(Shows Covered – Buddy Complex, Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren (2nd season), “Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha”, Nobunagun, Noragami, The Pilot’s Love Song, Tokyo Ravens, Pupipo!, and Tonari no Seki-kun)
These are the shows I’ve watched this past week and how I order them. Each link leads to my episodic write-up of the relevant show. This week had been pretty weak, with various shows taking somewhat of a slump after we introduce the situation, and wait for things to pick up again. Hopefully the 2nd half of the week fares better.
1) Chuunibyou 2nd season Ren Episode 3
This show continues to be so very enjoyable for me. I laugh, I feel the “warmth” I associate with nice RomComs, and I like the cast. It’s sort of funny how we’re advancing and going back at the same time. This season Yuuta and Rikka are a “couple”, and as such they should be beyond the regular “I can’t tell them how I feel” sort of issues that plague all RomComs, right? Well, last season we had none of that, they dealt with their issues, they came together, and had just been there for one another, without needless chatter about how they feel not leading anywhere – they spent time together, they saw they need and care for one another, so they decided to be together. Simple and sweet, right?
Well, this season after they’re already together, we sort of have reverted to the usual RomCom issues, but at least it’s somewhat true – being a couple doesn’t magically solve all your communication issues and makes it easy to always share what you feel and want, and that’s where we are now. Yuuta has desires, but in a manner closely related to idealizing relationships, or more because he thinks Rikka wouldn’t want that, avoids being honest with his own desires, and honest with Rikka about his desires. I think they both want the same things, but are just too shy to say it… which is more or less how most RomComs go… :P
On a final note, we see in this episode what is Rikka’s biggest fear, which keeps in line with her character from the previous season, and that is being left behind. That’s something Yuuta and Rikka share, because Yuuta had been left behind by Satone in the past, and by Rikka last season, so he will not let someone depart in the same manner again. I’m having fun, and the characters feel real, and it’s more than you get from most such shows, by far.
2) The Pilot’s Love Song / Toaru Hikuushi e no Koiuta Episode 3
Well, this episode was mostly about the background sequence for me, which although a bit ham-handed, worked for me, and was a good emotional sequence, so I liked it. The whole romance/training thing continues as normal, with the clash of the classes going just as expected.
They keep foreshadowing and speaking about what is to come, which keeps me interested. This world definitely has things coming, and we don’t know them yet. Also, I thought Nina Viento had been left behind, but after seeing the flashback and seeing that she is still very much present, seems the whole revenge sub-plot might still come into play, and this reminds us that while this show is the usual romantic/training camp story right now, it definitely has drama overtone.
Finally, I didn’t like the preview for next episode, gives the distinct feeling that even in such a show we’ll find a way to force our love-interest main characters to spend time together, and rely on one another. It could’ve been done better, but just like everyone else I assume something is going to happen to Claire soon, so we need to establish the emotional part of the show as quickly and efficiently as possible, even if that means some cliches and tired storytelling.
3) Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha Episode 2
I actually got something slightly different than expected, I thought we’d go into each episode and have Inari forced to transform to something in order to resolve the “situation” of the day, while learning it doesn’t really resolve her issues and she can only solve them bybeing herself. Well, what we received was something that’d have made sense later on, but apparently we skipped some manga-chapters that more or less have done what I described above, so it’s sort of fine. We had “the test”, where you can’t transform for a while, which went just about as expected.
The cast in this show is nice, and how the deities are all too human and petty, and act out of boredom is pretty great. The soundtrack isn’t filled with any stand-out pieces, but it accompanies the show just so well, and I even got emotional in a moment. Seems from next episode onward we’ll get more RomCom, as described above. That is, after we resolve the interesting cliff-hanger this episode ended on, which is more than a tad dramatic. It’s a nice little show, full of nice little moments. A bit more comic and less “wholesome” than Gingitsune, but it’s alright as well.
This wasn’t only the weakest episode by far of Nobunagun, a show I enjoy quite a bit, but it was a mediocre episode in general. After the action and visual flair, we finally got to sit back and re-assess where we are. Well, this episode was all about setting our heroine up, showing that she longs for human connections, and that people need human connections and people they care about in order to dedicate themselves to the cause. Well, this episode had given Sio people to care about, and had horrible things happen to them, so next episode we’re going to be back with the action and craziness we all watch this show for.
This episode was actually a solid thematic exploration of the role of a hero, and allies in combat, as well as used some interesting training techniques/ideas, tying the concept of “killing the self” when Sio has to kill clones of herself, with reining herself in and learning some self-control in order to better utilize her powers.
