The Roundup: Fall 2017 Volume 3

In this week’s installment…

I feel like this ship is slowly sinking as many of our Roundup shows continue to be slightly disappointing. Not bad mind you, but flawed enough to dampen our fun. I mean, how else do you explain Classicaloid employing talking dogs and me not really enjoying it? At least Blood Blockade Battlefront is in top form and I think Anime-gataris has finally won me over, and it seems Just Because is doing well enough to join us this week. What’s everyone else think of the season so far?

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

 

Mr. Osomatsu
Episode 5: “Osomatsu-san In the Summer”

Mondays 1:35 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I hate to say it but I have to: Osomatsu is out of jokes. This problem is compounded by the short skit format this week, which doesn’t give the gags any time to develop into something unique. Not surprisingly, the best bits then are the longer ones in the second half. The uncredited Karamatsu as Hentai Summer Kamen was weird enough to be amusing, and the final segment with the boys’ getting punched in the face with their social anxieties made their antics in the rest of the episode just barely tolerable enough. The half-heated “sheeh” to close things out was a nice final touch.

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Just Because!
Episode 4

Thursdays 8 am EST on Anime Strike

Aqua: I’m terrible at watching the stuff I watch without the company and/or support of my fellow Glorio kinsmen, but look, I finally watched Just Because! in time to add it to the Roundup! One thing I love about this show is how it deliberately tries not to be too charismatic, too idyllic; too like other slice-of-life shows. It doesn’t present an inaccurately idealized account of life, but one of bland suburbs and bleak skies, characters acting irresponsible or unreasonable, or having a bad moment just because. It’s the closest I’ve ever seen an anime come to watching teen life through the characters’ own eyes, rather than the rose-coloured view of the usual target audience for these kinds of shows. Rather than providing a temporary cure for the unshakable feeling that life ends with high school, Just Because! grasps that feeling and examines it through people who’re neck-deep into it, and tells you that it’s okay to be anxious of the future, and that that’s kind of messed up. One thing I do want to reiterate from my first impressions, though — I feel this show can’t fulfill what it sets out to do if it’s too scared to add some edge. Aside from some slight hints that Yoriko is crushing on Hazuki, the plots in Just because — supremely executed as they may be — are all still a bit cookie-cutter. My money’s on best new character of the year nominee Komiya to throw a spanner in the fledgling love dodecahedron and give me what I want, lest we have to file this one under “extremely good at being perfectly decent”, like so many of its peers.

Classicaloid – This was not as fun as it looks

 

Classicaloid
Episode 4: “Fever! Let’s Pugi”

Saturdays 7:00 am EST on HIDIVE

Jel: This episode was better than last week. The general weirdness of Dvorak being a hippo has arguably been the only interesting part of season 2 so running with that was kind of fun. That said, I feel like the bits with Dvorac struggling to fight his animal instincts were better covered in the truly bizarre (and fantastic) episode in season 1 when Schubert turned into a fish. We also had Chopin turn everyone into dogs for some reason which should have been cool but the whole thing still felt very meh. “Meh” is the absolute last thing I want from a show as colorful and creative as Classicaloid, and that’s all season 2 continues to deliver.

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Love Live! Sunshine!!
Episode 4: Don’t Be So Formal With Me!

Saturdays 10:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Aqua: A bit strange how the ever-chipper Love Live! wastes so little time on our heroines finally overcoming the hurdle that was too big for them last season. Or maybe this event they’re qualified for is something else entirely? I honestly wouldn’t know. What do we get after three episodes of storm and stress, then? A good old character focus episode, I’ll be damned! And it’s one for Dia too, the one character who didn’t really get one the first time around. For what it’s worth, Love Live! is at its best when it focuses on a single character for more than five seconds, which is usually when the usual animatronic parroting makes way for the actually worthwhile stuff — depth, character growth, jokes with payoff, y’know, all those things we would take for granted in any other story. Unfortunately, even within a well-established stock plot like “stuffy girl tries to loosen up”, Sunshine fails to bring anything new to the table. For some inexplicable reason, the show still refuses to break up the established trios and let characters in different grades interact with each other in any meaningful way, leaving Dia yet again to the whims of the two worst friends in the universe. For an episode all about one character learning to interact with other characters she usually doesn’t interact with, everyone sure keeps sticking dangerously close to their comfort zone. Once again we’re robbed of what could have been a fun comedy romp in favor of the usual, patented Love Live! schmaltz. Ah well, at least they didn’t screw up the “just be yourself” moral this time, unlike the last.

