The best way to describe this season is “Shows that are just good enough to not get dropped, and Fall 2013 carry-overs.” I enjoy these shows just enough to not drop them, but most are hardly exciting, or have me eagerly awaiting the next episode.
I predict multiple shows will be dropped next week. I’m also going to move to a new format, this will be the APR+ format, meaning I pick 1-4 shows I have a lot to say about, and say it all. The other shows are going to get like… one sentence.
Anime Power Ranking is no longer held, so here 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. In parenthesis the score relative to last week’s placement.
(Shows Covered – Nagi no Asukara, Sekai Seifuku (Zvezda), Nobunagun, Chuunibyou Ren, Kill la Kill, The Pilot’s Love Song, Log Horizon, ‘Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha’, Nisekoi, Tokyo Ravens, Noragami, and Pupipo!)
1) Kill la Kill Episode 17 (+0)
What happened this week was something we’ve all been expecting, except I didn’t expect it to happen this week. Sure, at episode 3 we’d have expected this to happen right after last episode, but we also expected episodes 15-16 to happen around episodes 7-8, after Satsuki and Ryuuko already had a fight in the 4th episode.
I don’t really know how they plan to go from here, or rather, I don’t know how long they’re going to spend on the next sequence, with everyone fighting each other, and everyone going all out. Considering how Ryuuko versus the Elite Four had gone, this will probably take some time, and have various flashbacks that explain things to us in depth. But I don’t think it’d be the full length till the show is done, and I honestly don’t know what will happen next.
Still, this episode was well done, with almost literal “pigs in men’s clothings” by the Mankanshokus, stakes being upped, betrayals, dramatic entrances. This episode was fun, and unlike episode 15, it felt like we got somewhere new, and that time had been well-used. The first half of the episode where we saw Ryuuko and Satsuki as mirroring one another, and which had been calm and collected was pretty nice as well. Gave me distinct TTGL vibes.
2) Nagi no Asukara Episode 18 (+1)
This episode was sort of weird. It felt slow, but it also made sense. Not just as a “breather episode” before things hit the fan, but as if the whole show is holding its breath. The characters return to the home they left just a few short subjective days ago, but a few objective years ago. Everything feels just so slightly off.
The scenes in the cave, with the stone hand, with finding Manaka… great visual mastery, great atmosphere, all throughout the episode. That Uroko-sama seemed so sorrowful and the changes Manaka, Miuna, and the world are undergoing all fill you with dread. I hope there’ll actually be some changes now.
This episode reminds me of Gatchaman Crowds and Samurai Flamenco in some ways. Those two shows aren’t sentai shows, but they wink at, make references to, and have an episode or two where you feel they’re in “Full Sentai Mode”. This show had some RomCom meets Sentai moments, and I think I could’ve enjoyed a series where Robin is the main character and that’s how things go.
But, this episode did have some thematic depth to it, it’s just that we’ve seen glimpses of it already. White Light is the opposite of Zvezda. Whereas Zvezda don’t separate their organization from real life – this is their family, this is their home, in White Light any sense of camaraderie is prohibited, and the one in charge gives a public humiliation to his subordinates. Sure, everyone picks on Yasu, but it feels like picking up on your stupid younger brother, not a cold thing. There’s real emotion there.
4) Log Horizon Episode 19 (+1)
Another solid episode. Not a lot of plot-advancement happened for the most part, but it was an opportunity to show us some action, because this is an MMORPG-based show. The first half kept talking of plans, and the second half had shown us that plans can fall apart. What we had all expected to happen did indeed happen, and it was made more impactful by that. A solid show, doing work.
This show continues to zoom past pretty quickly. This episode we deal in a very realistic manner with introducing someone new to an existing group of friends, being put in the middle between friends who don’t get along, and general sulkiness. Things do seem to be picking up on the supernatural front as well.
6) Noragami Episode 6 (+3)
I think I finally figured out this show. There isn’t some overarching big plot. The plot is following the dysfunctional family of Hiyori, Yukine, and Yato as they go about their daily and weird lives, and slowly uncovering Yato’s past, and getting to know him better. It’s not that there’ll be some big reveals, or some long arc. That might be the second season. This plays out as somewhat of a mystery drama show, where we gradually uncover the past.
