Lord El-Melloi II Case Files Episode 2: Astronomy is tough

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Reines brings a mystery for Waver

This week’s episode seems to give a better representation of what this show has to offer, and I think it was cool. The episode centers around the mysterious death of the father of Waver’s former student. The story itself is nothing special, just another mage experimenting and getting in over his head. However, it was fun to see how the explanation tied itself to more grounded magical theories, and the episode did a good job of introducing Gray.

Waver muses on the house

I guess it’s the first real mystery of the show, so it has to keep things pretty light. I personally found Waver’s mention of the rotunda in this scene to be overly suspicious, so I figured it would relate to the inevitable solution. And given that Ernest Fargo is revealed to have attempted an incomplete ritual to attain immortality, this comment about Ernest seeing himself as a god of the house feels relevant.

Waver talks the case over with Gray

It was definitely a quick mystery, but I appreciated that it wasn’t as straightforward as I was expecting. The episode seemed to seed in the theme of mages mistreating their children, which isn’t a new idea in this universe. In the end, I think this idea gives the mystery another layer to make it less cut-and-dry.

Waver goes over the theory of magic

I also liked that the magic theory in this episode pulled in astronomical concepts from science. I think it made a lot of sense that the family’s astronomical traditions would be so old that it dated back to when the geocentric model of the solar system was still prevalent. I’m curious whether the events of the episode were meant to suggest that this tradition was much less aesthetic than the family believed.

Gray jumps into action

Gray’s battle in this episode was pretty cool. However, I do wonder about the fact that she has an Anti-Undead Mystic Code. Is it supposed to suggest that the pair will largely face undead enemies? Or will Gray become less useful after this episode? Also, I thought it was funny to see that Gray is seemingly wearing a hood just to hide the fact that she has Saber face.

Waver questions Mary

To be honest, I did partially suspect the maid at first, but this scene at the end does a good job of wrapping things up. Waver doesn’t push too hard into Mary’s motivations, but the final scene gives the audience a strong conclusion. Additionally, it makes it harder to assess who’s truly in the wrong.

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Carole & Tuesday Episode 13: Finding a producer

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Carole and Tuesday talk to Allen

It certainly feels like we’re taking a couple of steps back with the girls’ career path, but I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised about that. I was curious to see what we had in store for this half of the show, and it’s potentially just more of the same as the first half. I can live with that. What were we thinking? A big record label is too out-of-character for these girls.

Talk show host asks about Angela

The talk show at the beginning of the episode was a bit random, which makes me think it’s meant to be a mini-recap of some sort. If so, I think it’s a clever way to sneak in a small refresher for what happened in the first half of the series. Also, I thought it was funny that the camera zooms out to show an empty room rather than a studio audience.

Tao solves a Rubik's Cube

Well, I have to be that guy for a second. I’m curious what time scale this is meant to be. The scene itself plays out in about a second, but the timer seems to suggest a little over four seconds. If so, that’s surprisingly slower than the world record, but comes at a solid number 2. The current world record is 3.47 seconds (in case you wanted to know).

Dann meets Carole

I’m assuming we’re meant to conclude that Dann is Carole’s father. He has a moment of hesitation when he sees Carole for the first time, and he appears in the same episode as Carole’s conversation with Tuesday about parents. He doesn’t seem like a bad person at first glance, so I’m curious to see how he’ll contribute to the story.

Gus negotiates for the girls

It’s not too surprising to me that Gus rejects the deal with Brightest Records, but I would have liked to see what he found so disagreeable about the contract. It’s not that I doubt his character or anything. I just think it would have given the scene more flavor if he called out the problems, especially when he was explaining to Carole and Tuesday.

Carole muses about her parents

It’s clear that this conversation is centered around Carole and her lack of motivation to find her parents, but I liked that this line clearly applies to both Carole and Tuesday.

