The Rest of What I Watched The Week of July 28

Trying to drink the substance that powers terribad anime straight from the tap.

Since there was no Koichoco episode to write about this week, I figured now was as good a time as any to revisit the weekly roundup posts that were never popular here in the first place. Why would anyone go here for this stuff anyway, but I digress. Summer typically isn’t a good season for me to watch lots of series and I don’t think I missed out on much from last summer. Combined with the fact that I evidently have an extraordinarily bad history of voting in the Anime Power Rankings which I have been tracking my own votes throughout the year, I could throw in running rankings as I do these posts if it becomes a regular feature.

Currently Airing

The most unlucky of four-leaf clovers.

1. Sengoku Collection

I don’t think I’m overreacting when I write that the 18th episode is probably my favorite single episode of the year. The thing with Sengoku Collection is that it is a bunch of stand-alone episodes with only one overarching plot and featuring gender-bent Sengoku-era historical figures who are designed in the most moé way that the designers could think of. The latter part undoubtedly explains its unbelievably poor rating on MAL (6.22).

Backgrounds for this show change week to week. This is completely different even for them.

Now onto this week’s episode. The art style of the backgrounds in Sengoku Collection is usually pretty standard with a trademark watermark that is slipped in at specific points in the episode to fit the mood of what is happening. This week, all of the backgrounds were done in pastel. The character this story focused on was Otani Yoshitsugu, who suitably is wrapped in bandages as she goes about her daily life as a factory worker in a vague Scandinavian city.

The idealized version of Angel receiving that first letter.

The episode’s main theme is about luck and ends in an incredibly depressing way. Yoshitsugu finds a four-leaf clover, then has a terrible day at work. She sends off a letter to a writer she admires named Angel and then proceeds to give up on having any hope at all. She then receives a reply back about how lucky she was in receiving Yoshitsugu’s letter. What follows is a story about how small bits of fortune can pull two people out of despair as they write to each other. However, the hope turns into a desire to see each other, which ultimately leads to more suffering for the both of them.

The reality of that same situation.

All in all, it’s a very Buddhist-oriented story, even down to Yoshitsugu’s apartment number (404) in the episode. However, from a more general perspective, I thought it was an episoe that really captured some of the despair of modern life. The mail allowed these two people to talk to each other, but the cost of meeting in person proved to be too much.

The perfect way to end this episode.

2. Kokoro Connect

In this week’s episode, Heartseed got involved again as he forced the five main characters to choose between them who would die in Iori’s body. There were two parts of this episode that I really liked.

Heartseed has his eyes on the ratings. Typical high school romance just doesn’t sell.

The first is the character of Heartseed. I think his role of contriving scenarios between his five pawns is purely a reaction to events playing out in a stereotypical way. He even says it is getting too boring before he launched Iori’s body off of the bridge. Just thinking about it, the episode began with a confession for Yoshifumi to Yui which came out with hope for the former even if he was rejected. Then, Taichi confessed his love to Iori after telling her that all people put on masks depending on the scenario. Overall, it was all a little too cliche.

This type of romance, on the other hand, sells because it has dramatic tension.

I think Heartseed is merely playing the role of producer on the reality show that is Kokoro Connect, at least as far as a completely scripted reality show can go. The cast isn’t being cooperative in the goal of trying to entertain him, but judging by how the conclusion was drawn out, he has a genuine sentimentality to see them become characters showing their feelings in cliche dramatic circumstances. What he wanted was a drama involving all 5 of his characters, and not a high school romance where characters were predictably pairing up.

Behind Taichi, there is a dark side that is never alluded to in other characters of his type.

Also, Taichi playing the Yuji Everylead role has the perfect foil in Himeko. She continues to call him selfless to freakish levels, but her questioning why he would immediately volunteer to die in Iori’s place is a very valid criticism of that type of character. Taichi even comes out and says that he is selfless for his own good which leads to Himeko saying that he suffers from a gentle form of insanity. Perhaps there’s that expectation that being selfless leads to rewards for that character, but having that be the only defining trait of a person isn’t rational at all. In fact, it probably makes him the most broken of all.

