Winter 2018 Grab Bag Week 2: Sangatsu no Lion, Mahou Tsukai no Yome, and Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku

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Why does it feel like I take on more shows every season?

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 35

Hey, this show is happy again. I’m really glad we’re through this arc. While I liked the content, there’s something terribly wrong with seeing Hina suffer. She seems like the kind of person who would deserve it the least.

The scenes between the teacher and the bully kid were pretty cool. I like how “no nonsense” that teacher is. It’s really easy to be swayed by comments about society’s influence, so I agree with his approach of forcing responsibility where it belongs. I also think it’s reasonable that everything isn’t magically resolved immediately.

Chiho’s letter was just a great development. It created such a grounded ending for the story. While it’s great that she’s doing well and that Hina gets to find that out, Chiho’s experience was still a harsh one. The whole ending gives a sense of “making the best of things” rather than getting the perfect happy ending.

This scene was another one where I found Rei relatable. I honestly agreed with him that he didn’t seem to contribute too much, because I similarly underestimate the effectiveness of just being supportive.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 14

While I quite liked the story with Joel and the leannan sidhe, I have issues with how this episode started. I mentioned last week that I felt like last week’s episode was a decent amount of nothing, so I was really bothered with how quickly the fox debacle ended. It really only amounted to a few minutes of screen time, so why didn’t it happen last week? Was it just meant to force a better cliffhanger?

That aside, I thought the main story of the episode was nice. I liked how Elias and Chise complimented each other. Elias provided blunt knowledge about Joel’s conditions without regard while Chise sought to console her friend. I also really like to see Chise so proactive about using what she’s learned about magic. It makes her feel less like a lackey relying on Elias all of the time.

I’m curious. How effective is this cliffhanger given the one we just got?

Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku Episode 1

I don’t really want to devote an entire post to this show because I know I won’t have much to say. From what I’ve seen from the manga, it’s really not doing anything too special as an isekai show. In my eyes, it was just a decent thing to casually read. As for the anime adaptation itself, I had a lot of issues with it from the first episode.

I wasn’t really expecting so much of the episode to be devoted to Suzuki’s job. To be fair, it was a fairly relatable portrayal, so it wasn’t boring. I mostly thought it was weird that they had to establish that he wasn’t a pedophile by showing that scene with the lost girl.

I think my major comment with this show is that it’s basically asking for the ending where the entire story was just a dream. The isekai experience starts when Suzuki falls asleep. The Meteor Rain mechanic also fits better because it would have been fresh in his mind. But I’ve been told that this idea gets addressed later, so maybe I shouldn’t say much.

Also, was it really too much to ask that the notifications get a translation? I found them pretty funny in many situations when I was reading the manga.

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Winter 2018 Grab Bag Week 1: Sangatsu no Lion, Mahou Tsukai no Yome, and Slow Start

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Given that a majority of these series are from the previous season, I decided to add another show. I’m curious. I feel like these are getting longer, so would it make more sense to split them into multiple posts? I’m starting to think that’s a better idea.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 34

Hina’s such a strong character that it’s almost unbelievable at times. I really wanted Akari to be the one who spoke out against the angry mother in this episode, and I was pretty shocked to see that Hina was the one supporting her. That being said, perhaps it’s a testament to how much support Hina’s been getting from everyone else (like Rei) that we see Hina speaking up.

The scene with the previous homeroom teacher was okay. I personally still side with Hayashida that she should be the one intervening as a teacher. But I can understand the mentality that her work feels ultimately meaningless after constantly trying. I would just say that it means she should be getting help from another teacher. I’m not completely willing to see her as the victim in this scenario.

You know, I was going to cry foul with the way Kokubu asks for proof here. Typically, the burden of proof lies on the party making the claim that strays from the norm, which would be the claim that Hina is being bullied in this case.

However, I was really convinced with the way Kokubu explains himself and the general lack of proof in the situation. I still think the ethics cross into sketchy territory, but I don’t think the grey areas apply as much in a middle school setting. I’d agree with siding with the victim.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 13

If I’m being completely honest, I’d say I found this episode questionable for this show. The episode opens with scenes we saw at the end of the previous episode, which looked like they were only teasers for events that were coming in the future. They made sense as a mid-season finale to hint at what’s to come, but they make a lot less sense here. The new opening even reuses animation from the previous opening.

As for the episode itself, it felt like not too much happened. I will say, though, that I really liked Chise’s story about her family, though. Despite the tragedy we’ve seen in her past, it’s nice to see that her family truly did love her. I initially thought that she just had generically abusive parents, but those were only her foster families.

