The Roundup: Summer 2017 Volume 2

In this week’s installment…

We add GAMERS! to the Roundup, another charming show that sounds terrible on paper that I will probably never convince another person to watch. It’s good, I promise!

 

GAMERS!
Episode 2: “Tasaku Uehara and New Game+”

Thursdays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: There’s been a lot of talk this week about upcoming big budget movie Ready Player One and how that is shaping up to be a total nerd wank fest. It has made me appreciate GAMERS! a little bit more as episode 2 was even better than the first. Yes, there are very specific video game references, but it knows where to draw the line between appreciation and reverence.

In this episode we see Tasuku remember how much fun he used to have playing games, but he still sees the value in making the changes that he did. It’s like hey, maybe you can go out and have friends AND like video games too, imagine that! Most importantly though they never imply that gaming makes you cool or smart or popular, Aguri fell in love with him because he was a nice person, not because he was great at arcade games. Tendou has apparently fallen in love with Keita because he stood up for her, he’s terrible at games. They even call out Keita for thinking he was cool for wanting to play games alone. As I said in my first look at the show, it’s a very balanced approach that you rarely see with a premise like this and so far I’m liking it.

Rage of Bahamut – I don’t have any funny comment, this is just a great image

 

Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul
Episode 16: “City of the Gods, Part 2”

Fridays 10:35 am EST on Amazon Anime Strike

Jel: This was a perfect example of why Virgin Soul is not living up to the expectations set by Genesis. In one half the episode, Mugaro mopes around and runs away while Nina tries her hardest to make us still care. In the other we have Favaro, disguised like some ridiculous Mediterranean prince, tossing Rocky the Zombie Hand to Kaisar to help him fight Azazel, then shooting out smoke bombs all over the place to escape. Which one sounds more interesting? At least it seems a good portion of the party is back together for at least one more episode with Kaisar reigning in Favaro and Azazel, but Virgin Soul has been disappointing me long enough that I’m not getting my hopes set too high.

 

Welcome to the Ballroom
Episode 3: “Heat.3: Dance the Waltz”

Saturdays or whenever they decide to air it on Amazon Anime Strike

Gee: Aw yiss, we got Latin this week baby. Of the two primary dancing styles that feature in Ballroom, Latin is the one that will probably benefit the most from being animated. It’s sensual and frantic in a way that motion can only improve, even compared to the already beautiful artwork of the original manga. I have some Yuri on Ice!!-esque anxiety about if Production IG can maintain this quality of dancing every week, but so far they’ve lived up to my expectations. I feel this episode also serves as reassurement to the viewers, that you don’t have to worry about Tatara being some kind of prodigal dancing wunderkind. He has potential, but against people who have devoted their entire lives to dance, he’s going to come up short every time. But even beyond that, more importantly is the emphasis on how much enjoyment Tatara has found in his new hobby. It’s a reminder akin to other sports anime greats like Ping Pong that whether you win or lose, what’s more important is to find satisfaction in what you do.

 

Restaurant to Another World
Episode 4: “Omelette Rice / Tofu Steak”

Mondays 2:05 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel:​ ​It figures the elves would be the condescending vegans of the fantasy world. I’m not sure that was supposed to be a joke, but I thought it was pretty funny. It was also probably the only noteworthy thing to mention about this episode as it might have been the most food-porny yet. Like I know every episode they go into great detail about the flavors of each dish but this seemed next level. That and is it me or did they spend a bit too long on the lizard man bathing scene? I guess if anime fans can be thirsty for huge breasted monster girls, why not super ripped monster men???

Restaurant to Another World – Apparently Lizardmen know how to party

 

Fastest Finger First
Episode 4: “A Mysterious Beauty Appears”

Tuesdays 3:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Marlin: A bit of a disappointing episode after the excitement of last week. Most of what they went over in the club just seemed like a retreading of what we already learned about quiz bowl last week. The only real new thing is revealing the other girl that’ll round the team out. It was pretty funny and adorable to watch Koshiyama use his self-help book knowledge to try to get closer to Fukami. I was also surprised to see them hinting at their attraction being reciprocal so quickly considering that kind of thing almost never actually gets developed in your average sports show. It was pretty interesting to see the Catholic all girls school group talk about how Catholic questions are actually pretty common, so their particular situation really helps out. Still, dorks being dorks only gets you so far, and all of the questions asked this week were repeats from last week. It’s gonna need to be better to keep me on it.

