Musings and Reflections – Winter 2017 Week 10

Tales of Zestiria the X (2017) (Ep. 9) 

     Is it even possible to have a JRPG without stakes being as high as the existence of the whole world being in danger? The episode felt stretched out a bit too much with all of the preparations for the final battle. Yes, these pseudo-developments are kinda necessary but it lead to a pretty boring and by no means satisfying result. There are also some nitpicks, as usual. If the whole population is so happy with Alisha, why did no one protest against the machinations of Baltrow? I’m not even talking about all the soldiers who didn’t even question his orders. Everyone seems ok when a just ascended queen with no heir goes on a journey to nobody-knows-where to do nobody-knows-what-exactly with apparently not the highest probability of survival. What the hell is that loli antagonist thinking and doing? At first she promoted the ending of the world but did she now finally understood that with the world ending she will also cease to be? Or does it work in a different kind of way? Also, it’s not that plausible for everyone (even from opposing factions) to unify against a common enemy that isn’t a direct and easily observable threat. The sad truth is that everybody minds their own business without much concern about the bigger picture if it doesn’t directly affect them. Probably the only really enjoyable moments were delivered by showing the context of the character interactions in the previous ED.

Little Witch Academia (Ep. 9) 

    Probably the best LWA can offer – a sweet and quirky story, tying in some supporting characters and just overflowing with kindness and harmless fun. Of course there are some family friendly conveniences also balancing on the verge of being too childish – if reviving the dead would be that easy even in the world of witches, I doubt there would be so few cases of that. Still, the set up played out pretty nicely. Akko and Lotte displayed their wits covering for their misdeed, which gave some quite good comedic moments, Sucy as always contrasted with it using her deadpan attitude. Mr. Skeleton managed to be very lively and entertaining without becoming annoying, and his relation with the headmistress, while not unexpected after the first shot of the picture, was somehow satisfying. The appearance of the shopkeeper added a touch of world-building and confirmed that the show remembers its locations and past events. As spectacular as the last episode was, I prefer little stories like this one – not the most complicated, but having enough heart and wit to play with its elements and provide a more or less worthy addition to the show.

ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka (Ep. 9) 

    During several latest episodes I finally found myself really enjoying Acca. The first half and so prolonged wandering in the dark with apparently nothing happening and only little glimpses of more serious stuff was probably too much. Now, when the story started rolling and everything comes together it’s really entertaining to see what the outcome will be. The first princess is revealed also to be a player, and a powerful one. It feels a bit like cheating since she appeared only recently. The appearance of Jean’s boss at the right moment to save Lotta felt a bit forced, but apart from that everything went really smoothly. I’m not sure about my stance towards that guy infatuated by Lotta. Now he seems to be a decent dude, but at the very start he behaved like a jerk and I haven’t forgotten that. Another quite interesting development was the reveal about the relationship between Grossular and Lilium and the machinations about the coup. For some time Lilium has started looking a bit dangerous, but now, as he’s willing and capable of controlling his other 4 colleagues, we might expect something interesting of him. Mauve, even if absent this time also may throw some cards on the table, and let’s not forget Jean himself. So yeah, a very intriguing mess awaits.

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2 (Ep. 9)

     I’d lie if I said that the episode didn’t feel too long and unimportant. If the characters don’t like the place at all, why don’t they just leave? Anyway, let’s talk a bit about Aqua. For me it was surprising that she managed to offer some actually reasonable advice for once and the fact that she cares for her followers. On the other hand, she’s nothing but annoying so every time her designs turn into dust I find myself a bit satisfied. I don’t even know if everything useful she had done counterweights her misdeeds. Because of that I find it hard to understand why on earth does Kazuma keep Aqua in the party. Pretty much anyone could be more useful than Aqua, and her constant whining would bother someone else. Well, Kazuma himself isn’t that better and even if he occasionally remembers having some brain, his inability to be a decent person doesn’t make him very relatable. Of course, this mix of extremely flawed characters provides some nice scenes with priceless facial expressions, but overall enjoyability for me isn’t that high. Also, if I’m not mistaken, this time the appearance of the characters wasn’t the most consistent.