I guess this episode was setting up the next story. Chise is a fox now…woohoo?

Slow Start Episode 1

Uhh…I actually don’t have a lot to say about this show. It looked pretty good visually, the characters were interesting, and the conversations were funny enough. My only real issue is the premise. Why is it such a big deal that Hana started school a year late? I get that kids are more likely to focus on smaller things like that, but it just feels like a really boring thing to use as a character’s defining feature.

I thought the fact that the father is pacing in the background here was pretty funny. You don’t usually get a lot of characterization for a parent in shows like this, but it demonstrated that Hana’s mother isn’t the only worrier (despite sending the flood of texts).

This picture seems useful.

Fall 2017 Grab Bag Week 12: Sangatsu no Lion, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, and Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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Hey, this is probably the last one of these for fall. I made it!

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 33

I really appreciate this episode for giving Rei a chance to just be happy. As far as I’m concerned, he certainly deserves it. I definitely enjoyed the way it was portrayed too, with the subtle reaction to Chairman’s “I’m counting on you” building into the tears Rei can’t hold back in the Shogi Science Club.

Gakuto’s focus was a little weird in this episode, but I liked how he was portrayed in contrast to Shimada. The episode starts with him getting criticized for his lack of market appeal, which is heavily demonstrated in the game. We see a lot of flashy moves from Gakuto as Shimada calmly responds to them.

Having the principal and vice principal join the Shogi Club was pretty funny too. It looks like next week goes back to Hina, which probably means the fun is over.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou Episode 12

Okay, that was a lot more information than I was expecting from this final episode. It certainly didn’t answer all of my questions, but I can live with this ending. Some of the videos we saw confirmed what we already knew (that mankind basically self-destructed), but I’m guessing I’ll need to watch that part again to get the rest. That was a lot to follow…

I’m still not sure how I feel about the weird creatures. I was perfectly fine with accepting that they were some kind of experiment gone wrong or manmade “living” device. However, this episode seemed to suggest that they were some kind of system put in place to reset the life on Earth. Maybe I was reading too much into it, but I find that harder to believe.

Still, this series has been a pretty fun experience. Watching these two girls find fun in a seemingly bleak landscape has been one of my highlights for the season. Here’s hoping for some more to come.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 12

A lot of talking in this week’s episode, but it was still pretty nice. I quite liked Nevin’s conversation with Chise because it was somewhat similar to something I’ve heard a lot. It’s always nice to help others, but it’s important not to lose yourself in it to the point where you no longer help yourself.

I also really liked Nevin’s positive spin on Chise’s mother’s death, seeing it as an act of charity that she didn’t take Chise with her. It’s never really said, but I’m guessing Nevin saw it as a sacrifice to allow to Chise to continue on and help others.

I knew where the phoenix scene was going as soon as I saw it, but it was still a nice-looking scene.

Fall 2017 Grab Bag Week 11: Sangatsu no Lion, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, and Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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I may or may not have written this post on a bus.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 32

This week’s episode really messed with perspective well, showing different sides of the major events from last week. It’s easy to think poorly of Junkei after his game with Nikaidou, but this episode does a good job of putting his actions into context. It might still be a bit sketchy that he seemed to be acting out of jealousy towards Nikaidou, but it’s much more reasonable.

I found the situations from the mixer part of the episode to be pretty relatable. I’ve definitely been in situations where I’ve explained myself so much that I stop wanting to bother with it. Sometimes, it’s just easier to give the simple answer even if it gives people the wrong impression, especially when they don’t really care about the answer.

Hina’s perspective on Rei’s arrival was pretty interesting too. It was nice to see her finally relaxing a bit after all that’s happened.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou Episode 11

I really appreciate this series has been working towards a resolution. It’s been pretty episodic in nature up to this point, so I wasn’t really expecting it. However, last week’s episode and this week’s episode seem to have some sort of goal in mind. I’m really hoping we learn more in the submarine.

I think I was a bit too harsh on Cut last week. Seeing how it interacts with consoles in this week’s episode made me realize that it’s probably some kind of sci-fi experiment, so it fit this world more than I was willing to grant last week. Chi also seems to notice the similarity between the statues and Cut.

When did this show become a mecha show?

The way this series brings up questions about the world is pretty interesting. When Chi makes the “forest” comparison, I was curious too. What happened to the life in this world? It seems to be some kind of futuristic world, so it’s possible that they were simply replaced with machines.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 11

We got a bit more information about Elias’s past this week, though it may have opened a lot more questions. The master in last week’s episode guesses that Elias might be the result of a magic experiment gone bad, so it’s intriguing that he states that he has probably eaten humans before. That certainly goes a bit further than simple spell failure.

