The Roundup: Spring 2014 Volume 3

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In this week’s episode…

Ping Pong delivers the coolest OP of the season, Lifesong geeks out over No Game No Life and not because of the Jojo references, and we have our first official drop of the season. WHAT COULD IT BE???

The Roundup is a weekly guide to all the “other” shows we’re watching this season. Check out our full coverage of:

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders
The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior
Captain Earth
One Week Friends

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Nanana’s Buried Treasure Episode 3

Thursday 1:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Watching: Jel, Lifesong, Marlin, Aquagaze

JelThis was a considerable improvement over last week’s episode as the emphasis was more on the treasure hunting, and the combination of introducing “bad” guys (I doubt they stay bad) and more super powered treasures made this a much more compelling watch. Unfortunately the trap itself was kind of dumb as it was hard to represent visually and we really had to take Sher-loli Holmes’ word for it. Also not sure how I feel about the thrown in “suspension bridge” romance angle, but I at least appreciate characters being honest. Nananananana is still a fun romp by my expectations have settled lower than I was expecting.Marlin: Nanana better start shaping up sometime soon. I want less magical girlfriend and more adventure. Thankfully the club’s turn as the real bad guys at least gives our heroes a bit more of an impetus to finding these treasures. I feel like the explanation they gave for solving this puzzle made no sense. If Juugo could just run through it perfectly fine, why not have him run to the treasure box? Nothing seemed to be stopping him, it just seemed like an excuse to let the president get a hold of the treasure instead of him. The only thing I’m hoping for is that we find out the Leprechaun is a real leprechaun. That would get me back into this show in an instant.
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Ping Pong the Animation Episode 3

Thursday 12:50 pm EST on Funimation
Watching: Marlin, Aquagaze, Gee

Gee: Ping Pong really has shown itself to be prime anime this season, putting up a good front as both a sports anime and as a genuinely good character piece. Smile is probably one of the most interesting characters this season, and learning about his mentality and the people around him reacting to it was a lot of fun. His actions speak for himself, and it develops Smile’s character more than expository dialogue ever could. Here is a man with unbridled talent, but an utter disregard for the game compared to the others like Kong, whom’s entire life ride on the results of these games. As a result, Smile ends up being the man who wants to win, but can’t bring himself to win because his opponents care so much more about the game. We saw this in his and Peco’s interactions, and it should be even more interesting to see how Peco treats Smile now that he knows that Smile is undeniably the better player.

From the art side of things, this week’s episode has some great moments and compositions. Yuasa’s style is at full force here and as a result, the shots are dynamic and interesting to look at. Combined with the narrative force of Smile’s humming, the last match of the episode was truly something to behold.

Also seriously. That new OP? Fucking amazing.

Marlin: Ping Pong has mastered the art of being beautifully ugly. Still, all the style in the world wouldn’t save this if the story wasn’t interesting. Smile is an interesting study in good character writing. While he doesn’t emote much, it’s his actions that show what kind of person Smile is. He enjoys ping pong, but he doesn’t understand the mentality that the others have taken to it as sport. To him it’s merely a diversion, just a diversion he’s very good at. He purposely loses to Kong because he can’t bring himself to destroy someone’s life over such a silly thing as a game. Eventually he is going to have to face the fact that in every competitive game, you are leaving half of the interested parties disappointed. He will have to start winning for himself, or he will never go anywhere with his gift.

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Nanana’s Buried Treasure – The “Bad” Guy appears

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selector infected WIXOSS Episode 4

Thursday 2:50 pm EST on Funimation
Watching: Lifesong, Marlin

Lifesong: We are moving along slowly, but surely. I did like the sense of suspense in this episode, but feel like it only serves to distract me from the fact that this story could be moving a lot faster than it is. I like the characters enough, but they are not compelling. Something needs to happen to challenge someone and fast. The darkness lurking in the corners has grown tiresome. It needs to come out to play and fast.

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Date A Live Season 2 Episode 3

Friday 2:05 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: In a heartwarming twist the reason twin spirits have decided to use Shidou to end their game because they both intend to die for the other spirit. Seduction was a game for the sake of manipulating Shidou into picking the other to live on. I love how this show can go from ridiculous comedy to something heartwarming or tragic in the blink of an eye. Next week should be the conclusion to this particular arc involving these two twins and I can’t wait to see how it is resolved. I hope they both survive.
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Riddle Story of Devil The Devil’s Riddle – Name That Crazy Composer

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Riddle Story of Devil The Devil’s Riddle Episode 4

Friday 2:55 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Jel, Lifesong, Gee

Jel: Glasses Girl could have used another episode of backstory if the writers really wanted us to care about her. Her brief little flashbacks were not enough for the audience to truly empathize with someone who has decided to kill for their own gain. I have a gut feeling her backstory – as well as all the girls’ backstories – are much more fleshed out in the manga where the format allows it, which is too bad for the anime as it tries to cram in a girl per week. I’m also getting a little tired of everyone playing school, but introducing characters with agendas beyond killing like Chitaru might hold out hope for some interesting twists in the future.Gee: At this point, I think it’s safe to say how the rest of this show is going to turn out. Every week, some new crazy bitch is gonna make an attempt on Haru’s life, and every week, Haru’s own deluded naivety will get Tokaku nearly killed. Meanwhile, Haru will have an utter disregard for her own self-preservation because she’s a dumb school girl who talks in the 3rd person. It’s kind of a shame, what with this week’s assassin being an explosives specialist. We could have gotten some great tension from not knowing what’s a trap and what’s safe. The scene with the fridge was a great example of this. Unfortunately, the rest of the episode devolves into predictable bomb traps with explosions of narratively selective effectiveness. Ah well, at least Tokaku actually won the fight this time instead of getting bailed out by Haru. I suppose my own morbid curiosity will keep me watching, if just to see how increasingly contrived the variou assassins’ backstories and killing methodologies are. Well, not that it’ll really matter, I think it’s quite obvious at this point that nobody is actually going to die.

