The Roundup: Fall 2014 Volume 2

This season's best Gundam show

In this week’s installment…

Yona gives Marlin whiplash and Argevollen goes berserk on Gee. Iro survives a Log Horizon info dump while Aqua boos and hisses at Psycho-Pass. Chris is still ambivalent on Seven Deadly Sins while I’m 100% sure about my feelings for this week’s episode of SeHa Girls.

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 3

Tuesdays 11:00 am EST on Crunchyroll and Funimation

Watching: Marlin

Marlin: Not sure we really needed another flashback episode, not this early at the very least, but that’s the route Yona decides to take this week. It does little to really develop the characters, only reinforcing what the last two episodes already implied. It was cute for what it was trying to accomplish i suppose, but I feel the tone of the current story is so dark that it is just a huge tonal whiplash to have such a slice of life-esque scene juxtaposed with Yona barely hanging on to the will to live.

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Hi-sCool! Seha Girls
Episode 3

Wednesdays 10:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Jel, Marlin

Jel: What happened here? Why were 8 of the 12 minutes of this episode devoted to the girls sitting around talking and not even making video game jokes? Teasing Saturn was mildly amusing but having the girls sit around gabbing about non-video game related things is a waste of the show’s hook. Things got considerably more fun once they jumped into Space Channel 5, particularly the joke in the header image, but just as they were gaining some momentum we cut to a “To Be Continued…” Pretty disappointing, especially for a show so poorly made that it’s really got to bring its “A” game every week. That said, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens now that Ulalala has showed up and I’m hoping this episode is just a small bump in the road.

Marlin: Clearly it would appear the creators of this show don’t quite understand why anyone would watch it to begin with. This episode was dreadfully boring, so much so that I’d rather they not even had the little Space Channel 5 bit until another episode, as its one good joke is quickly cut of any momentum by the credits sequence.

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Argevollen
Episode 15

Thursdays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Gee

Gee: Being hinted at all season, Argevollen’s weird mental link thing finally takes its toll on Tokimune, making him go berserk. I actually kind of appreciate that Argevollen’s berserk mode is explicitly not effective as a fighting source. While it gains him a temporary advantage over Schlein, he ends up jeopardizing the entire operation as well as hitting his own allies. Usually in mecha anime, berserk mode is a plot-induced convenient way for the hero to win or do something morally reprehensible without condemning the hero himself. That said, with Tokimune benched, I wonder where things will go from here. I can see some asspulls happening that magically allow him to pilot it again, but despite how many cliches Argevollen relies on, I’d really hope that isn’t one of them.

Insert Santa Joke Here

Log Horizon II – Insert Santa Joke Here

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GARO: The Carved Seal of Flames
Episode 3

Thursdays 1:23 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Aquagaze, Dragonzigg, Gee

Aquagaze: It’s not Garo without Zaruba, the Golden Knight’s shiny advisor, and in this episode, Hermán and León travel over to the Makai Alchemist who has prepared the ring for León’s patronage. It’s the episode that feels the most like a toku show up until now, mostly because of its strong implementation of the ‘monster surprise’ mechanic Zigg so wonderfully explained in this week’s Kamen Rider Drive writeup. Of course, a generic foot soldier Makai Knight (a first for the series, as far as I know) is no match for our heroes, whose vitriolic relationship remains one of the show’s strongest points. Father and son continue to poke fun at the very different hero archetypes they both represent, and adding Miss-I-Happened-To-Pass-By-Entirely-By-Coincidence Ema to the main cast to keep the two hotheads off each others’ throats was a very wise decision. I’m glad to see this show turn out so well.

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Log Horizon II
Episode 3

Saturdays 7:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Gee, IroMarlin, Timmy

Iro: I hope you like learning about MMO basics, because Log Horizon is here to spend fifteen minutes explaining what a raid is. At least they have the decency to attempt to make it more than a basic infodump, but only barely; the narration is still essentially describing what’s already happening onscreen, though I’m not sure how they could do it any better in this particular case. DEEEEEEEN’s lousy budget doesn’t help, turning what is essentially a war campaign into an increasingly dull montage of people standing around as their weapons glow. Still, with the camera’s return to Akiba and the dramatic cliffhanger at the episode’s end, I’m looking forward to next week.

