Winter 2015 Anime Overview – Week 8 (Anime Power Ranking)

The write-up this week is a tad delayed, due to me rewatching the entirety of Chihayafuru (50 episodes) and other obligations, but I decided not to skip this week’s post. I didn’t watch last week’s Tokyo Ghoul Root A episode, and I might not care enough to resume watching it. It’s just not fun.

As always, links in title are to full write-ups (for very few shows this time around), while the shows are ordered by how much I liked the episode, compared to the others.

The shows covered will be Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Death Parade, Durarara!!x2, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Egypt arc, Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch), Log Horizon S2, Parasyte: the Maxim (Kiseiju), and Shirobako.

1) Shirobako episode 19:

Shirobako anime episode 19 overview

An episode where we think of the past and how we can never recreate it, but also of how the present can seek to pass it, and how the present is predicated on the past. We see past legends, and hear reassuring words – they did not set out with a plan, they did not set out to become “legends”. They just did the work that was in front of them, and forty years down the line, it turns out that they’ve erected a mountain behind them, a legacy.

We’ve also had the Andes Chucky OP as the ED, which was a surprising treat, and reminded me of quite a few cartoons of my youth, and placing Hiraoka on the same spectrum as Miyamori and Yano, as someone who burnt out. There wasn’t really any moment within the episode to point out, but it was all pretty magical.

2) Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch) episode 7:

Maria the Virgin Witch / Junketsu no Maria  anime episode 7 overview

Who wrote this episode? I bet it was George R.R. Martin. Yeah, it was that sort of episode. You can say it was surprising, but in some sense, this is the inevitability of tragedy, the inevitability of human nature of which Michael had warned Maria. Those who want money turning on others to save their hide, people acting out of greed, people trying to save their sorry hides…

It was interesting how the witches told Maria, in a friendly manner, “If you keep at it like this, everyone will end up hating you.” The atmosphere might have been jolly, but man, it was shiver-worthy. Ezekiel’s final scene was pretty sweet too.

3) Death Parade episode 7:

Death Parade anime episode 7 overview

An episode where we see more of what goes on behind the scenes, backplot. Such episodes are often the weaker side of such shows, but it remained workable because aside from discussing the nature of the judgments further, and how the arbiters know they’re terribly flawed, it was about the arbiters and their relation to those whom they judge, and the judgments themselves. But it’s still going to take the following episodes to make Decim and Nona’s goals a worthwhile pivot to put such weight on, without making the show not as good as a whole. But it was, as always, an interesting and unexpected episode from Death Parade.

4) Durarara!!x2 Shou episode 7:

Durarara!! x2 Shou episode 7 anime overview

The animation in this episode was extremely lacking, it’s not just the heavy reliance on still shots, but when characters moved, it was as if strobe-light was flickering non-stop. That hurt the enjoyment of the episode, I won’t lie, but it was still a solid episode. It was an episode focused on Varona’s back-story, on humans and those who are perceived as non-humans, and most interestingly, about how Varona’s story’s theme, the part about trying to live up to other expectations, only to be consumed by the activity that you find fun and must keep escalating is tied to Mikado, to Mikado and Izaya.

Things are ramping up, and this story, as always, is also Mikado’s descent into following the road of what is fun, in a city that will feed him, before devouring him.

5) Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu) episode 6:

Assassination Classroom /Ansatsu Kyoushitsu anime episode 6 overview

The powers that be rise up against the students and the teacher. Even a monster that can end the world finds himself helpless to protect his students, when he must play within the system. But he protects them as he knows best, by urging them on, by giving them tools for life, by believing in them. This show continues to be as unsubtle as one could get, adhering to all the genre’s tropes, and still being relatively enjoyable. I guess.

6) Log Horizon S2 episode 20:

Log Horizon 2 anime episode 20 overview

This episode ties everything together. All the arcs in this season had been about the same thing, about finding your place in the world. A new world you’re taken to? Doesn’t matter, any world, for any person. All stories are about finding our place within it, supporting others as they try to do the same, and acting out when the world keeps rejecting us, or we have a hard time with it. This was a good episode for this aspect, and Isuzu singing at the end should’ve been a high moment, but it wasn’t.. I know Isuzu not being an amazing singer is part of the point, but it really ruined the moment. Not just lack of great singing, but lack of true “heart” in the singing. It came off anemic.

7) JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders Egypt Arc (2nd season) episode 7 (31):

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure - Stardust Crusaders Egypt Arc anime episode 31 overview

This episode was certainly JoJo. It was amusing, it had fun with itself, which is more than can be said of much of Stardust Crusaders’ first half. Sadly, the humor and level of writing would make a third grader proud, and little else. While I know many found this episode to be the height of hilarity and fun, I found it tedious. It’s not that it was crass (which it was) which I found objectionable, but that there was little else to support it, and I didn’t find it funny at all.

8) Parasyte: The Maxim (Kiseiju) episode 19:

Parasyte  the maxim anime episode 19 overview

There could be no other screencap for this episode.

The “Half-episodes” of Parasyte continue to strike, where we get the conclusion to last episode’s “cliffhanger”, then explore and conclude it, before setting up a new situation. This keeps each episode, watched weekly, feeling insubstantial, unfulfilling. Worst, for this specific episode, the way in which the way it ended was the same as how it started, with us worrying the criminal might identify Shinichi’s nature as a parasite to the authorities.

Yes, there’s somewhat of a showdown between police and parasites developing, but we were never made to care for those two sides. It’s like two groups we don’t care for fighting, and it feels weak.

Overall Thoughts:

Action isn’t the main tune of the past week, but we’re dealing with themes, to varying success, this past week. Then again, there aren’t many actions show I’m watching. I still need to catch up on Garo, which is receiving very warm commendations lately, but isn’t anyone who doesn’t care for the show any longer not watching it these days? Been in a weird mood lately, and the shows aren’t always the best. Shirobako though keeps knocking it out. I do hope Durarara!!’s animation’s slip-up was a one time only thing.

For the sake of my rewatch, when you want to rewatch something to make you feel, what shows, anime or otherwise, do you watch?

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