FIRST THIRD THOUGHTS – WINTER 2015

A couple weeks in to the start of 2015 as the year promises to be a busy but fun one, Yata and Haru are back to bring you updated thoughts on the season’s new anime and some enjoyable carry-overs from the fall season. Yata especially has plenty of catching up to do since he’s a chump and his schedule didn’t permit enough time to write up his conclusions on last season. That’s life though. Things happen…and sometimes things don’t happen, but this thing is happening. What are the frontrunners? What did we try to give a chance but drop? Let’s run ’em down.

Side note, we meant to post this yesterday, but the Super Bowl got us distracted, hence being one episode behind on Maria and Yurikuma. Bear with it.

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AKATSUKI NO YONA:

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I’m willing to bet we both misspell people’s names with Yona more than any other show.

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 16)
Yona’s slowly gotten better and better since it started last fall. What the show needed were characters who could hold solid conversations and not got caught adrift in a wave of generic shounenisms. With Yun, Ki-ja, and Shin-ah as solid characters full of development and personality added to the troupe, Yona’s party became one of the more lighthearted and fun to follow traveling groups in the last year of anime. The contrast between Ki-ja’s home village and Shin-ah’s brings more diversity to this show’s world’s inhabitants, and while most of the side characters don’t get enough screen time for them to be memorable, the focus has rightly been more on the mains. All that said, Akatsuki no Yona is still obviously a show that accomplishes more with momentary gags or slow plot developments than it does when it tries to get dark or political in a heartbeat. Pacing is probably its biggest problem, dragging out arcs an episode or two longer than they need to be and sometimes filling the contents of nearly whole episodes with flashbacks. Looking forward, it needs to fix these issues if it wants to get a score any higher than the following, but if it stays at this level for the rest of its run, I could live with that.
Score as of now: 7/10
Still watching?: Yes.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 16)
It’s been a while since we’ve covered this one. What’s new? Besides a disappointing new OP, Yona and crew have acquired a second dragon, though this guy’s got quite a bit of baggage. After a decent little arc with the Blue Dragon’s village, we’ve taken a little breather the last couple weeks to focus a bit on Su-won building a rapport with one of his generals by means of a festival. At least that glorious first OP showed up for the match between Su-won and Gung-tae.

Yona has succeeded in keeping me with it this far, what with the sudden speedy pace, its acceptable exposition, and some pretty decent application of slapstick. Hell, the character development ain’t all that bad, either. I dig Yun and the two dragon dudes Ki-ja and Shin-ah, they’re pretty well rounded characters overall. Yona has made considerable growth, too. Though she still has a way to go, she’s a far cry from the naive sheltered princess she was at the series start.

All this reviewer cliche leads to the point I’m trying to get to. It’s not an outstanding show by any means at all, nor is it all that ambitious, but it is a really entertaining time killer if not anything else. I’ve certainly got far more out of it now than I could have expected.
Score as of now: 6.5/10
Still watching?: Yes.

ALDNOAH.ZERO SEASON 2:

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I don’t say “cry”, I just cry. Something you’re apparently incapable of, cyborg egg boy.

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 4)
If there is any redeeming factor to Aldnoah.Zero, it’s that it stops at being a poorly executed story. Its content isn’t offensive and it can pull off some good animation and music when it wants to.

But the compliments stop there.

I will only be finishing Aldnoah.Zero to mock it and to be educated on what actually happens in case someone tries to defend it. It’s petty, I know, but I find myself doing that at least once a season with something poor. At least its shoddiness can be entertaining in a “wow, this is fucking terrible” way.

But you want to know what’s happened plot-wise? The most important…and really kind of the only important thing is that Slaine was named Saazbaum’s son, earned himself a place in line as his heir, and then staged Saazbaum’s death to take that position of privilege. People who hated him before now suddenly salute him, because that’s totally logical somehow. Meanwhile, everyone’s love of Inaho reached critical “why even” levels and robbed Lt. Marito of some of the little remaining soul Aldnoah.Zero had left. It’s Eggboy Mecha Pilot Jesus’ way or the highway apparently, and it’s more blunt now than it’s ever been. Poor becoming poorer is the key to Aldnoah’s game. I’m really only here for Hiroyuki Sawano and to experience whatever conclusion the show tries to bullshit in our faces.
Score as of now: 3.5/10
Still watching?: Yes, for the pleasure of watching everything collapse.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 4)
I wouldn’t quite call it “hate-watching” at this point, but hot damn, Aldnoah is getting ridiculous! It’s basically a bastard child of SAO and Gundam now, between the irreverent reverence of humanity’s one true hero Inaho and the outright lunacy of whatever madness the now Count Slaine is up to.

I don’t understand this show at all, not anymore. Though, I guess it’s not like there was much understanding after the end of last season. I mean, just how did the Earth forces have a space base in that debris belt when they were already badly losing this interplanetary war? You figure those Orbital Knights would’ve knocked it out in their initial invasion, right? No matter, the writers knew they were bullshitting on this and had space-fuckboy Slaine blow the place to high hell. Also, I know Aldnoah power is all mystical and cool and all, but every single battle making use of some scientific or physics-effect-of-the-week is getting a tad old, but whatever, huzzah for fireworks in a bad show.

That said, this show is building towards some really big catastrophe at the end. Will the earth be blown up next? We shall see.
Score as of now: 4.5/10
Still watching?: Only because somebody might actually die at this one’s end. Maybe.

ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM:

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Late Karma.

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 3)
One of the season’s most hyped shows is already experiencing untimely delays, and this normally isn’t the kind of stuff I’d bother talking about, but it goes hand in hand with my views on Assassination Classroom so far, so it’s worth bringing up. Episode three, and seemingly now episode four were delayed a week due to their violent content in the wake of the developing Japanese hostage crisis in Jordan. People in the West have been quick to form a bandwagon against the delays, saying that these real world events shouldn’t have any impact on a show this massively popular. It’s not the only thing Japan’s changed since this crisis started though, and as far as I know (feel free to correct me if this is wrong) Japan can be a censor-happy country in the wake of crises.

