Fall 2019 Mid-Season Thoughts

Put Sword & Shield down. Block out the fact that the holidays are right around the corner. Anime is still airing and for the next however many minutes, we here at For Great Justice are gonna do our damn best to remind you about that. Thankfully, that shouldn’t be too hard; this fall is full of great titles and slow-burning underdogs that could snowball into best-of-the-year contenders if all goes well. Halfway through the season, here are Yata and Haru with their thoughts.


ASCENDANCE OF A BOOKWORM (HONZUKI NO GEKOKUJOU)


Yatahaze:
I can’t speak for Haru’s picks, but the prevailing trend in most of the shows I’ve continued this season is that something’s…not quite right. Or maybe all is obviously not well, but it’s just uncertain how the show will reveal its darker hand. Whatever the case, another shoe has clearly yet to drop for most of them, and Bookworm is no exception. It’s still plenty wholesome, don’t you worry about thatthe warm family unit is lovely and Main’s confidence and generally-improving stamina have her making slow strides towards her goalbut something about Bookworm has also been…off. Not necessarily “bad,” just incongruous.

Like, putting aside the fact that two 6-year-olds struck up a formal business contract with a middle-aged entrepreneur, all signs point towards Bookworm not abiding by its expressly grounded origins. When Main gets angry and pushes herself towards illness, she starts glowing, and it’s not just an artistic effect. Otto and that new businessman Benno have surmised that Main has “The Devouring,” a scantily-described condition that from what I can infer affects those of noble lineage by consuming their “mana” in return for their intelligence or whatever. If that’s the case, then on one hand, at least Main may be able to climb the ladder to making books quicker than expected. On the other, why did this have to become a thing?

Sure, that’s partially just me projecting my own desire for a down-to-earth faux-ntasy show onto this, but that whole “magic exists, but only the nobility use it, and basically only for record-keeping” thing is an unnecessary and underwhelming development under any circumstances. But so be it! At least Bookworm’s narrative voice hasn’t suffered from the new revelationsif anything, Main has only become more endearing from her earlier self, as she’s begun to rationalize her context, move past the bargaining stage of bookless grief, and pursue a business partnership with Lutz, who had a nice arc of his own coming to terms with the fact that nobody in this world respects traveling salesmen o̶u̶t̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶x̶e̶n̶o̶p̶h̶o̶b̶i̶a̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶c̶l̶a̶s̶s̶i̶s̶m̶. That said, Lutz has also begun to suspect that this Main is not the one he knew. Of course, it’d be helpful if we got any glimpse of that pre-Main Main to understand where he’s coming from, but Bookworm clearly doesn’t want to go down that route yet.

If it sounds like I’ve got mixed thoughts here, that’s precisely right, and I don’t feel like the only one. For every two leaps forward Bookworm takes, it anemically pauses and wobbles at least once as well. At the same time, it’s difficult to say I’m “disappointed” in it, because there’s still time for all these arbitrary new ideas to coalesce into something greater than the sum of their currently confusing parts. Bookworm’s delightful cast remains its pillar through this turbulent stretch; as long as I can keep smiling along with Main’s minor steps, I can tolerate the series’ jerky whims. I just wish I had a clearer idea where it was going with all this, because as is it’s no longer the seasonal dark horse favorite I thought it would be.
Current score: 7/10
Still watching after 7 episodes.

BEASTARS


Yatahaze:
In the weeks since Beastars’ debut, our timid protagonist Legosi has gone from privately battling his innate thirst for meat to bearing his teeth for the school to see and briefly getting held captive in town, and he’s still the most pitiable little big guy I’ve seen from an anime in a while. Peer pressure is tough enough as is. I get wanting to remain a background figure in your environment. Now, battling murderous intent is…not something I have any familiarity with, thankfully, but it’s a testament to Beastars’ writing that through the turmoil of being shoved into an unnerving role by bitter classmates and made the fool of their own bravado, Legosi remains an easy character to relate to and root for.

