Spring 2015 Anime Overview – Week 4 (Anime Power Ranking)

Another week, another batch of episodes. Going to be shorter about most this week, as I’ve wasted some time elsewhere. Some shows are finally “starting”, while most others are going as they did before, for better and for worse.

As always, the list is ordered by how much I liked the episodes, combined with how good I thought they were, in a descending order (first is best, last is worst).

1) OreGairu S2 Episode 4 (SNAFU Too!):

OreGairu S2 episode 4 anime overview - Hayato Hayama is trying to help Hachiman grow up

Another episode of OreGairu S2, another monstrously long and in-depth breakdown by myself? You don’t say! I might have gone overboard, as I think this is my longest episodic write-up to date. Just like with NagiAsu back in the day, breaking down social interactions is interesting. It’s something we all live and breathe in, and take for granted, so supposedly it shouldn’t take much space. But, there’s nothing that’d take more space were you to actually break it down.

How you break it down depends as much as you as on the media, and apparently it’s worthwhile to do. Well, it’s obviously worthwhile, as this is what human interaction is all about – but apparently it’s worthwhile for other people to see others’ breakdown, so here we are, week after week.

What did we have this week? We’ve had more of the show actually bringing its topics up front, to the table. It’s finally confronting the characters, it’s finally staging an intervention. And yet, it’s still showing, rather than telling us, or mixing both of it in, about how everyone works the same. I could talk about this episode showing Hachiman growing past past aspects of himself, about how he’s unwilling to toss aside his personality at a moment’s notice, about how Hayama is willing to walk a mile in Hachiman’s shoes, How Hayato had created a situation for Hachiman to suffer in, and how Haruno is trying to help Yukino while she can’t help herself from hurting her.

I could talk about it for hours, but I already did, so check that out. Suffice to say, this arc is about growth and resisting it. This is an arc about empathy and hiding away from pain. These are episodes about being social animals. Lonely, because we’re not alone.

2) Ore Monogatari!! / My Love Story!! Episode 3:

Ore Monogatari!! / MY love STORY!! anime episode 3 - Gouda Takeo thinks Sunakwa Makoto is the Blue Ogre

Suna is the Blue (Bird) Ogre of happiness

Brief aside: Takeo sharing the same voice actor as OreGairu’s Hachiman has never been more perfect than this. Another visual aside that relates to Nice Guy™ who is “lonely guy” Takeo was the visual metaphor here, where Takeo’s heart is alone in an overlarge container, and it’s a salty heart indeed.

So, the couple finally admitted to one another that they like one another, and are going to date. Now we’re going to finally get on the shoujo train, as most shoujo romances I’m familiar with tend to use this as a starting point, rather than have “Will they or won’t they?” be the main conflict, as in shounen romance series.

Now it remains to be seen how the show will handle it. The two main leads are very adorable, have great reaction faces, but we now need to see if they and their relation can keep a show afloat. Suna reminds me of Kiryuu Shogo from last year’s Isshuukan Friends. The analogy to the blue ogre wasn’t kind for him – the red ogre is basically telling him he’s not friend enough for him, and then he ends up abandoning him for new friends. A good analogy for someone who’s about to go all gaga on his newfound girlfriend.

It was an enjoyable episode, filled with cute moments. And that’s ok. Still suspect the first 3 episodes could’ve, perhaps should’ve, been cut to two. Not a fan of Han Megumi as Yamato here, the extra-squeaky voice comes off a bit forced.

3) Plastic Memories Episode 4:

Plastic Memories anime episode 4 - Isla tries to smile

My approach to comedy – don’t try to force it.

This episode was somewhat of a return of the show to its episode 1 form, and certainly a huge improvement over the stale comic mess it’s been for the last two weeks. Giftias who are beings with a predetermined and relatively short expiry date who act as surrogate parents for orphaned kids, whether they’re their sole guardians, or whether they’ve been with them as part of their families and now act as older siblings who must take care of them when the parents passed away? There’s a lot of social questions one could pry at here, especially with whether this forced departure of already orphaned children will not only make things worse for them? We didn’t get any mention of how a young child who’s losing his guardian is going to do now – will he get sent to an orphanage? Will he get another giftia?

The setup is used mostly for drama, and it’s not really explored, but there’s definitely some meat to the social situation here. The “dealing with guardians/parents with terminal illnesses who will one day abandon us,” but the part that’s missing here is that even without orphans, how do kids deal with an actual person they know and whom they grew up with going away, by design, rather than through the vagaries of fate? Perhaps the show will one day deal with it. But it’s been a mostly solid and well-wrought dramatic episode, even if a bit formulaic. The RomCom stuff with Michiru being a tsundere wasn’t the best, though.