 

Sakura Quest
Episode 17: “The Sphinx’s Antics”

Wednesdays 12:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: ​​Crazy old people have been one of Sakura Quest’s more unique charm points and this episode certainly went all in on that. Based on my own personal experiences, it was a pretty accurate portrayal of how stubborn, even defiant, people can get in their old age which of course is a good and a bad thing. On the one hand, they find ways to enjoy their final years like the woodworker dude, on the other if they want to look at butts they’re going to look at butts damn it and no one is going to stop them. Of course nothing these new old people can do can top our originals, and sneaking in moments that show Chitose still cares about Kadota really steal the show. More of that please. Overall it was a solid episode and a good way to set up the inevitable emotional payoff we’ll get next week.

Sakura Quest – And then the episode took a dark turn…

 

Kakegurui
Episode 4: “The Woman Who Became Livestock”

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

Jel: I hate that we have to keep having this conversation, but it has to be said: can we PLEASE stop using sexual assault as a way to establish a character is a bad person? I think they were attempting to flip the script by implying the girls wanted it, which I get what they were trying to do but in reality makes it way worse. Between that Ikishima’s “edgy” suicidal masochism, I felt like I was temporarily trapped in an old 90’s OVA that just wouldn’t fly in the year of our lord two thousand and seventeen. It spoiled the second half, which was actually pretty good. I wanted to see Yumeko and Mary team up, but at what cost? This is why we can’t have nice things. At least we are moving in a good direction by the end of the episode, hopefully things will be less rapey in the future.

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3 thoughts on “The Roundup: Summer 2017 Volume 2

  1. Secual assualt in japanese animation is par for the course. I’m not sure I understand why though as I assume rape and molestation are not common in Japan????. I really did love that double rope-a-dope by Mary and Yumeko towards the end, brought the story back. I also always laugh at the kid who follows Yumeko around but doesn’t seem to serve any purpose but to be her unofficial pet..

    The ending of Bahamut was brilliant. The 5-some back in action (including Rocky) was the best few minutes of the entire show. Sad huh? They had such a great template in Genesis that they could have literally translated it to Virgin Soul and bam a winner. Nina IS Favaroooo. Jeanne can be Kaiser and El is the grumpy and spoiled Azazel. Instead we get this meandering show that doesn’t know what it wants to be. Either way I cannot wait to see what Favaroooo, Kaiser, Rita, Azazel and Rocky get up to (isn’t it sad that after 16 episodes we’re more keen on the “secondary” characters).

    You convinced me to watch gamers in one of the comment threads!…And yes it is delightful. Everything trope you expect, every gag you think is coming they go make a hard U turn instead. Really enjoying it.

    I’ll be short since this is no longer a comment but post length…Ballroom is fantastic! Is it me or are these non-traditional sport anime’s fantastic?? Yuri and now this. Damn these studios are doing some phenomenal work with the direction, art and pacing. That massive smile on Tatara’s face, Hyoudo’s rage and Hanaoka’s pleasently surprised look at the end was wonderful to behold. This could be the top summer show of 2017

    • I love moments like the end of episode 3 of Ballroom because it’s obvious the anime/manga is trying to make a parable to personal relationships with dance, so it’s easy to initially assume Hyoudo is angry that someone is dancing with “his” partner, but then you look deeper and you realize that what he’s really angry about is someone trying (and almost succeeding) to imitate a routine he’s probably poured hundreds of hours into.

      • I’m going to have to disagree about Ballroom. I really liked the first episode, when they did a great job of capturing the excitement of discovering something new that you love, but since then, it’s been a huge disappointment.

        First of all, I don’t really get the praise for the animation. It strikes me that they’re using every trick in the book to avoid animating actual dance steps. I haven’t timed it, but it seemed to me like there was maybe 15 seconds of honest-to-God dance animation in last week’s episode. Although Yuri on Ice kind of fell apart with recycled scenes as it went along, in the early going it had FAR, FAR more animated movement than Ballroom.

        However, I could easily forgive the lack of animated dance if the wasn’t so full of godawful, purposeless fan service. Episode 2 opened on a jiggling chest and then proceeded to the hoary walking-in-on the-changing girl chestnut. Episode 3 had the senseless stripping away of clothes in the dressing room.

        And these objections don’t even get into the absurdity of taking someone who has only been learning to dance for a few weeks and making him stand-in for a renowned champion during a big competition.

        In my opinion, so far, Ballroom has been only one tiny dance step above lousy.

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