The Roundup: Winter 2016 Volume 2

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In this week’s installment…

Our comedy-heavy Roundup gets a little heavier with the addition of KONOSUBA and a LOT heavier with Sekko Boys. You know, because they are statues… PLEASE LAUGH AT MY BAD JOKES.

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

BBK/BRNK (Bubuki Buranki) | Dimension W | ERASED | Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash | Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans

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Snow White with the Red Hair
Episode 14: “Eyes That Protect and Look Forward”

Mondays 11:00 am EST on Funimation

Artemis: I both liked and disliked the main developments of this episode. Obi is definitely one of my favourite characters of the series, and while his fairly obvious crush on Shirayuki clearly isn’t going to lead anywhere (I wouldn’t want it to anyway, and besides, Obi’s loyalty to Zen will probably prevent him from making any serious attempt for her romantic affections), I really like the character dynamics between the pair. The fact that he is now accompanying Shirayuki on her trip to Tanbarun rather than Mitsuhide should therefore make me pretty happy, and in a way it does – but the problem is that we’ve already seen plenty of Obi and Shirayuki off doing their own thing before, whereas we’ve never seen anything at all of Mitsuhide and Shirayuki. The show more or less threw away a good chance to see these two interact outside of the company of Zen or the Clarines court setting, not to mention the fact that aside from Kiki, Mitsuhide has received the least amount of character development of the main cast so far. As much as I dig Obi, I’m really hoping this gets rectified somewhere along the line this season.

Marlin: I’m also a bit disappointed we don’t get to see more of Mitsuhide. The guy is pretty cool, and really we’ve only been given a couple episodes of backstory between him and Zen to give him any characterization. Allowing him to define his personality outside of his devotion to Zen would have been nice to see. Still, something tells me the big hook of this arc is to see Prince Raj squirm around as he deals with having Shirayuki in his court. Raj was a pretty entertaining character last season, and it would be nice to see that he actually has been trying to redeem himself after going from comically evil villain to total stooge the last time we’d seen him. The Obi switch almost seemed like an editorial change, like someone went “girls are really shipping ObixShirayuki, keep that going! My biggest concern is this ball. As a ball, she’s obviously going to have to dance with someone right? Is she just going to dance with Raj the whole time making him incredibly uncomfortable? As much as that sounds hilarious, I really want to see Zen make a surprise appearance. I literally cannot get enough of those two being cute together.

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Mr. Osomatsu
Episode 15: “Interview / The Life of Chibita’s Flower”

Mondays 1:45 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: The first segment had me starting to wonder if the writers are dipping into the “Jyushimatsu ignores the laws of time and space” thing too much, but after typing that sentence I realized that is not possible. As crazy and weird as the bit was, my favorite part of the joke was him simply admitting they probably shouldn’t hire him in the end. Speaking of overusing past successes, the second half just felt like swapping Chibita into the great “Jyushimatsu in Love” segment, which kind of dampened the emotional gut punch they were going for. Been there done that, to a certain extent. Adding the fantasy element did help make it feel a bit more unique, plus the subplot of Karamatsu getting the love he deserves (by which I mean he doesn’t deserve any) kept things from getting too heavy. With those two parts and the rapid return of Girlymatsu this episode didn’t feel as inspired and original as the last two, but it was still very entertaining.

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Mr. Osomatsu – Jyushimatsu’s popularity might be going to his head.

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Dagashi Kashi
Episode 3: “Buta-men, Kuru Kuru Bou Jelly and… / Bontan-ame, Seven Neon, and…”

Mondays 5:00 pm EST on Funimation

Jel: Dagashi Kashi sure likes to try and have things both ways. The episode kicks off with Coconuts and Tou trying to get Hotaru to sweat through her clothes so they can see her bra, and yet the final scene somehow makes this show pass the Bechdel test? Letting Hotaru and Saya hang out with barely a mention of Coconuts was probably the highlight of the episode for me as those kinds of scenes are a lot rarer than they should be. I can’t help but feel the creators are doing their best to begrudgingly meet their comedy anime quotas while undermining them in the process. Gotta have a pool episode? OK then we are going to make the girls wear normal, realistic swimsuits. Need to include a Pervert Best Friend Character? Fine, but we’re going to give him shady sunglasses and pointy shark teeth so you know he’s a cartoon character that you should not imitate or relate to. Maybe I’m giving the show too much credit, but small things like that make it much easier to enjoy the show’s wacky sense of humor and Hotaru’s unhealthy obssession with snacks, which is really what this show is about. Quick final observations: kinda cool Saya the supposed “plain childhood friend” has cartilage piercings. Also, Dad is the best.