Plots, plots, plots. Well, we’ve had some cool scenes, and things are definitely ramping up, seems all the build-up was so we’d have a lot of show-downs, both actual fights and misdirection. I dunno, knowing who the evil guys are, who the moles are, etc. sort of removes a lot of the tension for me from quests to uncover all the moles, though it could be used to create more – since we don’t care for the moles and they’re flat-out antagonists, and caricatures at that, it just sort of falls flat. What we don’t know is the motivations of everyone around. Both the characters’ allies and their enemies operate for reasons that are unclear to us and the characters. Well, it’s an alright popcorn show, nothing special, but nothing terrible, and I’m this far in, and it’s an easy watch, so gonna stick with it. I also like quite a few of the cast – I often like this show better as a RomCom, actually :3
The real issue with this show is that the episodes aren’t really doing anything. We get to observe the characters, but the characterization isn’t made deeper, since we just keep seeing things we’ve figured out in the first 15-20 seconds with them. Sure, we did learn a tiny personality aspect of Yato’s, and it might work out better in a manga, but when you expect each anime episode to actually “do something”, it sort of failed in that regard.
The show is still utterly beautiful, but we keep introducing more side characters that are going to repeat, we keep ever so slowly learning more about the world, and how things are set up, but we don’t truly have anything going on, and there’s no real plot emerging… it just sort of is – Yato needed a weapon, so he got one, and now we got to learn of the weapon. It does feel somewhat organic, but without anything to truly grab us, it sort of feels flat. It’s a popcorn show without much popcorn! Probably better as a manga, in terms of pacing something in this manner. Dunno.
I don’t really have too much to say here. We have a Sunrise show on our hands. For those who don’t know, we don’t really have “protagonists” and “antagonists”, ok, we do, but we don’t really have “Heroes and villains” – everyone’s a human, everyone cares for their allies who die, even the “enemies”, and we will have people ally themselves over the boundaries. Furthermore, the theme that is usually explored in episode 1 will be explored here in episode 4 – “Why do I fight, and what am I here for?” – but I’m not sure moving that will do much.
The fights continue to be fun and the acting continues to be solid. In light of the CGI being solid the fact that the hand-drawn non-CGI bits are so damn lazy stands out quite a bit.
Summary: Show #1 had been good, 2-3 had been ok, and the rest had been sort of average to below-average, with all of them being about as good as one another, so their respective positions aren’t too set in stone. Not a good start for the week, but we still have about half of the weekly shows to go.
I still watch too many shows, so I’ll probably either let go of 3-4 shows this weekend, or keep watching shows without taking any notes on them (as I said I would pre-season!). Each episode I watch while taking notes from the “bottom tier” takes 40-60 minutes in total, so if I stop taking notes for 6 shows, for instance, I clear 240-360 minutes (4-6 hours), which is enough time to watch these 6 shows every week and still end up with an extra 2-4 hours. I really should just do that, and only take notes for the shows that really deserve it, and post-episode notes for a couple more. Will review the situation on Sunday’s post.
Shorts, which aren’t part of this merciless death-game, but still in order:
I’m enjoying this much more than I thought I would. There’s continuity between episodes. Definitely feels like this should be if not a long-form show, then one where each episode is 6/9 minutes, rather than merely 3, it does seem like they keep tying a few things together. Honestly, this episode feels like a solid end to the first arc, and watching all 5 episodes together would’ve made more sense. This is the opposite of most shorts, which are skits that I can barely stomach as singulars, let alone had they been stringed together.
I’m glad Inari Konkon Koi Iroha doesn’t have the same “wholesome” vibe that Gingistune did. Forced ‘and the moral of the episode is!’ types of shows annoy the hell out of me, and while Inari is far from a perfect series, I already like it more than I ever did Gingistune. (The visuals are of a higher quality too.)
I didn’t really think of Gingitsune as “Wholesome” in that sense, and I certainly didn’t get a vibe of “here are some morals” for you. I think Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha will be much stronger on “Moral of the story”.
To me “wholesome” in this sense meant that Gingitsune just felt “right”, with nothing wrong or funky, it felt “healing”, or “feel good”, even when it made me tear up, in a manner Iyashikei moe never manages to do :3
I don’t think Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha will be especially strong on the ‘moral of the story’ – or rather, I suppose it could in the future, but they don’t seem to have bothered much with that so far.
Yea pupipo! is great! Personally it’s my 2nd favorite new show after zevzda.
I want to like it even more, but it’s so short. I might have to look up the manga (famous last words) after it ends.