Ditto for Haru (the character, not my co-writer) on the whole. Despite the show’s promotion as a love story of sorts between the wolf and the rabbit, the two have barely interacted at length, and whenever they do, it’s nothing short of strained and fidgety. The voice acting and shot direction totally sell it, too; Studio Orange have done a great job imbuing these anthropomorphic creatures with a blend of animalistic movements and humanlike reflexes. In general, the production is still top notch all across the board. What we’ve gotten so far has been exciting and given us plenty of food (or friends, as Bruce the Shark would say) for thought.

So I’m enjoying it. There’s just one thing that’s been keeping me skeptical from calling it an AOTS heavyweight: this source material hasn’t transparently tied its commentary on animal instincts to the more human elements of its world or ours. At most, the fact that carnivores hold a trump card of hard power while herbivores can only rely on soft power implies that the only thing holding back chaos is the choice to abide by the law. If that seems like a shallow read on things, so be it, but Beastars hasn’t given us anything deeper to latch onto in an macrocosmic sense. What’s really interesting is how the dynamic is being interpreted by the cast’s key figures: Louis is envious that he doesn’t have conventional strength even though he has all the support in the world. Bill sees no reason to not embrace the privileges he has as a top cat on the proverbial and literal food chain. Legosi is in a sense trying to “deny his true nature,” but to some extent, so is literally every other carnivore with a smidge of mental fortitude who doesn’t abuse the law.

…Which the drama club’s carnivores did as soon as they escaped adult supervision this past week. I’m a little hazy on why Legosi was taken for counseling by the dark market’s watchman when he was alone and didn’t partake in any meat, yet the other lads who indulged escaped without notice, but perhaps more details of this latest episode will come to light soon. I hope the same can be said for Beastars’ endgame beyond the plot of the drama club itself. It doesn’t necessarily have to dive deeper into things than it already i; its weird universe has its own consistent logic, and simply riding out that success to the end should still prove exciting. But it’s mildly frustrating to see a premise this rich with ideas not give us something a little more concretely applicable to our own world within it. Mildly. Beastars is still a gripping experience.
Current score: 8/10
Still watching after 6 episodes.

CAUTIOUS HERO (SHINCHOU YUUSHA)


Yatahaze:
Cautious Hero may have gotten off to a hilarious start but it was anyone’s guess how funny its conceit and how well-oiled its production would remain over the course of a season. I had more worries about the latter than I did the former; though the humor is inextricably tied to the series’ abundance of silly facial expressions and flippant dialogue, something here suggested to me that its core failures wouldn’t stem from the production value slipping a bit as it went on. Barring the most lavish projects ever, that’s usually a given in TV anime, and Cautious Hero was no exception to that. The real question was if the characters could remain funny enough to stick around for even when the show wasn’t firing on all cylinders.

To that, I respond with a declining but momentarily sufficient “yeah. I guess.”

Like, let’s face it, although Seiya is this world’s MC, it’s actually Ristarte who leads this show’s narrative and makes it enjoyable in the conventional sense. It’s rarely if ever fun to watch an overpowered, callous anti-hero play that role with no consequences or crises of self. It is fun to watch the person supposedly in charge of controlling that guy flounder about, helpless in convincing him to simmer down despite being a literal divine entity. Cautious Hero is at its best when it leans into this dynamic, meticulously drawn goof-faces or not. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a Seiya vs. Rista affair; terrorizing Cerceus and obliviously making Adenela turn full yandere on his ass were just as rewarding. Seiya punches down all the time, and while that would get tiresome under most circumstances, most of the time he’s doing it to omnipotent figures and villain-of-the-week grunts taking themselves too seriously, so it’s palatable.

It’s honestly when those grunts appear where Cautious Hero most frequently fails to retain my enthusiasm. Because Seiya is the anti-hero he is, the series’ dramatic tension is derived from his scuffles with his supposed allies, not the through-and-through evildoers who he always crushes without failure. The show hasn’t forefronted its runtime with villain-on-hero scenes, and I applaud it for recognizing that those moments are more a means to plot development than they are a means of character development, but even then, it’s frustrating to see the series deliver so well when it’s actively trying to incite laughs but feel so empty when it’s trying to invoke awe.

