Sora yori mo Tooi Basho Episode 10: Becoming friends

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The theme of defining friendship is nothing new, but I was still found this episode’s approach really entertaining. I liked the way it centered around Yuzuki, because her lack of trust makes a lot of sense with her background. Plus, it served as a decent opportunity for her to grow. But past that, I noticed so many points where the episode was setting itself up that I was really impressed.

Man, I’m really bad at this. This scene is clearly trying to show something more (as this show always does), but I’m totally blanking. Maybe it’s something about how Yuzuki sees other people with the same kind of distrust?

While this scene was probably a throwaway gag, I still found it really funny because the two never actually say that the birds might eat the chicken. They just imply it and continue the gag from there, letting the joke convey that part.

I liked the bit about Yuzuki’s birthday. It’s pretty clear that her birthday is near Christmas based on her comment, and the episode addresses it later when the other girls celebrate with her. I saw it as an excellent example of a clear setup with a satisfying resolution.

With Yuzuki’s friendship contract, I immediately picked up on the potential sore spot from Megu’s “breakup” with Kimari. However, the episode doesn’t dwell on it later, and brings it up pretty casually in conversation later. So, the link is suggested but not forced. I really appreciate this kind of thing.


Winter 2018 Grab Bag Week 9: Sangatsu no Lion, Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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Gee, I sure wonder what show I’m going to pick this week.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 39

I always enjoy it when this series explores other perspectives. I thought this episode did a great job of making me want to cheer for both players.

I really liked that the episode starts by showing Shimada’s perception of Saku. From Shimada’s perspective, the gathering of Saku’s older friends is a power play to mess with an opponent’s morale. Shimada sees them as a huge advantage that Saku has built with his years of experience, which is a nice way to set up the rest of the episode.

However, we later see that the expectations of those who are left behind can be a burden. I’d never quite thought of things like that, but it makes sense when you think about it. Of course, it’s always tragic when a dream is left unrealized, but I always find it interesting to look at the other side.

The presentation in this episode did a great job of visualizing Saku’s personal suffering. For me, the image of the bandages covering Saku is one of the most memorable scenes I’ve seen in this series.

The concept of the burnt field was also great. Saku basically stands alone in the aftermath of his friends who have burned out.

Mahoutsukai no Yome Episode 21

While it’s pretty easy to hate Elias in this episode, I’d say that his actions make sense. This episode really shines a light on the worst of both Elias and Chise. Other characters have mentioned multiple times that Chise’s relationship with Elias is dangerous and this episode seemed like the breaking point.

In Elias’s defense, we’ve heard multiple times that he’s practically a child despite his appearance. It seems pretty fitting that his actions would stem from a combination of immature jealousy and his general attachment to Chise. Chise’s not fully in the clear on this one too, especially with how much she’s willing to disregard her own life.

I didn’t really get this scene. The number of scenes with lips moving makes me think that the scene really should have been voiced. It seemed way too long to warrant a complete lack of dialogue.

Kokkoku Episode 9: So many new things

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This week’s episode really felt like the series was trying to shove a number of story elements in without really explaining them. For example, the dying delinquent who turns into a Herald felt super random. I guess Sagawa’s motivations are explained a bit more, but I still don’t fully “believe” them without a little explanation on why he’s aiming for that goal.

I was quite surprised with Juri’s decision to destroy the stone. I’m sure it’s just meant to set up some drama to get her out, but the series might be interesting if it ends with her guarding over the Stasis world or something.

I have mixed feelings about Shiomi’s decision to switch sides. I liked the scene. Sagawa is part Herald, so his reaction makes sense since he would be able to read Shiomi’s intentions to an extent. And Sagawa immediately turns on Shiomi without any kind of mental dialogue to bog down the scene. It was also established that Shiomi was the type of person who would change sides easily. I just wish there was more explanation on why he decided to do it. He probably felt like things weren’t going in his favor when he saw the destroyed stone, but I wanted more than that.

I give Sagawa points for a unique plan. He feels less like a generic bad guy. However, the plan seems a bit sketchy. From what I could gather, he’s trying to figure out the Stasis world to the point where he can use the jellyfish to stall his body while moving time forward. Is that even possible? Am I just supposed to accept that it is? I also want to know what caused Sagawa to come up with this plan, but I’m sure that’s coming.

I’m willing to stay curious about where they go with Makoto’s power. Takafumi still seems like he’s being set up as the ultimate villain in this series, but I’ll hold judgment until I see where this is going.

That being said, Juri’s reaction to her father’s “power” was pretty spectacular.

Darling in the FranXX Episode 8: Work together

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This week’s episode was okay in that it approached some topics that I wanted to see, but it mostly didn’t feel like much. If anything, it felt almost like a hot springs episode in disguise (I say that because of the multiple bath scenes). That being said, I will state for the record that this week’s episode was probably my favorite showcase for Zero Two. Her scenes were excellent.

