Musings and Reflections – Winter 2017 Week 2

ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka (Ep. 1) 

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      It’s an interesting feeling I got from this episode – everything is portrayed cheerful enough – lots of bright colors, people eating cakes and stuff at 10 o’clock, but there is also a feel of suspense, of something not being quite right. I would’ve expected something more spectacular out of a Madhouse production in terms of animation and backgrounds, but everything is kept to the minimum, and quite a stylish minimum at that. Jean’s never more open than half-closed eyelids make him rather emotionless, but as the first case showed, he’s quite efficient at his work. I wonder if he’ll be as efficient finding out that the white-haired guy is a villain and there’s something shady brewing on. I don’t know if it was a good idea to flood the viewers with a ton of characters who might not be that important from the very start, but only time will tell what was right. It looks like it won’t be a visually very exceptional show and its enjoyment will more or less depend on the characters and the fulfillment of the police-mystery-drama kind of story. Well, you have me intrigued a bit. Props for that. The only rather absurd thing was the exposition introduced by the ridiculous “as you know,…”.

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2 (Ep. 1)

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      Contrary to my initial thoughts, I quite liked the episode. Starting from the good things, the animation (when it happens) remains one of the stronger aspects, giving enough unexpected sakuga moments or inventive cuts. Megumin’s explosions with that impact frame were as beautiful as ever. The idea to have all of Kazuma’s sins accounted during a trial works as a genius way to remind everyone about the events of the first season without giving a straight and boring recap. Actually, it needn’t be viewed as a recap – KonoSuba always knew how to tie various elements of the story together so that any event might be influenced by something that happened before, and that’s some strong world-building. Yet, I don’t quite appreciate the story. It again feels that everything happens because the author tinkered it this way and not because the story was so tightly knit so that it couldn’t have gone any other way by itself. The idea of using a polygraph certainly made moments for jokes (that were amusing), but I don’t think everything should have gone to the court as I doubt the authorities would have done anything once Kazuma started shouting “I didn’t do the right thing and I’m worthy of an execution” and the polygraph started dinging like mad. But of course he didn’t think of that. The OP looks as good as the first one, with the same mindset of telling a random story of endless failing and an ultimate success by the unlikely heroes.

Kuzu no Honkai (Ep. 1)

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Certainly the episode didn’t attempt to save the anime, but it was good enough to keep me intrigued, even if I know the source material fairly well. Probably the biggest difference between Kuzu no Honkai and any other anime with romance in mind is getting things develop further than your generic romcom usually does. Holding hands and a kiss at best is not the line Lerche shies away to cross and go far over it, and I think that generally it’s a very healthy thing for the industry. How the story will get developed remains to be seen, but so far it’s got potential. There’s little sakuga, but the backgrounds paired with the appropriate colors give very airy and romantic atmosphere with hints that it’s not going to keep normal. Character designs are to my liking, especially the eyes, and the voice of Chika Anzai as Hanabi is nothing more I could’ve asked. The OST also started very strong. To think about it, there isn’t much that makes this show exceptional. The major point being the story, rather an attempt to look at things from a more mature angle gives hope but still it’s very easy to break this story with lack of subtlety. But for now the future is bright. Not for Hanabi and friends – for us viewers.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen (Ep. 2) 

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     It’ very nice to finally see that Yotaro is more than just a guy with unlimited optimism and not enough thought not to undertake as desperate measures as he did. Developing the fact that he has been in a prison, and apparently was worthy of it, is a very good way to start adding more layers to so far not that multidimensional character. I’m quite surprised that Konatsu actually agreed to marry Yotaro. Well, she, and especially her son will need stability and that’s probably the best choice regardless of her own feelings. As Yotaro is bothered by his past, Konatsu also has some skeletons in her closet, and more information about her child’s father may strongly affect all the family. Yakumo, whose problems so far concerned primarily the future of rakugo, will have to somehow deal with the writer. Every character has some things in their past that they wish to escape but as Yakumo said, they need to face their sins. These words are said also by Yakumo to himself, as Sukeruku’s ghost isn’t likely to have left. So yeah, many interesting conflicting situations are being set up and the next episode (and all the others) can’t come soon enough. Concerning the OP, Yakumo’s really determined to reject all the help everyone tries to offer and that segment with Sukeroku opening his robes was truly great. Because of that as well as that candle I think the show will end with Yakumo’s death.

3-gatsu no Lion (Ep. 13) 

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      Recap in a letterbox format is still a recap, albeit kinda sweet, but the fact will not change. It probably was Shaft’s way of distributing resources so that Smith-san would receive some character animation (that actually wasn’t the best I’ve seen) and to console everyone because of struggling production. Sure, it was quite amusing to see how Smith eats. His movements did add some details to his character, but was it worth the time? I don’t think so. If you want me to feel something for him when he battles Gotou, I need something more than a little breakfast scene straight before the big event. And up until now Smith being a guy used only for some comedy doesn’t help either. Just please – if you want to make a likable supporting character, start from the very start and don’t throw all the characteristics at the last moment with the intention that I’ll suddenly start caring about him. But again, the breakfast scene wasn’t bad, especially with the music accompanying it. Also the track during Smith’s match built the suspense in a right way. Again, not that it was really necessary since everyone knew that Rei will have undoubtedly face Gotou himself. Rei’s match featured some nice effects and during the latter half our protagonist looked unsettled about his chances which isn’t that frequent thing to see, which is nice. Once again, not that it matters. He’s the protagonist. He has to face the villain.

Tales of Zestiria the X (2017) (Ep. 2) 

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      Looks like some alcohol shared can make quite hostile people friends, and maybe even more. I guess the transformation of Sergei from a self-righteous guy into a subdued follower was rather quick, but in terms of storytelling inevitable since now those “good” knights opposing “bad” knights make the conflict far more massive than a random guy with some merchants (even though they are something more than that) versus everyone else. Seeing Shirayuki almost lose her composure wasn’t the most expected sight to see, and as her friend seems to have turned into a demon of sorts, it will be far harder for her to deal with it. Another conflict is about to happen between Shirayuki and Sorey because of that tornado made by her personal Mr. Wind Seraph. All these things were a nice preparation for the future events, and as the assassination of the bishop from the previous episode remains fairly relevant, the story looks to have enough material to keep things interesting. On a slightly unrelated note – do you expect me to believe that a random pit opened in a random place after a random explosion just exactly in an empty confined platform covered with only grass that stands there for no reason at all (well, not the grass, the platform)? By the way, where’s Alisha?

Little Witch Academia (Ep. 2) 

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    With the conversation between Akko and Diana in the diner it’s become very obvious that the TV series attempts to be a remake of the original film, only greatly expanding things. Similarities with Harry Potter are even more obvious when you think that an antagonist (for now) is a white-haired person from a wealthy and established family with some attitude. I was quite surprised that in the very episode she appeared Diana understood that there are things she better not play with and that some people may do better than her, but everything was left quite open. Still, I doubt that the way everything is unfolding Diana will manage to oppose Akko for more than say 2 episodes before some real antagonist arrives, for example that dude from the OP. But for now the show seems very comfortable telling little side stories and becoming more familiar with the surroundings while introducing the characters. It shouldn’t be long until the other 3 supporting girls will make an appearance. In the ED Ursula is very friendly with the main trio, but I think her involvement will be postponed until a villain, that Akko has no way of dealing with alone, will appear. Ursula may probe Akko a bit for now but even now she would really profit from some of the outgoing energy Akko has, which, quite comically, may have come at least partly form Shiny Chariot herself. The scene where Akko tried to do magic so hard that a little tree on her head shed a leaf was hilarious.

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