There’s also the question of how Mash and Elulu will be treated as the series rolls on past their focus arc, as Elulu’s practical worthlessness has been highlighted plenty. While the rest of the heroic cast refuses to cast her aside, her inclusion as a baggage carrier might ironically reduce her to dead weight. Same for Mash, assuming that Seiya will continue to defeat everyone by his own hands, as he’s promised. These side characters, along with those still in the godly realm, have proven to be fun on their ownI’m just concerned Cautious Hero will get distracted by the next shiny object in its sights and forget to use them as anything other than the peanut gallery each time Seiya does something cold-hearted.

In spite of it all, perhaps Seiya will come around a bit by series’ end. The latest episode in particular hinted that he at least sees value in human life, even if he justifies that by how saving others can narrowly benefit himself. The sweet spot here is hard to gauge, but if Cautious Hero can spit Seiya out as a slightly more empathetic person without, say, plucking hairs out of Ristarte’s head to power up his weapons, then I’ll be pleased enough. Though the expectations have sunken a bit and the laughs aren’t making me holler quite as hard, they’re still there. I’ll see Cautious Hero to the end.
Current score: 7.5/10
Still watching after 6 episodes.

CHIHAYAFURU SEASON 3


Yatahaze:
I expected to enjoy this long-awaited third season of Chihayafuru.

I did not expect to get this swept up in it.

Chihayafuru, like most great sports anime (do I need the quotation marks? I think not), is all about character growth. Tournaments exist and rivalries culminate, but at the end of the day, unless you’re out there setting niche records, even the best of the best only experience transitory glory. Great sports anime can and do climax in these moments, but more crucially they understand that the players’ lives go on after the peaks and valleys of victory and defeat. Truly exceptional sports anime manage to do this not just with its prevailing protagonists, but with every significant actor they meet along the journey.

In case it wasn’t clear where I was going with this, Chihayafuru has taken that esteemed extra step, as it’s done here and there before, and turned it into a baseline, a lifeblood of its reputation. Season three’s opening Yoshino Society Tournament arc has brought the heat from the very moment it started and it has not let up. From getting permission to skip a school-scheduled field trip in order to compete to two of the series’ most storied protagonists going head to head in peak condition in the final, the full scope of Chihayafuru’s grace, passion, and refinement has been on proud display. I am fucking shook.

Those paragraphs were brought to you by spoiler-free Hyperbole®. Hyperbole®. It makes things sound classic.

And don’t get me wrong, this season has been nothing short of classic-in-the-making material. But for all of Chihayafuru’s swells of grandeur, I do have a few tiny nitpicks to address. For one, while the series’ lauded sixth episode earned its spot as one of the best of the year and of the franchise overall, I did not need fucking petals and leaves and shit constantly fluttering in the shot. I can stomach shoujo tropes better than most and I’ll even grant it credit where it’s due: some of those sequences weren’t at all hurt by it. But in others, it just felt excessive and distracting. The gravity of these moments can stand on their own. Furthermore, and this may just be a case of my occasional haziness on karuta tournament procedures and the series’ ever-expanding cast, but I sometimes had to scroll back the timestamps and refresh on what specifically was happening to whom. The details are there, and I don’t know if there’s a way to make a series this inherently dense at this stage less dense, but the confusion happened nonetheless.

Not that it really matters in the grand scheme of things. All I wanted out of Chihayafuru’s third season was well-adapted material up to par with its predecessors. Instead, the show itself has refused to bring nothing but its A game, and I cannot meaningfully complain. Chihaya and Taichi’s individual arcs have been fascinating to watch, and while I almost wanted to say it was too convenient for them to meet in competition at a juncture this early and prized, their slow climbs to recognition have honestly been convincingly arduous and earned. I feel like I’ve grown up with these two kids and all their peers and rivals and watched them blossom into true youthful statesmen of their craft. Most sports anime would kill for an arc or even an episode as powerful as the several Chihayafuru has strung together over the last few weeks. I’m almost scared what will happen when the results of this game come to light and the tournament ends. But whatever comes next, season three has essentially started off with its best possible foot forward. Easily fall’s frontrunner halfway through the season.
Current score: 9/10
Still watching after 6 episodes.

