14 CommentsMonthly Roundups / By Scamp /

November 2017 Anime Roundup

3-gatsu no Lion 2nd Season - 06 - Large 01

I had too many month where the top image was Tanya the Evil pulling a deranged face so we need some Momo to balance it out.

I missed last month as I had fallen behind on some stuff, but I’ve had to accept keeping up when you have a full time job is tough. Still only seen one episode of Inuyashiki and need to catch up. Same with Kino’s Journey, although given what people are saying about it, I’m maybe less inclined to catch up there. Also stuck at four episodes of The Ancient Magus’ Bride, but I’m definitely done there because there’s only so long I can put up with someone’s skull-daddy fetish anime before I give in – yes that’s right that anime is bad and slow and blergh. Anyway, here’s all the actual good stuff from this season.

Blood Blockade Battlefront and Beyond

Kekkai Sensen Beyond - 05 - Large 20The part that pains me about this season is Blood Blockade is it’s so goddamn great but the one thing it needs to push it over the edge to become a true classic is exactly the thing the last season tried and failed miserably at. The moment to moment action is fantastic and still maintains that energy of direction and animation the first season nailed so perfectly. I continue to love each character with extremely distinct personalities and how the show isn’t afraid to make our heroes look like complete dorks. Each episodic story is usually quite strong with something subtle but heartfelt at the centre of it. The whole thing is so fun and all it needs is some strong over-arching story or themes to pull it all together into a classic…which is what last season had and it was fucking terrible. This season is better for not having that, but boy now that we’re most of the way through, it’s clear why you would look at this story and feel it does need that overarching narrative.

Girl’s Last Tour

yuuandchiiI’ve only watched one episode of the new Kino’s Journey, but judging from some of the reaction I’m reading online, it sounds like the new season has lost a lot of people to quite extreme degrees. So maybe it’s better I haven’t caught up and have been watching Girl’s Last Tour instead, which in many ways reminds me of Kino’s Journey. Travelling through this land, meeting interesting scenery and people, and in doing so learning more about the world, themselves and society. I’m probably one of the few people who like the heavy-handed approach it takes. It wears its metaphors on its chest proudly and I can usually say I’m fond of what it does with them. Wandering around in the dark sure helps bring home the fear of what life after death is like, things like that. Its theme running through the show that what you are doing may lead to nothing but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile gives it a proper through-line which helps elevate the piece as a whole. Also they dab in the OP, which is a big plus in my book.

Land of the Lustrous

houseki-no-kuni-0802This is such a completely unique anime that any criticism I may have for it melts away in face of its ambition and originality. From the directing style to the plot to story. It’s so different and stylised and increasingly fucking bleak that I can’t muster up any irritation for some of its drawbacks. Phos is a legitimately great character, from a pure surface level entertaining person to watch right down to her core of dreams and fears that drive her actions. The scene of her contemplating chopping off her own arms, willing to destroy her own memories and potentially completely change her personality due to her own self-loathing is a harrowing scene even in the context of androgynous crystal people with incredible butts. It’s also the first full-length anime that feels elevated for being a full CG production (the first actual good-for-being-CG-anime was Fireball and don’t you forget that). Kado came close but that was only the alien stuff, the actual people looked fucking stupid in that show. It only took the most original anime this decade to find something CG works with, which makes it an alarmingly difficult thing to recreate.

March Comes in Like a Lion 2

3-gatsu no Lion 2nd Season - 07 - Large 17It took me a while to get into this season because for ages it didn’t feel like it was addressing anything that was central to the part of the story I cared about aka: Why is our main character such a sad sack. If we’re not directly focusing on his depression then all the rest is just pastel colours, shogi and Shaft-isms I struggle to get invested in.  The part with the creepy husband fooling around with high school dropouts, the senior shogi players, didn’t care about any of it. The whole bullying story was not particularly interesting to me either UNTIL they connecting it directly to the main character and how in holding our her hand to the bullied girl, it felt to him like she had held out a hand to young him. That was what justified the whole arc to me and got me emotionally invested in what was happening. This wasn’t a conscious caring about events. Rather I didn’t know why I wasn’t getting into the new season and started to get worried maybe March wasn’t for me anymore. It wasn’t until the story made that connection did I get back into it again. Now it’s back, it’s as great as ever.

