The Roundup: Winter 2017 Volume 4

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In this week’s installment…

That dumb Dragon Maid show turns into Non Non Biyori, Seiren hits the reset button, the writers of Classicaloid are on a lot of drugs, and Interviews With Monster Girls gives me yet another excuse to mention bettermyths.

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Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Episode 4: Kanna Goes to School! (Not That She Needs to.)

Wednesdays 11:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: So Kanna is basically Renge from Non Non Biyori, right? She even has the red backpack. I like that they’ve gone all in on the family angle, right down to Kanna registering for school with “Kobayashi” as her surname. Between that and Tohru’s friends hanging around to keep tabs on her, it makes for a very sweet atmosphere that feels pretty unique. Usually in these “magical girlfriend” scenarios the main character is constantly trying to rid themselves of their weirdo house guest and their even weirder friends, but in this case everyone seems to really care about each other and no one really argues much. Even Kanna’s new friend at school who seems to be adversarial at first ends up falling in love with her. Now, can someone please explain why those grade school backpacks are so expensive??? I’m starting to believe Tohru’s conspiracy theories.

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Seiren – The GeekGear was cool but the battery life was terrible

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Seiren
Episode 5: “Exchange”

Saturdays 1:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Dating sim stories are always at least a little bit about wish fulfillment but Miyamae feels like the most wish-fulfilly character in the expanded Amagami universe. The fact that she’s into games is passable, but the karaoke bit where she’s really into anime and toku seemed like they were laying it on pretty thick. That said, I appreciate that no one says a word about how girls aren’t supposed to be into video games or thinks that would be particularly shocking. Also, just like in Tsuneki’s arc, it’s not a huge scandal that girls and guys are hanging out together as friends. Those small victories are what make Seiren special – well that and the weird bunny fetish jokes – so I’m hoping that will balance out my concerns.

Aqua: Delightfully goofy as always, Seiren continues to prove that even the blandest set-ups can be salvaged by an off-beat dialogue writer with enough talent and hallucinogenic drugs. Any other aspiring anime rom-com should watch and learn. That said, I’m not a fan of this “omnibus format”. It’s obviously intended to give each girl (and her fans) their fair due, but in practice, it just comes across as some kind of checklist, implying that this one guy can ‘conquer’ all these girls just by completely changing his behaviour to accommodate them. As if relationships aren’t a two-way exchange. Not only does it kind of invalidate any relationships our hapless hero may have had in alternate realities, it also reduced the girls to trophies of a sort, some kind of McGuffin Indiana Jones is hunting down in his latest adventure, only to move on to another one in the next. It doesn’t help that the game-addicted slacker here might as well be a completely different guy from the Shouichi we saw fumbling around Tsukeni for the past four episodes. With the baggage of adapting a dating sim out of the way, wouldn’t it have been a lot easier if every quirky girl just got her own quirky boy – or girl, I mean, it’s 2017 – and they could all hang out and be part of a single intricate web of relationships centred around the same school?

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ClassicaLoid
Episode 17: “Mandarins! Mandarins! Fried Mandarins?”

Saturdays 7:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Classicaloid is a weird show but even by it’s own standards this episode was bizarre. I’m not sure I can say it was good, but it was at least enough of a spectacle that it was entertaining to watch. I have to wonder if there is some kind of Japanese folklore about mandarin oranges I don’t know about because Hasshie’s curse felt too specific to be a total non-sequitur. How would you even come up with something like that if wasn’t based on some weird old wives’ tale? Drugs? You know what, I’m going to say drugs. I will say the best part was seeing Motes’ third musik does nothing other than make the zombie plant versions of his friends do the Thriller dance. So yes, definitely drugs.

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Classicaloid – When did Motes have time to learn about KISS?

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Interviews With Monster Girls
Episode 5: “Snow Woman-chan Is Cold”

Saturdays 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Aqua: That’s more like it. I didn’t expect Interviews With Monster Girls to take a sudden dip into what I can only describe as ‘medical drama’, but it works, especially within the show’s larger context of worldbuilding the shit out of the most innocuous aspects of ordinary life. This episode provides Yuki and Tetsuo with a single core issue to solve, and while the whole ordeal is more than a bit pointlessly goofy, it once again provides ample opportunity for the show to do what it does best, as well as a not-so-subtle metaphor for puberty that probably comes a bit too late for these girls who are supposed to be like, sixteen. Seriously, noticing something in the bath that suddenly makes you act very awkwardly around your peers? No? Anyone? Anyways, it’s nice to see some of that subtle humour and clever treatment of folklore and mythology taking back Interviews with Monster Girls’ favours from the harem antics, but it remains to be seen if it can stay in that top spot for long now that all the different monster girls in the cast have had their introduction. I guess I’ll keep watching as long as I can see Hikari nibbling on things. What? Don’t judge me.

