The Roundup: Summer 2016 Volume 6

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In this week’s installment…

I’ve been giving a lot of love to the cute and sweet shows that dominate this season’s Roundup so let me shout 91 Days this week. It got real dark this episode but not in the excessively juvenile way you might expect. Of course those others shows are still adorable and you should watch those too.

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 8: “Squid and Taro Stew That’s Still Yummy Tomorrow”

Mondays 1:35 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Iro: After the relative drama bomb of last week, we’re back to a more normal pacing for Sweet Lightning. The entire Parents Day was a great way to reinforce how much Dad cares about Tsumugi, and the subplot about Mom’s bag is a blatantly effective tug on the ol’ heartstrings. Normally I’d be against that sort of thing, but I’m actually pretty impressed by how much restraint Sweetness and Lightning has shown with invoking Dead Mom, so the occasional dip into the deep end is forgivable. Less so is the continual slight shipping of Dad and Kotori, with her being worried about him in the first half and highly suspect camera work of her offering leftovers in the second half. They are already edging up to the line of inappropriate conduct, and really I’d rather they just didn’t. Oh, and I guess the stew looked pretty good? I’m not sure I’d ever want to work with raw squid any time soon, and boy does Dad need to work on his cutting form; when peeling as described, the entire reason you make the top and bottom flat is so you can lay the food steady on the board and cut the skin off vertically.

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Cheer Boys
Episode 7: “Strain”

Tuesdays 10:30 am EST on Funimation

Artemis: Tensions are rising in Cheer Boys and I can’t say I’m surprised – inevitably, after so many new members people are bound to butt heads, either because of differing approaches to cheerleading or simply because their personalities don’t match well. Both clearly apply to Hisashi and Takeru, and for once it’s not something that can be solved by talking it out – or indeed punching it out. Not even the Breakers Christmas bash and mutual apologies were enough to resolve their issues with one another on anything but a temporary basis, leaving the whole team as well as the episode in an emotional deadlock. It wasn’t the easiest episode to watch, especially as Haru’s unspoken disquiet with his sister continues to act as an undercurrent to the show as a whole, but I certainly can’t fault Cheer Boys’ realism. Meanwhile, on the Shou fashion front… holy hell what an awesome trainwreck this guy manages to pull each week. Someone seriously needs to screencap all these outfits and put them all together at the end of the show. I haven’t seen fashion like this since the 90s version of Sailor Moon.

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Art Club – The Love, Chuunibyou, & Other Delusions prequel no one wanted

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This Art Club Has A Problem
Episode 7: “First Imari”

Thursdays 3:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Are you guys ready for some voice actress meta jokes??? Too bad, because that’s we got this week. I thought Colette’s servitude to Imari seemed a little familiar, and so after looking it up she is indeed voiced by Sumire Uesaka aka the voice of Dekomori from Love, Chunibyou, and Other Delusions. So is this Dekmori’s origin story? That said, I hope they leave that alone as Colette was delightfully weird enough as she was. I guess the more important part of the episode was the art contest. I loved both the call back to the earlier contest and the introduction of an antagonist, both of which give a sense of passing time and purpose. A little dash of those things go a long way in a series like this, and I’d say this dumb Art Club show is on a hot streak of solid episodes.

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Amanchu
Episode 7: “The Story of the End of the Rain | The Story of the Beginning of Summer”

Fridays 11:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I’d be cool with making the Teacher the main character the way she kind of was this week. As a grown man who writes about cartoons every week, I can certainly relate to her perspective. Being “grown up” doesn’t mean you know everything and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to stop having fun. Whether it’s being willing to learn from Pikari’s optimistic outlook on life or do something silly like play a game for elementary school kids (notice the high schoolers were more hesitant than she was), Mato-chan sensei gets it and she’s handing out life lessons all over the place. Of course the kids are great too, with my favorite single moment probably being Ai furiously failing at tagging Teko. It’s a nice show full of nice people and it continues to be a joy to watch.

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Amanchu – Scuba Diving Club Album Cover

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91 Days
Episode 7: “A Poor Player”

Fridays 2:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I’m kind of sad Nero and Avilio’s buddy adventure is over. Any hints that Avilio may be wavering in his convictions were stomped out in this episode, as his behind the scenes maneuvering felt even worse than if he had killed all those people himself. While at this point no one seems safe from getting killed off, I did believe Frate was going to be the big bad villain that would get Nero and Avilio truly united. So yeah, totally wrong on that one! He originally seemed like he was some kind of boy genius that would be a formidable opponent, but I found it much more interesting to see he was just a spineless brat with daddy issues. While the bits of fun were a nice diversion, 91 Days is clearly back to the murderous business at hand and I’m pretty excited to see where we go next.

