The Roundup: Summer 2014 Volume 9

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In this week’s installment…

Lifesong and Timmy are off cavorting at Nan Desu Kan but the rest of the crew picks up the slack. Argevollen gets practical, HaNaYaMaTa keeps its pants on for the hot springs episode, and Sabagebu continues its glorious streak of 80’s action movie references.

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 10

Thursdays 11:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Lifesong, Marlin

Marlin: Am I the only one that found the beginning of this episode massively unsatisfying? It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me that Sacchi was pining for Touka all this time, going so far as to manipulate Hiro, and yet gets to say she somehow is attracted to both of them now. I never got any indication that she ever was getting closer to Hiro. At least we finally get some payoff with Kakeru and Touka. I know most romances like to leave things off to the last minute, but there’s been a lot more putzing about than I’d like. We also still have gotten no explanation for schizophrenia Kakeru or the fragments, but maybe that was never the point? It seemed to me that the way they ended this episode was meaning that they can create the future the fragments give, or something similar. Hopefully, now with the two of them together, we’ll get some kind of answer soon.
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Argevollen
Episode 10

Thursdays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Gee, Lifesong

Gee: While there was a variety of questionable anime bullshit in this week’s episode, it did overall manage to pull itself back up by the end. The beginning starts off strong with talk of mecha logistics and even a whole conversation dedicated to why one-off prototypes are bullshit and impractical in the field. Of course, considering Argevollen continues to play the trope straight, it’s not perfect. The middle of the episode is more filler slice-of-life moments that have me believing the cast is on a cross country tour rather than engaged in a war for the survival of their nation. Still, the ending comes in strong with a desperate battle to stall for time as the chain of command is largely absent this episode. While I would have preferred some of the side characters to be given more chance to show off their stuff instead of fail miserably, I appreciate that Argevollen recognizes the importance of a capable leader. And hey, the titular Argevollen still isn’t enough to save the day. It helps solidify the idea that no, in fact a single machine cannot sway a conflict embroiling thousands of lives. While I still worry that Argevollen will double back on the anime bullshit to make up for its surprisingly sensibility, I still remain surprisingly impressed by this week’s outing.
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Locodol
Episode 10

Thursdays 3:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Jel, Lifesong, MarlinTimmy

Jel: These episodes are getting pretty tiresome as the show winds down but Locodol continues to have a enough charm to keep me in it. This was more of a set up episode as we enter what will be presumably the last arc, and considering we are now focused on the girls and not Uogokoro the whole affair made me sleepy. Seeing the girls grow closer was sweet, but I am much more interested in next week’s Idol Showdown. I’m hoping there will be as many crazy competitions as the mascot battle, but I guess that’s not likely.

Marlin: How many times are they gonna open an episode on “Great chat guys but WE GOTTA GO ON RIGHT NOW CUT TO THE OP FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!” Ah well, it was still a pretty cute episode. They really rail hard on poor Nanako for her total banality, but I liked the message of the second half. Since the Nagarekawa Girls started out between her and Yukari, it only makes sense that she’d get ideas when spending some quality time with her. I wonder how this show will deal with them meeting other idols. Will they all be cutthroats out for their own stardom, or will the show’s softer tones win out?

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Sabagebu! – Momoka confirmed for Persona 5.

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Aldnoah.Zero
Episode 10

Saturdays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

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

Aqua: Surprise! The princess is actually still alive! Bet you didn’t see that one coming, eh? At least Aldnoah.Zero has the decency of handling last episode’s appalling final twist with the appropriate weightiness. Rayet even gets to deliver a not completely ridiculous motive for the things she did, in a scene that would’ve been very effective if we had any reason to care about her at all. The rest of the episode is very much a mixed bag, with some groanworthy nonsense (Inaho’s lightning-fast disarming skills! Instantaneously healing neck scars! Soviets!) here and some competent writing there. I appreciate the effort, but sadly, the show is beyond redemption already.

