Dororo Episode 15: Parting ways

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Dororo tries to stay a bit longer

This week’s episode felt like a strange, mixed bag. I thought that the general story was excellent, but the execution felt lacking. On the more obvious side, I felt like the animation in this episode was noticeably shaky compared to previous episode. But more than that, I thought that the general pacing of the episode was a bit forced, to the point where the message was potentially distorted.

Dororo investigates the warehouse

As I’ve said in previous episodes, I like seeing Dororo act independently. She eventually calls out to Hyakkimaru for help when she gets into trouble, but she ultimately gets out of the situation without him. It does a great job of setting up the ending of the episode, when she chooses to part ways from Hyakkimaru.

The villagers sacrifice the orphans

I also liked the idea that the villagers were directly responsible for the death of the nun and the orphans. I don’t know if the episode really makes it clear why they did it, but it does set it up well. While outwardly nice, the villagers are shown to be clearly guarded around Dororo, indicating that there’s more to the village than the lord himself.

Dororo reunites with Hyakkimaru

What I thought was less clear was Lord Sabame’s role in whole ordeal. He’s shown in the same scene that depicts the nun’s death, but Dororo seems to imply that the villagers acted without his intervention. Additionally, the aftermath scene heavily suggests that he sacrifices himself to stop the fire that Dororo started, which could mean that he was just trying to help.

Hyakkimaru regains another organ

It’s been a while since Hyakkimaru got an organ, and this one was a bit gruesome. I’m still a bit underwhelmed by the fight with the moth, since Hyakkimaru just kind of confronts it and immediately kills it. It did manage to escape him a few times throughout this story, but this is kind of a weird climax. Also, I wonder what the implications of getting his spine back are. Does he have faster reflexes now?

Dororo questions her actions

I quite enjoyed seeing Dororo question the pair’s actions by the end of the episode. While it’s true that the villagers committed a heinous crime, it’s hard to truly say that they deserved to have everything burned to the ground. Even though Dororo wasn’t directly responsible for the fire, it’s interesting that she questions whether their arrival ultimately ruined the town.

Dororo leaves Hyakkimaru

I think that seeing Dororo leave Hyakkimaru behind in her frustration makes things interesting as well. While her run-in with Itachi clearly gives Hyakkimaru a reason to “save” her and prove that he cares for more than killing demons, I appreciate how she acts upon her own doubts.

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Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 3: Training montage intensifies

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Tanjirou heads off for training

I wasn’t really sold by this week’s episode. I get the sense that it’s meant to bridge a gap, effectively getting Tanjirou combat-ready so he can join the Demon Slayer Corps (a training montage, if you will). The issue I generally had is that his progress doesn’t necessarily feel earned. The time jumps make it seem like he just steadily progresses, which makes it harder to believe when he stumbles.

Demons are killed by sunlight

In addition, this feels like poor timing for an introduction of demons and the Demon Slayer Corps. It’s true that it’s an open question, but we’re being told about the organization in the abstract sense without anything to tie it to. Also, this bit about demons being killed by sunlight is something we’ve already figured out.

Nezuko falls asleep for a while

I’m torn about Nezuko’s catatonic state in this episode. She was what drew my attention in the previous episode, so it was sad that she was tossed to the side while Tanjirou finished his training. However, I do like how the timing fits with the general theme of Tanjirou’s training.

Training time flies

He’s often finding himself questioning his motivation, which makes more sense in the context of Nezuko’s slumber. As far as he knows, she’ll never wake up. Since she’s his reason for hunting demons, he naturally questions whether his training is worth it when that goal is no longer in sight.

Sabito chastises Tanjirou

I honestly like this whole scene with Sabito. He correctly points out that Tanjirou has been blindly repeating his training without thinking about what it is meant to accomplish. I just wish that the episode had given it the proper focus. As far as I could see, Tanjirou doesn’t show much of an indication that his thought process has changed. We just see him at the end of that journey having succeeded.

The breathing technique that makes you strong

This discussion about the breathing technique seems muted in a similar way. It’s clearly the secret to fighting toe-to-toe with the enhanced strength of demons, but it’s stated simply without much context. And we get no real indication at the end that Tanjirou has somehow figured it out. It’s almost meant to be an implicit assumption based on the fact that he cuts the boulder.

