A weaker batch indeed but it does not mean these shows are not entertaining on its own.
None. The shows at Almost There group have serious problems in either presentation or animation and I cannot consider them the highlights of this week.
It feels sad that my most hyped anime this season just ended up here so far. I was also hyped about Shouwa Rakugo and Erased back then and they deserved the praise they are getting so far and then, the full CGI Ajin came……. which is just as strong in terms of presentation but was terribly downgraded thanks to the artwork. It has to be better than other two that I mentioned story-wise or it will be one-off anime which I will discard after it ends. As to the episode itself, let’s put aside my major gripe and move on to how this episode is masterfully crafted in terms of storytelling and revealing the dark side of the human nature. The creepy nature of Ajin is also revealed here which reminded me of Kagewani’s creepiness last season. I personally think this is what Tokyo Ghoul should have been (so far) and the similarities between the two is just so uncanny. We get Kai (Hide, and he’s kinpatsu too) and the main lead Nagai (Kaneki if he has a bone!) and the Ajin (Ghoul) thing.
Then we are back to the fairy tale imagery Akagami no Shirayuki-hime has been employing for the first three episodes last summer. I won’t say that it is bad but it kind of stalls the development the characters had so far. Well, this episode has its own perks: Izana is still one heck of a character which echoes my sentiments about Zen and Shirayuki. How will they fall apart? Interesting. I also have fun watching Raj being a goofball, a serious man and all. Yet…. a bigger problem lurks in this part. This is the most cliched Akagami no Shirayuki offering so far (I cringed at the trap door part. This is so Oremonogatari!! Ugh.) and I am afraid that we will have to tread the same grounds before things go with its own groove. I also cannot take the serious parts seriously because of how the staff treated the majority of its run as a comedy and also with the confusing OST. Until then, I will have to wait for next week.
Maybe it’s just me but seeing Hachikuji after the longest time propels this episode to be the best of Koyomimonogatari so far. Senjougahara aside, I think Araragi’s interaction with our lovable loli is the strongest, complete with banters and plot points much to a satisfied viewer. Well, there is still Hanekawa who damaged the quality of this episode a bit but her involvement is not as prevalent as this time. Wait, Oshino is now gone?! No. he’s not the problem in this series in general. Noooo!
It’s quite ironic when shorts are the dominant forces in terms of comedy this season. Rainbow Days‘ third episode is just as cute as the first two. This week is about Tsuyopon and his girlfriend Yukirin teaching the dumb trio for the make up exams, which I can relate because my real life girl is just as genki as she is yet I am the real otaku between the two though. I also commend this show for avoiding the use of fujoshi baits to lure the audience even if it screams one as it has four considerably good looking leads. Here, we get those nice boys doing nice things while still drawing a laugh or two. We also get some very warm romance between Hashiba and Kobayakawa which feels natural even if it ran for basically like, three minutes. They’re just too real for my funny bones not to be tickled. Why can’t it climb to the Almost There group? Well, I need 22 minutes of this or remove the OP or the ED. Such animation-saving tricks.
Lupin III (2015) is still lazing off and decided to take a break from stealing things and eat sushis under Fujiko’s whim after the near greatness of episodes 12 to 14. Well, this is a lot better than the last week’s tired trope yet it feels like it should have been in the beginning episodes and not when we are about to do some buildups for the finale. On the plus side, I think it is quite amusing that these three goofs are talking about Fujiko’s worth for Lupin. Way to connect it with the Fujiko spinoff, huh?
There is an inverse correlation between the quality of Dimension W and the appearance of the loli robot. She is not a bad character per se but she feels out of place in this show (her naivety in particular) and this anime excels whenever it tries to show-off its action but not those random SOL moments. Thankfully, the second half begins to recover its oomph as more are explained regarding the nature of numbered coils then we are off to a good end. Generally, this is is still a solid offering but it lacks the punch of the first two episodes.
Norn 9 is on its own pace again this week by showing snippets of our character’s past and some good moments but it never tries harder to be at least above average. I appreciate the fact that it is still trying to touch all the plot points and it’s more of character pairings than a reverse harem but how on Earth is this going to do all these characters or the story? At least Kakeru is becoming more than just your goody-two-shoes and Koharu is becoming similar to Shirayuki in a sense that she has personality. You only have 9 episodes remaining you know.
Pretentiousness-galore Divine Gate, do not change. I am busy laughing right now on how it takes things too seriously that it became comical. Don’t ask me what’s objectively good in this show. I just love how ridiculous the dialog is and it made me entertained for 90% of the time. In all fairness, it dedicated a background episode for Midori who is the most likable character in this show and more super pseudo philosophical lines with Aoto. An additional bonus for having Yakumo’s seiyuu in this show although I do not care about that costume-y guy at all.
Haruhicka just cannot decide if it’s good or bad because whenever it shows some real potential, it destroys itself moments later. I am now beginning to ask how plot convenient Haruto’s intelligence is whenever we unravel the plot this week. Remember the lazy guy named Hotarou who thinks before he solves the mystery? Or that duo in Un-Go where Inga has to literally eat the soul of the culprit for him to confess? That’s at least how we do mysteries! I am not asking for an Erased-level of greatness here but.. come’on, it has to do better than explaining everything to the audience as if they are 12-year olds. On the positive side, the girls are the saving grace of this show with Chika looking like a hybrid of Hajime (Gatchaman Crowds) and a dumb anime lead trope. At least, the game this time is more interesting but the new character suffers from the same face syndrome of PA Works. Is this the best Haruchika episode to date? Yes? Yet is it good? No.
The first four minutes of Active Raid this week are enough for me to put this in Eh? with conviction. What is with the tasteless joke here? I cringed. The next three minutes? I am literally having a disgusted look at my computer screen. Did you just cross shameless incestuous territory?! Who told the staff that those things are funny?! Are they high or something?! I am also scratching my head as regards to the Willwear whose function is for idol/band performances. Gatchaman Crowds did this better you know. Worse: Three episodes in, I still don’t know the names of these characters or what to care about them. I also had some bad aftertaste in a scene where this robot is harassing a loli. Worst: I played it at 130% of its original speed because the episode felt awkward but boring at the same time! No. My eyes were disoriented by that dancing robot. No. Tsk. Are you trying to ruin the decency of the first two episodes?!