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Orange
Episode 8: “LETTER 08”

Sundays 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: Honestly, not a huge fan of this week’s Orange. Of course, the series is good enough that even its poorer episodes are still actually fine, but it’s precisely because I hold it to such high standards that I feel the need to pick at it sometimes. And frankly, Naho and Kakeru both managed to annoy me this week; the former because her usually adorable obliviousness seemed to border on the imbecilic, and the latter even more so because I felt that, unconsciously at least, he was taking advantage of Naho’s lack of awareness when it comes to relationships. It’d be one thing if they were both agreed on dating, and another if they were both agreed on keeping things purely platonic despite their obvious feelings for one another. So how come Kakeru, who I realise is emotionally fragile but still struck me as being a bit oversensitive in this case, was expecting Naho to hold his hand? If he doesn’t want to date, fine, but he can’t tell Naho that and then suddenly decide without a word that he wants romantic displays of affection. It’s just not fair to her. On the positive side of things, this gave the other members of their little group more chance to shine through this week – and shine they did. Those guys are champs, and anyone would be lucky to have such close-knit and intensely loyal friends.

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10 thoughts on “The Roundup: Summer 2016 Volume 6

  1. Yeah I really had a love/hate relationship with this week’s Orange. It’s this kind of dumb romantic development that made that first season of Shirayuki seem like a master class for actually having people understand signals and communicate their feelings.

  2. This season’s shows have been nothing short of spectacular! Finally Japan’s getting its head out of the sand and starting to make shows that appeal to anybody and everybody not just the pandering moe moe kun crowd. It reminds me of 90s toonami when ” the viewer first fan second” mentality was still in effect. Not only that most character interactions in this season’s shows are normal no yoai no yuri no pedo or incest slop. So kudos to Japan for getting it right this time.

    • I think there’s still plenty of ‘pandering’ shows this season, as aside from the occasional ambitious pet project (i.e. 91 Days), the anime industry mostly just follows the money. There are fewer ‘moe’ shows because these don’t sell as well as, e.g. sports anime with sexy dudes, which you’re seeing a lot more of nowadays (e.g. Battery, Cheer Boys, Days, Xechs, etc.).

      Definitely a positive change in my opinion, since these shows are hardly as noxious as all the incest-and-or-paedo-baiting horror we got the last few years and therefore less noticeable as ‘pandering’, but most anime are still very much targeted towards a particular ‘niche’ audience. Luckily, unlike the stuff we so lovingly call ‘moeshit’, the current trends in anime are far more enjoyable for a periphery demographic as well!

  3. Definitely agree that this year has seen a wider range of styles which is very welcome. In the end, however, the anime industry is a business and the producers are going to follow the money. This is evident in every entertainment industry (How many effing Marvel movies do we have to suffer) but we occassionaly get a gem. It’s up to us, and you lads and gals at Glorio, to help us filter out the shite so we don’t waste our time.

  4. totally agree! besides creators shouldn’t always do what the audience expects them to do. studios can stay true to the source material without twinkling character interaction. like kekkai sensen series for example sure it didn’t follow the manga to a t but it still keeps all the characters interactions how they should be. that’s why I’m worried about sound euphonium kyoani just might go with the kumiko reina thing because everyone expects them to despite the fact most “scenes” they had can easily be a close friendship. I know girls who are that close and not gay in the slightest.

    • I partially agree, in that I often find every interaction being interpreted as a romantic gesture evident of a very restrictive view on relationships. That kind of stuff often starts having weird fetishistic undertones and sort of enforces an arbitrary absolute standard for how intimate you should or shouldn’t be to count as ‘in love’ or ‘just friends’.

      Of course, there are people who are that close and not romantically or sexually attracted. Yet it’s important to know that people who are actually gay are often so desperate for any kind of acknowledgement of their feelings that they’ll take whatever they can get to see these feelings recognized in the fiction they love. To them, these scenes legitimize the idea that they are being represented in the anime they love, an important thing to make them feel ‘welcome’ in the medium, so to say.

      To people who don’t share this concern or desire, this might feel a bit annoying sometimes. Seeing a show you like seemingly reduced to endless fawning about who is gay for whom might give you the feeling it’s not being truly appreciated for its own merits.

      Yet in Euphonium, I do actually fully support the Kumiko/Reina ship, for the simple reason that it would in fact perfectly fit the show’s narrative. Kumiko and Reina being in love is not just some fringe ‘what-if’-scenario, it is a legitimate possibility that perfectly gels with both girls’ characterization. Furthermore, KyoAni’s presentation of their relationship has provided them with a unique opportunity to have legit, non-fetishized, non-‘moe’-fied representation of a gay couple in a ‘mainstream’ anime. That’s why I believe they should go ahead with it. Sure, their relationship could perfectly be just one of friendship, but they could just as well be romantic. And given that 90% of fiction picks the former, maybe it’s time someone picked the latter.

  5. Thank you for responding to me nicely most websites and blogs would be calling me homophobic for not embracing the yuri goodness. I’m not that way at all. I just prefer straight pairings.

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