The Roundup: Winter 2017 Volume 6

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In this week’s installment…

Classicaloid wins this week with an appropriately bizarre take on “Swan Lake” and I hate the self-proclaimed fan service episode of Dragon Maid, but not for the reasons you may think. Otherwise it’s business as usual for the Winter Roundup. See you next week.

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Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Episode 7: “Summer Staples! (The Fan Service Episode, Frankly)

Wednesdays 11:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: In a surprise twist, the beach portion of the self-proclaimed fan service episode was fine. Lucoa waved her boobs around as much as any other episode which isn’t great, but I’d call that breaking even at this point. The bit with everyone using Tohru as a yacht was actually fantastic. Those slower, pensive moments are when this show is at its best, it’s just a matter of how much anime trash you want to sort through to get there. SPEAKING OF WHICH, the Comiket segment is what really killed this episode. I am 110% done with glorifying the anime nerd lifestyle and the entire bit felt like pure self indulgence on the author’s (and target audience’s) part. The mere fact that the episode title assumes that Comiket is an average summer activity for the viewer says it all. How much better would this show be if they didn’t keep trying to shoehorn those elements in? That is probably the core issue that all my frustration with Dragon Maid stems from, and it’s sad because this could be a brilliant series otherwise.

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Seiren
Episode 7: “Brother Complex”

Saturdays 1:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Iro: I suppose the downside to smashing that reset button means a lack of consistency, huh? A few weeks ago, we gave Seiren so much praise for having teenage boys and girls interact like (relatively) normal human beings, but this week revealed that the crux behind Gamer-senpai’s conflict is that… she couldn’t interact with boys like normal human beings…? It’s hard to take seriously (and in a show that’s already goofy as hell), and the fact that it’s presented as her fault for unintentionally stringing boys along and not their fault for assuming interest is so absurd that I didn’t know whether to laugh or just groan. Really, it’s disappointing to see the show fall back on shoehorning in tropes like “oh she’s so perfect and unapproachable”, particularly when it otherwise avoids them so well.

The surprise Mega Sega CD and 32-X cameos were a good laugh, though.

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Seiren – The true star of this week’s episode

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ClassicaLoid
Episode 19: “Love, and You Shall Die”

Saturdays 7:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Was this the best episode of Classicaloid yet? Hard to say compared to the chores episode but wow was it fun. The constant stream of hilarious sight gags was great as was the general skewering of romance tropes, and dumping on Sousuke never gets old. I know it was supposed to be a silly magical misunderstanding thing, but it was interesting to see who they chose to pair off. Schubert x Chopin was particularly inspired considering Beetes would have been the obvious choice, but there was quite the variety overall. I guess love really does take many forms, as Liszt would say. I guess purists could argue this was the Swan Lake episode and it had nothing to do with “Swan Lake”, but purists should have stopped watching Classicaloid at episode 1.

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Interviews With Monster Girls
Episode 7: “Succubus-san Is Inquisitive”

Saturdays 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Aqua: Here’s something I never thought I’d actually say: I wish this show had been a short. One of those 11-minute ones, natch, the ones that are actually worth a damn. It probably wouldn’t save Monster Girls from the barren wasteland of ideas it has presented viewers with since having introduced its entire cast, but boy, would it at least make it a lot more tolerable. This episode attempted to bring back the solid world-building over the mostly interchangeable slice-of-life hijinks of last week, but I struggle to understand what Ugaki’s purpose in all this is. While an episode following him around on the job would be very interesting, his current contribution to the overall narrative amounts to little more than visiting the school (for no reason) and announcing that he exists. There’s an inkling of a hot take on racial profiling somewhere in there, in which Monster Girls surprisingly avoids the classic X-Men faux-pas of comparing people with superpowers to minorities on the whole without acknowledging that police being wary of you because you basically carry weapons – or in the succubi’s case, potentially dangerous poison – with you 24/7 is not the same as police being “wary” of you just because of your religion, sexuality or the colour of your skin. On the other hand, Ugaki’s little expo-dump on the matter might just as well edge ever too slightly to the other, far nastier edge of the spectrum. Women using their superpowers to make men grope them so they can falsely accuse them of sexual harassment for shits and giggles? That’s a can of worms you don’t wanna get anywhere near, Monster Girls.

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March Comes In Like a LionSquirelly Teacher looks like a good cartoon

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March Comes In Like a Lion
Episode 18: “Chapter 37 Torrent / Chapter 38 Passing Time”

Saturdays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Interesting spin on Rei’s relationship with Shimada this week. While I don’t doubt he wants to help Rei, you can’t ignore the fact that they are both professionals competing for the same goal. So you can’t blame him for wanting some mutual benefit out of their arrangment. The big emotional kicker though was the conversation with Rei’s teacher, which really struck a chord with me. Anyone that has lived alone will appreciate how much work goes into daily life when you don’t have anyone to split the load with. Pointing that out made Hina and Momo’s visit carry a lot of weight as Rei really needs the little bits of support he gets. It was also adorable and stole the show in what was already a great episode. With that all said, I can now get back to worrying there are only 4 episodes left and I have no clue how they are going to find a satisfying point to end this…

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Onihei
Episode 7: “Clay Pot Smashing Boy”

Mondays on Anime Strike

Artemis: We were back to the more serious version of Onihei this week, and while there was nothing in this episode that I disliked per se, I do think the story was fairly forgettable, at least in comparison to the previous couple of episodes with their jauntier, slightly idiotic tone. It’s understandable that Onihei would want to do an episode concerned more directly with Heizo’s family, who we knew very little about, but the main problem is that I still have next to no interest in any of them. Despite the interesting piece of information that Ojun is in fact adopted, and that her real father was a thief (who I assume is either dead or fled thanks to Heizo’s intervention) no less, Ojun herself is about as interesting as any either completely generic child character. Narratively, the episode did an okay job, but on a personal level I just couldn’t bring myself to much care – especially given that the ending was pretty much a foregone conclusion. I would have preferred a stronger focus on the week’s antagonist, who in large part due to that final scene (HUG!), was by far the more emotionally compelling element of the story.

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Little Witch Academia TV
Episode 7: “Orange Submariner”

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

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Gee: Trigger, the still reigning champs of comedic timing.

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