious. To a certain extent, I found that a bit unbelievable, but it makes for good drama.

I have such a weakness for this scene. Watching Anne read the letters as she grew older was just really satisfying.

The scene at the end surprised me the most, though. When everything is over, Violet reveals that she was keeping her emotions back the entire time. After what we’ve seen from Violet in every other story before this one, that statement felt like it had a lot of impact because it was coming from her. That scene actually wrecked me inside.


Beatless Episode 9: Pretty confusing

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I’m really starting to get tired of Arato’s nonsense. It’s hard to really care about him when he seems to have such muddy intentions. His friends are bombarding him with pretty reasonable arguments, but he refuses to even have the conversation. It’s just frustrating to watch.

Hey, the whole idea that Erica was cryogenetically frozen is pretty interesting. I wish there was more to it, though. Erica makes an offhand comment about being in hospitals before she was frozen, which would suggest that she was frozen because she was sickly. Maybe she was unfrozen to be cured. But I guess that’s not important…

Instead, we get a pretty strange bit of characterization. I guess I’m supposed to conclude that Erica ascribes to some sort of philosophical materialism or something with the way she attempts to quantify affection and love. It seems a bit backwards…you’d expect the more advanced society to lean more in that direction, but Erica is a relic of the past.

Seriously, I feel like I have to conclude that Arato’s only character motivation is that he will always side with the hIE. At this point, I’m pretty sure his views are just horribly inconsistent and I’m more inclined to side with Ryo. I get the sense that Arato is only the protagonist because it’s a common protagonist mentality to side with the robots in shows like this.

I had a lot of trouble wrapping my head around this conversation. My eventual takeaway is that Shiori is trying to invalidate Arato’s ownership of Lacia by proving that Lacia’s registration number was faked. But in this conversation, she sounded like she was trying to tell Arato that the nurse hIE was the fake. It doesn’t help that Arato contributes nothing to conversation by immediately changing the topic to the hIE’s “feelings”.


Blogging Principles: Being specific

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I haven’t written one of these in a while. If I was being smarter, I’d wait until a Beatless recap episode before publishing this post, but I can’t help myself.

Previously, I talked about the format of a blog post, so I want to talk a bit about my approach to content. When I’m writing any post, there’s one particular thought that I’m always keeping in the back of my mind: Be specific. Admittedly, I’m still working on improving at this, but it’s one of my bigger writing goals.

So, what do I mean when I say this? Put simply, it’s just a matter of asking myself why I think the way I do. I want to avoid becoming someone who always expresses vague feelings or thoughts. I’m the type of person who likes to trace the logic behind anything, so I endeavor to provide as much detail as possible.

One thing that I hear often in discussion is “it’s just my opinion”. It’s something that I hate to hear and I think it’s related to this topic. Of course, people are absolutely entitled to their own opinions. But there has to be a reason that you’ve come to that particular conclusion, and saying “it’s just my opinion” has completely shut down the discussion. I don’t care if you have an interesting opinion. I care if you have a good reason for your interesting opinion.

For example, it’s just my opinion that mecha shows are really interesting. For the most part, I hold this opinion because I like watching robot battles. If I were to go deeper, I would probably say that it has to do with my early exposure to shows like Gundam. The fact that I watched a lot of Power Rangers as a kid is probably also a large contributing factor. I’m not saying that you should be prepared to give this kind of analysis for any random opinion that you have. These are just the kinds of things I want to think about.

The end result is that most of my episode posts are just a list of points. My approach is to come up with a list of things I liked and disliked in an episode, so I can try to go through why I felt that way. It also gives me a convenient list of reasons why I might like or dislike a show overall.

In the interest of full disclosure, I also want to point out that I find this approach frightening. From what I’ve seen, it’s difficult to attack a broad opinion such as “I like this show”. The more specific a claim gets, the more refutable it becomes. If I say that Steins;Gate is the most scientifically accurate time travel series in existence, I don’t think it would be too hard to come up with a contrary argument.

But I’m honestly fine with this. I want my opinions to be founded on good reasons. If you present an argument that I think is reasonable, I will change my mind. I really hope that I’ve done a good job of expressing this mentality in my comment responses. Our opinions are our own, but changing them doesn’t mean that we lose something.

So, that’s my spiel. Let me know what you think. Or you know…change my mind.


Sora yori mo Tooi Basho Episode 11: What a team

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This series is such a great weekly dose of fun. Shirase and Hinata’s relationship makes me so happy. They have such opposing personalities, but they’ve had the best moments together.

I still hold that Yuzuki is a hidden hero in this series. Sure, she’s just playing the straight man, but she’s doing it spectacularly.

Ugh…my grandmother does this when I play cards with my family and it’s the worst. Stop giving away my hand!

The way the shot zooms in before showing Shirase really adds to the delivery of the joke.

I really liked the way that Hinata’s story was revealed. I probably should have been suspicious of her “old friends” when they suddenly decided to come back just as Hinata was going to be broadcast. However, the way this flashback was presented actually made me wonder if it was an honest mistake.

Personally, I’ve never really liked the idea of catering to third years. They could have just been giving an honest opinion that backfired later. But the following scenes made it clearer and clearer that these girls were not good people.

Shirase’s reluctance to confront Hinata makes a lot of sense in this episode. It’s similar to the situation in Singapore, when Hinata that she didn’t like when others were considerate of her. Personally, I kinda wanted something about how false empathy can be. There are many times when someone will say that “they would be bothered by X”, but I honestly don’t care. That being said, I understand that it’s not the type of episode this is, so I don’t think the actual theme detracted from my enjoyment.

