The Roundup: Summer 2016 Volume 2

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In this week’s installment…

The fun Roundup shows continue to do their thing, which means I now know more about white sauces and how air pressure affects your body underwater than I ever did. Meanwhile, Artemis and I try to explain what’s wrong with the serious shows without sounding like we don’t like them. I’m telling you, 91 Days just needs color coded suits and everything will be fine.

The Roundup is a weekly guide to all the “other” shows we’re watching this season. Check out our full coverage of: 
Macross Delta | Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable | Love Live! Sunshine!!

sweetness

Sweetness and Lightning
Episode 4: “Hated Vegetables and Bits in Gratin”

Mondays 1:35 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Up until now my main gripe with this show is how Tsumugi seems to be the least picky kid I’ve ever seen. Personally I’ve never seen a child that age want to eat anything but french fries and ice cream or whatever the Japanese equivalent of that would be. Needless to say I was amused to see that she does in fact have foods she doesn’t like, nor did the dish they prepared magically make her want to eat peppers. It made the sweet and simple message about finding your own parenting methods feel that much more realistic. Now, if I can only remember not to watch this show late at night. Watching them prepare the gratin made me really hungry.

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Sweetness and Lightning – Now THAT is the face I expect when a kid tries new food

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Cheer Boys
Episode 4: “What We Want to Break”

Tuesdays 10:30 am EST on Funimation

Artemis: This show continues to hit a lot of the right notes for me, with this week’s episode dealing with a couple of pretty important points – most importantly, the very thing I mentioned in my comments last week about self-training in a sport like cheerleading while somehow not accidentally injuring yourself. In some respects it was a bit of a slow episode, but showcasing characters who do actually know what they’re talking about in terms of technique is what brings this show its much-needed sense of realism. If our newly-named Breakers team are going to compete on any kind of serious level, they need someone who’ll be able to watch and advise them critically and objectively – basically, a coach. Shou may well end up fulfilling that role for them, although I’m guessing that might eventually war with his own refusal to participate in any stunts himself. Still a mystery as to why, but I quite like the fact that Cheer Boys is taking its time with the character development there and playing at least some cards close to its chest.

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This Art Club Has A Problem
Episode 3: “Looking for a Bob Kiss”

Thursdays 3:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Colette treads dangerously close to being annoying (particularly her voice) but I think she’s a net positive for the cast. Her carefree attitude and latent narcissism gave Uchimaki the chance to play straight man and we barely had any mention of his preference for 2D girls. Hmm, funny how much better this show is without that… It was also fun seeing Mizuki’s friends give her such a hard time about her crush as that seems like something a group of girls that age would totally do. About the only glaring negative in this episode was the uncomfortably long leg/foot fetish shots of Collette at the beginning of the second segment. Hey Art Club show, it’s 2016, you don’t need to meet your male gaze quota anymore. Please stop dragging yourself down with that kind of thing.

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Art Club – Hey look, a Sekko Boys cameo!

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Amanchu
Episode 3: “The Story of the Secret to Excitement and Happiness”

Fridays 11:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: While I love just about everything else about this show, I could have done with out the actual lesson on diving taking up such a large portion of the episode. If Teko and Pikari are less than thrilled to sit down and learn about controlling air pressure, then why should we be any more interested? I’d rather spend more time on the girls’ growing friendship. Their conversation this week about their social anxieties was simply adorable, and seeing them wander about town and get into extremely mild forms of trouble is what I signed up for. Amanchu is the type of show that doesn’t have much else to do though, so I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time to do both.

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91 Days
Episode 3: “Where the Footfalls Lead”

Fridays 2:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I appreciate the complex web of repercussions that Bruno’s revenge is seemingly triggering but I have to admit, I have no idea what’s going on anymore. I’m finding it particularly difficult enough to keep track of who is in what family, let alone who now wants to kill who but can’t because that will make someone else want to kill someone else. Maybe if they all wore color coded suits? That would certainly help, and given the appearance of Fango in every episode they don’t seem to be afraid of a little camp. He continues to feel out of place in what is otherwise a very subdued show, as did the hilariously unsubtle lasagna scene that just screamed I’M EVIL. I’m finding Nero to be the most interesting character since he kind of sort of seems like a good guy but our protagonist (if we want to call Bruno that) is destined to murder him. He also seems to be pretty smart himself, so I’d love to see this basically turn into a cat and mouse game between him and Bruno. With a little more focus on that and a little less on the general tension between the families, I think 91 Days will have no problem staying on course.

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91 Days – I can’t help but notice their hair matches each others’ jackets

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Orange
Episode 4: “LETTER 04”

Sundays 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: As with last week, I’d like to reiterate that despite the following comments, I’m still very much enjoying the show as a whole. However, this particular episode dropped the ball in a few ways and was probably the weakest one to date for me. First, I think we can all agree that the whole Oh-No-The-Girl/Boy-I-Like-Is-Dating-Some-Other-Girl/Boy! storyline is by now grossly overused. Second and more importantly, this storyline didn’t exactly have the most nuanced of executions – the decision to have Ueda come across as shallow, controlling, and kind of a bitch meant that her character was more a caricature than a real person, which is a shame given how genuine the rest of the cast feels. And finally, in a more general sense this episode tipped a little too far into Teen-Angst-Woe-Is-Me territory for my liking. Orange is a drama and so I expect (and yes, even enjoy) a certain amount of angst, and that lovely sense of nostalgic melancholy pervading the series is in large part what attracted me to it in the first place. There’s a definite difference between that and wallowing though, and this week crossed that line as far as I was concerned. I think a show of Orange’s calibre can do better.

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