Bungou Stray Dogs Episode 27: The real god

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Dazai chastises Chuuya for using brute force

This story doesn’t really have any brakes, does it? This week’s episode basically blazes forward from the setup in the first episode. I like how this arc is shining the spotlight on how broken Dazai while he was in the Port Mafia. He makes jokes, but he doesn’t have the goofy attitude we see in the present. I also like Chuuya’s addition into the story, since it would probably be less interesting if it was just another prequel arc solely devoted to Dazai.

Dazai is annoyed at doing more work

The episode starts off from where it left off last week with Chuuya and Dazai facing off against some armed mercenaries. I do like how the fight acts to contrast the two. Chuuya takes a more direct approach, relying on his overwhelming strong abilities to take out multiple foes. On the other hand, Dazai’s power only works against those with abilities, so he tends to avoid combat when necessary.

Dazai confronts Chuuya

However, I think it’s more than just a brains and brawn scenario. As we see later in the episode, Chuuya is perfectly capable of piecing together the evidence. It seems more like he prefers the direct approach, which is likely aided by his ability. So, he isn’t just dumb. I think that’s why he’s able to work well Dazai, and it explains why Dazai calls him lazy.

Dazai cruelly kills the soldier

The episode also reveals a more sadistically cruel side to Dazai, which I think is interesting. He goes through the effort of asking for permission to finish off the dying soldier, but he also displays a sick sense of pleasure while shooting him.

Randou is busted

Given how few characters were introduced in this arc so far, it wasn’t particularly hard to guess that Randou was the one behind the recent attacks. The whole thing with the sea was a nice touch, but I wasn’t too surprised. I’m much more curious about the fact that Chuuya claims to be Arahabaki.

Chuuya talks about Arahabaki

Again, there aren’t too many characters in this arc, so there are only so many options for this Arahabaki thing, but I’m looking forward to seeing how Dazai reacts to it. He seems a bit taken aback in this episode, but I’m guessing he had some kind of suspicion. After all, he asked the other Sheep members for more details about Arahabaki after already deducing that Randou was behind the recent attacks.

Carole & Tuesday Episode 2: Becoming famous

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Carole wakes up to a mess

Episode 2 and this series is still fun. So much of the story feels familiar, but I like how the series presents itself so far. This week’s episode shows off more of its setting, and I think it’s cool so far. I think it would be interesting to see more of how the world reached its current state, but I get the sense that this aspect isn’t quite as important. The series seems to be commenting more on present-day implications as far as I can tell.

Tuesday struggles to clean the place

Having Tuesday fail to clean Carole’s apartment is an extremely predictable move. She clearly comes from money, and she fits the mold of the pampered child. However, I think the episode makes up for this by showing Tuesday alongside Carole, who similarly fails miserably at her new job. As a result, the scene is more about contrasting the two, rather than focusing on each individual’s archetype.

Carole takes a job acting as a grieving family member

I guess this is how the futuristic setting is going to be used for this series. It’s kind of a weird and uninspiring scene as far as sci-fi goes, but I think I have a decent sense of why it’s here. We’re shown a society that has a specific market for hiring random strangers to act like grieving family members, which shows a cultural predisposition for “keeping up appearances without any substance”. I get the sense that this is supposed to be a direct analogy to how the world views music.

Angela runs some tests

On Angela’s side, I don’t have all too much to say, since I don’t think we have very much information about her situation. I suppose the idea so far is that this producer guy treats his AIs as “employees”, but he treats her like a glorified singing bot.

The video gets uploaded

I’m curious to see what kind of role this Roddy guy will play in the series. Presumably he’s here to do more than upload the video that leads to the two girls being noticed. He seems to have a more technical background, so maybe he’s here to advocate for the AI in some way for this group.

Roddy finds the girls

This online stalking scene was strangely…realistic. I suppose normal people don’t have advanced facial recognition, but this reminds me a lot of Reddit detectives.

Gus finds the girls

Well, I guess Gus is pretty direct.

Spring 2019 Grab Bag Week 2: Isekai Quartet, Midara na Ao-chan wa Benkyou ga Dekinai

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I’ve got a short post for today.