Kuzu no Honkai (Ep. 9)

     As this was the ending of the relationship between Hanabi and Ecchan, I might have expected something more climactic, but on the other hand the unhealthy relationship ended in a healthy way, so that’s something. The unexpected appearance of Ecchan’s cousin in the summer house gave Ecchan a push to finally end things with Hanabi, but even then the cousin serves little purpose in the story and isn’t an absolutely necessary addition. Knowing Ecchan’s stubbornness it’s not very likely that she would’ve been able to stop only by herself, but I think eventually with some help from Hanabi the girls would’ve sorted things through. Anyway, as it was obvious from the start, where love interferes, friendship has little place, but it’s heartwarming to see the girls understand that they are needed by each other, and not necessarily as lovers. Especially Hanabi’s resolve to reach out for Ecchan and not close the door for ever, as painful as it might be, confirms that even after all of her probably not the best choices she’s just a human being who’s trying to be a good person. Now Hanabi is mostly free from anything that would threaten to drag her down and the idea that it’s possible to live without being in a close relationship for a time occurred and hopefully will let her heal her lingering pain. Mugi isn’t as lucky – Akane has a firm grasp around his neck and until anything changes that bodes no good for him.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen (Ep. 10) 

    And that was something. Rakugo now has a free pass to stand among my favorite and highest ranked anime such as Mononoke, Mushishi, Monster or Ookami Kodomo no Ame to Yuki. Everything one could expect from a good episode was there – perfect slice of life, heartwarming character interactions, clear hints for drama in the future – you name it. From the very start the idea of rakugo’s undying spirit was carried out very nicely – Yakumo selfishly burned the theater but he probably doesn’t even know how much rakugo means to other people who have it as their support in life. Also, even without a theater Yotaro is able to perform on radio, others also don’t let themselves to be stopped by this misfortune. Konatsu and Yotaro are officially as near a perfect family as possible, embracing their differences and wholeheartedly caring about each other. Yakumo after all the stuff quite unexpectedly looks to have come into terms with his situation as a frail old man with difficult relationships. It’s very sad knowing all the truth to watch him tell Konatsu that probably the best thing he has done for her has been only cutting her hair. Still the empathy doesn’t keep them from reconciling and Yakumo’s even more unexpected agreement to make Konatsu his apprentice is a wonderful moment indeed, though the other world is coming for Yakumo as close as it has never been. By the way, in the last shot of the OP the candle that previously had been usually blown out now is relit.

3-gatsu no Lion (Ep. 21) 

      It feels like anything but a penultimate episode when you need to seriously consider tying all the loose ends that are still tangling after both of the seasons. There surely are some nice moments, but unless there’s another season upcoming the way everything’s going doesn’t make much sense. At least Shimada’s arc was completed, and quite well. Actually, Shimada just might be the most lovable guy in the whole show, with his insecurities but also a strong drive to improve and help his friends and supporters in any way possible. Human shogi idea also is a nice one. Of course I know about huge chess tournaments, but going as far as playing in full costumes definitely makes an impression and a pretty sight. Still, the show doesn’t let any opportunity to insert some unimportant stuff get away. I understand that slice of life might work as a good characteristic but during both cours the sisters have experienced surprisingly little developments, generally just staying behind and supporting Rei when he need that. In this light a segment of discussing a new sweet formula doesn’t stray away from the usual fare but does it really have to happen so close to the ending? There’re so many stories to provide at least decent conclusions, so I don’t find the leisure with which the show chose to go on at this point very acceptable.

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2 Comments

  1. I kind of felt that March did a good job of brining some resolution to the show during the second last episode. Rei’s character has undeniably changed and started moving forward and that was immensely satisfying to watch. I’m looking forward to the final episode and hoping the do give it some closure even if the intent is a second series because it would be nice if this could stand on its own.

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    • Yes, some resolution was provided, but I’m worried that there are just too much plotlines to be concluded. Also definitely agree about Rei – the kid has achieved a lot and even if there wouldn’t be any more of 3-gatsu, Rei’s journey has been satisfying indeed.

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