It’s time to bring this feature back for the 599th post on this blog. I suppose I should do something special for that one. I’ll get around to coming up with something this week. This is the first time I’ve done a roundup collectively of the summer. I hope that’s been enough to separate the bad from the good. Unfortunately, I’m almost certain that’s eliminated any other series that my readers are still watching. I have a tendency to do that almost every single time.
But first a little digression on what’s happened this week tied to the man I’ve pictured above. That would be Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun. The undoubted superstar of the club in Major League Baseball’s smallest market, 2011 National League MVP, 5-time All-Star and as of this week admitted drugs cheat. In the midst of that season, I had the unusual luck of catching the same cross-country flight as him, but as it was 2am I really made no note of it other than the coincidence of being on the same plane. This is more about fandom though. While the figures involved in creating something may go on to be a future disgrace, the thing they created will still exist. Urobuchi may now live on overhyped projects that chop women to bits and have characters say funny things just for laughs, but Madoka will still always exist. And while the season may be lost for Milwaukee now, come March 31st next season there will still be baseball played, and Braun will probably be starting in left field.
Currently Airing Top 5
I will be one of the first people to admit to liking Gainax series a little too much for my own tastes. Since most of that group has gone on to waste their talents at other studios or on vanity projects, I think it’s safe to say that bias can’t really carry over as I’m consciously aware of it. Yet, this little show pulled an amazing trick on me.
Last week’s episode was disappointing in the sense of how predictable it all was and how it tried to reset relationships within the club at the very end. The second half of this episode completely transformed the series entirely. No longer was this a story of Yura trying in vain to come to grips with the world she entered. Instead, Yura quite literally took control of her world and shaped it to her whims. This show about girls playing survival games now has a fantastic hook, and they didn’t even need to break it out at the end in typical Gainax fashion.
Kaminomi‘s 3rd season got off to a rough start with fans of the franchise. A few arcs were left on the cutting room floor between where the series left off with Tenri/Diana’s introduction and the search for the Goddesses. It’s particularly curious as 2 of the girls Keima is trying to conquer again were among the arcs left out. Yet, I still think this works well as an adaptation so far.
There’s dramatic tension involved in trying to save Kanon’s life. At the same time Keima shines as a character for the way he continues to treat all life situations as though they are part of a game. Knowing their lives could possibly be in danger, the way he pursues 2nd, 3rd, 4th and more options in changing scenarios makes him an interesting character. They may ultimately result in cliche, but entertaining cliche nonetheless. The writing showdown between Shiori and Keima was touching, or if I can say it, adorable way of continuing that route.
I didn’t write anything on the first episode of this series. It was just too hard for me to not actually make it about myself which I try to avoid unless that’s the point of the post. Watamote is a show for me that’s about the social safety net. Only when Tomoko, the delusional fujoshi protagonist, does anything wrong does she receive any sort of attention from the outside world.
Tomoko’s world is actually quite cruel for the fact that there is no malice directed at her at all by others. This is terrible in the sense that she really has nothing in the way of common sense because she is not a part of the common. Even when people do nice things for her, as the kid buying her a replacement umbrella in this week’s episode did, it’s out of social obligation. That’s really what this series comes down to. Will she ever become more than society’s obligation and become important enough to someone else to change that? It takes just a conversation.
I’m always going to accept that I’m left field in my opinion of this series. When there aren’t breasts popping free all over the place, this is actually a pretty good shounen comedy that follows formula perfectly. After becoming strong last season, Issei has his ass handed to him by a church member who declares her love for him by wanting to kill him because he’s become a demon. So he’s got to get stronger all the while fulfilling his contract to a human by riding a bicycle. This week it was about a group of people from different sides coming together to understand Yuuto’s struggles with his past and promising to help him. Fairly standard shounen series trope and it worked for me. If it weren’t for that minor detail, I’d be recommending this without making it seem like it was ironic.
Yamakan’s comedy is very hit-and-miss if you’ve watched a lot of it. Also, run for the hills the moment he tries to do anything serious. With that out of the way, this story of heroes and powerful demons took a comedic turn this week. Alba was finally deemed invincible by the all-powerful narrator simply because he’s the main character. He was partnered this week by Elf, one of those demons who wants to kill him, but has the worst sense of timing imaginable.
When the jokes are working well in this series, they rely on a combination of cynicism and the absurd. This is a world where people can literally appear bigger than they really are because of their manly attributes. It’s a world where cool transformation sequences can kill people because the creator didn’t take into account that there is a person inside and doesn’t mourn at all. That it managed to be funny to me without relying on the masochistic talking cat or Ross doing his thing is the first accomplishment of note in a while from this series. As for Senyuu.‘s consistency, I’d expect next week to fall flat on its face.
The Rest of the Week
6. Kiniro Mosaic – This is definitely an endearing show which thankfully focuses more on cross-cultural interaction rather than pointing out how different British and Japanese cultures are. Karen’s the more laid back of the girls from England and really a vital character in making this show work. It makes Alice standout much more than she did before and the audience should be thankful for that.
7. Genshiken Nidaime – The Comiket arcs were never really my favorite parts of this franchise to begin with and I think this episode was the same. Time simply passed by with a bunch of cosplay references thrown in to make the viewer forget about the episode’s plot.
8. Free! – In getting Rei to learn how to swim this episode was at least thought invoking, but it still feels like this series was going through the motions.
9. Love Lab – With the entire team back together in the Student Council, the examination of love continues. Rather it really doesn’t because this entire episode revolves around Sayori backing Riko into a corner. The way out of this arc will really define how endearing this series can be.
10. Monogatari Second Season – The intrigue seems pretty much secondary at this point to the monologues and dialogues that absolutely have to happen. The oddities seem to have zapped any eccentricities from Hanekawa in particular. This arc has felt much like having plain food. While nourishing, it’s missing character.
11. Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya – I’m not entirely familiar with the Type Moon universe so the jokes that seem to be getting deeper into that world aren’t registering with me. I think this was also the start of this being a normal magical girl show which really makes the humor work much less than the first pair of episodes.
12. Uchouten Kazoku – Really has lost momentum from episode 1; if having the antagonist go whale hunting with no clothes is the best this show can do I don’t know how long I can stick with this.
13. Silver Spoon –
14. Servant x Service –It’s not that Lucy’s been weakened as a character to the point that she’s just a sexual harassment target with a glowing sign saying every male character has a free shot, but rather the utter stupidity of having the director of the section represented by a flush bunny that kills any enthusiasm I had for this series to begin with. Done
Updated Seasonal Average Episode Rank
|Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu||1||1|
|Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen||2||3|
|Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!||3||7|
|High School DxD New||4||8|
|Servant x Service(dropped)||9||22|
|Monogatari Series Second Season||11||33|
|Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya||–||–|
|Gin no Saji||–||–|
My Gatchaman Tweet of the Week
Since I can’t watch Gatchaman Crowds until I’ve caught up with the rest of the series, I’ve been tweeting my thoughts as I watch the episodes of the original series. My most inspired use of 140 characters over the week will go here.
Repeat of the final 2 episodes of Mad Bull 34 this week. Still waiting on the availability of the latest Happy Science joint to fill the comedy void.