Did this attack serve any other purpose for the klaxosaur? I’m sure you could make some kind of forced evolutionary argument, but it sure seems a lot like this attack exists just to dissolve the girls’ clothes.

This conversation just sounds like nonsense. The girls could have easily hit puberty at different times, but they’re clearly all responding to the same stimulus. The adults should have been monitoring them during that battle, so this much should be obvious, right?

This line seems like a bit of a throwaway, but I’m actually curious whether it’s supposed to set up the scene at the end. My first question when Miku found the old squad’s photo was why no one had bothered to clear out that room. But if the invisible caretakers do everything but clean, that might be an explanation.

Zero Two’s expression here is amazing.

Hooray! Let’s all work together! I guess it’s about time that kind of thing happened.

This scene was probably the most interesting scene to me because it further the mystery of what happens to the parasites. In an earlier episode, I questioned whether it was just the risky nature of their job, and this revelation seems to reinforce that answer. I still kinda want it to be more, though, but I wonder if I’m just expecting too much from this show.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Episode 8: The plan comes together

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It really wasn’t that hard to figure out where this week’s episode was going, but I found it enjoyable nonetheless. To be fair, the episode seemed fairly aware of what it was doing, as it had Enokida literally scripting the entire plan. That’s about as overt as you can get.

Given that the episode was trying so hard to hide Enokida’s face in this opening sequence, I almost thought he’d already made the swap. Still, I liked a lot of the elements of his plan, like putting out a bunch of fake messages to hide the messages with the code.

This scene was a nice “are you paying attention?” moment. I definitely saw Lin in the background, but it would have been easy to focus on the conversation in the foreground.

Sigh…really? What kind of line is that?

I really should have realized last week that the whole height issue would become relevant later. I can do better!

I’m glad that I was right about bringing Saito in after Enokida helped him last week. I’m a bit sad that he was just used for another frame job. I get that it’s supposed to be the running gag, but it still feels so much like an afterthought.

Also, the whole deal with Enokida’s father didn’t really make me feel anything. It just seemed like a really generic development that he didn’t hate his son.

Violet Evergarden Episode 8: Back to the past

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This week’s episode finally went back to show the background events leading up to the start of the series, which is something I’ve been waiting to see. I really liked the way that Gilbert was portrayed in this episode, and it was great that his character finally became more than just a name. Still, it seems like the story is incomplete, so I’m curious to see what comes next.

This conversation is probably the one I understand the least. Hodgins takes a lot of heat, but was it really his fault that Violet learned about Gilbert? He just confirmed it. Sure, he could have lied, but Violet could have continued doing the same investigation that we saw in this episode. Actually, I’m highly convinced that she would have regardless of what he said.

The flashback was kinda interesting in that it seemed like people were largely projecting themselves on to Gilbert. We’re shown so many scenes that prove that he didn’t see Violet as a weapon in the same way that other soldiers did.

Along the same line of thinking, I liked the way that the episode portrayed Gilbert’s personal issues with using Violet. We see how he’s forced to use her in battle and the impressions other get from that. The whole rumor that Violet is called Gilbert’s weapon stems from his inability to keep her away from the fight. It’s interesting to see how he struggles with that.

Honestly, I thought the scene with Hodgins was a bit on the nose. I would understand if he’d made a promise to take care of Violet, but having him joke that he would hire Violet after the war seems too specific.

I’m definitely curious to see where this battle goes from here. From what we’ve seen so far, the victory seems assured, but we know that Violet still needs to lose her arms. I’m wondering how that happens, so I guess we’ll see next week.

Beatless Episode 7: On to the next one

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I see the break last week hasn’t done much for this show. This week’s episode was really frustrating because it just felt so narrow. Each scene seemed to clearly telegraph what development it was setting up later in the episode.

I liked the idea of the company trying to minimize liability by having an individual sign Methode’s contract rather than having the company itself sign it.

That being said, this scene is an example of the narrow direction I noticed in this episode. They mention that Methode is the only Lacia-class hIE to return after the facility exploded, and then the old guy in charge immediately expresses the concern that the incident may have been an inside job. It doesn’t really take much to conclude that Methode returned because her owner wanted to keep up appearances. Why else would she act anomalously?

In the next scene, we’re introduced to Shiori through her arranged marriage situation. Given the relative standings of Arato and his friends, it’s not hard to guess that Ryo would be most involved. I was honestly expecting Ryo to be one of the marriage prospects rather than being Shiori’s brother. I guess they needed to fulfill the cliche of the girl refusing to accept an arranged marriage. Propping up Arato as her love interest just seems boring.