Gee: Did anyone really think the princess was dead? Not when Inaho and the magic power of fictional CPR are at our disposal. As usual, Aldnoah.Zero continues to be infuriatingly disappointing. The princess continues to be a bland caricature of every “good kind naive princess in a war” archetype, but in a show like Aldnoah where everyone is bland, I suppose it’s not terribly surprising. It’s a bit of a shame, Urobuchi is so detached from this project. I feel if anyone could give Aldnoah the gravitas and dignity it so sorely needs, it’d be him and his penchant for truly killing off characters and introducing genuine tension. Alas, the show continues to be the most anime-esque anime of the season in the worst way possible.

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Sabagebu!
Episode 10

Sundays 11:00 am on Crunchyroll

Watching: Aquagaze, GeeJelLifesongMarlinTimmy

Jel: I’m having trouble even remembering what happened in the first two parts as part 3’s Predator parody steals the show. It’s Sabagebu at it’s bizarre best, swapping out key elements of the movie with school girls and giant cat people. I love that they go all in with the alien thing, I was half expecting the cats to pop off their head and just turn out to be really weird people. It doesn’t matter though, Momoka’s bloodlust does not discriminate. The only negative I would mention is the drop in quality compared to the Mad Max episode, but that hardly brought the episode down at all.

Gee: Okay maybe I’m just easy to win over, but this week’s last third basically being a Predator (and Alien) parody totally sealed the deal for me. Not to say the other parts were bad. The idea of child Momoka being the polar opposite of her current self is too funny to resist, even if the punchline was pretty predictable. And while the weight loss one was kind of just treading same ground, instead of the questionable portrayal of bulimia from last time, this week’s overall message of not being beholden to other peoples’ expectations was pretty sweet. Momoka might be greedy, selfish, a sociopath, and possess a complete disregard for others, it also ends up being her greatest strength in some ways, as a Japanese girl who doesn’t feel like she owes anyone anything. Talk about surprisingly progressive values in an anime comedy about schoolgirls playing airsoft.

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HaNaYaMaTa – Raise your hand if you’re carsick.

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HaNaYaMaTa
Episode 10

Mondays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Aquagaze,  Lifesong, Marlin

Aquagaze: Nothing ever seems to go right for the yosakoi club, doesn’t it? I guess that’s the price to pay for doing actual club activities. HaNaYaMaTa‘s consistent mix of comedy, drama and character development remains effective as ever, with some nice details about Hannah’s family situation and a look at Machi’s more sympathetic side as a particular standout this episode. Despite being a hot springs episode, the fanservice is kept to a bare (ha ha) minimum in favour of some oddly realistic lazing about, which not surprisingly does a lot more for the characters than random sexual assault. HaNaYaMaTa has proven its worth more than enough already, but with the final two or three episodes on the horizon, it remains to be seen if it can conquer the ultimate challenge that many shows of its ilk have miserably failed: an anime-original ending.

Marlin: Jeez, Hannah really fails at being a club president doesn’t she? Learning that her father is also a total weeaboo was pretty great. We even get a peek at a bit more tragic backstory when we learn she is the child of divorce. Not only that, she’s a child of divorce who was actively sent away by one of her parents because she apparently values keeping busy at work over caring for her. I’m not sure if this show has the chops to handle that kind of dicey family situation more than mentioning it though, as we quickly go on hot spring hijinks. I’m still not totally convinced that they’re not going to the festival. If Machi is as thorough as they make her seem, I wouldn’t be surprised if she already signed them up, and just told them about the closure to remind them of their ineptitude.

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Barakamon
Episode 9

Simulcast Pending on Funimation Saturdays 9:00 pm CET on Crunchyroll

(Europe only, except UK and Ireland)

Watching: Aquagaze, EuricaeriS, Marlin

Aquagaze: As established last episode, Barakamon is infinitely better when it involves Sensei being terrible around children. This week was mostly children being terrible around Sensei, but turns out the result is virtually the same. Lots of cacaphony and very little calligraphy, in other words, with ridiculously inconvenient bath tubs, dangerous Tarzan antics and some outstandingly annoying bullies as particular standouts. Perfect fluff to follow up on a week-long hiatus, though if the ending is any indication, it looks like Barakamon as well will be taking a turn for the dramatic next week. Oh no.

 

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