I imagine this is how international negotiations really work; gigantic shouting matches that accomplish nothing.

3. Rinne no Lagrange

The quality of what I watched quickly fell off a cliff when it came to Lagrange. In this episode, Dizel and Vilagiulio have a contrived conference to discuss the conflict between their two nations in an elevator. There was really no point in having negotiations though as Dizel is convinced that the only way they can survive is by destroying the other. They did make clear that Madoka was the key element either way in determining how events unfolded in the future.

Those costumes fooled exactly zero people.

There was also a more thorough introduction to the character of Yurikano. Vilagiulio’s younger sister, who last week was seen trying to choke Madoka to death, but is instead another empty shell genki girl of a character controlled by Le Garite, with her memories completely erased. Then it ends comically with the Jersey club wearing disguises to try to talk to Yurikano some more. This wasn’t a particularly memorable episode to be honest.

Judging by her appetite, maybe Serika isn’t the best candidate for this after all.

4. Space Brothers

This week’s episode was more sentimental as Makabe finally got his team to start acting like normal people and Mutta had the rest of his team make udon from scratch. I thought it really captured some feelings well. The embarrassment as a kid of having your personal heroes be known by no one was eventually redeemed as Mutta finally found a group of people who knew who Sharon was. That said, this episode could have happened 6 weeks ago without any problems.

Curiosity successfully stopped by pragmatism.

5. Hyouka

All that stuff I said about Satoshi being an interesting character last week was pretty much thrown out the window here. He’s essentially turned into a character on a personal crusade to try to solve the mystery of the school festival all on his own. That despite knowing that he isn’t up to the job. There was also Hotarou’s nice attempt at blocking Eru from entering curiosity mode, and Mayaka also continues to struggle without friends in the Manga society. Maybe dressing in Vocaloid costumes in this universe makes one a prick, who knows?

Not on the APR Ballot

Finally, some over-the-top action in Jintai.

6. Humanity Has Declined

This episode was largely about criticism of relying too much on technology and of hikkikomori. I really wasn’t feeling this episode too much to be honest.

In the midst of this one-sided battle, I couldn’t help but notice 2 number 5s and 2 number 9s. The American football club needs more money.

7. Moyashimon Returns

The harvest festival begins in this episode. Apart from Kawahama’s insane knowledge of Mexican liquor and the bodies of American football and women’s lacrosse players being thrown around by housewives, there wasn’t much else.

There are just so many plots that are being covered up in this show.

8. Dog Days’

Nothing of note happened in this episode devoted to side characters and how they conveniently get disrobed. If this is escapism, I’ll stick to the real world.

Emperor J’s Updated Average of Anime Power Ranking Ballots

Season Rank Year Rank Change Anime
1 2 2 Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita
2 3 4 Kokoro Connect
3 7 2 Sengoku Collection
4 10 1 Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate
5 11 5 Moyashimon Returns
6 13 Rinne no Lagrange
7 20 Uchuu Kyoudai
8 23 2 Hyouka
9 Dog Days’

OVAs

This right here is the future of character designs.

To Heart 2: Dungeon Travelers

Yet another installment of the epic To Heart 2 franchise is set in an RPG world which is as non-threatening as possible. For the most part, it plays true to each characters archetype in trying to get the attention of the most legendary of Yuji Everyleads, Kouno Takaaki. Surprisingly, this OVA was completely relevant to one of my misguided purchases at Otakon last week. Trapped by the desire to look at something that looks so visually well-crafted, but is really just obvious pandering. I could not turn my eyes away as my wallet quickly became emptied. At least watching this cost significantly less. (63.98/100)

Terribad Entries

Lame. Just unbelievably stupid.

The Epic of Zektbach

This is such a surprisingly mistitled entry. At 30 minutes, it is such an epic that it feels about 20 minutes too long. Basically, the action revolves around this attractive female warrior Shamshir who can cut people up really easily because she can see The Matrix I guess. Isn’t it a little too late to be making references to that movie without irony? There’s a thinly-veiled plot where she becomes too powerful to be controlled by the state so she becomes the enemy of it, but it’s given about 4% of the attention that the scenes of people being cut open and/or being rendered as 1s and 0s is. (37/100)

A talking duck with a magical girl holding on to it fighting a combat maid in a fast food restaurant? A talking duck with a magical girl holding on to it fighting a combat maid in a fast food restaurant.

