The Roundup: Summer 2014 Volume 7

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In this week’s installment…

Lifesong begins his mid season cuts, Argvollen and Rail Wars surprise Gee and Timmy respectively, and I try to convince myself that this week’s Sabagebu! is scathing social commentary.

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 – Hanamonogatari

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Glasslip
Episode 8

Thursdays 11:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Lifesong, Marlin

Marlin: It’s a shame that this show keeps doing just enough things to both simultaneously stay interesting enough to keep with it and be stupid enough to keep it from being something memorable. Kakeru’s split personality thing is kinda out of nowhere, and most definitely not in a good way. When you establish magic future vision two episodes in, that is your time to tell us one of the mcs is also absolutely bonkers, not now. My only hope now is that this show pulls some kind of Final Destination/Another move with all of this foreshadowing and just starts killing off characters left and right. Now that would be entertaining.
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Argevollen
Episode 8

Thursdays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Gee, Lifesong

Gee: I  must give credit where it’s due, despite a rather drab beginning, this week’s episode makes good on its promises of robot fights. While I was hoping for another Amuro vs. Ral situation where the ace in the inferior machine comes out on top due to superior training, it was nice to see a good relatively sensible mecha fight. I do wish the grunt mechs weren’t so ludicrously useless though. The two backing up Tokimune can’t even damage the enemy with small arms fire. Actually, isn’t the Argevollen is using the same gun? I suppose it’s like the counter of plot armor, except the less important you are, the less useful your guns are. Talk of resonance levels and such have me worrying that Argevollen is going to further descent the rabbit hole of mecha anime cliches, and at the end of the day, this was a good episode in an otherwise mediocre mecha anime. Still, it makes a guy want to believe, even when he shouldn’t.
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Locodol
Episode 8

Thursdays 3:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Jel, Lifesong, MarlinTimmy

Jel: I don’t want to say this was the “worst” episode of Locodol as it’s still cute and inoffensive but… it was probably the worst episode of Locodol. I mentioned last week I don’t think the new girl is necessary and this kind of confirmed it. The only value I could see was in setting up Yui potentially leaving, the thought of which made me surprisingly sad. That angle is cut down pretty fast though, so she’s really just there to have a cute, shy, ultra moe little girl in the cast. I’m find with that I guess but combined with the episode moving at a glacial pace I really didn’t love this.

Marlin: This was pretty boring. I’m sure most of us could tell from last week that the new girl was super shy and she was going to grow into being Uogokoro-kun. It didn’t really need reiterating and overall just felt like we were expected to eat up watching the new cute shy girl because she’s shy and cute. At this point I’m kinda worried Locodol is out of material. It would be a shame, but to be honest I’m surprised its been entertaining for this long in the first place.

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Locodol – Would you trust your kids with that thing?

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Invaders of the Rokujyouma!?
Episode 7

Fridays 1:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: This was a cute episode. Tuplip as our hero calls her was again the focus of episode. Harumi getting jealous was something I didn’t expect. Somehow I can’t see her losing out in any significant way, but maybe that is just wishful thinking. I wasn’t so big on the antics of the week, but I liked the knighting scene at the end. Part of it is in the nuance that Tulip realizes Satomi isn’t going to bow down to her. She makes him a night anyway, while he is sleeping… I am looking forward to next week. It looks like the magical girl will be the focus and seeing as she is my favorite thing about this anime by a long shot I’m hoping for something fun.
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Tokyo ESP
Episode 7

Fridays 2:05 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: Tokyo ESP had some fun with itself this week. Reading the history of an item that belong to not named, but obvious actor and martial artist Bruce Lee was great. I wish this show had more fun moments like that instead of all the super serious stuff. I think the training arc is done now so we should see Rinka back in action soon. I’m not really looking forward to future boy dealing with his mom, but I guess that is a thing going on as well. Hopefully it won’t distract from the main story too much. We need interesting villains Tokyo ESP! Not heroes. We have plenty of the later.
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Aldnoah.Zero
Episode 8

