The Roundup: Fall 2014 Volume 1

WE'RE BACK!

In this week’s installment…

New season, new time slot, new format, new Roundup! Marlin is sticking with Korean Fire Emblem Akatsuki no Yona, Argevollen has somehow survived Gee’s cutting block, Aqua is getting Toku in our anime with Garo, Timmy is still eating the Fruit of Grisaia despite our warnings, Chris is keeping the shonen hope alive with Seven Deadly Sins, and I’m content watching 12 minute long Dreamcast commercials with Seha Girls. At least Log Horizon is still cool?

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

Amagi Brilliant ParkGundam Build Fighters TryGundam: Reconguista in G Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade WorksKamen Rider DriveParasyte: The MaximRage of Bahamut: GenesisYour Lie In April

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Akatsuki no Yona
Episode 2

Tuesdays 11:00 am EST on Crunchyroll and Funimation

Watching: Marlin

Marlin: This show somewhat suffers from the very cliched concept of assassins just waiting for orders to kill their target. There are a couple times this episode where the bad guys have Yona in their power, but just don’t do anything about it. What’s especially jarring is when the servant goes to do his heroic sacrifice, and they simply have no mercy as they dispatch him. I like how we got to see Hak’s power this episode. That was definitely the point which made me think of this show as a kind of Korean Fire Emblem. The ending is the clincher, as we flash forward to Yona’s militia band of unique and powerful units take down a band of mooks all wearing the same uniforms. That said, I do enjoy some FE, so if they can pack the same kind of fantasy adventure feel to it as those games can, I can see myself getting into this show quite a bit.

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Hi-sCool! Seha Girls
Episode 2

Wednesdays 10:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Jel

Jel: This slipped through our First Looks as we decided to skip making a shorts post this season, but at 12 minutes per episode Seha Girls has enough meat to make the Roundup. Basically, if you have any fond nostalgia for Sega’s console days and a high tolerance for terrible 3D animation, you will enjoy this show. Unlike other personified console series like Hyperdimension Neptunia, Seha Girls makes zero attempt to hide its source material. In fact, it embraces it, using beloved old Sega properties as the butt of all their jokes. The girls are literally named “Mega Drive”, “Saturn”, and “Dreamcast” and their school entrance hall has a floating Sonic the Hedgehog and that dude (lady?) from NiGHTS. Starting with episode 2 it looks like we’ll be doing a game of the week format, with this round throwing the girls into Virtua Fighter. Most of the episode was one joke about the almighty dreamcast’s heavy controller head, which they managed to beat to death until it became really funny. Throw in an awesome Sakura Wars cameo and this dumb, ugly little show stole my heart. Next week is Space Channel 5 and I’m really looking forward to it. Would an appearance by Space Michael be in poor taste?

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Argevollen
Episode 14

Thursdays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Gee

Gee: Argevollen continues to straddle that odd line between competence and mediocrity. We are introduced to the inevitable bad guy prototype. Surprise! The manufacturers of the Argevollen are making stuff for both sides! Who could have seen that coming? Despite that, it’s nice that we finally have something that can match the Argevollen. For the most part, Argevollen has been surprisingly decent about not just resorting to superior machine shenanigans. Tokimune generally gets the job done because he’s a decent pilot now, rather than just because of his super prototype. Despite that though, it still ends up playing out exactly like every other mecha anime. At this point Argevollen is so generic I can’t guess where things will go next merely because there’s so little to work with.

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Hi-sCool! Seha Girls – The most “Sega” image ever made.

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GARO: The Carved Seal of Flames
Episode 2

Thursdays 1:23 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Aquagaze, Dragonzigg, Gee

Aquagaze: if last week’s premiere highlighted one extreme of Garo‘s extremely black-and-white view on women, this week’s swiveled straight to the other end, with the introduction of our heroine for the season, Emma Guzmán. Voluntarily letting herself get captured and making her escape without the heroes’ help, Emma even gets to slice up the Horror of the week all by herself, and she doesn’t even need fancy CGI armour to do so. Pretty badass. Aside from the usual cinematic action, this episode also delves a bit deeper into the current state the Order of Makai finds itself in. With the inquisition in full force, Hermán and his son seem to be the only two Makai Knights left, while the de facto leader of the Makai seems to care more about maintaining her gorgeous-looking quarters than restoring the order to its former glory. With the confirmation that Mendoza is a former Makai Priest, any sane man can puzzle together his motivations, but the same cannot be said for everyone. Alfonso in particular remains a wild card. While I was initially convinced he’d end up being the well-intentioned, naive villain (à la Suzaku), his escape from Mendoza’s clutches has me thinking he might actually be the true heir to Garo after all. The armour doesn’t look in good shape when Leon’s wearing it, after all, and how did the Queen even get that symbol she gave her son in the first place? We’ll have to find out.

