The Roundup: Fall 2014 Volume 8

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In this week’s installment…

The lineup is thinning out as we approach the final few episodes of the season, but The Roundup is still going strong! Psycho Pass is conspicuously missing (more on that a bit later today), Garo reminds us that Rage of Bahamut isn’t the only rad show by Mappa this season, and Iro gets to yell DEEEEEEEEEEEN for the first time in a good long while.

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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Hi-sCool! Seha Girls
Episode 9

Wednesdays 10:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Jel, Marlin

Jel: I really want to drop this show but I am just in too deep at this point. As I mentioned with SeHa Girls previous foray into modern gaming, dropping the nostalgia factor kills any slim value the series had left. Diving into a mobile game just felt like a straight up advertisement. Granted, I would TOTALLY play Chain Chronicle, but if they really wanted to dive into an RPG why not get some Phantasy Star action? I suspect it may have been an all too convenient excuse to recycle more game assets and cut down on animating, but I’m not that cynical, am I? Thankfully next week seems to be diving into Jet Grind Radio, which would be at the top of my list for games I’d want to see. My expectations are still in the gutter, but it couldn’t be worse than this week.

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SeHa Girls – OK I admit I would totally play this

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GARO: The Carved Seal of Flames
Episode 9

Thursdays 1:23 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Aquagaze, Dragonzigg, Gee

Aquagaze: Despite being based on a massively popular tokusatsu franchise, Garo has been living in the shadow of that other swashbuckling Mappa fantasy show this season, Rage of Bahamut. The alleged unlimited budget of the latter will probably have something to do with that, though even from the underdog position, Garo serves as a pressing reminder of why Mappa are the studio to watch. Despite its mid-range budget, The Carved Seal of Flames boasts considerable experience in using it well, resulting in phenomenal action scenes with minimal use of the titular CGI armour. We finally get our long-awaited team-up between León and Alfonso, who together take on a horrifying atrocity straight off an Iron Maiden album cover with severe disadvantages in place. Meanwhile, a severely ailing Rafael pictures Alfonso calling him his father, an omen of things to come as the Knight of Defence speeds to his surrogate son’s rescue and sacrifices himself to pass his armour on to Afonso. It’s a gripping, rousing scene marking showrunner Yasuko Kobayashi’s return to the writing chair, and a definite passing point for the series, with Alfonso joining the Luís family in their quest against the inquisition. Of course, one question remains: Wasn’t it established that Makai Armour can only be passed onto blood relatives? I wonder what’s up with that, hmm.

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Garo – Ow, the edge!

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Log Horizon II
Episode 9

Saturdays 7:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Gee, Iro, Marlin, Timmy

Iro: After quite a while, focus shifts back to Shiroe and the entire raid party. A few hints were dropped throughout the past few episodes, but now we actually get to see everyone get massacred by several raid bosses teaming up. In theory it’s a cool scene, but it’s all dragged down tremendously by DEEEEEEEN’s abysmal budget and crappy animation. Shiroe’s turn in the MMO Afterlife is significantly more engaging than Akatsuki’s, since it involves some actually interesting introspection about how Shiroe’s tendency to keep quiet about his plans implies just how little he trusts his companions. The sequence’s length also highlights the shift in visual style when depicting the real world, which wasn’t communicated terribly well with Akatsuki’s POV. It’s a nice detail and a subtle reminder of how everyone in Elder Tale is playing a somewhat fictionalized and idealized version of themselves. Unfortunately, as expected of DEEEEEN, the last few minutes of this week’s episode are stock footage directly from a couple weeks ago. Resorting to such measures is just sad at this point.

Shirobako - Even Aoi's imaginary friends hate her.

Shirobako – Even Aoi’s imaginary friends hate her.

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Shirobako
Episode 9

Thursdays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Aquagaze, Gee, Marlin, Jel

Aquagaze: So lemme get this straight… The director you’re working with, a petulant manchild, has been singlehandedly threatening your entire anime and now wants to change the ending of said show into a trite, hilariously deus-ex-machina ridden joke of a finale at the very last minute, and you decide you want to work with him again? I’m starting to get the feeling Tarou and said director aren’t the only two incompetents on Musashino Animation’s payroll. This rather amusing episode of Shirobako is the show’s least focused yet, alternating between Shizuka’s, Misa’s and Aoi’s perspectives and then some, but never losing its signature blend of cutesy shenanigans, biting satire and the destruction of the hopes and dreams of everyone who wants to work in the anime industry, often even in one and the same scene. Misa being employed at a firm subcontracted exclusively for animating cars, lead by a guy with an unhealthy obsession for tyres? Hilarious! Said employment showing no signs of changing any time soon and turning a once enthusiastic, talented CGI animator into a corporate drone animating wheels for the rest of her life? Horribly depressing! It works, though. It works surprisingly well, turning this seemingly generic show into something wholly unique and even meaningful. Shirobako is the cherry on top of an already fantastic anime season.

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