The Roundup: Fall 2017 Volume 7

In this week’s installment…

HOW DO YOU DO, FELLOW KIDS? It’s the totally young and hip Jel here bringing you the latest anime hot takes and not fumbling to make a reference to Iyami doing his best Steve Buscemi impersonation… ANYWAY, anime was good this week, enjoy The Roundup.

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

 

Mr. Osomatsu
Episode 9: “Campaign Starting Now!”

Mondays 1:35 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: In a show where literally anything can happen, sometimes it’s also nice to just put the brothers in a room and let the sparks fly. The first segment was a good example of Osomatsu’s solid grasp of the daily annoyances of living with siblings (and why you move out when you’re an adult) and provides some quality, relatable comedy. By contrast, the second half delivered the bizarre, random kind of humor we got a lot of last week. How or why Iyami has become an arcade god isn’t important, the point is it’s weird and fun. It all made for a really solid episode that takes advantage of a variety of Osomatsu’s strengths. The second season is definitely picking up steam, to the point where I’m actually looking forward to it again.

Just Because! – It takes a special kind of apathy to be annoyed by a hug from Komiya.

 Just-Because-03-11

Just Because!
Episode 7: “Snow Day”

Thursdays 8 am EST on Anime Strike

Aqua: Have you all been good boys and girls and caught up with Just Because! during its week off? If not, you’ve been missing out on anime’s next step to creating the perfect humble teen drama. Humble teen drama is about the only thing anime is consistently decent at, and it’s good to see Just Because! vanquishing yet another big hurdle on the entire genre’s road to the top — it managed to pull off a love triangle that actually works. Natsume and Komiya are both compelling personalities in their own rights, with character arcs supported, rather than defined, by their ample chemistry with the equally interesting boy they’re fancying, and perhaps most importantly, they act like sensible human beings with respect for each others’ feelings. As usual, Just Because! invokes the melancholy dramedy vibe of cineasts like Shunji Iwai or Hirokazu Kore-eda in its portrayal of the oft-neglected facets of life. In this particular case, it’s the snowy weather and the effect it has on Natsume’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day tying the fates of our main characters together. It’s a memorable bit of a thematic consistency in a show that otherwise stands out for its general lethargy. Do not confuse its listlessness for a lack of care, though. Just Because! is a thoroughly clever and warm little show that deserves anyone’s attention.

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Love Live! Sunshine!!
Episode 8: “Hakodate”

Saturdays 10:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Aqua: There is something in Love Live!’s dialogue that keeps bothering me. Are these girls somehow telepathically connected and aware of an audience beyond the fourth wall that needs to be entertained? Is everyone in this show just so polite they’ll wait their turn before saying whatever variation on their speech quirk is appropriate to the situation at hand, or are their just mouths five seconds behind on their brains? If this is supposed to be what friendly banter is like, I’m not buying. Frankly, that might be my biggest issue with that show. I’m just not buying anything it throws at me. I’m just not buying that Saint Snow are ready to be all buddy buddy with Aqours now, nor am I buying that Aqours is apparently leagues beyond them now despite their music, performances, costumes — not to mention personalities — still being as suffocatingly boring as they were at the start of season one. And it’s not as if Love Live! doesn’t give itself plenty of chances to develop. I mean, if we ignore the utterly nonsensical presupposition that Dia somehow can’t be an idol anymore when she’s no longer in high school, this episode even had a pretty solid hook — with Ruby’s anguish about Sarah and Leah mirroring her fear of letting down her own sister. Unfortunately, “anguish” in Love Live! terms amounts to little more than some simpering looks and a whole lot of squeaky toy noises, teaching us zilch about Ruby and only the bare minimum about Saint Snow required to appreciate the episode’s big twist… which happens ten minutes before it actually expects us to start giving a crap. Then again, this is a show that solves problems by simply wishing them away, uses its characters as little more than catchphrase spouting automatons, and consistently assumes viewers will fill in developments that never actually happened on screen in their own heads. How can a show that takes itself for granted so egregiously, so arrogantly, ever pull off something as humble as character development?

Love Live! Sunshine!! – Sponsored by Emoji™!

March Comes In Like a Lion
Episode 29: “Chapter 58 Start of the Rainy Season / Chapter 59 Hachiya”

Saturdays 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I’m actually cool with the shogi matches when they are done like this. Aside from just not happening as often, this match was still more focused on Rei and not so much on his opponent. A lot of the previous matches would do a deep dive into the opponents background which, frankly, I could care less about. It’s also a lot more intense now that Rei has a sense of purpose. I’m still going to say his motivation is slightly misguided but he means well, I still want to see him win. Now if only they can keep this balance of primarily focusing on Rei’s life with an occasionally shogi match rather than the other way around, we can officially declare season 2 a success.

