The Roundup: Summer 2018 Volume 4

In this week’s installment…

It feels like all the shows that were good last week were bad this week and vice versa, save for Planet With which is always pretty great. Fortunately, Asobi Asobase joins the Roundup to make its claim for best “girls behaving badly” show of the season. Sorry, Chio’s School Road, I think they have you beat at this point.

Banana Fish
Episode 6: “My Lost City”

Wednesdays on Amazon Prime Video

Jel: Ash’s history of abuse is unfortunately all too real as is the impact it has had on his relationship with his father. No matter what happens you can’t change your biological family, and it’s a lot harder to just cut ties than it sounds. My biggest problem with the show’s depiction of this is how we are meant to feel like dad redeemed himself despite letting the previous abuse go on. Sure he went to the police at first, but “make sure you get paid next time” is not the next logical step here. It’s also unfortunate but completely predictable that the woman in this story has to be sacrificed because OF COURSE she has no other value than being a plot device for the men. Another incident you can probably chalk up to the times the manga was written in I suppose, but we are in 2018 now (as is the show’s setting) so that’s no excuse.

Chio’s School Road
Episode 6: “Everyone’s Own Path / Chio-chan Eludes”

Fridays 10:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: *Sigh* I guess we’re following up the best episode of Chio-chan with the worst. The groping at the end of the Kabaddi episode was the worst thing the show has done, and the first half of this week’s episode, doubles, triples, and quadruples down on it. Teaming up a predatory lesbian with a homeless pervert who ruined his life grabbing girls on trains and then trying to see them as redeemable characters is a really bad look. It’s going to be hard to get that taste out of my mouth. On top of that, the second half, while not offensive, was just plain bad. They did the thing where they stretch a very simple sight gag that could have been wrapped up in three to five minutes to a full half episode. I don’t want to overreact too much to one bad episode, but I really hope this show finds some consistency soon.

Chio’s School Road – Why this episode is bad in one sentence

Revue Starlight
Episode 5: “Is “Shine” Even Possible”

Saturdays 9:00 am EST on HIDIVE

Jel: This episode flirts with greatness in a way that drives me way more crazy than if it was just bad. I keep complaining about Revue Starlight’s lack of consequences, of danger if you will. The feeling that if we peel back the curtain we’d find something truly horrifying hiding beneath all this. Mahiru’s obsession with Karen dips a toe in that territory. Getting flustered at holding her sweaty towel and trying to secretly drink from her water bottle should be super creepy red flags and for a few minutes they are. It makes her comedy-based attacks in the auditions somewhat terrifying, in a good way. And yet by the end of the episode, they do the most obvious idol anime thing and make her realize she really does want to be an actor idol and she should ganbare and do her best. At this point I’ve given up on my slim hope that anything else is going to happen here and seeing as I’ve taken on another show to cover, well… if you don’t see this in the Roundup next week, you know what happened.

My Hero Academia
Episode 56: “RUSH!”

Saturdays 5:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Marlin: The pacing of these fights is just all over the place. Midoriya’s struggle is resolved in an instant, whereas the rest of Class 1-A wastes time watching a bellybutton laser. I know the show’s name is My Hero Academia, but it’s just really hard to take these low-stakes school arcs seriously when we just saw All Might destroy an immortal monstrosity two months ago. I’m also a bit incredulous that everyone from 1-A passed this first test. Hopefully the next stage raises the stakes a bit.

Asobi Asobase – This is actually the nicest thing anyone has ever said in this show

Asobi Asobase – workshop of fun –
Episode 6: “Asterisk | Studying for Exams | A New Look | Spirited Combat, Again”

Sundays 9:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I was hesitant to add Asobi Asobase to the Roundup for a lot of reasons. For one, the nature of the show doesn’t lend itself to much analysis and I wasn’t sure I’d have much to say. More importantly though, I was concerned about the low ceiling the first two episodes establish. Was this really going to be about a bunch of terrible girls playing dumb, low stakes games together? Fortunately that hasn’t been the case in the last four episodes, which have all been comedy gold. The biggest difference is the added wild card of Hanako’s rich family, providing the hilariously creepy Maeda and bizarre, absurd segments like this week’s pretty boy study bot. Now I feel like anything can happen in this show and that’s exactly what this type of comedy needs.

Planet With
Episode 6: “Paladin Break 2”

Sundays 10:30 am EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: So is Planet With over now? The bad guy is dead, all the heroes have lost their powers, what else are we going to do? This certainly had a last episode feel to it, with both sides shouting their ideals and a prolonged battle that ended with someone jumping out of their mech and punching their adversary in the face. I’m trying not to complain about the visuals every week but let’s just say it was a fantastic episode in spirit. As far as what happens now, the next episode is titled “Sirius” so maybe we’ll be leaving Earth? I really don’t know, and that might be my single favorite thing about Planet With.

Hanebado – Maybe I’m just old, but I thought this looked familiar

Episode 7: “I’ll Mop the Floor With Her”

Sundays 12:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Jel: I’m so happy Hanebado pulled themselves together and put out a great, focused episode. They do a good job making us feel ambivalent about Ayano’s victory. We’ve been wanting to see pink-twin-tails girl get destroyed for a long time now and it feels great at first, but then seeing the dark places Ayano has to go to get here makes us think twice about it. Her creepy murder face is a little hard to take seriously, but the fact that she’s trying so hard to put on a smile and be cheerful as she steamrolls the competition is kind of terrifying in an interesting way. One thing I do think they waffled on is this ongoing hard work versus talent debate. They made a big deal about how hard pink hair girl worked and yet she still got destroyed by Ayano’s raw talent and emotion. I think there will be more to discuss on that after Nagisa’s match next week, so we’ll come back to that later.

4 thoughts on “The Roundup: Summer 2018 Volume 4

  1. On Chio, agreed… Both of these bits, if they *had* to be included, should have been much shorter segments.

    Hanebado, I’m still trying to decide whether this was a better episode or not. I think it would have been better had we been given some indication of Ayano putting her game face on or spent some quality time in her head. Once again, they’re concentrating on the wrong character. For the whole “hold up a mirror to the MC” bit to work, the MC has to be more than a pale and insubstantial shadow.

    • I actually think it was good they didn’t get into Ayano’s head yet and let us fill in the blanks ourselves. We kind of already knew where the murder face came from by the end of last week’s episode and we just needed to witness the results. I suspect we’ll dive deeper into it when she sees her mother again.

  2. Am I the only person who finds “Planet With” to be utterly mediocre?

    For me, at least, the narrative has been hugely rushed, and as a result, the characters all feel half-baked and underdeveloped. There’s been all too much tepid mecha fighting, and far too little of the things that made works like “Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer” so compelling. It’s not that I think the show is awful, mind you, just that it’s been really disappointing against expectations.

    But I seem to be alone in feeling this way!

    • We’ve had a lot of internal discussion on it and most of the crew probably leans toward agreeing with you. I’ve been pretty positive but even I would say it is failing to live up to potential. Gee is probably going to yell at me about it on the next podcast episode.

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