Week in Review, 8/17-8/23

gakkou gurashi ep 8

Ironically, the fact that I’m watching so many shows this season also means that I have less time to blog, given my work schedule. I am actively watching seven shows (although in the case of Princess Precure, I tend to not watch it for a few weeks and then blitz a few episodes at once); I only managed to finish two shows from this past winter, and two from spring (three if you wish to count Blood Blockade Battlefront, since its merely the lack of existence of the final episode that has prevented me from finishing it). In any given season, I’m typically watching three of the airing shows. Seven for me is huge! But it also means I’m not watching much of older stuff, although I won’t complain about having an easy excuse for not having watched any Zeta Gundam in a while…

Himouto! Umaru-chan, ep. 7

At this point, I have to admit that this show is a fairly decent comedy. It doesn’t always hit the mark, and it took a while for Kirie’s material to be funny past the initial mildly amusing revelation about her bearing toward Umaru, but it manages enough successful jokes to be worth watching. And it’s a plus for the show that Umaru’s behavior has been tempered somewhat, and more elements introduced beyond, “Lol Umaru behaves horribly because x, y, or z.” Granted, it also benefits from when it airs – not much I’m watching is outside of Friday and Saturday – so maybe I’m being over-generous.

Haven’t been nuts about the extremely mild gestures toward siscon crap previously, so wasn’t thrilled with the “joke” about Taihei’s co-worker thinking he was living with his girlfriend. I’m convinced the show is never going to go full-bore (or even a quarter-bore) in that direction, but even slight implications toward that sort of end are wholly unwelcome on my part.

Symphogear GX, ep. 8

Well, we knew that Carol would be back eventually, and I was earlier in the episode beginning to wonder when that’d be.

Anyway, AWW YEAH WE GOT ACTUAL DECLARATIONS OF LOVE AWW YEAH. Sure, it’s been very heavily implied that Kirika and Shirabe are romantically involved previously, but, f[ ] it, I can’t help but want some verbal confirmation. Of course, there is still some wiggle room for denial of interpreting it that way (because it a boy whispers ‘suki’ to a girl, it obviously means he’s truly, madly, deeply in love with her and wants to get up to some hardcore hand-holding, but if a girl says ‘daisuki’ to another, it just means they’re BFFs! or is it galpals?), but, yeah, come on, you’re watching Symphogear. Y’know, Sapphogear? Our only confirmed-for-het woman was [hates the moon scientist], who was in love with god, and we all know how THAT ended. Lesson learned – heterosexual women will destroy the moon when they’re jilted romantically.

Here’s hoping Hibiki’s dad is confirmed for just being a loser and there not being any extentuating circumstances as unfortunately hinted at by Hibiki’s sudden doubt over who was at fault for their breakdown in relationship. Hibiki’s dad has so clearly been depicted as a waste of space that an attempt to rehabilitate him strikes me as dull.

Prison School, ep. 7

We still haven’t had any vomit in this show. What gives? Is this a bridge too far for even Prison School? Actually, thinking on it, hurling is fairly rarely seen in anime, huh? The lunch episode of Blood Blockade Battlefront featured a creature puking up a torrent of something rainbow-colored, but I can’t think of anything else recently that has shown the throw-up itself. Gee, for all that anime loves its sickly girls, it doesn’t seem to love the chunder that one would expect to come with them. Nagisa blew chunks in Clannad~After Story~ but we only saw her clutching her stomach and not the moment itself… Maybe people in Japan don’t experience the psychedelic sneeze much.

It may be worth noting that when I was about nine or ten years old, my mum and I came up with a list of all the ways to say regurgitate.

As for this spew-free episode, well, I’m beginning to, uneasily, feel a bit sympathetic for the vice president. She’s a terrible person, certainly, but the revelations about her lack of confidence and her sycophantic devotion to the president do cast her in a different light than her endless physical abuse of the boys does. And it does make sense! Abusers themselves generally have self-esteem issues, hence their striking out at others. I don’t like her, quite, but I do feel a little bit sorry for her.

