The Roundup: Spring 2015 Volume 3

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In this week’s installment…

YEEEART!! Ninja Slayer makes its Roundup debut, My Love Story gets surprisingly explosive, and both Dogakobo shows fail at their attempts to make us sad.

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

mikagura

Mikagura School Suite
Episode 4: “Apathetic Coup D’Etat”

Tuesdays 4:35 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Jel, Marlin, Iro

Jel: At certain points in this episode Eruna’s obsessions finally crossed the threshold from endearing to annoying. A lot of fans have been giving her a pass on being a total pervert because she’s a girl, so before anyone cries DOUBLE STANDARD we need to call her out on that. Still, I think even if she was a male character there’s a certain simple innocence to her that makes it tolerable in the long run, especially in context with her good qualities. As for the rest of the episode, it’s a mixed bag as the attempt at serious drama with Yuto is completely forgettable, but we also get the best fight scene of the series so far. At the very least I’m encouraged to see the animation quality return to normal. Overall Mikagura continues to be better in concept than execution, but its still unique and charming enough that I can’t write it off.

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Mikagura School Suite – There will be a lot of funny faces in this post.

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My Love Story!!
Episode 4: “My Boyfriend”

Wednesdays 3:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Marlin, Jel, Artemis

Marlin: This After the I-beam scene I suppose I should have expected that Oremono wasn’t quite done with it’s ridiculous setpieces. Here, it’s not just Takeo saving people that makes him awesome (though it certainly makes for a showy display of his awesomeness), it’s how he carries himself and treats others. Despite the insults thrown his way by Yamato’s boorish friends, it’s obvious that Takeo treats people just as kindly as Yamato. It’s obvious from the group of guys begging to hang out with him that they see him as a good friend. I hope the couple doesn’t spin their wheels on how far their relationship goes. Considering how innocent the two are portrayed feels a lot like Kimi ni Todoke, which took something like six months into the relationship to get its first kiss. I’m a little worried things are getting tired, but stuff like the random fire panic will at least keep me guessing.

Artemis: This episode was ridiculous, but in such a good-natured and purposefully over-the-top way that I still managed to thoroughly enjoy it. Were it any other anime romcom, this is about the point where I’d probably be slamming the story for its general silliness/lack of anything approaching realism, and where I’d definitely be slamming Yamato’s character for a lack of depth – four episodes in and the only definable things to have been established about her are that she’s really nice and loves to bake. But this isn’t just any romcom, this is My Love Story!!, and so I just can’t bring myself to care. Yamato is friggin’ adorable. Combined with the hulking mass of epic awesome that is Takeo and Suna aka Bro of the Century, there’s no way I can’t adore everything about this show, no matter how silly.

Jel: As adorable as this episode is – and it is super adorable – I was starting think “man, if this keeps up at this pace it might get a little boring”. I know I said I would be fine just seeing our main trio being nice to each other for 12 episodes but of course I didn’t REALLY mean that. So as bizarre and melodramatic as Takeo’s feats of super human strength may be, I kind of welcome them. I’m willing to accept it as an artistic interpretation of his heroism, plus the action is a nice way to break things up. I also like how they settle the conflict with her friends. Painting people as “good” or “bad” is easy, showing that people you care about can say dumb things sometimes is a much more nuanced and interesting angle. Overall more good things this week and My Love Story! is a lock for one of the best shows this season.

 ninjaslayer

Ninja Slayer
Episode 2: “Machine of Vengeance”

Thursdays 10:00 am EST on Funimation

Watching: Jel, Marlin, Iro, Gee

Gee: I don’t even know man. So like, Ninja Slayer gets attacked by a ninja. With a jet pack. The guy even manages to beat up Ninja Slayer for a bit. Pretty heavy stuff. And I guess Ninja Slayer has yet to reach his full potential? The OP implies there’s going to be some kind of ridiculous training arc shoehorned into this show somewhere, but considering the kind of show Ninja Slayer purports to be, I have no clue how that will go. Oh well. YEEART!!