Tuesday's mother holds a rally

Applicability to current affairs aside, I’m curious whether this political stance from Tuesday’s mother is meant to stand in their way in the future. After all, Carole is a refugee, so I wonder if this policy would directly affect her.

The girls perform in the ghetto

The girls have really come a long way…

Kanata no Astra Episode 2: Fun times in space

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The gang prepares to forage for food

This series got a lot more lighthearted than I was expecting (though admittedly not for the entire episode). That being said, I thought that this episode was a solid follow-up to the opening episode. It forces the characters to bond more, and it successfully introduces a couple of larger mysteries that will likely span the entire show, with the sabotaged communicator and the return of the sphere.

Exploring a new planet

While I enjoy seeing the character explore an entirely new planet, I admit that I’m a little disappointed that they reach the first planet so quickly. The journey to the first planet may have been the shortest one, but it’s also the most critical one. On subsequent trips, they’ll be setting off with a much wider range of resources (given that they’re foraging from entire planets). However, the initial journey forced them to survive with just the supplies that they had thought to pack for camp. That’s how I saw it, at least.

Quitterie refuses to help

Quitterie gets some pretty quick character progression in this episode, but I still liked her story overall. I thought it was interesting that she called her mother out for not being there for her and simultaneously asking her to be there for Funicia. It makes sense for her to think that, and I think it’s hard to blame her.

The sphere returns

I was honestly not expecting the sphere to return, but it heavily implies that there’s something sending it to these kids. Since it seems to like pulling them out into empty space, it sounds like it’s probably sent by someone trying to kill them.

Aries sees everything

Giving Aries photographic memory was kind of a random development. I suppose it’s meant to perpetuate the idea that each of the crew members is going to have something specialized to contribute.

Funicia is caught out

Putting Funicia in danger seems like a fairly predictable way to get Quitterie to contribute, but I think it works in this situation. It seems to serve the extra purpose of giving Kanata some time to shine as well. On top of that, I liked that Funicia was mostly put in that situation because she was looking for a way to look like her sister.

Kanata is recognized as the leader

I also liked the idea that Kanata is recognized as the leader not because he has all of the answers, like Charce. It’s not that Kanata is capable, but rather that he’s the one who can call the rest of the group into action.

The case is afoot

And there we have it. There’s potentially an entity sending the spheres to transport the kids back into space, and there’s potentially a traitor on the ship. Are they even the same person? The fact that the communicator is what’s sabotaged is interesting as well, since it suggests that Kanata and Aries are in the clear. After all, they were floating in space in the moments immediately prior to discovering the broken communicator.

Marth’s 5 Favorite Soundtracks

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Asking for praise

I don’t have the greatest musical background in the world, but I’ve always appreciated the way that a song can contribute to an anime. It’s easy to forget, but music can often elevate a scene long after its runtime. The right song can form an emotional connection between the viewer and the scene itself, such that the song itself is enough to evoke the same emotions as the entire scene.

This is a long-winded introduction, but it gets at why I value soundtracks so much in anime. I’m almost always listening to music in my daily life, and it’s partly because it can have this kind of effect. So with that all said and done, let’s talk a bit about the soundtracks that I still listen to today.

Violet understands

3-gatsu no Lion

It’s hard to pin down a soundtrack that I would consider to be my favorite, but I think this one would probably be it. It’s true that the tracks have a somber tone to them, but there’s a sense of longing in it that I think encapsulates the series well. Combine that with the evocative and memorable imagery you’d expect from a Shaft production, and it’s no small task for any song to bring me right back into the show.

Violet Evergarden

Strangely enough, I never took note of this soundtrack until after the series had finished airing. But when I listen to it, it’s so easy to bring myself back to the big emotional moments from the show. I love how orchestral and almost whimsical the soundtrack sounds, and I really like that several tracks include typewriter sound effects that would have easily gone unnoticed in the actual series. This soundtrack tends to be my go-to when I need something listen to at work.

