Musings and Reflections – end of Summer 2018

     If there was a poll about the length of the summer  – the anime season as well as in general – how many people would say that it was kinda short? One of them clearly would be me. Of course, summer holiday is a always something pleasant, and pleasant things never seem to last long enough. I remember a joke about how to explain the relativity of time to basically anyone – “Do you think that 5 mins sitting on a chair and sitting on a stove last as much?”. Dumb jokes aside, I guess I’m more or less satisfied with the shows I watched. None of them were truly stellar, though Hanebado started very strong and the second episode of Attack on Titan was simply magnificent. On the other hand, there were no huge disappointments either. Out of everything I missed, I think about maybe checking a pair of oddballs – Planet With and Revue Starlight. Cells at Work looks like a show that gets repetitive quite soon but it also might get a chance. Everything else doesn’t look that important or relevant to me.

     Again I probably should remind that I rated each episode as enjoyable, ok, or not ok. Then if good is worth 2 points, ok means 1 point and bad gets 0, an episode enjoyment level accumulates over time. As with the last season, I was quite pleased that this rating pretty much coincided with my opinions about the shows by the end.

Shingeki no Kyojin 3

Attack on Titan Mikasa Eren Armin

Episode enjoyment level 70%

     Nobody can deny that this season lacks its own flavor. The only question is then whether you like it or not. The majority of the season lacked titans and that at least for me was a disappointment. Rod Reiss titan by the end did rectify the feeling a bit but of course that wasn’t apparent initially. The animation might have been less incredible than expected (or hoped for) but some fight sequences and especially Levi’s acrobatics in  the second episode are worth to be placed among the best of the best sakuga moments. During the season Historia grew quite a bit and at this point might be considered almost a co-protagonist at times, though the process by which all that happened was too quick for my tastes. Kenny was an ok addition. He might have been someone deeper but I guess even a show-off with a competent backstory isn’t too bad. The story grew more and more cryptic, and I’m not particularly happy about that. Already there’re lots of questions to be answered and piling more stuff that takes the show further and further from being realistic isn’t that great. You know, all that memory manipulation stuff, one particular family having blood that for some reason gives special powers, another particular family that can counter the said power… Well, it’s getting convoluted. I miss those times when the only anomaly was huge titans roaming around and everything else was perfectly normal. Still, even without many titans, this season handled human drama quite well. I doubt many people will think this season is the best one but it still delivers, and having good time is more or less guaranteed.

     Attack on Titan gathered quite a bunch of awards. No other show stood out as much to receive the award for the most impressive scenery – huge walls and European-like buildings can stand against anything. Also, I think the most memorable character of the season was the Rod Reiss Titan. While he appeared extremely briefly, this half-faced monstrosity simply due to its sheer size overshadowed any other potential candidates.

Hanebado!

Hanebado Nagisa Ayano

Episode enjoyment level 77%

    The start was clearly stronger than the finish. I guess overall I kinda liked the show. There were problems like Ayano suddenly becoming a jerk and later on instantaneously reverting back or Uchika being unreasonable (to say the least) and the show not objecting at all… Yet, I think that the spectacle was worth it. Animation was as impressive as in pretty much any sports anime, and emotional background that was seen through the majority of the series made that even more impressive. The later part of the season spiraled down to become a more conventional sports anime – spectators commenting on stuff happening on the court, and emotional intensity sort of dwindling down. I wish that some things would’ve been handled differently but overall exaggeration of the importance of, well, everything, felt fresh enough for me to care. Well, I probably sound like a disillusioned person and I do feel a sour taste a bit because of the conclusion but at the same time I can’t deny that for about half of the season Hanebado clearly sat as one of my absolute favorite shows of the whole year (or even longer).

     By the slightest of margins Hanebado won against Attack on Titan the fight for my favorite show of the season. Somehow the highest highs of Hanebado affected me more than the lowest lows. And I don’t remember how long this streak is, but a favorite show once again is also a show whose OST I liked the most.

Yama no Susume 3

Yama no Susume 3 girls

Episode enjoyment level 69%

     The third season provided more of the same (of course, it’s the same show) but also added some other features that made it distinct from the rest of the show. Somehow Honoka’s character was very appealing and I’m very glad that she was included in some adventures. Her brother also was welcome addition – very rare, but with strong enough comedic punch. However, more time for Honoka came with a price of seeing Kaede only sporadically. The girl sure had to study but it seemed like she could do nothing else. Of course Yuka wanted best but it may have been too much. Yet, all these things paled in comparison to the overarcing story – that being Aoi becoming more independent and Hinata having to deal with that and her own expectations. The rift between these two was built well – it was clear that neither of the girls was really at fault, only unfavorable circumstances and lack of communication brought everything to a pretty bad state. However, it wouldn’t be a slice of life show if the girls hadn’t found an agreement and re-strengthened their friendship. So yeah, a satisfying finish to a satisfying show. Please, give me more of this stuff!