Marlin: This show is… getting better? It’s still a bit pervy but it did have probably the tamest pool episode of all time. I’m starting to actually get behind the jokes here, as they have been erring on the right side of ridiculous. I said that slapstick is universal, and that really showed through. I do find it somewhat strange that one of Crazy Dad’s strategies to get him to think about the shop is to remind him it doesn’t even make enough money to pay the bills. Nothing says “I want to take over this as an adult” like knowing you’ll have to work a part time job on the side. As Jel has said before, the Dad really has some of the best crazy ideas, and when he and Hotaru team up it makes for a pretty entertaining scene.

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KONOSUBA – God’s Blessing On This Wonderful World!
Episode 2: “An Explosion For This Chuunibyou!”

Wednesdays 1:35 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Between the generic art style, poor animation, and dumb video game mechanics, I really want to hate this show… but I can’t. It follows in the grand tradition of Osomatsu, Sabagebu, and pretty much all my favorite American TV comedies by having a cast full of horrible people being horrible to each other and getting what they deserve. It has so little regard for its characters and audience that I can’t help but find it hilarious. I had a big, dumb grin on my face every time one of the characters got munched by a giant frog, and if you watched this episode you know that happens A LOT. I also appreciate the partnership between Kazuma and Aqua, who hate each other way too much to overstate the attempts at fan service that spring up here and there. That may change as Kazuma seems much more smitten with the hilariously named “Darkness”, so we’ll see how the group chemistry works out moving forward. But hey, so far so good!

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Ojisan and Marshmallow – ALWAYS knock before entering someone’s bedroom.

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Ojisan and Marshmallow
Episode 3: “Train and Marshmallow”

Thursday 2:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: In an anime first, this episode features our young lady protagonist accidentally getting a face full of man boobs as opposed to the other way around. Clearly a major victory for gender equality. Speaking of “young”, seeing Wakabayashi presumably still living at home with her family plus the incredibly teenage reaction to the train incident makes me wonder just how old she is supposed to be. I just assumed she was a grown woman and maybe she still is, but this being anime is it possible she’s only supposed to be like 18 or even younger? That would certainly explain Hige’s reluctance to indulge her, but it would also push things over the “creepy” line the show already flirts with. I’m probably just over thinking things, for now it’s still cute and fun so let’s stick with that.

Marlin: I’m going to hope that Wakabayashi is just living at home to save on expenses. I don’t think she’s ever supposed to have been super old, but learning this definitely puts that into question. We have seen in other shows (ServantXService in particular) that people just start office jobs out of high school in Japan, so it’s entirely possible she’s still 18 or 19 years old. At least she would be an adult either way? The joke of this episode is pretty unrealistic, at least one would think it is. How did the women on that train let him on without just letting him know “You’re getting on the wrong one.”? Oh well, at least this episode managed to get through its run without any sexual harassment.

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Sekko Boys
Episode 3: “Giuliano de Medici, Duke of Nemours”

Fridays 11:40 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I wanted to give Sekko Boys another episode or two before deciding if it was worth keeping around and after episode 3 I think I’m on board. As I was just mentioning with KONOSUBA, horrible people being horrible and paying the price is my favorite type of comedy and Sekko Boys is another good attempt at it. I love the idea of Ishimoto playing the role of Michael Bluth to her insufferably selfish professional family, which she fills perfectly as the frazzled straight man. I also couldn’t help but notice the idol industry setting and sheer absurdity of the premise is filling the Miss Monochrome shaped hole in my heart. And so after Medici’s turn as the spoiled, name dropping, rich kid, I’m looking forward to getting to know the other Rockies in the weeks to come.

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Sekko Boys – Look away in horror.

