The Roundup: Fall 2017 Volume 2

In this week’s installment…

Some of our returning shows are starting to lose their luster, but don’t worry, there’s still a lot of good anime going on. Old reliable favorites like Mr. Osomatsu and Blood Blockade Battlefront are holding it down, but I’m not entirely sure why Aqua is still making himself watch Love Live! Sunshine!!.

Other Anime Coverage: Recovery of an MMO Junkie | #HATEWATCH: A Sister’s All You Need

 

Mr. Osomatsu
Episode 4: “Matsuzou and Matsuyo”

Mondays 1:35 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Osomatsu likes to drop a somewhat serious segment every couple of episodes, so we were about due for one this week. Peeking into Pappa-matsu’s current state of mind was at the very least a fresh perspective as we’ve been mostly focused on the twenty-something scramble to figure out what you’re doing with your life. While he probably should have just talked to his wife about how he feels, I did really like the final scene in which the two communicate a lot with only saying a few words. The ability to mix quiet, subtle moments like that into loud and silly comedy is director Yoichi Fujita’s greatest strength so I tend to like these more serious episodes the best. Now if only they could clone him to direct Classicloid, speaking of which…

Mr. Osomatsu – It’s no “Jyushimatsu Falls In Love” but I’ll take it

 

Kino’s Journey – The Beautiful World
Episode 3: “Bothersome Country”

Fridays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Gee: For better or worse, Kino’s usage of the countries Kino visits as observations of human nature can be quite bizarre, novel, or in some cases, problematic. It’s hard to watch this episode in which a powerful nation (modeled explicitly after modern day Japan) uses its technological superiority to invade and ruin a neighboring nation merely for the crime of being in their way, and not think about Japan’s own questionable imperial history. Throw in the paper thin justifications and it comes off as myopic at best. Now normally I’d chalk this up to the generally neutral nature of Kino’s Journey, rarely making moral or qualitative judgement of the actions of its characters, leaving it up to the viewer to decide. However, with the end literally using Kino as a mouthpiece for the dreadful, “all sides are bad” rhetoric and the show itself going out of its way to portray the offending nation as in the right while the victim, “deserved it,” I can’t help but come away from it with a bad taste in my mouth. We’re talking about people who literally considered murdering other human beings because they didn’t want to make their own children sad. And Kino’s Journey makes it clear that we were supposed to sympathize with them. Unfortunately for them, I’m not swayed. All this episode really does is leave me skeptical of where else this new anime will take us.

 

Classicaloid
Episode 3: “Ever Since the Day We First Met”

Saturdays 7:00 am EST on HIDIVE

Jel: Sorry folks, I found this episode to be almost unwatchable. Everything that happened was painfully predictable and it felt like the jokes dragged on forever. I don’t care about Wagner other than wanting to see him get exposed, I don’t care about Kanae’s friends as hard as they were trying to sell us on the one with the glasses, and let’s be honest, Mozart is the worst Classicaloid. They even waste Claskey Klasky by not giving them any screen time save for like one recycled “Tchaiko is an old man” joke. Classicaloid does King’s Game should have been a great opportunity for something bizarre and creative but instead this episode just goes through the motions in the most annoying way possible. At this rate I’m pretty worried about the rest of the season, hopefully we can get something better next week.

Love Live! Sunshine!! – All aboard the train wreck!

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Love Live! Sunshine!!
Episode 3: “Rainbow”

Saturdays 10:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Aqua: You  know how the best bit of every heist movie is the bit where they get the gang together? There’s a reason why sequels with the gang already together hardly ever work, and when your characters are already flat the cardboard they’re cut from, there’s no future for them after their introductory episode besides blathering out lines so generic any other character could’ve said them. Anyone not named Chika or Riko might as well be interchangeable at this point. Like, since when does Ruby snark? It’s looking ever more likely that the only thing keeping Love Live’s characters from becoming a tightly coordinated flea circus of infuriating catch phrases is drama. And boy howdy, is this show bad at drama. I’ll give, my dear rival, you almost had me there when it looked like for once, the laws of space and time wouldn’t somehow bend over backwards to make sure Aqours can both have their cake and eat it. When they performed a halfway decent song in a gorgeously directed sequence entirely bereft of shady CGI, I was almost ready to give you the benefit of the doubt again. But then you had to go and be Love Live! again. Inspirational speeches, deus ex machinae, glorified MikuMikuDance routines, yadda yadda, you know the drill. At least give me something new to complain about, will you?