Lifesong: This anime is dumb and I love every second of it. The assassin of the week formula just works and I find Haru’s personality to be an endearing change of pace for the genre. I love how she is prepared to force the world to become the way she wills it even when being optimistic about the hearts of her would be killers also means being foolish. The outlook of the character is what makes this series compelling in the face of the fact that no one is dying. I hope they continue to challenge her in interesting ways.

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Mekaku City Actors Episode 3

Saturday 1:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Aquagaze

Aquagaze: Hahahaha, fuck you, I’m not suffering through another episode of this.
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The Irregular at Magic High School – I don’t know what this is but it looks cool

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The Irregular at Magic High School Episode 4

Saturday 2:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: This episode called equality a lie being manipulated by terrorists. Otherwise it was full of technobable. I find the technobable to be meaningful, but it is still technobable none the less. At this point you are probably either enjoying the politics and magical science or completely bored to tears. I suspect it only gets worse but I’m enjoying this series myself. It has the right mix of world building, political intrigue and dumb anime escapism for me.
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The World Is Still Beautiful Episode 4

Saturday 3:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Iro, Marlin

Marlin: The problems from last week still remain. Additionally, this whole plot arc seems to be building awfully fast. It’s episode 4 and she’s already acting like this dude is the love of her life. I get that she may be growing to like his company, but the way she holds him in esteem here seems beyond the short time they’ve known each other. The trial itself moves way too fast for its own good, and is just full of plot holes. If the Zoro priests want to get rid of her, why didn’t they just shoot her with an arrow or something the minute she stepped into the dungeon? Oh well, it’s still hard to get over the fact that the dude looks 12 years old, but I like Nike’s character, and it’s at least enjoyable for what it’s trying to accomplish.
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Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time – This looks much crazier out of context

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Brynhildr In the Darkness Episode 4

Sunday 10:00 am EST on Crunchyroll
Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: Not going to lie, this episode was a letdown. I blame the cliffhanger. My expectations were through the roof. Turns out this bit of the story wasn’t anything to hinge on at all. Everything was resolved within minutes and any potentially neat developments between characters was reset by time control. I am still enjoying this show, but my expectations have been lowered dramatically to match this weeks results.

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Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time Episode 17

Sunday 6:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Watching: Jel, Lifesong, Marlin

Jel: Whatever game Seki-kun was playing was Japanese enough to fly over my head, but I was quite amused when things settled down into business as usual. Yokoi’s emotional rollercoaster was adorable to watch as always, and the gag where she scares Seki-kun by blowing on his arm got a good laugh out of me. There was something very sweet and almost romantic about it that’s difficult to describe unless you watch it. Seriously folks, watch this show.Marlin: Seki-kun sure loves the family theme. From the way Seki reacted, it seemed he didn’t intend Rumi to participate in this week’s diversion, but then, why would he do it? Obviously he can’t see what he’s doing, and she even notes that the Mr. Potato Head-y thing he’s playing with is meant for others. I do love that having a pompadour automatically means you’re a delinquent by the way. Either way you’d think Seki would have learned by now that if anyone is messing with him, it’s probably her..
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No Game No Life Props to Crunchyroll on the stylized subs

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Black Bullet Episode 3

Tuesday 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Watching: Lifesong, Marlin

Lifesong: I just watched episode 4 and it was awesome. I don’t remember episode 3 anymore. I’ll write about 4 next week because it was damn cool!
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No Game No Life Episode 3

Wednesday 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll
Watching: Lifesong,

Lifesong: This was easily the most entertaining single episode of anime I’ve watched in several seasons. The “chess” game antics managed to rival even Code Geass with with ridculous rules while having even higher stakes. I love this anime’s sense of humor. The ridiculously overstated dramatic irony fits me perfectly. I can’t wait for the conclusion of the match.
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If Her Flag Breaks – This one is obvious

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Chaika –The Coffin Princess– Episode 3

Wednesday 2:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: I have a soft spot for adventure and that is exactly what Chaika is proving to be. An adventure with two morally ambiguous mercenaries for higher and the daughter of a fallen warlord. A warlord who was so powerful he was practically a god at that. Not much has been done and the dialog in this anime is simple, but the presentation leaves me feeling good every episode. I’m sold on the characters and even more so on the way their antics build up events. I loved the campfire storytelling and I can’t wait to see how misinformed the people of this nation are about their ruler and her dragoon.(Dragoon is what they called it) This anime has atmosphere in spades.
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If Her Flag Breaks Episode 3

Wednesday 3:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Watching: Lifesong, Marlin

Marlin: I really enjoyed this episode. The jokes were genuinely funny, and the characters are vibrant and fun to watch. This show is reminding me a lot of NouCome, with its ridiculous student councils and gaggle of wacko gals who pledge their allegiance to this one random schmuck. My only concern is that this show might get what I call BakaTest syndrome, where an anime keeps repeating the same jokes over and over again until they’re left dry and humorless. I was already feeling that by the third time they did a joke about the trap, so lets hope that’s the exception and not the rule as this show goes forward.
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Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky Episode 3

Currently Unlicensed
Watching: Iro, Timmy

Iro: Atelier continues to proudly broadcast its video game roots, with the bulk of the episode being a clear boss fight. Things get a little silly after they loudly declare the golem to be immune to conventional weaponry (only to have half a dozen people burst into the arena and proceed to beat it up with conventional weaponry), but it all works out. If nothing else, this show works pretty well for killing time.

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