FOOD WARS: THE FOURTH PLATE
(SHOKUGEKI NO SOUMA: SHIN NO SARA)


Yatahaze:
When The Fourth Plate got under way, I forecast that its slow start would soon evolve into a more entertaining beatdown once the series began to focus on its star characters instead of its newer, peripheral additions. At least, I hoped it would; niche or not, Food Wars has remained one of my favorite shounen of the decade by always finding a way to one-up its stakes. The one situation in which it hasn’t sought to rile itself up even further is when it enters a tournament arc; here, the proceedings can be lengthy and there are a dozen or more characters worth keeping an eye on, so it’s only fair for the series to give due time to each one in approximately equal intervals. For years, that’s been part of its balancing act.

However, The Fourth Plate may finally be proof that Food Wars‘ dramatic apex has come and gone without us realizing it. Halfway through this first new cour, we have spent 6 weeks in our world paying attention to about 48 hours of theirs. These shokugeki are slow, and they feel slow, and while a juicy head-to-head pairing can help mitigate that (Momo vs. Megumi and Eizan vs. Takumi were standouts of the season, though hardly of the franchise), Food Wars has not found a way to once again outdo itself. It’s stuck in this group shokugeki rut, where the challenges literally mean the world to one of the teams fighting through them, but there’s no way to actually elevate that understanding and make it palpable anymore than it already is. Food Wars feels workmanlike as all hell right now, and while sometimes that can be a compliment, a series with this much eccentricity and this much at stake should not be leaving me hungry week in and week out.

And here’s the thing: I’ve had people joke about the sunken cost fallacy and whatnot, but I’ve genuinely gotten a kick (and an appetite) out of the franchise up to this point. I don’t regret that time I’ve spent with it, and I don’t really have anything better to swap it out with right now, so I’ll see it through the end of this cour at least and hope that the incoming end to this shokugeki will let the series move on from its static comfort zone to something fresh. But if it’s still dragging then, I may well do the unfathomable and hold off from watching it weekly as the second half airs next winter. I really hope that won’t be the casebut the fact that I’m floating it as a possibility when I’m, you know, me, should tell you just how disengaged I’ve been with The Fourth Plate, and that’s hardly from a lack of effort on my part.
Current score: 6.5/10
Still watching after 6 episodes.

HIGH SCHOOL PRODIGIES HAVE IT EASY EVEN IN ANOTHER WORLD (CHOUJIN KOUKOUSEI-TACHI WA ISEKAI DEMO YOYUU DE IKINUKU YOU DESU!)


Harubruh:

After indulging in its brand of mayonnaise flavored ridiculousness in its first few episodes, Choyoyu has quite suddenly dove into the inevitable conflict phase, with big bad Duke Gustav having used his magical spear of mass destruction, Heaven’s Flames, against the city of Dormundt, where our team of Prodigies has been conducting most of their business, diplomatic or otherwise. How effective it was remains to be seen, as the most recent episode’s cliffhanger left us at the apparent impact. Can you blame me for my skepticism, though? The ultimate inventor has somehow worked up anti-aircraft missiles and silos to throw them in.

Aside from the impending war, we’ve seen Choyoyu start to dig into some of the glaring problems of its world, with Shinobu and Elch discovering that the supposedly prosperous village that they stayed the night in was resorting to cannibalism and robbery in order for their villagers to barely survive. Yeah, this show’s very quickly going from “popcorn isekai” to “a lot, kind of.”