Shirase gives the best speeches for the most camera-shy character. Watching her stand up for Hinata was really heartwarming.


Winter 2018 Grab Bag Week 10: Sangatsu no Lion, Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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I’m still trying my best to catch on shows that I missed while I was out.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 40

I’m not one who would know anything about the burdens of aging, but I still think this story has been seriously fantastic. I really don’t have too much to say about this episode because I was just having such a good time while I was watching.

I really liked the breadth of visual styles used to express Sakutarou’s inner feelings. You could see his desperation as he tried to keep hold of his friends’ expectations and dreams. It’s great that this match is so memorable despite all of the time spent commenting on how tough it would be to advertise it.

There’s something really satisfying about the episode’s conclusion and its simplicity. Sakutarou’s win felt deserved and satisfying because of how much we saw him struggle. And where do we leave off? Prepared to do the same thing the following year.

Mahoutsukai no Yome Episode 22

And with this, we’ve basically reached where the story is in the manga. We’re on equal footing now. This series really has me curious about how the story will end. The idea of switch Chise’s curse with Cartaphilus’s curse is quite interesting, but I can’t imagine it’s so simple. I do really hope that the series doesn’t end with Chise’s death, though.

Smug child Chise is so awesome. She seems like such a normal girl.

I thought the way in which the flashback ended was pretty interesting. I liked the idea that Chise refused to forgive her mother but ended up finally understanding her mother’s feelings. The whole idea of releasing herself from her interpretation of the situation is cool.

I’m not too surprised about where this is going, but part of me doesn’t really like the idea of “saving” Cartaphilus. I know that there’s another personality, “Joseph”, in there, but it’s really not helping.


Kokkoku Episode 10: The epic fight?

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Well, this week’s episode took kind of a strange turn. Too many points felt like they were really fizzling in this week’s episode, like Makoto’s power and the random dude who turned into a Herald. The main fight itself also felt really awkward to watch. It really didn’t seem consistent that Juri was acting reckless overall but left so many opportunities for Sagawa to get away from her attacks.

Majima brings up a really good question about the range of Makoto’s power here that just…disappears. The conversation is steered away from it and it’s never brought up again. All they would need to do is let the Herald walk really far ahead to see if “Takafumi” could still control it.

Am I the only one really curious about how the physics works in the Stasis world? I’m wondering what determines how quickly the baseball slows down after it’s hit by someone who can move. Is there just some arbitrary deceleration?

Given that Majima has some control over the physics in this world, I’m disappointed that her power isn’t related to how these baseballs work.

This scene really makes me think that there was no ultimate point to hiding Makoto’s power. It doesn’t really do much to establish that Takafumi’s a sleazy character because other scenes have done a pretty good job at that. Sagawa also isn’t fooled by it, so it doesn’t seem to serve a purpose other than…comic relief?

I’m not at all surprised by this development, but it still makes me sigh internally. We need to pad the run time some more, I guess…

Ugh, this line doesn’t bode well. I’m reserving judgment on Sagawa until I hear the rest of his story. So far, he’s just the son of a stereotypically corrupt priest who has decided that he wants to time travel. It doesn’t really seem that believable yet.


Darling in the FranXX Episode 9: Goro’s such a bro

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I’ve come to like Goro as a character in previous episodes, so I found this week’s focus on him quite welcome. I’m liking the way he approaches his love triangle with Hiro and Ichigo. He doesn’t kick up any excessive drama, but he also earnestly pursues his love interest.

I liked how Goro’s flashbacks played out in this episode. His approach of making people hate him so he could avoid interaction was interesting. I can understand and relate to that kind of behavior. Also, I liked that the flashbacks showed Goro’s thoughtfulness, even if Hiro would beat him to the punch.

I kinda wonder if I’m reading too much into this, but I saw a hint of what I interpreted as “shock” in Ichigo’s expression when she knocks Zorome out of the way. The boys are ultimately in control of the Franxx, so I thought it was a nod to the fact that Ichigo might not be fully aware of her partner’s plan.

This scene also surprised me by showing Zorome’s reactions in the background. While Miku and Ichigo are arguing, he’s slowly trying to escape the situation. I suspect that it’s because he’s technically responsible for getting Goro captured, which is a nice touch.

I honestly wasn’t sure if Goro would make it out of this episode alive. I’m glad that he did, but I’m starting to feel like this show is asking for character death.


Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Episode 9: Trust no one

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This week’s episode felt really depressing. Lin’s background made sense and it definitely explained why he has trust issues. However, the story itself felt like it was trying to check too many boxes on a tragic backstory. It’s kinda similar to last week’s episode in that it seemed pretty clear where things were going. However, I felt like last week’s episode was actually setting itself up for the reveals well in contrast.

I know we’re continuing the trend that Lin sucks at baseball, but you can do better than this. Banba tells Lin about two signals before the old man tests Lin. Banba already demonstrated stealing a base, so Lin could have honestly guessed “bunt” without seeing a thing.

My first reaction after seeing this kid was thinking he would either be killed at the end of the flashback or return as a character in this arc. In a training facility for hitmen, I figured it was odd to introduce a character with such a deep connection to a main character.

Feilang’s betrayal also isn’t the most shocking thing in the world. The flashback opens with the facility telling Lin to trust no one. Given how rebellious Lin was, why would he listen to them? The only conclusion would be that something in his training instilled the behavior into him. Basically, I’m saying betrayal speaks louder than words.

So…did the facility keep Feilang alive or something? You could argue that they put a lot of effort into training himself, so it would be a waste to let him die. If not, they’re really bad at administering their “final” exam.