Shimoneta, ep. 8

I’m trying to not hate the loli. It isn’t her fault that she’s the token loli, after all! But I hate the loli. Sure, they do manage to utilize her slightly differently than lolis typically are – that she ends up being a rival to Okuma is a decent change of pace, if not wholly unprecedented – but she’s still a fricking loli in a sex comedy, and there is absolutely no reason she needs to be included in the mix.

More underlining of the absurdity of trying to seal off sexuality completely in this episode with the new [inspector?] going around and doing things like removing toilet paper on the grounds that guys could use the hole in the roll to pleasure themselves. For a show that has been so merry about Anna oozing bodily fluids, I was surprised and, honestly, relieved that the girl didn’t relieve herself in public but managed to sprint back off-screen enroute to a bathroom. I suppose it would’ve been the too-obvious result for her to have wet herself with something other than her usual fluid-output.

This show frustrates me a bit. Reaching back to episode seven, it feels like we’re definitely in one step forward, one step back-type territory. It was great to see Kajo’s explanation of why underwear-snatching is not okay and doesn’t help advance SOX’s goals. On the other hand, Anna is still trying to sexually assault Okuma – ok, we get it, not teaching kids about sex and trying to hermetically seal them will warp their sexuality! Repetition at this point makes it come across as that it’s supposed to be funny. Rape isn’t funny, and having the situation deviate from the norm by having the aggressor be a girl and the victim a boy doesn’t alter that.

Rokka – Braves of the Six Flowers, ep. 7-8

So, in addition to being a locked-room mystery story instead of a fantasy adventure story, it turns out that Rokka is a harem as well! Nachetanya was the first route for Adlet, then Flamie, and now, we have Hans. I jest, as you may’ve guessed, but it does fit with that format surprisingly well. I’m skeptical that we’ll ever get a Chamot or Maura route, although a Goldov one is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Jokes about harem routes aside, I do find the dynamic between Hans and Adlet intriguing. A big part of this is that I find Hans way more engaging as a character in watching him interact with Adlet than I did when he was crawling around the temple and being obnoxious. He served a purpose in doing so, but him in a role other than an antagonizing force interests me more.

Adlet’s backstory ended up being executed differently than I had expected. Sad childhood tales of wiped out friends, neighbors, and relatives are pretty common territory, so I appreciated the wrinkles that made it a bit more complex than that. The fiend who negotiates with the villagers reminded me a bit of Quetzalcoatl, given his serpentine appearance combined with his wings (and also that there is an emphasis on his wings). That he asks the villagers to cut out the hearts of any of their fellows who don’t agree to go along with the move to the territory held by the fiends fits with this, as one of the festivals in the Aztec calendar calls for the sacrifice by extraction of heart of someone to Quetzalcoatl (and, more generally, the Aztecs are fairly infamous for the practice of human sacrifice involving the removal of the heart). I like this touch as it connects us back to the Mesoamerica-inspired setting.

I still think Goldov is the most likely fake. I also don’t think that the fake was necessarily the same one as the person who activated the barrier, but Adlet’s convoluted theory about there being an eighth person as well is, well, too complicated to be believed.

Gakkou-Gurashi, ep. 7

Not a bad episode, but not a stand-out, either. I find it hard to comment much on Gakkou-Gurashi beyond a few observations: good horror anime is rare and I always welcome it when it comes along, this show has an excellent sense of tension, and that I’m all-the-more impressed when a zombie story proves of interest to me. Zombies have been such a craze, but they’ve never really been my thing – I’ve never had any interest in The Walking Dead, nor have I felt a need to seek out Dawn of the Dead. Enjoying Shaun of the Dead in such a vacuum isn’t quite evidence of an enjoyment of the genre. (Nor, for that matter, have I ever felt an interest in Attack on Titan, which *is* a zombie tale in many ways despite the difference in trappings.) So, like I felt with The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I’m impressed when a zombie story comes along that I really enjoy.

I wonder when we’re going to get some background on Rii-san. She’s the only character we haven’t really gotten to know very much. She does seem to have a temper, although she does a good job of keeping it under wraps for the most part – the way her first shook when Miki challenged allowing Yuki to stay delusional, and Kurumi’s uneasy reaction upon seeing it, was a nice subtle touch.

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