March Comes In Like a Lion
Episode 24: “Chapter 48 Chaos / Chapter 49 Kumakura”

Saturdays 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I’m going to take a break from complaining about too much shogi (still valid) and let’s talk about Kyouko and Gotou. We don’t need a Gotou redemption arc. He only exists to show that Kyouko has major daddy issues. Trying to paint him as “actually a good guy” just feels weird and kind of insulting. Implying he may never have actually cheated on his wife takes the teeth out of previous episodes, and presenting their still very unhealthy interaction as funny did not sit right with me. Perhaps most importantly, I don’t think it serves the main plot of Rei’s healing process very well. “Maybe bad people are just misunderstood” is too naive a message. I expected more from this show, and my concerns for where we are headed are getting worse each week.

March Comes In Like a Lion – THIS IS NOT CUTE OR FUNNY STOP

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The Ancient Magus Bride
Episode 3: “The balance distinguishes not between gold and lead”

Saturdays 1:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Aqua: A more contemplative and slower-paced episode of The Ancient Magus’ Bride this week, as Chise and Elias travel to Iceland to visit the latter’s former master and help him secure an elder dragon’s passing into the next life. While that means they’re basically just using Chise’s powers to euthanize the old codger, I believe Elias had other reasons to take his apprentice on this particular errand. Perhaps he knew watching the death of a dragon would teach Chise a thing or two about the value of life? Initially, Nevin seems to affirm Chise’s suicidal mindset, musing about death and how it’s just a part of life. Yet in the end, he refuses to accommodate her reluctant envy and urges her to live, if not for herself, then for everything she could possibly mean to others. In seeing the perfect, peaceful, good death she craves, Chise realizes she’ll never know this kind of peace if she doesn’t live to the fullest first. It’s a clever bit of reverse psychology, but most of all it is a challenge, from someone who has seen it all, to anyone who hasn’t seen enough yet. In that regard, the wand Nevin promises Chise serves not only as a reward for her efforts in studying magic, but for her efforts in studying life as well.

 

Bed Bath & Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond
Episode 3: “Day In, Day Out”

Saturdays 3:10 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Iro: This is the kind of episode that has hardly any business being in a single-cour show, and consequently it’s the kind of episode I can really appreciate. My favorite episode from Season 1 was the Quest for Chow with Zed and Zapp, an episode where the cool fight against the baddies was entirely skipped in favor of goofy antics with the boys. This one lets us get a glimpse into Chain and Steven – who were almost entirely absent from Season 1 – and it looks like next week is going to focus further on everyone’s favorite “invisible werewolf”, so we can talk more about her then. As for Steven, it’s nice to get some characterization that goes beyond “cool guy and Klaus’s #2”, though one could argue it edges a bit into anime edgelord territory. I think the key difference here is that the show subtly establishes Steven actually does want friends and relationships, and shows more of a sense of resignation over being almost assassinated than any melodramatic angst. As for the way he deals with it, it does create some good contrast with Klaus, who’s firmly in the role of quirky-and-kind boss man; this way Steven gets to be the one we know is willing to do the bad shit. Also, just sayin’, that ED is still hella good.

Blood Blockade Battlefront – I mean, Zapp really deserves this

 

Anime-Gataris
Episode 3: “Erika, Cosplayer x Cosplayer”

Sundays 10:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Anime-gataris might not be good, but if there’s one upside to watching this it might be making me OK with admitting I like anime. We tend to criticize things a lot around here so I feel like we don’t say that enough. Rather than worship anime as an alternative to real life, Anime-gataris has a very innocent, almost sweet love and respect for the medium that is kind of contagious. Sure I might cringe when they get so meta that they discuss the “Three Episode Rule” in their third episode, but it feels like their heart is in the right place. If anything I’m content to stick around for the off-brand titles like “Micross Gamma” and great overall presentation. We’ll also have to see if they have any surprises in store now that the club is official.

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