The Roundup: Summer 2014 Volume 6

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In this week’s installment…

Glasslip and Argevollen heat up plot wise and fan service-wise respectively while Sabagebu proves it’s both funny AND environmentally conscious. Who knew?

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

Blue Spring Ride – Hunter x Hunter – Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders – Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun – Sailor Moon Crystal – Space Dandy – Sword Art Online II – Terror in Resonance 

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Glasslip
Episode 7

Thursdays 11:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Lifesong, Marlin

Marlin: This plot is moving along a lot faster than I expected. It seems like my suspicions about Sacchi are finally being exposed. It’s definitely very unique to see a character actively using someone they think to be their friend. It’s utterly despicable, and I like that Hiro had the same feelings upon finding that out himself, and didn’t forgive her blindly for it. It seems the more people are trying to push Touka and Kakeru away, the more it drives them together. I kind of like how this show is illustrating in fast forward how friendships can break apart because of how relationships change and people grow up. This still isn’t the greatest show out there, but its subtlety has gotten better and better as time goes on, and I finally feel justified for keeping with it.
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Argevollen
Episode 7

Thursdays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Gee, Lifesong

Gee: As I feared, Argevollen continues to teeter from the position it held as an ostensibly straight military drama. While breather episodes aren’t inherently a bad thing, to have one so early in the show and to be so gratuitous really hurts the show as a whole. Argevollen is a show that wants to have its cake and eat it too. It demands that we give it respect and dignity one affords to a military drama, but then it turns around and gives us a minute straight of girls moaning in ecstasy and expects us to be okay with both its typical anime bullshit. You can’t expect me to sympathize with your characters who are supposedly struggling against impossible odds in a grim war, and then devote an entire episode to fanservice and other cheap cliches. It shows a distinct lack of conviction on Argevollen’s part and continues to pile on the disappointments I have with it.
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Locodol
Episode 7

Thursdays 3:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Jel, Lifesong, MarlinTimmy

Jel: Call me old fashioned but I thought it was really sweet seeing the girls’ families get all hyped up for their big national TV debut. Reactions like Nanyako’s grandparents buying a TV and Yui’s little brother’s sense of amazement are the kind of heart warming thing I love about this show. The new girl seems like overkill, especially this late in the game, but I guess getting  a back up Uogokoro goes along with Locodol’s somewhat pragmatic approach to the idol business.

Marlin: I never really realized that Yui has that funky accent. I guess when you put her next to Yukari and Nanako she doesn’t sound totally off, but put her in a roomful of weird speaking people and it gets magnified like crazy. Finally we get introduced to that fourth girl who is clearly in bits of the op. It makes sense that she’s a Uogokoro body double, since it seemed obvious that she couldn’t be another member of the idol group. She seems nice, although at this point it kind of seems like Locodol has played all its cards. I’m sure I can still enjoy it for the bit of fluff it is, but it’s hard to see how it will up the ante from the mascot fights.

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Locodol – This is exactly how I picture rural Japan.

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Invaders of the Rokujyouma!?
Episode 6

Fridays 1:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: Moe ghost antics take a back seat as the space princess gets her time in the spotlight. I am continuously amused by the way this story has a clear romantic intrest and she isn’t part of the main harem. Instead of the heroines trying to win the protagonist over they are slowly being won over by her. Or at least that is how I am hoping it will play out.
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Tokyo ESP
Episode 6

Fridays 2:05 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: Our villains make away with Kyoutarou and we still don’t really know much of anything about them or their reasons. I feel like this show might be banking to much on them becoming interesting. I’m worried I won’t care by the time their motivations are placed on the table. On the plus side Rinka’s training was fun. This story isn’t really wowing me in any way, but I’m in love with Rinka’s character so it’s easy to cheer her on while she trains for coming events. That counts for a lot.
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Aldnoah.Zero
Episode 7

Saturdays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: AquagazeDragonzigg, EuricaeriS, Gee,  Iro, Marlin, Lifesong

Aquagaze: The complete incredibility of Inaho’s antagonism vis-à-vis Slaine’s sudden arrival once again proves that Aldnoah.Zero and characterization go together about as well as oil and water. While our two ‘heroes’ stall for time in what has to be the least exciting mecha battle in human history, Asseylum and the adults discover a hidden passageway containing — you’ll never guess it — a magical Aldnoah-powered battleship and mecha. What a coincidence. As usual, the rest of the episode is filled up with Inaho mumbling scientific hogwash, hilariously overwrought padding — as if this show somehow has too much time — and ever-continuing idiocy on both sides of the conflict. Why didn’t Asseylum reveal her true identity earlier? Why is Inaho not scolded for blatantly ignoring orders from his military superiors? Why do they send the very much unfit for combat Marito out in stead of ace sharpshooter Rayet? Why can’t anyone in this show speak human language? Why do I end every single review of this show with a seemingly endless stream of rhetorical questions?