Yuusha is shocked

Gundam Build Fighters

With many of my other picks for this list, I think it’s pretty clear that my musical preferences can be pretty narrow. This soundtrack is here to shake that up a bit. Unlike the smooth, flowing songs I tend to choose, this soundtrack is a lot more active, fitting for the action focus in the series itself. I enjoy listening to the songs in this soundtrack for their diversity and energy.

xxxHOLiC

I don’t always listen to the entire soundtrack for this series, which is why it’s lower on the list, but the tracks that I do listen to are among my all-time favorite songs. In particular, “Deja View” and “Zashiki Warashi” are two songs that I always enjoying hearing.

Anne reads something safe

Kanon

This is not to say that I have a problem with other Key adaptation soundtracks. For some reason, this soundtrack always hits me the hardest, despite how long ago I watched the series. Is it just because it was the show I watched first? It’s difficult to say. I once went through a long plane ride listening only to the songs in this soundtrack, so I suppose I have a lot of history with it as well.

Honorable Mention: Aria, Houseki no Kuni, Made in Abyss

Summer 2019 Grab Bag Week 1: Fruits Basket, Kimetsu no Yaiba

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It’s time for a brief break from the newer shows. I haven’t forgotten these shows!

Tohru visits her mother

Fruits Basket Episode 14

Just when I thought that this week’s episode would be a carefree grave visit (cough), the series throws another crazy emotional loop with Momiji’s backstory. Does anyone have a happy childhood in this series? This episode definitely made me feel sorry for Momiji in a way I didn’t think was possible. Additionally, it also seems to waste no time building on the respective mysteries surrounding the pasts of Yuuki and Kyou, which remain somewhat unknown.

Momiji's mother rejects him

Momiji’s resolve in this episode was truly impressive. It’s clearly not his fault that his mother rejected him, but it’s touching that he’s willing to endure being treated like an absolute stranger by her just so he can see her. It’s such a harsh reality that he has to live. At this point, the series has introduced such tragic characters in the Souma family, that I’m looking forward to seeing Tohru singlehandedly save every one of them. I sure hope that’s where the series is going.

Tohru talks about her father

The feels are making it hard for me to pay full attention to rest of the episode. A few moments in the episode felt like they were setting up some reveals further down. For example, the fact that Tohru only has second-hand knowledge of her father’s death is oddly suspicious. Additionally, Kyou starts to act obviously disturbed by Kyouko’s grave.

Kyou apologizes to Tohru

I’m curious to see what this scene means. Based on the content of this episode, it feels like there’s only one thing that Kyou could be apologizing about, but it seems too easy.

Tanjirou questions Inosuke

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 14

Well, that was an odd one. I know I’ve said this about a different character very recently, but I find Inosuke to be hard to tolerate. I’m also not sure I buy his shtick as the pretty boy with a brutish personality yet. If the series comes up with a reasonable story surrounding it, I might change my mind on it, though.

Inosuke is convinced to help bury people

I did think it was funny to see how Tanjirou deals with Inosuke’s personality, though. He effectively tries to spin everything Inosuke does as productive and elaborates some kind of grand plan behind his actions. Additionally, I did think it was funny to watch Inosuke bashing trees throughout the episode.

The three characters have broken ribs

Is this just a running gag now?

Nezuko arises

We’ve missed you, Nezuko. I’m not sure how I feel about Zenitsu’s reaction to Nezuko’s appearance. It’s true that it fits his lovesick personality, but it almost feels like the scene is making light of Nezuko’s condition. I don’t know if I’m okay with that…

Summer 2019 Random First Impressions Part 2: Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo, Cop Craft

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As usual, I watch too many things, which can only mean that there are more first impressions posts. Enjoy?

They are the literature club

Araburu Kisetsu no Otome-domo yo First Impressions

I can’t see myself being able to talk about this show regularly, but it was exceptionally entertaining. It certainly has an odd premise, and it comes off like it should be a gag series. However, the first episode had a strange sense of realism to it. While the circumstances are definitely played up, I could believably see it happening. Played out to that effect, the episode became a lot more entertaining.

