The Roundup: Winter 2017 Volume 3

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In this week’s installment…

More debate this week as Gee and I disagree on this season’s premier weird and awkward teenage romance anime – no, not that one, I mean the ending of Seiren’s first story arc. Also, has Interviews with Monster Girls finally hit the wall and become the dumb harem show we originally thought it would be? Join us and discuss.

 dragonmaid

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Episode 3: “Start of a New Life! (That Doesn’t Go Well of Course)”

Wednesdays 11:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: This show continues to infuriate me by being quite good save for a few minutes dragging down the entire episode. It’s amazing how much of a difference having an adult main character can make. Kobayashi seems pretty comfortable with who she is and isn’t afraid to show her feelings. Sure Tohru can be a bit much to handle, but we don’t need to sit through the bulk of the series waiting for Koabayashi to acknowledge that she likes having her and Kanna around. Think of every anime you’ve ever watched and how they would have handled the bath scenes from this episode and you’ll understand my point. That said, dumb scenes like Lucoa’s boobs getting smashed in our face or anytime Kobayashi gets drunk make it hard for me to get totally into it. That will probably be the last time I’ll mention it for now as I’m basically repeating what I said last week, hopefully we won’t get as many reasons to bring it up in the future.

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Seiren
Episode 4: “Starry Sky”

Saturdays 1:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Gee: IT WAS SHIT. I have to be totally honest and say I wasn’t too pleased with how Hikari’s arc ended. I’m not saying I had particularly high expectations or that Seiren was ever meant to go above and beyond its fluffy highschool romance pretenses, but there are some cliches that are just too much for me. Until the last five minutes, I was totally on board with Seiren’s surprisingly intimate confirmation of two individuals’ feelings for each other. It’s all the more a shame that it would throw away that goodwill in a single move. Look I get it, putting aside romance for the sake of one’s immediate prospects only to meet again in the future is a romantic trope as old as time. But these are teenagers we’re talking about. Five years is a ridiculously long time in a young person’s life. People have lives to live, people to meet, and needs to fulfill. Expecting two teenagers on opposite sides of the planet to stay loyal to each other for more than a year or two is already impressive, five is practically unbelievable. Combined with how far out of left field it came, it felt like an abrupt attempt to inject some last minute drama into a small self-contained arc that never needed it.

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Seiren – This loser was STILL in denial at this point, should have dumped him right there

Also, are we just going to ignore that Hikari’s friend did an extremely fucked up thing? And how bizarrely quick Hikari was to forgive it? Maybe I just have a different standard of loyalty, but a friend who would do such things is no friend of mine. It’s borderline sociopathic and it’s the kind of offense I would meet with literal physical violence if ever attempted on me. Overall, Seiren’s first arc crashes and burns in the homestretch, which doesn’t inspire confidence for the rest of its run. The best that can be said about it is that the nature of the omnibus format means we’ll at least get another fresh crack at things next week with Toru. Here’s hoping she doesn’t suddenly end up going to EVO in the last five minutes of her last episode.

Jel: I actually liked the ending of Tsuneki’s arc quite a bit. Sure it’s a little strange and awkward by real life standards, but this is Seiren aka the spiritual successor to Amagami we’re talking about, and I appreciate that it breaks the “dating sim” mold. Generally the idea in a dating sim is that if you meet all the conditions, the person you are wooing will fall in love with you without fail. The player is in total control. Having the freedom of not actually being a dating sim allows Seiren to put Tsuneki in the driver seat of her own destiny. She likes Kamita and is certainly physically attracted to him, but are they really on the same page? She knows what she wants and clearly he doesn’t, or at least he’s not ready to be honest about it. In that respect, I thought giving her the power to walk away until this wishy washy boy becomes a man felt great. It was a tough decision that showed the maturity gap between the two. When they meet again years later, Kamita seems much more comfortable with himself and the decisions he’s made, and maybe now it makes more sense for them to be together. Overall I think that makes for a much more interesting conclusion than just “they make out, now they’re dating”, and I’m looking forward to seeing what other twists we may have in store in the next arcs.