It's a trap

Isekai Quartet First Impressions (1)

It’s a simple concept, but I think it works well. Take a bunch of isekai shows and bring those characters to yet another world to see how they interact. I was totally on board when I heard about it and watching the first two episodes has been fun. It’s true that I don’t know the Re:Zero characters too well, but I’m sure I can make it up as I go along.

Aqua panics

Well, I assume this is the closest we’re getting to a third season of Konosuba, so I accept. It’s comforting to see that Aqua will always be Aqua regardless of what world she’s in.

The world gets weird

I’m curious to see how seriously this series takes itself. So far, it doesn’t seem to be doing much, but there does seem to be some overarching reason to put these characters in a school together. I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up being a joke…in fact, I might actually prefer it that way. I don’t know how to take Kazuma seriously anymore.

Tanya was born in a scientific civilization

I hope the main characters of each show get to interact more. Given that Ains is pulling off an act and Tanya’s actually a salaryman, having the main four characters figure out that they’re all Japanese would probably be hilarious.

Ao introduces herself

Midara na Ao-chan wa Benkyou ga Dekinai First Impressions (1)

Not to be confused with the other series in this seasons about students who aren’t able to study, I suppose this one’s the short version. The concept is a bit out there, but at least it makes for funny misunderstandings. I don’t know if I’m supposed to be ashamed about it, but I think this series ends up being good for a casual romance.

Ao is surrounded by perverts

I guess it must be rough to be Ao, huh? To be honest, I like this series so far for not going as far as other similar series I’ve seen. Ane Log is an example that immediately comes to mind. Ao’s misunderstandings are based on her experiences with a perverted father, but she doesn’t take every statement to the extreme, which makes it less tedious to watch.

Ao's father intervenes

If I were going to point out anything about this series, I think it would just be that I prefer when the show doesn’t make Ao’s father interfere directly. This scene in the first episode where he pulls up her shirt seemed way too excessive. Surely, there are better ways to get the two main characters together initially.

Mayonaka no Occult Koumuin Episode 2: An enemy appears

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Arata's past is revealed

I felt like this second episode walks back a bit on some of the goodwill I granted for the first episode. I liked the whimsical nature of the first episode, but this episode seems to switch straight into a more serious arc by introducing an antagonist. That being said, I don’t think it’s enough to turn me away. I think the premise could be interesting, but I mostly don’t know if I want to watch Arata face off against whoever this mystery Another is for the duration of the show.

Arata's power is identified

There’s a certain lack of ceremony in the way that Arata’s power is explained in this episode. Sure, the other characters mention that it’s unique for his “Ears of Sand” to work with Anothers, but I’m not a big fan of how they just put a name to it. It almost sounds like they’re saying it’s just another quirk of their job, when it seems to have a clear benefit for what they do.

Arata lets the others look around his warehouse

Along the same vein, it seems odd to me that Arata’s family has such a deep, mystical history. He’s set up as a rather unassuming guy who bites off more than he can chew by joining the Shinjuku Nocturnal Community Relations Department, but that gets immediately shifted. If I knew even half of the things that were revealed in this episode, his hiring in the first episode would have been no surprise at all. I guess it makes him harder to relate to as a protagonist.

The mysterious man appears

As I mentioned before, I’m a bit apprehensive about the introduction of this antagonist at this point. The ending animation tends to show Arata and this Another on opposing sides, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they have some past struggle that ends up being the focus of the series. I suppose the two never really seem that hostile towards each other, so it’s possible that it’s intentionally set up as a misunderstanding, though.

Suzu introduces herself

It ultimately doesn’t seem much more than a character introduction, but I liked Suzu’s introduction. It does a good job of showing how much Arata helps with the relationship between humans and Anothers. Akane initially introduces Suzu as a guardian spirit, a goddess that protects the family. However, that immediately breaks down when Arata introduces her. I think it’s a pretty good scene.

Zombies appear

So, I’m not sure what to make of the end. I guess they’re random zombies, huh? I guess we’ll have to see where it goes.