Saturdays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

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

Gee: Oh Aldnoah, if only you took a page out of Argevollen’s book and were just an average and totally unremarkable mecha anime. This week’s episode decides to forego any mecha action, and considering how most of the fights have gone so far, I almost don’t mind. Unfortunately, the episode is then replaced by 22 minutes of the princess talking about how much she loves Earth to our flat protagonist while Slaine is tortured by the Martians. Also, apparently Calm is totally fine with the death of his best friend after he finds out the princess is a cute girl. When Aldnoah isn’t being tiresome, it’s being so anime it hurts. And let me remind everyone that the reason Slaine is in his horrible situation is specifically because of Inaho. How anyone could consider him to be a good protagonist is completely beyond me. Of course, Aldnoah almost manages to be interesting when Count Cruhteo realizes Slaine’s true intentions. Here’s a situation that could have been immensely interesting as we see the Orbital Knights begin to fight among themselves, turning it into a three-pronged war. Instead, Saazbaum shows up, blows up Cruhteo, and kidnaps the unconscious Slaine. In other words, literally nothing changed between the beginning and the end of this episode. This episode was completely redundant in every sense of the word. If that doesn’t reek of terrible pacing and storytelling, I don’t know what will.
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Rail Wars – Because fighting in a dress just isn’t practical.

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Rail Wars!
Episode 8

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

Timmy’s: Rail Wars kicks back into action mode this week as the cast puts aside all the issues they had last week to team up and try to deliver an organ transplant. Everything has been shut down thanks to heavy rain and mudslides knocking out every road and rail route through the mountains save for a disused one, and the clock is ticking before the transplant spoils. It was great to see each one of the cast given their moments to shine, and even our other dude in the group Sho, who up until now has had “Eats a ton of food” as his only character trait, does several hot blooded and awesome things, from peddling with manly passion to punching the inside of the railcar and hanging off the handrails over the side with Aoi to avoid tipping around the corners. This was generally one of the better if not the best episodes of the show so far, and while I would have liked to have last week’s emotional antics dealt with instead of swept aside, I am not at all disappointed in what we ended up getting instead. I am no doubt looking forward to part two of this mini arc next week, as this is some of the most intense and best animated action in the show to date.
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Sabagebu!
Episode 8

Sundays 11:00 am on Crunchyroll

Watching: Aquagaze, GeeJelLifesongMarlinTimmy

Jel: If you want a lesson on how to send a message without getting heavy handed and preachy, this episode is a good example. Momoka’s plight made me think of the pictures I’ve seen from Comiket where masses of creepy dudes are literally crawling on the ground and jamming their cameras up girls’ skirts. Skewering those types of fans as well as the “any fan is a good fan” attitude of the idol industry that feeds them was all just glorious. There are plenty of hilarious gags too with the return Lemon Fried Chicken, making this one of the best episodes yet.

Gee: This week’s episode was honestly kinda weak in my opinion. The first half was your typical poking-fun-at-ourselves episode with a bunch of perverts trying to sneak panty shots of Momoka. I was quite pleased when she called them out on their bullshit sob stories, but seeing as they all managed to get panty shots of her anyway, the lesson is somewhat lost. Doesn’t help that the anime is poking fun at the kind of people who will watch that episode, and then learn nothing from it as they continue to be the twisted perverts they are. The second half was Maya focused, which was a bit of a surprise. Of course, turns out her personality is exactly what you expected and it was just an excuse for some gratuitous fanservice. Considering the entire point of the first half, this seemed like a poor follow-up. That said, I liked that the other team were using KRISS Vectors.

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Akame ga Kill!
Episode 8

Sundays 12:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: Our fears have been realized, Akame ga Kill gave this anime season’s best bro a fitting end. This episode was intense. I expected things to go poorly from the start, but I wasn’t expecting Bulat to be so damn cool in his final moments. I’m sad to see Bulat go, but damn I can’t think of a better way for it to happen. I hope Akame isn’t next… Her name is in the title… they can’t kill her right? I can’t help feeling like Night Raid are doing things inefficiently here. They should be striking at the heart of the empire, not getting themselves killed in random fights. I guess it can’t be helped with Esdeath in the capital. The next episode preview made it look like things are only going to get worse. Don’t kill anyone else Akame ga Kill! I can’t take any more heartbreak…
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HaNaYaMaTa – Look at all those fatties.

