The Roundup: Winter 2016 Volume 3

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In this week’s installment…

All of our new Roundup shows have survived the 3 episode test, but will they survive after 4? Rakugo, Dagashi Kashi, and the shorts are holding steady while KONOSUBA, Nurse Witch Komugi R, and Rainbow Days continue to flirt with the chopping block. But hey, we can always count on Osomatsu to be amazing.

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 15: “Indecision Caused by Confusion”

Mondays 11:00 am EST on Funimation

Artemis: I was, dare I say it, almost bored with this episode, though mostly only because I truly don’t care one way or another about Raji’s character. I don’t even care enough to dislike the guy – and considering he attempted to both poison Shirayuki and forcibly make her his concubine back in season one, that’s probably saying a lot. On the plus side, this was a perfectly nice episode (this is more or less a show about nice people being nice to each other, after all), and when I get bored there’s always the scenery porn to help me through. Sakaki is also an epic troll, and I admit that’s usually pretty fun to watch.

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Mr. Osomatsu – The Ultimate Weapon.

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Mr. Osomatsu
Episode 16: “Matsuno Matsunan / The Ichimatsu Incident”

Mondays 1:45 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Just when I was starting to wonder if Osomatsu was running out of ideas they manage to take things to the next level. Granted they did bring back the realistic idol versions of the boys, but putting them in a weird, wildly inappropriate Mad Max parody was great. I couldn’t stop thinking about a certain episode of GLORIO cult favorite Ixion Saga DT, which you should probably watch if you like this show. Amazingly, the more down to earth second half might have been better, really emphasizing how well we’ve gotten to know the brothers at this point. We know how much getting caught would pain Ichimatsu, how much fun Osomatsu would have teasing him since he probably knew what was up, and that we’re trying our best not to admit deep down we’re all Karamtsu boys and girls. It’s the kind of bit that wouldn’t have worked early in the series but is a lot of fun now that we’ve settled in. Overall, another great episode.

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KONOSUBA – God’s Blessing On This Wonderful World!
Episode 3: “A Panty Treasure in This Right Hand”

Wednesdays 1:35 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Well that was fun while it lasted. With all the panty thieving and jokes about masochism and lolis, KONOSUBA basically turned into the terrible show we expected it to be when we first heard about it. Most of the blame goes to introducing Darkness, who I kind of suspected was going to ruin things when she appeared last week. The masochism thing is rarely funny, especially when it’s a character’s sole defining trait. I wasn’t amsued by the whole bit about the duty of the female knight to go get raped by the Devil King either. It felt like the show’s overall attitude shifted away from parody over to embracing the dumb fantasy tropes they’ve had so little regard for until now. If it wasn’t for the pretty great cabbage battle at the end I probably would have dropped the show, but that was enough fun for me to give KONOSUBA a chance to make amends. We’ll see next week if it passes the test.

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KONOSUBA – EXTREME VIOLENCE

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Ojisan and Marshmallow
Episode 4: “Fairy and Marshmallow”

Thursday 2:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I appreciated the effort to switch things up this week but without Wakabayashi to tease Hige you really don’t have a show. Instead we were just left with a middle-aged man that seemed a bit more pathetic than usual. I guess we now have justification for the silly little live action bits toward the end? Also introducing the two factory workers at least opens up the possibility for a different source of jokes in the future, so this episode might have just been a small bump in the road.

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Sekko Boys
Episode 4: “St. Giorgius, Disposer of Dragons”

Fridays 11:40 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I’m liking these character episodes so far. Giorgio’s turn as the wet blanket leader telling flat dad jokes was perfect. I almost did a spit take when they showed the shot of him laying in a pile of bottles with 3 day old stubble on his face. I’m still not entirely sure the logic of “creepy cool” checks out but whatever man, this is a show about classical statues becoming idols so anything goes. Hopefully Sekko Boys can keep the ball rolling as we presumably will meet the other Rockies in the next two episodes.

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Sekko Boys – Giorgio hitting hard times.

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Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Episode 4

Fridays 4:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: While nowhere near as emotionally impactful for me as the previous episode, this one was made quite interesting by the introduction of Miyokichi, an aspiring geisha who also happens to be Yakumo’s master’s mistress. Miyokichi isn’t just a new face, but also the first source of some real tension between Yakumo and Sukeroku which may well end up driving a wedge through their comfortable relationship. Miyokichi may well end up being good for Yakumo’s rakugo – he is, as his master points out, too self-restrained, and I imagine it’s difficult to make a living off of erotic storytelling when you’ve never once been seduced before yourself – but it’s clear that she offsets the status quo. Personally I welcome the addition of Miyokichi’s character, at least in part because if we’re going to have a josei anime focusing primarily on a bunch of male characters, having another strong female presence besides the currently absent Konatsu will hopefully bring a little more balance to the show.

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Dagashi Kashi
Episode 4: “Fugashi, Fugashi, and… /Glico, Glico, and…”

Fridays 8:30 pm EST on Funimation

Jel: I’m concerned Dagashi Kashi has already gotten too formulaic and we’re only 4 episodes in. Every segment is Hotaru baiting someone into a conversation about a snack, giving the background of said snack, and then bringing up some over dramatized, low-stakes challenge that everyone seems to go along with. I still had fun, particularly the second segment, which was also kind of sweet in how unconditionally Hotaru was willing to help out Coconuts. But I think it needs something extra to take it to the next level. I could also do without stuffing more phallic shaped snacks in Hotaru’s mouth and reducing Saya to a “HAHA YOU HAVE SMALL BOOBS” joke, but that’s probably not going to stop anytime soon.