Dororo Episode 14: A random treasure map

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Dororo's father hides a map

This week’s episode seemed more like setup than anything else, but I think it looks promising. The lord character that’s introduced in this story seems like a kind of “test run” for Hyakkimaru, representing a lord who is willing to work with a demon for the benefit of his people. In addition, this episode prompts Dororo to think about her own future after their journey, which might be cool.

The old man gives some advice

I like how the old man hears about the map and immediately assumes it leads to money. I wonder if that’s meant to be a misdirection of some sort, since Dororo’s father only says that it’s his “ambition”, whatever that means. It seems like a weird thing to lie about, but I can’t rule it out.

The nun points out some oil

It’s not a particularly new thing, but I do like how the nun’s ghost is introduced initially as a seemingly harmless presence before we hear her story. I got the sense that the episode was doing a good job of building a simple mystery for the main characters to solve together.

The nun is supposedly evil

It’s true that Hyakkimaru’s magic blind sight lets him see the demonic energy emanating from the lord, but I just felt a sense of progress seeing Hyakkimaru work with Dororo to point out the flaws in the lord’s story. The two have come a long way, their dynamic has gradually shifted in response. We can see the two clearly working together in this episode, rather than having everything shift on Hyakkimaru.

Hyakkimaru protects Dororo

Along the same lines, I feel like the development of a familial bond between the two characters has felt earned as well. Hyakkimaru no longer blindly rushes into combat. He’s conscious of Dororo during the fight, and he now has the voice to express that concern. It’s possible that he’s always been like this, but his inability to express himself made it impossible to communicate.

The lord works with the moth

I’m definitely curious to see how this battle with the lord plays out. He seems like a pretty strong analogue for Hyakkimaru’s father, so it would be nice to see whether Hyakkimaru’s willing to condemn this land. That being said, the final scene makes it look like the moth demon is tricking the lord, so maybe there’s an easy way out of the situation.

Fairy Gone Episode 2: This seems familiar

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Marlya thinks she's unlucky

After spending the first episode reuniting the main character, Marlya, with her old friend only to have her escape, the second episode…basically does the same thing for Free. I guess that’s one way to do it. My opinion of the series is largely unchanged by this episode. I think the series is blazing forward with introducing its plot without taking a second to give the characters or the world any reasonable sense of focus. We’re introduced to various aspects of the world without any context, so it’s hard to tell what’s normal or taboo.

Free becomes a Fairy Soldier

That being said, I did like how Free and Marlya are contrasted at the start of the episode. Marlya sees the death around her as a form of bad luck, leaving her to suffer alone. Meanwhile, Free describes this same property as good luck, given that he’s survived. It sets the two up as having opposing views on their pasts, even though they end up being fundamentally similar. I don’t think it’s a bad way to introduce two allies.

Marlya's condition is strange

I guess it turns out that Marlya has a rare condition after all. I’m not sure how to react to that, since everyone seems to be fairly chill about it. I think that having the main character end up being an exception to the rule is fine, but it just doesn’t feel deserved to me. In the first episode, Marlya doesn’t do anything in particular for the fairy in the jar, so I don’t see why it would have formed a bond with her.

Free confronts Wolfran

As for the main focus of the episode, it’s hard not to draw parallels with the first episode. Free confronts Wolfran with knowledge of their past, just as Marlya does with Veronica. In the end, Wolfran is fundamentally different than the person Free knew (presumably because his wife and daughter were killed), and he escapes.

Artificial fairies come to life

How big of a deal are artificial fairies in this world? Given how little the series wants to describe its setting, it’s hard to tell whether these are meant to be some new technology or an established concept.

Marlya jumps out of the way

Can we appreciate how ridiculous this scene looks? At the moment when Marlya reacts, it seems way too late to properly get out of the way. And even when she does jump out of the way, she looks like she starts the jump from a safe point anyway. To top it off, the car(?) looks incredibly impractical.

Kimetsu no Yaiba Episode 2: Running down the mountain

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Tanjirou insists on paying

I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this series, but I think there’s enough going on to make me want to keep watching. Mostly, the main negative is more of a nagging feeling, since I can somewhat feel tropes lurking in the background. However, I greatly enjoy the action scenes throughout the episode, and I’m actually happen with what the series did with Nezuko.