Gee: Aldnoah.Zero is truly beginning to go from merely triggering anger in me as a viewer to the next stage of the bitter jaded mecha fan: Exhaustion. At this point, Aldnoah proves to have competence on the surface, but continues to fail due to the severity of its weak individual elements. Honestly, if Aldnoah’s characters and plot progression were merely mediocre and uninspired, that would be more of a step up than the explicit negative effect they currently have on the show. The Martians are insultingly dumb, Inaho continues to win his fights through a Wikipedia-level of random trivia, and to make matters worse, the characterization doesn’t just stagnate, it’s actually spiraling downward. I’m not particularly forgiving, but I can accept a mediocre, but competent anime. Aldnoah could be at least an average mecha anime if it tried, but it doesn’t. Or perhaps even worse, it does and fails so hard that I have a hard time believing someone intentionally wrote the characters and plot this way. And that just makes it all the more disappointing.

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Tokyo ESP – The joys of the training episode.

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Rail Wars!
Episode 7

Saturdays 11:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll (North America only)
Watching: Lifesong, Timmy

Lifesong: Timmy couldn’t make it this week so I’m filling in. That means I can use this brief chance to complain about what an awful person Aoi is! The way she ruins Naoto’s chances with the simulator was low. I don’t really care if she is jealous about the fact he wants to be an engineer. Possessive psycho much? Expect she is so immature it’s not even hot. Er, I mean… yeah. Now Noa is back as well. Things are getting crowed in what could be a cute show. Hopefully Noa is just around for an episode to mix things up. Watching three heroines fight over this protagonist is likely to get insufferable fast.
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Sabagebu!
Episode 7

Sundays 11:00 am on Crunchyroll

Watching: Aquagaze, GeeJelLifesongMarlinTimmy

Jel: Turning Sabagebu! into a very literal, un-ironic public service message was pretty bizarre and unexpected, especially considering the girls’ significant lack of altruism up until now. Still, I have to respect the author for using the platform to raise awareness about an issue that is probably important to him and others, so well done. The show got right back to business as usual as we are immediately greeted with wackiness like Bancho Momoka and Tengu Ninja Mom, so this episode was both informative and entertaining.

Gee: The first third was quite literally one of the most surreal things I’ve watched this season. It wasn’t until halfway through that I realized they were actually playing the Hunter’s Association PSA totally straight. While perhaps not the funniest segment, I can see a certain charm to going about it in such a manner. Thankfully, between the female cast crossdressing (suits and short hair included!) and the cast being singlehandedly brought down by Momoka’s insane mother, the laughs are still here this week.

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Akame ga Kill!
Episode 7

Sundays 12:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: Back story is deadly in Akame ga Kill. I was heartbroken when we lost Sheele last week. I have this awful feeling that Bulat and his incredible hair are headed for their demise. Facing off with his old general could be a way for him to grow as a character… expect he is already painted as mature. Something doesn’t add up. The way Bulat took out one of the three was glorious, but I’ve no doubt the other two won’t be so easy. It was an emotional experience to see see Akame drop the stoic act when Tatsumi unwittingly confronted her. The suffering in this show is just so… human. I don’t want to see anyone die.
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HaNaYaMaTa – I couldn’t pick which screen to use so I used both.

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Love Stage!!
Episode 6

Wednesdays 1:45 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: Depression sinks in as Izumi is finally told flat out by a pro that he has no talent for manga. On the one hand it’s hard to sympathize because his manga was honestly awful, on the other he put a lot of work into it. Now it seems like he is going to get sucked into attacking like it or not. It’s good to see his delusions shattered, expect now he is just disillusioned… Ryouma is enabling him. And now Izumi is willing to trade sex for a place to stay so that he doesn’t have to face Rei? I didn’t realize Izumi had that far to fall. Apparently he did. On the plus side this means Ryouma has a chance to redeem himself. I guess we will have to wait and see how it all goes down.
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Fate/Kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 2wei!
Episode 6

