The Catch-Up: Fall 2017

After The Wrap-Up and The Roundup, it’s time for The Catch-Up! Because it’s a bit silly to write a ‘first look’ post on shows that aren’t technically new, The Catch-Up gathers our brief impressions on new seasons of returning shows and reminds readers what we thought about their earlier installments. Join us as we answer such important questions as “Will Blood Blockade Battlefront still be good without Rie Matsumoto?“, “Will ClassicaLoid still be good without the great Bach-sama?” and most importantly, “Will the Glorio Blog still be good without Aqua’s weekly struggle with Love Live Sunshine!!?” We reserve the right to change our answer to any of these at any time.

ClassicaLoid

Anime original by Sunrise
Simulcast on… *sigh* HIDIVE

What’s this again?

Famous classical music composers have been genetically reincarnated as anime dorks with bizarre superpowers. They shack up in a giant mansion run by a teenage landlady who is struggling to pay off her father’s debts. The most powerful Classicaloid, the great Bach-sama, is trying to gather them all into his sketchy idol agency.

Jel’s Verdict: Encore!

My biggest concern with season 2 of Classicaloid was the director change. I felt Yoichi Fujita’s mastery of dumb comedy had a lot to do with season 1 being good. I could definitely feel the loss as this episode felt a bit dry, and there were definitely some flat angles and weird transitions that just made everything feel a bit… off. I’m sure I’m just nitpicking but it doesn’t help when you can make a direct comparison this season to Fujita’s stellar work on Mr. Osomatsu. That out of the way you can’t help but love this cast of dorks and at some point a hippo in fancy clothes puts them on a galactic train to Africa. So I think all is well for now.

Zigg’s Verdict:  New World Symphony

Despite the loss of A-tier director Fujita, I felt that this episode was mostly business as usual, which is a very very good thing. The balls-to-the-wall wackiness that the first season specialised in has been faithfully preserved, as have the spectacularly awful musical stylings and complete disregard for anything that isn’t funny. I’ve got a few reservations about them using noted asshole Richard Wagner as a character, but when Anton Dvorak is a pygmy hippo train conductor it’s hard not to just be wrapped up in the spectacular goofiness of it all.

Mr. Osomatsu

Osomatsu-san
Anime original manga spin-off by Studio Pierrot
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

What’s this again?

Six same faced sextuplets from a beloved showa era gag manga have grown up to be selfish, useless adults. After becoming a phenomenon with their 2015 anime series, success may have gone to their heads.

Jel’s Verdict: New Season, Same Matsus

The first season of Osomatsu ended in the most appropriate way possible: with everyone dead and floating in space. Where do you even go from there? I had no clue what to expect as I never do with this show, but the first episode of season 2 delivered the goods. Only Osomatsu could get away with mercilessly skewering its own fan base and having them thank them for it. That was a fun intro, but the second half where the brothers try to make “proper” anime really had me rolling. You could argue this episode used a lot of the same fourth wall breaking methods of parody as the now banned debut of season 1, but I just see it as picking up where we left off. I’m really looking forward to more.

Zigg’s Verdict: Better Than Ever

Honestly, I felt this second season debut might have been one of the best Osomatsu episodes we’ve seen yet. The show is always at it’s best when it’s wayward wandering lands on a strong enough gag to hold a sketch for a while, and both segments here are absolute humdingers. Some of Osomatsu‘s best tendencies are on display – the embrace of surrealism and negative continuity, the hand-biting humour, the willingness to play games with the medium – and the result is a barnstorming 20 minutes of nonstop laughs. Plus what’s sure to be one of the best animated giant robot battles this year.

Iro’s Verdict: Properly Back

I was pretty apprehensive about this, but this premiere was in top form. It deftly hit the two main beats of Osomatsu, with the complete human garbage side of the equation playing off the complete goofball side for some great laughs. It remains to be seen if there’ll be enough new jokes to keep things worth it, but it’s been two years, so I can hold out some hope.

Time Bokan: The Villains Strike Back

Time Bokan: Gyakushuu no San Akunin
Anime original by Tatsunoko Production
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

What’s this again?

