The Roundup: Spring 2015 Volume 2

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In this week’s installment…

My Love Story!! toys with our pure, innocent hearts, Punch Line makes the shortest appearance in Roundup history, and Mikagura School Suite has us thinking Dogakobo is investing all that Plastic Memories money in the wrong show.

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

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders | Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works | Blood Blockade Battlefront | Sound! Euphonium | Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches

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Mikagura School Suite
Episode 3: “Not Quite a Heroine”

Tuesdays 4:35 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Jel, Marlin, Iro

Jel: Much like last week, this was kind of two steps forward, one step back. Eruna got her much needed wake up call getting crushed by Seisa and I loved the idea of her starting her own club and fighting her way to the top. That’s probably still happening to a certain degree, but having Seisa show her some kindness at the end felt like a cop out. I can’t quite figure out Seisa’s angle. Is she trying to be The Bad Guy but can’t fight her compassionate instincts or is there no grand plan here at all and she’s just doing whatever she feels like? It is kind of interesting that it looks like Eruna and Seisa have no chemistry together on the surface, but they are more similar than they seem. Their personalities are extremely different but they are both very blunt and painfully honest. Could it be that Mikagura is finding a way to have one person be the main love interest AND the main antagonist? It kind of seems that way and I like it. My biggest concern now is the production values, which seem to be dropping off at an alarming rate. Hopefully they can hold it together long enough to finish the story without embarrassing themselves.

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Mikagura School Suite – I just want to mention that is a really nice umbrella

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My Love Story!!
Episode 3: “My Blue Ogre”

Wednesdays 3:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Marlin, Jel, Artemis

Marlin: I can hardly describe the feeling I had in my chest after watching this episode. That was the warm fuzzies on a whole new level. That episode was such a great combination of heartwarming and funny that I think I’ll have to make my own post to completely sum up my feelings.

Artemis: This episode was exactly what was needed to bump up My Love Story!! from ‘good’ to ‘great’ in my books. I’m not normally a huge fan of sickly-sweet romances and dramatic confessions, but with such a mixture of good-natured comedy and sheer adorableness, I was powerless to resist this. No doubt it’s also a relief to many viewers that at three episodes in, Takeo’s misunderstanding has been well and truly cleared up, leaving the door open to some potentially more interesting challenges in his and Yamato’s relationship. Speaking of relationships, Takeo and Suna easily take home the Bromance Of The Season award, because seriously, I couldn’t work out whether to get teary-eyed or bust a gut laughing. A show that can make me do both in a single episode is a rare one indeed.

Jel: This exactly what I wanted and yet I’m still in disbelief that it actually happened. Watching Takeo’s romance AND friendship flourish soothed my cold, dead heart. We’ve become so conditioned to expect prolonged misunderstandings and severe melodrama from these kinds of shows that it is so refreshing to just enjoy when things go right for a change. Of course if the red ogre/blue ogre allegory is going to stand there’s still some room for tension as Suna becomes the third wheel, but I hope My Love Story can explore that territory while keeping things relatively light. After seeing how they handled their first potential pitfall, I’m feeling good about the rest of the series.

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Punchline
Episode 2: “The Lace of Compassion”

Thursdays 2:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Marlin

Marlin: Good Lord, I was willing to give Punchline one more chance on a futile hope that maybe there was something more to this show. In this episode we are clearly shown that this show is even more vapid than we could imagine. When it’s not making the grossest boob jokes I’ve seen in a long time, it’s recycling jokes from last episode. In a show that should ostensibly have, y’know, some friggin punchlines, it seems the well is already dry. I pity whatever deal with the devil forced Uchikoshi to make this monstrosity, but it better mean this anime ends with an announcement for Zero Escape 3.

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Moe Nagato – We have now hit literal blob status

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The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan
Episode 3: “Haruhi Suzumiya!!”

Fridays 2:10 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Marlin

Marlin: Moe Nagato has managed to keep its hold on me. Now that Haruhi is in the mix, I do remember this show starting to get a little harem-y when it comes to Kyon. Still, the comedy factor that Haruhi brings to the table is well worth any of her more annoying characteristics. I mean, sure she gets all creepy about Mikuru but that’s been par for the course in this series anyway. I forgot that she still has the same weird goals in this version, just that she isn’t actually able to make those kinds of people appear. I like how that the dynamics of this show are just a little bit different because of that. In a world where he isn’t a secret agent esper, Koizumi is just a normal guy that comes to appreciate Haruhi because she actually cares about him, even if it is in her own weird way. All this change keeps the energy of the show up while little by little Nagato is finally starting to come out of her shell.

