Winter 2016 – Week 5 in Anime (Part 1)

Color me frustrated with this batch of shows.

This week in anime is actually consistent in a way that almost all of its shows are actually underwhelming. We still have the excellent (and stable) Rakugo but… Erased seemed to have a nosedive this time in terms of quality (hence, its weakest to date). For others? It is actually a weird scenario when you considered Phantom World as one of this week’s better shows even if KyoAni has pulled its worn off tricks in that episode. That did not give it a leeway for being a tired rehash though.

GREAT

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Any anime which can pull the awesomeness of Kids on the Slope’s school performance deserves to be here. It’s freakin’ great.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu‘s fifth episode is the romantic equivalent of Kids on the Slope’s school cultural performance. I have a bias for ‘caught-in-this-moment’ feeling and how it can transform a totally guarded person to a different being. This week’s episode just showed the journey from Yakumo’s insecurity to this triumphant moment. The theatrical performance was just gold while interlaced with Yakumo’s insight. Another contributing factor in this winning episode is the use of excellent jazzy soundtrack. Last week was bereft of it but this time, wow, this show knows when to use it, isn’t it? It was really a visual, auditory and emotional treat. A certain nostalgic feeling hit me that is akin to this scene from Kids on the Slope. If you don’t have any idea of what I am talking about, this Youtube video might help you:

On the other hand, Lupin III (2015) is giving us another weird episode and I am loving it to bits. It really excels when it tries to present some out of the world premises, huh? I am actually happy because some previous episodes now connect to this episode. Additional points for bringing a Leonardo da Vinci clone as the main antagonist of this spinoff and some great deductions coming from one of my most favorite protagonist of all time, Lupin III. Great.

ALMOST THERE

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This is how I felt with the sudden development of events in Erased this week.

The first eight minutes of Erased‘s latest offering is actually gripping until we are brought back again to the present. I think this is a necessary move for the show since we are given some useful rules in solving the murders and we need to know what happened to Satoru in the current time. Yet the last eight minutes or so of this episode ruined my watching experience. First major beef, I know it is foreshadowed that Airi will have a major role with this based on the OP but I am not comfortable with the sudden turn of events this time. Second, it felt really cheap to use a power-behind-the-curtain trope as a backdrop for our antagonist. Third, what is with Satoru and all these women around him are killed? Is he a descendant of Fate/Zero’s Lancer or something?

Well, it’s not like this show is stable or anything but I am not a fan of this episode. Still one of the best this season but it presented something I cannot easily ignore.

JUST DECENT

NONE. I don’t know if that is because I binged these shows all at once but no – I am quite easy to please when it comes with animes. This is just an anemic week after all. It only goes on to show the wide disparity between the titles which might be yearend contenders and those which are good for a single watch.

EH?

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Did I just waste some good three hours of my life with these shows?

Phantom World tried to do the same thing twice and it failed. This episode tried to develop our resident snotty character Minase and I was just as confused from the beginning to end. Am I supposed to feel this ‘aw-shucks’ feeling last episode? You forgot you are trying to sell an unlikable character this time.

Well, is it me or is Phantom World now beginning to feel like a harem with Haruhiko as your generic MC? (He looks handsome, so why not? Yet… that doormat personality). Also big deductions for that purple haired loli who has stupid twin tails. That kuma punch made me laugh though. That’s how you make brainless comedy Active Raid!

Speaking of Active Raid…. ugh.. why am I even watching this dud? It’s not funny and I am really annoyed how dumb this episode went. Yeah, somehow our leads have to play poker to a terrorist because rocket missiles will bombard the city if they don’t. Then they did. Then some kuudere and their colleague was once a – ugh! Just show your Willwears and fight, okay? Your brand of comedy is not funny. At all.

I have nothing to say more about Dagashi Kashi at this point aside from the fact that this week sorely lacks Saya.

Once upon a time Norn 9 presented a filler episode despite the fact it has tons of characters to develop and an intricate plot to show in a span of thirteen episodes. Great. While these girls look cute with their dresses and this episode is kinda cute on its own, you only have seven or so weeks to move the plot (conflict, climax, denouement and conclusion). There is no way it can pull this off! In its defense, Norn 9 is the best anime in this group for this week. It has these character moments which it has taken to be comfortable with. Moreover, THOSE GORGEOUS BACKGROUNDS!

Sekkou Boys needs to be more crazy than this relatively tame episode! That Setsuko lady can stay silent forever because she is annoying as heck.

Then I don’t know what’s with Haruchika‘s episode but it reverted to its snooze inducing antics with Haruta being a know-it-all. Chika is a passable character – she landed on the wrong show.

Assassination Classroom Season 2’s almost decent episode revolves around our poor class leader and how they defeated the underhanded tactics of Class A over a game of pole. OreGairu did this better you know. Ironically, most of my smirks came from Koro-sensei’s doting parent attitude and the backlash of Isogai’s ‘man among men’ stance from his classmates. Other than that? It’s placed to Eh? because of the cringe worthy beginning and Karma’s Engrish. Ouch.

Prince of Stride – Alternative made a should’ve been good episode but… they forgot to develop their characters first before they did this melodramatic retelling of the Stride Club’s dark past! What did these characters do before this? Run and show their quirkiness, isn’t it? Development? Practically zero. The most annoying guy in this show got some but for our genki lead, kuudere leg freak and our heroine relegated to the sidelines? None. I laughed at Yagami’s outburst though. It is something I will also do in that angst-fest.

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