I like that Elias and Chise are given pretty similar characteristics. We’ve seen Chise marked as an outsider in her childhood, so it links pretty well with Lndel’s description of Elias.

This final scene looked pretty awesome.

Fall 2017 Grab Bag Week 10: Sangatsu no Lion, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, and Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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Insert clever opening here.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 31

I often wonder if I say stuff like this too much, but the bridge scene at the end of this week’s episode was one of the scenes that I was most looking forward to seeing in the anime adaptation. It’s an excellent display of how far Rei has come from the child who naturally avoided everyone around him. He’s able to understand Hina enough to guess where she’d be in a completely different environment.

The discussion surrounding Nikaidou’s game is also an interesting question of what really counts as “fair”. I tend to come off as competitive, but I don’t think I’m someone who could be described as willing to exploit anything to win. But I think it’s somewhat fair to say that Nikaidou’s physical condition is a weakness that is brought into the game as a factor.

I think Rei’s criticism of his opponent are probably saying that there’s a difference between a physical weakness that can’t truly be eliminated and a mental weakness (in gameplay) that can be removed with the proper mindset. I think it’s a fun discussion of where you draw the line because you could similarly argue that some minds aren’t suited towards that “correct” thinking. What are your thoughts on that?

I do like, though, that it’s ultimately Nikaidou’s words that pull Rei out of his rage.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou Episode 10

I might just be crazy, but this episode seemed to tie more into the other episodes than normal. It felt less isolated because it seemed to reference the music piece pretty heavily. Also, the “cat” that the girls find is probably related to the statues we’ve been seeing.

I do like the comparison made at the end between the sunset and the music that the girls heard. Since sound and light both have wave properties, it’s pretty interesting to use the word “rhythm” to talk about light as well.

I feel like the ending of the episode kinda loses me a bit, though. I’ll reserve judgment until I see where it’s going, but it seems to be straying a bit far into the supernatural to have the radio transmit the new creature’s thoughts.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 10

I don’t have too much to say about this episode. I think it’s nice to see more of Elias’s past to hopefully explain why most characters try to warn Chise about him. I also think it’s pretty important to show just how “fresh” Elias actually is to counter the aura he has of the wise mage.

There’s something funny about this line being delivered while the speaker is holding a saw.

I also quite like this particular insight into the magic world. The idea that curses and blessings are similar in essence kinda mirrors the idea that good and evil often depend on perspective. As such, whether something is a curse or blessing depends on how you look at it.

Fall 2017 Grab Bag Week 9: Sangatsu no Lion, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, and Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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I’m back to business as usual, I suppose.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 30

While this week’s episode was a bit of a shift of focus towards Nikaidou, it still acted as very welcome characterization for an otherwise questionable character. It was great to see how much he understood Rei and how far he was willing to go to help Rei. In his moment of weakness, Nikaidou is able to display his strength in that way.

I especially liked this line from Nikaidou. He recognizes that he’s generally a pitiable person, so he is especially hurt when he’s treated as such in the one area where he finds strength.

Hayashida was also great in this episode. I still find his passion as a teacher refreshing as well as his immediate willingness to step in and offer assistance.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou Episode 9

This week’s episode focuses on a bit of an old concept, but it’s done in a pretty interesting way. The question of whether “intelligent” robots could ever be alive is not a new one, but this episode does a nice job of exploring how we judge life by weighing a robot’s life against a fish’s life.

I’m curious. Am I the only one who disagreed with the final decision to destroy the giant robot? I’m sure that was the point of the episode, but it felt to me like the robot, which was capable of socializing with the other robot was more deserving of life than the fish. We’re kinda programmed to associate organic material with life, but this was an interesting alternative.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 9

This week’s episode is a bit of a cooldown from last week, but it still brought up some nice ideas. Chise’s reaction to Angelica’s warning about Elias brings an interesting element of doubt to the series. It’s pretty weird that Chise seems so attached to Elias, and it’s fair for Angelica to point it out. It makes you wonder whether there’s more to Chise’s attachment.

The second story of the episode also seemed to be tied together with Chise’s conundrum, showing off a rather unconventional form of love. I really liked what the leannan sidhe said about her affection being something separate from love because it defied the standards of her species. It fits with the unnatural relationship Chise has with Elias.

Silky, what you got there?

Fall 2017 Grab Bag Week 8: Sangatsu no Lion, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, and Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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There’s only a recap for Fate/Apocrypha this week, so I’m doing this early.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 29

This episode definitely had a lot of nice things going for it. Akari’s really interesting to me as a character because I like how her insecurities are shown. Despite the fact that she’s been working to provide for her sisters alone, this episode showed how quickly she would turn to others to take her place because of how unsure she was with herself.

