The Return of the Recap 38

aiura38topA certain incident of what was called aniblogger drama, which I’m not going to talk about specifically here, had me thinking of opinions on anime in general. I personally try not to come off as cynical about some of the series I’m watching. There’s the odd Urobuchi hating women moment from time to time, or occasionally there’s a show that I think can do much better than it is capable of. Ultimately, I hope to avoid the whole looking jaded thing as I write for you few readers out there.

Regardless, it got me thinking of opinions in general, plus it also helped that the book I’m reading recreationally covers the same area. Nuance is something I try to value when discussing anything I’ve miraculously happened to be watching at the same time as someone else. Being able to justify the existence of a series I’m not particularly a fan of, which could be something like the Tokyo Mew Mew dub, and convincing someone it isn’t a crime against humanity is a fun exercise. However, what I would say is that it is much easier to build a readership by holding views that have no nuance at all. A world that is black or white is easier to grasp in a brief read than one with nuance. What a terrible world that is.

Currently Airing Top 5

Too much to drink.
Muromi’s trip to Singapore gets off to an inauspicious start.

Muromi-san

The problem this show seems to have is consistency. When it is on song like it was this week, it can be one of the best gag anime out there. When it’s not, then the 12 minutes of the episode can feel like 12 hours. So this week’s best episode I watched was about mermaids who drank too much and threw up despite being millions of years old. But it was about much more than that. Turning the Kraken into a lecherous monster who is so bad with women he almost caused another world war to break out. Also, the next episode previews reference to Otohime’s fortunes falling faster than Lehman Brothers was good too. On the downside, the Yeti flashback was overly sentimental and her character seems to slow the flow of the episode down massively.

Okaa-san-sensei inadvertently to the rescue.
That’s a convenient place to fall.

Yuyushiki

The second most light-hearted comedy of the season continues a stellar run of consistency this week. They’ve done a really good job of slowly incorporating the trio of Chiho, Kei and Fumi into the regular rhythm of the show. The one thing I do worry about going forward is the rather perverted edge this series seems to have despite having no male characters. Last week it was Kei trying to give the okay to molest Chiho to Yui and now this week it’s Yuzu leering over Okaa-san-sensei’s breasts after falling into them accidentally. How hard is it to avoid the dumb stuff like this?

That expression
That swimsuit is too small clearly.

Hataraku Maou-sama

There was a bit of debate about this series this week as to whether this is a romantic comedy. Basically, it comes down to whether the fact that Maou has absolutely no interest in love makes a difference in the romantic aspect of the romantic comedy. I think it probably ends up being true for the simple fact that many of the situations involve other characters believing that Emi is together with Maou. That’s not something she helps by basically stalking him all of the time. Chiho’s confession to him didn’t really move him as much as firmly establish her role as the character who ends up with unrequited love. Anyway that’s all an excuse to avoid talking about this week’s swimsuit episode, which was a thing.

That's one interesting fetish.
This is getting into the Ramen episode of Amagami territory.

Photo Kano

I don’t think I should feel particularly foolish for writing on this series in the middle of the week because this wasn’t an especially interesting episode. The vivid food dream sequence was about the extent of the highlights this week. The rest was about as standard single-episode love story as you can get. Kazuya is close friends with Mai, cheers her on when she is trying to get into the rhythmic gymnastics competition which turns those feelings into romantic ones, they then get involved in misunderstandings together before they finally confess their feelings for each other. That’s about as paint-by-numbers as you can get in this genre. So I’d put this down as competently executed, but with little in feeling.

That looks awfully official
Children’s bike censorship. Really.

Oreimo.

This is really just on this list by default. Much was made during the week of the ending of the final volume of the light novel in that it chose to go for an ever so unsatisfying ending for every single character in the story. While I’m sure it’s courageous to end a story in a way that will disappoint fans of the story, ending it in a way that isn’t much of an ending is quite frankly cowardly. That, however, is completely irrelevant to this episode. What I liked about this episode was the interaction between Kyousuke and Ayase. It has that rare platonic friendship between a boy and girl where they are each able to give the other a hard time with no hard feelings going on. Shame about the unfortunately designed bicycle falling victim to the evil light beams of censorship.