Lewd material in literature is okay

The series follows a group of high school girls in the literature club. As part of their perfectly responsible club activities, the girls read some more…racy(?) novels. In response to an upcoming book, the group discusses things they would want to do before dying. The story is basically set in motion when one of the girls states that she would want to have sex.

Sex is important for literature discussion

Although the first episode doesn’t get too far into the cast, I found the characters to be surprisingly charming. Each of the characters has a unique personality, but they seem to realistically have a common interest keeping them together. I also really liked seeing how the story unfolded from a single moment. Each of the plot lines seems incredibly unique, but they also feel like convincing and logical progressions. That made the overall viewing experience more enjoyable for me.

They are the literature club

It’ll be interesting to see where the show goes from here. If the girls just run on parallel plot lines, I think that it might actually be really cool if the stories fit together as well as this first episode did.

Kei and Rick together in action

Cop Craft First Impressions

I would make a reference to Bright, the Netflix movie, but I never watched it. That being said, this series certainly feels like it has a similar premise. Set in a world where a portal to another dimension appears on the Pacific Rim (cough), the story follows Kei Motoba, a detective for the San Teresa City Police who is desperately searching for the man who killed his partner in a failed bust.

Tilarna introduces herself

Joining Kei is a knight from beyond the gate named Tilarna Exedilica. Presumably, she’s the other world’s version of a police officer. While she is clearly fascinated with the human world, she attempts to assist Kei with his search. Rather than doing it for revenge, she is attempting to find the kidnapped fairy that was being trafficked as part of Kei and Rick’s bust.

Tilarna wants to find a good partner

While this first episode definitely had a lot of familiar elements to it, I had fun watching it. I guess I tend to like the buddy cop dynamic, and I think Tilarna is cute when she’s trying to touch human things. I also thought it was funny when she scared herself by pulling the emergency brake in Kei’s car and then blamed it on him.

Tilarna smells something

I found it a bit weird that there’s an explanation before the opening animation about the setting of this series, but it doesn’t actually explain the terms that are used in the episode. The terms “Semani” and “Farbani” aren’t really elaborated within the episode, but I guess I was able to gather that Semani is likely the name of the world on the other side of the gate while Farbani is a major kingdom. I haven’t decided whether I think that’s a good or bad thing.

Tilarna jumps into action

I guess we’ll see Tilarna and Kei in action next week. It’ll be interesting to see whether the two can work together.

Vinland Saga First Impressions (1): The British are coming

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Thors faces off against the invaders

And here, we have an excellent example of poor planning. Apparently, the fourth episode of this series isn’t scheduled to release for another three weeks, so I probably should have paced myself with the three episodes that were released at the same time. However, I’ve watched them all, so I’m going to comment on the series accordingly.

Thorfinn is not amused

Set in the 1000s, this story follows the historical takeover of England by the Danish king Cnut (though, he’s never mentioned in the first three episodes). The story is told through the eyes of Thorfinn, son of a great Viking hero Thors. So far, we seem to be getting more of a prologue story, which will likely lead towards explaining Thorfinn’s motivations.

Leif is insulted

It’s not often that I find a historical fiction that covers a time in history that I’ve actually learned a bit about. Granted, my knowledge is still fairly superficial, but it’s better than normal. It’s not secret that I greatly enjoyed watching Shoukoku no Altair, and this series seems to be somewhat similar so far. It certainly bodes well that the manga is hyped up a lot, I guess. I’m a little bit curious why there seems to be some trepidation from the manga side, but that remains to be seen.

Harald conquers Norway

But back to the anime itself, I was definitely surprised to see that it wasted no time getting into the fight. The fact that the camera follows the flow of the fight was really enjoyable. Despite the chaos of the combat overall, the opening scene makes it very clear that we’re meant to follow along with what Thors is doing.