I’m at least glad that Choyoyu still confidently leans into its special brand of absurdity as much as it ever has. I mean, I wouldn’t have guessed the plot of this would turn into “group of teenagers from another world now incites potential global war by means of a democratic revolution spurred on by a religion whose sole blessing is mayonnaise,” but uh, here we are. With teenagers wielding homing missiles in a world that sure doesn’t seem to even have running water yet.

Keep being batshit crazy, Choyoyu. It’s the best thing you’ve got going for you.
Current score: 6/10
Still watching after 7 episodes.

MY HERO ACADEMIA SEASON 4


Yatahaze:
As another one of the multi-cour titles airing this season, HeroAca has plenty of time to get to where it’s trying to go. It also encountered a one-week delay that I assume occurred because of a program scheduling conflict. Whatever the case, here we are, only five episodes in. It’s hard to be concerned about the series’ direction, but it’s also kind of hard to say much this new installment so far, period.

Episode four aside, the start of this season has been sluggish and unfocused, lumbering from one minor development to the next as it sets up pieces that will collide at a later date. Class 1-A’s kids have started to seek out professional licensing internships and the calm of psyche and proven in battle among them have had no problem finding positions. Now, HeroAca’s decision to spotlight an episode on say, Kirishima’s go at interning comes at a weird point and feels more like an oddly-placed manga carryover piece than it does an integral part of the action, but this franchise has long had those and managed to overcome them. A shame that it happened right before a review week, but them’s the breaks sometimes.

As for the main cast, that’s where things are really showing promise. Shie Hassaikai’s Chisaki is still in talks about collaborating with Shigaraki’s League of Villains, but they can’t agree on who should be the ultimate leader of the coalition, stalling their progress. Unaware of the connection, several local hero squads have begun to focus in on Shie Hassaikai as a singular entity, and if they act expediently, they might be able to catch the goons off guard before their numbers increase.

Not too expediently, thoughas Midoriya barely eked out an apprenticeship under Sir Nighteye, one of All Might’s previous sidekicks and Mirio Togata’s current mentor, he learned some hard lessons about patience and some hard truths about All Might’s current condition. Nighteye’s Quirk is Foresight, which allows him to see premonitions of future events if certain conditions are met. Some years back, when All Might was temporarily injured, Nighteye looked ahead and warned his master that if he continued to fight, his days would be numbered. All Might, as we all know, though, refused to retire that early. He’s now made it further than expected, but his physical condition continues to weaken and he admits after Midoriya’s pleas to know the truth that he probably only has one to two years left in him at best. Already vexed from letting a villain and a hostage in need slip away under Nighteye’s orders, this news came as a pretty big shock to Midoriya and he still hasn’t fully recovered his wits. It’s one thing to inherit a legacyit’s another for your predecessor to disappear before you really take his place in the public eye. What’s more, Nighteye doesn’t even really have trust that Midoriya is fit for the role; he took the kid on to try and prove that all other things equal, Togata is more deserving of carrying One For All.

So yeah, HeroAca’s had plenty of weighty material in its fourth season’s opening stretch. I just wish that it could build a little more momentum with it; as is, interruptions both unpreventable on the business side and in-universe on the pacing side have tamed down what could be an even more exhilarating arc. I’m hopeful that when the floodgates burst, as I’ve been conditioned to anticipate this season, they do so without any hesitation or sugarcoating. I’ve waited for whatever it is that’s coming nextand with the foreshadowing this ominous, I think I’m as ready for it as I’ll ever be.
Current score:
7.5/10
Still watching after 5 episodes.

ORESUKI: ARE YOU THE ONLY ONE WHO LOVES ME?
(ORE WO SUKI NANO WA OMAE DAKE KAYO)


Harubruh:

Look at Joro living the actual dream right there.

*ahem*

With this recent breather episode after the sheer wildness that was Oresuki’s first two arcs, I’m kind of glad that it decided to indulge in that great time-honored rom-com tradition that is the Beach Episode, Pool Episode, Swimsuit Episode, whichever you feel like calling it.