The more I think about it, AssClass is very juvenile and as proved over the last week, so is a lot of its fanbase. The delays and hesitance to air this are understandable since a lot of it could trigger negative responses. In just three episodes in the name of comedy, you’ve got kids acting as suicide bombers and threatening to kill themselves as a way to raise the stakes. It’s trying to be edgy in a way that frames these actions as normal, just another day in Class E’s kids’ lives. While I wouldn’t call AssClass a bad show, and there are some moments that will put a grin on your face, it’s also too trigger-happy for its own good, and the characterization has been weak so far aside from Koro-sensei, who by thwarting all these kids’ attempts and not appreciating their more extreme methods of assassination in fear of what it will do to the kids themselves makes for a very good character and a surprisingly emotionally balanced antagonist. I’m at a point however where not just in light of the recent events but also because of the slated extension from one season to two, the art and character designs which I’m enjoying less with each episode, and the simple reality that AssClass is one of the shows I least looked forward to over the last four weeks, I’m ready to drop it, or at least put it on hold for a while if the broadcasting networks don’t continue to do so themselves. Sorry if this ended up being a rant more about the show’s status than it did its content, but AssClass hasn’t done enough to prove that the latter is more important. For that content though, here’s Haru:
Score as of now: 5/10
Still watching?: Not anytime soon.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 3)
It looks as though Yata and I have our first real disagreement on a show. It’s about damn time, eh?

I seriously wasn’t expecting that I’d enjoy AssClass the way that I have been. This show just clicks most of the boxes for me as far as pure entertainment go. It helps that I’m a sucker for OPs sung by a show’s voice actors (the ED is gold, too). And what about that OP? It kind of tells you all about this show, without really spoiling much. Yeah, this show has some edgy moments, with the students of Class 3-E being tasked to kill their anthropomorphic octopus teacher and the discriminatory and subversive ways of Kunugigaoka Junior High and all, but this show is a total jokester at heart. There’s a ton of wordplay with this series that the Funi subs don’t seem to always catch. Koro-sensei (literally “unkillable teacher”) is one of the better anti-heroes I think I’ve come across in a while. This list of seemingly trivial weaknesses of his crack me up. Man, between this and Haikyuu, Shounen Jump shows have been pretty good lately! (Haikyuu is the better of the two, though.)

This show made me curious enough that I bothered to check out the manga, and I think I dig where this show is going. You could say I’ve gotten a good feel for the franchise and where it’s heading. This anime is very faithful to the original work. It helps that this show has a character who amounts to blatant pandering for baseball nuts like myself. They even had a baseball-centric episode centered on this kid, and depending on how long the show lasts, there could be more baseball on they way!

I’m buying into these rejects of Class 3-E. It’s already been hinted at a few times throughout the first few episodes, but the show is starting to lay out the groundwork for one of its big themes, which is the alienation, contrast and (somewhat exaggerated) conflict between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” which happens to be one of my favorite types of sub-plot to follow when done right. For some reason I just dig how Koro-sensei invests himself in these kids that the main school has practically given up on and dumped, and the unorthodox ways he brightens up his would-be assassins’ lives. It ain’t perfect, but AssClass is a decent feel-good popcorn show. Seiji Kishi, you haven’t disappointed me on this yet, so keep it up.

I just wish that the episodes didn’t keep getting delayed.
Score as of now: 7/10
Still watching?: Yes.

DEATH PARADE:

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I’ll laugh so hard if they have a shooting range challenge called Death Gun or something among those lines.

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 4)
Death Parade continues to impress. This will probably be easiest to analyze episode by episode, but I want to say now the show’s biggest strength is interestingly enough its versatility, something I thought would be a problem.

Episode two is episode one viewed from the perspective of two new characters, Nona and a nameless woman who the show’s fanbase seems to have dubbed Onna (literally “Woman”). Nona is another arbiter in this mysterious world who takes Onna for a visit to Quindecim and has her watch the dart match as a third party, later tasking Onna with a job as Decim’s assistant. Instantly, Onna questions Decim’s judgment, something Nona agrees with, which brings a couple new questions to us, the audience; if Decim’s role as an arbiter is to make the final decisions, does Onna’s presence mean someone of higher authority thought Decim lacked something human in order to fulfill his duties correctly? Is Onna human herself? Was she? Was anyone who inhabits this realm? These questions all remain unanswered, as this episode was the only one since then to show anyone besides Decim, his new assistant, and his games’ participants.

But I’m not impatient to find out either. Though Death Parade promises a lot beyond Quindecim, I think it’s best to assume its limited worldbuilding thus far is intentional. Episodes three and four each bring new elements to the table and work as their own vignettes, both of which rely on the high stakes, little context bubble Death Parade’s treated its previous game players to. Episode three in particular is a huge moment for the show, one that makes it evident that even though this world and these games are used to discern how underhanded a person can be when their life is in limbo, that doesn’t mean everyone will stoop to inhumane lows. This episode focused on a young man and an old childhood friend reconnecting over DEATH BOWLING and it culminated in a romantic climax (or as romantic as a scene in a show like Death Parade can get) where neither player lost their cool. The show used its backdrop to reflect intimacy and honesty instead of selfish distance, and it did so elegantly, proving that it’s not a one-trick pony and can cover a wide range of emotions. Even the nearly emotionless husk of a person Decim made a cruelly hilarious and well-timed joke.

While episode four is a return to Death Parade’s go-to style on the surface, it too contributed its own fresh elements; the game’s participants here, for the first time yet, didn’t know each other in real life. One of them is convinced for about half the episode that their setting is an elaborate candid camera game show prank, and least obviously but just as importantly, the show skipped over most of its lengthy rules. This time around, one of the players was an otaku named Yousuke who refused to accept his stepmother’s kindness, got wrapped up in escapism, and fell victim to his depression, committing suicide, while the other was a reality TV star named Misaki who after a lifetime of getting the short end of the stick and treating others with the hostility she felt she was treated with, started to make small efforts to be more of a proper motherly figure to her family…but not before a fed-up manager choked her to death. As tragic as these two stories sound, it also marks the show’s first stumble, as by nature they’re overdramatized and Death Parade’s episodic pacing lacks the space necessary to give a natural buildup and release to a story that doesn’t have interconnected pieces in the same episode.

It’s but a slight bump in the read however, as the show’s vicariously thrilling games remain enthralling more than they do melodramatic, and the layers of empathy for its characters are becoming more prevalent than ever. Onna and Decim are a great duo to watch as they themselves watch from the sidelines, and if the next episode preview is anything to go by, we’ll be treated to some expansion on Death Parade’s world and introduced to some new characters. So far, few complaints. You just keep doing you, Death Parade.
Score as of now: 8/10
Still watching?: Yes.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 4)
After that gut-wrenching start and the arbiters’ perspective on that nasty feud, it was really nice to have that downright lovely third episode show that Death Parade won’t be all doom and gloom. Though episode four kind of returned to business as usual, with bit of a twist. It’s kind of neat watching how Decim operates, like one moment he’s totally menacing and coercive, and just a few minutes later, he warmly consoles two folks from different walks of life who become distraught upon their realization of their deaths.