Calen and Tokio are members of the JKK, an organization whose members travel back in time to discover the inevitably-goofy True History that’s been suppressed by those pesky history book manufacturers. They are faced by the nefarious Akudarma Gang – the OG terrible trio – and their multitude of evil mecha.

Zigg’s Verdict: Time & Time Again

While there’s definitely some good gags, it feels like a lot of the personality has been lost in this debut for the second season of Tatsunoko’s throwback kids show. The decision to focus on the Akudarma trio is understandable, considering they were far the best thing in Season 1, but they worked better as lovable scene-stealers, and don’t really have the wherewithal to be protagonists. Add to that the seeming loss of the ‘true history’ premise which gave a rough framework to the stories and this opener felt curiously listless and empty, lacking even basic plot movement. The crowbarring of edutainment style segments wasn’t great either. Let’s hope they can get back on track.

Iro’s Verdict: More Time Required

I’m sad to say the Season 2 premiere left me underwhelmed. It feels like some suit at Tatsunoko kicked in the door and said, “Season 1 was too much fun and not educational at all, you better make Season 2 educational!” Where before the time-travel gimmick was just a way to set-up a variety of goofy jokes, now it seems like the show is trying to provide tangible edutainment value at the expense of the “-tainment” part. Which is not to say all the fun and games are missing, but I’ll really have to give this one a few more, if at least to see what happened to poor Pico and Peralina…

Love Live! Sunshine!!

Anime “original” by Sunrise
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

What’s this again?

Second season of the first spinoff of the insufferably popular series of propaganda queer-bait about a bunch of high school idols who slowly come to the realization they’ll never be loved like the high school idols they’re supposed to replace. And now they‘re getting replaced, too!

Aqua’s Verdict: Rain On My Parade

Don’t call it a comeback, because this marketing machine never once stopped running. Like a rival from a bad shounen anime, Love Live! Sunshine!! first taunted me, then appeared to open up only to mercilessly stab me in the back when I least needed it to. Now, more then a year later, the blight is upon me once again, and out for vengeance. Vengeance for what, exactly, you may ask? I dunno, for calling it “a tepid, manufactured Big Lie which just happens to be told by some very talented people”, maybe? Truth be told, judging by this opening episode, I’m not even sure if the last part of that statement even applies anymore.

DLi1lreW0AM5EzH

Love Live! Sunshine!! season 2 kicks off with everything a season premiere should avoid — repeated story beats, repeated jokes, and most of all, repeated catchphrases. Every characteristic line from the first season makes an unwarranted and often unprompted reappearance as if anyone still watching this designed-by-committee tripe doesn’t know who these characters are supposed to be at this point. The entire episode feels like a poorly acted play, all the characters taking turns to blurt out lines without any sort of narrative cohesion and their perfectly choreographed shenanigans so closely resembling those of a hive mind it becomes as uncanny as the character designs. Seriously, how else do you explain them all meeting up in the exact same spot at the exact same time to reiterate the exact same vapid moral that stinks up every single episode of this godforsaken drab of a show?

I just don’t get it. I just don’t get how people can watch this and find it legitimately inspiring. I just don’t get how people can hold these characters dear when they might as well be replaced by glitched-out Furby dolls. I don’t get how people whose opinion I value can find in this the redeeming value I can only get out of it by imagining depth that isn’t there. I don’t get Love Live! And I’ve spent way too much time already trying to figure it out.

Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond

Kekkai Sensen and Beyond
Manga adaptation by Bones
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

What’s this again?

A dimensional portal opens up in New York City, transforming it into the melting pot of normal and abnormal known as Hellsalem’s Lot. We follow the peace-keeping secret society “Libra” and relatively new member Leonardo Watch, who possesses the All-Seeing Eyes of the Gods.

Iro’s Verdict: Blood Blockade Battlefront is Back

As Jel noted in his Season Guide, the question with this season can be boiled down to, “How inevitably ‘less good’ will this be because of the staff change?”, but some (not all, but some) of my fears were definitely assuaged by the premiere. A surprising amount of the much-loved BBB vibe has been preserved for BBBB, best shown with a wacky cold open that establishes most of the basic premise within the first five minutes or so. Apart from the classic iffy Bones anime original ending, BBB was perfect for just fun-time episodic shenanigans, so here’s hoping for some more of that.

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