Love Live! Sunshine!! – OBJECTION!

March Comes In Like a Lion
Episode 25: “Chapter 50 June / Chapter 51 Lady Bug Bush (Part 1)”

Saturdays 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: It took an entire episode but maybe we’re finally getting to the good stuff? I guess it was fitting to recap Rei’s past and his current anxieties since it seems his experience with bullying will be relevant to the upcoming story with Hina. That said, it felt like a word for word recap of what we have already covered in previous episodes. For a show that is carrying on as if it never stopped, that seemed odd. I’ll take it if it means we’re getting back to Rei’s relationship with the Sisters and what looks like an opportunity to return some of the support he’s been given up to now. Reaching out to help Hina feels like the next logical step in his growth as a person, so I’m hoping that’s the direction we’re going.

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The Ancient Magus Bride
Episode 4: “Everything must have a beginning”

Saturdays 1:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Zigg: I’m jumping in for Aqua this week to try and articulate a problem I have about the show. Theoretically, Magus Bride is everything I want out of an anime – it’s beautifully directed and animated, has a rich and evocative mythology about it, and yet is a story that purports to be more focused on characters and individual growth than the flashy magical gimmicks. It’s that last part that i think is what’s causing me hesitation – despite its aim to be a very personality driven story, there’s a gaping hole at the heart of this show so far. Chise is set up as a sympathetic character, and I understand there’s a story reason behind her very passive nature, but she’s so totally lifeless in this role that it’s very difficult to engage with her on the deeper level. The best ‘hidden world of magic’ stories rely on a normal outsider to come in and frame our experience of this new existence through their own eyes, but Chise’s reactions are basically limited to ‘noncommittal’ and ‘mildly surprised’ so it’s tough to see her as our focus character. What with Elias largely being a flat character (deliberately so I’m sure) and pretty much everyone else we’ve bumped into so far being ancient mystic beings or jerks who want to kidnap Chise, there’s a vital touch of human heart and emotion missing from the core of the show. That’s not to say Magus Bride is a bad show or anything – it remains wonderfully acted, directed and imagined – but I feel like I’m yet to see the amazing flashes of agonising emotion that characterised the best moments of the prequel OVAs, and that’s frustrating.

Blood Blockade Battlefront – Oh look, it’s you and your favorite anime!

 

Bed Bath & Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond
Episode 4: Werewolf Mission: Chainpossible

Saturdays 3:10 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Iro: It’s Chain’s time to shine! Or I suppose to not shine, seeing as she turns invisible? To be completely frank, the explanation for why/how the invisible werewolves can turn invisible is some A++ grade anime bullshit, right out of a Fate Noble Phantasm or something. The difference is that BBB doesn’t take itself so gosh-dang seriously. and ultimately the explanation isn’t as important as the idea that Chain could disappear entirely should she invisible hard enough. Hence the “tokens”, powerful reasons for staying tethered to reality. Any other show would spin Chain’s crush on Steven as some beautiful expression of pure love allowing her to retain her form, but it’s funnier and substantially more relatable to make her tether the fear and shame of him discovering that she lives in a shitty apartment among piles of garbage. It’s also particularly effective after last week, where we saw that Steven lives in a meticulously-maintained fancy-pants bachelor pad. And, lastly, the soundtrack is killing it; I’m glad that BBB‘s still going strong four episodes in.

 

Anime-Gataris
Episode 4: “Club Room Go Boom!”

Sundays 10:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: This episode reminded me of a similar epiphany I had when watching Glorio cult favorite Love Lab. One of the main reasons I think Love Lab is good is that things actually happen. In both shows, I realized that when an antagonist showed up to threaten the club. Suddenly a group of kids standing in a room talking about anime production committees feels like it has a purpose. And yes, Erika’s story was kind of predictable but it had a lot of heart. Between that and some stellar comedic timing I guess I could draw a lot of parallels to Love Lab, even if Anime-gataris has a lot more flaws in its execution.

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