4) Sidonia No Kishi / Knights of Sidonia S2 Episode 2:

Knights of Sidonia S2 - The Ninth Planet Crusade anime episode 2 - The dead council

What is even going on with Sidonia? It’s as if this is the last 20 minutes of a movie where the first season was anything up to that point, and now everything is going crazy. Yes, changing the status quo is also how you kick off a new movie, and we very much have it here, but the frenetic pacing feels like end-game is upon us. We have an attempted coup and the removal of the shadowy cabal, we’re having a huge ass monster have an “Ask me anything” and displaying its crush on Tanikaze. It’s very exciting to see it all.

5) Kekkai Sensen / Blood Blockade Battlefront Episode 4:

Kekkai Sensen / Blood Blockade Battlefront anime episode 4 - Leonardo Watch and Zapp Renfro run into Lucky Abraham

There’s really not much to say about it. There were quite a few hilarious moments with “Lucky Abe” this episode that reminded me of some of the funnier moments in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. We’ve had some stylish but not fully satisfying action scenes, where things just happen really quickly and fatalities are had in a style that reminds me of a BONES production from last year, Noragami, and we’re having a semblance of a backstory appear. We’ve had a lot of backstory material up to now, such as with last week’s drugs, but finally the vampires appear, related to the protagonists’ powers, and to their acquaintances.

Very pretty, and more than just in terms of how the visuals look, but rather how they’re organized and delivered. A fun experience, and that’s that, for now.

6) Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works Episode 16 (Cour 2, episode 4):

Fate Stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works anime episode 16 - Flustered Tohsaka Rin

“B-b-b-b-baka breaker!”

Rin is further reduced into a helpless tsundere-blob. Like a moeblob, but with tsundere as the cause of moe. Shirou talks right over her, and doesn’t recognize the relationship even as it’s admitted and is already acting as if they’re married. Even if Shirou is somewhat insufferable, the antics of Emiya Shirou and Tohsaka Rin, flat as they are as characters, often bring a smile to my face. It’s solid comedy, though often at the expense of the characters.

The usual spiel between Archer and Kuzuki (the hatchet-faced psycho-teacher) was the usual drivel, with talk about not having your own goals so helping another obtain their wishes, not wishing for regrets. Everything is mirroring Emiya Shirou, but since it’s variations on something with no real depth, it doesn’t actually add depth, but reflects the shallowness of the pool. I still enjoyed this episode, and it was a great source of reaction faces, even if it weren’t “good”.

7) Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma Episode 4:

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma anime episode 4 - Isshiki Satoshi's naked apron pose

It’s as if “over the top” is all the show knows.

I thought it was about time to introduce a more relaxed setting, with people for Soma to be able to be closer to. Well, the post-ED section put an end to that. Everyone is crazy, and the more powerful they are the crazier they get, true to shounen battler fashion. The sequence with the old lady’s memory/vision of herself was really directed like an eroge, complete with the camera motions.

Nothing this week was bad. Nothing was really great either, mostly “enjoyable”. As you can see from my image selection above, this was certainly the week for reaction faces.

I’m not entirely sure why I’m keeping up with Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma, because even if it’s not bad, it’s pretty standard, and I have better things to watch anyway. It was nice to see Plastic Memories pull somewhat of a comeback with a strong episode, even if it used its very context-rich idea for the purpose of drama and didn’t really explore the ideas brought up. It’s somewhat frustrating, when such a bountiful concept, which actually keeps bringing up how it’d play out and affect our world isn’t exploring the ideas and is merely using it as a setup for an emotional payload (I’d rather have both, not one over the other).

This season still feels somewhat empty for me, but hey, I guess the amount I write about OreGairu is enough to make up for 2-3 other shows, and I’ve got a whole bunch of schoolwork to deal with, and several papers to write, so I should look on the bright side.

Anything this past week which stood out to you, for better or for worse? Anything with my own take on shows you disagree with?

3 comments on “Spring 2015 Anime Overview – Week 4 (Anime Power Ranking)

  1. megaroad1 says:

    Substitute Plastic Memories with Arslan and I’m with you to the letter.

    • Guy says:

      Yeah, though spots 5-7 could’ve traded places, there wasn’t really much to separate them. As for Arslan, just not enough happens weekly, so it’s prolly something to be watched in chunks later on, if people say it’s good enough.

  2. King Marth says:

    Very glad that Plastic Memories came back. I recommended it to someone just as I sat down to watch the third episode, and immediately regretted doing so. As much as the first few scenes of the fourth tried to evoke the sickening idiot-ball comedy from the third, the recovery-of-the-week did get back to how people handle loss even if details are distressingly vague. Very heavy-handed foreshadowing though, doesn’t bode well for a better look at the background societal implications if they’ll need the episodes for thieves and zombies.

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