Casual murder continues to dominate this season as Akame ga kill! throws up death flags everywhere, Sabagebu! loses a few good men to some deadly toilet humor, and Locodol kills off some… chocolate tanukis?
The Roundup is a weekly guide to all the “other” shows we’re watching this season. Check out our full, weekly coverage of:
Marlin:This episode definitely upped the ante, now it seems the only person who is in the dark about everyone’s feelings is poor Hiro. I still don’t get what’s up with Sacchi. Before, she still could at least partially claim ignorance on knowing about Hiro’s affections, but now this episode we see her giving him this knowing nod as he sneaks out the building. From the next chat with Touka, it seems she is still clearly only interested in her. Does it mean she knows, but is just letting him on? I also feel bad for Yuki. Things are gonna be reeeeally weird around his house until he moves out.
Gee: I’m going to rapidly run out of new things to say about this show if just because Argevollen doesn’t really do anything new or interesting. This week we find out that our idiot protagonist’s sister was killed in action and he thinks the government is hiding the real explanation. Thus, he decided the most logical course of action was to join the military and move up the ranks by being a mecha pilot. What he didn’t realize is that being a shitty mecha pilot will not get you far in any universe. There’s a little more circlejerk this episode as everyone falls over themselves justifying our idiot protagonist’s behavior before the episode closes out with a military operation gone wrong. I’m sure it will be yet another opportunity for our idiot protagonist to prove how great he is in his super special prototype that imprints on a single pilot’s DNA. Did I remember to mention this week how stupid that is?
Jel: I keep trying to find the right word to describe Locodol’s charm. Maybe it’s “humility”? It was quite amusing and entirely appropriate that the girls’ ambitious goal of appearing on national TV was granted in the least glamorous way possible. Even their local god of luck kind of sucks, but the bit where they offer the tanuki cake was absolutely adorable. With Uogokoro still punching their meal ticket, I’m looking forward to next week’s competition.Marlin:Another adorable episode. True to the incredibly idealistic vision of idol stardom the show has going, everything seems to be falling into their laps without so much as a warning. I love that the town thinks having a giant mackerel is more important than the actual mascot body in representing their town. It’s also pretty hilarious that their town apparently worships a Billiken, most notable for being the college mascot of that stupid #5 seed that refused to stay down this year. Not sure why you would worship a clearly fictional character from another country, but pretty much everything else about Shinto goes way over my head so I guess this is nothing new.
Lifesong: What is there to even say about the beach episode of a harem show? For the most part events play out as expected. I do find it amusing that Koutarou’s obvious love interest isn’t actually part of his live-in harem. The other heroines are starting to shape up as well. I do like the occasional sweet moments this show has. Looks like it’s the ghost’s turn next. I hope that Harumi saves the day again and befriends Sanae. How great would it be if she is actually the winner of Harem room’s conquest even though she isn’t even taking part.
Lifesong: Guys, the penguin has psychic powers! I am in love with the way this show is shaping up. The way our heroes have formed an awkward family of psychics has a nice feel to it. I am also digging the respect it shows toward it’s strong women. Magneto Papa never gets a chance to step in and save the day. In fact everytime he tries something stops him in a hilarious fashion. As much as I love the setup for this show it hasn’t really gone anywhere yet. I’m hoping that will start to change next week.
Aquagaze:Aldnoah.Zero knows its flaws by now, and continues to revel in them, with Inaho crossing into Mahouka-territory atrocious characterization being its absolute low point. While I can appreciate the brave attempts to properly ground the strategies used to dispose of the Kataphrakt of the week in something resembling real-world logic, seeing the strategy successfully come to fruition would be so much more satisfying if a smaller cast would have used all their respective talents to plan it together. It certainly would have made the cast more interesting than the technobabbling military clichés with terrible senses of humour we have now. Whatever interesting ideas Aldnoah.Zero has seem accidental, almost, whether it’s the emperor only appearing as a holographic projection, or Asseylum’s performing CPR on Slaine being so poorly presented it looks a surprising lot like she’s taking advantage of him to quench her sexual repression — which I do not see the show acknowledging any time soon. It’s a pity, because I want to like this show. It just seems to hate itself.Gee: Yet again, Aldnoah almost manages to be a half-competent mecha anime before falling flat on its face. Forcing the Martian mech into the ocean is a pretty nifty idea, unfortunately it’s so basic it hinges on everyone except Inaho being a complete idiot. The fact that it took an apparently autistic schoolboy to figure it out says volumes about both Earth’s military and how truly stupid the Martians are. At this point, it’s hard to be impressed by Aldnoah when it relies so heavily on everyone else being incompetent to make the barely competent Inaho seem like a genius. And as something that will be of surprise to anyone, the entire cast barring Slaine and maybe Minato continue to be the most dreadfully boring bunch of the season. Inaho is the most egregious, his complete and utter lack of interesting characterization makes it impossible for me to even care about him or anything related to him at this point. Why is this show being praised?
Tokyo ESP – Honestly, I can’t think of an anime penguin that ISN’T psychic.
