Fall 2019 Grab Bag Week 5: Gundam Build Divers Re-RISE, Assassins Pride

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I watch too many shows, so let’s talk about some other ones.

Mei is annoyed

Gundam Build Divers Re-RISE Episode 5

I’ve largely been treating this show as a relaxing sideshow, and I think it holds up decently. I like that it breaks the mold by having its main character, Hiroto Kuga, be an experienced player rather than a complete newbie. I think it’s refreshing to follow someone who knows what he’s doing, but I do wonder about how the series is handling character stories.

Par tries to leave

The story largely follows four players who find themselves thrown together D&D-style into an adventuring party within the game. I get that it’s interesting to follow along as the characters learn about each other, but I do get the sense that their pasts are a bit too mysterious. This episode is a nice opportunity for Par, but it starts with Mei displaying a preexisting relationship with Magee. Am I supposed to recognize her from the previous season?

Hiroto unveils a new form

Still, I think that the variety in the mobile suits seems interesting so far. I’ve always liked transforming Gundams, so it’s cool to watch Hiroto fight. Justice Knight is annoying so far, but what can you do? The overall story seems to be following a potential non-player ecosystem within the game, which is a natural progression from the self-aware AI that was Sarah in the previous season. The story reminds me of the focus of Infinite Dendrogram, so I think it’s promising.

Melida and Nerva are friends now

Assassins Pride Episode 4

When I last spoke about this series, I commented that I liked the concept behind its setting, but I thought that its explanations of character motivations were lacking. To be honest, that hasn’t changed all too much, but I do like that the series has been working on building its world some more. It certainly explains a lot. In other senses, I get the feeling that it’s rushing through its developments a bit. The previous episode was meant to be Melida’s debut, but this week’s episode immediately shifts to a much more important tournament without much reason.

Melida and Elise are revealed

I get that this competition is supposed to be a prestigious thing, but I still find it weird that everyone just kind of goes with it when Melida and Elise are revealed here. Also, we as the audience don’t really get a good sense of why this is a shocking reveal until it’s fully explained, which makes it feel like a weak moment. I’m not even sure I have a good sense of where Melida ranks within her school. Is she effectively a first-year?

Kufa must prove himself

I do have to give the episode credit for Carrier Marquis’s reveal. It’s not a bad fight, and I like the slight explanation of the class system within this world through her Clown class. Compared to the previous episode’s vampire reveal, it feels like a step up. Yeesh, how does Kufa trick anyone with his name?

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 5: Day off with Gilgamesh

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Gilgamesh joins the party

Well, this week’s episode certainly escalated quickly, but it was cool to see Gilgamesh in action. I find this whole deal with Enkidu to be interesting so far, since he’s clearly struggling with something. His relationship with Gilgamesh also seems to have some complexity to it. Personally, I felt like the battle in this episode wasn’t as impressive as previous ones, but maybe that’s just me.

Gilgamesh talks with the people

Maybe it’s just the added layer of seeing him in his element, but this version of Gilgamesh seems to have a lot more going for him. I think it’s great to see how he interacts with his subjects in this episode. He comes off as a reasonable king. In addition to that, his interactions with Mash and Ritsuka felt nice and genuine.

Gilgamesh talks with the observatory workers

This one scene in the observatory did have me curious. It comes across as another one-off scene showing Gilgamesh at work, but it has the foreboding nature of a secret meeting. It seems innocent enough, but I wonder if Gilgamesh is working on something else in the background.

Gilgamesh brings up a memory with Enkidu

I really liked Gilgamesh’s entrance here. It’s cool that he and Enkidu have similar abilities, and it was hilarious to hear him call Enkidu out for claiming to come up with his tactics. As for the fight itself, it leaned more towards the flashy side with the massive energy blasts and whatnot. It’s not the kind of thing I tend to find appealing, but I still think there were some good moments with Gilgamesh’s axe.