Wednesdays 2:15 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: Stuff happened, there was lots of explaining and nakedness and then everyone was happy. Look I even rewatched this episode so that I could write about it and it’s still so boring I can’t keep up. There was nakedness, tears and then happiness… got it. I really hope something interesting happens next week. Or maybe something ridiculous. Naked people is the now the norm for this show. Prima Illya needs to step up it’s game if it wants to amuse with shock value again. Otherwise please god someone write a story for this thing. I can’t take anymore boring bath scenes or awful school antics.
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HaNaYaMaTa
Episode 7

Mondays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Aquagaze,  Lifesong, Marlin

Aquagaze: If you really have to lead your dumb moe show down the cathartic drama path, there’s no better example to learn from than this episode of HaNaYaMaTa. Not only did it credibly build upon an underlying conflict that has been playing an important role since the very beginning, it had the gall to avoid communication errors and unfortunate misunderstandings to focus on a disagreement rooted in the characters’ genuine shortcomings, where both parties are equally at fault. Of course, it wouldn’t be anime without some smarmy melodrama and hearty speeches about the power of true love friendship, yet luckily, the show knows that caring about the characters makes a lot of its shortcomings in the presentation department forgivable. Thanks to some healthy servings of humour and self-awareness to balance out the drama, HaNaYaMaTa passes the drama test with flying colours — literally, almost — and remains amongst the best cute-schoolgirls-in-a-club-do-cute-things shows in recent memory.

Marlin: I feel I forgot to mention this last episode, but did anyone else notice that Naru’s parents had her when the mom was 25 and the dad was 42? Creeeeepy. Beyond that, this was a pretty redundant episode if you ask me. Sure, having the band break up was the key needed to finally get Yaya into the club for good, but it was handled a little bluntly, and I feel a lot of this episode just seemed to be padding for time. It at least did fit Yaya’s highly emotional character that she would need a highly emotional response to get her to come to her senses. I still am enjoying this show, but this episode felt a little uninspired.

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Barakamon
Episode 7

Simulcast Pending on Funimation Saturdays 9:00 pm CET on Crunchyroll
(Europe only, except UK and Ireland)

Watching: Aquagaze, EuricaeriS, Marlin

Aquagaze: This episode of Barakamon is the sort of episode that is simply impossible to review. We learn nothing new about the characters, nor do we get any sort of interesting development — as Marlin said back when he dropped this show, we know that Sensei should just write the calligraphy he wants to write already, and this episode has very little to add to that overall message. What remains are some enjoyable lighthearted antics, but I did feel rather bored in the end. “Sensei does x activity with Hiroshi, Miwa, Hina and Naru” is just getting rather stale, and I’d love to see Barakamon shake up its formula a bit. Otherwise, my coverage of it will remain as uninspired as it is now.
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5 thoughts on “The Roundup: Summer 2014 Volume 6

  1. Sabagebu! – Kunoichi Momoka momma was hillarious. I was pretty confused by the first third but yes, they stuck with the PSA and when the old man coughed up blood i was nodding my head furiously. We need more hunter in Japan. ASAP!

    Aldnoah.Zero – Christ how fucking predictable. An undamaged battleship hidden below Tanegashima that could turn the war? WOWZA!

    Barakamon – Dude really? When that fish came off the Naru hook you weren’t laughing? If people could change in a few episodes (or months, or years, or decades) I’d find the world redeamable. But through 31 yrs of experience (a non-lifetime) I can still find so many worthwhile features to this show. jaded?

  2. iunno fate/kl prisma illya 2wei has been pretty enjoyable. especially with goddess Iri showing up in episode 6. Kuro also gave some feels during the show, guess i’m just weird like that :/

    Akame ga kill 7: Poor Spear chan ;_; that was pretty nuts doe I get a sense there was something omitted during that part. hoping Aniki doesnt bite it during episode 8 once again…

    Tokyo esp: GAWD I really hope they show the “panda’s” unmasking later on.

    Sabagebu: lol dat MOM and Mio with le awesome TF2 mod: imgur.com/a31IxfQ

    also its not covered here but Tokyo Ghoul 8 was pretty great, dat Touka and Hinami 😀

    • Totally missed post on Akame…But Aniki chopping that dude in half was BAD ASS. I hope he doesnt bite it =(

      Mio and the mini-gun. It’s pretty hard not to love that entire gang of Survival girlz.

    • Prima Illya is just not the thing I was hoping it would be I guess. I’m not even sure what that would be at this point. I tired to like it and there is plenty there I should be able to invest in, there is just too much that annoys me about the way Illya and Kuro are always arguing. It destroys most of the fun I would be having otherwise.

      • being a fan of the manga may have warped my expectations somewhat, since I think I know where it’s gonna stop at, but I can see wut you’re saying about those two.

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