Musings and Reflections – Winter 2017 Week 9

Tales of Zestiria the X (2017) (Ep. 8) 

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     Finally the main story has started progressing. The purification was pretty amazing visually, even if the dragon (ufotable really did an outstanding job animating it) just stood here while Sorey did things to it and as usual finished everything rather easily. Nevertheless, the first part was almost laughable. Why did Alisha decide to talk to her father only when she had no other option? The fact that at most two dozens of guys were able to cross a huge city filled with 1000 soldiers (beside regular citizens who appear to be absent for some reason) and not become cornered speaks for itself. Nobody in the country had enough brains to think that their king might need a guard, or at least some attendant, even knowing the king’s health condition. Baltrow also didn’t show much common sense, going alone against a seasoned fighter with physical ability far better than his own. And what’s with his idea to kill Alisha on the spot? Everything just doesn’t make sense. Not to mention that the death of the king evoked literally 2 seconds of emotions from the characters. It’s probably just the anime itself showing once again that too condensed source material isn’t the best thing in the world. I think Darkness from KonoSuba would be a great asset for the team-Sorey if there will (and I guess it will) ever be another opportunity to channel some pain to someone.

Little Witch Academia (Ep. 8) 

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     I never was the biggest Hiroyuki Imaishi fan and this episode just confirmed my stance. It’s just that I personally prefer some less chaotic animation and more down to earth style, though there’s no denial of Imaishi’s talent and achievements. That may not be of any concern here, but I don’t feel that this episode was really consistent with the general atmosphere of LWA. Yes, the animators have the right to do what they want, to provide dream (or not) sequences as much as they like and to get stuck in not that important side stories, but the main idea behind LWA is the wish to learn and to get better at something you love to do, which was nearly absent this time. Yes, there were moments of sakuga excellence, Sucy’s inner world was explored quite well, but with random car races, monsters morphing to dragons and other stuff it’s just not the gentle LWA of Yoh Yoshinari anymore. LWA’s world for me is more interesting than some dream where there are no rules, also, an opportunity to expand that world was missed. Well, dream (or not) sequences in general tend to be very unpredictable and that may make the suspension of disbelief harder than usual. Maybe that’s why I appreciated the episode but didn’t love it that much.

ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka (Ep. 8) 

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    Very un-Acca-like episode. As it‘s a flashback, some changes are inevitable, but it’s weird that as so much time has been spent entangled in various coup-related plots and stuff, but now we get a pretty straightforward mini-story. I think the composition of the series was done well, as after a more or less shocking news about Jean’s ancestry we can take a breather and possibly next time return to complicated ways of the present. Nino’s motivations are finally made very clear, so it’s quite relieving to know for sure that he as well as Jean himself are definitely not involved in any shady businesses and can be regarded as good guys without a doubt. Before the episode I thought that Jean’s father was Abend, but I’m glad that I misinterpreted the data – a cliché such as a princess eloping with her bodyguard wouldn’t be the strongest part of the story. Overall the episode proved to be more satisfactory than usually, and with many points settled I’m eager to know where all this political stuff will lead Jean and other characters.

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2 (Ep. 8)

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     Once more a pretty much forgettable episode. The stuff with the running ostriches (or whatever these things were) ended in a usual way with our company causing some trouble but in the end managing to set everything right. Some of the jokes (such as the treatment of Darkness in the inn) did manage to make me crack a smile, but after the reveal what kind of people actually live in the resort, everything was very predictable. The idea about some over-religious citizens is quite interesting, but as usual with KonoSuba, it is dragged too long. I’m already quite tired of the one-dimensionality of Darkness and seriously there’s no need to replay the same situations over and over again, and the same goes for the religious guys. Actually, I’m quite surprised that since it’s a hot springs episode, there weren’t any usual fanservice associated with it. Well, we still inevitably have the next episode in the same location. I’m really missing that feeling of novelty that disappeared after the start of the series.

Kuzu no Honkai (Ep. 8)
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     Pretty straightforward episode, not attempting anything special in terms of the usual parallels between the characters, though the plot point of our main couple finally realizing their wishes to move on was very important. Mugi finally loses his restraints towards the other sex and that illustrates how differently nuanced situations of Hanabi and Mugi really are, though the essence is still the same. The idea of introducing the cousin of Ecchan at this point actually might not be the best one. Since he hardly does anything (and that won’t change in the future), his existence may be questioned. Sure, he does expand the character of Ecchan, but is it wise to do it so late also knowing that there just isn’t enough time to start developing Ecchan so much so that she would require another person to help her? It’s just a bit too late for new characters and meanderings far beyond the main couple. By the way, Ecchan’s cap was a bit ridiculous. On a side note, I think Hanabi’s eyes can easily enter a contest of some of the most beautiful anime eyes (but I still prefer Shiki Ryougi).

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen (Ep. 9) 

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    Strong as always. In the OP Sukeroku again appears with red eyes and even if it doesn’t have as strong effect as during the first time, it doesn’t really matter, since the episode itself definitely delivered. Rakugo again might be praised for its realism – even if the mafia boss received a just sentence for what he has done, he’s still just another normal person who is important to his friends and family regardless of his profession. The inmates who were extremely lucky to hear Yakumo also aren’t just all tough guys without emotions and nothing else – the art can move each and everyone. Moved by his talk with Yotaro, the performance in the prison and the notion that Yotaro’s rakugo is taking a completely different direction than his own, Yakumo once again decides to attempt a suicide. It’s very pitiful to watch him going out of his way and thanking the writer for his devotedness, acknowledging that Yotaro still is the best rakugo can get when Yakumo is no more, performing Shinigami very spectacularly but in the end still not being brave enough to execute his plan to the very end. It’s still a big question whether Yakumo will manage to gather his will and attempt a suicide once again, whether he will make peace with his ghosts and find some joy in his life or just continue to stumble here and there until there’s no time to make any choices anymore.

3-gatsu no Lion (Ep. 20) 

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   Shimada has become a really likable character. His dream sequence posed some interesting food for thought – when is it alright to stop doing something? Shimada thinks that if he had stopped playing shogi, he might have had a happier life, but in the match his stoppage before considering all his options lead to a loss when just one move could’ve turned everything upside down. I wonder if the positions of shogi pieces in this game (and others) are realistic, and if there really was a situation like this where that particular move could’ve turned the tide. Anyway, this episode should’ve strengthened Rei no to give up no matter how hopeless a situation might seem, and that’s again a huge step towards him becoming a decent human being. Still I think it will be difficult for the show to wrap everything up nicely only in the 2 remaining episodes – Rei needs a conclusion, the sisters are just hanging somewhere, Kyouko and Gotou have still many things unsorted and finally it would be nice to explore Soya’s character and his similarity to Rei – now the master is just a voiceless doll with a label “invincible” attached. The soundtrack remains one of the better aspects of the anime.

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