Yes, the final episode of the Flower Festival arc ended on a relatively charming note, the highlight being Joro’s dances with Himawari, Cosmos, and Pansy. The dances were a sweet moment compared to the normally sarcastic and frequently derisive tone that Oresuki has proceeded with so far. With that, and the uncharacteristically nice and unexpectedly BL-flavored pool episode, we’ve managed to catch our collective breaths just long enough for the nonsense to begin in earnest again.

With the formerly confrontational class alpha-girl Sasanqua having turned a new leaf towards Joro and a new transfer student with whom he apparently has some manner of past relationship, it’s gonna be fun to probably see Oresuki back on its bullshit in the next episode. Will we see the Evil Bench of Torment again, or will Joro consciously acknowledge that he’s now acquired that high-school rom-com life he so desired back at the beginning of the show?

Who knows.

What I do know is that Oresuki sure as hell gives me a fun little boost in the middle of an exhausting workweek, and that’s worth something.
Current score: 7.5/10
Still watching after 7 episodes.

OUTBURST DREAMER BOYS (CHUUBYOU GEKIHATSU BOY)

Harubruh:
Chalk it up to my computer’s balky internet connection while streaming, my recent vacation to an anime convention where I got absolutely no useful anime watching in, my already incredibly short attention span, or what have you, but I definitely haven’t picked this show back up since finishing that third episode and the subsequent First Impressions writeup.

I don’t really feel like I’ve missed out on anything here the last few weeks. Moving on.
Final score: 5.5/10
Dropped after three episodes.

STARS ALIGN (HOSHIAI NO SORA)


Yatahaze:
Stars Align was my early #1 favorite this season. It currently isn’t. That is fine, even if these kids’ lives aren’t. Nothing has changed in terms of the richness of its character detail, the beauty of its direction and animation, or the good vibes I usually get from this cast when things are looking bright.

However, Stars Align isn’t in the “things are looking bright” business all that often; its ability to snap into a traumatic flashback and return to the present without a hitch carries a poignancy that most other series I’ve seen attempt this level of adolescent grief flop at. Part of the charm is that they’re very middle-school in behavior and self-esteem. The made up chanting, the lackadaisical self-seriousness, the absence of aged perspective; this cast is endearing because they’re hurt and/or aimless, and they’re also prone to hurt each other and carry on forgetting what even happened a week later because that’s just daily life when you’re in middle school. Though my experience as a 13 and 14-year-old was far less cruel, similar things going on with my peers weren’t hard to notice in retrospect. Those years are weird, and Stars Align has done a flawless job nailing that atmosphere first and foremost.

I hesitate to say the series has been “flawless” in other regards, but it’s certainly still delivering, if not quite to the same consistency or ratio that worked so well at the outset. By that I mean that there’s been a lot more tennis these past few episodes and a bit of ambling side character development only tangentially attached to the going-ons of the club’s progress. Maki has deduced what really plagued the club wasn’t laziness, but an unhelpful lineup of pairings. After making some switches and forcing them to practice a bit more, the team’s starting to perform more competently. Maybe not so competently that they can go up against the most prestigious school in the vicinity without getting smoked, but that didn’t stop them from trying. We’ll see the results of it all next time.

I, like many, I’d presume, am not super invested in the club as a whole, beyond its role as a vessel giving these kids something to be proud of. With all the self-loathing floating around and Touma’s stern attitude, it was clear that heading to an noncompetitive soft tennis court after school wasn’t inherently doing anybody good. Now that they can blow off steam with a bit of technique instead of Myles Garrett-ing any rando that earns their disdain, hopefully their lives will continue to get a little sunnier.

…I say, despite the fact that Touma threatened to literally murder Maki’s abusive father and then naively revealed his full name. Yeah, that’ll end real well, I’m sure. Stars Align’s happy days are running on borrowed time, and it’d take a fool to not see that. In the meantime, the eye of the storm is nice. Fingers crossed these dorks get out intact on the other side.
Current score: 8/10
Still watching after 6 episodes.