Aqua: It’s been a while, but it looks as if Dagashi Kashi has finally become what I’d always feared it would be: a neverending onslaught of trivia about snacks no westerner knows or cares about, interspersed with some lousy innuendo to keep the audience interested. This episode felt like it was written by advertisers rather than by a writer, as evidenced by its almost adorably pathetic jokes-to-pointless-lectures-about-the-history-of-Japanese-snacks ratio. The second part of the episode took the same approach to mathemathics of all things, giving me the feeling I was watching a really elaborate exam question rather than a humourous sketch. When the punchlines finally do come, they’re charming — or at least more charming than you’d expect from a chatty show such as this one, but they’re far too far and few between to qualify Dagashi Kashi as anything near a comedy. It’s more like a commercial, not necessarily one for candy, but one for Hotaru, the de facto mascot of snack manufacturers all over Japan. I don’t know what the sugar peddlers ever did to the author of the original manga to warrant such outrageous shilling, but it certainly doesn’t make for very endearing television.

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Dagashi Kashi – Calculating distance through caramel???

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Durarara X2 The Third Arc
Episode 28: “Blood is Thicker Than Water”

Saturdays 11:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: This was a step up from the last episode for me, although I’m getting heartily sick of the Anri/Saika subplot. I wasn’t a big fan of that even back in the original series, and while I’m all for getting our main trio back in the spotlight, any scene with Anri angsting about her demonic blade (or really anything to do with the demonic blades at all) drags on way too long as far as I’m concerned. Actually, timing in general has become a serious issue with this series. I won’t say the timing has always been spot on, but it seems to me that Durarara!! used to be a lot more fun and stylish precisely because it bounced frenetically back and forth between one character or scene and another. Now there’s still a ton going on, but everything feels slowed to the point where nearly every scene is a few minutes longer than it needs to be, and the entire show has lost much of its energy as a result.

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Nurse Witch Komugi R
Episode 4: “Kunoichi at the Edo Mansion”

Saturdays 3:25 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: This episode was an improvement over last week. The bait and switch premise in which we are led to believe Komugi has no idea what she is training for but then is right on the nose was pretty solid, and it seemed we got a lot more deadpan, subversive humor. Seriously, no one was questioning the fact that all the shruikens being thrown around were real??? That all said, they are still trying too hard to also make the show sweet and endearing, particularly Kokona’s pep talk in the middle. It doesn’t mix well with the more biting parody elements and just makes the whole thing very middle of the road. It’s still silly enough to be fun though, so I’ll stick it out another week and see how it goes.

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Nurse Witch Komugi R – True love.

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Rainbow Days
Episode 4

Sundays 10:30 am EST on Funimation

Artemis: … I don’t think I want to watch any more of this. One minute it’s a rather sweet, if not exactly innovative romance, and the next its offbeat sense of humour is making me cringe. I don’t mean offbeat in the awkward yet adorable way – I mean it in the ‘let’s make random jokes about BDSM now’ kind of way. I don’t really want to write a whole thesis about it, so let me just quickly say that while I have no problem with the topic in general, treating it as throwaway romcom material just isn’t my thing. Also, I get that I’m probably supposed to feel sorry for and/or amused by Kei-chan’s bad luck in the romance department, but literally carrying around a whip wherever he goes (yes, including school) and telling potential love interests that he likes the kind of girl who likes to be bullied (yes, including the ones who just want to go out on a first-time date with him)… yeah, really not my style.

Aqua: I have to agree with Artemis here; Rainbow Days‘ over-reliance on stock otaku tropes (despite being a shoujo series) is indeed catching up with the goodwill created by its strong adaptation. The problem seems to be that it wants us to empathize with Natsuki’s friends, even though they are insufferable jerks. Case in point, the scene between Tsuyupon and his girlfriend would have been adorable if it weren’t for the fact that he wanted to break up with her because she dyed her hair only last episode. This isn’t even a one-off-thing: No matter how much it tries to avert clichés, it’s easy to see that Rainbow Days will eventually follow the book to a letter without making its (male) characters change themselves at all. In that regard, I might even understand why Keiichi feels unfairly treated, because he’s the only member of the quartet to whom this rule doesn’t seem to apply. As trite and frankly inappropriate as his sadist streak is, at least he doesn’t chase after girls who clearly aren’t into him. I’m secretly wishing for Mari to actually live up to all of the threats she’s flung at Mattsun and ride off into the sunset with Anna, but yeah, I’m not gonna get my hopes up.

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3 thoughts on “The Roundup: Winter 2016 Volume 3

  1. Ichimatsu as Karamatsu…ahhh so many laughs. When the cat came around and then left as if insulted had me balling. The writers are really keeping it fresh.

    Georgio-ing…..lol. Ya his 3 day depressed liquor binge/stubble was hillarious. Even after the ads succes he still felt the need to drop a dragon joke…Poor Ishimotosan.

    As for Rakugo….I think its continuing a good pace, focuing on the characters and age. I like it. But that one hair on Sukeroku is SO DISTRACTING.

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