Weekly Trash Update 09

Day: K continues to be a massive disappointment. At least I’ve still got excellent, well-crafted shows like Starmu and Dance with Devils to warm the cockles of my heart by.

Cara: I had a lot of fun with this week’s episodes – from craving shumai, through to squealing at my angsty vampire ship via devil king babies – it was a fun time.  Can’t believe this season is nearly over!

return of kings 11

K: Return of Kings – Episode 11

Day: After this episode ended, I decided to check whether the series was slated for twelve or thirteen episodes, and was promptly disappointed to discover that it’s thirteen. I have to watch two more episodes of this crap!? Dammit!

So, of course the prime minister is a useless wuss who shrieks for Munakata at the first sign of trouble. Duuuh. How else can K prove that democracy is for losers and you should just let the physically strong be in charge? People are just too stupid to be trusted to vote for someone worth a damn.

What really irritated me in this episode, though, was the way the entire Fushimi stuff played out. K has never been a particularly intelligent show, but this was terrible.Two characters who previously were good at scheming (i.e. Nagare and Iwafune) somehow had an attack of stupid regarding a guy who has betrayed two organizations already, as they were happy as hell to blab all their plans to him and place him in charge of security systems. All this because the production crew apparently couldn’t figure out how else to get the heroes past the gate into JUNGLE’s nerve center. It doesn’t help that the larger story of Fushimi’s sub-arc hasn’t done anything to develop him anymore or make the audience care about him. This whole thing was a waste of effort.

Speaking of wastes of effort, the whole scene with Kawashima and Scepter Four. I swear the only way that worked out like it did because they didn’t want a guuuurlllll to be in charge. How else to explain why Kawashima had to resign to take any action but the guy who took over could order everyone into battle? Telling her that it was their job to protect her now since she’s a civilian was the kicker.

I’ve come to the realization that the problem with this season of K is that they had maybe six episodes of material and insisted on stretching it out over thirteen. I’ve heard some people suggest that this would’ve made more sense as a movie, and I’m absolutely inclined to agree with that. JUNGLE is a great wrench to toss into the world of K, and I’ve loved watching them mess with things, but there’s been very little else to recommend this season by. The core of season one – Shiro, Neko, and Kuro – has vanished. Munakata’s issues are a re-tread of Mikoto’s. The creepy sexualization of Kawashima has trebled. The revelation about Iwafune being the Grey King is honestly the only standout moment of the season, as it was a bombshell that utterly changed the nature of the game (on the whole, I’ve liked Iwafune, but his characterization and background are pretty standard stuff – anime loves deeply flawed priests who suffer from guilt complexes). But, it being followed by the protagonists sitting around a table and jabbering away the next episode highlighted the underlying problem with the season.

I guess this is just proof that good things never last.

Cara: I think I was only vaguely paying attention to this week’s episode of K, which quickly became apparently when I finished the episode and discovered I’d only taken 3 screencaps – super unusual for me let me tell you!  Once again way too much time was spent faffing about moving characters about the board and not actually getting on with much in the grand scheme of things.  The reveal that Fushimi was playing the inside man for the Blues all along didn’t really come as any surprise, but I really do wish Fushimi had of gotten a bit of development to show why he stuck with Munakata.  JUNGLE really are a better fit for his shitty personality than Sceptre Four or Homra – Fushimi even acknowledges this – but we’re not really given any new insight into Fushimi’s mental state to explain his choices.  Frustrating, given how much time has been spent on talking about nothing in this season!

The rest of the episode was spent reaffirming that the prime minister in this show is a fecking idiot, giving everyone the power of Kings is only going to cause chaos, and Seri is an ineffective leader because she sticks to the rules too much (and also because she’s a woman, probably).  Hopefully the final few episodes will be full of colourful spectacle and whirling camera’s that will distract me from the disappointing plot.  I agree that this second season would have been much better as a movie – such a shame.

starmu 10d

High School Musical Star: Episode 10

Day: It’s rather odd that our boys don’t even bother to try fighting the system, isn’t it? They take the news of their demotion so passively, and don’t push back, either, against being scheduled opposite of Team Hiragi for the next event. Is this a runtime issue? It’s hard to believe that Tengenji or Hoshitani would take this lying down, albeit for different reasons – Hoshitani genki’ing it up versus Tengenji throwing a hissy fit. Not that it really matters, but it is peculiar.