Halfdan punishes his subordinate

I’m curious to see how Halfdan plays into the story later. He’s certainly played out as an antagonistic force with his introduction, but the fact that he punishes his own subordinate makes it seem like he’s meant to have a sense of logic behind his actions. Perhaps he’ll end up being an uncooperative ally in the future.

Floki schemes to kill Thors

As for the recruitment of Thors, I felt like that progressed at a surprising pace. I guess he does get threatened by Floki, but I didn’t expect him to just grab a bunch of villagers and set out like that. Given the trap he gets himself into, I’m curious to see how everyone else gets out alive. Thors can clearly handle himself, but I’m guessing that doesn’t apply to anyone else.

Thorfinn hides out

I’m actually a little surprised that Thorfinn stows away on the ship. Sure, it’s a pretty standard development, but I have no idea how the series will end up justifying his survival. He seems like the one who’d be most likely to die as a result of the ambush.

Thors and Leif sense a problem

I was hoping that the triple release was meant to cover the whole prologue, but I guess there’s no such luck. Does this count as a cliffhanger?

Summer 2019 Random First Impressions: Joshikousei no Mudazukai, Uchimusume

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These are both shows that I liked, but I don’t expect to write too many posts on them. So, here’s a combined first impression?

Akane is not amused

Joshikousei no Mudazukai First Impressions

There’s really not much of a summary here. The series apparently follows Tanaka Nozomu, a fresh high school student who apparently wants to find a boyfriend. The first episode basically makes it clear that this is a hopeless task for her, as she’s not the brightest kid. Much of the episode is dedicated to her quest to nickname every student in the school, before finally landing on the nickname Baka for herself.

Robo has jam

As a whole, I think this is a series that might have benefited from being half length. The gags are mostly fine, but I do get the sense that they’re repeated just a bit too much. For example, the homeroom teacher’s speech is funny, but he drives the point in way more than you’d expect. A viewer can only take so much cringe from the same source, right?

Opening ceremony shot

What I think the series does well is using the background to tell jokes. While the foreground content is somewhat dragging on, there’s usually something else going on behind it, which I think helps. For example, many of the scenes in this episode show Robo in the background solving a Rubik’s Cube. It’s clunky at first, but she’s faster every time she’s shown. Additionally, the opening ceremony pans over a hooded student before showing a potentially different hooded student wondering the grounds.

A nickname is decided

Even the subs seem to be having fun with the series. I haven’t seen the translator note joke in a while…

Dale finds a devil

Uchi no Musume no Tame naraba, Ore wa Moshikatashitara Maou mo Taoseru kamo Shirenai First Impressions

I have to get that title in somewhere. Anyway, it’s probably no secret that I’ve been looking forward to this series. I enjoyed reading the light novel, and I think this is a great fluff series. The series follows Dale, an adventurer who stumbles upon a lone devil girl named Latina while he’s completing a quest in the forest. Despite being a child, Latina has been branded as a criminal by the devils, so Dale decides to take care of her.

Latina eats food

I think the culture shock aspect of the series is also pretty interesting. The fact that Latina is a devil doesn’t even become that big of a deal (though, there are some…touchy moments). The story mostly focuses on a girl who is displaced into a completely different culture, surrounded by people who speak a completely different language. It’s something I can relate to.

Latina eats more food

And while the series largely focuses on Latina adjusting to her new life, I like that the relationship goes both ways. Dale has to similarly adjust to being an adoptive father, which changes his lifestyle greatly. He…uh, definitely doesn’t just fawn over Latina all of the time. That would be overbearing, right? Right?

Lord El-Melloi II Case Files First Impressions (1): Path to redemption

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Reines greets Waver

I’ll say upfront that I did watch the prequel episode that was released before this episode last week, so I’ll probably be incorporating comments on that episode into this impressions posts. This premiere makes me feel like that’s going to be necessary, since it focuses so much on setting Waver up. It’s been a long time since I watched Fate/Zero, but I’ll try my best with this one.