Rail Wars! Episode 5
Saturdays 11:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll (North America only) Watching: Lifesong,Timmy
Timmy: After last weeks rather over fanservicy affair Rail Wars gets back on track this week as Aoi exposes herself to bumps into and identifys an accomplice to the bombing suspect captured a couple episodes back. And of course she ops to tail the dude herself dragging Naoto along for the ride instead of letting the pros handle it. We, and Naoto for that matter, get to know Aoi a fair bit better as they duck into nice tight hideyholes to not get spotted and kill time between stops chatting. It is a fun enough episode, but discussing with Life has us in agreement that Aoi has way too much plot armor, where no matter how reckless she is it always works out for her in the end. A chunk of track being blown up as the perp arms and drops the bomb in a bid to lose/kill her after spotting her, and I can’t imagine any company would be so forgiving of this even when she managed to stop a train in time from hitting said track. Like I said though it is not a bad episode, and if you enjoy Aoi’s antics as I’ll admit I kind of do, you are bound to enjoy it.
Jel: This episode takes the series way deeper into over the top, even surreal territory and I love it. The second part is particularly brilliant, somehow making toilet humor and casual, grossly unnecessary death (those poor helicopter pilots… never forget!) into something hilarious. It certainly dispels any idea that these girls are redeemable human beings, particularly the third part when Momoka literally murders her conscience. As I’ve noted before it sounds kind of dark when you write it out, but it’s all done with bright colors and a smile and that makes it even more amusing.Gee:Sabagebu continues to be one of the few shining beacons in this otherwise terribly unimpressive season, if only because it makes a rather unambitious claim every week, and then expertly vaults it with ease. While the first and third acts were a little weak, the second act had me in stitches. A combination of the sheer absurdity and the slapstick was just too funny to resist. And of course, watching Momoka shoot anything that gets in her way like the petty sociopath she is continues to be a delight.
Lifesong: I sense awful things coming. This episode was too happy. We learned Sheele’s entire back story and had some stupid powerful villains introduced. Death flags everywhere. I hope it isn’t actually Sheele’s death flag. She has become one of my favorite characters after this episode. I know the whole a good death can immortalize a character spiel, but I would much rather she stick around. Mentors always die in these kinds of stories…
Love Stage!! – “So I’m not a BL character after all!” Sure dude, sure.
Lifesong: Well that got awkward fast. Ryouma feels awful about almost raping Izumi and is nothing but apologies this week. I guess they did a pretty good job of making him sympathetic in the way he acknowledges himself as a failed human being… Like Izumi I actually feel sorry for him. Unlike Izumi I wouldn’t have any desire to be his “friend”. It’s interesting for me to note the ways this series is and isn’t like Yuri. In Yuri series I often feel like all of the characters act like men I’ve known. Here all of the characters act more like women I’ve known… It’s an interesting thing to note, especially compared to all the gender-bending of personalities in this season’s Nozaki-Kun.
Lifesong: This show is so awful. I hope some enemies are introduced soon because as much fun as it was to watch Illya get double KOed at school I am very tired of the school antics. Kuro Illya has her mana source now, lets move on other things shall we?
Aquagaze: This episode gave me diabetes, but at least HaNaYaMaTa is self-aware enough to make its occasional not-so-subtle forays into cheesy romance novel melodrama tolerable. Yaya’s a big help here, taking up the role of the regular girl cast into a rag-tag bunch of overexcitable anime characters with all the snarky consequences you’d expect. After reaching some sort of truce with Hannah, she has troubles getting along with Tami next, and I absolutely love how this show doesn’t immediately assume all its characters get along peachy all the time. Even in its dorkiest moments, HaNaYaMaTa doesn’t abandon its continuity and character work, which is something I can definitely appreciate. Throw in a particularly cynical teacher and Hannah being bros with shopkeeper dude again, and you have another greatly enjoyable episode of this sleeper hit.Marlin: A bit less heavy on the animation this week, but boy does this show make up for it with style. “Colors! Colors everywhere!” seems to be the motto of this show, and man is that apparent here. It’s also fun to see these girls hang out. I like that Yaya and Tami meet and aren’t instantly best pals. You gotta hang out with someone a few times before you really can get comfortable with them, and that seems to be what Yaya needed. Add some great gag jokes with the shop owner and yosakoi animation that puts Golden Time‘s hilarious CG robots to shame, and you have another great episode.
Barakamon Episode 5
Simulcast Pending on Funimation Saturdays 9:00 pm CET on Crunchyroll (Europe only, except UK and Ireland)
Aquagaze: Barakamon has played out most if not all of its ace cards already, but the shenanigans remain great as ever. A considerable step up from last week’s rather lukewarm instalment, this episode taught us a bit more about what makes calligraphy an art, as well as featuring what is arguably the least fanservice-y beach trip in recent anime history. It actually makes for a unique atmosphere and some great gags, with the vividly animated background antics and physical comedy an absolute standout. The holy trinity of great slice-of-life comedies this season (Barakamon, HaNaYaMaTa and Sabagebu!) remains strong as ever, and this doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon.