The Roundup: Spring 2014 Volume 4

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In this week’s episode…

Marlin buries Nanananana, Lifesong takes a break from theoretical politics to rave about Black Bullet and No Game No Life, and I remind everyone Seki-kun x Kana Hanazawa is this season’s OTP.

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 4

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

JelSome of the laziest character introductions ever in this episode as Yukihime in particular just jumps in like she’s been our best friend for years. I was also disappointed although not surprised that Class President Guy didn’t turn out to be so evil after all. I do like where they are going with Juugo though, standing his ground in a fight and revealing a much more interesting past than I was expecting. The twist on his background opens up a lot more potential for his relationship with Nanana and Sher-loli Holmes than I was expecting. Nanananana continues to be frustratingly sloppy, but these latest developments have me willing to stick along for the ride.

Marlin: I am so angry at this show I can barely stand it. This week’s episode was the exposition form of Light Novel Syndrome at its absolute worst. Nothing made sense. If maybe there was a hint that every character would have complete personality changes then maybe it would have been a bit more tolerable, but having the MC just go all weird and psychological out of nowhere is just stupid and the “ideological fight” he had with the president was equally insipid. We get introduced to half of the main cast as if we were supposed to know who they were the whole time, and the pacing was just absolutely awful. I thought this show had promise. I was sorely mistaken. I will not suffer through any more.

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Ping Pong the Animation Episode 4

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

Gee: Surprise surprise, Ping Pong was gorgeous. The kinetic animation and the expressive liveliness of its characters keeps it amazing to look at, in all its glorious ugliness. Of course, I could spend all day talking about Ping Pong’s animation. So instead I’ll bring up that it also continues to be an excellent character drama as well. Peco’s sound defeat at the hands of Akuma is a perfect counter to last week’s “talent vs. hard work” debate. Whereas Smile handily beat the hard working Kong with sheer talent, this time the ridiculously slant-eyed Akuma comes out on top due to his cunning strategy and hard work. And even compared to the hard working Akuma and Kong, nobody stands close to Kazama. While the plane vs. dragon imagery was a little on-the-nose, its striking execution made for a visually exciting match. What’s so fun about Ping Pong is that there are so many directions for the show to go from here. There’s Smile’s quest to overcome his defeatist nature. Peco to realize his talent is worthless. Kong to atone for his arrogance and come back stronger than before. Wherever the show goes, I’m ready to follow.

Marlin: This episode was absolutely stellar. I was worried that a sport like Ping Pong wouldn’t be able to keep up the energy of more dynamic sports, but that fear has been resoundingly squashed. It’s thanks to this unique art style that Ping Pong has really been able to shine this season. The frenetic and ugly way players move around makes it easy to get engrossed in the matches. Classic shounen embellishments like Kazama’s dragon become like works of art when brought to life by this style. The story is getting better and better as well. With Peco soundly defeated, it’s showing to him that Smile was the better player all along, that the way he faced Kong was the same way he plays against him. I can’t wait to see how these characters develop as they come to terms with what they want out of the sport.

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selector infected WIXOSS Episode 5

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

Lifesong: Selector Infected played its hand, I finally know what this card game is all about. Instead of feeling thrilled I’m just kind of tired of it all. I don’t really like any of these characters despite trying to invest in them. I’m going to keep watching, but I’m just not feeling this anime.
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Nanana’s Buried Treasure – Juugo does his best Touma Kamijou impersonation

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Date A Live Season 2 Episode 4

Friday 2:05 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: This show has the best mix of dumb comedy and quality drama this season. I was on the edge of my seat when Shidou summoned Touka’s blade. I hope they are finally going to explain who or what he is. It is still somewhat ambiguous if he is even human. With his sisters promise to kill him if things get bad this series isn’t likely to disappoint anytime soon.

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Riddle Story of Devil The Devil’s Riddle Episode 5

Friday 2:55 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Jel, Lifesong, Gee

Jel: I didn’t time it, but I would honestly without exaggeration guess we spent less than two minutes developing our assassin of the week this time. Sadly, I can barely even remember what happened in the rest of the episode beyond the bond between Azuma and Haru moving at glacial speed. It’s too bad because this week’s girl seemed pretty cool, and yet they neither gave her the development she needed or let her die with dignity after bringing the entire gym lighting system crashing down on her head. At least the ED was pretty cool, I like how it changes for the girl of the week. It’s probably not a good sign if that was my favorite part.

