Week in Review, 7/18 – 7/24

logh 19

Is it okay to ship this? Asking for a friend.

With the new season in full swing, seems like a good time to resurrect this. I haven’t quite settled down into a watch schedule yet, mind you, so there are some shows I didn’t manage to get to last week (like Cheer Boys) that aren’t drops (…yet?). It does look like this is going to be a relatively light season for me, though.

Sweetness and Lightning, ep. 3

One of the things which I’ve really liked thus far in this show is that Tsumugi actually generally behaves like a five year old – so many anime which heavily feature small children have a tendency to deliver up creatures who are nigh-on angelic. Perhaps even more impressive is how well they handle depicting her physically, from how she moves to her body language. So, when Tsumugi has an argument with a classmate (who was a first class brat, by the way), she pulls her smock up over her head and refuses to show her face until her dad brings her home.

That being said, this episode itself wasn’t terribly thrilling. I liked that they centered it around Tsumugi having a problem at school, but that itself didn’t make for terribly engaging stuff compared to previous episodes.

Also, wow, this was a REALLY rough-looking episode at points. I hope it was just a bad week and this wasn’t evidence of what we should expect for the rest of the series.

Thunderbolt Fantasy, ep. 1-2

So, confession time! I am not at all a Gen Urobuchi fan. His name appearing on something is enough for me to avoid it. But it would seem that all I needed from him is for him to make a Wuxia-flavored puppet show with a fake blood budget large enough to buy an aircraft carrier. The central plot and the characters are all fairly standard types, but the production values are absurdly high and the execution is sharp. It’s also decently camp, generally something which will endear works of fiction to me.

By the way, I’m also assuming that this is basically what Game of Thrones is like since there are dragons and lots of people get stabbed, beheaded, impaled, and vaporized.

Legend of the Galactic Heroes, ep. 15-20

Having whipped through the second volume of the novels last week, it seemed like there was no time like the present to get back into making my way through this lengthy series. Fresh from the book, too, it was interesting to be able to see the differences between the two. And, in contrast to when I watched the first fourteen episodes, too, being able to compare book and anime has enabled me to better pinpoint which things I think are a bit lacking in the anime.

(By the way, these episodes cover the end of the first incursion (in the series) of the Free Planets’ Alliance into the Empire’s territory and the beginning of the civil wars in both nations. It’s a huge enough series that I figure some orientation is a must in any discussion of it.)

The biggest issue with the anime is that it apes something the books do, but doesn’t handle it as well, and that is breaking into, “And then, this big thing happened! And then this other big thing happened!” in the middle of episodes. It’s immersion-breaking and makes several of the episodes here feel choppy. In the books, these glossing moments can be a little annoying, but it sticks out less in textual form, especially as the books originally opened with a fairly dry history lesson that itself glossed some items.

There are also some issues with some of the conversations throughout these episodes, as in being compressed from their counterparts in the books, they don’t necessarily flow well. There was one conversation in particular which suffered badly from this, between Hildegarde von Mariendorf and her father.

I’ve highlighted issues with these episodes, but I did generally enjoy them, and I want to watch more.

Battery, ep. 1

Lots of people seem to have loved this, so perhaps take my words with a grain of salt, but I found this opening episode so dull that I considered not finishing it. Given the sheer volume of baseball anime, this *had* to have a hook to set it apart from those hordes, and it simply did not. Lacking anything else, it had to at least try to make some hay with its leads and their budding relationships. But, nah – boy with crappy personality meets boy with pushy attitude, insults him a bunch, and then realizes he’s legit when it comes to baseball. Add in a dollop of “Wow, mom sucks!” for extra measure, I guess, since bitches just always want to get the boys down. All the lovely visuals in the world can’t save this one. Maybe someday Takako Shimura will get to do character designs for a half-decent show.

Macross Delta, ep. 13-15

I live with someone who is watching Delta with me but isn’t terribly enthusiastic about it, which means that I tend to get backlogged on it (in turn, this means he is behind on 91 Days as he thought I was planning to keep watching it and accordingly held off on watching it without me). It also means that I watched these episodes at the start of last week, and so I find myself only able to bring up things such as – wow, those boob-window outfits sure were ugly! That some of the members of Walkure don’t even have much boobage for them to window just made it worse. Why, oh why are so many of the idol outfits in this show so hideous??? To be fair, I’ve found that the performance outfits in many idol shows just look terrible to me (the Love Live anime’s outfits were generally unkind to the eye, and while AKB0048 had some pretty decent ones, it also had some that were awful), so it may simply just not be my aesthetic.

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8 Responses to Week in Review, 7/18 – 7/24

  1. Artemis says:

    I really liked the entire art direction for Battery, from the character designs to the composition in general, but boy did that MC put me off. I’d normally be all over a show like this but I just can’t commit to a show whose MC is such a douche.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      I read the first volume of the Haikyu manga this past weekend, and it feels like a good comparison point, as one of the leads there is an incredible jerk off the bat. But its leavened by the fact that its very quickly clear that his arrogance has completely tripped him up, whereas here it doesn’t feel like we’re necessarily supposed to view the kid’s attitude as a huge problem.

      Also, I have to be honest, the fact that they’re in middle school also was fairly off-putting to me.

      • Artemis says:

        Those are both good points too. I feel like the anime was almost validating the MC’s doucheyness, which I didn’t really buy in the first place because he was fresh out of elementary school.

        • A Day Without Me says:

          Yeah. It didn’t help that they seemed to be framing his mother as unreasonable… A nickel says the little brother somehow overcomes his vague physical ailments and shows mom that she shouldn’t be trying to keep a boy down! Ugh, women, amirite?

  2. Rae says:

    Legend of the Galactic Heroes: I’m curious to see how it goes as I have the entire series and watched the movie was turned off by the lack of important women related to the plot. I’ll be following along your summaries to see if i should try it again someday.

    • A Day Without Me says:

      With both this and the Mobile Suit Gundam movie trilogy, people were so negative about how female characters featured and were treated/handled in them that it turned out that they could only exceed my rock-bottom expectations. That being said, female characters who matter are pretty scarce on the ground. One of them, Jessica Edwards, is GREAT and demonstrates more guts than anyone else does in the early going, which was thrilling. The other two are a lot more variable, although I was pleasantly surprised by an episode concerning palace intrigue, Reinhardt’s sister Annerose (a mistress/concubine of the emperor), and a woman who used to be the emperor’s favorite. I was expecting it to be a hot flaming sexist mess, but it was sympathetic to the latter’s plight and treated the entire thing seriously and not as a “lol bitches be catty!” situation. Overall, the show does seem to be trying to spend a little of its time examining and critiquing how patriarchal societies constrain women and warp their lives but it’s undermined by the relative dearth of female characters and by the fact that its suffering from some sexist ideas itself to begin with.

  3. The whole Empire in the Goldenbaum dynasty feels like a tragedy where a collection of arguably decent people do terrible, spiteful, unforgivable things only because those are the right things to do in a horribly broken system. I cant bring myself to dislike any of the characters in this part of the plot even Ovlesser, even Braunschweig. I loved the archaic manner wherein the Barones Beenemunde spoke. I love Annerose’s friend Baroness Westfalen. There are so many of the shows hundreds of characters I would have liked to spend more time with. I’m glad your putting your thoughts down here because it gives me an excuse to revisit this huge series that I’ve spent so much time watching.

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