Musings and Reflections – Winter 2017 Week 1

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen (Ep. 1) 

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     Well, that was exactly the Rakugo I remember and am fond of. The introduction breaking the fourth wall using rakugo itself was inventive, useful and smart. Some new characters were introduced, so it would now be Sukeroku Jr.’s story while Yakumo sits in the background, grumbling that Yotaro, despite being his disciple, actually chose a path of Sukeroku. The characters we are familiar with are still the same and though it’s a bit odd to them older after so much time has passed but anyway it’s a joy to hear once again Akira Ishida and Tomokazu Seki. It’s just a well-made first episode – everything is reintroduced, some directions of the story are provided, such as the relationship between Yotaro and Konatsu, Konantsu’s child’s father’s absence as well as the question how Yotaro will be able to carry Yakumo’s weight, restating the importance of rakugo while not straying from all the traditions that Yakumo is so fond of. Some comedic moments were also to my taste, so I just can rejoice and eagerly await the following events, as well as the new OP and ED. Man, it’s so good that Rakugo is back!

3-gatsu no Lion (Ep. 12) 

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    Pretty much everything went just as expected – Rei’s existentialism plus dumb comedy here and there. Rei finally realizes his need for a family and his disgust with his own meager flat with no such warmth that the sisters share. By the way, why did he took off his glasses before starting eating noodles? As last week there was no episode, Shaft stuffed this one with their usual quick cuts that try to instill some movement into a still scene but especially this time all these cuts as well as other artistic stuff just didn’t seem to have any real purpose. Well yes, they are Shaft and they do what they want regardless if it makes sense or not. Speaking about that Gotou, did I misunderstand something or it was really told that he’s married, but at the same time he’s sort of a boyfriend for Kyouko? The new OP seems a lot more cheerful than the old one and it exchanges Rei’s deep loneliness with the smiles of the sisters. Not sure if I liked it – Bump of Chicken had done a decent job after all. The ED visually is more appealing than the last one but again I’m not yet sure about the song. Bonus fact – every time I hear “benkyou” in anime I can do nothing but remember Golden Boy.

Tales of Zestiria the X (2017) (Ep. 1) 

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    Another show with no big surprises. I can’t say that my memory is very fresh from the last cour, but this episode cleared it quite well. Also, seeing more Shirayuki is always a treat. To think about it, she even felt more of a protagonist than Sorey, doing all sorts of stuff here and there, from trading to assassinating. While the prospects of the story remain very vague, the ultimate goal of fighting the dragon is still here, and for now we’ll have to be content with dealing with those soldiers, more trading, some stuff about those statuettes, possible outcomes of the assassination and, more interestingly, with the story of the Shepherd before Sorey. Looks like a normal outline for a season. The blend of 2D and 3D was achieved quite well apart from just one or two short scenes, and that is encouraging. The new OP, while not as electrifying as the first one, for me looks visually superior – without throwing everything at you randomly with the mindset of “look at me, I’m so cool”. There was Velvet Crow in the OP, so sadly some Berseria promotion is within the range of possibilities. Well, as a first episode of a season, it was rather uninteresting, but as episode 13 it wasn’t the worst – probably saving resources for some fights. Ok. By the way, where’s Alisha?

Little Witch Academia (Ep. 1) 

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     Once again pretty much expected fair. Basically the first episode showed that the creators are willing to throw away the stories that both of the previous films used in order to construct something hopefully more cohesive, but it remains to be seen if it will be effective enough. So far the story hasn’t got that extra-tight pacing that the first film got, but as for a series, it was a decent start. Characters remain the same – over expressive Akko, sincere but clumsy Lotte and jerk-as-always-but-only-on-the-surface Sucy. Animation didn’t get me absolutely excited, but it definitely surpasses your standard anime. The only thing that could go wrong at this point is the story. Yes, introductions are fine, the newcomers to the anime will get the point, but as very close to the world of Harry Potter as it is, the show doesn’t avoid getting the main characters lose their way because of malfunction of magical traveling and ending up in a mysterious forest that is forbidden to enter because of various genetically modified objects, in this case, one that saved its life running from KFC. Overall, not that climactic episode, but the show is definitely worth savoring, even if only for the animation.

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2 Comments

  1. I really liked March Comes in Like a Lion this week and found it quite enjoyable (though I also didn’t care much for the new opening). Have to agree with you about Zestiria. As a continuation it works well enough but that episode wasn’t really drawing people into the series if they weren’t yet sold on it.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • 3-gatsu set up the future match between Rei and Gotou pretty well, with all those emotional stakes and probably more information about Kyouko and her relationships.
      At this point I’m not even surprised about Zestiria – I think mostly game-lovers still watch the show and basically if you know nothing about the 1st season there’s absolutely no point in watching the 2nd, so the fact that the show chose not to be that inviting is no surprise.

      Liked by 1 person

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