The Roundup: Summer 2015 Volume 2 – Early Edition

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In this week’s installment…

50% of the Roundup Early Edition shows now have “School” in the title as we add the deliciously dark School Live! and the eccentric Prison School. OK fine one of them is actually “classroom” but close enough. Meanwhile, Chaos Dragon, Ushio and Tora, and Classroom Crisis trip up a bit but hey, Miss Monochrome is still great!

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School Live!
Episode 2: “Memories”

Thursdays 10:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: If this is the tone that School Live is going for then count me in 100%. While the light hearted comedy is still intact, there’s no questioning this is a horror story. If anything the comedy bits just make it creepier. Shovel Girl’s backstory got surprisingly dark, but not in a bad way. She’s carrying some heavy emotional baggage for sure, but she’s still determined to keep fighting. Perhaps the most interesting element is Megu-nee, who I am thoroughly convinced is no longer alive. Instead she seems to be some kind of manifestation of Yuki’s survival instincts. It makes it that much more plausible that she’s still alive while being a heartbreaking reminder at how much pain she must be in. I’m still not sure how deep they are going to explore that angle but I can’t wait to find out.

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Chaos Dragon
Episode 3: “Three as One”

Thursdays 10:30 am EST on Funimation

Iro: There are three separate travel montages in this single episode, which should give you an idea of how poorly Chaos Dragon is paced. Otherwise, not a single one of the main characters is engaging, with main character Ibuki and his generic angst perhaps the least interesting of the lot. The female characters in the adventuring party are particularly tiresome as well, each one fulfilling some otaku-bait shaped hole. Eiha (Eykha? whatever) insists that Ibuki treat her like a tool because of her status as a Bounded One (a concept which could be interesting if fleshed out, which of course means it isn’t), Meryl is the typical snarky assistant woman, and Lo Chenfa (Lou Chun Wah, whatever) is a big-boobed psycho who flirts with everyone and loves killing. And while Ryohgo Narita’s character shows up this week, it’s only for a few moments, which makes me feel like I’m being tricked into watching the next episode. Ugh.

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Ushio & Tora – I’m sure the driver is fine

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Ushio and Tora
Episode 3: “The Demon that Dwells in the Painting”

Fridays 10:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Euri: Up to this point we’ve been dealing with demons kidnapping humans to satiate their intense hunger for blood and flesh, which looks bad on paper, sure, but given each situation has been resolved with goofy antics and slight moments of badassery, there hasn’t been much of a serious tone in this show. It came as a bit of a shock then that we see a student waltz into another of Ushio’s goofier moments claiming that she wouldn’t mind dying, and having students watching this happen gossip about how she’s tried to take her life before. I’m all for the serious tone, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like we’ve jumped forward a few episodes or something, as the tonal shift was pretty jarring. Besides that, the episode was fun but also not incredibly surprising, either. Ushio sees a girl is distress and decides he has to do something about it; fine by itself but pretty typical for a shounen show. I really dug Ushio’s decision not to beg Tora for help, though this moment was kind of spoiled a bit by an unnecessary ‘ghost of long-lost parent’ scene combined with a painting that reassembles and decorates itself into something nice. I’d have liked the show to have stuck to its guns a bit more – it explains why this girl distances herself from everyone and the reasons why she tried to kill herself, but kinda throws that out of the window at the end in favour of a soppy ‘everything is okay now’ scene. To clarify, I did enjoy this episode, but I also feel like it could have been even better. I’d also like to know if the truck driver is alive after Ushio cut it in half.

“Crap, it’s Hanyuu! She’s attempted suicide four times. Hanyuu of the Death Wish!” – Holy shit why are kids so awful.

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Miss Monochrome – The Animation 2
Episode 3: “Guitarist”

Fridays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: This episode’s comedic timing and use of exaggeration was on point as always. Yayoi’s instant ability to do her job too well was a good gag, along with Monochrome’s incredibly flat sense of humor. Seriously, I hope she keeps trying to jam “chrome” into her sentences. The best joke of all though is the fact the title bills this as the hunt for a guitarist but absolutely no time is spent on that. It would probably be annoying in any other context, but just having some awesome guitar player right at the convenience store was the most Miss Monochrome thing to do. More of this please.

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Miss Monochrome 2 – Hey, it’s DJ Roomba!

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Prison School
Episode 2: “The Man Who”

Fridays 1:05 pm EST on Funimation

Gee: After Kiyoshi’s hopes of getting out on the weekend to go on a date with Chiyo are dashed, Prison School starts to shift towards my personal highlight of the story; the escape. Like all good escape stories, while the prisoners might be stuck in the same situation, their agendas are wildly divergent. Andre is a hopeless masochist, actively seeking out the Vice President’s violence. Joe is enamored with ants. Most importantly though, is Gakuto’s obsession with the Chinese classic, The Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It’s that trait that has him helping Kiyoshi now, but how long will an alliance last with someone whose favorite story is built on shaky alliances and betrayal? And how will the other prisoners react when they find out? Prison School doubles down on being itself this week, both good and ill. The social dynamic of prisons are so uniquely fascinating, and Prison School’s take on it continues to entertain in its audacity.

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Classroom Crisis
Episode 3: “The Woman Came From the Accounting Department”

Fridays 3:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I know Nagisa and Angelina are supposed to be the “bad guys” but they were absolutely insufferable in this episode, to the point where I was ready to just give up on Classroom Crisis altogether. The way they so vehemently defend the company bottom line is infuriating. Instead of quitting though I am just swallowing the pain like I think we’re supposed to and cheering on Kaito that much more. He’s not perfect either, and having him realize how much he’s been coddled was a nice development. I also love the idea of locking them in an ancient garage where they have to use their hard work and guts to survive. It’s that theme that is keeping me invested in this show despite how obnoxious the characters have been to this point. We’ll see if they can make good on it.

2 thoughts on “The Roundup: Summer 2015 Volume 2 – Early Edition

  1. I can’t believe School Live is now my most awaited watch this season. Looking forward to this dark twist to the most misleading OP of all time.

    • I’m going with Crowds for most anticipated but I am also in disbelief that School Live is a thing that exists. That’s the kind of thing you can only get with anime.

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