I do find it interesting that these peoples deaths don’t have to be related to one another for them to show up at Quindecim for judgement. I like how Death Parade keeps its cards close to the table, never divulging way too much at any moment. This show is so quirky and I’m loving it. I just wonder if this show can sustain this nice bit of momentum it has. I certainly hope it does.
Score as of now: 8/10
Still watching?: Yes.

DRRR!!x2 SHOU:

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If you’re going to speed around the city getting chased by a mob, the least you could do is put some seatbelts on.

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 4)
Durarara is fuckin’ back, baby. The first sequel’s pilot was just a quarter of the action, and over the last three weeks, the other pieces all fell into place too. It was an invigorating “fuck chronology” ride in typical DRRR fashion, and introduced us to new characters, gave life to some that didn’t get enough screen time before now, and reintroduced us to the series’ busy supernatural mob thriller aesthetic. Durarara works because even though it jumps around so much, it always finds a way to tie its bizarre components back together, and though those pieces in this re-introductory arc didn’t establish any new dynamics in the show, it centered on its finest ones and weeded out any unnecessary filler. DRRRRRRRR’s just gonna keep doing what it does best.
Score as of now: 8.5/10
Still watching?: Yes.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 4)
I must state again that I really missed this show!

Durarara cuts right to chase after that pilot, throwing us back into Ikebukuro’s hijinks, said hijinks being a still-simmering gang conflict, a newly emerged serial killer, the Great Dullahan Chase or the legendary Ikebukuro Hotpot Party. This being Ryohgo Narita penning this, these events are all deftly interconnected and not presented either in chronological order OR all upfront. He writes all this while still including all these nice sub-plots. This man knows how to write a damn story. Studio Shuka is doing a fantastic job with adapting this work, as I feel the anime is pacing itself perfectly. I’m glad it’s not just rushing through the novels, as there is just so much to take in with Narita’s stories. The animation leaves something to be desired, but that’s always been a thing with Durarara. I’m getting particularly excited for this one, because some of my favorite events from the novels are set to take place now.

Normally, me being this emotionally attached to a series has resulted in major disappointment before. I feel Durarara has now comfortably assuaged any apprehension I may have had going back into this series. I’m ready for the real fun to begin.
Score as of now: 8/10
Still watching?: Yus.

LOG HORIZON SEASON 2:

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oh god no, THE ONEE-SAN PANDEMIC IS SPREADING. HELP.

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 17)
For as much time has passed since I wrote about Log Horizon’s second season, I feel like very little has actually happened, and that’s kind of worrisome. This season seems to be playing with ideas and new game mechanics without expanding on them, which makes for a wishy-washy filler-filled ride with mere glimpses of grandeur the first season contained in (at times) full episodes. It’s only gotten more inconsistent as the months have gone on, though there were a couple highlights that stand tall and strong as some of the franchise’s best moments to date:

Akatsuki’s arc to come into her own character while defending Akihabara from the flavor text killer while the raid crew was away was a nice and frankly essential moment of character development. The raid crew got some time in the spotlight too, showing that Log Horizon’s still an MMO story about gamers in a game at its core. The mechanics and natural battle flow was superb, and the emotional peaks of any gain or setback from this arc, be they puny or massive, were conveyed perfectly, including one of the show’s most powerful episodes, where William Massachusetts (still best name) delivered a heartfelt rousing speech to his men about the realness of Elder Tale’s virtual reality. It was a classic Log Horizon move, celebrating its characters for who they are, and giving us more hints to their real world personalities. Similar developments were also made with Shiroe, and both flashbacks stayed very human and realistic in terms of their backgrounds and real life experiences. And man, what a payoff to end the first half of the second season. Shiroe has all the traits of an exceptional diplomat and negotiator, and his dealing with the Kunie Clan over the gold was pure genius, giving him all the answers to his immediate monetary concerns and using his foresight to plan around potential future conflicts by lessening the worth of owning property in Elder Tale. It was a masterful conclusion to a plot point that desperately needed answering.

But since then, Log Horizon has mostly been at its worst, which I should reiterate isn’t objectively bad, just dull and repetitive. A lot of this is due to the show’s focus on Log Horizon’s younger members, the squad consisting of Tohya, Minori, Rudy, Isuzu, and Serara, as their antics revolve around simpler, more childish matters like food (Log Horizon really loves its food) and crushes that are much less intriguing than say, oh I don’t know, securing the welfare of a city-state. The series’ insistence to spend time on the Shiroe-Minori-Akatsuki love triangle and Serara and Nyanta’s awkward crushing is especially irritating because Log Horizon’s the kind of show that likely won’t develop these ends of its story any further than they already have been, though if the past and present are any indication, it’ll continue to show them in standstill. This squad leaks out tiny moments of new development (mainly Isuzu at this point in time), but it happens at such a sluggish pace and between so many filler moments that it’s kind of a chore to sit through.

Episode fourteen was also a total outlier, following the path of the ex-Debauchery Tea Party member Kanami on a completely different server, working her way with her own group of misfits across the deserts of China. With one episode and one episode only, this was already a much better alternative to focus on than Tohya’s squad, but it was shafted right after it began. A little closer to home, Nureha’s development was limited to a couple tiny scenes so far even though it deserves a deeper look, and Shiroe and the Round Table are now facing an income gap problem with no easy solution. These are the kind of stories Log Horizon would be better off keeping close tabs on, but they’re getting shoved aside, and for what? The millionth Serara-melts-thinking-about-Nyanta joke? Come on.

It’s frustrating, but as long as the traces of the show’s better elements remain present, however small in amount or scope they may seem, dropping it is out of the question. Log Horizon’s prevailed through low expectations before, and it always seems to nail its key moments when they arrive. I don’t think that trend will change anytime soon.
Score as of now: 7/10
Still watching?: Yes.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 17)
What’s the first thing you want to do after you wrap up the biggest raid ever undertaken by a group of adventurers? Wrong!

You send the young’uns in your group off for a quest, that’s what! Road trip!