Lifesong: I’m enjoying this assassin of the week formula enough, but I do wish the assassins had a bit more time for development. Haru’s attitude and relationship with Azuma are telling a narrative larger than the assassin of the week format and that is doing a lot to keep me interested. At the same time I kind of wish I could skip to the part where they actually develop. I was promised lesbian assassins! Where are my lesbians damn it! I hope something will mix things up soon.

Gee: For once, I was actually kind of looking forward to seeing the buildup and clash with Haruki, who is by far my favorite girl out of the assassins. Cool tomboyish older sister type who fights CQC style? Count me in! Alas, even by the show’s standards, her development is basically nonexistent. To make matters even worse, they don’t even let her die on her own terms. Look, I’ve long realized this show isn’t going to let anyone die, but this is starting to get ridiculous. Still, compared to the previous assassins, at least this was an assassin and fight I was looking forward to. And indeed, it was fun to watch for all 30 seconds it lasted. Ah well, at least a CQC vs. knife fight is more realistic than a gun vs. handsaw fight. It seems even when The Devil’s Riddle looks like it’s gonna get it right, it falls flat on its face again.

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The Irregular at Magic High School Episode 5

Saturday 2:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong wrote a whole lot about episode 4 and 5 here.
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Riddle Story of Devil The Devil’s Riddle – Me by the end of the episode

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Brynhildr In the Darkness Episode 5

Sunday 10:00 am EST on Crunchyroll
Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: The boobs of steel are a lie. Our characters are all freaking out about how she will kill someone, but if anything she will kill them to protect herself. It seems pretty obvious to me that she isn’t going to be a super bad ass. Our new villain reminds me of an Arancar from Bleach. He cannon mouth even shoots red lasers. I may not have know the girl she murdered in this episode very well, but that girl protected a kitty so she must have a been a good person. I can’t wait to see how they fry this witch.

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Tonari no Seki-kun: The Master of Killing Time Episode 18

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

Jel: As if there was any doubt that these two are this season’s best couple, this episode helped cement it. They have such an interesting relationship considering one of them never actually speaks. Seki’s troll face said more than a thousand speeches or info dumps ever could though, which was always the show’s strength. As Yokoi becomes more and more complicit in Seki-kun’s games, I kind of wonder how far they’re going to take their relationship. Probably not that far, but it’s something I love watching.

Marlin: This episode was pretty adorable. Seki’s troll face every time he pulled off a trick was priceless, and watching as Rumi slowly cave into showing her surprise was really cute. As the first time Seki has directly involved Rumi in his nonsense, it’s hard to not see too much in it. I think that’s the great part about Seki-kun. Even if the two of them have no actual attraction for each other, the story leaves a lot to the imagination, just as Seki’s diversions do for Rumi.

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Black Bullet Episode 4

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

Lifesong: The theatrics of this show have sold me completely. I love the combination of cold brutality and hilarious anime theatrics are what it makes this anime so much fun week after week. The implications of what is happening to Enju when she uses her powers just makes me sick. Surely she has plot armor enough to survive this anime? I’m not convinced she will. This show continues to be a highlight of the season for me. I am looking forward to seeing where it goes next.
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No Game No Life – Crunchyroll, keep those stylized subs coming

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No Game No Life Episode 4

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

Lifesong: Favorite show this season bar none. This anime went in the exact direction I hoped it would. Humanity’s representatives versus god. That speech about weakness was perfect. I haven’t decided if it was total nonsense or not yet, but it fit this story perfectly. There is some small level of truth hidden in the message I think. My only concern is that the promise of challenging Tet, the god of gaming won’t actually happen in this season of the anime. I hope it does.
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Chaika –The Coffin Princess– Episode 4

Wednesday 2:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll
Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: So apparently a “dragoon” is not a dragon, but in fact a magical shape shifting mechanical steam-punk dragon. It turns into a loli by the end of the episode. In case you were wondering. I was a little disappointing to learn that our sibling pair are not real siblings, but I got over that fast. The pacing of this show just always puts me in a good mood. I am not even sure why, but I’m happy to see that continue week after week.
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If Her Flag Breaks Episode 4

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

Marlin: Once again, this show does a good job of keeping the comedy going. While we do see a bit of the old jokes returning, it seems this show knows enough about the tropes it’s lampooning to mix it up every once in a while. The part where Souta triggers the “victory flags” was the best string of jokes yet. I’m enjoying the comedy so much that I’m a bit wary of it also bringing in dramatic elements. It’s not that I can’t believe the show can get away with it, I just think it would be stronger if it stuck to a comedic atmosphere. I’m hoping the solution for saving Souta can be equally funny as we go on.

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