Of course, the entire episode is rather peculiar, as it features dancing shumai dogs fairly heavily. Inumine’s family runs a dog-themed Chinese restaurant that specializes in shumai? Sure! Why not? He clearly comes by his weirdness honestly!

Actually, speaking of Chinese food, why is it that anime tend to use “restaurant in Chinatown” as shorthand for “tons and tons of food”? And, is it just me, or does Tsukigami look like the kid from Tokyo Ghoul?

Although there were a lot of great moments to choose from, such as our boys getting stuck dancing while dressed as shumai dogs, or Nayuki and Hoshitani accidentally following a guide for what turns out to be a romantic date, my favorite came late in the episode. It was when Kuga said to Hoshitani, “You like Otori, don’t you?”, and it turned out that no one was talking about him out of sensitivity to Hoshitani. Aww, kawaii! And I can take that like as like like, right? Right??

Cara: I kind of love this episode – it’s so weird and not really what I was expecting after the reveal last episode that Team Otori had been downgraded to a regular team.  I was fully expecting this episode to be full of our boys rallying together to complain to the Kao Council and/or force some answers out of Otori about why he quit without talking to them first.  But nope, instead we get a strange episode filled with bizarre dancing shumai dogs, a Hoshitani/Nayuki dayto scene, a reminder that Tengenji is actually pretty famous outside the school and Kaito’s very ambitious.  But yeah, Inumine’s weirdness remains consistent, and it appears to run in his family…..seriously, dancing shumai dogs…..why?

It was nice to see that the fellas have come on to such a degree that they are now the one’s trying to cheer up Hoshitani – Otori’s seeming abandonment of his team hit Hoshitani hardest, and he tries to overcompensate in a way that is almost painful to watch.  Nayuki’s transformation from shy doormat to snarky mother-hen was also satisfying (some great Nayuki faces in this episode), and the rest of the boys seem equal parts amused, scared of and bewildered about his new personality.  Starmyu continues to surprise me with feels – I honestly love this series.

Cara’s current Starmyu character ranking: Tengenji > Nayuki > Otori > Hiragi > Hoshitani > Kuga > Kaito > Inumine > Tsukigami-senpai >Nayuki’s sisters > Purple’s Playboy friend > Tatsumi > rest of Team Hiragi > Rest of Kao Council > Akatsuki

dance with devs 10b

Dance With Devils – Episode 10

Day: Well, that explains why there was never any evidence for Ritsuka’s dear old dad – dear old dad was a rapist devil! I did remark upon the absence of anything about his existence previously, but I don’t think I figured him as a devil… I could go back and check, but, well, does it really matter? So, Lindo’s a dhampir, and Ritsuka’s a grimoire – what a family! Why isn’t Ritsuka just a half-devil? Oh well, who cares, ~anime logic~. I didn’t watch past the first episode of Diabolik Lovers, but I did read a plot synopsis, and I think the girl there had some similar foolishness going on, except in her case she had a vampire heart (what the hell does that even mean?).

(There’s some weird logic going on with Ritsuka’s mother and aunt here. Maria is smart, so she gets raped by a devil and gets to live. Her sister, i.e. Lindo’s mother, meanwhile, is horny, so she fucks a vampire, and dies prematurely. Hm.)

The musical number was so silly this week. If the other boys are hot for Ritsuka, it’s pretty funny for them to be singing at Rem that he needs to face the music and admit that he’s in love with the girl. And they are hot for Ritsuka, as after spending much of the show blathering about the grimoire, they now pretty much tell Rem they don’t care, he can have it, but they want Ritsuka. It seems they’re unaware of what removal of the grimoire will do to her, but it’s less clear whether Rem knows this or not. (By the way, the refrain “emo liar” in the song? Not a whimsy on the part of the translator – they really do say, in English, “emo liar”.)

Mr. Panty Face Vampire made a surprisingly interesting point during his conversation with Ritsuka, when he points out that vampires were once human and have their memories of that whereas devils have always been inhuman. He uses this as an argument for why Ritsuka should believe him when he says that he and the vampires have taken good care of her mother, which strikes me as not terribly persuasive, but she does appear to have fared better than she likely would’ve with the devils – they only fed on her a couple of times! And she gets to lie on a bed! …that happens to be, pretty bizarrely, on a stage, set up like one might expect from a peep show. #Vampiresamirite.

