The Roundup: Fall 2017 Volume 10

In this week’s installment…

I, your brave Marlin, am here to give Jel a break (mostly) as he prepares for our year’s end festivities. Meanwhile, we give a “Ganbare, Pine Jam!” as Just Because! gets into production issues again, Hina continues to shine in March Comes In Like a Lion, and Anime-Gataris goes full Samurai Flamenco.

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

 

Mr. Osomatsu
Episode 10: “The Eitarou Family”

Mondays 1:35 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: This episode was weird and kind of unsatisfying, even by Osomatsu standards. The common denominator is the fact that none of the segments actually end. This would work with the Dayon/Dekapon chase or the Totoko/Nya fight but doing it multiple times per episode makes it lose any impact. Fortunately the main Jyushimatsu feature was pretty good. It makes sense kids would be amused by his cartoon noodle body and the mom’s positive reaction was certainly a twist. We kind of expect Jyushi to get these bizarre but strangely heartwarming skits at this point, but they also balanced it out by reminding us that he’s still kind of a horrible person like the rest of his brothers. That alone was enough to carry the episode into “decent” territory, although hopefully we will get something better next week.

 Just-Because-03-11

Just Because!
Episode 10: “Childhood’s End”

Thursdays 8 am EST on Anime Strike

Marlin: Filling in for Aqua to tell you all the buzz around Just Because! is well deserved. Pine Jam has been plagued by delays all season and that reared its head again this episode, but it never seems to translate into a dip in quality. They seem focused to learn from the mistakes they made in GAMERS. This episode is a pretty great encapsulation of how tastefully this show has handled the topic of teenage romances. Sure, Mio gets a little emotional out of nowhere, but unlike most shows where that would be the catalyst for two episodes of drama, she quickly realizes what her overreaction means: her feelings for Eita are real. Not to be outshined, Ena shows a great balance between her desires and her thoughts. She doesn’t let the former dominate, and so despite her clear feelings for Eita, she understands that there’s a greater history that existed before her photo obsession crashed into the mix. Eita in turn doesn’t completely shut her out, he may not be reciprocating her feelings but she’s become a friend for him in a place in his life where those are in short supply. I do wonder if the show is preparing us for a fake out, as the chemistry there is just so good. Alas, that’s probably just my shipper’s heart.

My only disappointment is how the final decision between Hazuki and Haruto went. I felt it would have been fine if she laid out the reality of her situation and made Haruto come to terms with the truth. Instead, at the very last moment she gives a glimmer of hope that honestly feels unfair to him. Have him wait four whole years for her to come back? That is a long time in anyone’s life, let alone a college student’s. She’s basically setting him up for further disappointment. If things work out in the future, let them work out, don’t give him false promises. Still, I like that I could see someone making that kind of demand. Honestly, inn my life I’ve known people who have done that for a year of studying abroad or something similar, and even that has left with more broken hearts than I’d care to tell.

I’m often pleased at Crunchyroll’s subtitle work, but bonus points for the appropriate use of HNNG.

March Comes In Like a Lion
Episode 29: “Chapter 64 Silver Wings / Chapter 65 River Scenery”

Saturdays 12:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Marlin: Another spectacular episode from Lion, which continues to shatter my expectations. It’s the one show I have to watch first thing after it comes out. My only criticism is that the first half of this episode seems like it would have made a better first half of last episode, before Rei faces off against Yamazaki. Not only would it have given us some much needed characterization for this guy that seems to come out of nowhere, but it would also give an ironic counterpoint to Rei’s accusation during the game that his play against Nikaidou was despicable. Rei may have had a point, but Yamazaki isn’t wrong, you have to do what you can to win, and some people don’t have the tenacity of Rei to see things through to the end. I’ve talked a bit about how shogi just seems to chew up and spit out its competitors. Another thing this aside gives is context: This was Rei only a few episodes ago. Now that he has renewed purpose in the form of Hina and her ongoing struggles.

