The Roundup: Winter 2017 Volume 8

In this week’s installment…

If you ever want to sell someone on watching Classicaloid just tell them at some point Franz Schubert destroys half a dozen other classical composers in a dis track so hot they all turn into Parappa the Rapper characters. Nothing else matters this week… well except shout out to Marlin for giving me a breather on some shows this week and don’t worry, Artemis will be back soon.

 dragonmaid

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid
Episode 9: “Sports Festival (There’s No Twist or Anything)”

Wednesdays 11:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: As the episode title says, there’s no twists or anything this week and that’s a good thing. It’s arguably the most low-key episode of the series, with a good amount of screen time dedicated to Kobayashi sorting out her feelings about being Kanna’s mother. This is Dragon Maid at it’s best. Exploring Kobayashi’s changing role in life as she moves deeper into adulthood is the type of quality content that makes so many people love this show, and it’s so nice to have an episode mostly free of dumb anime clichés to enjoy it. If anything, you could argue the episode was too normal with almost no dragon magic sprinkled in for flavor. That’s a small price I’m willing to pay if it means episodes this good.

 

Seiren
Episode 9: “Home Ec Club”

Saturdays 1:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Marlin: Seiren’s third arc is… well it sure is getting back to Amagami’s weird roots. We have the apparently immortal members of the tea home ec club on the scene, their powers apparently summoned only when childhood friends need their significant other to take a hint. Making Kamita a closet Shoujo fan is a move after my own heart, but I can’t help but feel something is off with the whole exercise. They already seem pretty close and it doesn’t feel like a whole lot of plot is needed to hook them up. That tells me one of two things: either they’re going to pair up mid-arc and take this in new direction, or we’re going to be in for a tortuously slow build up to the end. I’m hoping for something a la Kaoru, having their obvious attraction push the story along, but those are some high expectations to live up to and I can see a lot of ways it can go wrong.

Seiren – Not Junichi’s finest hour

classicaloid

ClassicaLoid
Episode 21: “Breakthrough”

Saturdays 7:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Marlin: I’m here straight off of a 20 episode marathon to tell you that if you aren’t watching Classicaloid, you really are missing out on some of the best comedy since Osomatsu-san. Schubert has given us some of the most entertaining moments in the show, the fish episode being a personal favorite of mine. However, this time he actually gets some characterization, asking what is perhaps the most pertinent question these weirdos should be having, why do they exist? Like seriously, why? As always, Kanae’s dad doesn’t give a very satisfying answer, but it does give Schubert the confidence and presence he’s mostly lacked in this show. Us Americans also get a surprising treat in the form of a strikingly accurate portrayal of the American inner city (weird underground Udon stand notwithstanding). Unfortunately they couldn’t get the enviable talents of Michael Rivas or Mike Pepe for the English voices, so the people living there just sound drunk and oddly British.

It’s a bit of a shame that they haven’t even broken out Schubert’s Ave Maria, by far his most well known piece, but it’s nice to see some love given to Der Erlkonig. I was first introduced to this in a college class and it’s definitely one of the most captivating and unsettling pieces you’ll ever hear. The lyrics help, but even by itself the music sets a perfect tone of uneasiness that devolves into complete terror. It’s kind of funny that after all these weird mashup pieces the most fitting one is set to rap. I see that 5 bucks I throw to Crunchyroll ever month is really starting to pay off, as whoever subs this show loves their job and is really letting their fans have a good time with the dynamic translation. It looks like Beethoven is getting his focus episode next, but he’s going to have a lot to live up to.

 demi-chan

Interviews With Monster Girls
Episode 9: “Demi-chans Want to Try”

Saturdays 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I have to give this show credit for keeping the episode in which Satou-sensei unleashes her sexy powers relatively tame. They managed to acknowledge the effect on Takahashi without resorting to leering camera angles or accidental gropings. Yes, anime has set our standards that low and once again Monster Girls has hopped over the bar. Even beyond that though, treating Satou with some respect makes it easier to take the message about taking charge of her sexuality seriously. So well done on that front. The B side of the episode was also pretty decent. I could stand less philosophical babbling from Takahashi, but Machi’s ghost story was kind of adorable. Overall it was a solid episode if somewhat uneventful, which is fine with me.

Classicaloid – This is the future that the liberals want

march

March Comes In Like a Lion
Episode 20: “Chapter 41 Kyoto (Part 2) / Chapter 42 Kyoto (Part 3)”

Saturdays 1:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Marlin: So for a while Jel has wondered why the sudden shift to focus on Shimada, I imagine a lot of people have had this reaction to the recent turn of events. It is pretty familiar to me though, all that’s required is knowing this is the same writer as Honey and Clover. By the second half of that series, it had managed to marginalize its own main character in order to tell several stories at once. At one point he literally just leaves the school the whole story is set in and goes biking around Japan to find himself. Initially it seemed like a really weird move, as we’d gotten to know this character really well, and it seemed to be sacrificing all of his development with the romantic interest that the show had started on in the first place.

However, here was the kicker: this sideways jolt revealed a much deeper story. By the end of his travels, the main character realized he had gotten into architecture for the love of old styles, and his work helping a poor but satisfied group of shrine workers revealed in him the kind of passion that brought fulfillment in his life far beyond some one-sided romance. Here, we see Rei pushed to the sidelines in order to show to him what kind of life being a long time professional Shogi player is really like: Tense, painful, and by all accounts incredibly unsatisfying. He sees the road before him lined with trials, and sees a man who has gone too far to turn back. Rei, in the prime of his life, now has a heavy choice: After all these years of letting the sport dominate me, should I let it go?

 lwa

Little Witch Academia TV
Episode 9: “Brightonberry’s Undead Travel Log”

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

Gee: Not much to say about this week’s episode honestly. It’s a filler episode that starts off pretty weak but ends up being quite sweet by the end. I suppose in a ways, it’s yet another episode reminding us that for all her flaws, Akko is a genuinely decent person with untapped potential for greatness. It’s a testament to LWA’s quality that even one of its weaker episodes still manages to be something enjoyable. I’m fine with weaker episodes like this if LWA continues to leverage its nature as a TV show to explore the kind of off beat side stories an OVA could never get away with.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s