Netrun-mon the Movie

If you ever get the temptation to watch this voluntarily, there are better past times to enjoy, such as trying to count the blades of grass in a park or successfully figuring out the answer to the question “Who is IMOUTO?” I mean, I don’t even know why this got made in the first place. It’s a mess that begins with a pair of talking ducks on a rescue mission that ultimately culminates with magical girl attacks and mecha. 30 minutes of pain, and the worst thing I’ve watched this year. (12/100)

Yes, this is too silly, even before the ridiculous insert song is taken into account.

Yu-Gi-Oh!: Pyramid of Light

Not much better for this either, which considering it had probably 100x the budget of Netrunmon makes it more appalling. The plot of this movie is about how Yugi has some cards that basically break the children’s card game because he can get infinity attack points. Fortunately, a guy from 5000 years ago seeks revenge for being defeated by Pharaoh by further breaking the card game with new cards that are ridiculously overpowered. Then the story basically collapses into silly nonsense which is easily lampooned. For the record, just watch Yugioh: The Abridged Movie instead. It’s at least three times as well written even using the same source material. (16/100)

If this is the only post that marks the return of weekly recaps, then so be it. This is just a little insight into what I watch in a normal week apart from the fact I hardly ever watch 3 terribad shows in a week. If you want to see more of this, please let me know in the comments. I can’t guarantee that over 1700 words a week will happen though.

7 thoughts on “The Rest of What I Watched The Week of July 28”

  1. Epic of Zektbach is mostly inoffensive to me. Super dumb and boring, but at least it’s just 30 minutes long (even if I agree with you that it feels much longer). Lensman and Netrunmon make up two of the bottom three titles I’ve watched in terribad this year (the other being that episode of Violence Jack). Lensman just takes it over Netrunmon on account of being almost Odin levels of dull despite having 10 times the action of Odin, but I can’t discount Netrunmon’s awfulness. Pretty much everything I could possibly find irritating in entertainment is shoved into that OVA. What a fucking mess.

    1. Zektbach just looked like the spent their budget on Matrix effects that they thought were special. Lensman is in that tier of bad, but I was almost in physical pain watching Netrunmon.

  2. “For the record, just watch Yugioh: The Abridged Movie instead. It’s at least three times as well written even using the same source material.”

    I did. I think I tried watching it one time on Youtube so long ago, but skipped like half the movie and got what I wanted without having to watch the whole thing. Then I watched the Abridged version, and watched the whole thing without skipping a scene. Damn Pyramid of Light sucked.

    1. For something about a children’s card game, the legit movie takes itself far too seriously. It also had a lot of money behind it too. I think it would be fair to say the whole thing was a bad idea. At least the Abridged version treats the subject matter with all the seriousness it deserves, none.

  3. Kokoro Connect has been unexpectedly good. After this last episode I wonder how they’re going to continue the story. In other shows this could have been a final chapter. There might be some surprises ahead (I’m not sold on Taichi really being in love with Iori and I reckon Inaba still has a shot if she wanted to).

    1. I think preventative measures will be taken to prevent any of these characters from pairing unless it is in the correct way by Heartseed’s standards. I’d like the series to delve into Taichi’s life because that seems to have been sadly ignored to this point. Also, I think Inaba works better with him as well.

    2. I read the synopsis and put it on my “might watch” list, but now I’m really glad I gave it a chance. From just the summary, it looks like it’s going to be nothing but a generic high school drama with modest fanservice, but it has a surprising amount of depth. They’ve done a great job so far, and there is plenty of potential left. My only complaint is that they’ve tried to cram a bit to much into these first few episodes. Other than that, this is at the top of my list this season.

      Of course that’s subject to change as shows like this always have trouble forming a proper ending. I get the feeling that the last episode is going to make or break the entire season.

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