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.

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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?

Fall 2017 Grab Bag Week 4: Sangatsu no Lion and Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou

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Keeping it simple this week. I didn’t have quite as much to say on Mahou Tsukai no Yome this week, so I’ll probably talk about the two episodes next week.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 3

I’m having so much trouble because I don’t know how much information we have at this point in the series. Anyway, the look into Rei’s past is probably my favorite part of this episode. I like the explanation of how he withdrew himself into shogi to handle the rejections from the outside world.

I know what’s going to happen with Hina, but this was still tough to watch. This show’s great at building up the emotional scenes, especially with how Hina appears at the entrance to the house before she’s finally revealed.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou Episode 4

This show continues to be fun. It manages to stay pretty lighthearted in such a ruined world. Watching the girls taking pictures of the stone statues was nice. I personally found it really funny that the statues all had a shifted gaze. It almost makes me want to learn more about the religion behind it.

The religious aspect itself was handled okay. The girls approach the “temple” in a really relatable manner. Conversations about why people might cling to religion or a concept of an afterlife are always interesting too. I could talk forever about that, but I’ll spare it for now.

I guess those helmets finally came in handy.

This is absolutely my favorite scene from the episode.

Fall 2017 Grab Bag Week 3: Sangatsu no Lion, Mahou Tsukai no Yome, and Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou

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This is starting to become a bit of an experiment in talking about shows I would normally just watch on my own. I’m sure I’ll figure out a consistent format for this eventually.

3-gatsu no Lion S2 Episode 2

I really liked the development of Gotou from this episode. Characters are much more interesting when they’re not black and white. We were introduced to the cruel, harsh version of Gotou in the beginning, but this episode really explored the idea that there was more to him. Rei’s own conflict was pretty telling of this fact, as he struggled to reconcile the man that he despised with the man that was defending his mentor.

As we’re introduced to Gotou’s wife, the show starts to answer the question of what might be driving Gotou’s behavior. Perhaps he allows Kyouko to follow him around because it helps him cope. Maybe he’s rough to others because he always has his hospitalized wife on his mind. I tend to like stuff like that.

The episode also does a good job of relating things back to the pro shogi world with Kumakura, showing a similar duality within a seemingly stoic character. Despite it all, he wouldn’t be a pro unless he truly cared about the game.

Mahou Tsukai no Yome Episode 3

This episode was pretty nice for Chise. Despite her unfamiliarity with the magic world, she’s given a legitimate chance to help someone. Given her past, that’s probably a pretty huge thing for her. I thought it was really nice that Chise’s uncontrolled Sleigh Beggy powers are what give Nevin to share a final dream with Chise. Nevin also had some pretty good lines.

The beginning of this episode is probably my only issue with this episode because it confirmed that the ending of last week’s episode was unnecessary tension. The flashback just felt awkward because it was effectively expanding a scene that should have happened last week.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou Episode 3

I was quite impressed with this episode because of how it took the vague concept mentioned at the beginning of the episode and applied it to what was happening. In the first episode, the question about why people went to war felt way too forced and overt. In this episode, the random question of why people live isn’t even answered in the beginning of the episode. I almost missed it.

However, the episode ended up covering a person who had identified himself so strongly with a something he had done only to lose it. It kinda goes into the idea of how we define ourselves and what matters. The series covers physical objects, but I’ve always been interested in the ideas we use to define ourselves. You can become overly attached and sacrifice anything not to lose these ideas. Just a thought.

But all that aside, this line was gold.

Mahoutsukai no Yome and Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou First Impressions: Strong contenders in the season

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I’m not planning on covering either of these shows further than the first episode because they’re both technically slice of life, so I’m going to bundle the first episodes together. I doubt I’ll have much more to say.

Mahoutsukai no Yome

I was really looking forward to this adaptation and this first episode didn’t disappoint. With both the way it looked and the way it presented what was in the manga, I felt like this episode did its job. The simple story follows Chise as she tries to find a home for herself after facing only rejection in her life. But the world she enters when she meets Elias leads to some truly charming tales.

I really liked the sense of wonder and mystery I got from the soundtrack in the first episode. It really seemed to fit. The opening song was also pretty nice. I still think that the description of a Sleigh Beggy is a bit strange, but it’s not super important. It’s also a pretty ridiculous name.

I’m curious how this episode felt for people who didn’t read the manga, but watched the OVAs. The OVAs gave a sense of the suffering that Chise experienced before she met Elias (specifically the scenes depicting her home life), so I wonder if the scene with the aerials makes more sense with that context. Given how tragic her life has been, she’s willing to accept Elias just because he welcomed her into his family.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou

In sharp contrast to the first show, I knew practically nothing about this series. However, I similarly enjoyed this first episode. Overall, the scenery in this episode was really nice and I liked how much of the story was told without exposition or even dialogue. The interactions between Chito and Yuri were also really charming.

The basic setup for this series seems to be two main characters travelling together through the ruins of a war-torn world. While Chito and Yuri do talk about war in the episode, it’s about the concept rather than a specific event. The background is basically shown in a flashback without any words to elaborate. Normally, I’d be bothered by something like this, but I felt like the scene said a lot.

If I were to lodge a complaint at this series, it would be that I couldn’t quite behind the scene with the final ration. I understand the link to the earlier conversation about why people go to war, but it almost seemed a bit too…overt? But that was pretty minor overall. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of this.

Shoukoku no Altair First Impressions (1): Birds are stronger than I expected

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Ahh crap…am I just giving myself another opportunity to show off my complete lack of historical knowledge? I don’t know how accurate this series is, but Turkey seems like a new and interesting place to use as a setting. The political setup in this first episode was pretty interesting to watch. The series introduces us to a tension between two nations and shows us potential enemies on both sides. I wasn’t expecting the conflict in this first episode to resolve itself, but I guess the series needed to show off Mahmut’s skills a bit.

I thought this scene was funnier than it probably should have been. Mahmut’s reaction to seeing a dancer in his bed is to hide on the roof. But more to the point, this part of the episode marked a pretty sudden tone change. Before this point, the episode seemed like a lighthearted introduction for Mahmut, but then it immediately jumps into a fight between Mahmut and a random thief the next day. After that scene ends, we’re suddenly in war talks.

The biggest nagging point for me in this episode, though, has to be Mahmut’s investigation into the assassination. I had a lot of trouble believing that the arrow Mahmut needed to examine was just sitting around for him to find. It’s also possible that the arrow in the church was a normal arrow that made Mahmut realize the discrepancy, but then you’d have to explain how Mahmut saw the arrow used to kill Franz.

I also thought that the way that Halil explained the Empire’s position in the carriage with Mahmut was a nice touch. It served to introduce the Empire as the major political force in the area, and Halil was able to draw an interesting conclusion from the subterfuge used to provoke a war. It also explained the confusing council meeting near the beginning of the episode. If the Empire has the superior political position, it makes more sense for Turkiye to cater to its demands.

In all, this episode had its issues, but it still looked promising. I think I’m interested enough to keep watching more.