The Roundup: Summer 2016 Volume 8

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In this week’s installment…

I probably need an insulin shot after watching anime this week as nearly every show was super sweet and endearing – even my dumb Art Club show. At least 91 Days is back with more murder to make sure my cold, dead heart doesn’t thaw out too much.

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 10: “Summer Vacation, Kitty, and Aji”

Mondays 1:35 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Fun fact: I don’t like seafood in general. I may even have some kind of borderline phobia when it comes to fish. So watching the lovingly animated process of cleaning and filleting the fish this week was not my favorite part of the series. In fact, this was probably the most focused on the actual cooking that the show has ever been and generally that is not what I’m watching for. That said, everyone is just so nice and the atmosphere so pleasant that you can’t help but be charmed. We were about due for an appearance of the Friend Characters and their inclusion helped make the fact that a teacher was just randomly texting and swinging by his student’s house seem slightly less inappropriate. Also bonus points must be awarded for another too real depiction of child behavior as Tsumugi got all clingy for half the episode. Overall I’d say this was a pretty average episode, but fun and pleasant nonetheless.

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Cheer Boys
Episode 9: “Tears of the Sun”

Tuesdays 10:30 am EST on Funimation

Artemis: D’aww. That was a lovely episode, and the perfect one to go with just before things start heating up for what I assume will be the climax of the show – the national cheerleading competition. Whereas the past several episodes have been focused on internal conflict with regards to the team members and their wildly different personalities, this one brought Cheer Boys back to what I think of as the heart and soul of the show; namely, the bond between Haru and Kazu and the way in which cheerleading is used as a kind of emotional catharsis. Haru has obviously come a long way since the formation of the team both physically and mentally, and this time it was his turn to support Kazu even when his friend was unable to directly ask for help. The only downer of the episode was, once again, the visuals. The cheerleading was more than ever mostly just an arrangement of stills that gave away hardly anything of the routine, and I’m hoping like hell that this means Cheer Boys is saving the big guns for the main competition. I’d hate to see all this buildup fall flat just because of a budget problem.

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AmanchuAria lives on

artclub

This Art Club Has A Problem
Episode 9: “Nostalgic Kaori Cram School”

Thursdays 3:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Perhaps this episode more than any other yet, I really appreciated the continuity this dumb art club show manages to have. Obviously continuing directly where we left off last week was the obvious one, as was the second appearance of Rival Guy (can’t remember his name) with an axe to grind. The best one though was calling back to Moeka and Colette avoiding the sunlight, or in this case the shade now that it’s not summer anymore. Any time we get one of those purely sweet for the sake of being sweet segments is a welcome addition to the comedy bits, and I’m so glad they just let Moeka be a cute little girl without any other agenda. The rest of the episode was fun and amusing but basically another day at the office for this series, and at this point that’s just fine with me.

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Amanchu
Episode 9: “The Story of Memories You Can’t Erase”

Fridays 11:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Things got pretty heavy this week, or at least as heavy as you can expect from a show like Amanchu. Rather that feel like a total downer though, I liked the very balanced approach to the topic at hand. People come and go in your life and friends drift away, that’s just an unavoidable fact. Teko’s pain is something we’ve probably all experienced and was appropriately acknowledged as an OK feeling to have. But seeing how much both her old and new friends still care about her presented a nice, positive direction to move forward. Possibly more than any anime in recent memory, Amanchu has been handing out great life lessons all over the place and this might have been the most real one yet. I’d definitely put this near the top of the show’s best episodes, and as things wind down I’d like to see if they can top it.

Iro’s Note: Teko’s middle-school friends – Akane Mizunashi and Chizuru Himeno – are extended references to Akari Mizunashi and Aika Himeya from Kozue Amano’s previous work Aria, right down to their voice actresses and verbal tics.

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Art Club – Grandpa is still at the top

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91 Days
Episode 8: “Behind the Curtain”

Fridays 2:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: If our last proper episode reminded us that Avilio is horrible murderer, this episode reminded us that Nero is probably not much better. I guess you could argue his state of mind is bad after watching his brother get killed and immediately getting thrown into the stress of running the family, but there’s never a good excuse for ordering a hit on someone’s wife and child. That pretty much left us with Corteo as the only “good” guy left in the cast and I guess we can cross him off the list too. I’ve been thinking for awhile that he was going to be the one to kill Avilio (who definitely needs to die for poetic justice at this point) and I probably think that even more now, I just wasn’t sure if he was going to go crazy or go evil first, both of which seem to be happening. With no heroes to root for and regular cast members dying every episode, this truly has turned into a mafia drama and for now I think I like it? That said, my final opinion on 91 Days will have a lot to do with how they wrap this story up, so hopefully they don’t ruin it.

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Orange
Episode 10: “LETTER 10”

Sundays 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: By this point I was getting pretty sick of the school sports festival – they’ve basically become as cliché as beach episodes have to anime romcoms – but it was a whole lot less frustrating than the previous couple of episodes. To be honest I don’t think the payoff was quite worth the build-up it took to get there, especially given that we’re now into Orange’s final third when the series should really be packing more of an emotional wallop. The events of this episode plus the previous two probably could’ve been condensed into half the time without seeming rushed. That said, there were some nice moments along the way and we definitely got to know Takako, Azusa and especially Hagita a lot better in the process as well. Now, with just three episodes left to go I’d like to see the time utilized more carefully. Orange makes for a far better drama than it does just a regular high school slice-of-life title, and it’s time we got a few more answers to the sci-fi/supernatural element of the show.

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