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Classicaloid – Yakuza 0 looks great

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ClassicaLoid
Episode 16: “Work! Beethes Motes”

Saturdays 7:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I was looking forward to this episode after seeing the preview and it did not disappoint. Figures it would take something bizarre like wanting a mermaid lion fountain to get Beethes and Motes out into the workforce. I suppose the series of escalating odd jobs was a bit predictable, but I can’t say I expected them to end up being old tea farmers??? More importantly though, I’d like to know how many people they killed working for the Yakuza. Liszt’s statue at the end of the episode was probably the most appropriate ending for such a hilariously bizarre episode, although I’m not sure the “no fountain way” pun worked. Sorry Crunchyroll translators, it was a good effort though. Next week seems to be tackling the exciting topic of mandarin oranges so I can’t wait for that. Stay weird Classicaloid, stay weird.

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Interviews With Monster Girls
Episode 4: “Takahashi Tetsuo Wants to Protect”

Saturdays 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Aqua: All dumb harem shenanigans and no creative or funny applications of a tired premise make Aqua a very sad boy. And for all the entertainment Hikari’s bubbly antics provide, she’s not exactly the character who can pull off a dramatic personality 180 and start preaching hell-yeah speeches about how bullying is bad. Interviews with Monster Girls, as always, certainly had the potential to deal with the the noxious and all too common issue of introversion being perceived as arrogance in a meaningful way, or even to use Yuki’s demi traits as a metaphor for social anxiety of a kind, but I guess the fresh supply of good ideas was just late this week or something. What we’re left with is one admirably clever line on how to respectfully deal with minorities – “If you just see traits unique to demis, you’ll miss their individuality. If you only see the human side, you won’t understand their troubles” – and some directorial flourish, but otherwise, this was an entirely perishable episode of a show that is better than it sounds but still not as good as it could be.

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Interviews with Monster Girls – The harem has been assembled

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March Comes In Like a Lion
Episode 15: “Chapter 30 Moonlight / Chapter 31 Lump of Ego”

Saturdays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: After some time to cool off, it’s good to see Rei getting enthusiastic about shogi again. Perhaps more important than that though, it seems Shimada may be the role model he really needs in his life. If you think about it, Rei grew up with an adoptive father that hurt his family because of shogi, and many of the pro players seem to be great at the game but bad people (Gotou), good people but not great players (Smith), or bad people who are not great players either (that dude that left his wife). Shimada is clearly a good player and he seems to have his act together. We haven’t seen much of him yet but I trust Nikaido’s judgement, and at the very least he can see Gotou is bad news. He’s already trying to get Rei into his study group and it seems like having his positive influence would be a good thing. Now if someone can please get that boy over to the Kouda’s house and eating some proper food, we’ll be good.

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Little Witch Academia TV
Episode 4: “Night Fall”

Licensed by Netflix (Release pending, please watch it there when it comes out)

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Gee: LWA settles down a bit this week after last week’s mini-climax. Instead, it’s more misadventures with our magical crew, mostly the fault of Akko. Only a studio like Trigger could manage to make a thinly-veiled Twilight parody the subject of a genuinely enjoyable episode with some fun character moments, a surprisingly heartfelt ending, and a good dose of Trigger styled humour. While it doesn’t hit the same intense highs as last week, it continues last week’s work of justifying LWA’s TV run as something that can introduce new ideas while standing on its own, distinct from its OVA roots. 

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4 thoughts on “The Roundup: Winter 2017 Volume 3

  1. Have to agree about Interviews with Monster Girls. I’d love them to do something interesting with their set up but other than one or two moments of genuine emotion we’re just kind of getting the same old thing with monster girls thrown in.
    Still loving March Comes in Like a Lion though.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • I think Monster Girls would be instantly better if the girls weren’t all in love with the teacher and it explored different kinds of relationships beyond dumb anime crushes. A lot of potential getting wasted so far.

  2. Trigger is living up to their level of quality with the LWA show. And seriosuly how can you not love that trio. they synergy between them is marvelous. As for monster Girls it’s getting a tad tiring. I really liked e03, following Sakie around and getting to know her troubles…but even then ep04 took a steep dive. Let’s see though.

    As for 3-gatsu: Only showing the Kouda’s talking about Rei is clearly INSUFFICIENT (That’s my Trump tweet impersonation)! Get that boy to the Kouda home stat! Then again, perhaps we will see less of the Kouda’s once Rei joins the study group.

    • You can tell Rei is still finding the balance of being re-energized by his time spent with the Koudas versus using them as a comfortable means of running away from his problems. So we may have to get used to not seeing them quite as much, unfortunately. Grandpa dropped some knowledge this week though, that was cool.

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