The Roundup: Winter 2017 Volume 5

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In this week’s installment…

We are moving the Roundup to Fridays which means a double dose of Dragon Maid this week, for better or worse. While that show continues to frustrate me, it’s a solid week for the rest of the lineup with March Comes In Like a Lion delivering its best episode of the second half. With all these shows still being pretty good nearly halfway through, maybe this season isn’t as bad as we thought it would be?

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Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Episode 5 & 6

Wednesdays 11:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Episode 5 had me finally ready to give in and declare Dragon Maid a success. Tohru’s visit to Kobayashi’s workplace really showed how much Tohru admires her beyond the obvious, over the top lust. I also continue to be taken aback at how easily Kobayashi seems to reciprocate her feelings, even though she is much more subtle about it. The real highlight though is Tohru’s conversation with Fafnir about choosing to stay in this world. The “immortal loneliness” angle has been ripe for the taking in this show so I’m glad they are finally tapping into it. That was all great but then we got to this week’s episode…

Episode 6 hits us with everything that I don’t like about this show. We start off with the maid obsession. This show is far and away at it’s best when the girls are just doing normal, everyday things in spite of being godlike dragons. Geeking out over maids totally takes us in another completely unnecessary direction. Then we get to Kanna and Saikawa. Saikawa’s little crush has been adorable up until now but they just HAD to go and sexualize it, didn’t they? Kanna has been a great character so far because she actually acts like a little girl. The bit here ruined that. Finally we get Lucoa’s bit which predictably involved her getting naked and smashing her boobs in a little boy’s face. Lovely.

The entire thing is nearly saved by the final rainy day segment which ranks as one of the best the show has done. Seeing Kobayashi enjoy being a mom was adorable and that little sliver of emotion out of Fafnir almost got me to care about him. Almost. That said, episode 6 set off all the alarms that went off in my head in the first episode and then some, and seeing as next week is literally declaring itself the fan service episode, my expectations are dropping rapidly yet again.

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Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid – Me during episode 6

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Seiren
Episode 6: “Versus”

Saturdays 1:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Seiren delivered quite a bit on its amusingly weird side, between the deer mating, milk bath photos (???), and the most boring spin on Crazy Taxi I’ve ever seen. Also, gotta love the shout out to the old Amagami make out shed, which confirms we must be in the Haruka timeline and that the show is probably set in the mid 2000s. That out of the way, one of the things we’ve been critical of in our internal discussions on Seiren is that it hasn’t really involve the other girls in each others arcs the way Amagami did. That changed this week as Tsuneki not only stormed into Tohru’s episode, they seem to have some kind of bad history with each other. We also caught a glimpse of Kyouko, who will be appearing next. I’d say the “plot thickens” but to be honest we didn’t really get anything past some menacing warnings from Tsuneki. So we’ll have to check back next week as we will undoubtedly unravel Toru’s troubled past.

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ClassicaLoid
Episode 18: “MitsuruLoid and Gyouna-kun”

Saturdays 7:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: No one noticing Sousuke was replaced by a robot is a good joke, but was it enough to carry an entire episode? Maybe not, but it was still a fun episode anyway. I mean, can an episode where Dai Bach-sama uses ‘Air on the G String’ to take down an out of control robot really be bad? It was also interesting to get a little more back story on Mitsuru and Kanae’s dad. I’m waiting for him to have some kind of redeeming qualities and so far it’s just not happening. Maybe they’ll just stay committed to the joke that he’s a terrible human being and leave it at that? I think I’d be OK with that. Either way it does make you feel bad for Mitsuru, who up to now has played the true villain role. Actually, it would be kind of great if Kanae’s dad ended up being the bad guy all along. With this show, I wouldn’t rule that or anything else out.

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Interviews with Monster Girls – The wings are a nice touch

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Interviews With Monster Girls
Episode 6: “The Takanashi Sisters Are Undeniable”

Saturdays 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I’ve been wondering what we were going to do now that the demi-chans have all been introduced, so I guess extending out to their families is the next logical step. In Hikari’s case we get to see some of the day to day challenges of living with a vampire, and it was rather sweet to see how much her family loves and supports her. We’ve already met Himari a few times now and obviously we knew she loves her sister, but the mirror incident this week was a surprisingly nuanced way of giving her the opportunity to show it. I will say it seems a bit odd she wears a cross choker given what that implies for vampires, but that’s probably just a visual gag to tie-in with how much they argue all the time. As always I could do without everyone in being in love with sensei and there was certainly some of that this week, but overall I think this episode was a net positive.

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March Comes In Like a Lion
Episode 17: “Chatper 34 Silver Thread / Chapter 35 Water’s Surface / Chapter 36 Base of the Blue Night”

Saturdays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: This was possibly the best episode of the second half so far. There was some really stellar characterization of Kyouko and Rei’s adoptive father. We’ve seen it with dad before, but now seeing some vulnerability in Kyouko shows that they are not black and white bad people. Would you really think Momo calling her a witch would have stung as bad as it did when we first met her? I guess running into the sisters while Rei was arguing with, well, his sister was a bit too convenient but it also needed to happen. Contrasting Hina’s innocent, unconditional love with Kyouko’s manipulations made for a really powerful moment. As much I’ve been enjoying hanging out with Shimada and Nikaido, that’s the kind fo thing I signed up for with this show and I’m always glad to see them deliver.

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March Comes In Like a Lion – The most intimidating stare down

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Onihei
Episode 6: “Secret Theft Tactics”

Mondays on Anime Strike

Artemis: Much to my surprise, Onihei was pretty good this week as well. Even at its best, I don’t think the series is a particularly original or innovative one, but so long as it remembers to bring a playful sense of humour to the table, the stories do work as fun little romps through a relatively historically accurate Edo Period Japan. This week’s tale endeared itself to me not because it came with any surprises or narrative twists, but because I quite like the idea that Onihei himself is actually a bit of a troll. Away from home and all the social constraints that come with it, he poses as an anonymous wandering samurai; one that, I should note, acts the way he does not out of an innate sense of altruism, but because it seems like a fun and adventurous way to pass the time. This helps adds a lot more life to both the character as well as to the show as a whole, and I’m hoping Onihei will continue the trend as it moves into its second half.

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Little Witch Academia TV
Episode 6: “The Fountain of Polaris”

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

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Gee: Honestly not too much to talk about from an animation standpoint, but this week makes up for it with some narrative hooks. Little Witch Academia has referenced the school’s gradual slide in obsolescence and irrelevance in the past few episodes, but it’s here where we see that sentiment being expressed by the mundane world. I imagine this tension will probably come into play later down the road. The real standout though was Akko witnessing the rise of Chariot from her humble school days. Combined with Ursula’s message about Akko needing more time to grow, it’s a bittersweet episode that reaffirms that while Akko might struggle now, there will come a day when she realizes her own potential. It’s the kind of plotline that the OVAs never had time to explore, but within the scope of a TV run, it’s exactly the kind of character development I hope LWA continues to give us.

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One thought on “The Roundup: Winter 2017 Volume 5

  1. That was a nice weekend. I enjoyed all three of the main shows im following this year. The sisters back in the mix is great for 3-gatsu. Momo as cute as ever and Hina’s determination to defend (or protect?) Rei is so gosh darn admirable.

    Can’t really ask more from LWA, it’s coming along swimmingly if you ask me.

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