The Roundup: Winter 2018 Cute Anime BATTLE ROYALE Round 4

In this week’s installment…

The bodies are piling up as we approach the mid-point of the battle. A Place Further Than the Universe continues to intimidate the competition, but the fighting is fierce between just about everyone else. With Ms. Koizumi and Laid Back Camp slowly winning me over and School Babysitters always managing to pull out last minute saves, the next few weeks are going to be rough.

The Rules: We will watch and review every episode that is still in the contest. We will choose one show to eliminate every week based on the quality of that week’s episode and the series overall. We will also choose a “Nice Moment of the Week” and the series that wins will be immune from elimination next week.

ROUND 4, FIGHT!

 

Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles
Episode 5: “Tomato Ramen / Euglena / Huge Line”

Thursdays 7:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone, real or fictional, crush as hard as Yuu is crushing on Koizumi. I want to think it’s cute but it’s getting increasingly stalker-ish. I’m glad they at least address that to a certain degree, and again we see Koizumi is willing to hang out with others who aren’t openly lusting after her. Speaking of which, the euglena segment was bizarre. Aside from the fact they were excited about eating microscopic bug plant things, the dialogue barely sounded like things humans would actually say. I laughed pretty hard when glasses girl said something about her natural curiosity about single cell organisms, and for all the wrong reasons. Even so, it was a decent episode and I’d say Ms. Koizumi treads water this week.

   

Laid-Back Camp
Episode 5: “Two Camps, Two Campers’ Views”

Thursdays 10:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Between the random hot springs fan service and Rin’s bad start to her trip, I thought things were finally falling apart in the first few minutes. I was half expecting Rin to give up and start thinking she should have just gone with the other girls, undoing all the nice things I said about the show letting her do her own thing. Fortunately that didn’t happen, and ultimately we got a lot of talking about food and nice closing moment with Rina and Nadeshiko. So pretty much another average episode of Laid Back Camp.

Laid Back Camp – Rin about to drop the best indie folk album of 1999

 

How to Keep a Mummy
Episode 4: “You Can’t Play Tag by Yourself, and It’s Fun to Play with Others”

Thursdays 3:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I guess it’s sort of interesting to learn that Kashiwagi has been part of some underground network of monster caretakers this whole time. Even so, I’m not sure adding more, slightly less cute supernatural creatures to the mix is going to help. The attempts at more heavy moments are not really working for me either. Above all else though, I’m disappointed they didn’t make any “oni” and “onii-chan” jokes with Tazuki’s super imouto making her debut. What a missed opportunity.

 

Sanrio Boys
Episode 5: “Broken Rose-Colored Clouds”

Saturdays 10:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: This episode was a bit of a mess but I guess they pulled it together enough in the end. Ryou’s issues are certainly on brand and we were long overdue to find out more about the student council president. It just all so clunky it’s hard to take seriously. The best (worst?) example is the Pres sitting down Ryou and after saying “stop running away” or whatever he magically cheers up and wants to be friends. That’s… not really how people work. Even so, we’re still moving a positive direction so I think I’m willing to put with Sanrio Boys a little bit longer.

Artemis: Factoid: I have never once referred to anyone as “sugar” as a term of endearment.

After last week I was fully prepared to drop this show, but to my surprise I actually quite enjoyed this episode, which was probably the best one since the premiere. Ryou and the student council president, who have been hovering on the edges of the series up until now, seem to have a bit more complexity to their characters than any of the main trio (or at least, their issues are apparently not solvable over the course of a single episode). While a bit too overdramatic in delivery, I’m genuinely curious as to how such issues are going to be resolved – particularly in Ryou’s case, whose fierce revulsion of Sanrio (or indeed anything that could be considered in any way cute or feminine) is particularly deep-rooted. On a side-note though, I do wish Sanrio Boys would drop the whole audience-perspective thing they do for a few seconds every episode. It only detracts from the story’s focus and feels super awkward besides.

Little Witch Academia (2017) dir. Yoh Yoshinari

 

School Babysitters
Episode 5

Sundays 11:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Did we really need another creep in this show? Inui wasn’t as bad as the pedophile dude, but they could have found a better way to get Ryuichi thinking about love and setting up our inevitable love triangle with Inomata and whoever that other girl is. At least we got some great out of context lines like “What do I think about adultery?”. The second half much better as it took advantage of this show’s unique elements: the kids and a mean old woman with a heart of gold. Her knowing exactly what to say to Kirin was a great example of School Babysitters at its best. More of that and less random creepy classmates please.

Marlin: Yeah that first part was all kinds of problematic. Not for a second does our main character contemplate the impropriety of a student trying to date a teacher, even if adultery is an equally big problem. It also makes sense that we’ve had two scenes with the perpetually flustered girl and yet she has still not had any substantive role in either of them. How are we supposed to believe she’s crushing on Ryuichi if they literally have no connection? The second half was better, though I do err on Kamitani’s side in the “Do you lie to children for the sake of impossible dreams?” debate. I think it’s better to establish yourself as trustworthy to a child rather than lie to them out of convenience. Once they figure out the truth, they’ll just be embarrassed and it will only serve to plant the seeds of doubt in the future. If they’re just pretending, that’s fine, but she wanted to believe in real magic, which doesn’t seem like the hill to let her die on.