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Log Horizon II
Episode 2

Saturdays 7:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Gee, IroMarlin, Timmy

Marlin: Well, that idol-looking character sure was annoying. I’m loathed to think we’ll have to deal with her the rest of the season, but hopefully this show will know to use her sparingly.I’ve been a Marie/Naotsugu fan from day one, so I was worried that this was some way to shoehorn in a love triangle. Thankfully the show cleared that up quickly with a pretty cute scene between the spacey duo. I’m interested to see where the show goes from here. Demikas is obviously a red herring, I suspect it’s going to be Massachusetts that ultimately leads Shiroe to the grave. He just seemed a bit too eager to help Shiroe after decrying the formation of the Round Table and leaving for Susukino in the first place.

Gee: There’s something undeniably satisfying about seeing Demikas again. Dude’s clearly been working out. That said, while last week’s episode managed to hide its new studio decently enough, Deen’s limitations are truly beginning to show this week. Sure, Log Horizon isn’t exactly the most action packed anime, but it’s still disappointing to see how much of a drop season 2 is. Additionally, the new character is the kind of character I was hoping we’d never have to see in this show. I mean I get it, peppy idol types are mandatory in anime, but considering how little she adds to the ensemble, I’m not sure why she even exists. Despite all this, Log Horizon 2 continues to be one of my big highlights of the week.

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Psycho-Pass 2
Episode 2

Thursdays 12:50 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Aquagaze

Aquagaze: You can take the Psycho-Pass away from Urobuchi, but you can’t take the Urobuchi away from Psycho-Pass. The original creator’s departure from the show has lead to a very similar second season, though one that lacks the man’s intellectual edge, both in good and bad ways. There’s less philosophical pontificating, but also less genuinely clever observations on the human psyche, and as a result, this second season is starting to feel a bit flat. The fact that the general story arc seems to be almost indistinguishable from last season’s (charismatic man gives latent criminals a means of lowering their Crime Coefficient) doesn’t help, though there are some aspects in which it manages to outwit its predecessor. The story’s better pacing is well-suited to the season’s reduced length, and you can hardly accuse Tow Ubukata of not knowing exactly where the franchise’s main draw lies. Psycho-Pass 2 focuses on Akane Tsunemori more than ever, continuing her solid character development and giving her ample opportunities to show off her skills, all while continuing to be one of the most endearing characters in recent anime history. She is the perfect main character for a story such as this one, kind and brave, but pragmatic and mature, and her resolute refusal to use violence of any kind makes her stand out in Psycho-Pass‘s excessively brutal world. For a show meant to criticize the unfair judgement of the psychologically ill, Psycho-Pass continues to paint an almost comically over-the-top portrait of its criminals, but on the positive side, it hasn’t brutalized a woman in all of two episodes! Who knows, with Akane getting all the respect she deserves, this show might actually become empowering after all!

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Seven Deadly Sins – I’d probably have a smug look on my face too.

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Shirobako
Episode 2

Thursdays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Aquagaze, Gee, Marlin, Jel

Jel: After having a week to sleep on it, I must admit there was a certain charm to Shirobako that made me feel like I should give it another shot. As I was watching the episode, seeing Miyamori skillfully handle the aftermath of last week’s crisis, I started to think I could like this. Then the episode started to drag as the focus turned away from the people and on to their tasks for what seemed like forever. I started thinking “OK we’re probably almost done with the episode, right?”, glanced at the time stamp…. 6 minutes in. I somehow stuck it out for the rest of the episode, even through the weird hologram/drug addled hallucination scene, but it felt like a grind. I want to like Shirobako as I really like Miyamori and the rest of the cast but I think I have to accept it’s just not for me. Side note though: the anime they’re making sounds INSANE. I’d watch that.

