Week in Review, 4/18 – 4/24

00 17

Man, that reveal about the monster’s identity in The Lost Village was intense!

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Big Order, ep. 1-2

Did you like Future Diary but wished it’d had siscon and a malevolent Super Sonico? Have I got news for you…!

I actually watched the first episode of Big Order last week, and I’d intended to write a post about it, but the whole affair felt so uninspiring that I never got around to it. Whereas Future Diary had been a lot of silly and over-the-top ideas written intelligently into an extremely entertaining B-movie-esque whole, Big Order’s first episode took a lot of silly ideas and shoved them sloppily together.

I’d decided to watch it, but then I watched the second episode… and it was still pretty bad, but in a way that worked better for me. I’m actually not sure at all what the hell this show is supposed to be still, as the episode veered between slapstick and bathos. One moment the heroine is getting herself killed in her failed attempts to get the hero killed and re-spawning instantly, then the next the hero is tearily talking about how it won’t matter if the heroine kills him in six months time because, uguu, imouto is terminally ill.

For me, the biggest issue I’ve got with Big Order, though, isn’t that uneven tone but is that imouto. I’m totally bored of male leads motivated by their precious imouto. It’s been done to death at this point, and I would love anime/manga to discover alternative motivators for their male leads.

Macross Delta, ep. 3

Oh dear, we’ve now hit the third personality for the male lead in as many episodes. The newest coat of paint is preferable to the previous two, but he’s still hardly a particularly endearing character. And with his asshole qualities switched out, the show rushed to fill the gap by giving us a different male character who’s a jerk. Satelight, I promise that I actually don’t have nearly the need for an asshole in my anime line-up as you seem to think necessary.

On the plus side for this episode, that Hayate turns out to not be an insta-ace was a relief, even if it was obvious from the outset that he’d figure out how to “defeat” Mirage in the test at the end. (The way he went about figuring out how to felt really doofy – maybe it was just too heavily telegraphed, or maybe it was a method that’s been done enough times that it couldn’t avoid being obvious, but I was rolling my eyes.) It also seems that maaaaaaybe Delta is actually trying to imply something gay involving the pink-haired idol and the green-haired one, as we are told that the two live together, separately from everyone else. On the other hand, I’m also eager and willing to read too much into these sorts of things. Delta seems so tailor-made for yuri that I feel like you can’t blame me for doing so, though.

Valkyries still strike me as being much, much more akin to planes than mechs, perhaps proving that I’m not a Macross fan more than anything else I could say would.

The Lost Village, ep. 4

Mayoiga’s somehow managed to scratch it’s way to second-favorite of the season so far for me, and this episode didn’t disappoint (well, except for not killing anyone additional). I really hope, though, that Masaki is one of those characters who two-thirds through the show suddenly drops pretenses and turns out to think that everyone is a dumbass. I don’t think she will be, but it’d be great.

Kiznaiver, ep. 1-3

I’m a bit late to the party on this one. I like it quite a bit, although I do suspect that the whole system of pain-sharing at it’s heart hasn’t been terribly well thought-out. The show works for me best when we’re witnessing our cast of teenagers unwittingly bound together interacting rather than when we’ve got larger picture pseudo-intellectual babbling going on. That being said, I find the concept at its core pretty intriguing, as pain is a pretty big part of being alive. The show raises a lot of questions about the nature of pain and of its perception, as well as about human connection and what that is/can do. I’m just not sure how much they intend to tackle trying to answer those questions.

So far, Nico is my favorite, although I think Honoka is the one I find most interesting. I’m very curious about her past given the hints, as well as her whole “I have a terrible personality.” deal. Stand-offish female characters are hardly unique, but they don’t generally come right out and say that they’ve got a bad personality. (On an entirely different note, was the person who named these kids watching a ton of Love Live, or what? They managed to hit a third of the names of the girls from Muse in just two characters!) As for the others, well, its pretty bold to name one of your guys after a sex toy, huh? Meanwhile, was I the only one getting Nabari no Ou vibes from Katsuhira and Hisomu?

Kagewani: Shou, ep. 4

I really liked this episode, but I was also troubled by how all over the place it was, and it made me wonder what they’re trying to do with this second season. It also had a cameo from the Sekkou Boys, which was genuinely one of the weirder cameos I’ve ever seen; sure, it was really funny, and I laughed a ton, but Kagewani’s never been funny, so I’m not even sure I’m happy that the cameo happened. Everything reverts to creepy and serious form in short order, with a great bombshell concerning Banba, but I hope this takes a deep breath and slows itself down next episode, and doesn’t go for humor again.

Gundam 00, ep. 17-18

Oh, yeah, I was watching this a couple of months ago, wasn’t I? Picking it up again, I was initially confused as I had largely forgotten what happened after Allelujah went full Quatre-with-the-Zero-System  on a bunch of weaponized children. Thankfully, 00 apparently didn’t expect its viewership to necessarily recall things from week-to-week, so I was reminded in short order. This, of course, also meant that I was reminded that, contrary to what many people have claimed to me, 00 is not a good show or even an interesting one much of the time. In fact, it’s lack in the latter regard had me pondering why I was even watching it, something that I have yet to have settled.

Surprising, then, that the one point in which these episodes hit the nail on the head involved Saji and Louise. I’d gotten into the habit of simply skipping their scenes as they’re so banal and unrelated 98% of the time to anything else going on in the show. Smart thinking, then, that I sat through a couple of them in these episodes, as the reveal about Louise’s hand was genuinely affecting and well-directed. I’m astonished that they managed to make me feel for a pair of characters who’ve struck me as a waste of airtime to this point! Saji still flubs the follow-through (no shock there!), but, hey, you did have me for a few minutes there!

Of course, the best part of these episodes is when Haro is out-assholed by purple!Haro… or, it would be, but purple!Haro’s voice is awful. It’s still hilarious to watch Haro be excited about seeing its “older brother” only to get a brutal cold shoulder from a very hostile purple!Haro, though.

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, ep. 2

Ok, so, I only saw the second half of this, and I haven’t seen the first episode. Having said that, wow, that sure was Sakura Shinguji. I really like the character designs – getting the Macross character designer on the job was a pretty smart move.

Oh, and, in case you hadn’t caught onto it yet, “kabaneri” is most likely a corruption of “carabinieri”. Also, I never watched Attack on Titan, so, uh, yeah.

Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto, ep. 2

Another one where I didn’t watch the first episode. I was really surprised that the first half was Protestant Work Ethic propaganda. The second half bored me completely. I didn’t start watching this show when it started as I had a strong suspicion that it wasn’t my kind of comedy, and it seems I was correct, so this one is back in the “not watching” pile.

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