Hina’s scenes were cool too, but I’m more looking forward to what’s to come. Her conversation with the teacher was just a tragedy to watch too, as the teacher was clearly trying to push any responsibility off of herself.

We also got a pretty long shogi match this week. I liked the way the match was presented and how it was linked to both Rei and Hina. The veterans did a good job of pointing out Rei’s similarities with Hachiya. And Rei’s reactions during the game about how someone could behave in such an irritating manner without any regard for others is remiscient of the bullying situation.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou Episode 8

I wasn’t totally on board with the graves story this week, but I liked the other stories. Maybe the point of the graves story was that Chi and Yuu were imposing an explanation on something that may not actually be true, in which case I’m more on board. I just didn’t really care as much.

The spiral story was a pretty cool one. It seemed like a nod to the repetition of everyday life and its potentially dizzying effects.

The last story seemed to be more of a reference to the old tale that the full moon causes people to go crazy. It was pretty funny that the series introduced a physical cause in the form of beer, though. Nothing wrong with getting the characters drunk, right?

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 8

I really enjoy Ruth’s story in this series. A large part of that might be because of Chise’s explosive display of magic in this episode. It was nice to see her actually using her power and being more than a helpless pawn that Elias pushes.

I also really liked that Ruth didn’t dwell too much on Isabelle as many characters like him would. Chise’s able to convince him pretty reasonably that the Isabelle chimera wasn’t the girl he loved.

It still seems a bit cheesy sometimes, but it’s nice that Chise continues to accept Elias so easily. I’m happy that her responses go further than the standard “you don’t scare me” that others might give.

Fall 2017 Grab Bag Week 7: Sangatsu no Lion, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, and Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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Keeping that train going…

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 28

I mean…eventually, I have to stop praising this series, right? Honestly, this is the part of the story where I can start relating to Hina better. The whole idea of where to place your anger and how to react to the bully is something I know well. But I’ll save the rest of that story for what will likely be happening soon.

Having a popular kid like Takahashi behind you seems like a cheat if I’m being honest. But what can you do? I really like Takahashi’s small contributions to this series, especially his story about Chiho.

Rei’s situation in all of this is still the most interesting part for me. There’s a general stigma around people who care deeply about making money. I think Rei’s situation in this series shows that it’s a bit shallow to write people off based on that trait alone. Rei is basically obsessing about money at this point, but it’s not like he’s doing it for vain reasons. He wants to provide for the ones he cares about.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou Episode 7

This show continues to be a great way to unwind at the end of the week. I was definitely with Chi this week…walking on high, unguarded pipes sounds difficult.

The conversation about the arrows was pretty interesting too. I’ve always been of the opinion that life would be nice if there was some guidance, but only it only has meaning if we make the decisions ourselves. That doesn’t stop me from wishing there was a convenient arrow pointing me in the right direction, though.

These looks like some nice cookies.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 7

I quite liked where this episode was headed. It was a lot more focused on showing Chise’s progress as an apprentice, and it featured a lot of scenes that forced her to act independently. It’s great that she’s not just constantly in Elias’s shadow (though it’s probably more accurate to say he’s in hers). That poor mandrake, though…

Also, we get to see Elias’s monster side more prominently when Chise gets injured. Now we can finally understand why every other character is so cautious around him.

Fall 2017 Grab Bag Week 6: Sangatsu no Lion, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, and Mahou Tsukai no Yome

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Eventually, I’ll have a standard format for this kind of post.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 27

The first half of this episode was actually one of my favorite parts when I was reading the manga. It was a scene that demonstrates why I like Hayashida a lot as a character. He’s always acting as comic relief, but he sincerely cares about Rei, as demonstrated by the panic he shows the second Rei mentions bullying.

Hayashida’s reaction to Hina’s story was also really cool. Rather putting more undue pressure on the victim, he immediately reacts from the perspective he knows best, the proper behavior of a teacher.

But as much as I liked the first half in the manga, I really liked the second half of the episode in the anime. I had forgotten about this scene from the manga, and it felt a lot more meaningful the second time. I’m not saying I empathize completely with Akari’s situation, but I can undersatnd the pressures of being the eldest.

