The Roundup: Summer 2016 Volume 9

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In this week’s installment…

With only a few episode remaining, shows like Sweetness and Lightning and Amanchu scramble to meet their mandatory anime episode quotas, tackling the cultural festival and beach episodes respectively. Fortunately both shows remain just too sweet to be dragged down by anime clichés, and we get yet another week of solid Roundup viewing.

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!!

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Sweetness and Lightning
Episode 11: “A Play and Sweet Potato Crêpes”

Mondays 1:35 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Iro: This episode is the closest the show has been to having an A Plot and a B Plot running concurrently, with the cooking segment actually sorta tied in. Tsumugi’s kindergarten friends giving her the cold shoulder and Kotori’s class discovering they won’t be the only ones making crepes are exactly the kind of dramatically mundane conflicts that suit Sweetness and Lightning. Tsumugi’s Mr. GaliGali costume is probably the cutest thing in anime this entire year, and rando high school boys suggesting the crepe shop have the girls in swimsuits is a pretty decent gag. As for the cooking itself, please do not use your bare hands to try and flip crepes; get yourself a long, thin offset spatula.

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Sweetness and Lightning – BOW TO YOUR NEW CUTE OVERLORD

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Cheer Boys
Episode 10: “What I Wanted to Tell You”

Tuesdays 10:30 am EST on Funimation

Artemis: Despite the lack of physical action this episode, it was well put together. Cheer Boys has its pacing down pat and as the story is now smack between nationals tryouts and the real thing, it wisely decided to a) not show a single frame of the team’s actual cheerleading performance in order to save it completely for the climax and b) fill in the time with the two biggest emotional story arcs of the whole series – namely, Haru’s tense relationship with his older sister and Shou’s cheerleading mishap with old teammate Sakura. Viewers may have been expecting someone frail or emotionally defeated but I was pleasantly surprised with the strength of Sakura’s personality, as well as with how wonderfully un-dramatic their meeting was. To be sure, this was aided by Shou’s hilariously awful fashion sense, but I also maintain that Cheer Boys as a whole is pretty darn good at hitting its high notes without giving in to cheap theatrics. And for me, that’s one of the show’s biggest selling points.

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This Art Club Has A Problem
Episode 10: “Nostalgic Kaori Cram School”

Thursdays 3:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I don’t know if any one scene can sum up why this show is good better than the bit with Usami drawing on Uchimaki’s face. It took an eye rolling cliche setup (let’s study at my house since my parents are gone!) and managed to steer it into a fun and endearing direction. I totally took the bait too as I was expecting he’d wake up while she was on top of him or something, so I was was very pleasantly surprised at the sweet and innocent outcome. The great start made the final part of the episode with Usami’s friend seem somewhat underwhelming, but even that was pretty good on it’s own merit. I do love a good troll character, and her stoic refusal to talk to Imari after she got caught was a gag straight out of Nichijou. Overall this was a really good episode and my expectations are getting pretty high for whatever they have planned for an ending.

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Art Club – The logical thing to do when your crush is sleeping in your bed

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Amanchu
Episode 10: “The Story of Losing Your Way In Today”

Fridays 11:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: As a beach episode I guess this could have been worse, although we could have just done without it at all. Mixing anime’s annoying need to get all the girls in swimsuits once per series with the shows normal low-key tone just turned into a shopping trip that was way longer than it should have been, with details like AI needing two tops that we just didn’t need to know. At least it kind of made sense since they live near the sea I guess? It also reminded me that hey this show is supposed to be about scuba diving, which we have kind of lost track of over the past few weeks. It’s kind of odd that we haven’t seen a single scene of Teko’s training, which you’d think would be both a big part of her life and the plot in general. Honestly I didn’t miss it much, but now that we’re approaching the end I guess I’m cool with getting a little focus. Hopefully we can wrap things up without the other anime staple, the public bath episode, but we’ll see.

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91 Days
Episode 9: “Black and Deep Desires”

Fridays 2:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I continue to be impressed with how despicable this cast is and yet I can’t bring myself to totally hate them. You really feel like if they had met outside the context of organized crime they’d all be good buddies. After a few episodes of reminding us that Avilio and Nero are not good people, we see their “softer” side again in that they clearly don’t want to hurt Corteo. We can also count Nero’s reveal about the night of the shooting, which is not terribly shocking as it seems more in line with his personality. Of course it doesn’t make up for all the killing he’s done since then, but it is very relevant to Avilio’s revenge plan. Even Uncle Ganzo seems to love the family so much that he’s willing to backstab them for their own good. It’s certainly set us up for a weird and interesting mix of emotions as we approach the final stretch. Now all I want to know is, why do we trust the creepy looking dude in glasses so much? Pretty sure he’s going to do some more double crossing before this is over.

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91 Days – Is that a glass of milk on his desk?

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Orange
Episode 11: “LETTER 11”

Sundays 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: I’m not sure whether I didn’t enjoy this episode because the episode itself was bad or if it was just depressing to watch, but I suspect the latter. I’m sure everyone could see it coming – the moment where Naho realizes that even if she knows everything ahead of time, actually changing the future is a whole lot harder that it seems, and in some cases outright impossible. Other shows dealing with time travel and similar themes imply that certain events are destined to happen, but I don’t think that’s the message here at all. Orange seems concerned less with concepts of destiny and more to do with emotional change, and the sad fact is that in Kakeru’s current state of mind, there was likely nothing anyone could say or do to reassure the poor guy. The gang has so far demonstrated admirably that they’re there for Kakeru whenever he needs them. Now I think at least Naho needs to demonstrate that she’s also capable of giving Kakeru the necessary space to grieve alone. Without that, as we just saw, the more she pushes the more Kakeru will pull away.

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