The Roundup: Spring 2018 Volume 7

In this week’s installment…

It’s an extra large edition of the Roundup as things get weird and we have a lot to say about it. We we were already deep into Amanchu’s bizarre fantasy turn but I was definitely not expecting Last Period to bring up North Korea and Japanese rearmament. Yeah, it’s that kind of week.

 

Real Girl
Episode 9: “About Our Mutual Misunderstandings”

Tuesdays 4:00 pm EST on HIDIVE

Jel: ​There’s a few big problems that have been bothering me the entire run of Real Girl and they kind of ballooned out of control this week, so let me get a few things off my chest: First up, a lot of Tsutsun’s (and other nerds like him) problems are somewhat self inflicted. Sure, I can see how he might of been teased like in the flashbacks we saw this week, but the only reason those things sting is because he puts too much importance on anime and games in the first place. This is the part of the “nerd persecution complex” I talked about when the show started. I’m not saying nerds shouldn’t like what they like or change themselves just to fit in, I’m just saying if you value real people and relationships above fictional things then those bumps in the road sort themselves out without making you so dumb that you don’t understand basic concepts like jealousy. Seriously, you’d think he’d at least have watched enough anime to figure that one out by association.

It is true that Tsutsun is aware of this now and he does explicitly mention he has just been looking for someone to blame up to now. But that brings up the second, bigger problem: there is only so much patience good intentions can buy you. It’s not Igarashi’s responsibility to teach him how to be a real person. She can certainly choose to help him but to what extent is entirely up to her. Any implication that she is obligated to put up with makes me furious. I’m not entirely sure that is what the show is saying so I’m not really mad yet, but there does seem to be some hinting that she bears some blame in all this. Hopefully that’s not the case. The fact that they are bringing up any of this is probably still a net positive, but how they resolve Tsutsun and Igarashi’s latest rift might have a heavy influence on my final opinion of the show.

Last Period – This is an actual conversation that happened in this dumb gacha show

 

Last Period: the journey to the end of the despair
Episode 8: “Swimsuit Episode”

Wednesdays 12:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: ​When a parody show like Last Period decides to call an episode “Swimsuit Episode”, you kind of expect they will parody anime swimsuit episodes. That’s not what happened. They did indeed deliver a swimsuit episode, parading out every character we’ve seen plus a dozen more in skimpy outfits and most of the episode was bad, but fine whatever. Let’s talk about the final third, when things got weird. I’m not sure exactly how to explain it, but an enemy faction shows up and there’s a whole speech about missiles and military exercises and “taking a stand” and the whole thing sounds suspiciously like Japan’s situation with North Korea and potential rearmament????? At that point there’s only a few minutes left in the episode and they hadn’t wrapped up the main plot about a spiral possessing the girls’ swimsuits or whatever, so everyone’s clothes just explode and a giant sea monster appears and yells things like “FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION!” before also exploding.

ANYWAY, I don’t know anything about specific Japanese politics but I do know it tends to be a little more taboo for things like anime or games to be critical of the government than it might be here in the US or other places. So I wonder if the makers of Last Period are using their little anime no one is watching to make a statement. Maybe that’s why they had the sea monster thing yell FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION at the end? Regardless of the details, it was too specific to be a random joke and I’m pretty curious now, maybe I’ll try and do some research. Oh, and the joke with Gajeru blasting off on a missile was great.

Steins;Gate 0 – really twisting the knife this week

 

Steins:Gate 0
Episode 8: “Dual of Antinomy -Antinomic Dual-“

Wednesdays 1:30 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel I predicted last week that our reunion with Kurisu would be short lived and sure enough, it was. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t important though. We’ve had glimpses and hints at how much Okabe misses her through Amadeus, but this is the full on reminder of not only the pain he’s going through, but also how important their relationship was in the original series. It was really the heart and soul of the show. I feel much more invested (or maybe re-invested) in finding a timeline where everyone lives. That said, I’m starting to wonder if that possibility exists. Based on the evidence we currently have, I think Amadeus is the one that tried to send Okabe to the beta line to be with Kurisu, and Kurisu will keep trying to send him back to be with Mayuri. The real Kurisu has to win that match up, right? Steins;Gate 0 will be continuing through next season so a lot could happen between now and then, that’s just the way I’m seeing it at the moment.

Marlin: I’ve already spoken a bit about how well this season has dealt with Okabe’s relationship with Kurisu, so I’ll just let this episode speak for itself. I do feel a little sheepish, as even I didn’t completely understand what happened at the end, but I was able to find the answer pretty quickly: The implication here is that, in the original series, Kurisu came into the apartment after Okabe deleted the file which sent him back to the alpha timeline, and this dmail delayed Kurisu for just long enough that it prevented him from saving Kurisu instead. The sequence of events was a bit tougher for me to suss out this time, but overall I was engrossed with how this reunion would affect Okabe’s efforts in the alpha timeline, as well as what is really going on behind the scenes to make this all happen.

Hinamatsuri – I nearly did a spit take at this scene

 

Hinamatsuri
Episode 9: “Life Is About Survival”

Fridays 9:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: ​I can’t ignore this part so let’s get it out of the way: Mao’s introduction was the first time I felt like the “crash landing naked” thing started to cross into intentionally skeevy territory. To be fair, it mostly had me thinking how painful the sun burn would be to be if you were out on the beach in the tropical sun for days with no clothes. That out of the way, let me say we were long overdue for some Yakuza gags, and Nitta’s “promotion” and “celebration” were some of the best examples of the show’s black humor that we’ve seen. My only question now is how they’re going to use Mao this late in the series. Her segment ends with a map showing her sailing to Thailand, is she going to work her way through Asia in the last few episodes? I can never seem to predict what this show is going to do so maybe I’ll just keep my mouth shut and see what happens next week.

Marlin: I’m not quite sure why this girl would go eight days without thinking of making shelter and clothing for herself, but I suppose the survival situation was more a vehicle for all the Castaway jokes than anything. There is something to be said about the goofy dissonance between this supposedly hardcore world Hina and company come from and they way they act on Earth. At least she’s finally here, even if it seems she’s gonna have to make some kinda reverse Stardust Crusaders adventure to get where she needs to. Nitta’s bit was the kind of black comedy that has been killing it the last few weeks, and I’m glad to say it’s no less funny this week either. Definitely one of the best uses of misunderstandings, as well as reminding you that yes, Nitta is still a part of a hardcore Yakuza gang.

Amanchu – I believe that says something like “disappointed”

Amanchu! ~Advance~
Episode 9: “The Story of Tears and an Endless Dream”

Saturdays 11:00 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: ​Now that the Peter arc is over and we know to what extent Amanchu has jumped the shark, we can try and evaluate what just happened and whether or not it was all worth it. I’m going to say no. Amanchu’s turn to fantasy elements was handled competently enough (aside from the awful and predictable reveal about Peter’s true identity) and had this been the show from day one it would probably be fine. Not sure I would have kept watching it, but at least everyone would know what it was. The problem is by making this leap they’ve basically killed the show we know. How are we supposed to go back to just normal friends hanging out and going scuba diving? How are supposed to get back to Teko’s too real inner monologues and the heartwarming support of her friends without remembering one of the their teachers is actually Peter Pan and that Teko has some kind of weird dream powers? It’s a good thing the show is almost over because had this been a few episodes earlier, I probably wouldn’t even bother continuing. Instead, I’ll do my best to enjoy what we have left.

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