 

Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san
Episode 5: “Studying For the Test / Test / Test Results / Bookstore / Shelter from the Rain”

Mondays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: ​These past two episodes have really demonstrated Takagi is operating on an entirely different maturity level than Nishikata. She genuinely cares about him beyond a normal school crush and is so comfortable with her feelings she’s able to pull off stunts like the “I like you” bit at the end of this episode. Meanwhile, this poor, innocent boy… he can’t rub two thoughts together in his brain when she’s around. Aside from Takagi basically being psychic, it all seems pretty natural for kids their age and that is a key reason Takagi-san is a step above the competition.

Marlin: I think I’ve finally taken a side, Takagi deserves better. Sure, Nishikata seems like a pretty tolerable 13 year old considering how obnoxious that age usually is, but if he can’t pick up what she’s been dropping down at this rate, he’s absolutely hopeless. Her saying “I never lie to you” makes me want to go back through the footage. She has been very good at manipulating his behavior, or being misleading but has she really ever lied to him outright? It speaks to how well the pranks are constructed if she can pull them off without outright deception.

A Place Further Than the Universe – The Worst Punishment

 

A Place Further Than the Universe
Episode 6: “Welcome to the Durian Show”

Tuesdays 8:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: This episode did a good job recreating the fun of traveling with friends and the sick to your stomach feeling of having something go wrong when you’re thousands of miles from home. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like there’s always at least one of those moments when I travel. Of course this being the type of show that it is, everything works out in the end. Most importantly Hinata and Shirase got their chance to bond, and the friendship between the girls is such a strong selling point for this show. Now, on to Antarctica! Or, Australia is next? I really don’t care either way, this show is good.

Marlin: This show has been so consistently good that I wonder if I should only comment on when it finally has a bad one from here on in. Hinata has consistently prided herself on being the “mature one” of the group, so it was nice to see what happens when she’s put in a bind. It is very common for those who want to project that they have everything together to hide their problems, oftentimes until it’s too late. This is where Yuzuki and Shirase’s personalities really shine. It makes sense that an actress can tell when someone is lying, and Shirase owns up to her stubbornness to break through Hinata’s shell. For all the attention given to Kimari last episode, it seems to me that she is the one least integrated into this group. At every point when there was drama, her opinion didn’t seem to matter, and when it came time for Yuzuki and Shirase to go over Hinata’s head, she was completely out of the loop.

Euri: Another great episode, but can we just abandon the #Deep #MakesYouThink speeches? I don’t think my eyes could have rolled back into my skull any further when we were treated to a minute or two of Mari talking about how people are just living lives out here. She should have joined Shirase and Hinata in eating durian for that.

Nice Moment of the Week™

Brought to you by Starbucks: Official Off-Camera Coffee of Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles

Shiny Chairwoman – School Babysitters 

Struggling to decide whether to tell the kids that magic is real or not and neither option feeling quite right, our favorite eccentric chairwoman knew exactly how to hit the middle ground. Understanding when to let kids learn and figure things out themselves is something that only comes with experience. In addition to calming the kids down, it was clearly a good lesson for Ryuichi. Also, I’m just a sucker for any time this crazy old lady shows her softer side, so School Babysitters wins its second Nice Moment™. Thanks to Marlin for coming up with the Little Witch Academia reference for this week’s Nice Moment™. Also, shout out to this weeks sponsor, Starbucks: When you’re stalking your crush in unbearable heat, Starbucks is waiting across the street.

This Week’s Victim Is…

How to Keep a Mummy

We’re starting to get deep enough into this contest where a show is going to need more than surface level appeal to survive. How to Keep a Mummy really has nothing beyond it’s cute title character and as adorable as he is, it’s become harder and harder each week to stay interested. There were some twists this week that show some potential, but I’m not anticipating those will be enough to turn this ship around. Sorry Mii-kun, I’m going to look away while you cry those huge cartoon river tears and declare this show…

3 thoughts on “The Roundup: Winter 2018 Cute Anime BATTLE ROYALE Round 4

  1. How To Keep A Mummy definitely didn’t do so well this week. The lack of focus on the Mummy didn’t help as the newly introduced character didn’t even have half the appeal, and there really isn’t any other reason to watch the show so far.

    • Yeah unfortunately I don’t think adding more characters is going to improve the show much. I saw screens from the newest episode that looked really cute though…

      • I will admit, the next episode has done a bit to improve my thoughts on the show, but still, cute is about all it has going for it as a show. If the cute level drops the show just doesn’t have anything else to fall back on.

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