The Rest of the Week

Apples taste so good.
She really likes apples.

6. Date A Live – Not much of a conclusion to the Kotori/Kurumi battle.
7. Aiura – Oh hey, that teacher who looks younger than the girls has unresolved issues
8. Hayate Cuties – Ayumu doesn’t really have much going for her, does she?
9. Oregairu – Scenery chewing class politics
10. Gargantia – Improbably gaining a conscious via contrivance
11. Nyaruko-san Completely uneventful this week as a Shanta-kun episode

Updated Seasonal Average Episode Ranking

Season Rank Overall Rank
Yuyushiki 1 1
Hataraku Maou-sama 2 2
Suisei no Gargantia 3 5
Photokano 4 7
Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W 5 9
Date A Live 6 13
Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san 7 16
Oreimo. 8 17
Oregairu 9 18
Hayate no Gotoku! Cuties 10 20
Aiura 11 25
Attack on Titan (dropped) 12 26
Space Brothers (dropped) 10

Terribad

In the middle of this swords and magic tale is this guy and his gun.
In the middle of this swords and magic tale is this guy and his gun.

Spectral Force

Among all of the terribad anime I’ve watched over the years, I can safely say this is the 2nd worst looking one I’ve ever seen (take a bow Gundoh Musashi). Spectral Force is a two episode OVA based on the JRPG of the same name. What is it with JRPG adaptations being almost universally terrible? Only fighting game adaptations have a worse reputation.

Since I led off with it, the visuals in this OVA are appalling. There’s a combination of dated CG that looks like it was made 10 years before this was released, character designs and animation that I would be kind in calling half-assed. and a villain who looks like he is wearing a pommel horse as shoulder pads. The only thing missing is photographic backgrounds with JPEG artifacts. It’s also obvious that most of the production budget went into that catastrophic CG because you can’t avoid it being used terribly all the time.

As for the story, Spectral Force is about the struggle a demon princess has to face when tragedy strikes for her family. She has to seek revenge against those who wronged her with the help of the band of human mercenaries despite the fact that she has problems with humans in general thanks to a child-sized scythe being used against her and her friends when she was a child. For the most part, it’s not a horribly executed story. There appears to be too much trying to cram stuff in from the games and not enough time to do so. Yet, there leaves so much to be unexplained at the same time. Also, there’s no conclusion to the story in this OVA, presumably because this was supposed to sell you on buying the game to complete the story. I wonder how effective that would have been.

Time of First Female Nudity: 6:04 in the first episode when Hiro battles a giant fish underwater in the buff (though to be fair, she and her father are as anatomically correct as children’s dolls)
Rating: 26.5

2 thoughts on “The Return of the Recap 38”

  1. Perhaps one of the reasons I’m enjoying Photo Kano so much (even if I didn’t like Mai’s episode as much this week) is because it’s fairly conflict free. Probably because so much of the harem and romance genres are filled with either squabbling and ranking infighting in harem, or pointless misunderstandings designed entirely to slow the entire show down so they can keep the ‘Will they or won’t they?’ question going, it’s really refreshing to me to have a show like Photo Kano where it’s pretty much straight “two people getting together in a happy way”. Even Amagami, with 4 episodes per girl, dithered a lot on the ‘will they get together’ question, with sometimes manufactured ‘problems’. Heck, even Photo Kano did, when it gave Haruka two episodes.

    I first realized how frustrating these usual romance shows are when I watched Nagareboshi Lens, and was wondering the whole time what was going to break the couple up and make it all sad. And when they got to the end and nothing like that happened, it was like “Hmm, that was actually pretty nice” and I went back and rewatched it, enjoying it more in the confidence that two people actually acted nicely towards other people they were interested in.

    1. I don’t know about that. I think the first 4 episodes is very much in Amagami territory where the lead appears to be getting together with multiple girls. It does capture many of the same feelings from that show though where you do get to see a relationship pan out from beginning to end. There’s a lot less edge to it here and I think that makes it easier to relate to as well. As far as other romance shows, it depends on how I’m feeling at the moment of watching. So if I feel a certain way, I will want the relationship to end badly. In general though, I just want a good story.

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