Jel: How am I still watching this show? How am I still kind of enjoying this show despite my negative opinion of it? Why would a Ninja need a Jetpack? What even is this show? Who is Trigger? What is anime? What is life? Will I find these answers at the end of this series??? Yep, I think Ninja Slayer broke my brain.

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Ninja Slayer – Presented in glorious 4-Cat

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The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan
Episode 4: “Be My Valentine”

Fridays 2:10 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Marlin

Marlin: So now we begin the love triangle in earnest. It’s pretty obvious that this would happen the moment Haruhi came into the picture, but it certainly ramped up here. Haruhi hangin’ out with Kyon makes a pretty good case for why such a turn of events makes sense. In the original series, as much as Kyon liked to think otherwise he was attracted to Haruhi for her energetic personality as much as his weird ponytail fetish. It seems like we’re just running through all the romcom holiday checkmarks at this point, so the actual romance seems somewhat rushed. Unfortunately this episode ends with some of the worst melodramatic nonsense you could expect of a valentine’s day episode. I wish this show would stop bein’ so friggin cute so I could drop it already.

oregairu

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO
Episode 4: “And Then, Yui Yuigahama Makes a Declaration”

Saturdays 1:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Marlin

Marlin: It seems everyone is finally sick of Hachiman torpedoing his self esteem in order to fix problems. I like that we get some actual concern for his wellbeing, as it’s something he’s been reluctant to take care of since the very start. Like I’ve said before, it seems obvious from his knowledge of social cues and relationships that he could fit in if he didn’t wallow in his own self-pity. It seems that Hayama’s scheme is meant to pull out his poor self esteem at the root by showing just how vapid his old object of affection really is. Despite all this, it seems like he still wants to go through with his plan in torpedoing the election, so I wonder what the girls will do to stop him.

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Plastic Memories – The face I make trying to get excited about this show.

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Plastic Memories
Episode 4: “I Just Don’t Know How to Smile”

Saturdays 2:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Jel, Marlin

Jel: We’re back to cheap ploys to tug at your emotions this week and I’m afraid any magic Plastic Memories had in the first episode is gone. For one, the concept of allowing children to be cared for by a guardian with a set 9 year life span is the dumbest idea they’ve had yet. It kind of undermined the drama of the situation as I couldn’t stop thinking this would be much easier if they established proper long term care in the first place. The concept of shady black market dealers posing as the Terminal Service is a potentially interesting wrinkle, but at this point I’m not sure there’s anything Plastic Memories can do to get me truly invested again. All of their original ideas have fizzled into anime clichés, the worst being Not Asuka Michiru’s textbook tsundere schtick, and there’s just nothing new or exciting about any of it. I’m still sticking with it for now but my expectations have hit rock bottom.

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The Heroic Legend of Arslan
Episode 4: “The World-Weary Strategist”

Sundays 5:00 am EST on Funimation

Watching: Artemis, Marlin

Artemis: This episode didn’t give me much to talk about, as it mostly consisted of people sitting around chatting and/or flashbacking for the entire thing. I wasn’t particularly upset about that – it provided enough breathing room for the show to properly introduce another main character or two, and if the preview is anything to go by then next week’s episode will be plenty bloody – but it meant I was left with little to comment on here. Narsus and his ‘artwork’ could prove an interesting addition to the team, particularly as he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to be dazzled by riches or status, or follow orders out of blind loyalty. I don’t doubt his sincerity, but I also don’t think he’ll coddle Arslan, or hesitate to challenge Arslan’s actions or beliefs if he finds them to be ill-considered or inconsistent. However, as a former slave with an understandably suspicious and even vaguely hostile attitude towards Arslan, Narsus’ servant Elam may well end up creating the more interesting group dynamic. I only hope I don’t have to wait too long to find out, because yeah – slow pacing is slow.

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