Gilgamesh analyzes Enkidu

I would normally think that Gilgamesh is just saying things here, but this episode actually does back up what he says. In the final moments, we clearly see Enkidu miss his attack on Gilgamesh, so it’s completely within reason to say that Gilgamesh narrowly avoided death. It seems like Enkidu might be battling against his real personality, since he’s having trouble fighting against his old friend.

No Guns Life Episode 4: Saving people

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Cunningham calls Anne useless

Maybe I’m being too dramatic, but this week’s episode felt questionable to me. I felt like I was okay with the development that it seemed to be going for, but many of the decisions didn’t sit well with me. To be fair, one of the larger complaints I have with the episode is with regards to Anne, and it could very easily be overturned in a subsequent episode. But I think the assessment still stands.

Anne is fine with being a tool

I got the sense that Anne and Ende were meant to exist to counter Tetsurou’s renewed purpose in life. They were okay with being used as tools as long as it furthered their personal objectives, while Tetsurou flatly rejects the idea of letting others use his power. However, I don’t think that message has enough time to get across, so the girls seem largely wasted.

Tetsurou runs out of power

I guess the episode never truly makes it clear that Anne is dead, but I think that it’s too sudden if she’s really gone. I honestly like the idea of punishing Tetsurou for insisting on his way, but I think this goes too far. Anne as a character has no real chance to develop, so her death seems too much like a device. Combined with Ende’s cheesy survival in the end, it’s just a hard pill to swallow.

Tetsurou attempts to stop Ende

In addition to that, I think that Tetsurou would have come off a lot better if he had relinquished control in the end rather than having it yanked away from him. I could be persuaded on this, though. It indicates that he has a long way to go, and it does technically align with Juuzou’s statement about Tetsurou being more selfish. But I think it’s hard to get a sense of what people are thinking when they say one thing and do another. That level of contradiction made the episode harder to follow.

Juuzou asks for Tetsurou's help

Another example of that is Juuzou’s trigger. It’s cool to see it finally get used, but Juuzou immediately contradicts the scene by stating that he hasn’t accepted Tetsurou yet. In the same breath, he insists that only people he accepts can touch his trigger. I can’t tell if he’s just being overly standoffish or something else.

Tetsurou wonders about his control

I did like seeing this scene about Tetsurou’s control over Juuzou. Anything that breaks the ambiguity in this episode feels welcome to me.

Random Lists: 5 Favorite Episodic Mysteries

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Inga looks up

Hopefully, this post isn’t too weird. Many mystery shows stretch out a larger mystery across multiple episodes or split the series into longer arcs. These would be shows like Death Note or Erased/Boku dake ga Inai Machi. It’s a great way to build intrigue and tension across an entire series. I definitely enjoy watching shows like this, but I often find myself with more of an affinity towards the shorter, bite-sized mysteries.

I grew up reading Sherlock Holmes, so I have a soft spot for shows that follow that same pattern.. Watching a complicated mystery unfold is great, but I think there’s something to be said about a show that gives you the satisfaction of an answer promptly. In honor of that, here’s a list of 5 shows shorter mystery segments that I enjoyed watching.

Sakurako doesn't like being woken up

5. Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru

Centering on the titular Sakurako Kujou, this series follows an eccentric bone expert who solves cases with her expertise. We see the story through her plucky assistant, Shoutarou Tatewaki. I think part of what drew my interest in this series was how active Shoutarou’s role in it is. He’s often seen pushing the story forward or examining his own cases. It was a fun series overall.

4. UN-GO

Boy does this series make me feel old. Taking place in a dystopian future, the series follows the disgraced detective, Shinjuurou Yuuki, as he solves mysteries to regain his reputation. Joining him is Inga, a mysterious boy who often aids him by forcing his suspects to answer one question truthfully. I liked the dynamic between the main characters in this series, especially given that the mysteries tend to focus around Shinjuurou figuring out the right question to ask.

Dalian is not amused

3. Hyouka

I’ve talked this show to death, so I won’t spend too much time here. Most shows in this genre focus on more traditional crimes, full of death and betrayal. I’ve always thought that this series was refreshing for looking at much more mundane mysteries, unveiling the wonder and stories behind everyday life.