Speaking of, I’m not kidding when I said this episode was spectacular. There’s so much subtle voice work that shows the care and concern of these characters. It helps that the adorable artwork makes Hina the most likable character this side of the comedy/drama divide. You have to admire her tenacity and her ability to show weakness. She’s still a teenager after all, and she can only hold this weight so much by herself. While I wished there was more about the fact that Rei’s behavior was perhaps a bit too forward for someone, even a friend, to do with a teenager at her most vulnerable. I suppose it shows the faith the Kawamoto family has put into Rei. He’s been trying to pay back for all they’ve done for him in the span of this story, and now he has finally found something only he can do.

 

Bed Bath & Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond
Episode 11: Spectral Eyes, Phantom Vision, Part 1″

Saturdays 3:10 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Marlin: This is a moment I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Leonardo has had a lot of time to show how he cares his sister. His daily struggles are the manifest proof of how he looks to her to give himself purpose. Of course, this is still Better Business Bureau and Beyond, so their reunion has to be stymied by the next threat. I am very interested in the idea of a former eye wielder, he has a lot of information that Leo could use about his abilities, but obviously he’s too sketchy to simply go along with him. I’ve really been enjoying Vignettes: The Animated Series, but bringing some actual stakes would be a welcome change. I’ll be interested to see if this last episode has enough meat on it to make a satisfying end of the season.

*cue I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing*

 

Anime-Gataris
Episode 11: “Our Friend Kouki’s Second Betrayal”

Sundays 10:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: It’s pretty common for anime comedies to break the fourth wall, even Anime-gataris itself has done that in a few spots. But this episode? This was taking it to the next level. It started to remind me of the old Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoons where the animator literally takes a brush to the screen to make their lives miserable. The difference here is Minoa has no clue what’s going on and the episode is directed like a horror flick. It’s all pretty brilliant and I hope it’s leading to the inevitable conclusion: Minoa accepting she’s in an anime now and using what she’s learned to fight back. Please let that be the last episode, PLEASE.

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5 thoughts on “The Roundup: Fall 2017 Volume 10

  1. Minor point: I don’t believe Hazuki says Haruto has to wait four years for her, just that he has to wait until she gets settled and comfortable in college before they can really start a relationship (with the obvious proviso that she’ll be far away for four years, of course).

    The dialogue in Just Because is just so naturalistic and on point, I really don’t think I’ve ever seen another anime which feels so true-to-life. Indeed, I don’t know if such a “realistic” portrayal is something anime fans actually want, as it kind of goes against the grain of what the medium usually seeks to accomplish (compare it to the theatrical and over-the-top production of March Comes in Like a Lion, which is much more traditionally in an anime style), but personally, this has easily been my favorite show of the season, and perhaps of the year, depending upon how it concludes.

    • I feel that’s essentially what she was doing with the comment about how it takes 30000 yen round trip to her college. Even if they were to start a romance like that, long distance just does not usually work. Its unfair of her to imply otherwise.

      I also wouldn’t say March is always theatrical, but I understand what you mean. Its portrayal of bullying or depression is accentuated by Shinbo’s signature expressive directing, but the writing has still very realistic when tackling those themes.

      • I dunno…even beyond the Shaft-isms, a character like Nikaidou in March is pretty “anime” in his speech and demeanor (and even in this recent revelation of his unspecified, presumably terminal illness). That’s not a criticism, but March is much more typical in not just its anime production flourishes, but in its characterizations (Rei’s teacher friend is another example), story beats and dialogue.

        There’s none of that in Just Because. No missing parents, no chunni characters, no fanservice, etc. Other than its production issues, and the fact that it takes place in high school, it’s as un-anime as an anime can be.

        I’m obviously an anime watcher, so I’m not criticizing the medium for what makes it different and special. Heck, just to cite one example, I love Mysterious Girlfriend X largely BECAUSE of how it utilizes the medium, the squick factor, and even fanservice all to push its romance along.

        But I think Just Because really stands out as something pretty unusual, and truly great. High school graduation is way in the rear view mirror for me, but man does this bring back a flood of memories.

        • Ah, hah, you have a point there. Just Because has been fantastically grounded, it’s hard to pull of realistic without getting dramatic but they do it well. The feeling it wells up in me is more associated with my college graduation than my high school one, since I’m actually still in close contact with most of my high school friends. There’s just something about anime’s ability to tap into that mono no aware that always gets to me.

  2. Mono no aware! Great point! That’s exactly the feeling that Just Because captures…

    I sure hope it sticks its landing next week.

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