     Yama no Susume receives the random award of being the best slice of life show since probably Yuru Camp. Oh, how a wish for a crossover…

Banana Fish

Banana Fish Ash

Episode enjoyment level 63%

     Everything seems fine but I somehow just can’t get in to the show properly. I’m not sure myself why is that. The theme of mafia and a Western setting automatically deserve at least something. Character designs and direction also are far better than standard. It’s probably the story and the characters because there’s just nothing else to be criticized. Ash may be thought as a too heroic bishounen with as pitiable as possible backstory. Eiji more or less is a self-inset character and everybody else simply isn’t important enough. Still, that’s not enough to feel as lukewarm as I do. I guess this “we have to torture Ash and make him suffer as much as possible” mindset might account for much. The whole Banana Fish the drug business is also quite questionable. I’m still not convinced that such a drug would be as useful for any military purpose as everyone in the show advocates. And, well, when the central element is shaky and main characters aren’t as memorable as I would like, the show becomes this not too interesting thing that I’m not too bored enough to drop.

     Banana Fish  receives the random award of being a show that has no bounds of making its characters suffer just for the sake of it.

Sirius the Jaeger

Sirius the Jaeger OP

Episode enjoyment level 38%

     I’m disappointed. P.A. Works isn’t a studio to make a great action show, and while the action was the saving grace (thanks, Masahiro Ando), everything else failed horribly. This Arc/Box/Globe/Whatever thing never was explained and always remained as a thing that everyone knows about, everyone talks about, everyone seeks but not a single soul knows neither what it is nor what can it do. Apparently it’s a McGuffin that makes the bad guys die and the good guys win, just for the sake of it. The majority of the characters were inconsequential. Maybe only Yuliy, Mikhail, and Professor with Yevgraf to a far smaller degree were crucial to the story. Everybody else – interchangeable more often than not static mass of redshirts. Speaking about the story, I just want to pat myself on the head because since episode 3 I had a pretty much clear idea that Mikhail was meant to sacrifice himself in the end and save everybody. Talk about being predictable. And in the end, there wasn’t anything spectacular except a few fights. And those very fights might have looked so good simply because I wanted to like them, to find at least something, anything good about this mess. Yeah, the relationship between Yuliy and Mikhail at times was tackled very well, but that’s only a small point in a huge sea of stuff I’d rather forget. And I’m sure I will after a day or too.

     Sirius the Jaeger receives the random reward of being extremely basic, unoriginal and boring despite being an original series.

anime satisfaction graph

     It’s a second season when I decided to make an episode satisfaction graph. Compared to the last season the average was higher but I doubt I’ll remember this season more than the last. As the numbers say, I felt that 3 shows were good (but not amazing) and the other 2 just ok or slightly worse. Looking at the graph, it’s quite funny that Week 4 saw local minima in several shows – does that mean that the creators really try to comply with the 3-episode-rule? Do they really try to do their best for 3 episodes, then take a week-long break and then continue on a level that doesn’t change a lot later on? Or does that mean that I’m too enthusiastic at the start of a season and it takes me that much time to become disillusioned?

     But let’s get going. Favorite OP of the season is that of Attack on Titan. Weird, how everyone expected more Linked Horizon and were completely mystified about a rather calm ballad. Well, I also felt it strange but soon I became enchanted by the bass (who doesn’t love a deep bass line, eh?) and ultimately felt that all the other OPs this season were far more conventional than this one. Though I must give some credit to Banana Fish, too.

     The favorite ED was that of Banana Fish.  There were several episodes that began with the energetic OP and carried the energy through the story that towards the end of an episode would loose much steam and become more introspective. And that mood seamlessly was transferred to the ED. I love when continuity works like that. And, of course, the animation also rather stands out.

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9 Comments

  1. My favorite OP of the season was either Hanebado or Grand Blue. Interestingly enough both were massive trolls as to the actual content of the show.

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    • Didn’t watch Grand Blue but yeah, I also thought that Hanebado did pretty well. In another season its OP could easily have been my favorite.

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  2. Well, honestly….if this season of Attack on Titan continues in this way, it might be that I end up liking it as the best season😊😊 But I guess we’ll see. You are right about Rod Reiss though..that Titanform of his was one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen 😊

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    • It’s great that a show that’s running for almost 50 episodes still has something to say. The stakes can’t go up forever but it seems like for at least some time it’ll be quite an enjoyable show.

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  3. I loved that you made a graph that is so interesting to see episode by episode.

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    • Thanks! I found that even such a simple 3-level rating system can represent my overall opinion pretty accurately, so why not try to play with it? And yeah, I love graphs in general.

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  4. “Do you think that 5 mins sitting on a chair and sitting on a stove last as much?” ahahaha never heard about that one! I always heard this one: “5 minutes depends a lot in which side of the toilet you are. If inside or outside waiting” 😛

    Damn, you even did a graph? That’s professional right there! This season I only watched Steins;Gate 0, so I don’t really have much to add ahah

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    • Oh, your version of the joke is very accurate and true. 😀
      Well, I love graphs.
      I decided to first rewatch the original S;G before S;G0 but with all the other interesting stuff that needs to be watched eventually I postponed it for the future. Well, maybe the next season there’ll be something in common between our watchlists.

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      • Ahah I understand the want of rewatching steins gate first. I only saw the last episode to sort of remember the plot xD

        This season is actually the first time I’m going full force and follow a bunch so um pretty sure we will have at least one in common eheh

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