Yeah, perhaps this season of Log Horizon may not be as solid, nor as consistent as the first, but this is still better than most other options on the table this season. It seems to me like this season of Log Horizon is more intent on developing the characters around Shiroe rather than developing on the events or the world. I’m starting to wonder if the show is going to ever touch back on working towards a solution to the Adventurers getting home. As with Yata, the love interest stuff is starting to get played out with me. I mean, I’m always down for more Rudy and Isuzu screentime, but come on! Also, just what the hell happened to Crusty? Will he ever appear before us again?

With the introduction of two separate groups, one led by Shiroe’s old Tea Party comrade and the other seeming like it has antagonistic ambitions, on top of a just touched-upon class conflict beginning to brew in Akihabara. Looks like the LH crew enjoy them some Sociology studies. I’m also not sure where they’re going with the introduction to Roe 2. Just who, or what, is she? Oh, right she’s THE onee-san.

I’ve stuck with Log Horizon this far, and it’s still fun for the most part, so I’ll be damned if I even think of dropping this now.
Score as of now: 7/10
Still watching?: Till the end.

MARIA THE VIRGIN WITCH:

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Stop staring at the shiny angel and give the poor kid a dick.

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 3)
As I predicted, Maria is still the dark horse of the winter season. Expanding on Maria’s (the character’s, not the show’s) urges to intervene in the squabbles between the French and British, divine saints themselves were introduced to add a third side to the otherwise “independence is good, church is bad” character dynamics. This introduction came to a head when the clearly overpowering Archangel Michael forced Maria into a corner and issued an ultimatum to her; she cannot give into her “witchlike” desires and lose her virginity, or she will lose her powers. On the topic of her powers, he also declared that she must stop using them around humans, and to make sure she abides by his word, he sends an angel named Ezekiel to tail her around and report to him if anything goes wrong.

That’s the gist of what’s gone on plotwise since the show’s pilot, but Maria (the show this time, not the character) continues to shine brighter in its small but powerful moments of character development, worldbuilding, and humor. Oh man, the humor. There’s a difference between making sexy jokes and making sexual jokes, and this anime understands that and chooses the sexual route. It may not work 100% of the time, but Artemis’ constant teasing, Priapos’ lack of a penis because Maria doesn’t understand male anatomy, and camera shots devoid of male (and female, really) gaze make its plentiful moments of sexual suggestiveness an integral part of the show’s comedy but not at the expense of its immersiveness. Maria the Virgin Witch lives bawdy but never oversteps into viewer self-indulgence. It’s a very difficult line to tread in an anime like this (hell, in anime in general), but it’s pulling it off rather nicely. The cast hasn’t expanded much, but its few new characters like Priapos and Ezekiel offer more potential for snappy dialogue and growth, though those two things seem to be one and the same with this show. The conversations are natural and inform us of the setting while staying low on infodumpyness. For as little time as these characters have been with us, it’s easy to get a feel for their personalities, and their words and actions bounce off each other well.

Which brings us to Maria’s likely thematic point; hypocrisy. It should be a given that any show that frames its central conflict around heretics and corrupt rulers would address this at some point, but coming full circle now, Archangel Michael and Maria already have opposing views when it comes to doing what’s “best” for humanity and whether or not that’s the same thing as what’s best for the few people Maria has gotten to know. The young innocent Anne asks seemingly everyone “Maria’s a heretic, but she’s not evil…right?”, and she certainly doesn’t seem that way. If anything, the strict angels are willing to let the dimwitted Catholics create more mayhem than Maria does, but she’s not free of her own desires, nor is she free to express them in ways that may or may not cause what the Church and angels view as mayhem. How strong she is or isn’t in this regard will probably set the whole show into motion at some point, but for now, all in all Maria the Virgin Witch is still a fun ride with potential to spare, and while it’s taken a little longer than I would’ve liked to set up the necessary characters, it’s used its time doing so wisely. I want more.
Score as of now: 7/10
Still watching?: Yes.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 3)
Wait, that plethora of sex jokes is actually relevant, nay, integral to the plot now? I’m not sure how I feel about this.

After a messenger from Heaven gives an ultimatum to Maria to not only cease interfering with the warring factions, but that if she loses her virginity, she loses all of her magic powers. If it was just put this simply, this show just shouldn’t work and certainly wouldn’t appeal to me, so why does it? The answer is how Maria builds up this world and the characters in it. Maria and its world are rooted in some very inspired ideas, as Yata did an excellent job elaborating above. I couldn’t really describe it better if I tried, so I won’t waste your time repeating it.

Though I have my reservations about this show, mainly concerning the sex and dick-joke focus of the dialogue, I don’t think I’m on the fence with it at this point. I can confidently say that this is a decent show. Though, with all the dick jokes, is “decent” really the best word I can describe this show with? How about “alright?” This is an alright show. That’s alright, right?
Score as of now: 7/10
Still watching?: Yes.

PARASYTE -THE MAXIM- :

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Tamiya Ryouko’s laugh was still scarier, but you win a decent second, fella.

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 16)
Parasyte’s been hitting roadblocks ever since Shinichi underwent his physical transformation. The best moments of the show are during its action sequences when the stakes are high and during scenes that discuss the parasites’ integration into human society. As I feared might happen in my last write-up on Parasyte, the show’s scenes of downtime remain too numerous and too reiterative of already touched on points to be effective anymore. There’s only so much dicking around with relationships a show like this can do before it ruins the flow and Parasyte is there right now. Kana’s arc can be watered down to “are you really this fucking stubborn?” and Shinichi’s on-and-off squabbles with Murano fail to contribute anything new to the story. As poor as the “save the damsel in distress” motive was when it was used repetitively, at least there was an active threat to justify it. The inclusion of these scenes is only hindering the show at this point.

But at the same time, I can understand why it’s happening. After its first few episodes, Parasyte underwent a genre shift from psychological horror to pseudo-superhero thriller. As Shinichi has grown more comfortable in his new body with his beyond normal physical abilities, Parasyte’s stopped trying to emphasize it. For once that’s a compliment; Parasyte’s biggest writing flaw is not knowing when to stop keeping a topic in the forefront, so to leave that theme at a well-articulated and finished point works to benefit the series as a whole. What should’ve followed it was an in-depth look at how the parasites have formed their own groups and shown changes in their utilitarian philosophy by adopting opinions (whether they realize it or not) from humanity. Parasyte rarely addresses it outright, but Migi and Shinichi’s conversations have been a hugely entertaining aspect to Parasyte, and to watch them learn the physical and emotional limitations and advantages of the other as they evolve keeps the show progressing. Tamiya Ryouko’s side story with the baby and her current dilemma about not being human enough to fit in with humanity or parasite enough for the other parasites to trust her is enthralling too. She’s one of the series’ stronger characters in the way she manipulates while seeking her own meanings and I wish we could see more of her.