SWORD ART ONLINE: ALICIZATION – WAR OF UNDERWORLD


Harubruh:

The War of the Underworld is underway, and boy, did SAO not waste any time or pull any punches.

With Gabriel and Vassago, the two honchos of that squad that raided the Ocean Turtle having assumed control of the armies of the Dark Territory, we’ve very quickly zoomed into the so-called Final Load Test with their showdown against the remaining Integrity Knights and their hastily-assembled army. I do have to question the rationale of bringing the still-comatose Kirito just behind the army’s rear guard though.

While the background fights between the fodder CG characters of both armies hasn’t been anything to write home about, the showdowns between individual Integrity Knights and the Dark Territory generals have been rather flashy, with Deuselbert’s explosive archery prowess and Fanatio’s narrow victory over the Giant general really providing a good one-two dramatic punch to last week’s episode.

The brutality of the battles in the Underworld arc is still taking some getting used to for me. Gone are the days of those polygonal grid hit marker things, we’re just straight up swimming in rivers of blood in these battles now. Some of the deaths have been particularly gruesome, with one of Fanatio’s apprentices’ body practically imploding after she sacrificed herself to protect her master from the berserk Giant general. The fights as of late have been visceral in comparison to the ones of SAO past, but for me, they haven’t gone too excessive about the brutality… at least so far, anyways.

Yet again, I must heave some more praise onto the show’s outstanding soundtrack. Yuki Kajiura has been pulling out all the stops for War of Underworld’s OST, with her songs making for a wonderfully dramatic backdrop for the battles taking place. We haven’t again reached the crescendo that was Alice’s defense of Rulid Village, but I’m sure we’ll see more phenomenal work in that regard in the near future.

War of Underworld has had me on the edge of my seat for a few weeks now and is sure to have me there for the rest of the ride. With BokuBen kind of floundering as of late, it sure is nice to have a reliably good show in my pocket for weekend watching.
Current score: 7.5/10
Still watching after 6 episodes.

WE NEVER LEARN SEASON 2
(BOKUTACHI WA BENKYOU GA DEKINAI SEASON 2)


Harubruh:

If any of y’all read Yata’s most recent Weekly Rundown blurb with regards to BokuBen 2, you can somewhat understand where I’m coming from, because I’m largely in agreement with Yata’s assessment that “all Kirisu and no play makes Bokuben a dull time.”

Now, let me qualify that with my two cents that BokuBen 2 has still largely been an enjoyable follow-up… but it just kind of feels like there could be more going on. Rizu is Very Good, but it really does feel like her and Kirisu have really had the lion’s share of screen time this season, which is a tad of a bad break because I feel the show has been neglecting its strongest characters in Fumino and Uruka. While Rizu indeed needed some of this focus time, I really feel like BokuBen is always at its strongest when its focus is squarely on our main quartet.

As someone with no experience with the manga, I have enjoyed BokuBen’s anime a ton up until this point. I’ve just grown a tad weary of it in the past few weeks. As of late, I’m just kind of resigned to the series focusing on Kirisu’s tsundere-sensei antics and Rizu’s infinitely dense act. It’s feeling more and more predictable, even for a harem series. It’s sort of just a troubling sense of déjà vu. I may seem like a real downer at this point, but even the excess Kirisu and Rizu content has been good for a chuckle or two here and there. It’s just at this point, the lack of our other two heroines has become rather noticeable, and BokuBen really does feel lacking without them.

I had high hopes for BokuBen’s sequel season, thinking it might take the series to new heights, but unfortunately, I feel like the best I can hope for is simply an “adequate” follow-up. There is part of me hoping that the second half can bring back that enjoyment factor that the first season carried all the way through.
Current score: 6/10
Still watching after 7 episodes.

And that’s all for now! How are your shows of the fall faring? What’s been underwhelming you and what’s been impressing you? As always, feel free to reach out via Twitter or a comment below with your thoughts. Until next time, this has been For Great Justice. Thanks for reading.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s