The Roundup: Winter 2018 Cute Anime BATTLE ROYALE Round 5

In this week’s installment…

The competition is getting fierce as I’m starting to contemplate cutting shows I actually like. Ms. Koizumi, Laid Back Camp, and not surprisingly A Place Further Than the Universe all have solid episodes, but Sanrio Boys, School Babysitters, and even Takagi-san expose some of their nagging flaws. Will one of those be the next to get axed? Read on.

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 5, FIGHT!

 

Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles
Episode 6: “Morning Ramen / Hiyashi / Museum”

Thursdays 7:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Have we ever seen an anime situation where a brother and sister are fighting over the same girl? Sure we’ve seen plenty of sisters fighting other girls over their brother (sadly) but throwing Yuu’s brother in the mix is an interesting twist. The second half was a bigger deal though, as we once again get an opportunity to humanize Koizumi and make her into something more than just a ramen eating robot. The “lost child” angle is pretty cliché but effective, as was the silly idea that her mom would give her a coupon for German ramen as a reward for helping. Overall, a really solid episode.

Laid Back Camp – The most interesting man in anime

   

Laid-Back Camp
Episode 6: “Meat and Fall Colors and the Mystery Lake”

Thursdays 10:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Just as easily as Rin was able to go on her own camping trip, we transition into her accepting an invite from Nadeshiko. I feel like that would have been a bigger deal in other anime of this genre, so I’m glad to see the show continue it’s natural, believable interactions between the cast. Rin does seem to have some kind of social anxieties, or at least she understandably has to work up the strength to talk to Nadeshiko, but again they don’t make a bigger deal out of it than it needs. It all makes for a pleasant watch, you might even say it’s…. laid back. OK, I’ll show myself out. Just not to a real campsite.

 

Sanrio Boys
Episode 6: “Above the Distant Clouds”

Saturdays 10:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Nishimiya is really annoying. There was zero justification for how angry he was and while it was good Kouta stood up to him, I kind of wish he gave him a quick slap while he was at it. Also kind of lame that they ignore what I think was the real source of his issues (being treated like a girl) and focus on the Sanrio thing because of course, that’s what we’re here for. On a more positive note, I could kind of relate to Seiichiro as a person who is catastrophically bad at asking for help and always trying to fix things myself. HIs little arc reinforced the positive message we keep seeing about being OK with talking about your feelings. That said, I don’t think it was enough to balance the Nishimiya bits and I fear Sanrio Boys’ days may be numbered.

Artemis: It’s nothing personal, but I feel like I’m about done with Sanrio Boys. This episode was by no means flat-out terrible, but I wasn’t wowed by it either and it seemed to last about twice as long as usual. In large part, that can probably be put down to Ryou throwing tantrums and snapping at people, blatantly avoiding his problems whenever possible, and generally displaying all the maturity of a 5-year old. If he genuinely wants people to take him seriously, he should probably just stop acting like a spoiled twerp (and possibly also consider a hair style change). Look, I’m as surprised as anyone that Sanrio Boys has actually made it this far, and for that I give it major props. I think its hard really is in the right place, and that’s not something I take for granted. Unfortunately, I’m just more or less out of patience at this point and have plenty of better things to watch.

School Babysitters – WHY IS HE IN THIS SHOW

 

School Babysitters
Episode 6

Sundays 11:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: Oh great, an episode with the two worst characters, three if you want to count sleepy pink hair dude. He’s been kind of comically irresponsible up to now but for some reason I found him more annoying than usual this week. Yes, he made sure Kotaro was OK on his errand but doing so by bribing teacher creeper dude with a photo was somehow worse. Kotaro himself is adorable of course and that counts for a lot, but this was definitely not School Babysitters’ best work.

Euri: Another solid episode, even if we did have to put up with the creeper for a bit. Personally I loved the attention the random schoolkids were giving Kotaro as he went on his first errand, holding themselves back while keeping a watchful eye over him. There’s actually a Japanese TV series about this, some of which have been subbed. Give it a watch if you liked that part of this episode, just be warned that it’s sickeningly cute.

 

Karakai Jozu no Takagi-san
Episode 6: “Tandem Riding / First Day of Summer Vacation / Test of Courage / Summer Science Project / Water Tap”

Mondays 11:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: ​As we get deeper into the competition, I’m a bit worried the segments with the three girls are going to be a liability. They’re so flat and boring that it’s hard to believe they’re written by the same author. The mainline Takagi-san segments do such a great job recreating the dumb little mind games that swirl around your brain during your first crush, and then in the other 30% of each episode we get hit with insightful bits like “I don’t want to do homework” and… well that’s about all this week. I feel like it was particularly bad this episode, which is a shame because Takagi and Nishikata’s summer vacation was great otherwise.

Takagi-san – Yes

 

A Place Further Than the Universe
Episode 7: “The Ship That Sees the Universe”

Tuesdays 8:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I love how the adult women are portrayed as both very competent and determined but also capable of enjoying themselves. When they’re together, they really don’t act too much different than our main girls and it’s kind of sweet. I also appreciate getting to see some of the cracks in this expedition, which has been otherwise coming together all too easily the past few episodes. The show isn’t taking for granted how ridiculous this entire trip would seem in reality and seeing how hard the characters have to work to pull it off makes them more endearing. I’d still say the more heavy aspects (like any time Shirase’s mother comes up) are a bit too ham fisted, but so long as that stays within acceptable range I’m good.

Nice Moment of the Week™

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

A Catchy, Witty, Sensational Speech – A Place Further Than the Universe

Surprisingly, South Pole Girls hasn’t won this thing yet despite being the front runner the entire time. That changes this week as I feel like one of the big emotional moments in the episode actually felt justified. We’ve already established Shirase is capable of flipping the switch on her normally shy personality, and having her unintentionally fire up the crowd just felt right after learning what they’ve been through. I suspect the heavier moments of this show will continue to be hit and miss, but I think this one was a hit. Finally, shout out to Starbucks for sponsoring us two weeks in a row: When your anime needs a famous coffee shop, let Starbucks be your favorite name drop.

This Week’s Victim Is…

Sanrio Boys

You know what? I’m proud of Sanrio Boys for even making it this far. Sure it benefitted from having incredibly low expectations going in and it is still ultimately a Sanrio commercial, but I appreciated the attempts to present young men sharing their feelings and enjoying things that are not traditionally “masculine” as a positive thing. That said, hurdling low expectations will only get you so far and I’m afraid the show has hit it ceiling. I don’t see it being able compete with the remaining shows, and so Sanrio Boys you are officially….

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2 thoughts on “The Roundup: Winter 2018 Cute Anime BATTLE ROYALE Round 5

  1. Sanrio Boys definitely overcame the low expectations most of us had going in given it actually did have a story and some reasonable ideas. But yeah, it isn’t really enough to carry a whole season.

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