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Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Episode 3

Fridays 4:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: This show deserves serious props for covering such a large timeframe without feeling rushed. It went from pre-War to post-War in the space of a few minutes, and yet I didn’t get the sense that it cheated the audience out of any character development or otherwise skipped anything necessary – as I noted last week, Rakugo Shinju almost ruthlessly strips away anything it doesn’t need and leaves us with an extremely refined and streamlined product. That said, I love the setting so much that I wouldn’t mind the series lingering a little more on some of those background shots and other contextual surroundings; the Showa Period is rarely explored in anime, and it seems a shame not to give it every bit of time and detail possible in such a well-crafted title like this. That said, I certainly can’t fault the character development, and the balance between that and everything else going on in the show is a fairly delicate one – particularly given the amount of thought and care that’s I imagine needs to be taken with the pacing. Minor quibbles aside, Rakugo Shinju seems only to get better with each passing episode, and that’s not something I’m able to say all that often.

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Durarara X2 The Third Arc
Episode 27: “All in the Same Boat”

Saturdays 11:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: If anything at all had happened this episode, I don’t think I would’ve been able to hear it over the sound of my own boredom as I watched people do nothing but talk for 20 minutes. It’s not that I mind dialogue-heavy shows on principle, or that I prize action/adventure over deliberate pacing – if anything I’d say the opposite is true, at least in regard to the latter. But I have to draw the line somewhere, and while I get that this last arc of Durarara is probably saving something major up for the grand finale, for the second week in a row I got a whole lot of nothing. It’s not a good sign when literally the best part of an episode is the preview for the next one.

Marlin: This was a real Light Novel episode. I think sometimes we just have to remember Durarara’s true roots. Sometimes that means knowing an episode has to be all talky to get in the character interactions relevant for the story at the time. I’m not saying this was a great episode, the talking still made it dull, but it’s certainly not as bad as some talkathons can be. As someone that really loved Mikado’s pivot into basically being a primary antagonist last season, I do like hearing more about his point of view as things start to go out of control in Ikebukuro. Knowing he’s willing to work with Izaya proves just how far off the deep end he’s gone, and I really want to see what his plans are once the dust settles.

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Nurse Witch Komugi R – At least we got some ORA ORA ORA.

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Nurse Witch Komugi R
Episode 3: “The Magical Sister Arrives!”

Saturdays 3:25 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: This was not a good direction for the show to turn. I don’t care for Tsukasa’s character. The “tomboy who’s actually really girly” has been played to death, but the worst thing is her story was played completely straight. There was no joke or parody to be found anywhere, and that is the only thing this show has going for it. About the only amusing thing I pulled away this week was the recurring gag of appearing on terrible crime dramas with Komugi playing the murder victim. Beyond that though, it was an attempt at actual plot that we really don’t need here. I’m hoping with the cast assembled we can get back to the ridiculous humor and subtle digs at the entertainment industry that this episode needed so badly.

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Rainbow Days
Episode 3

Sundays 10:30 am EST on Funimation

Artemis: I’m starting to think that at least one member of the cast is going to do something to piss me off every episode. Last week was Mattsun’s skeevy kiss-you-whether-you-like-it-or-not moment, and this week’s moment, while admittedly nowhere nearly as creepy, still managed to bug me. Tsuyopon was well on his way to being my favourite character of the cast until it was revealed that he was thinking about breaking up with his (presumably long-time) girlfriend because she coloured her hair. I’m not kidding guys – to use Tsuyopon’s own words, he’s “moe for black hair” and she coloured it orange for a cosplay event, so he was seriously considering breaking it off. Real mature and healthy relationship, that. On the plus side, Anna showed some much-needed emotion this episode (because hey, turns out she’s not a robot, just socially inept), and she and Na-chan ended the episode eating steamed buns outside a konbini. Ah, young love.

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5 thoughts on “The Roundup: Winter 2016 Volume 2

  1. ahhhh the Chibita short did seem recycled but adding the “Karamatsu ガール” was a good counterbalance. The first bit with Jyushimatsu-kun was hillarious. I;ve come to expect that type of sillines to I have no qualms. Here’s hoping they don’t overuse him.

    I’m tempted to pick up KONOSUBA but my Winter list (and ongoing list) is already too long. Sekko boys is still suprisingly funny and watchable. Medici and Ishimoto gushing over his “scene” was irony served on a spit. lol.

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