I also found Akari’s story interesting because of the way she trivialized the “platitudes” she said to Hina. I’ve always thought that a platitude that’s useless to me shouldn’t be said to others. But it was interesting that the sayings she identified as useless were the ones that Hina incorporated into a strong sense of justice. It’s something for me to think about on my own.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou Episode 6

I was honestly convinced that things were going to go bad in this week’s episode. After all, it was an episode devoted to hopelessness, so I was expecting a bad ending. I guess it doesn’t fit the overall tone of the show…not that I’m complaining. I suppose the show really pushes the idea of making the best of a bad situation.

I really liked Yuu in this week’s episode because of how she was perpetuating the theme of hopelessness. It was funny to watch her get her hopes up only to have them shot down by Ishii in the base. I enjoyed watching her reactions.

This episode was kind of an interesting presentation of the idea of trying and failing over not trying at all. The episode ends with Ishii showing a sense of liberation, no longer weighed down by the dream of flying to a new place. It’s a simple theme, I suppose.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 6

I don’t have all too much to say about this episode because it was mostly cooling down from the previous two episodes. I like Titania and Oberon as characters, but I honestly don’t have much to say on the episode. I just think it’s cool that Oberon acts like a goof, but he still illuminates the strong and weak areas of the relationship between Chise and Elias.

Also, Titania’s facepalms in this episode were amazing.

Fall 2017 Grab Bag Week 5: Sangatsu no Lion, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou, Mahou Tsukai no Yome, and Ousama Game

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Making up for last week by adding in another show.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 4

While I really liked this episode, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t identify with Hina at all. I like to think I’m better now, but I know I wouldn’t be the guy trying to help the bullies’ target in school. I would say I identify more with Rei, the outcast who tried to look busy in school just for the sake of keeping others from interacting with him. I can also relate to his trouble with find ways to help Hina given how wildly different he was in school.

When I first saw the scene at the end of the episode (while reading the manga), I instantly identified it as one of my favorite scenes. I really liked the idea of Hina’s resolve in a rough situation saving Rei from the ill memories of his own childhood. It kinda reminds me of the whole concept of meeting the right people to pull yourself out of a bad place.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou Episode 5

This show continues to be a welcome break every week. Honestly, I didn’t really get the dream sequence in this week’s episode, but it was funny enough. I liked the idea of showing the girls “imagining” their dream home, though. It’s very fitting for a post-apocalyptic world. The way that the show expressed their differing priorities was pretty cool too. The sedentary lifestyle that we find normal is completely foreign to them in a world where they’re constantly searching for supplies to sustain themselves.

The final story in the episode was just a fun and relatable experience for me. I’ve always enjoyed the sound of rain, so I can understand how easy it is to just sit and listen.

There was something strangely grand about this final line from Yuu after the credits. In a world that’s so beaten down, she notices something wondrous and questions whether the sounds she’s just experienced were always there. It’s probably a simple nod at the little things we take for granted.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episodes 4-5

I’m kinda curious how others are seeing Chise at this point. I think when I was reading this part, I was a little disturbed at how devoted she was to Elias. It’s especially interesting given the scenes from earlier where she questions whether Elias would lose faith in her if she couldn’t purify the corruption.

I also found this story to be particularly interesting. It’s always said that cats have nine lives, so why don’t we use those lives?

There’s a fun comment about Chise’s ability of “sight” in this episode too. I wonder if it’s just a reference to her empathy built from her own suffering. Still, it’s nice that she isn’t simply distilled into her Sleigh Beggy powers.

Ousama Game Episode 5

I’ve been trying to keep quiet about this show because I have very little to say about it that’s nice. I’m just really shocked that the random side comment I made in the first episode about how strangely dumb the characters were turned out to be my main complaint with the show. They seemed so innocuous in the beginning.

I guess I just don’t understand what the show is trying to accomplish with the retelling of the “first” Ousama Game. Based on how Nobuaki’s memories are being presented, the show seems to indicate that it just wants to take a block of time to tell the first game’s story before getting into the second game. In that case, what is really gained from introducing the second game? By the time we get back to the second game, I’ll have forgotten all about Natsuko’s quirks.

It also doesn’t help that I actually think the first game is more interesting than the second game for one simple reason. The first game is much less overt about the supernatural pieces of the game. You could actually explain away a lot of what we’re shown with purely natural causes. In a different show, I’d be praising that. The second game just shows you in the beginning that there’s something more to the deaths.

This episode in particular was just ridiculous. I’d be willing to respect this show more if the king was more reasonable, but a vague order like “don’t do anything unnecessary” is just a dick move. It’s silly if the game master expects you to figure out the rules by waiting until someone breaks them.

Hey, idiot. I know you want to be kind to Yousuke, but aren’t you basically asking him to make Kaori cry here? You know, the thing you just promised you wouldn’t let happen?