So while I have my gripes with Parasyte, it’s still an enjoyable piece of work. I’m especially glad that even though it has some problems with the execution of its ideas, it doesn’t retcon its established rules in order to create plot twists. That’s a make it or break it thing in action/thriller series like this, and Parasyte’s not broken, just a little more dull and predictable than it started out as.
Score as of now: 7/10
Still watching?: Yes.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 16)
You’ve walked a very dangerous line with me for too long, Parasyte.

My patience has completely eroded away with this show. It’s gotten very predictable, and very boring. Shinichi saves the clueless girl again, tragedies happen, Shinichi and Murano squabble again and again, Shinich angsts. Rinse and repeat. I think it’s through cycle three by now? These characters seemed a lot deeper at first, just what happened? All these characters seem sort of cardboard-ish now. They’re lacking what bit of connection I may have had with them at first. The animation, which wasn’t the most outstanding before, has gone completely to the shitter and the soundtrack is just egregiously awful. The shitty video game music for that whole fight scene in this last episode was horrendously inappropriate. I think this is where I’ve gotta draw the line.

Parasyte, in its current state has a very significant disconnect from its rather strong start. As I said from the get-go, I’m not fond of horror shows to begin with, and with the loss of the interesting psychological aspect that made this show bearable, Parasyte’s turned into a mediocre one-trick pony that I don’t really feel is worth my time any more. I’ve already got a veritable clusterfuck of shows on my plate as it stands, and its time for some shit-cleaning.

I’m not saying Parasyte is a completely terrible show, it’s just not great, not good to me, and not even entertainingly bad at this point. This show might be worth the time of someone who appreciates these shock-value horror shows more than I do.
Final score: 5.5/10
Still watching?: No.

SAEKANO – HOW TO RAISE A BORING GIRLFRIEND

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In Japan, romance buds in the spring. In the States, I just sneeze my fuckin’ brains out for four months straight. Trade?

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 3 – we don’t count episode 0 in these parts)
Ever since Tomoya decided in episode one he wanted to make a game about his encounter with Megumi, progress has been at a standstill. And by that I mean, his progress. He found the people he wanted to help him and they’ve agreed, but they have…actual standards, and Tomoya’s standards are led by his fantasies and whimsy, not something concrete that can stand enough on its own merit to be understood and approved. Because it’s exploring that, the show itself has progressed quite nicely.

As such, Saekano is in this really unique place right now where it has the freedom to make a lot of statements about otaku personalities and otakudom in general while keeping its characters grounded enough to call each other out when they’re being ridiculous. A lot of its scenes are dialogue heavy and the characters’ personalities, while showing hints of clichés (Eriri by far the worst offender with tons of lines ripped out of the tsundere playbook) are solid enough to keep conversation afloat. The comedic timing is superb and subtler than you’d expect, something the show’s already used to its advantage multiple times, and each character points out when they slip into different strokes of their fandoms. It goes beyond the dialogue too; there’s a fun visual narrative that emerged in episode two, with Megumi, the “forgettable, boring one”, often cropped out of the shots she directly speaks in. There were also some silly background events and overlapping conversations at the restaurant the episode largely took place in, which made for a highly enjoyable experience even beyond its primary content. This playful atmosphere when it comes to the directorial work keeps the show entertaining in a way that most shows of this type don’t even try to consider.

Unfortunately Saekano still lies in that gray area between representing otaku culture’s glorification with sly societal criticism and indulging in its glorification with no apologies. For as much as I want to say Saekano treats its characters well, there are some cringeworthy moments that go unaddressed. Megumi isn’t a boring heroine per se, but she does seem very lax for the expectations she’s unrealistically thrown into. The show straddles her feelings and her personality isn’t developed enough to know if she understands the implications some of the creepier things Tomoya says. That brings us to another problem; none of these characters are particularly good characters by themselves. They prosper by clashing with each other but don’t have enough development yet to be interesting on their own.

That said, there are otherwise a lot of human elements at work here; episode three for instance repeatedly made light of how the lines between consumer and creator in this industry are often blurred, with narrow marketing demographics creating an endless cycle of pandering and self-entitlement when it comes to creating “otaku” media. At least twice in that same episode, Tomoya tells himself he’ll work on his game ideas before his deadline, but then he goes and takes some manga off his shelf and spends the day reading them instead. When Eriri asks him how his ideas are coming along, he responds with “I have a couple more days”, which she immediately sees through as a sign that he hasn’t started yet and is looking for an excuse. As a procrastinating DIY hobbyist songwriter, this is something I can relate to a lot. (Side note: really looking forward to when they’ll introduce that guitar-playing girl seen in the OP and ED). Maybe if I had other peoples’ lives to consider, I wouldn’t put off recording so much, but I don’t encounter that situation since I do my shit solo in my free time. Tomoya can’t use that excuse though, and as a direct expansion on that point, the girls let him know that they’re now attached with his project, so he, its head, cannot allow himself to shrug it off.

It’s these details and thematic subplots that give me hope Saekano will continue to surprise me and entertain throughout its 11-episode (classic noitaminA) run. We’ll see what side of the otaku fence it jumps down to soon enough, but for now, I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys an otaku-focused show like this that treats its characters a little more critically and in turn more humanely than most of its contemporaries. Or at least it’s doing that now. Who knows how it will all pan out.
Score as of now: (a very tentative) 7/10
Still watching?: Yes.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 4. My writeup, my rules.)
Oh look, an entertainingly bad show. Joy.

At Yata’s behest, I stuck with this show after being completely off-put by that offensively pointless “Episode 0” that they inexplicably decided to use to premiere Saekano. I still call total B.S. that that so-called episode 0 was supposed to be some special OVA or something. Noitamina probably just wanted to get the stupid bullshit otaku pandering out of the way for now, because these first few actual episodes were acceptable.