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My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO
Episode 3: “Quietly, Yukinoshita Yukino Makes a Decision.”

Saturdays 1:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Marlin

Marlin: SNAFU is tackling a pretty weird problem this week. Once again this is probably something I just won’t understand because I don’t know the inner workings of Japanese High School, but it seems pretty ridiculous. How is it that anyone could be forced to accept a nomination when they don’t want it? I bet ya five bucks her friend the current president was the one to secretly get this motion going. This is not what the focus of the episode is however, rather being just the backdrop for the rift that has come between the main trio because of Hachiman’s self-destructive behavior. As the teacher said, his method gets results, but it’s clearly taking a toll on him emotionally. It seems to me that the reason maintaining the status quo with Hayama’s group is hitting him so hard is that he realized he is being equally unfair with his own friends. Counter to that, being confronted with an old crush reminded him of how badly things could go if he does try to change the status quo. Considering how smart this series has been so far, I would like to see how they finally address the elephant in the room.

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Plastic Memories – Showing some abs doesn’t make the rest OK

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Plastic Memories
Episode 3 “We’ve Just Started Living Together.”

Saturdays 2:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Jel, Marlin

Jel: Well this has certainly gone downhill fast. Having Tsukasa and Isla shack up for arbitrary reasons killed whatever remaining originality the show had left going for it. I can tell they try to go about the cliché Magical Girlfriend Roommate motions with a wink and a nod, but giving them some acknowledgement doesn’t excuse you from relying on them. What’s worse is they choose to embrace some particularly nasty habits by having two characters suggest 1. “accidentally” walking in on Isla in the shower and 2. Tsukasa should just flat out force himself on her. There’s no “just kidding” appended on to either of those statements and it’s implied the only reason Tsukasa doesn’t go through with them is because he happens to be a nice guy. Basically the joke is supposed to be okay because *wink* that’s the way these things *nudge* *nudge* always go, which is pretty much the worst reason to do anything. Meanwhile Isla is just stuck deeper and deeper inside her shell with her development regressing instead of progressing, or at least that’s what we get from what little substance this episode has. I think there’s still some good in Plastic Memories so I’m not quite ready to give up, but at the moment I’m wishing Dogakobo would swap its immense resources with the much more interesting Mikagura School Suite.

Marlin: This episode was insulting to the intelligence of anyone who thought this show could pull off a competent existentialist story. It’s such a shame to see this fall off the rails so quickly. Plastic Memories is so pretty, and yet it uses its budget for the cheapest fanservice ploys. The amount of talent that is being absolutely wasted on this caliber of storytelling is frustrating. You can tell from the very beginning that this episode is just used as a huge contrivance to pad out time by making “wacky antics” for the MC to get caught in. Considering asking advice from the person she lived with for several years first would be the first thing any rational person would do, it makes the whole thing that much more transparent. What made Love Lab or Nozaki-kun funny wasn’t repeating the same joke over and over again, it was taking its characters and using them with new comedic themes every week. Any possible good will they were trying to create by ending this episode on a dramatic personal note was completely soured by what came before it. The only consolation I get from dropping this show is that I felt I was watching too many things anyway.

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The Heroic Legend of Arslan
Episode 3: “The Knight In Black”

Sundays 5:00 am EST on Funimation

Watching: Artemis, Marlin

Artemis: This episode made for a fairly brutal demonstration of how rumours can undermine a battle just as viciously, if not even more so, than an actual loss. King Andragoras III certainly isn’t what I’d call a sympathetic character, but the extent of the betrayal from within still wasn’t pleasant to witness. From what we’ve seen of Pars so far, an argument could be made that everyone had what was coming to them – this kingdom might be grand and prosperous, but it’s also rotting from the inside out. Arslan, on the other hand, is clearly just a compassionate boy desperately seeking his father’s approval, and it now seems highly unlikely that there’ll be any kind of home to go back to upon his return to the capital. With a few personal scores to settle and a healthy dose of religious fervour thrown into the mix, things are already getting messy on both sides. The currently looming question isn’t which of them is in the right – it’s simply which will prevail over the carnage.

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