Week in Review, 7/20 – 7/26

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The struggle to watch My Wife is the Student Council President! is real.

Gakkou-Gurashi, episode 3

Best episode of the show so far by a long-shot; the building sense of dread was nerve-wracking in the first half of the episode as the teacher went about her usual activities on the day the zombie menace began. Her alarm when she looks at her phone after having ignored it all day because of an unpleasant text from her mother, only to be greeted with at least a dozen texts from her mother that are variations of “EMERGENCY” as well as missed calls is something a lot of us can relate to, too, even if we haven’t ourselves been stuck in a budding zombie apocalypse. I, too, was struck by how disturbing it is that our pink-haired delusion case has transformed the attack on Kurumi by her senpai-rendered-zombie into a standard high school tale of a rejected love confession.

As for where the teacher is now, the shot of her car keys as she writes out what she calls her will has me convinced she made an attempt to strike out on her own to find help for her students.

My Wife is the Student Council President!, episode 4

My saga continues. I sat down with a cup of tea, some peanut butter oreos, and happily loaded this fourth episode of everyone’s favorite short of the season. Miserably, my computer froze – the audio continued to tinkle through, but the screen didn’t alter. Sighing, I re-started the computer, went into the kitchen to get the teapot, and returned. I would not be stymied a second time! I started the episode. It rolled, nothing froze, I smiled. The doorbell rang – it was my landlord. After buzzing him in, I sprinted down the hallway for the same purpose as I had a week prior, but I was worried – if I slammed the lid on the laptop, would it freeze again? I was loathe to re-start the episode a third time! I scooped up my laptop and deposited it in an empty cabinet, and returned to the door, pulling it open with a smile. My landlord’s toddler gazed at me balefully from his father’s shoulders. In that moment, I realized that it wasn’t that my landlord is secretly a dirty weeb, but that this toddler knew that I am a dirty weeb.

In this episode of Seitboobieschou, the overzealously anti-hormonal-urges Misumi manages to wind up in the room of a love hotel with Hayato because it is raining out and she doesn’t want to bump into a former friend and the former friend’s boyfriend. This ends in a misunderstanding, shockingly enough, but not before a bullet vibrator manages to accidentally get into Misumi’s bathing suit bottom while in an on mode. Wait, why is she in a bathing suit at a love hotel? Well, because they’re having a cosplay special and her school uniform was wet and needed to be dried! Is now a good time to point out that this is adapted from a manga by the author of Chu-Bra?

By the way, did you know you can buy a Tenga from Walgreens? The research I do for you, bros.

Prison School, ep. 3

“Well, we didn’t have sex, but we watched Prison School, and that’s almost as good.”

Since I’ve been asked, I’ll address the “gay jokes” of this episode – by pointing out that there are none. Admittedly, this episode walks the line during the shower scene where Shingo gets the wrong idea about what is going on, but the humor at hand lies in that hoary old chestnut of “people mistaken for a couple who protest it loudly even as fate conspires to endlessly trap them into couple-like situations”. The fact that neither Gakuto nor Kiyoshi desperately declares that they aren’t gay or that they like girls undergirds this, as if this were specifically “lol gay”, part of the “joke” would be in fruitless shouts about their heterosexual status. (That their three comrades in prison themselves don’t express disgust, too, supports this; they stick to the sort of prurient interest that is common among teenaged boys in general wherever sex is concerned, and try to cover for Kiyoshi and Gakuto when they worry that the demonic Shiraki might discover their (nonexistent) romantic relationship.)

Admittedly, this is a distinction that is fairly fine, so I can understand the discomfort that it has inspired in viewers, and I do think the shower scene skirts too close to pernicious ideas regarding prison rape. Maybe a misstep was inevitable in a show that is thrilled to push the envelope on taste, but that doesn’t exonerate it for the misstep.

But if this episode was willing to wallow in the lowbrow of a spike heel up the ass, as well as a scene of a young man shitting into a microphone for the dual sacred institutions of manly friendship and limited edition figures, it managed a fairly sly joke, too. As the chairman of the school drops pictures of thong-clad women’s bottoms, he laments them by name and location. “Evita, Argentina.” he murmurs.