While this show is definitely riding on A-1 Pictures’ wave of beautifully done stylistic choices, I can’t help but feel that I just won’t invest myself in this show only because I know what the actual destination of this show is, no thanks to that episode 0. If I were to completely forget it or skip it, I might have actually been able to tentatively buy into this show. The three “actual” episodes were passable. This has been the most ho-hum Noitamina show that I’ve bothered to watch, and I’m not sure whether my disappointment should be directed at them, or this show.

While this show does have some inspired and witty moments (and some brilliant product placement), this show’s attempts at self-awareness aren’t all that endearing to me. How convenient that a show about making a dating sim has girls that fit the dating sim girl personality tropes to a T. The otaku main character, the normal girl, the tsundere and the glorious yandere. I do like these girls’ slight disdain toward Tomoya, but I’ve been down this path before, and I’m not fooled by this show in the slightest. We’ll see how long that behavior lasts.

This show gave itself an absolutely terrible first impression with me, and it hasn’t given me a reason to forgive it just yet. Yay for hate-watching.
Score as of now: 4.5/10
Still watching?: Why do I do this to myself?

SHIROBAKO:

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“Funny story, I found this cat, see, and oh, funny story, how did you know I was here, funny story…”

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 16)
At the two-thirds point in Shirobako, the show is largely the same as it was when it started; the office is busy, things are almost always behind schedule, there’s some internal turmoil, and abundant hard decisions about people’s futures and current wants and needs. The show’s second half sees the start of a new Musashino production and that means new staff positions. Aoi’s been promoted to a more stressful job as production desk, not necessarily because they thought she was ready for it, but because with Honda leaving to start his own cake business, Yano preoccupied with her father’s health concerns, and Tarou being…Tarou, there wasn’t much of a choice. The newly hired production staff adds two personalities to the series that were largely absent before and who seem like they’ll continue to add plenty of material down the road; the chiseled “I’m more experienced than all of you, why am I delegated to chump work” grump and the flamboyant fangirl…and that one other girl who hasn’t done anything yet, but knowing Shirobako, that will change.

If the show has hit any bumps at all, they’re minor. Episode 15 saw a misuse of the dolls in Aoi’s imagination to narrate to the audience background information on the meetings taking place, and it’s the only time the show’s ever come close to unnaturally infodumping. The “editor” is, funny story, also a petty asshole who’ll likely rub you the wrong way, and while it’s kind of a shame to see the show lessen one of its only real “antagonists” to a rich-kid schmuck with a total disregard for other people’s time and generosity, at least it did so in a conceivable manner. People like that actually exist and I’m gonna love seeing Mr. Watanabe tell him off soon. While I have the chance, I’d also like to say that Sugie’s mini-arc was somehow the most depressing and uplifting part of the show so far, and as long as it can keep churning out moments like that (and it sure can!), Shirobako will remain a favorite of mine and something worthy of underrated cult classic status.
Score as of now: 9/10
Still watching?: Yes.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 16)
Bless you Shirobako. You capture the spirit of frustration so candidly and perfectly. This show is getting to the point where its situations are resonating with some of the crushingly frustrating experiences I’ve had in my life. Having to restart a major project almost completely from scratch while still being expected to have something to show for it at the end of the day? Ouch, that’s just a little close to home here.

Shirobako also introduces you to how irritating and how much of a pain in the ass customers and yes-men can be. With these two terms, I refer to MusaAni’s new show’s author and his editor, respectively. To have one telling you that your product is no good after looking over it without offering any constructive criticism, and the other telling you the same thing was fine without so much as even a bit of due diligence leads to some catastrophic situations like the one we see unfolding currently at MusaAni.

I love that this show also portrays the methods each of these characters use to vent and deal with their frustrations, whether it’s taking a nice breather amongst the local scenery, getting a refreshing stretch in via a nifty little routine, or hitting some dingers at the batting cages. (blatant pandering again) Apparently, batting cages in Japan have these neat pitching challenge things, as well. I love how the girls’ windups harkened to some legendary windups of old, such as Miyamori’s windup mimicking Hideo Nomo’s tornado windup. I dig Ogasawara’s sidearm style, but that follow through… wait, you should keep that drive leg planted, that’s not how pitching works…but apparently it’s another one of Shirobako’s many nods to shows of the past. Oh, and that guy can sure hoon a Volvo like a pro.

Yep, this is still practically perfect after all this time. I’m loving it.
Score as of now: 9.5/10 (will likely 10 at this rate)
Still watching?: Funny story, need you even ask?

THE ROLLING GIRLS:

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Figures right after The Rolling Girls pull out of town to win, they meet someone named Thunderoad.

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 4)
I’m not sure if The Rolling Girls will attempt to cover any overlapping story, but if we just keep getting its double-episodic adventures wandering through the newly independent nations with occasional character growth, I’d be perfectly content with that. It’s really weird too how its moments of development come from tiny exchanges instead of big revelations. I could nitpick about how the main quartet doesn’t have defining personality traits beyond “oh there’s the leader, the ditsy one, the quiet one, and the loud one”, or how their dialogue is extremely basic, but that’s besides the point; they’re all still somehow really endearing and fun to watch. And that’s not limited to the main characters either. In fact, the side characters exude even more personality, Maccha Green, Noriko and her mom, and Chiaya’s mom and Momiyama all contribute wonderfully to the cast, the latter pair of which will probably play a more important role as the story moves forward. It’s a tale about newly independent people as much as it is about newly independence places, and I’m a sucker for family-oriented stories and quirky political settings like this.

Aside from that, a lot of The Rolling Girls’ lovableness has to do with the show continuing to embrace its world and all its visual splendor. The watercolory backgrounds pop out at you. Every shot feels like an ideal screensaver, overflowing with beauty and charm, and the show without a doubt contains the season’s most visually stunning work. If you were on board for episode one, even though the setting and character focus have changed, you’ll likely still be on board now. Maybe you think Rolling Girls could be something more, and I won’t deny that it has room for improvement. Its pacing is kind of slippery and it feels like it has more ideas than it knows how to execute with just twelve episodes. That said, it’s still preferable to having tons of time and too few ideas. My only real complaint is the show didn’t take advantage of having a character nicknamed “Thunderoad” by blasting some Boss in a scene or two, and that’s not much of a complaint at all.