Marlin: I tend to like the way Log Horizon deals with infodumps. They at least try to put enough action on the screen that you aren’t totally bored, and if for some reason you watch anime but never got into games it’s a pretty competent explanation of what raids are all about. I also like that they don’t just go into this dungeon and immediately win. This is obviously Sword Art Online’s greatest failure, that raids aren’t immediately understandable. The bosses are by their very nature unpredictable, and so trial and error makes a lot of sense. The deaths in each attempt does raise the question of whether there is a difference between dying in the dungeon and dying outside, since the spawning isn’t in a cathedral. It also lets our raid group get a bit more interaction. Unfortunately that means the super annoying idol girl got way too much screentime again, but it was interesting to see inside William’s mindset. The show was also quick to assure us Naotsugu still only has eyes for Marie, so as long as that remains the same I’m happy.

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Psycho-Pass 2
Episode 3

Thursdays 12:50 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Aquagaze

Aquagaze: I hope you paid attention during last season of Psycho-Pass. Remember that line where Kougami warns Saiga he’ll get arrested next time he’s caught by a Hue Check? Good boy. Remember that scene where Aoyanagi shot her Enforcer boyfriend when he ran off during the riots? No? Oh right, that only happened in the extended cut. Whoops. Remember Ginoza getting a mechanical arm like his father? No? That’s probably because that never actually happened. Anyway, I’m happy to see season two of Psycho-Pass being so faithful to the original in terms of continuity, though less so when it comes to its attitude against women. After two episodes of pretty much everyone in authority being a girl (yay!) this episode went back to the good old Psycho-Pass tradition of graphic violence and gruesome torture (boo!). Our new villain Kirito (ugh!) especially suffers from Generic Grimdark Sociopath syndrome, casually popping out eyes and somewhat suggestively jamming his thumb into his victim’s mouth because he’s just so cuh-ray-zy, but at least his shenanigans provide the season with an interesting mystery. I’m a big fan of the full-on season arc, as it allows for more focused storytelling and character development. The former has already allowed Psycho-Pass to become more of a detective show than it’s ever been, yet the latter still leaves a bit to be desired. Akane, Ginoza and Mika all get their moments, but man, what’s the point in introducing a bunch of new characters when you’re only ever gonna focus on the old ones? Except Yayoi, of course. Yayoi never gets any character development.

"Who thinks that this scene is gross?"

Seven Deadly Sins – “Who thinks that this scene is gross?”

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Shirobako
Episode 3

Thursdays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Aquagaze, Gee, Marlin, Jel

Aquagaze: This show is just going to end with Aoi being admitted to a mental hospital, right?

Gee: We finally get a payoff this week as our intrepid crew manage to finish the episode, even with everything coming down to the wire. While I love that they’re spending the time to show the various technical aspects of animation, I can’t help but wonder if Jel had a point. As much as I enjoyed the episode, I don’t know where Shirobako can go from here on out. There’s tons of various trials and tribulations in the making of animation that could show up as plot points, but who knows if the average fan has the patience for it. As an animation student, I can appreciate it moreso than the laymen, but that doesn’t bode well. I imagine they’ll start to focus on the other girls and their involvement in the industry, which should give Shirobako the mixup it needs.

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The Seven Deadly Sins 
Episode 3

Currently Unlicensed

Watching: Euri, Marlin

Euri: This show is really playing with my head. On one hand it continues to be super gross by treating groping as the primary way of delivering comedy, and on the other it’s actually really entertaining. Seriously, I’d be throwing around my recommendations if Meliodas wasn’t such a creep, especially because when he doesn’t have his hand in Elizabeth’s clothes he’s quite the interesting guy. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the seven sins and their situation, and plenty of action to pull the plot along, and this is all great. It’s walking dangerously close to a line I hope it doesn’t cross, but for now I’m going to push on in the hopes that, at the very least, it tones that shit down. Now that they’ve got the giant Diane with them, it could go either way. It could get better if she keeps Meliodas in check, or worse if she serves as a second target. We’ll see.

Marlin: My thoughts are pretty much exactly in line with Chris. I’m really skeevied out by all the groping, but I really enjoy the fighting. To make matters worse, the groping seemed more prevalent this episode than any prior. It’s a real shame, because you can tell that there’s a genuinely entertaining shounen show here, it’s just being suffocated by really childish character writing. If this show doesn’t get it act together I can see me dropping it as early as the next episode.

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