The Roundup: Fall 2014 Volume 6

Never invite a werewolf to a paintball party.

In this week’s installment…

Shirobako keeps getting better as it drops some hard reality on us, Garo gets super weird, and Argvollen becomes so predictable that even I can guess the plot without watching a single episode,

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

icon_yona

Akatsuki no Yona
Episode 7

Tuesdays 11:00 am EST on Crunchyroll and Funimation

Watching: Marlin

Marlin: Seriously, the pace of this show is absolutely lousy. What we were told here could have been summed up in ten minutes, and yet we waste half the episode being given a long winded explanation for “find your playable characters… I mean dragon warriors.” Maybe I’m giving this show too much credit, but the legend almost seems too on the nose for Yona to literally be the Red Dragon come back to human form. Maybe I’m thinking too deep into it. The rest of the episode gets wasted on more shoujo will-they-wont-they antics, which are cute, but also getting a little old. There’s not a lot of depth to these interactions, they mostly boil down to “One of them says something that seems really romantic, while the other completely misunderstands”. Granted, I guess this describes like 90% of all shoujo interactions ever, so maybe it just goes back to my issues with the pacing. I’m really annoyed that it seems they won’t even be leaving the care of the priest by next episode. As far as I can tell, giving Yona information about the dragons seems to be the extent of his relevance to the plot, so I don’t get how giving us a story for how the two yaoibait dudes met in the first place helps anything.

icon_sehagirls

Hi-sCool! Seha Girls
Episode 7

Wednesdays 10:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Jel, Marlin

Jel: This episode managed to be even more amateurish than usual somehow, and that’s saying a lot for this show. There’s pretty much an entire portion that is nothing but the girls talking over footage of some old Sonic games. Sonic himself is the super powerful messianic figure you’d expect him to be, but he pretty much does his thing and dashes right back out. The question I have now is, where do we go from here? How do you top Sonic in a show that is all about Sega? I’m not enough of a fanboy to figure out who they were hinting the teacher is, but unless they bring back Segata Sanshiro (please please please do this) I think this series is a lost cause.

roundup_06_1

SeHa Girls – STILL better than Sonic Boom

 

icon_argevollen

Argevollen
Episode 19

Thursdays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Gee

Gee: I must admit, Argevollen threw me for a loop this time, though it accomplished that in the most roundabout way possible. Rather, it surprised me because it decided to take such a cliched route that I thought there was no way it would conceivably resort to something so generically predictable. Looks like Samonji is agreeing to pilot the super mass-produced Argevollens controlled by mental impulses. The rest of the episode is just standard mecha filler bullshit that nobody really cares for. Now that Samonji is in control of the super-sketchy Argevollen copies, I imagine this is where this show’s endgame is going.

icon_garo

GARO: The Carved Seal of Flames
Episode 7

Thursdays 1:23 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Aquagaze, Dragonzigg, Gee

Aquagaze: Remember that one episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender where Aang can’t sleep the night before the solar eclipse and gets all sorts of weird trippy daydreams? This is Garo‘s equivalent of that episode, and just like it, this episode of Garo alienates more than it entertains. Even with all the puzzle pieces in place, I still have a hard time figuring out which of León’s adventures were dream and which were reality, and while a better writer could’ve done some amazing things with that idea (see Inception, or the Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode “Restless”), the end result here feels bizarre, artificial and in the end, quite pointless. The glaring budget cut made evident that this episode didn’t exactly receive the lion’s part of Studio Mappa’s attention, and while some of the character moments were surprisingly poignant as usual, the overal weirdness of the episode failed to create any sort of mystifying experience. A failed experiment, in other words, though I am a fan of splitting up the narrative between León and his father. Looks like the latter will be the star of the show next week, so I’m guessing we can expect something entirely different.

Psycho-Pass - Caught red-handed in the heinous crime of blatantly ripping off Death Note.

Psycho-Pass – Caught red-handed in the heinous crime of blatantly ripping off Death Note.

icon_PsychoPass

Psycho-Pass 2
Episode 7

Thursdays 12:50 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Aquagaze

Aquagaze: Not a lot to say on this week’s Psycho-Pass, though in all honesty, that’s starting to turn into a good thing. It’s better to be safe than sorry, after all. In fact, with a lovely little scene between Akane and her oft-mentioned grandmother this episode even featured a genuinely touching moment, aided in part by Kana Hanazawa’s strong performance. As the least competent police force in the universe continues its search for the ever elusive Kamui, the guy’s plans seem to be even more complicated than we already knew they were, somehow also involving missing children and organ transplants. Woo-hoo. The half-assed discussion between Akane and the chief about why Kamui is invisible to the Sibyl System in a completely different way than the way Makishima was invisible to the System (which was already stupid) only proves that season 2 of Psycho-Pass is desperately trying to evoke the gravity of the original, which for all its excessive violence, nonsensical plot twists and hyper oats at least still had something to say about how a government based entirely around mental health can only be ran by psychopaths. Season 2, however, reduces the premise of the original to a mere gimmick, and as such only brings to the table disgust, disappointment, countless plot holes and… Mika. So when were you planning on telling your superior she is being stalked by a dangerous psychopath, Inspector? Never? Okay.

icon_shirobako

Shirobako
Episode 7

Thursdays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Aquagaze, Gee, Marlin, Jel

Aquagaze: This week was a bad week for Ema. Not only did she dangle dead at the bottom of a chart that’s been making the rounds listing the wages of all the major players in an anime production — effectively making less than 2-minute cameo superstar Midori, who as you might remember, doesn’t actually have a job — she also gets a thoroughly depressing date with reality in one of Shirobako‘s strongest episodes to date. While the show has always tried to tackle industry issues with an optimistic approach, there’s little it can do to whitewash Ema’s realization that only the joy of drawing is everything she’s ever going to get out of an animation gig. Struggling to keep up with the demanding schedules of the anime industry, Ema can’t cope with having to draw both well and fast, and some friendly advice from Old Guy Who Can’t Draw Moe is only making things worse. Passionate people being scared out of the industry due to impossibly tight schedules, it’s yet another example of Shirobako showing how the anime industry keeps shooting itself in the foot, but the surprising bleakness of the drama in this episode is surprising even for the show’s generally nuanced portrayal of industry woes. As such, it has proven its willingness to tackle heavier issues than incompetent-mohawk-induced stress, and is all the better for it.

Gee: This was yet another strong showing for Shirobako. For a show that delights in its idealism and colorful cast, this was the strong dose of reality that a show about anime production needed. The animation industry isn’t a pleasant place. Between demanding deadlines and the sheer pressure placed on the shoulders of its craftsmen, being an animator is a thankless tiring job. Ema is where many animators end up and stay for all their lives, and it does lead to a valid question of, “Is this really all there is to it?” And the sad thing is that, in many ways, that answer is a definitive yes. Getting into this industry is immensely difficult and most of us will quit or get kicked out. There’s little optimism or idealism that can really be shoehorned into this situation, and whatever Ema decides to do from here on out, I hope Shirobako will portray it with all the depth such a subject needs. While I’m not saying Shirobako needs to be a realistic criticism of the industry 24/7, I genuinely appreciate the show for giving exposure to such a subject. It makes it stronger as a whole and gives us the verisimilitude it needs to make the entire package all the more engaging.

Advertisements

One thought on “The Roundup: Fall 2014 Volume 6

  1. Yona: No you aren’t thinking too deeply into it. It’s moving sloooow and the “foreshadowing” is painfully obvious. Should have left that priest long ago. Get on with it!

    PP2: Mika….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s