Musings and Reflections – Winter 2017 Week 4

ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka (Ep. 3) 

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    The episode for me passed incredibly fast.  I guess such stories with many characters meddling in the same mess when you can’t be sure of anything are really entertaining. Jean seems to have come to like Mauve quite a bit, and the prince (baka oji can’t not remind me of Gintama) showed some interest in Jean’s sister, so these things could complicate the already intricate story. I wonder if Jean really has no concerns that Nino manages to get appointments to the same important places Jean gets to visit, but with such a story and such characters you can never know for sure. So far the only big concern (apart from yet another “as you well know…”) could be only the ability of the story to end in a satisfying way so all the loose ends would be tied, all the motivations of the characters would be explained and the final conclusion would bring no wish that things had gone differently. Speaking about the animation, the characters that appear further away still look pretty bad but if that’s the price to pay for an enjoyable story – so be it.

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2 (Ep. 3)

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     Not that impressive episode after all. Well, by all means not bad, but just not feeling as fresh and as interesting as some of other stuff KonoSuba has already offered. As flawed as they are (seriously, some of their actions make them look more scum than characters of Kuzu no Honkai, and that’s something), the members of the gang could seriously show some compassion towards Darkness and be a bit concerned how she’s doing. Again, all we get is a little scene that’s almost reused material from the last episode with absolutely nothing new. An exploration of a dungeon was meant to happen as we already know what kind of world this is and it’s almost weird how long such aspect had been put off to the future. Quite unexpectedly Aqua really behaved rather well, and Kazuma rightly noticed that, but still her ego is sky high so moments of her being actually useful and likable were pretty brief. Apart from that the exploration wasn’t that interesting. The very end of the episode didn’t shy away from reused jokes that for me weren’t that funny even for the first time. The best thing about them was their novelty and without that they feel quite dull, just like the whole episode compared to more enjoyable stuff that the show is capable of.

Kuzu no Honkai (Ep. 3)

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     Well well well, the show continues to deliver so I yet again have nothing to complain about. The pacing looks very good – the episode covered lots of material without feeling either rushed or stretched out. The soundtrack continues to be very strong, providing overall very airy atmosphere and just the right amount of playfulness when Hanabi with Mugi encountered Akane late at night. Mugi is given some backstory elements and also his character trait of trying to think best of people is showed. Well, what else can you do when your heart against a better judgement follows not that a savory woman whose true colors are finally revealed? Hanabi faces more and more problems – wishing for Narumi to be happy (even if not with her after all) but also seeing what kind of person Akane really is, trying to sort out her own feelings as well as being dumbfounded that her only friend doesn’t think the same way that Hanabi looks at her. In this case it’s even more complicated since Hanabi is content with going against her own ideology that pursuing people out of selfish reasons is despicable but to see  Ecchan as scum as Hanabi calls herself is far harder. Also it’s very hard not being able to comfort her while being with Mugi doesn’t pose much problems. Maybe that’s because Hanabi thinks she could (and ultimately will) ditch Mugi anyway, but Ecchan isn’t someone you could easily scrap so risking their friendship to become even more complicated doesn’t seem (so far) an option for her.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen (Ep. 4) 

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     Amazing. I’m immeasurably happy that this season has offered two really brilliant shows – just when I’m stunned by a really enjoyable episode of Kuzu no Honkai, there comes Rakugo and manages to top it. A little time skip actually made sense – the little kid learned to appreciate rakugo just in the same way Konatsu did when she was young. It was very heartwarming to see Yotaro and Konatsu acting like a real family despite not having married out of love. That care for each other, even if usually masked by bluntness or just tsundere-ish behavior, runs deep and, as the boy looks happy enough, helps to form an actually decent family. Yotaro behaves as rashly as ever lead by good intentions (also as ever) to give Konatsu an opportunity to perform rakugo. Her smile after that was probably the highlight of the whole anime season. Konatsu’s stance towards rakugo for me feels very relatable- you pursue a thing for a long time and, seeing it as unachievable after a time just make peace with it and when unexpectedly an opportunity arises to actually achieve it, you back off. Well, at least Konatsu did try performing and managed to get a job that’s as close to rakugo as it can be without angering Yakumo. With Konatsu’s performance, Yakumo must feel being attacked from all the sides for his wish to leave rakugo as he found it – sterile, perfect, but dead. It’s going to be a very interesting struggle to see if anyone has enough determination to overcome Yakumos’s stubbornness. Bonus fact – the episode taught me where did the long name used in that funny FMA sketch with Scar and Bradley attempting to fight come from.

3-gatsu no Lion (Ep. 15) 

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    Nothing impressive, just pretty much the usual stuff this time. The only idea worth noticing was that you need to have someone better than you to be able to work and get even better without looking down on your weaker opponents. After all, there will always be at least 10 Asian people who will do better at something you’re best at. Anyway, as Kyouko for me is the most interesting character, I was glad to see her, and also even more glad once she more or less got what she deserved. Sure, she’s as troubled a person as Rei but that’s a very poor excuse to cling to Rei in order to have someone easily manipulated, ensure that he’s as pressured as possible and cry when he tries to leave. I guess Rei understands what he means to Kyouko but that’s also a poor excuse not to break all his ties with her. That’s just as toxic relationship as some examples in Kuzu no Honkai. The whole “very important match” vibe didn’t really affect me – yes, Gotou is unlikable enough, but Shimada hasn’t been here for enough time for me to start cheering on him. Also it probably doesn’t even matter since in the finals the white-haired dude could probably roast either of them. On an unrelated note, I just realized that Gotou looks (and to some extent behaves) exactly like an older version of Ladd from Baccano.

Tales of Zestiria the X (2017) (Ep. 4) 

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     Just like the last week, if you choose to ignore some questionable things, you can have a decent time enjoying the episode. For starters, Shirayuki in her wedding dress is a type of fanservice that I can gladly enjoy, the fight scenes in the end were very well animated with 3D incorporated also rather well, the soundtrack certainly did its job. Edna’s feedback about being redeemable knowing her own history was a nice touch. Anyway, you have to overlook some things if you strive for realism – a girl knocking out full-armored guys isn’t something likely but anyway, it certainly does look cool. Of course there are other things – that one big castle tower just couldn’t exist above the water supported by those tiny pillars, a decent assassin shouldn’t miss her nemesis’ vital point. After all, why do you need people to assassinate someone? Wouldn’t it be better if Dezel alone came and silently killed anyone needed? He’s practically invisible and I’m not even mentioning his powers. Anyway, it was quite fun so I guess I can’t want anything more from the show.

Little Witch Academia (Ep. 4) 

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     Compared to the last week’s bombastic episode this one logically looks very subdued, but the little side story still is able to carry the weight even with the absence of real highlights of animation. The story itself was pretty heartwarming and I got to say that the idea of a book continuously changing its authors is an interesting one. The writer didn’t leave an impression as a person, but using her as means to tell that no matter what you do, there always will be someone not happy about it, did manage to get the point through. As other family friendly ideas of LWA, this one about doing what you like and keeping it alive no matter what fits the show’s mood. I’m a bit surprised that Lotte proved to be such big a fan of a random book series, but I guess everyone is passionate about something. Akko looking for the writer in the most unlikely places and Sucy constantly getting distracted by mushrooms provided just the right little touch of comedy. Also one of the teachers being the clock tower was really funny. Returning to the story, it also works as a commentary about the light novel world – some series are really being printed in no time but the contents are not that great. As the fans in the show, real people get passionate about the silliest things that make no sense, but LWA in the end confirms that it’s nothing to be ashamed for – just enjoy what you do and move on.

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