Welcome to the Ballroom

Ballroom e Youkoso - 19 - Large 18I’ve finally come around to the side that this is simply not a good adaptation of the manga. The source material shines through sometimes, and the story massively improved when they brought in that feisty redhead. But for something where the human body is so central to how it tells its story, the attempts to tell any part of the story visually are so dreadful it dramatically impacts its efforts to portray what is supposed to be happening. You would think this is what it should have over static manga pages, but the artwork is so awful a static shot works better. It’s not just those necks, although the random giraffe moment are certainly the lowlights. It’s not as if a lack of effort went in or some clear budgetary constraints existed either since there is a lot of movement happening. It’s seems like whoever is drawing the scenes never actually watched dancers in real life so don’t understand how the bodies are supposed to look. Yuri on Ice might have had ambition for its dance sequences higher than it was actually able to convey, meaning some of the moves looked kinda derpy, but they always managed to get across the emotion they were supposed to. Ballroom feels like a failure in directing and storyboarding.

Osomatsu-san Season

Osomatsu-san S2 - 03 - Large 28I don’t think I have laughed at the second season since episode 3, and that was only because Crunchyroll accidentally loaded in the subtitles for a completely different anime. I struggled for a while to articulate why I wasn’t digging this season as much as last. Yeah it’s partly because the concept has gotten old now and being weird and unique doesn’t carry you anymore. But after asking around on Twitter I got some people helping me get to the core of why it wasn’t funny anymore: It’s just mean-spirited now. It stopped being a fun series and now the Osomatsus flailing around in their own incompetence is dull because they lack that human element that made them somewhat more rounded characters in the first season. I think I might be done with the series overall now. If it doesn’t have any new ideas and just rolls around in its own character’s shittiness then I don’t see what’s worth sticking around for anymore.

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14 Comments

  1. JAMES
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Kekkai Sensen very much needs an overarching narrative, but even thinking of that irks me to no end. I’m fine with what we have, even if it’s not as exceptional as a talented writing team could make it with a little risk-taking.

    Garo and Inuyashiki are both very solid this season, worth catching up on if you are dropping osomatsu. Garo takes a little bit to pick up, but it really hits its stride once Sophie comes back into the picture. Inuyashiki is very “edgy”, but also has some really remarkable character moments and works the whole blade runner theme well.

    • Scamp
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure what it is about Garo, but I’ve had basically no interest in it since it started. I should probably at least give the first episode a go

      • S_N_I
        Posted December 7, 2017 at 1:05 am | Permalink

        Definitely watch the first episode. It’s the first thing I’ve seen to simultaneously get both my highest and lowest rating; it’s trash, but it’s truly amazing trash.

  2. Ken
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I’m enjoying Ancient Bone-daddy’s Bride, but it’s mainly because I’m into the manga and I want to see how it gets animated.

    COME ON JAPAN! In these crappy times, we need better anime escapism.

  3. Nagisa33
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    Kino’s Journey is quite good. I like that they’re focusing on other characters like Shizu and his dog. He’s that swordsman who appeared in the coliseum episode.

    I’m not watching too much this season but Garo is pretty good as well. Right now it’s doing episodic monster of the week stuff and character building. I’m looking forward to see what they’ll do with the main plot, which they’ve been building up to.

    Ancient bride magical girl is a bit dry but the world is pretty.

    • Nagisa33
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 1:04 am | Permalink

      Also I finished Nasu: Summer in Andalusia thanks to this blog. I’m glad I watched it.

      • Scamp
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        Ooh I remember that movie. It’s pretty cool!

  4. Anon
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    Regarding 3-gatsu, I agree that what elevates the bullying arc is the way Hinata’s courage impacts and motivates Rei. The rest of the show is great too, though, so you’re only half right. :^)

    • Scamp
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Hmmm idk the whole parts with the other shogi players I couldn’t give a toss about myself

      • Anon
        Posted December 8, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        I can see how Shaft’s perplexing direction could make their thematic relevance less clear. If you’ve ever got the time for it, the manga is excellent at connecting those dots, and manages to be emotionally powerful in the process.

  5. DarkEnergy
    Posted December 4, 2017 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    There are some anime this season I’ve been mostly enjoying and will probably score around 7/10: Juuni Taisen (Zodiac War), Konohana Kitan, Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau (Children of the Whales), and Net-juu no Susume (Recovery of an MMO Junkie).

    Is anybody else watching these and/or wants to talk about them?

    • Ken
      Posted December 4, 2017 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Recovery of an MMO Junkie is good. Mostly because it’s about adult relationships and not set in high school. I like it and I’m not even a gamer.

      • Scamp
        Posted December 6, 2017 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        I should probably watch MMO Junkie. I passed it over because I thought the manga was dull and generic, but lots of people seem to like it

      • meon1845
        Posted December 7, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

        MMO Junkie is extremely slow-paced and probably work better as a movie. And it has a lot of “Oh, I relate to that!” moments for people who spend (or like me, used to spend) a lot of their time playing online games, which I enjoy. It’s rather refreshing because of adult characters and all, but they still act like anime teenagers when it comes to love.

        All and all… it’s okay? If it wasn’t on Crunchyroll, I’d probably skip it.

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