Aquagaze: Shirobako continues to exist in its weird limbo between glorifying, criticizing and parodying the anime industry, but it isn’t less entertaining for it. While the first episode gave me some doubts regarding the cast’s mannered genuine passion for the extremely obvious disaster of a show they’re making, this episode dragged the director’s insane obsession into full comedy territory — gleaning an agreeable number of laughs from his relentless fanboying over a character that is clearly supposed to be a complete joke, while also breezily criticizing the dangerously excessive power held by eccentric company higher-ups in the Japanse business world. If the director wanting to redo an entire episode because the presentation of his favourite character didn’t match up with his — pardon my language — “headcanon” isn’t cause for stress enough already, half of the cast quickly jumps on the bandwagon in discussing which trite moe tropes they’ll use in their show and which they won’t, leading even Aoi to join the discussion. It’s a delightful, entertaining representation of anything wrong with the inmates ruining the asylum, but as firmly solidified by this episode; not everyone’s cup of tea. Shirobako‘s dense dialogue and character critical mass continues to hold it back from being truly snappy, but with every clever take on the industry’s crippling lack of originality (check the title of the show on Shizuka’s script), it manages to further establish itself as something truly unique.

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The Fruit of Grisaia
Episode 2

Sundays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Timmy

Timmy: I was a little intrigued last week despite the overabundance of fanservice because the show was hinting at something darker at play. And while there hasn’t been a whole lot revealed with regards to that this episode the show is pushing that vibe even more heavily this episode. The main focus though this week is getting to know some of the very not normal cast a little better as our hero dodges Sakaki’s stabbing attempts while being adopted by Irisu as her “Oni-chan”. Matsushima also further establishes her “animated” personality, which I still haven’t quite decided if I like or not. For better or worse the contrast between the style that her expressions are animated compared to the rest of the cast does really make her stand out. Add a visit from Kazami’s caretaker to show that he is just as mysterious and far from normal as the girls and we rap up a decent episode. If this show can really get off the ground I think it will have places to go, so I plan on sticking around for at least a little while to see what kind of plot Grisaia can muster. I did love how they handled the ending of this episode and showing all the girls arriving at the academy on by one over the years was a really nice touch, so that at least shows potential.

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The Seven Deadly Sins 
Episode 2

Currently Unlicensed

Watching: Euri, Marlin

Euri: This is perhaps one of the strangest shows I’ve seen in a long time, but that mostly describes my feelings towards it rather than the content being weird. As much as this show isn’t showing cleavage and panty shots in the manner your typical ecchi show would, it does have the protag poking fun at his new female friend by way of a boob grope or a skirt flip. On the other hand, this adventure show is actually rather intriguing, and there continues to be plenty of mystery surrounding the motivations of the seven sins and why they disappeared after slaughtering so many holy knights. Meliodas, the male lead of the show, is actually a rather likeable and interesting character despite all of this, and while he’s not nearly as interesting as, say, anyone in Rage of Bahamut, he certainly adds a lot to the show. There is a particularly great scene in this episode which involves Meliodas catching a spear that is thrown at him from over seven miles away, only to quickly return it by throwing it back. If this is the kind of dumb action this show has to offer, and judging from the first two episodes it certainly seems to be, then I think I’ll be sticking around a bit longer.

Marlin: This would be a guiltlessly entertaining show if it weren’t for all the gross sexual harassment Melodias has to do every episode. Thankfully that was limited to the beginning for the most part, and let the actual adventure take over afterwards. I was kinda hoping that Elizabeth would be the one to pull out the sword. Her ability to walk in rusted plate armor must mean she has at least some strength, so I thought it might make sense that she could eventually become as strong as a Holy Knight. At this rate, she’s just in this show for eyecandy. While the female lead in many a shounen show has fallen to the same role, they usually are at least given some powers or skills that allow them to hold their own as well. Oh well, I suppose having Melodias pull out the sword does underline the difference between Holy Knights and regular people. The spear toss scene was also particularly great, giving us an example of how powerful both sides of this conflict really are. With the appearance of some kind of giantess as the next Deadly Sin, I’m excited to see where this fantasy road trip goes from here

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One thought on “The Roundup: Fall 2014 Volume 1

  1. The Seven Deadly Sins : Not only creepy but pretty blatantly misogynist.

    Meliodas: “It’s ok honey, dont worry grab ass and removing your pantsu doesn’t mean i think less of you or lack respect for your body or person. In fact it’s the opposite. I swear!”

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