2. Dantalian no Shoka

This might be a hard series to sell. The story follows Hugh Anthony Disward, a man who inherits the estate of his recently deceased grandfather. In the manor, he finds a strange girl named Dalian, who maintains the titular library. Contained within that library is a collection of Phantom Books, magical books with a variety of powers. Together with Dalian, Hugh seeks to recover the books that have made it out into the world, solving the mysteries surrounding their new owners.

Victorique is bored

1. Gosick

Kazuya Kujou is a Japanese student transferring into a fancy boarding school in Europe, who is shunned by his classmates for his foreign appearance. While exploring the school’s massive library, he meets a mysterious girl named Victorique on the top floor. Together, the two solve mysteries, largely relying on Victorique’s “fountain of wisdom”.

This series arguably doesn’t belong here because of how the story shifts at about the halfway point. However, the first half of the series fits the bill quite well. It’s probably the most endearing series on this list, and I really liked Victorique as a character.

Houkago Saikoro Club Episode 5: Exploring new places

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Aya wants to see the sea

I feel like there was a surprising amount going on for this obligatory beach episode. Miki’s past seems to once again be the central focus, but I thought it was a fun interlude. I guess we didn’t technically get a new character introduction in this episode, since Takashi seems like a one-off.

Miki's aunt notices her behavior

I do think that the series does a good job of capturing slow progression with Miki. It’s natural for her family members to point out how much she’s changed with her new friends, but it doesn’t seem particularly drastic or anything.

Midori talks about Goita

Surprisingly enough, we finally get a Japanese board game in this episode. Goita seems fairly similar to Western paired trick-taking games, but I think the reuse of shogi pieces is cool. I was also worried in the beginning when the first game was quickly glossed over. I thought Goita might end up being a prelude to a completely different game, but we got a decent explanation of the game after all.

Midori explains the game's rules

I think the rules of Goita as they were initially explained were a bit more confusing for me. When I saw how it was played, it made much more sense, but the “attack” and “match” explanations threw me off. I also think that there’s an element of the game that could have been called out. The explanations make it clear that the strategy heavily relies on being able to guess your opponent’s hands, which is why the face-down pieces have a certain significance.

Midori tries to teach Takashi

I also think it was great to see Miki attempting to play off of Takashi to give him a better sense of the game. I know I’ve been in situations in the past where someone initially tells me that a game is simple if you play a certain way. Then, you just get bombarded with exceptions as the game goes on.

The girls enjoy the beach

Oh hey, I guess the girls have to hit the beach at some point, right?

Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo ne Episode 4: Official duties

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Pauline thinks financially

Hoo boy, it’s time to get into the character stories. With the Crimson Vow officially formed, this week’s episode largely focused on the girls as they set out on their new career. As the girls start to get to know each other better, we learn a bit more about Pauline and Reina. As always, it’s a fun episode, and I look forward to learning about these characters.

Mile works as a maid

You have to give Mile credit. She’s doing a great job of introducing Japanese culture to her new world. She’ll make them all weabs in no time.

Mile uses cold against the reptile

Time to save the day with some science, I guess. I feel like I have to give Mile credit for not utilizing some obscure trivia knowledge to save the day. She has every right to do so, after all. She was supposedly a genius in her previous life.

Pauline tricks a merchant

I feel like there’s quite a gap between merchant and cleric, but Pauline certainly keeps it fun. Also, she’s moderately frightening.

Mile fears Pauline

This is the weekly reminder that Mile has the best facial expressions.

Mile is astonished by her enemy

It’s really entertaining to watch Mile gush over her otaku dreams coming true during moments of great peril. I’m not saying I wouldn’t go full otaku while seeing a somewhat realistic mech sequence, but Mile takes it to another level.

Reina asks if the group has killed anyone

I look forward to seeing what happens with Reina’s character. There’s a brief flash of her burning two people to a crisp, but I initially assumed it was a hallucination of what could have happened to the bandits. Based on this comment, it might be more likely that it’s a memory from Reina’s past.