 

Bed Bath & Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond
Episode 8: Desperate Fight In the Macro Zone, Part 1″

Saturdays 3:10 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: This week saw the return of our old friends Deldro Brody and Dog Hummer and an adversary that Klaus can’t just punch his way through, so that is all pretty cool. Since this is only part 1 of presumably a two part story, we’ll be back next week with our full thoughts.

Anime-gataris – And now a few words about classic sports anime Fresh Prince of Tennis

 

Anime-Gataris
Episode 8: “Arisu Can’t Make Enough Money”

Sundays 10:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I would have never in a million years guessed that the CG animated idol dance that has served as Anime-gataris ending song would eventually set us up for a big get out of your seat and cheer moment, and yet here we are. I’ll be honest, I got slightly emotional once they got to screening their dumb, barely animated cartoon. Not because of the characters or the plot, but because it was such a sweet climax to the message of the show. As critical as we can be around here, deep down I think myself and the rest of the GLORIO crew really do love anime. I mean, why else would we keep writing about it every week for so many years, despite school and working full time and whatever other circumstances life has thrown at us? This series is really tapping into that love, not just of anime, but of sharing it with others. Now we just have to see where they go from here, considering this could have been a final episode with a little more epilogue. We’ll see next week.

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4 thoughts on “The Roundup: Fall 2017 Volume 7

  1. Two comments:

    1) I honestly can’t get over just how great the dialogue is in “Just Because.” It’s naturalistic, yet really sharp at the same time. Anime typically just doesn’t have writing this good. This is easily the show I most look forward to each week, wonky animation and all. (Also: Is anime REALLY that good at humble teen drama? To me, this show is on another level entirely from something like Tsuki ga kirei, which was pleasant, but packed nowhere near the same punch.)

    2) Regarding “Anime-Gataris,” maybe I’m in the minority, but I find ITS dialogue to be incredibly phony and flat. Yes, I love anime like anybody watching that show or reading this blog does, but that doesn’t mean I have to forgive a lazy script that seems to be just checking off “The Complete List of Anime Cliches.” I guess Gamers raised the bar too high for this kind of show, because I’m finding Anime-Gataris to be a total bore. In fact, I’m watching it pretty much only because I like Minoa’s character design. Her hair reminds me of Sae from the infinitely superior “Magic User’s Club.”

    • I’d agree that Just Because is better than Tsukigakirei, but the latter was still good at what it set out to do. “Humble teen drama” may not be the best moniker for this specific type of anime I’m talking about — but in general, I find anime most frequency excels when it puts dialogue and atmosphere front and centre. “Pleasant” is indeed the key word here — these types of anime usually aren’t anything too special, but they do hardly ever end up failing spectacularly as has pretty much become the norm for fantasy, science fiction or harem comedy shows lately.

    • Hmm, maybe I should have just made a full post…

      For Anime-gataris, I agree the dialogue can be flat but I wouldn’t say it’s phony. I think it’s all coming from a good place. To me, the clichés and the way they over explain things feels like they are reaching out to share anime with other people and tell existing fans that they’re not alone. It fits with the entire plot of the show, which is fighting to keep the anime club alive because enjoying anime with friends makes things so much better. I find that refreshing compared to most meta focused shows that cater to hardcore otaku and try to tell them it’s cool to be an anti-social loser (for example, see this season’s #HATEWATCH).

      As far as the GAMERS comparison, I think they’re both good and I liked GAMERS better overall but i don’t think they’re really the same type of show. GAMERS ended up having very little to do with video games and everything to do with the characters and their relationships. Anime-gataris does the opposite, where the characters solely exist as means to discuss anime with the audience. So ultimately GAMERS ended up being a romantic comedy while Anime-gataris is something closer to a documentary. If you think of it that way, I think the style of Anime-gataris makes more sense.

      Point is, the show has a lot of flaws (I’ve written about many of them in previous posts) and I can understand why some people might not like it, but I definitely don’t think it’s phony or lazy. It’s got a lot of heart and I think that’s been particularly paying off the past two episodes.

    • Going back in the history of things we’ve liked, I’d say it’s been a mainstay. March, GAMERS, Tsukigakirei, Euphonium, Yamada-kun, Ping Pong(at least I would classify it here, the sports element is mostly metaphorical), Kotoura-san, Mysterious Girlfriend X, Hyouka, My Little Monster, the first season of Chunibyo (though this also kinda shows how our tastes have refined somewhat over time), older stuff before we started blogging like Amagami SS or Toradora; there’s a history here for sure.

      Granted, this doesn’t mean anime can’t make terrible or trite teen dramas (Your Lie In April jumps to mind), but on a whole the genre has been pretty solid.

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