The Rolling Girls is a simple feel good show, and I feel great watching it. As far as I’m concerned, even though they’re rolling, falling, and scrambling for others, the cast and direction keep the show steady and consistent, optimistic and entertaining, and lively in the mundane. If the girls have a mission, they haven’t figured it out yet, but the show’s mission – to be fun – is already accomplished.
Score as of now: 8.5/10
Still watching?: Yes.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 4)
I love it when a studio tries something genuinely original and ambitious, and The Rolling Girls has certainly been a revelation of that sort for Wit Studio.

This show is such a treat to take in. You almost have to watch an episode over and over to catch everything going on with this show. As I’ve mentioned before, I love this show’s method of storytelling, never infodumping, instead opting to serve up the information in bits, with some of those infobits not entirely obvious at first. The worldbuilding in just the first four episodes of The Rolling Girls is coming more naturally than almost any show I’ve seen in the last few years. With only a couple of two-episode arcs so far, this show has done a brilliant job constructing the overarching plot that I hope the rest of the series can execute upon as well as the start did. At this point, the fact that the only shows that this one reminds me of are ones that I’ve scored 9 or 10 is astounding.

Comparing The Rolling Girls to any other show doesn’t quite do it justice, though. This show’s style is something completely unto itself. The world is just so zany, yet somehow seeming almost utopian with how serene it can look. The crisp, rather normal characters against vivid watercolor backgrounds with all the colors one could possibly imagine, along with some of the smoothest and well-choreographed action sequences I’ve seen yet. The Killer Roomba Bomb and the actual situation behind it were the most entertainingly original antagonist-of-the-week thing I’ve seen in a very long time. Mix in a really nice soundtrack with vivid EDs and OP, and some motorcycles, and this thing is looking like a real winner.

It’s a nice day to be an anime fan.
Score as of now: 9/10
Still watching?: Dropping this would be as egregiously idiotic as the Seahawks’ final play in the Super Bowl.

TOKYO GHOUL A:

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basically mfw this show

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 4)
“SAAAAALUUUUUUTAAAATIONS, THIS IIIIIIS A BREAKUP VEEEEEEERSE, TO THIS LOATHSOME SHOOOOOOW”

Sorry, the ED’s been stuck in my head a while. It’s a shame all the musical artists affiliated with this franchise are way better than the franchise itself is.

The time has come. I can’t stand it anymore. I’m done with Ghoul. My reasons why are largely the same as the complaints I had last time I posted about it; poor characterization, sloppy pacing, squandered potential, and now the animation quality has reached Mars of Destruction-tier awful multiple times. Pierrot’s known for being a not particularly quality studio when it comes to framework, but the job they’re doing with Root A makes it seem like they’ve given up trying to make the franchise successful at all. As such, I have no reason to believe the show will get better, and that’s all I need to say goodbye. Also it’s just really boring now. The action choreography is grating on the eyes, and if it was trying hard to be edgy before, we’ll need a new word to describe how hard it’s trying now.
Score as of now: 3/10
Still watching?: No.

YATTERMAN OF THE NIGHT:

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Every time they say “YATTER!” I just hear “YATA!” and that’s unfortunately the closest it’s come to speaking to me.

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 3)
I’m rather underwhelmed. Yatterman’s pilot felt a little limp but it was filled with potential. The last couple of episodes have not come close to capitalizing on that potential at all, leaving me with not much to talk about other than a few bare-bones characters masquerading as even more gimmicky bare-bones characters. There’s a problem when the show’s mascot pig has more evident heart and soul than the rest of the cast. For me, the series is highly devoid of emotional pull and the art style is also dry (the above screenshot one of the few times it wasn’t), trying to slide by with the occasional whacky animation direction. It’s just not enough to keep me interested, and in a season as jam-packed with surprise hits as this winter is, you don’t have to be an objectively bad show to get dropped. Even if it goes somewhere grand towards its conclusion, the spark isn’t there for me anymore. A lot of people seem to be loving Yatterman, so maybe someone will convince me to try it again in the future, but for now, it’ll at least be nice to not hear Doronjo’s god-awful laugh again.
Score as of now: 5/10
Still watching: No.

YOUR LIE IN APRIL:

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Damnit, show, I was kidding when I said you should rename yourself “She Dies In April”. Stop it. Please.

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 15)
Your Lie In April has covered a bit too much ground since I last made a post about it to warrant going into detail on every little thing that’s happened in that time, but Kousei’s come to terms with his past and made a full confident transformation into someone that enjoys playing piano again. Kaori’s health continues to deteriorate at a scary pace, and if she were to get terminally sick and die before series end, it’d provide a lot of conflict for Kousei in that sort of unintentional “build him up just to let him down” way. The final scene of the latest episode was downright horrifying, Kaori screaming at her immobile legs in the dark hospital hallway, alone, reasonably freaking the fuck out. Risa Taneda’s been doing a great job at voice acting her for the past few months, and that final pained scream sold it.

In the same way Kousei relied on Kaori, Tsubaki’s played a more prominent role in the last couple episodes as someone reliant on Kousei. Now that he’s planning to go off to a music college, possibly overseas, she’ll have to be able to move forward by herself, though she wishes and clings to the possibility he could stay. April’s always done great work depicting its central characters as friends that truly do love each other but are so self-absorbed they cause each others harm. Now with the enemy of time, those bonds are more fragile than ever. There were a few bobbles along the way, namely the comedy starting to get predictable and the introduction of Nagi Aiza who bumbles her way into “obligatory bratty loli-bait character” by design, but there were also great additions to the cast like the stoic Kashiwagi and an increased screen presence of the motherly Mrs. Seto. Beyond that, when April wants to nail an emotional scene, whether it be a musical performance or a personal breakthrough, it nails it without any errors. The show has hinted its closing stretch here will be turbulent, but with the execution it’s had so far, I don’t have any doubts that it will end just as well as it’s stayed over the course of the last few months.
Score as of now: 8.5/10
Still watching?: Yes.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 15)
Looks like Arima’s conquered his piano yips, so everything should be swell and great, right?

ha-ha-haaaaaa…

Nope. Arima just can’t catch a break, can he? Kaori is hospitalized with some sort of debilitating ailment, and after a sudden break-up with the captain of the baseball team, Tsubaki suddenly realizes the actual boy she loves has his eyes set on loftier goals, and is coming to despise the music she had a pretty big part of forcing him back into. When will this poor boy escape all the incessant nagging?