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Love Stage!!
Episode 7

Wednesdays 1:45 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: Dropped. This isn’t a bad show, I’m just not getting that much out of it. The things that originally got my interest have been fading as I find the characters more and more annoying. I understand it as setup for growth and a way to bring this story back to acting, I’m just not interested in it all. Bowing out now, but I can honestly say I think this is a good show for what it is. I’m certainly not an authority on BL anime, but I’ve seen a lot of terrible adaptations and this one broke out of that mold. That is worth of praise on its own.
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Fate/Kaleid liner PRISMA ILLYA 2wei!
Episode 7

Wednesdays 2:15 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Lifesong

Lifesong: Dropped, yes I’m ditching two shows this week. Illya and Kuro are just too annoying to me. I’ve been trying to find positives in this show and I can see drama and comedy moments I should like that I just don’t. The personalities rub me the wrong way and take me out of the experience. Illya and Kuro have their tender moments, but I find them hard to appreciate when I’ve already got a headache from their bickering. I’ve also just never been of fan of the school stuff in this anime and season two seems to be focused that way. I’m out, to those of you following along with me I’m sorry I couldn’t ride this out to the end, but I’m just not enjoying this show at all. I will say this at least… Shiro taking pound cake so seriously did get a good laugh out of me.
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HaNaYaMaTa
Episode 8

Mondays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Aquagaze,  Lifesong, Marlin

Aquagaze: Please slam the final nail in the coffin of the once omnipresent trope that is the diet episode, because not even HaNaYaMaTa can get rid of the implication that it is somehow Naru’s moral duty to look even more inhumanly skinny than she already does. Luckily, the show doesn’t stray on this topic for long and briskly moves on to the order of the day — dancing, with persistent continuity nods, characterization and another plethora of creative ways to not have to animate any dancing. As the girls prepare for their first gig — which is almost hilariously anything but romanticized, with a craptastic MIDI arrangement of the theme song as a particular standout, we finally get Matchi in on the action, though knowing this show, it’s probably going to take an episode or two before the five-man-band is truly complete. Though this episode was a lot breezier than last week’s drama bomb, the ending hit surprisingly hard again, picking back up on Naru’s fatal flaws after they got buried under Yaya’s drama queen antics. I love the way HaNaYaMaTa handles its continuous character development, and it’s proven it can do drama almost as well as comedy, so I’m definitely still on board with whatever it pulls off next.

Marlin: Man, Japan is like that one guy who complains about his weight despite looking fine. You don’t want to be that guy, Japan. I have become that guy sometimes, nobody ever buys it. I would like to note that despite Yaya’s thoughts to the contrary, not being able to run a few laps around a track means there definitely is something wrong with their health. This show continues to prove itself as a stand-alone in the club antics genre after that debut dance. The only thing that kinda ruined that flashback for me is that the music felt like it was out of Silent Hill for some reason. I thought we were gonna learn Hannah is really Naru’s personified sexual frustration or something. It was a good way of injecting some drama into the show. It’s also interesting seeing a club who doesn’t practice enough actually have to realize the consequences of getting in over their head. Not sure how any of ’em can survive with their dignity intact at this rate, but it will at least solidify sunflower girl as the final member of the troupe.

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Barakamon
Episode 8

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

Watching: Aquagaze, EuricaeriS, Marlin

Aquagaze: Barakamon is at its finest when it features Sensei being an hysterical jerk around the kids, and since this episode is comprised of nothing but exactly that, the laughs come at a much higher frequency than last week’s rather boring outing. To top it off, we get to learn something about genuine Japanese folklore as well — far from the filtered lens of otaku culture — and some character development for Naru. Lots of laughs, interesting hooks, and a dollop of melancholy are what makes every slice-of-life click, and this healthy proportion is exactly what made this episode of Barakamon one of its best.
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2 thoughts on “The Roundup: Summer 2014 Volume 7

  1. I definitely agree with Lifesong about Love Stage!!. Personally I intend to keep watching (I am the target demographic, after all), but I won’t deny it’s a fairly average and at times rather generic title. That said, just as is pointed out in this post, it’s remarkably inoffensive for the most part… and for a BL title these days, that’s an unusual enough trait right there.

  2. Akame ga Kill: Another Konishi Aniki buying it in episode 8 once again *manly tears have been shed* RIP Bulat ;_;
    Kurome sitting atop that heap of corpses towards the end there, oh great… I’m really looking forward to the next arc, hopefully no one else I like ends up DED.

    Dropping Ilya 2wei? But Bazette shows up in episode 8, she’s the motherfucking juggernaut after all…I wont try to stop you, but you should at least give the one after this a look, it’s pretty amazing from wut I seen.

    Rail wars 8 definitely better than 6 and 7 imo. more multi-track drifting please! lovely endcard as always and Dat Aoi madness ❤

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