The Roundup: Winter 2016 Volume 8

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In this week’s installment…

A bit of a hit and miss week with some shows doing better than others, but the good shows were pretty great. Sure we have our subtle, measured use of drama with shows like Snow White and Rakugo, but I’ll take the hilarious vomiting blood reactions of Osomatsu and the marble statue blackmail sex of Sekko Boys any day.

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

Dimension W | ERASED | Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash | Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans


snowwhite

Snow White with the Red Hair
Episode 20: “The Temperature of a Smile, a Cherished Place”

Mondays 11:00 am EST on Funimation

Artemis: While I don’t think this was a standout episode, it was infinitely better than last week’s – Snow White simply isn’t cut out for swashbuckling action/adventure, and its strengths lie very much in its slice-of-life and romance aspects. As such, while this episode’s far slower pace felt slightly jarring in direct comparison to last week’s hasty (and yes, poorly executed) climax, it was a much better fit for the show. There were also several lovely individual moments, including Shirayuki’s father trolling Zen and Zen turning beet-red after realising that Shirayuki had been party to that entire conversation. On that note, I don’t think I’d be able to root for Zen at all if he didn’t get adorably flustered from time to time; being able to see a more awkwardly unsure and even dorky side of him on occasion is what makes him more than just a generically handsome and generically nice prince. I was also happy to see how Snow White handled the drama of Shirayuki meeting her father for the first time since her childhood, i.e. by not resorting to drama at all. It’s this kind of restraint and consistency, both in terms of character as well as overall tone, which proves this show a cut above the usual romance anime.

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Mr. Osomatsu – Is it possible to NTR yourself?

 osomatsu

Mr. Osomatsu
Episode 21: “Mahjong / Godmatsu”

Mondays 1:45 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Considering I know nothing about Mahjong (or Kaiji) a lot of the first segment went over my head. Obviously the details of the game were not that important so it was still fun seeing the brother go at it, but honestly they could have skipped straight to the table flipping and naked dancing at the end and I wouldn’t have missed the rest. The highlight here is obviously Godmatsu, another bizarre supernatural happening designed to make the brothers feel bad about themselves. I didn’t feel too bad for them considering how quickly they were willing to turn to cold blooded murder, but in a general sense it was another dose of the show getting TOO REAL on the growing pains of adulthood. The bit with Totoko was the most painful, and by most painful I mean HILARIOUS. It was a great segment overall, but I’m really looking forward to next week based on the preview. Totty tripping through time and space? What is the “Final Sheeh”? I want to know more.

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KONOSUBA – God’s Blessing On This Wonderful World!
Episode 8: “A Loving Hand for Our Party When We Can’t Make it Through Winter”

Wednesdays 1:35 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: The first part of this episode was terrible. Wiz’ introduction was so blunt I actually checked to see if I had missed an episode or something. I’m guessing they decided to skip a portion from the novels? That’s the only reason I could think of as to why they just walked into her shop and expected us to know who she was. I’m not a big fan of Wiz herself either. I feel like they put her in contradictory position to try and do something clever rather than thinking out her motivations or how it would improve the story. In fact, it has me worried that they’re going to do that thing where the evil devil satan king turns out to be pretty decent person, which has gotten kind of played out over the past few years. Fortunately the second half is much more entertaining as I’m not above laughing at juvenile toilet humor and creepy dolls. I guess I can give bonus points for not having Kazuma accidently grope anyone with his drain touch skill, which I was absolutely sure was going to happen. There’s still a few episodes to go so there’s still time.

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KONOSUBA – NOOOOOOOOOOOOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE

 marshmallow

Ojisan and Marshmallow
Episode 9: “Normal and Marshmallow”

Thursday 2:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I was trying to be optimistic in Mioko’s first appearance but her second one confirms she is the worst thing to happen to this show. There must have been a 2 for 1 sale at the “harmful attitudes toward women” store this week as they bring up issues with both age and “purity”. If anything the fact that these women are supposed to be older and more experienced makes them more interesting and attractive, not the other way around. I can’t be too hard on the show itself as those kind of things are just a symptoms of a larger problem, but it did turn me off to any attempts at comedy they tried to make. I do want to know why Wakabayashi is so freaked out by the word “normal”. Did I miss an explanation, or was that just left to our imagination? Hopefully we’ve met our Mioko quota now and can just go back to our main couple being cute. It’s worth noting that they are talking about going to the amusement park and the very first scene of the series is Wakabayshi trying to kiss Hige in front of a carousel. Just saying.

 sekkoboys

Sekko Boys
Episode 9: “The Forge of Vulcan”

Fridays 11:40 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: This was the best episode of Sekko Boys yet, going way further into the scandal angle than I was expecting. Just imagining there is this sordid underworld of blackmail and sex lurking underneath the marble statue idol industry makes me giggle. Giorgio really makes the episode, playing the tongue in cheek conflicted Man of God perfectly. I kind of wish they didn’t show the scene after the credits and just left whatever he did with that woman to our imagination, although I suppose that could have just been after they did The Deed. I don’t even know how they could top this to be honest, so hopefully they saved a few good jokes for the last couple of episodes.