Babylon Episode 4: Building a case

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Zen searches for Kaika

I guess we need some time to build back up after the crazy ride in the previous episode. This week’s episode ended up being a slower episode comparatively, filled with legal interpretation. To be fair, though, I didn’t think it was particularly boring as a result. It seems to be setting itself up well, and I look forward to seeing what comes out of it.

The hunt begins

Much of the episode is devoted to the manhunt for Kaika Itsuki. I personally think it’s interesting that the characters in the series are treating him as the ultimate mastermind. I guess only Zen and the audience know about Ai. That being said, I do find it suspicious that Kaika never appears on screen in this episode. Perhaps his appearance in the previous episode was the last one he could make.

The prosecutors discuss how to charge Kaika

Huh, so this is what being a lawyer is like. I almost forgot that Zen is actually a prosecutor. This scene somehow feels out of place despite being a clear depiction of the main character doing his job.

Zen meets Hiasa

So, did anyone else immediately suspect that Hiasa was Ai in disguise when she walked into the office? She seems like a legitimate character so far, but the episode still hasn’t dissuaded me of that. After all, Ai is supposed to be a master of disguise. I’d probably be more convinced if Yoshifumi came in and confirmed it, but even that wouldn’t be conclusive. I could totally see a future scene where Yoshifumi declares that this isn’t the real Hiasa, though.

A kid begs for help

I’m curious about how much of the episode seems devoted to showing how unpopular the suicide law is. The series seems to be giving clear indication that the law will ultimately fail. I can only assume that the opposite will happen. I was also under the impression that the suicide law could just be a smokescreen for something else, but that might be too random at this point.

Finding the actions of the suicide victims

I do like this show’s general depiction of police work, though. It’s not super flashy so far, and the investigation makes sense from my perspective. I’m just waiting for everything to go off the rails.

Fall 2019 Grab Bag Week 4: Kono Oto Tomare, Special 7

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Deciding on a season lineup is hard.

Hiro disciplines herself

Kono Oto Tomare Episode 17

As cheesy as it might be sometimes, I’ve missed this show. Personally, I’d love to see the romances in the show take off, since it seems like they’ve been pushed so far already. But yeah, we’re back with more koto playing. In the aftermath of the previous season, this half of the show puts its focus straight on nationals. The focus seems to be on the upperclassmen, since it’s revealed that they only have one chance left to go to nationals.

Suzuka chooses a song

Another change with this season is that Suzuka is taking a more supportive role. I think he adds to the show well with his musical background. I also quite like the development of his choosing Satowa’s song for the club to play at nationals. I was skeptical at first, but I like what the show did with that development. Satowa first realizes that she failed to convey the feelings she wanted, and now she has the chance to make it better.

Satowa returns home for a favor

I’m curious to see how Satowa’s relationship with her mother develops as well. I would have expected her to bring someone along (like Chika) when she went to borrow the koto, but she sticks more to her previous personality by doing it alone.

Hiro hugs Satowa

This was a cute scene to get as a reward, though.

Kujaku has a secret meeting

Special 7 – Special Crime Investigation Unit Episode 4

Well, I guess it’s been a while since I last talked about this show. In my previous post, I mentioned the lack of fantasy elements, which has largely been going away with the shifted focus on Nine. I don’t have a problem with the overall concept of this series, but the execution still feels lacking to me. I think this week’s episode is a good example, since its core mystery doesn’t end up feeling satisfying.

The situation is explained

This week’s episode focuses on the case of a wounded child and his overly suspicious father. The episode spends a lot of time presenting Eguchi, the father, as a sympathetic character, and it effectively rolls with that. However, the evidence itself doesn’t seem to do a great job of exculpating him. Even if you fear for your child’s life, I feel like the reasonable course of action is to hire some kind of protection. What does buying insurance gain you?

Seiji seems suspicious

And in the end, the episode emphasizes Goto’s involvement in the car explosion, but it never links him to the murders of the other two children. Was I just supposed to accept that Eguchi didn’t kill one and therefore wouldn’t kill the other two? More importantly, what was Goto’s motive? The episode does a good job of explaining his attempts at the hospital, but I don’t remember hearing an explanation for the original explosion.

