Weekly Rundown: Winter Week 7

Sorry again for the late post, but I had something of a small emergency this week. But enough about that.  Nobody actually reads this section of the post anyways, do they? Let’s just get to the cartoons. Seeing as this is right after mid-season, most shows were busy setting up new conflicts this week, and it was honestly kind of dull. I had a hard time even remembering most of these episodes after I watched them. The problem with plotty-plot episodes in anime is that they are rarely graceful or exciting. Well, let’s run down this week’s episodes while I try to remember what the hell actually happened in any of them.

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Log Horizon 2 ep 19: Lots of stuff happened in this episode, but it was undoubtedly Tohya who stole the show. I’d actually kinda forgotten about Tohya’s real-life circumstances. It feels like a thread that LH just kinda dropped, and suddenly remembered now that it has the chance to make an interesting contrast with it. There’s certainly an undeniable tragedy to the Odyssey Knights, especially since the audience knows their addiction to “death” is only eating away at the memories of the world they so cherish. “I was just about to quit the game and get married!” kinda borders on Cop Thrown Into Action Movie Plot One Day From Retirement levels of hokey dramatic irony, but Log Horizon makes it work. Nobody is really “right” in this situation. The Odyssey Knights are easy to sympathize with, but at the same time, they’re pretty much telling a child he has to go back to being wheelchair-bound because the knights miss their girlfriends. Tohya ain’t having none of that. He’s been given something people rarely ever get: a second chance. The friends and experiences he’s had in Elder tale are true to him, and worth cherishing as much as any “real” world. Elder Tale is a world where Tohya can smile earnestly, and he won’t allow anyone to tell him that it’s wrong.

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Your Lie in April ep 18: Nagi has certainly grown on me as a character, but I’m not sure I really like where the story seems to be going with her at this point. This episode featured characters dramatically stating that Kousei was “having his way with her”, jokes about him “teaching her all kinds of things”, and multiple cuts with shots of their hands lightly touching as they played a soulful duet. Uh, is this a harem anime now? I mean, we’ve got the pining childhood friend, the terminally-ill dreamgirl, the older-but-still-attractive mother-figure, and Nagi. If this show leaned any harder on the comedy bits, Kousei would be walking in on them in the bath any minute now. But okay, I get what they’re doing here. Nagi is clearly being set up as a parallel for Kousei’s relationship to Kaori, teaching her to embrace music for her own sake, free her soul, be one with the piano, etc. Whether or not she’s meant to be an actual replacement for Kaori is up in the air, but I feel like that’s the only sensible reason for this arc to even exist. Otherwise it has mostly just been redundant and unfocused.

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Parasyte ep 19: It seems like Parasyte has moved into its final act now, with officer Hirama pulling Shinichi into an anti-parasite task force to help clear out the organized parasites in town. I can’t help but feel like this turn of events is somehow… pedestrian for this show. It’s nice to see a show where law enforcement isn’t just clueless ineffectual cannon-fodder(not that Yamagishi’s overconfidence won’t have disastrous consequences requiring Shinichi to intervene), but the scope just doesn’t feel like it gels with the rest of the narrative. This whole story has been about Shinichi’s struggles, Shinichi’s loved ones, and Shinichi’s humanity, and now it’s about Shinichi caught in the middle of interspecies war. It feels too much like the the show resolved most of it’s conflicts naturally and then thought “oh shit, we need a climax!” There was no way Shinichi was going to stop every parasite on Earth by himself, so this all just seems like unnecessary escalation. This show was at it’s best when it was just about Shinichi and Migi. And the farther the show pulls away from that, the more obvious that becomes.

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YuriKuma Arashi ep 7: YuriKuma too stronk. I laughed, I cried, I gasped in horror. This episode was probably the smoothest blend of YuriKuma’s odd Drama/Comedy/Horror affectations yet. This episode digs into Ginko’s backstory, which is unsurprisingly a tidy reflection of the show’s main throughlines much like Lulu and Sumika. I actually don’t have a lot to say about this episode. It was good, like pretty much every other episode. I’d be lying is I said the show wasn’t getting a tad redundant at this point, but repetition is important in abstraction. That being said, the actual plot of YuriKuma starting to come into focus. I mean, there’s pretty much a zero-percent chance that the headmistress isn’t the main antagonist at this point, right?

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The Rolling Girls ep 6: I was not really feeling this episode. It doesn’t help that for some reason, Funi didn’t have subtitles for the Mie Motors Vice Captain’s dialogue, so I felt like I was missing a bunch of context for this episode. I’m not sure it really matters, though. I like Rolling Girls, and like what it’s trying to do, but it’s getting harder and harder to drum up enthusiasm for it each week. The character just don’t have enough personality, and the travelogue-style narrative just isn’t substantial enough to really hold itself together. Rolling Girls is mainly just goofy feel-good spectacle, and the story it’s actually trying to tell doesn’t really lend itself to that at all. It’s a show that feels almost at-odds with itself. One part heartfelt coming-of-age road trip, one part wacky surrealist moe show, zero parts coherent narrative. I’m gonna keep going for now, but I may have to get off this crazy ride at the next stop.

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Maria the Virgin Witch ep 6: This was one dialogue-heavy episode of Maria. This episode had politicking, grim ultimatums, and a whole lotta plot movement. Bernard is now aware of Maria’s mandate from archangel Michael, Galfa is now under the employ of Lord Guillaume, Ezekiel is given an impossible choice to make, and Maria and Joseph seem to finally be on-board with their feelings for each other. The story has moved its pieces around on the gameboard, poised to segue into its next act. Maria’s story has always existed at the intersection of Conflict, Religion, Youth and Identity, and now that those things are about to boil over in big ways for Maria, I’m pretty excited to see what the show does with them.This wasn’t a terribly exciting episode of Maria, but it was a very necessary one.

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Durarara x2 ep 6: Okay. So, Russians are trying to Celty. Shizuo adopts a loli. The Dollars are spiraling out of Mikado’s control(again). And Aoba hits on Anri. That’s pretty much everything that happened in this episode, and I’m not sure how the show managed to squeeze 20-mins out of it. I get that the show needs to set up new conflicts(though I wish we could cool it with the new characters), but dumping it all in this one episode feels like it just muddles everything. It’s hard to get invested in anything that’s happening because I’m too busy checking my Conspiracy Theorist White Board to piece together how everything relates to each other. It doesn’t help that this season of DRRR continues to be dull-as-dishwater visually. I’ve gotten used to the new character designs, but the actual composition and flow of the animation just does absolutely nothing for me. It’s all talking heads and medium shots with naturalistic lighting and low-energy transitions. I expect DRRR to be as wild and chaotic as Ikebukuro itself, and this season rarely is.

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Yatterman Night ep 6: So, what are the odds that General Goro is actually Alloette’s father? Like 9000%? I’m guessing it’s pretty much a guarantee at this point, as that’s a reasonable way for the show to remove him as an antagonist without distancing itself from the whole Family/Compassion/Empathy as Absolute Good thread that it’s got going on. Again, I think the episodic nature of the story does more harm than good in this episode. Grumpy Old Guy with a Heart of Gold bleeding out on his lavender flowerbed would have had a little more impact if I’d even known the dude’s name.Yatterman Night always feels like a good show that’s one or two little things short of being a great show.

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