Musings and Reflections – Fall 2017 Week 2

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou (Ep. 1)

     After still having an empty slot in my seasonal schedule I decided to choose this one, mainly because it felt the most original and unlike anything I watched recently. That is if some parallels with Made in Abyss are dismissed. And there are parallels for sure, quite a pleasant soundtrack by Kenichiro Suehiro of Re:Zero not being the least important. Still, character designs are the most apparent, but in this show they stay even more stylized so it’s very difficult to read the girls’ emotions and to get attached to them. Nevertheless, the voice acting by Inori Minase and Yurika Kubo is of the highest caliber, instantly building some chemistry and making the characters quite interesting after all. The elephant in the room still is the setting and all the related questions – what happened? why are the girls travelling? where? who are they? And so on and so on and so on. As an introductory episode this one was fine for it passed in a second but I have some concerns about the future. Something else must be introduced because mindless roaming around with nothing else to interact with will get old pretty soon,  no matter the loveliness of the interactions between the girls. That new element might as well define the real value of the show.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou (Ep. 2)

     Well, poor Akutagawa didn’t deserve to be burned. Anyway, the second episode felt pretty much the same as the first one, and I must say I liked the atmosphere. The setting remains intriguing, especially with some of girls’ history hinted at, but once again it’s the characters that carry the show. The girls have differentiated a bit more, with Chi  looking more and more serious and calculating while Yuu just does what she wants most of times. It’s a classic example of how well such a character dynamic might work – the girls don’t do anything significant and just travel somewhere but their conversations, albeit inconsequential, still prove to be quite enjoyable. I wrote that so stylized character designs make it harder to relate to the characters but now it’s clear that it’s compensated by the ability to apply squash and stretch very organically. The end product just makes you feel the diverse temperature range the girls’ experience, right to every single unconscious movement and reaction. I still await some goal in this journey but so far even without that the show clearly works well indeed. Bonus fact: the ED was soloed by the author of the original manga – tsukumizu, – who’s not an animator by all means. Impressive.

Kino no Tabi (Ep. 2)

     At first it must be said that this arc was also adapted by the old anime. I didn’t like this story that much while watching it back then and this new adaptation certainly didn’t improve my opinion about it. The old show dedicated whole two episodes for this arc (which was quite exceptional) and now everything is crammed into one. I can’t say the older version provided much detail about the participants of this tournament but at least it attempted to. I’m not even talking about about Shizu’s role – I’ll forget him after 2 seconds. Even more, now we get some laughable villains that are incompetent enough to bring anything but guns into a gunfight. The fact that Kino doesn’t need to do anything to win adds neither enjoyment nor any characterization for her, especially since she wanted to fight in order to test herself. The older show apart from having Kino seriously make an effort to survive also took some time to present the country itself and the darker aesthetic suited the place far better than this sunshine-and-flowers color scheme. I understand that Kino’s point in making everyone fight was to emphasize the idiocy of such rules the country has but does it make me like Kino? No thanks, I prefer to have nothing in common with people who don’t bat an eye while making others kill themselves. In this context Kino is no better than the old king.

Mahoutsukai no Yome (Ep. 2)

     The show has all the credentials to be great but somehow I fail to find it as captivating as some others of the same genre – for example I needed only a few seconds to confirm my affinity to Flying Witch. Well, it’s probably just the initial stages where the setting and principal characters are introduced without much space for development of the relations. Chise still remains a bit confused and cautious girl, Elias also retains his distance for the most time and others so far had barely any time to become more prominent. Especially later on there might arise a problem concerning the jokes. Now some of them already don’t land and once they become an integral part of the show (well, it’s very likely) I’m afraid that their novelty will no longer manage to compensate the fact that the jokes don’t really mix well with the rest of the show. You know, chibis and stuff. Another thing that might be considered a problem though more than that it just confused me a lot – why would you suddenly move to Iceland and start some business with dragons? A new character was just introduced and moving so quickly to a place that couldn’t be more random and doing so in the final seconds of the episode just feels incredibly weird. But once again, I guess I just need time to get accustomed to the show and after that Mahoutsukai no Yome will have much to tell.

Ballroom e Youkoso (Ep. 15)

     Forget the animation, please at least do the basics. Very few scenes were anything that you could call above average and the rest was, well, barely serviceable, and that only with increased tolerance levels. Is it just me or there’s really something wrong with the show despite the fact that its scheduling should be alright? And on top of that it’s I.G so there shouldn’t be that many problems, right? Once again I was just bored. Sengoku failing (sort of) a competition? Oh well, that happens. Tatara changes his dancing school? Ok, that’s understandable. No big deal. There’s just hardly anything or anyone that I could make a connection with so nothing feels exciting. As far as I remember, during the cup match against Shizuku and the Jerk, Tatara and Mako made a good impression on everyone, just as if they were on a comparable level. So why then we are again and again told how bad of a dancer Tatara really is? It just doesn’t seem right. The time division between the training and competitions also feels weird – as if the only visible progress is made only during the actual tournaments. The training that should comprise the larger part of the development of any sportsman here is hardly shown at all and there’s no end to competitions that feel way too repetitive. At least the sexism in the sport was addressed. Tatara chose the right side but it looks like you can’t win unless you conform. And if that’s the problem with the ballroom dancing in the real life I guess I’m very sad about it. …And what the hell was that sekuhara scene for? Seriously…

Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau (Ep. 2)

     The things are clearly escalating and I’m quite conflicted about that. On one hand it makes things far more interesting with endless possibilities in the future but there are also some concerning things. I think the peaceful society needed more time to settle in. In other words, the characters are just established and I’d preferred more time to get invested into them before everything changed and Fire Nation (with clown masks) attacked. There are lots of characters and even though showing that everyone might be important in this little society is nice, I can’t remember many names or see how relevant is some guy giving flowers to a chieftess that just gave an infodump meant for the audience and certainly not for anyone else. These little scenes about different people also make the episode feel very segmented and lacking a central storyline. The time could’ve been better used emphasizing principal characters and their relations. The problem of not making me care enough is made clear when this blond girl apparently saves Chakuro by blocking the fire. Yes, I remember her face but without the fact that she started to envy Lykos for getting more attention from Chakuro, I can’t say anything else about her and therefore care for her. Her apparent death thus is completely wasted. The new elements introducing some magical source that eats human emotions and a bunch of really evil guys from the preview of the next episode also don’t look very comforting. The show just feels like someone was really impressed by Shinsekai yori and tried to emulate that. Anyway, the visuals retain their polish and pretty much every other frame might be used as a screenshot. I don’t even need to say a thing about that locust swarm.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for confirming my good choice of dropping Welcome to the Ballroom.

    Liked by 1 person

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