Nezuko hides from the light

I’m just going to get this out of the way. I really liked what the series did with Nezuko. I thought that she would just be the emotionless mute that Tanjirou drags around, but she’s actually incredibly expressive. There also seems to be some layers to her expressions. For example, she could have been hiding in the hole here simply because of her demonic side’s fear of sunlight. But for all we know, her human side is showing a hint of remorse for what she’s causing Tanjirou to do. I have absolutely no issue with turning her into a moeblob.

Nezuko kicks a demon's head off

Additionally, the episode seems to properly build into Tanjirou’s fight against the demon. It starts by showing how obsessively nice he is, only to have him hesitate to kill a demon. He has every reason to resent demons for what they’ve done to him, but his sister’s condition forces him to rethink things. It’s a conclusion that’s dripping with the typical overly sensitive protagonist mentality, but it at least makes some sense.

Sakonji tries to test Tanjirou

Sakonji’s introduction is where I start to feel the nagging sensation I mentioned before. This brief mention of the Demon Slayer Corps hints at an organization to train Tanjirou. We’ve seen in the opening that he’ll eventually wield a katana, so it just seems like a stock reason to get him up to speed. It still remains to be seen, but my initial impression is that it’s a fairly typical progression for this type of show.

Tanjirou braves the mountain

The ridiculous nature of the test aside, I thought it was awesome to watch Tanjirou go through Sakonji’s test. His reactions to the traps generally seemed clear and easy to follow, which is strangely uncommon in these kinds of shows. I just like these kinds of action sequences, okay?

Tanjirou resembles Sakonji

This series seems to be doing a lot to make Tanjirou’s keen sense of smell relevant. Oh boy…

Bungou Stray Dogs Episode 26: This is starting to feel like a trend

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Chuuya walks across an airplane wing

It sure has been a while, but it seems like we’re back with another prequel arc. I suppose that’s just the typical pattern for this series. I’m sure I’ve forgotten nearly everything from the first two seasons, but this arc still seems interesting. It seems to introduce the Port Mafia’s boss while focusing on the feud between Dazai and Chuuya.

Dazai tries to kill himself with some drugs

I want to make a quick note about episode 25 (the one called “Dead Apple”), since it came out as well. It’s technically an OVA that’s meant to follow the second season, so I didn’t think it was appropriate to split it off into a separate post. It’s a story that focuses more on Kunikida in the present, pitting him against a serial bomber with a grudge against him.

It was a fun episode, especially with its literal reference to the trolley problem (a well-known moral test). I don’t remember whether Aya is a character that’s been introduced before, but it would be cool to see her play more of a role whenever the third season returns to the present day.

Dazai witnesses the death of the old boss

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t remember how much of this stuff has been said before, but I do like how this episode goes into Port Mafia boss’s past. It explains why Dazai was so surprisingly influential within the organization, since he knows the secret of the boss’s rise to power. Additionally, I liked that Dazai pointed out how advantageous he was as a witness given his suicidal tendencies. He could be easily silenced without drawing suspicion, because people are used to him trying to die.

Dazai attempts to stop Chuuya

I also think it’s cool to see how Chuuya and Dazai are portrayed in this episode. The previous prequel arc explored the reason Dazai chose to leave the Port Mafia, so he was clearly a more seasoned fighter at that time. In this arc, he seems more fresh-faced, and the fight in this episode demonstrates it. Dazai has the forethought to hide his power until he finds an opening, but his surprise at Chuuya’s reaction ultimately forces him to waste his chance.

Dazai meets the old boss

The fact that Hirotsu is also an old man made the revelation about the old boss a little hard for me in this episode. When the old boss appears, I just assumed that Hirotsu was unleashing some kind of additional power. Maybe he’s still a part of this, but it definitely took me some time to understand that the old boss truly had come back. I was under the impression that Dazai was squashing out some sympathizers for the old boss or something.

Chuuya and Dazai team up

I think it’s a bit funny that the episode puts a lot of effort into explaining why the old boss’s death was a secret, and yet the secret seems to get revealed fairly easily. I don’t know how to feel. I liked how the episode portrayed the disconnect between Chuuya and Dazai, though. They clearly see themselves as polar opposites, but they complement each other well.