Musings and Reflections – Autumn 2016 Week 6

3-gatsu no Lion (Ep. 5)

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   It looks like every other episode focuses on serious stuff and the rest is devoted to comedy. According to that I could probably make a bet that the next episode will not be my cup of tea. However this one… So far the only interesting things have happened in Rei’s flashbacks. At first it was vital to know his present situation – living alone and being friends with the sisters – but after that there has been no developments in the present timeline. Now we got a large portion of Rei’s past revealed and I’m slightly worried that after it’s done there will be no interesting things left in the show unless something really unexpected happens in the present, but that somehow seems unlikely. Returning to the flashback, Rei’s backstory was really well thought out and impressed me. Though to err is human, the adoptive dad certainly would have profited from some parenting 101. The competitiveness between the children looks like a very believable thing to happen in this situation. The comparison between Rei and a cuckoo was strikingly close to the point. Well, all the situation may not be the most probable one but it certainly did add more layers to the character of Rei – having lost also a younger sister, using shogi only as a lifeboat and unintentionally almost ruining a family. As now we know that the girl from the last week was Kyouko and this time her character was established, I’m very interested more than ever to find out how that situation of the last previous really came into being.

Natsume Yuujinchou Go (Ep. 6)

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    Not a very satisfying experience today – the basic plot of Natsume being attacked by a group of some incapable youkai has been done before. Also, the amount of episodes that had a youkai who felt nostalgic about Reiko and ultimately got its name back is probably larger than the amount of episodes that hadn’t. I don’t say that I didn’t like the episode but it failed to feel as compelling as some of the last ones. At least the story had a reasonably weird youkai. Well, during stories like these I wonder if we will eventually learn about Reiko’s husband and their ultimate fate or just remain wandering around until the Book of Friends will be spent. But that’s not likely since during all the five seasons as hard as Natsume has been working, the Book doesn’t look the least bit thinner. By the way, I hope that Nyanko-sensei hasn’t obtained diabetes or something similar looking how obese he has turned. Anyway, the worst part of the episode proved to be the preview. If I get everything right, the next episode will be a special. And not any special but the special that has been made 3 years ago. I’m not even sure if I should be mad or amused to see studio Shuka fail to even make a recap. Well, they certainly need time to polish the visuals and that’s the same issue with all their shows. It’s only a shame that the special itself is too mediocre to be on the level of ordinary Natsume stuff.

Yuri!!! on Ice (Ep. 6)

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    Yes, the show is about figure skating (for the most part) but after seeing it in each and every episode I just don’t feel that excitement that was so profound in the very beginning. The animation is not always as polished as it could be but that’s understandable and anyway, the level of sakuga provided tops many shows this season, if not all of them. Yet, the freshness of seeing an unusual sport being performed for the first or second time is expiring. I appreciate everything (mostly) the show offers but the pattern of seeing characters converse a bit and then go skating is wearing off – of coarse I root for Yuri but that’s probably the most I can say about the emotional part of the episode – it’s hard to imagine the height of stakes when every performer apart from Yuri is a new guy. The episode just feels in a manner of “been there, seen that”. I hope some more drama will be implemented later on and not that kind of flying pants and “my mature appeal *blink blink*” drama. Returning to the point about the other skaters – yes, they were defined very minimalistically, but for the time they got it was done fairly efficiently – the striking differences between the Thai guy, conveying his passion, the carefree American or the gloomy and rather cartoonish Russian are apparent – everybody wants to show their various strong feelings through the skating and that was probably the part of the episode that I liked the most.

Fune wo Amu (Ep. 5)

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    As expected, going against the wishes of your higher-ups usually backfire, but in this case it backfired exceedingly strongly.  I wonder what did Nishioka think would happen when everything had come out to light. Anyway, getting an episode that was centered around him felt fresh and added much characterization that was really needed to see Nishioka not only as a genki guy with occasional comedy relief functions. I’m not sure that the idea of keeping the future transfer is the best but the decision to continue working while he still can and doing everything even more productively and enthusiastically certainly did earn him some brownie points. Still I’m not sure if the dictionary group could even exist without such a guy who has lots of acquaintances and just knows how to get things moving. Majime’s love letter felt a bit too early. Getting to know Kaguya only for some episodes probably shouldn’t evoke love-letter writing from such an old-fashioned guy like Majime. On the other hand knowing that the anime is an adaptation of a novel suggests that having far greater pace is the only possible scenario in order to be able to complete the story. If some plot lines are moving fast, there are still moments of the grace of slice of life – Nishioka’s reading of Majime’s letter for me was one of more peaceful and beautiful scenes of the whole anime.

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