Waver is in a sticky situation

As you may have guessed, this series follows Waver Velvet, one of the surviving participants of the Fourth Grail War (which was depicted in Fate/Zero). After the events of that war, Waver has taken up the title left by his former mentor, Lord El-Melloi, as he seeks to honor the life that was saved by Iskandar.

It’s hard to judge what the series will be like based solely on the first episode, which is a more story-driven depiction of how Waver comes to his current title. But if the prequel episode is meant to be any indication, this series will likely be split into arcs based on “cases” that Waver must solve.

Waver is questioned about the Grail War

For the most part, this episode looked pretty good. It did a decent job of setting Waver up for his new life, incorporating aspects from its predecessor. I liked how Waver is generally portrayed. As Lord El-Melloi II, he often has a “tough guy” exterior, but this episode makes it clear that he’s the same person we saw in the Grail War.

Waver destroys the tomb

The story of the episode itself felt somewhat incomplete. Perhaps I’m just forgetting too much from other Nasuverse shows, but I feel like a lot of information is lost in random magic technobabble. It’s interesting that he chooses to destroy the tomb of his friend, Iskandar, rather than let random mages desecrate it, but I would have liked to get more insight into why he made that decision.

Waver chooses to continue the class

I did like Waver’s motivations surrounding the El-Melloi class, though. Even if he disagreed with his former teacher, the concept of the class was still valid. So, he chooses to continue the class in a way he sees fit. It’s a reasonable motivation to push him forward.

Waver struggles to survive

In the end, I’m mostly curious what to expect from this series. I’d honestly be okay with random popcorn mysteries surrounding magical phenomena. However, I think it would be more intriguing if they were building towards something. Reines seems to suggest that they’re generally meant to bolster the El-Melloi family, so I guess there’s that.

Granbelm First Impressions (1): Right to the fightf

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Mangetsu is apparently a genius

Well, this series certainly wasted no time getting into the action, so neither will I. Uhh…it was cool? To be honest, it was my favorite mech fighting in the world, but it certainly has my attention. We get a bit of a pause halfway through the episode for exposition, so I know enough to tell you that the story takes place in a world in which magic has been locked away and forgotten.

Mangetsu is transported to another world

For whatever reason, our main character, Mangetsu Kohinata is instantly transported into this hidden magical world when she returns to school late at night to retrieve a bento. In this world, magical girls from all around the world pilot magical robots called ARMANOX in a competition that definitely isn’t the Grail War. There’s even an all-powerful magic object that they’re seemingly fighting over that looks like it absorbs the magic of a dead Serva- ARMANOX.

Mangetsu tries to flee to safety

I make jokes, but this episode was pretty fun to watch. I admit I felt a little bit lost when the fighting started, but I didn’t really mind it. My general impression was that the battles try to be too flashy with the magical attacks, but maybe that’s just my personal preference showing up.

Attacking the boss

I wasn’t even sure what to make of these girls. The attack seems aimed at Shingetsu, but the girl is talking to two completely different characters. Is it just another faction? I suppose it’s better if the girls aren’t cleanly split into two sides.

Mangetsu wonders what kind of world she's in

This scene is clearly meant to be the initial exposition dump, but I still liked it. Watching Shingetsu eat the lunch in the middle of the ruins was pretty good, and I liked the isekai joke.

The robot is summoned

I’m not the biggest fan of the robot designs, but I’ve always had a problem with the “SD style” of mech. Am I being too much of a downer? I’m curious to see what abilities they’ll have, though…

Mangetsu doesn't understand

Honestly, I think it would have been cool if a large part of the series consecutively took place in this magical world. The preview for the next episode makes it very clear that Mangetsu will return to the real world without any trouble (and gain a suspicious new transfer student at school). But the fact that this episode immediately shifted into this world made me wonder if it would just cover the entire competition without returning to the real world. It would have made the isekai joke funnier…