Jel: I’m just going to leave this here. Based on that, the boy at the end of the episode is probably dead. Also Yukki has superior taste in ice cream.

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March Comes In Like a Lion
Episode 16: “Chapter 32 Running Through the Night / Chapter 33 Middle of the Slope”

Saturdays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Once again it’s hard for my brain to process the shogi aspects of March without applying shonen sports manga logic, but here we are. Had that been the case, Gotou surely would have won the tournament. Instead, Shimada wins and it’s really an afterthought. It only further cements him as a positive role model for Rei like I talked about last week, of which we can see the immediate results. It’s good to see Rei enjoying life. The silly incident with the bird at the end was particularly great, perhaps the first time we’ve seen Rei and Nikaido spontaneously act like friends without Rei freaking out about it. With our boy in a good place right now I’m a bit worried what the plot is going to do him next (probably another Kyouko bomb) but I’m looking forward to seeing where we go from here.

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March Comes In Like a Lion – Maybe this actually is a shonen sports manga

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Onihei
Episode 4 & 5: “Blood Battle” & “Yanaka, Iroha Tea House”

Mondays on Anime Strike

Artemis: Due to the timing, last week’s Onihei didn’t feature on the previous Roundup, so I’m catching up on both that episode as well as the most recent one. And hoooy boy did episode 4 annoy me. The story itself was okay I guess, albeit about as cliché as it gets in terms of this type of Edo-Period drama fare – although some people may prefer the term ‘classic’. I wasn’t offended by the content, but I was vastly irritated by the lazy-ass storytelling, which featured the likes of eeevil henchmen talking conveniently loudly about their eeevil plans so that the protagonists can overhear and intervene (presumably just in the nick of time), and also said eeevil plans involving stripping a woman naked and raping her (or at least snickering among themselves about doing so). It’s the narrative equivalent of having the bad guy kick a puppy, and I was disappointed not because I think anime is generally better than this, but because I thought Onihei – or more specifically, the team behind Onihei – would be. And yes, just in case you were wondering, we got a healthy dose of fanservice with our misogyny too.

Episode 5 was far better, primarily because it featured a weekly protagonist who was actually likeable for a change. Kind of a loser, sure, but an earnest and well-meaning one. In fact, the entire episode took on a much more light-hearted and even comedic note than usual, even with the token bloody action scene towards the end, thanks in large part to the jaunty and jazzy background music… and weirdly enough, it all worked pretty well. In fact, if the whole show was like this then I’d likely be a lot more into it than I have been over the last couple of episodes. As things stand I’m sure we’ll be back to dark and gritty next week, but despite probably being intended as nothing more than a dumb breather episode, this one might just end up being the unexpected highlight of the entire series for me.

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Little Witch Academia TV
Episode 5: “Luna Nova and the White Dragon”

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

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Gee: I’m very tired and busy these days so I don’t really have much to say this week. As far as proper interactions go, Akko and Amanda not starting off as best of buds seems pretty fitting. In fact, as someone who counts 80% of his friendships founded on the mutual dislike of a 3rd party, their bonding through bitching about Diana was pretty relatable. Also, Constanze whipping out a magic shotgun was pretty fucking rad.

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4 thoughts on “The Roundup: Winter 2017 Volume 4

  1. In most cases when I asked about that myself in Japan, the answer was that randoseru (or at least, the better quality ones) were designed to last the whole 6 years of elementary school, and also potentially be passed on to younger siblings after that. (In fact, I think many of them actually come with a 6-year guarantee.) It’s also a bit of a rite-of-passage thing, in some cases more like a gift than a strict necessity. So the extended family might pool money together to get a really good, high-end department store brand, even if cheaper options are available elsewhere.

  2. bettermyths.com is amazing. Im plowing through his catalogue of posts. Liking when Hikari nibbling on things is nothing to be judged about. Its perfecly normal.

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