Anyway, Dance with Devils continues to be the most consistently enjoyable thing I’ve been watching this season, except for maybe Brave Beats (in addition to the trash shows, I’ve also been following The Perfect Insider, Haikyuu, Kagewani… er, well, I’m really behind on Iron-blooded Orphans and Valkyrie Drive….).

Cara:  Well this episode was just full of gold.  From the insert song with the 3 sidekicks calling out Rem for being in denial about his love for Ritsuka (and that some being called ‘Emo Liar’), to the reveal that Ritsuka’s dad is the Devil King Maksis – Dance With Devils can never be called boring.  I do have to laugh though, what are the chances that two sisters will end up having kids with a Devil King and a Vampire Lord one year apart? Bit odd how Lindo ends up half vampire, but Ritsuka somehow is human with the power of a devil king locked inside her – like how does that work?

The vampires appeal to Ritsuka that ‘oh we’re completely trustworthy – we used to be human after all!” doesn’t really seem to carry a lot of weight, considering they killed Azuna, kidnapped her Mother (only fed on her a few times though, so that’s fine!), and just generally act in a very creepy manner.  But I must admit that the vampires have a great flair for the dramatic – that hidden bar with the canopied, circular bed on the stage, the elaborate doors leading to an underground canal & gondola and the fact that Lord Nesta appears to be residing in a nightmare version of Hogwarts, complete with lake – all very impressive.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how this power struggle for the grimore pays off – Dance with Devils has honestly been one of the better shows I’ve been watching this season!  Really wasn’t expecting that pre-season.

 

Seraph of the End S2 – Episode 10

Cara: Well I thought this episode would be pure MikaYuu bait and I was not disappointed.  In fact I think the actual episode was even more ship-baity than I was expecting – thanks for going over and above my expectations Seraph!

So yeah, this episode confirms that Mika is made of angst and Yuu is just a horrible human being and I absolutely loved every minute of it.  Mika’s struggle to resist becoming a full vampire (so far he’s only fed on Krul’s blood and never touched human blood) and die on his own terms after making sure Yuu was aware that he’s being used, was just completely brushed aside by Yuu’s complete selfishness.  Yuu refuses to respect Mika’s wishes and forces him to drink his blood – just because Yuu (understandably) doesn’t want to see anyone he cares about die in front of him.  

Yuu’s very simple-minded and only acts on whatever he’s feeling at the moment, damn the consequences – it’s what nearly got him killed last week in his blind desire to get Guren back from Crowley – and it’s what dooms Mika to becoming a full, never aging, vampire this week.  Mika has clearly agonised over the decision to never drink human blood, to never fully become the monster he loathes so much.  His frantic pleading at Yuu to stop pressuring him, to stop tempting him to break his own personal vow, was kind of heart-breaking.  You can see that Mika is suffering and Yuu clearly can’t stand to see that any more, but Yuu also refuses to listen to what Mika has risked his life to tell him unless Mika agrees to commit the taboo of drinking Yuu’s blood – it’s a bit low to sink to emotional blackmail when Mika is clearly struggling to restrain his bloodlust.

The whole episode is basically just Mika and Yuu being angsty together.  Once Yuu has forced Mika to drink his blood, Mika want the two of them just run away together, away from everyone that wants to use them as experimental subjects.  Yuu on the other hand, will not entertain that idea while he’s separated from Guren, Shinoa & the rest.  Mika’s clearly hovering somewhere between jealousy and anger at this – Mika has been very alone ever since Yuu left him, but Yuu has gone off and expanded his personal family.  Mika isn’t really ready to let anyone else into his heart and doesn’t really want to share his Yuu-chan with these strangers who Yuu seems to care so much about.  So much delicious angst!

Oh and speaking of angst – the end reveal that Kureto’s latest experimental subject is Kimizuki’s sickly imouto really shouldn’t have surprised me.  Sasuga Seraph!  I enjoy this terrible, but damn pretty series way too much.

Day: I’m not watching Seraph, and I think it’s too bad that the story didn’t keep with the mood of the first volume (everything’s got to make way for magic high, sadly), BUT I did see the cap above and ask Cara if I should be watching this. I’m trash 😦

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