This week’s theme was boy/man angst. So much angst!
At work I made the mistake of taking a look at the new information out about that rugby manga that’s being made into an anime, All Out!!. I saw the promo image. I almost died. I almost died. Then, my supervisor decided to stroll back to my desk so he could throw something in the trash, and I almost died again, but my quick thinking meant I kicked at all the cords under my desk and disconnected about forty-five important things. It was a pain getting it all plugged back in properly so that I could do my job, but at least it saved me the mortification of my supervisor realizing I’m one of those people.
Haikyuu S2, ep. 19-20
Episode 18 was a bit interesting simply by having been focused on a pair of teams of which neither were our Karasuno boys. It was a perfectly fine episode, and I did like getting to see other folks in the spotlight, but it wasn’t anything special, and it paled in comparison to the episode which followed.
Episode 19 is what I wish much more of this season had been like. Obviously it’s the sort of pitch at which a show cannot constantly be, but putting aside the reason for its high quality, I just flat-out wish this season was much more of this *level* of quality. So much of our time has been spent on what feels like wheel-spinning, to be perfectly honest. Yes, Karasuno absolutely had to get over their loss to Seijoh, and they absolutely had to work hard to improve, but did someone like Tsukishima really need two episodes to work through his not particularly interesting hang-ups? And how many times did we really need to directly witness the boys diving into the floorboards after losing practice matches?
Anyway, episode 19! What a great episode! Everything clicked, and Production I.G.’s very detailed visual approach got to be used to excellent end, letting the story speak for itself rather than having to rely on characters to dialogue it out. Oikawa’s facial expressions spoke volumes throughout in particular (and I was thrilled when he realized that Karasuno wasn’t going to take things easy – take that, you jerk!). It was genuinely exciting to watch Karasuno bring together all that they’ve learned so far against a team that is genuinely the cream of the crop, and for all that I’m positive that they’ll win, I still got all tense about everything while watching the match.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how Stripey affects things, as he’s clearly skilled but he is just as clearly a potential team chemistry problem. I don’t see that as something even a team like Seijoh can work out in the course of a match.
In other news, Kiyoko blocking the volleyball from hitting Yachi? Uh, yeah, this is still my ship.
Haikyuu, ep 8-9
I have for a while been wanting to re-watch the episodes from the first season when Nishinoya and Asahi were brought back into the fold for the team, and the moment during the Seijoh match with the two being super amped about a spike together was the encouragement necessary for me to finally do so. Asahi’s my favorite character, because CLAMP ruined me as a child, and his dynamic with Nishinoya is one of the things I originally liked about the show, and which there hasn’t been a huge amount of in the second season.
…ok, so, yeah, I ship them, too. Not, like… intensely or anything, y’know? Nishinoya’s so straight it kind of hurts my soul.
Anyway, re-watching this episodes, it was a reminder of how much I loved this show in the first season. I really enjoyed the development of the team in the first half of the show as they slowly filled out the cast and everyone got used to each other. Knowing how rough Kageyama started off, I was a little surprised that even by episode eight he’d largely calmed down and cut back massively on how much crap he gave Hinata. Other things that stuck out on re-watch were just how forceful a personality Sensei stealthily is (in these episodes he’s still pestering Ukai to become the coach), and that the boys have physically matured a bit since these early episodes; this latter is quite subtle, but it’s definitely there. (By the way, my REAL Haikyuu ship is SenseixCoach. It’s legit, folks, I swear.)
As for Nishinoya and Asahi – ah, the agony of friends who are failing to communicate! In particular, I appreciated the acute misery and self-doubt of Asahi; I joke about CLAMP ruining my taste in anime boys and men, but Asahi’s self-imposed torment is something I can relate to, albeit less immediately than my high school (or college, or early 20’s…) self surely could’ve. It’s a very painful state of being that can be quite difficult to manage to dig oneself out of since you’ve managed to convince yourself that you’re doing the right thing because you screwed up and should bear the punishment for it. Even knowing it was all going to work out, it was very emotionally resonant.
More generally, watching these older episodes made me really excited about the manga coming out in English later this year from Viz, and made me want to re-watch the entire first season, period. This is a great series.
Mahoutsukai Precure, ep. 2
Didn’t like it as much as the first episode, but it was a much less active episode, and a bit more… not quite ponderous, but there wasn’t so much of flying around on brooms going on, and there was a decent bit of worldbuilding getting the focus. I also couldn’t help but be plagued by the question of how Mirai’s becoming a new magic school student will be handled in regards to her family back in the not-magic world. This is, of course, because I am an adult and I do boring things like think about Mirai’s mother getting worried when her daughter doesn’t come home in the evening. I am boring, so very boring 😦
This Boy is a Professional Wizard, ep. 3
I felt a little sad when the credits rolled for this episode, as the show is nearly over now; Soubi Yamamoto works wonders with tiny parcels of time, but I’ve been enjoying this one so much that I’m sorry it’s going to be over so soon.
The visuals have been lovely for this show as a whole, but I in particular enjoyed them in this episode. All stops were pulled, and the result was creative, well-directed, and beautiful. There’s nothing else airing that looks like this, nor, really, has any TV anime looked like this. I’d argue that even for those not interested in the story, this is an episode worth checking out on the strength of visuals alone.
Anyway, this week our poor occasionally moé professional wizard went full misery mode on us, which was in keeping with my unintentional theme of miserable men and boys (see: Haikyuu S1, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu). I just felt like pointing that out.
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, ep. 6
It’s great to see Yakumo finally coming into his own for rakugo, even as I couldn’t banish the trepidation I felt as he performed the humorous rakugo about the failed lover’s suicide. What an uneasy-making mix of amusement and anxiousness I felt.
I was a bit surprised at Miyokichi’s apparent pursuit romantically of Yakumo in this episode, as she had seemed to previously come to realize that he wasn’t interested in her and also seemed to have begun shifting her behavior toward him. But here she’s flirtatiously grabbing his arm when the tram jerks suddenly. Hmm. I wish the show would let us spend at least a little more one-on-one time with her, as I do find the lack of greater insight on her part disappointing, and I think it detracts from getting a fuller picture. I might love our neurotic lead, but Miyokichi’s character has so much potential that I want to know more about her.
I probably should’ve episodically blogged this show. I find it impossible to really say anything intelligent about it when I roll it into my weekly post going over all the other stuff that I watched in the week. There’s too much to say, and I don’t help myself by leaving it until the end of my post…