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Sekko Boys – This is exactly what it looks like.

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Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Episode 9

Fridays 4:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: And there go the dominoes. They’ve been stacked up for a while now, threatening to fall for several episodes as Sukeroku grew increasingly sloppy and complacent and Kikuhiko’s relationship with Miyokichi increasingly volatile. And to Rakugo Shinjuu’s credit, the inevitable topple didn’t happen over one melodramatic scene, which would have been at odds with how painstakingly carefully everything was all set up to begin with, but rather bit by bit in a way that felt as natural and organic as the show itself. That said, we weren’t cheated of seeing how serious the repercussions of Sukeroku or Miyokichi’s actions were either, so it’s not as though there was zero drama – it’s just that it was saved not for the fall itself but for the fallout, and only where it mattered the most. The heart of this series has always been the relationship between Kikuhiko and Sukeroku after all, so it’s fitting that this is where the episode really ramped it up. Kikuhiko had already long said goodbye emotionally to Miyokichi, but rakugo is literally his life, and Sukeroku’s rakugo is what he cherishes most of all. Faced with losing both that as well as Sukeroku himself, his composure finally snapped to reveal the desperation underneath in a scene which was about as intense as it gets.

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Dagashi Kashi
Episode 8: “Super Scary Story Gum, Typhoon, and… / Kendama, Popping Fortune-Telling Chocolate, and…”

Fridays 8:30 pm EST on Funimation

Jel: Seems like we’ve returned to business as usual, although these two segments were more the easy going, laid back type of candy commercial versus some of the more hot blooded, over the top ones we’ve seen in the past. At least we still got a lot of Saya. She may look like a Harajuku cool Hip Hop kid flipping that Kendama, but she’s still vulnerable enough to be afraid of scary stories. We also see a bit more of Coconuts’ matter of fact, wet blanket personality in the process. I appreciate the characterization work but I don’t think we really learned much that we haven’t established already. It made for an enjoyable but ultimately not quite satisfying episode, especially after the last two episodes have managed to add a nice touch of sweetness to the mix. It will be interesting to see if they can pull off anything more substantial in the last few episodes.

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Dagashi Kashi – Honestly this show would be better if it was just these two without the boys…


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BBK/BRNK
Episode 9: “Fist Against Fist”

Saturdays 10:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Iro: After last week’s ridiculous roller coaster of new characters and wild situation, this week almost feels like we’ve come to a screeching halt. We haven’t, of course, but it’s definitely a more transitionary episode to get us used to the idea of more Buranki teams… well, existing at all. And, as contradictory as it is to what I just wrote, at times it feels like we’re moving too quickly: the squad’s teamwork epiphany and Oubu’s subsequent power-up seem like something that should be happening three episodes before the finale, not three episodes before the midpoint. I suppose bizarrely quick pacing being slower than usual is what we get from show helmed by a Trigger alumnus. But hey, a new robot form promises more robot fights in the future, and I am totally okay with that.


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Durarara X2 The Third Arc
Episode 33: “Walking on Thin Ice”

Saturdays 11:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: This second half of Durarara is shaping up to be far better than the first, which seemed to drag on for so long I was beginning to lose faith that it had anything much left to give. While not a patch on the previous episode (bring make Simon immediately, and make him the MC while we’re at it!), the tension is still very much there as various characters react to a horde of red-eyed zombies convening outside the local sushi joint. Meanwhile, Izaya and Shizuo get into a very real battle to the death, and I think we can all agree that watching Izaya panic as he finally realizes he’s in over his head is incredibly satisfying. At the end of the very first season the guy only got punched, so I’m pretty curious to see how well he’ll fare by the end of this season with an irate Shizuo hellbent on tearing him limb from limb. I’ll be back next week with popcorn.

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4 thoughts on “The Roundup: Winter 2016 Volume 8

  1. I’m so far behind on my Anime winter viewing, but I did catch Osomatsu….That second segment was gold, Jet. Pure gold! Jyushimatsu’s face of terror, as he realizes something is horribly wrong, made me spit out my drink in laughter.

    Hopefully I can get around to Sekko, BBK, Showa, and Konosuba soon…..

  2. Sekko Boys….well played. By far the best episode. Where’s Giorgio? jajaja. Rakugo also was a standout. The visuals were beautiful and the story so immersive. What a suprisingly good week.

    • I have a feeling I might be the only one of the Glorio team still watching Rakugo. Which I totally get – just because a story is good doesn’t mean it’ll appeal to everyone. But I agree, it was another great episode this week with standout use of visuals, as I’ve come to regularly expect from this show.

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