Kujaku confronts the culprit

I think the main point of interest in the episode for me was the focus on Kujaku Nijou, Seiji’s partner for the day. I don’t know how to fully interpret the final scene, but it seems like Kujaku might be playing both sides. It looks like he has some kind of informant in Nine, and he’s actively working to investigate Shiori. However, the information he gets at the end seems to be for the benefit of the agency. So, he seems like a good person overall.

Fate/Grand Order: Babylonia Episode 4: The great tiger

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The Mage King taunts the heroes

I’m probably in the same boat, but I can imagine this episode makes less sense for people who haven’t played the game. Jaguarman’s entrance was definitely a hilarious development, but this week’s episode shines the light more on Ritsuka’s internal struggle. It’s nice to see that the series is getting back to the action, but this story certainly feels like it’s drawing more heavily from previous singularities that haven’t been adapted.

Mash comforts Ritsuka

That being said, I don’t think it’s too hard to piece things together. I skipped through most of the story in the game, and I basically concluded that those scenes were from Camelot. Presumably, Ritsuka was able to recover the Holy Grail in that singularity, but he did so at great personal cost. As a result, he’s come to question the sacrifices he’s had to make along the way.

The people of Ur refuse rescue

I think that’s what makes this episode better, as Ritsuka’s now forced to reconcile his personal feelings with what he sees in Ur. As he’s agonizing over his past decisions, the people in Ur are perfectly willing to sacrifice their own in order to survive. Given the general story behind this singularity, it’s a great analogue to Chaldea’s own mission of saving humanity from extinction. The individual losses that Ritsuka has suffered due to his decisions could be seen as similar sacrifices for the sake of humanity.

Merlin notices an irregularity with the Holy Grail

I’m surprised at how casual this discussion about Gilgamesh’s fake Holy Grail is. The main characters have been spending a lot of time ingratiating themselves in order to get the grail, so I would have expected some outrage. I guess it’s never a bad thing to be on the king’s good side.

Jaguarman attacks Ana

On a completely different note, the fight against Jaguarman was pretty awesome. She feels like such a joke character, but the fight still looked good. I guess it shows that Taiga is not to be trifled with.

No Guns Life Episode 3: Protagonist change

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Tetsurou is still recovering

I feel like this week’s episode took a sharp left turn, and I wonder where it’s going with it. I definitely didn’t expect Tetsurou to turn around and take over Juuzou when he refused to help without compensation. I guess we’ll be learning about Tetsurou first hand, rather than through a drawn-out explanation. Honestly, I’m still not sure what to make of this development, so I’ll wait until next week to see how it goes.

Kids are attacked to get to Tetsurou

Cunningham really escalated his tactics. His diabolical scheme of buying all of the cigarettes from last week seems tame in comparison to tearing extensions away from kids. Still, I liked how the episode presents it as a potential case for Juuzou before he pieces it all together. I appreciate a villain that sends an indirect message.

Tetsurou takes over Juuzou

Well, that kind of happened. I am a bit curious about it, though. We’ve already heard that Juuzou’s extensions are special, since he got them during the war. There’s a later scene where Tetsurou is shot with poisoned bullets, and he notes that he doesn’t have perfect control over Juuzou. It’s a scene that’s easy to brush off because the effect of the poison is a perfectly logical explanation for that feeling, but it makes me wonder how much control he actually has.

Tetsurou can still see

This scene has no business being as funny as it is. I can’t believe how much the series is steering into the jokes about Juuzou’s head, but I still think it’s amazing.

Tetsurou saves Ende and Anne

I thought this show would largely focus on taking on the Beruehren Corporation, but this week’s episode makes me wonder if it’s more focused on saving Tetsurou’s fellow experiment kids. Maybe Tetsurou is less brainwashed because he’s the CEO’s son or something? This scene made it seem like Anne and Ende just didn’t know any better, so they followed instructions.