The Roundup: Fall 2016 Volume 5

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In this week’s installment…

It’s been a rough week, and in these difficult times writing about cartoons feels more frivolous than usual. Perhaps more than ever though, I’m personally enjoying the comfort and brief escapism of some good anime. So take a minute to relax and forget about all the horrible things going on in the world for just a moment. I’ll be happy if we can at least offer that much.

Some shows require more words than others. Check out our full coverage of: 
Sound! Euphonium 2 | Flip Flappers | Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable

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Girlish Number
Episode 5: “Cocky Chitose and Shattered Popularity”

Wednesdays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I appreciate this show’s ability to know when to get real and when to exaggerate. The mental breakdowns of the director and the original author were comically over the top, but drove home how difficult it would be for the only people who seem to be truly invested in an anime being a creative success. On the flip side, Chitose discovering the brutal world of internet comments was a moment so raw that I almost felt bad for her. Almost. Yes she has acted like a terrible person and has been completely driven by her ego but there’s been a certain naive innocence to it that might have just been wiped out. I kind of doubt it as being good at her job has never been a priority, so as long as some people still say she’s cute and she sells some more CDs she’ll probably be the same old Chitose we know and don’t love.

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Yuri on Ice – Phichit acting as the audience proxy

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Yuri!! On ICE
Episode 6: “China’s On! The Grand Prix Series Opening Event!! The Cup of China Short Program”

Wednesdays 3:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: I have mixed feelings about this episode. On the one hand, seeing such a relatively large cast with such colourful personalities converge was a lot of fun, as was seeing that many skating routines in that short a space of time. Despite the potential for overcrowding, the pacing was fine and the characterization remained on point. And can we just take a minute to appreciate some of the lines that came out of this episode? I’m pretty sure I was blushing for a moment there – Yamamoto’s style is nothing if not bold and her dialogue often reflects that. She also has that magical (and all too rare) ability to portray sex and sexuality without it feeling like fanservice purely for fanservice’s sake… and perhaps more to the point, she has an awareness that ‘dirty’ and ‘sleazy’ are two completely different things. So there was plenty to like this week, but on the other hand, Yuri and Victor are basically the heart and soul of this show; any episode that takes the main focus away from either of them is almost guaranteed to be second-tier by comparison. I wildly applaud the fact that Yuri has grown so phenomenally over the course of the series so far – the guy’s practically unrecognizable from his first appearance, yet his growth feels entirely natural – but that wasn’t the focal point this week, and I think the episode as a whole suffered for it.

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ClassicaLoid
Episode 6: “The Beginning of the ClassicaLoids”

Saturdays 7:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: This felt like a bit of a throw away episode, both in content and technical quality. I guess animating all these crazy Musik sequences have caught up with the staff since a lot of this episode had choppy animation or wasn’t even animated at all. Plot wise I guess it did clarify the origins of the ClassicaLoids a little but there are still some pretty big questions, mostly never getting an answer as to why they were created. The rest felt like going through the motions, rehashing Kanae’s problems, seeing everyone’s same Musik again, and once again having her begrudgingly accept having them around. It was still entertaining to a certain extent as I do enjoy seeing how our little band of weirdos has bonded together, but ClassicaLoid has raised my expectations high enough where I want more than what we got this week.

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March – My face when McDonald’s brings back Shamrock Shakes

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March Comes In Like a Lion
Episode 6: “Chapter 11 Child of God (Part One) / Chapter 12 Child of God (Part Two)”

Saturdays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: As if March wasn’t already great enough, this episode really resonated with me. Without getting too personal, Rei’s feelings about wanting to get out on his own and then the difficulty adjusting to it very much mirrored the way I felt when I started living by myself. I suspect it’s the same for many others, including the author, as that’s the kind of specific authenticity that only comes from experience. The best part of this episode though is the fact they can highlight some of Rei’s negative feelings while keeping the overall mood positive. Running into Hina and reconnecting with his new support system felt extremely uplifting more than anything. I guess that’s not any different than what March always does, but that is also why it’s so good. The only issue I had this week was making Takashi tower over everyone at 180 cm. Seriously, is everyone in this show under 5 feet tall?

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Poco’s Udon World
Episode 6: “Tokyo Tower”

Saturdays 3:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Artemis: I really see no point in continuing to watch this. Like I’ve said in previous weeks, it’s cute as hell and I was pumped (and still am I guess) about finally getting an anime set primarily on Shikoku. But the bottom line is that Poco lacks not only in story but also in personality, both the show itself as well as the character. It’s not enough to just be adorable – I’ve now watched six episodes and I’ve yet to see Poco do anything other than say Souta’s name a lot, repeat words back at him, and hide from strangers. It would be another matter if the supernatural tanuki angle was more of a focus, but it’s not and I don’t ever think it will be. Souta himself is barely any better in the characterization department in terms of interest, and when nothing ever happens each week other than talking/reminiscing about childhood moments (in which everyone for some reason looks exactly the same as they do present-day), there seems precious little to latch on to. I thought this episode, more than any other, might provide something in the way of compelling conflict at least on an internal level, but it was about as monotonous as all the ones preceding it. So much as it pains me to say it, I’m dropping Poco here.

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