I loved that whole episode of Arima finally coming to grips with his mother’s abuse of him and her death, and finally finding his groove during that stirring semi-impromptu performance. That was probably April’s most triumphant moment thus far, and it’s one I certainly enjoy going back and checking out. I also love how Arima finally has a true reassuring voice with Ms. Seto who, as a character, has gone above-and-beyond saving this series for me. It was nice to see Arima get some genuine help and consolation for his issues, rather than the constant nagging and extremely abstract, emotionally semi-abusive “help” that Arima’s group was offering before.

I’m interested in seeing where the series goes from here. Arima is a huge transitional period with his life in multiple aspects. Of most interest to me is how Arima will transition to being a tutor for the newly introduced Aizato.

I certainly hope April’s performance can improve even more than it already has.
Score as of now: 7.5/10
Still watching?: Yep.

YURIKUMA ARASHI:

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Not too shabby-da-doo.

Yatahaze: (episodes seen: 4)
Just a disclaimer: I’m not going to do a very good job at digging through this and most of my analysis will consist of reiterative interpretations you’ve probably seen elsewhere by now. When I watch Ikuhara shows, I try to soak in the visual flair and focus on the plot last, mainly cause it never fully comes together until the show’s conclusion anyway. As you read my Yurikuma Arashi write-ups over the next couple weeks, keep in mind that many things probably flew way over my head, but I’ll do the best I can to catch you up on the details that hit me square in the face.

So where to start? Up until this latest episode, Yurikuma Arashi took the repetitive route. Episodes one through three all involved bears in human form lusting over Kureha, culminating in confusing sequences where Kureha goes to the academy’s roof after receiving an anonymous phone call ordering her to do so, gets attacked by a bear, and Ginko and Lulu lick nectar from an extremely phallic lily flower sprouting from her torso. The lines between bear and human are growing thinner each week; if you think there’s a clear difference between them, by the end of each new episode you’d already reconsider and assume the whole world is just full of bears aside from Kureha. She seems to be everybody’s target.

So why is she? Are bears themselves even a truly separate race or is it all just another aspect of Ikuhara’s dizzying symbolism? While some of it is a little too obvious (the lilies, the school’s layout as a pink triangle, etc.), the “Invisible Storm” as it’s referred to in the show is surprisingly a little more concrete than I initially thought it would be. Yurikuma seems to want to make a point about ostracization of the “other”, whether it be through the classes’ Exclusion Ceremony or the Wall of Severance. Bear on human, human on bear, human on human (as seen in the convenient background lecture on The Crusades in one of the in-class scenes of episode 3), or bear on bear (with Lulu and Ginko pursuing any other bear that might get in their way), shunning or attacking that which is unrecognizable or unrelatable is a common form of conflict, this time taken up to eleven with Ikuhara’s par for the course sexual connotation.

To back this up are symbolic visual elements like birds, presumably representing an ideal image of society, appearing in shots over bystanders and changing direction on the stairs as Lulu, Ginko, and Kureha walk down or up them, signifying all three of them are defying norms. Bees make an appearance too, ironically killing one of the only male characters the show has; Mirun reached for the Promise Kiss, the “honey” so to speak, and the bees stung him as Lulu, one of the lesbians, kept throwing it away. Ikuhara has always played with gender roles in his stories, so it’s interesting to note that even in a world where almost the entire cast thus far is female, the few male characters that we get largely end up being, in Mirun’s case, the beloved, or in the jury’s case, the ones in charge of major decision-making. In addition, and though it’s been a while since I’ve seen Penguindrum, if I recall, Ikuhara also had a knack for theatrical cues like curtains and storybook scenes. They show up again in full swing here in Yurikuma.

Beyond the ripe symbolism and the plot which I could barely piece together if I tried but am totally enjoying, my favorite part of Yurikuma is how it balances cuteness, anticipatory terror, and cheesy quirkiness perfectly. There’s no denying the art style is bright and colorful, catching the eye in every scene, but there’s been a hint of underlying tension from the start that leaks through in the setting’s creepy visual callbacks to horror films; the Wall of Severance and Kureha’s phone background have a kuma-fied version of the Overlook Hotel’s carpet, Kureha’s house both inside and out looks like the Bates house, and Arashigaoka bears (pun unintended!) resemblance to the school in Suspiria…all of which I had to find out through other sources because I’m a pansy and don’t watch horror movies. Stepping back from the very Ikuhara presentation and those nods, Yurikuma Arashi also presents some of the most hilarious scenes in any anime this season. Almost every moment involving the judge panel is gold, and having Life Sexy in bear form narrate nearly all of episode four was lung-burstingly funny. The series is packed with cheesy catchphrases like “desire”, “kuma shock!”, “grrrrowl” and everyone’s favorite “shaba-da-doo”, but they’re all made quick tension-relieving highlights instead of unbearable (pun intended this time!) comedic flops. Though the art direction is luscious and overflowing with details, those cracks through the seriousness reaffirm that for as much as people will try to analyze the fuck out of everything Ikuhara does, there’s also room for letting the show simply entertain.

If those clusterfuck paragraphs didn’t make it clear, I’m enjoying the hell out of Yurikuma Arashi. A little patience is needed at first, but episode four broke the show’s repetitive streak and was one of the best episodes of the season. Things started acceptably and are looking up. With no time to waste and high expectations, Yurikuma has a lot to accomplish and people are expecting it to not feel rushed or uneven, but I’m not too worried. This show knows a bit about the sexy way, and nailing things quickly and smoothly is the sexy way, after all.
Score as of now: 8/10
Still watching?: Yes.

Harubro: (episodes seen: 4)
This show still has me just a tad befuddled. Is everyone in this show actually bears? Yet again, Yata’s done more analysis on this show than I could dream of doing, so I’m not going to offer anything but some Ikuhara-neutral commentary here.

This show can, at times, seem pretty overwhelming, with Ikuhara’s very abstract vignettes, the overt sexual overtones, and the frequent nods to horror movies of old. Then, at times, this show can seem very endearing. Episode four changed up from the repetitive establishment of the previous three, and featured Life Sexy telling the story of the bear Lulu. What a fun episode that was! Life Sexy singing along with the foreboding music and Lulu’s repeated dumping of her kid brother had me laughing. I also dig that corny “kuma shock” line, for some strange reason.

I’m one of those people that are somewhat enjoying the ride, despite having no idea what the heck is going on sometimes. The show still tends to be a tad creepy to me, but I guess that’s what Ikuhara had intended for this series.
Score as of now: 6.5/10
Still watching?: That is the sexy way. Shaba-da-doo.

Yata wants Tom Brady’s babies.

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