Shimoneta, ep. 3-4

Somehow I keep ending up watching this show despite having intended to have dropped it. For the most part, its screamingly funny, although when it trips up, its deeply off-putting. I can’t parse how we’re supposed to take the attempted sexual assault against our lead at the end of episode 4, although it seems to be that we are meant to take it as being somewhat humorous at the very least even while also feeling alarmed by it. It is true that it is pretty on the nose about one of the reasons its a bad idea to place the youth of a society in pristine little boxes with no sex education allowed – witness Josh Duggar and the Quiverfull movement’s general widespread problem with sibling-on-sibling sex abuse – buuuut the characters surrounding the lead did directly facilitate it in order to enable Saotome to draw sexual stuff which in turn implies an equivalency between consensual and nonconsensual sexual acts. Ultimately, Shimoneta is probably a victim of its own medium, as the form writ large has a pretty poor track record on differentiating between the sexy and the rapey.

By the way, could we just call this one Whose Harem Is It Anyway? given the recent revelations and shifts in affections? Anna and Okuma seem to be about neck-and-neck when it comes to admirers.

Rokka – Braves of the Six Flowers, ep. 4

Wow, I’d heard that the animation was pretty bad for this episode, but that didn’t prepare me for how bad it was. As one scene in particular clunked across the screen, I thought, “I hope they reanimate this for the home release…” But, hey, you don’t managed to be a fan of the likes of Weiss Kreuz and Gundam Wing by being a stickler about animation quality, so it wasn’t a deal-breaker by any means. I did, however, feel a bit miffed at how rapidly the rest of the gang is rounded out – three characters plonked down rapidly after a scene of Nachetanya losing it that felt overly melodramatic. Maybe it was this perfunctory in the light novels, but it does make one wonder what this show’d look like if it were allotted twenty-four episodes instead of twelve.

I am, however, interested in this development of there being a fake in their midst, which took me by surprise as I had never read any of the plot descriptions of the show.

By the way, if you, too, like this development, I strongly suggest checking out They Were Eleven. They Were Eleven concerns students of an elite space academy who are taking a practical exam on a spaceship. The students are split into groups of ten and assigned to different spaceships, but the ones the movie/manga follows discover, to their dismay and alarm, that they have eleven people present. Paranoia and doubt, unsurprisingly, ensue. It’s a solid story and fairly compact, although it currently has no North American license, as no one has picked it up since Central Park Media keeled over with it aboard.

So, who is the fake for Rokka? I wonder if the fake themself even knows. My viewing partner favors Nachetanya, although right now I myself favor Goldof, given his obvious possessiveness of the former; his statement about how he’s the only one who can protect her in particular made me suspicious. However, I’m not ready to commit to a specific suspect, beyond the fact that I don’t think it’s any of the newcomers – the audience will have spent so much less time with them that it strikes me as doubtful since it wouldn’t carry the same oomph that would be the case were Adlet, for example, the fake.

Symphogear GX, episode 4

An excellent episode that was basically all about how great a couple Hibiki and Miku are. We had umbrella-sharing, anguished shouting, pillow talk, an inspirational speech… Next week we’ll probably have worried sitting-at-hospital-bedside to round out the whole thing. I might wish that Symphogear’d take the next step and make the subtext text, but that doesn’t diminish how well this episode handled their dynamic and demonstrated just how important they are to one another. I’m also pleased as punch that Miku continues to avoid falling into the damsel-in-distress trap – Hibiki keeps her physically safe, but without Miku, Hibiki would’ve likely have been mincemeat ages ago. I need these two as figures so I can proudly display them in my living room.

In other news, wow, I am fucking jazzed that they finally found some goddamn clothes for Elfnein.

Himouto! Umaru-chan, ep. 3

If there was something I wasn’t expecting of this show, it was that it’d ever get this obscenely boring. I ended up skipping vast chunks of the episode; once the initial joke is over (this girl seems to hate Umaru but she actually has a crush but is too shy to express herself other than by glaring constantly!)… well, no, that’s the problem. The episode wants to make that joke the entire basis of the episode, and there isn’t nearly enough to it to make it work as a twenty minute long joke. Additional grasps at humor miss the mark entirely and simply underscore how lacking in depth the primary storyline of the episode is. What a snoozefest.

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One Response to Week in Review, 7/20 – 7/26

  1. Artemis says:

    The only title listed here that I’m watching is Gakkou-Gurashi, but boy am I glad I picked that one up! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything quite like it – I can think of one or two other anime that try to blend cutesy moe with horror, but Gakkou-Gurashi is the only one I’ve seen that actually manages to pull it off. I can’t wait to see how it all pans out, especially given how mentally unreliable our main character is; I’m quite sure we’re going to get one or two other big revelations later on down the road with this.

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