Week in Review, 7/13 – 7/19

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Busy busy busy busy… but who isn’t? I have taken up swimming again this week, which has eaten into my free time a bit, but there’s just this pleasant nostalgia to constantly reeking of chlorine. Well, and I do genuinely enjoy it, as some of you may’ve gathered from when I blogged the first season of Free! And with a heatwave crushing just about the entire continent, its a great way to cool down after work.

Million Doll, episode 2

Episode runtime was halved, and the amount of animation seemed to have been halved as well. What in the first episode was a mild bit of entertainment is now boring as all hell, and the CGI dancing idols of the OP seem a hell of a lot more egregious. I should probably just read the manga, since the beauty of that is that I don’t actually have to endure crappy idol music. On the other hand, any interest I had was burned off pretty quickly by this episode, and the manga isn’t licensed anyway, so I believe myself and Million Doll will now part.

Go! Princess Pretty Cure, episodes 21-22

These episodes aren’t bad, but, they are visually a decline from episode twenty. That being said, episode twenty was such a high-water mark for the series that this isn’t to say everything looks like crap in these later episodes – it’s just not as good. Episode 22 is a cut above 21 in this regard, though, and I did do a hell of a lot of screencapping of both (hell, I even downloaded a raw to get higher quality shots).

As for the content storywise… hmm. It’s all fairly standard and what one would more or less expect once we’ve gotten a juiced-up Twilight in place who has undergone a transformation to a dark cure (but not to Dark Cure). Losing Kanata in the escape, though, was not to my expectations, and I liked that.

Himouto! Umaru-chan, episode 2

Umaru is such a fucking brat, and I can’t look away. I’m reminded of how in what I’ve read of Jane Austen, I’ve been spellbound by just how thoroughly horrible and rotten her horrible and rotten characters are – that woman really knew how to write terrible people! (The fair weather friend of the lead in Northanger Abbey is simply exquisitely rendered in this regard.) Did I just compare the works of one of the most enduring English language authors to an anime about a bratty, slothful, and shitty imouto who loves anime and tormenting her onii-chan? You bet your ass I did.

Shimoneta, episode 2

Got around to this because someone else in my household is watching it as opposed to having a genuine interest in it myself. Some of my skepticism remains, as we learn that Anna’s mother is pushing a measure to actively record the lives of minors through the devices that monitor them for dirty words and actions already – ugh, women, amirite? But, hey, at least we weren’t mixing up sexual assault and porn magazines this time.

[Kujo] remains the clear high point of the show. [Dude] has his moments, such as when he realizes he’s enjoying telling his fellow students about sex, but his whining has already gotten tiresome. Their dynamic more generally is rather old hat, if we’re being honest, but Kujo’s so fun to watch that that aspect doesn’t bother me. The humor has gotten a touch more deft, too – Anna and [bigger dude] mistaking a [ ] for a mushroom and a banana respectively was an extremely good gag (too bad about the censorship keeping us from seeing the entire picture!).

Despite the comedic tone, the society depicted in Shimoneta took a turn further down the dystopia world with the revelation that the [monitoring devices] not only listen for banned words but can also do things like record when a person is making a salacious drawing. Shimoneta is really light-hearted for a story about such a grim world! Honestly, with the all the surveillance, Psycho-Pass started coming to mind. Given the deluge of dystopia stories over the past few years, it’s a bit of a nice contrast to have something that is putting a humorous spin on it all.

Rokka –Brave of the Six Flowers-, episodes 1-3

Initially, I didn’t check this out as I’m not too big on fantasy. However, a relative dearth of shows that are of interest to me this season, as well as the fairly positive reception it was getting from others, lead me to giving it a try. I’m glad I did, as its easily in my top three for the season – the storytelling is solid, and in the first episode alone it drew me in such that I care about where it’s all going. I also like the characters, although their clothing designs could use a bit of work; equal opportunity boob bandages doesn’t change the underlying fact that such a clothing article looks silly.

Did anyone else think the first episode felt cinematic, by the way? It was primarily the music, but something about the shot composition brought movies to mind, too. Too bad about the decline in animation in episodes two and three, although this didn’t come as a shock – no, that was when episode one ended up looking so great given that we’ve got a studio whose previous efforts were the putrid Rail Wars and the forgettable Haitai Nanafa (Passione). It’s a bit exciting when a studio demonstrates a great leap forward!

Red-haired Snow White, episodes 1-2

Hmm. I want to like this more than I do, but there’s something that feels… overeager in the production. Our heroine is introduced into the story in such a way that made me feel like someone was standing there and whispering, “Don’t you see it? Our shoujo heroine is different! She isn’t like all those OTHER shoujo heroines! You know the ones I mean!” But then the king of her homeland has his henchman stalk her into the neighboring country because of her hair, and then she gets kidnapped because of her hair, and it smells like we’re going to have that old shoujo chestnut of how the heroine doesn’t get to have any of her own agency because if she dares go anywhere by herself she will be kidnapped and it’ll be ALL HER FAULT. (And need I note that in a year where Akatsuki no Yona, another shoujo fantasy about a red-head, wrapped up, jabbing a finger and yelling “SHE’S SO DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHER SHOUJOS!” doesn’t quite work.) Ughhhh.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I liked the first episode overall. Details of the world were worked in fairly organically, the heroine seems competent, there’s another female character in the core cast… it looks… good…ish. I’m being a pain, but I’m not happy with the way the character designs have been rendered, as I was expecting it to look more like the initial promo art, which in turn looked very similar to the CardCaptor Sakura’s anime character designs (which makes sense, since both were done by Kumiko Takahashi). So, the animation is good, the backgrounds are good, I’m just annoyed about the changes to character designs.

So, first episode, check; second episode didn’t really do much for me. My attention wandered, and when Shirayuki went off on the boat, I knew exactly what was going to happen. Sigh. I hate when I’m right about that sort of thing.

Symphogear GX, episode 3

Symphogear is awesome! It really is. And this week’s episode gave us a bizarre musical interlude (flashbacks to Red Garden!), demonstrating that Satelight really knows how to up their game even after three seasons. That being said, some of the material feels like a re-tread – Maria’s whole thing about people with power being arrogant was something I thought was resolved in season two, ditto for Hibiki’s hang-ups about using her power. I still am enjoying the show but it is a shade worrisome when we’re already rehashing previous plotlines.

My Wife is the Student Council President, episode 3

~*~UNCENSORED~*~ Y’know, the nipples in this show don’t look totally unrelated to reality. Also, I of course was watching this when my landlord decided to stop by. I frantically sprinted back to the living room, and slammed my laptop shut after having answered the doorbell and buzzed him in, then had to zip back to the front door. I opened the door and his children crowded in, but no one suspected a thing. As a wise man once said, mission accomplished.

Prison School, episode 2

So much urine. I usually get annoyed when anime have content involving high school girls and urine. Why not with Prison School? I legitimately do not know, likely because I have a very hard time understanding what I like about Prison School as a whole. I suppose the entertainment lies in watching the most earnest member of the cast have his hopes and dreams crushed multiple times over the course of an episode, only for his optimistic nature to reinvigorate his outlook? That’s a little sadistic! I guess I am a little sadistic. Uguu.

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