The parts that I found most interesting in this episode are the parts that got the least focus. There are a couple of statements that help to build the sci-fi world that really just existed as side comments. First off, we have Ryo’s comment that it’s illegal to knowingly create an hIE with a face identical to a real human. I want to know more about that. How do you determine if a person did it intentionally? Is the hIE destroyed if it happens? Would that also happen if it’s demonstrated that the creator did it unintentionally?

The second comment that caught my attention was the comment about Watarai’s pro-AI tendency. I’m assuming that this is a simple comment on social tendencies. It would be like if someone said I have “pro-science” leaning. Ultimately, the ideology doesn’t define me, but it contributes to my decisions. However, this line made me wonder just how politicized the AI vs. human debate is in this world. Is it considered a political issue?

Sora yori mo Tooi Basho Episode 9: In your face

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This week’s episode was great in that it addressed the part of the show I found most curious, Shirase’s relationship with Gin. I really liked the way in which the two were presented and I look forward to seeing how they progress in the future.

Child Shirase is adorable. I really appreciated these flashbacks for how they showed Gin’s previous relationship with Shirase. They also did a great job of showing how Shirase grew to become more like Gin because of the time they spent together.

The episode also made great use of parallel conversations to show how Shirase and Gin are alike, rather than having people point it out. The scenes make it more reasonable later in the episode when Gin confronts Shirase. The question about Shirase’s true feelings makes a lot more sense when we see the similarities, as Gin’s impression of how Shirase might feel is more likely to be accurate.

The “love story” in the background also felt really relevant despite being a pretty random side story on the surface. The random guy’s questions about Gin’s “type” are a nice parallel to Gin’s own questions about Shirase’s feelings. They both boil down to the same base question: “how do you feel about me?”

The episode was also able to fit some extra information into the story as well. The stuff about the icebreaker and Japan’s own history with Antarctic exploration was pretty interesting. It’s not something I would normally think about as a barrier to Antarctica.

Man, this scene just felt cruel.

But I guess the main story is that the girls finally made it. Shirase’s reaction was amazing.

Winter 2018 Grab Bag Week 8: Mahoutsukai no Yome, Death March

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I really want 3-gatsu to come back…

I’m travelling for work this week, so I apologize for only doing two shows again.

Mahoutsukai no Yome Episode 20

It’s episodes like this one that make me really wonder how this series is going to end. Chise is already someone with a shortened lifespan and she seems to keep piling things on. At this point, it will take a miracle to keep her alive.

I gotta admit. This “wow” was funnier than I expected.

There’s an interesting idea in this line. It’s a common idea that people who commit suicide are acting selfishly by disregarding the people who care for them for personal solace. From Elias’s perspective, you could make the argument that Chise does the same thing by taking the suffering of others on to herself. Given how little she values herself, she probably sees it as ultimately beneficial, but Elias doesn’t see it the same way.

Death March Episode 7

I haven’t talked with this series in a while because my opinion of it really hasn’t changed. When I was reading the manga, I saw this series as pretty average, as it doesn’t do anything special as an isekai show. However, the anime has been giving me more of a negative impression because I feel like it doesn’t work well as an adaptation.

Nothing against Mia, of course. She’s adorable.

I really don’t understand why this series relies so much on photo montages to pass the time. I can understand having them occasionally, but this series feels like it’s largely showing me a series of screenshots instead of a moving picture.

Kokkoku Episode 8: Should it really be this confusing?

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This show feels like it’s gradually falling apart to me. The explanations are still coming in the same way, but they’re making less sense. That’s the opposite of what should be happening as the show progresses, so I’m really bothered by it. I think a large part of the confusion lies in the fact that we still don’t have a good grasp of what Majima and Sagawa know about Stasis.

The beginning of the episode wasn’t too bad, as Sagawa seemed to be experimenting with how much control he still had as a Herald. It’s not a bad concept, but I didn’t find it too compelling as it was presented. There are brief comments about will, but they don’t go anywhere.

I also didn’t mind Majima’s attempt to convince Shiomi to betray Sagawa. Ultimately, it doesn’t amount to anything, but it seemed like a decent plan to me.

Nice joke and all, but I would consider many of the quotes from The Art of War to qualify as old sayings. So, this statement doesn’t really refute what Gramps says.

So, does Majima actually have a power? Sagawa didn’t make it too clear. She could have been demonstrating her own power like Juri, but Sagawa compares Majima with himself. That statement suggests that she might be integrating with the Stasis like he is. Or maybe there’s no difference. That could be cool.

The ending of the episode seemed the most frustrating for me. How did Majima guess that Sagawa was planning to use the grandfather’s blood to expel him from the Stasis? Doesn’t that seem like too much of a leap? And why does the grandfather suddenly not care about getting the stone back? How else are they planning to get out?