The Roundup: Spring 2015 Volume 4

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In this week’s installment…

Euri crashes The Roundup as he catches up on the second season of Baby’s First Harem Nisekoi. Meanwhile, Mikagura School Suite and Plastic Memories flip flop their comedy and action this week and My Love Story!! is still hands down the best thing in this post.

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 5: “School Fantasia”

Tuesdays 4:35 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Jel, Marlin, Iro

Jel: This might have been the worst episode yet if only because there’s no significant fight scene. I realize they wanted to focus on Drama kid’s fight but A. I don’t even care enough about Drama kid to look up his name right now and B. how did they think it would be a good idea to have any of Eruna’s fights happen off camera? She’s still a rookie with a lot to learn, they should stay focused on that. It points to a much larger problem overall in that the show is trying very hard to get you to care about these other clubs when really I just want to see Eruna punch them in the face or crystal or whatever. Add in the continually odd characterization of Seisa (is she good or bad or indifferent or what?) and Mikagura is starting to get dangerously aimless. At least the Band Girl seems to be our first “villain” as everyone else has been pretty chummy up to now, so we can look forward to seeing her get Spirit Gunned next.

oremonogatari

My Love Story!!
Episode 5: “I’m Dense”

Wednesdays 3:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Marlin, Jel, Artemis, Euri

Jel: This show just keeps finding new ways to be great every week. I know they hinted at it before but I did not see the bit with Suna’s Hot Older Sister coming at all. I’m still not really clear if she has romantic feelings for him or just wants to protect him like a big sister – they seemed intentionally vague on that – but I guess the end result is just the same. Between her suspicions and Yamato’s secret they’ve managed to add just the right amount of tension without feeling overwhelming or out of place, to a degree that I’m hard pressed to think of a show that has done it better. As far as Yamato’s secret goes, it could be something as simple as her wanting to admit she wants to kiss him or maybe she’s had a boyfriend before. They’ve hinted pretty strongly in that general direction, which would be pretty great if they can smash that harmful “pure, innocent” thing that Takeo has in his head. That’s exactly the kind of forward thinking that could catapult My Love Story!! into something greater than just “cute”.

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Mikagura School Suite – Sound! Euphonium is getting pretty weird these days.

 ninjaslayer

Ninja Slayer
Episode 3: “Last Girl Standing, Part 1”

Thursdays 10:00 am EST on Funimation

Watching: Jel, Marlin, Iro, Gee

Gee: Distinct lack of Yeearts and well, Ninja Slayer himself this week. Instead we’re introduced to Yamoto Koki, yet another ninja-possessed denizen of Neo Saitama. Seriously, it seems to be quite the epidemic in the city. I guess vengeance comes with the territory of being a ninja. Overall, the episode is kind of lame. Ninja Slayer’s hilariously limited animation works well in the scope of comedy, but falls apart in the face of anything resembling drama or self-serious storytelling. I’m kind of hoping this is but a minor plot point in the grander tale of Ninja Slayer, but who can guess what Trigger has in store for us?

moenagato

The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan
Episode 5: “Her Melancholy”

Fridays 2:10 pm EST on Funimation

Watching: Marlin, Euri

Marlin: This episode was super dumb. Up to a certain point, I was actually with it. Nagato being genuinely hurt by what happened would actually make for some decent characterization. The resulting talk between Haruhi and Asakura was a good heart to heart and it felt genuinely emotional. We don’t often have a character who feels this conflicted about a romance. Usually, they will bow out or be incredibly insensitive, but here we see that Haruhi sees her feelings for Kyon as equally valid. While she doesn’t feel proud of interfering, she still wants to pursue her own desires. Having the whole problem negated by Nagato being an airhead was the worst way to go about things, and then to have Tsuruya coincidentally ruin things just felt like lazy writing to maintain the romantic tension.

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Moe Nagato – Don’t call it a harem, it’s a LOVE TRIANGLE.

oregairu

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO
Episode 5: “The Scent of Tea Doesn’t Fill That Room Anymore”

Saturdays 1:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Marlin

Marlin: One of the things I’ve always praised SNAFU for is its sweet but realistic portrayal of a sibling relationship. Hachiman certainly does his share of boneheaded things, but his sister has always been someone he can rely on. She understands that there’s more to him than the antisocial face he puts on to other people. Especially in this era of disgusting siscon nonsense, him having a talk with her like actual family warmed my heart. Getting a second opinion meant he could better introspect on how his behavior has affected his friends. While he still resorting to underhanded behavior to get what he wanted, he did it while still respecting the feelings of those involved. He never forced Isshiki to become president, he just told her what she wanted to hear, that she could have her cake and eat it too.

plasticmemories

Plastic Memories
Episode 5: “The Promise I Wanted to Keep”

Saturdays 2:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Jel, Marlin

Jel: Well that was COMPLETELY different. Had Plastic Memories always been a dark cyberpunk story about hunting shady black market traders and taking down berserk Giftia this might have been pretty cool, but instead the hard 180 in tone is tough to take. None of our main cast has any business being out in what is essentially a battlefield and I couldn’t help but laugh when Isla pulled out her double edge sword thing. Were we really supposed to take this seriously? That all being said, I guess it was better than whatever else they’ve been trying to do up until now. I’ve been wondering lately if this author only knows how to write one type of story and if Steins;Gate is any indication taking a dark turn at the midpoint would fit the mold. I wouldn’t really say this was a great episode but it was different enough to renew my interest. I’d at least like to see if they stay with the darker mood or go back to anime comedy hijinks next week.

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Plastic Memories – IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED GEE? IS IT???

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The Heroic Legend of Arslan
Episode 5: “The Royal Capital Burns, Part 1”

Sundays 5:00 am EST on Funimation

Watching: Artemis, Marlin

Marlin: This week was raw in two very different ways. While the inhuman way the Lusitanian priest treated Shapur was a bit ridiculous, it set the scene for the episode to come. It’s been a while since a show has so brutally shown the horrors of war. The siege was well shot and really showed why siege warfare is usually a very high casualty affair. At the same time, watching all of those terrible CG soldiers was another kind of painful to watch. It seemed that Liden might be running out of money, as the soldiers, the sparse animation in the musician’s scene, and the incredibly off model attendants were incredibly obvious. I understand that animating a large mass of people takes a lot of resources, but it will always be offputting to see CG anything in what has been such a well animated show so far.

nisekoi

Nisekoi:
Episode 1-4

Sundays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Watching: Euri

Euri: What even is there to say? This is more of the same, only this time with far more instances of Chitoge (and the rest of the female cast, for that matter) declaring their love for Raku via internal monologue. That said, you won’t have watched a whole season of it if you were only interested in the romance, and it continues to do a good job of throwing in some cheap laughs. Shaft also haven’t dropped the ball as far as facial expression design goes, so there’s that. There is something about this show that keeps pulling me back in, and I’d like to hope it’s more than just Shaft that’s responsible for that. I’ll be sticking with it until I get bored, I’m sure. As for notable scenes in the first four episodes, I feel like episode four in its entirety will be very important. We know Raku is a nice guy, and as much as he doesn’t want it to seem like he cares for Chitoge, he does. I’m not sure this is in a romantic way, at least not yet, but watching him repair a long-broken bridge between Chitoge and her mother was great to see. I would assume we are due to see Imposter Onodera show up within the next few episodes, not least because she’s all over the OP, but because of the phone call we heard at the end of the last episode.

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