This episode had some nice action sequences, and Yukine is getting a new thematic arc – of rejecting being objectified, of literally being treated as an item that can be disposed of when no longer necessary, and not wanting to harm others in the same position as he is. And again, this show is truly beautiful, so the action sequences, alongside with us getting Sawashiro Miyuki and Fukuyama Jun bump this show up, but it’s also how the other shows hadn’t been so good this week. Honestly, this show is still pretty empty, but I’ve known it’ll be a popcorn show from the get-go, I guess.
7) Tokyo Ravens Episode 18 (+3)
First half was a lovely RomCom show, second half had a good mixture of action and the plot keeps progressing. I’m actually enjoying this show now, if it had Nisekoi/Noragami’s production values though, it could’ve been much better.
8) Nisekoi Episode 5 (+0)
This is a bog-standard RomCom, but I’m enjoying it. No special jokes, no special romance, but I like RomComs. There! :P
Filler episode, more or less, as expected. This episode was probably necessary, as from next week on things will get rough and dramatic and keep at it, but this episode could’ve still been more dramatic, funnier, more touching, or something. Was pretty boring.
10) Chuunibyou 2nd season Ren Episode 5 (-6)
Another filler episode. This one wasn’t as endearing or funny as last week’s. At least I’m told this week’s episode returns to the plot.
11) Nobunagun Episode 6 (+0)
This show lives or dies by Ogura Sio and Oda Nobunaga, but this week we got a filler episode with another cast, whom we don’t know or care for. It was a mediocre shounen attempt at a murder mystery, and it was bad. Next week Sio is back, and the show better pull itself together.
Shorts, which aren’t part of this merciless death-game, but still in order:
Pupipo! Episode 8:
I chuckled, it made me smile. Nothing more to it. It made for a good first 2-3 minutes of a full-length episode, and then it was done :P
Missing: Gin no Saji and Samurai Flamenco. Considering how much I enjoy these shows, and how most other shows are failing me, this is silly. With the extra shows dropped, this should be within my reach, at long last, this weekend.
Most episodes last week hadn’t been impressive, and the count of shows that actually make me excited and which I await eagerly each week is just so small. I’m unhappy with where things stand, even as I enjoy most of these shows. They’re not bad, but they’re not good enough.
Great: Kill la Kill, Nagi no Asukara. Good: Sekai Seifuku, Log Horizon. Above average to average: ‘Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha’, Noragami, Tokyo Ravens, Nisekoi, Pilot’s Love Song (barely for this one). Mediocre: Chuunibyou Ren, Nobunagun.
Write-up Status: Time to decide which shows gets write-ups again and of what sort:
Full Writeup – Meaning, all the notes, screenshots, as many as it takes: Kill la Kill, Nagi no Asukara, Sekai Seifuku, Samurai Champloo (Soon™), Log Horizon. Pupipo, cause it’s short enough I can justify it :p Nagi no Asukara and Log Horizon are somewhat between this stage and the next one. I write more, but try to note down less things.
Semi-Writeups – I try to pause less, and only jot down the more core ideas I note (honestly, shouldn’t everything be here? This is more than that, it means I sometimes have ideas and don’t pause cause they’re short) – Noragami, Pilot’s Love Song, Gin no Saji.
Everything Else: Post-episode notes only, unless something really demands a full paragraph or two then and there. Let’s try.
Pupa – It’s only 3 minutes, but it’s terrible and doesn’t even make for an interesting watch. I might watch it all when it’s done. But it sucks.
Space Dandy – I’ll just watch an episode a day when it’s done. Can’t really be motivated currently.
Tonari no Seki-kun – Once a week should be enough, but I’m not motivated. Not my sort of show. I’ll still grab the episodes, and watch them when I feel like it. Maybe make sure to watch one once a day when they’re done.
Past Casaulties – this is where we honour shows eliminated in past weeks: Week 1: Mahou Sensou (Magical Warfare), Nobunaga the Fool, Witch Craft Works. Week 2: Hamatora, D-Frag. Week 5: Buddy Complex.