Week in Review, 4/27 – 5/4

haikyuu ep 4 d

Its not what it looks like.

But I’m sure there’s a doujin somewhere where it is exactly what it looks like.

Ranking:

  1. Haikyuu
  2. Akuma no Riddle
  3. Escaflowne
  4. Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara
  5. Gasaraki
  6. Can’t Poop at Magic High

Can’t Poop at Magic High, ep. 5

Eurghhhhh blech vomit ugh no. DONE. I survived through the dull-ass info dumps of episodes three and four, I survived through the Ayn Rand attack at the end of episode four, but I was barely able to finish this episode. There were enough strawmen in this episode to burn down New York City, and enough half-baked libertarian ideas to make my socialist soul spit like an angry cat. If I really wanted to listen to idiotic and simplistic political ideas, I could just go to a college and sit down in a 100-level political science class, and at least there I wouldn’t have to endure snooze-inducing and detail-free speeches like we got out of the class president at the close of the episode.

I kept thinking of this guy I had as a classmate in a military history course as an undergrad and who made the argument that the people who were most hurt by the Civil War were the plantation owners. It was one of those moments where everyone in the room stops breathing and collectively cringes and instinctively tries to put space between themselves and the source of their discomfort. The guy then hedged by saying that, well, the former slaves were hurt a lot too since they no longer were assured of having homes to live in and food to eat. I bet this guy would be nodding sagely along with the lessons on display in Can’t Poop at Magic High.

Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara, ep. 4

Honestly, for a harem show there is actually precious little pretensions of romance going on here. Kanoflag feels a bit like a relic, as the lead never really gets any romantic moments with anyone in the show at all; sure, we’ll get some minor blushing here and there, and occasionally someone will leap at him, but he’s almost never alone with any single haremette – and when he does have some time alone with the robot in this episode, nothing ecchi or romantic occurs whatsoever. We all know that harems very, very rarely actually manage to resolve themselves, but typically recent harems at least pretend that there’s a possibility of this happening. Kanoflag makes no such effort.

Unfortunately, the nothing ecchi happening thing is since the show wants to remind us that there is VERY SERIOUS AND DARK STUFF GOING ON, TOO, OK? ITS NOT JUST ALL ATHLETIC FESTIVAL SHENANIGANS, SHEESH! This whole subplot feels really weird since its cheek by jowl with goofy stuff like a princess footrace which Nanami wins because she is the only girl at the school who is a princess and thus the only competitor. I just wish there was less moronic grimdark attempts and more of the cast being stupid while doing everyday tasks.

Haikyuu, ep. 5

Ah, thank goodness, the match wrapped up pretty quickly here, and we were spared having to see every detail of the second half of it, even.

Tsukishima is such a freaking asshole, and he more or less ruins scenes by being in them; one wonders why he’s permitted on the squad when there were questions initially about letting Kageyama into the club since he was such a jerk. I’m sure we’ll end up having some reason to warm to him, but he’s building up such a bad taste in my mouth that I’m unsure if I’ll be able to see him in a sympathetic light at all.

Escaflowne, ep. 9 - 20

I feel like a lot of these episodes consisted of one of the characters getting sucked into an alternate realm mentally or physically with the other characters all shrieking their name and howling after them, and that got pretty dull fairly quickly. I’m not feeling as fired up after episode twenty as I was after roughly episode eleven or so. I’m still enjoying the show on the whole, but a lot of the material started feeling like retreads and treading of water, and some of the things that I believe were meant to be dramatic instead just felt like they came out of nowhere at all.

I’m also increasingly nagged by the feeling that these characters don’t really possess any inner lives, something that I suspect is fueled in part by the fact that for all that Hitomi says Allen and Van’s names in varying tones she doesn’t seem to be truly close to anyone. What makes this weird, too, is that we do have a decent bit of material about Hitomi – she’s on the track team, she seems to have been close to her grandmother who gave her her pendant, she read tarot cards for her friends for fun… but I feel like there’s a void there when I try to imagine her when she isn’t directly on-screen. The same honestly goes for most of the others as well – what does Millerna do when she isn’t mooning over Allen? What does Allen do when he isn’t involved in battle? What does Van do to relax? Bizarrely, I find it easiest to imagine what Dryden and Merle are doing when we’re not watching them, and those two are far less developed than our primary four.

Again, it isn’t that I dislike it now, I just don’t like it nearly as much as I did in the early going.

Akuma no Riddle, ep. 5

Well, this marked the first episode where I actually gave a shit about the assassin of the week. Haruki’s backstory was far from novel, but it worked – we got just enough glimpses of it to get what her motivation is without it becoming soppy and saccharine. It helps, too, that Haruki’s end goal was one that wasn’t wholly self-centered. I am a little sad that we probably won’t get to see them act out Romeo & Juliet for the school fair, but I can live with that.

Gasaraki, ep. 1

Well, nothing much happened; I find the idea of the show currently much more compelling than the content I’ve actually seen. I love how professional the combat has been so far, although my guess is that the level of detail probably drove a lot of people away. I also like the Noh tie-in, even if it does bring to mind Kurozuka (but I liked that part of Kurozuka). Curious to see where it all goes from here.

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One Response to Week in Review, 4/27 – 5/4

  1. Joe Iglesias says:

    “I find the idea of [Gasaraki] currently much more compelling than the content I’ve actually seen.”

    That was how I ended up feeling about it… lots of interesting ingredients, but they just never quite seem to come together. I got the distinct impression there were at least three factions within the creative staff, all pulling in different directions, one of which doesn’t show up until the show is almost over. Great OP and ED themes, at least.

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