In this week’s installment…
It’s the last Roundup of the season and we say goodbye to… not much actually. Sakura Quest and Bahamut are continuing into summer and thanks to some delays Tsukigakirei and Atom: The Beginning will be ending after the start of next season. So… farewell, Little Witch Academia, we’ll see you when you finally get officially released on Netflix.
Jel: Nooo this is just like the movie arc all over again. They are covering the same thematic territory just swapping out a movie for a TV show. I understand big city versus small town is the whole point but there are other ways to explore that than bringing in a camera crew. It also seems odd for Yoshino to have a crisis of confidence all the sudden when she’s been doing so well. She has a lot more reason to be confident than she did when she arrived now that she has a few successes under her belt. That all said, I’m willing to give Sakura Quest a chance to take this in a different direction. Mr. Pushy TV Host guy is the wild card as I can’t quite get a read on him. Is he genuinely interested in helping the town or does he have other motives? That answer could determine whether this next arc is good or not.
Artemis: I know it’s a bit late to be saying this, but right now I’m really wishing these characters were in high school rather than just junior high school. Because while I wouldn’t necessarily be all for someone going to a certain university based on the person they like also going to that university, they’d at least be of an age where it’s totally fine to start making major decisions for yourself, good or bad. These kids, on the other hand (and they really are still just kids), are fifteen. Even if the previous episode hadn’t left something of a bad taste in my mouth – and even though it’s pretty difficult to sympathize with Azumi’s mother, who obviously loves her son but is pushy and stifling with it – I know I’d be hard put to support my son/daughter if they wanted to make a choice like that. It’s not a matter of how much Azumi loves Akane or how hard he’s willing to try because of it; it’s about what’s healthy and what’s not. Tsuki ga Kirei would like viewers to see this as a sweeping romantic gesture that will no doubt pay off in the end, allowing our young couple to live happily ever after. But that’s just not how things tend to work, so I’m finding it difficult to properly root for anyone here. At this point, the best possible ending as far as I’m concerned would be for Azumi to fail his exams and go to some other school instead, a few years to pass by, and the pair to reunite at university or wherever and fall in love all over again. Realistic? Maybe not, but at least that way it would be a long-term romance I could genuinely get behind.
Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul
Artemis: I just don’t know you guys. This was certainly a better episode, but did that make it a good one? And given that this is only the halfway point for the show, should we be expecting things to go straight back to the dialogue-heavy, poorly-paced status quo over the next couple of episodes, only to get exciting and entertaining again just in time for the climax? Because while I realise I may not be the most patient of anime viewers, that’s over four hours of screen time right there, and at some point you have to ask yourself if the payoff is actually going to be worth it. At this point, I’m still leaning towards the negative, because even the better episodes of Virgin Soul so far have been more a brief series of decent action sequences strung together by a long series of talking heads and panning background shots, when it should be the other way around.
Atom: The Beginning
Jel: Alright, this wasn’t GREAT but had we got into this robot wrestling thing five episodes ago I might still be on board with this show. The buildup of Mars as the invincible bad guy was predictable but effective. You really want to see Six stomp this other robot out. Unfortunately I’m pretty sure Six is just going to try and beat him with the power of friendship. At least the preview guarantees there will be some action so maybe the conversation will be with their fists. That sounds pretty great actually, where was this weeks ago?
Little Witch Academia TV
Gee: Against all odds, Trigger manages to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Little Witch Academia’s finale enters the illustrious hall of Gainax/Trigger great endings. It’s a little formulaic, I’m sure you can figure out how it ends. Akko inspires her motley crew of friends to band together in one last effort to stop the literal Magic Missile from destroying not-France. Calling upon the hopes and belief of the world to her aid, Akko saves the day, proving that your believing heart is indeed your magic. It’s not the premise that stands out, but Trigger’s fantastic execution. It was all hands on deck for this episode and it shows. The animation sings and shines in a way the show has not for a few episodes now. Between Yoh Yoshinari’s always excellent effects animation, Takafumi Hori’s cool smoke trailing dogfighting, and even a little of Imaishi and Sushio’s frenetic madness thrown in, it’s a tour de force of the talent that studio can bring to the table.
Overall, LWA’s finale proves just how vital a strong final episode can be for a series. Up until now, I was ready to put LWA down as decent, but unfortunately incapable of living up to the standards it set for itself. With a finale as strong as this one was, both visually as well as thematically, LWA’s TV run will go down in history as a much warmer memory for me.
4 thoughts on “The Roundup: Spring 2017 Volume 11”
Although the execution of the finale was good and Trigger-worthy, I still didn’t leave LWA with a good aftertaste. Sucy and Lotte were shafted until the bitter end in Diana’s favor, and the part with all seven girls, one by one dropping off in a typical team battle fashion felt kind of pointless given how little reason we’ve been given to care about this characters. I never felt the same investment in the Akko/Diana dynamics like I did with Ryuko/Satsuki. And I’m really bitter about how they did nothing with Sucy during the second half, the secondary girls all felt a lot like the Sailor Senshi in Sailor Moon Crystal, a mob that just completes each others’ sentences to motivate the klutzy protagonist. Not a bad show overall, but I had more expectations
I’ll wholly grant that if you throw in a big enough spectacle at the end, I’m the kind of guy willing to overlook a few more flaws than most. But I echo a lot of your sentiments about how the series treated its supporting cast and will be talking about that in a more in-depth Final Thoughts post later. For how “simple” the show was, it left me fairly conflicted and with a lot to say.
To echo the feelings of both of you, I wanted to like this show much more than I actually did, as I feel the storytelling just wasn’t up to snuff, particularly in the second half. Still, it was schmaltzy and effective enough, such that I found myself tearing up at the Chariot/Akko hugfest in the penultimate episode.
More than anything, though, I really wish we could get more anime like this, driven by imagination and fantasy that doesn’t involve wanting to bone your little sister.
“More than anything, though, I really wish we could get more anime like this, driven by imagination and fantasy that doesn’t involve wanting to bone your little sister.”