[Side B] Winter 2017 – Thoughts on Week 7

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ALL RIGHT! Brought out Side B before the weekend starts for a change! I feel pumped up!

In fact there are a lot of reasons for me to get excited. Not only are the shows on this side of the fence doing reasonably well, but also the Nintendo Switch is coming out in a week’s time! Yeah, I’m super hyped at the moment — and watching all of these teaser videos on YouTube isn’t helping much.

So yeah, I’m distracting myself with Animu. Strange predicament I’m in, but what the heck. Enough talk and let’s run down how the shows fared this week!

ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept.

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I wish I was a snowball-shaped pastry, now.

But seriously, this show is just sooo friggin’ good. We finally reached the point where the reveal has come out, and though it isn’t the most eye-opening of reveals (it was kinda within the realm of expectations, really), the manner of its execution was just so damn suave. It’s a big feat for this show to be able to execute its reveals in a way that doesn’t come off as too contrived or overly obvious, because as it stands, there’s still a lot of breathing room for speculation. Now that we understand what sort of predicament Jean is in, it makes us wonder how he’s going to move forward with this. Combined with the overall skeptical tone of the production, there’s still a LOT of possibilities with regard as to who is really behind the plots of a coup d’état. I’m seriously not gonna spoil it for anyone, but if you haven’t watched this show yet, please DO SO. I don’t know if I’m even gonna be satisfied by the show come the end of the cour, but I think at seven episodes in, it’s sold itself well enough for me to accept whatever may come. It’s just one of those shows that really breathes confidence in its entire production; definitely a show I won’t forget for a long time.

 

Scum’s Wish

We get a bit of a detour this week in episode 7 of Scum’s Wish, focusing instead on the story of Moca — a character that has been pretty much neglected since her introduction, but was nevertheless a very insightful departure from the more extreme philosophies of Hanabi or Akane. And I mean this in the sense that Moca’s situation appears as something a bit more familiar, being presented as a romanticized view of love and relationships. But what I find interesting in her character is how it mirrors the inadequacy that we see in characters like Takaki and Kanae from 5cm per second. It’s an inadequacy that stems from a fear of rejection — of destroying the dream of an ideal relationship — instead reverting to a almost martyr-like stance that supposedly elevates their affection to a higher level than simple carnal desires. And Moca can fool herself all she wants by saying she’s doing all of this for herself, but her inability to realize the joy of companionship with Mugi makes it clear that she’s in love with the idea of being in a relationship with him. It’s when the reality hits her that he has eyes for another woman, and that the looming despair of rejection simply forces her to retreat into a self-constructed dream in order to sooth her ego.

But she succumbs to her inner desire to connect with Mugi and shows that even she can be self-indulgent. At first, her actions are a corruption of the ideal — a degeneration of pure love into lust — where she realizes the joy of being loved in return. And her acts of martyrdom turn into true acts of self-indulgence: that she doesn’t care if he doesn’t say that she loves him, so long as she gets to tell him that she loves him, and that he can have his way with her. But what I find wonderfully tragic in this entire exchange is how Moca snaps out of this downward spiral after Mugi refuses to push through having sex with her under the pretense that she’s “important to him”. In a nutshell, it’s the friendzone in its most poignant form — the realization that her closeness to Mugi is both her blessing and her curse. In the end, she chooses herself and leaves Mugi — a powerful statement shows Moca moving on whilst leaving a confused Mugi stranded in an empty cinema.

It’s quite ironic that Moca’s mini-drama this episode resulted in her emancipation from the destructive clutches of “love” in the world of Scum’s Wish, whilst everyone else — Hanabi in particular — are still stumbling in its wake. This episode was an interesting contrast that actually utilized Moca’s character to the fullest. Although there was a lot of excessive dramatic framing in this episode, it was still a wonderful treat to watch unfold. At 7 weeks in, this show is still chugging along just fine.

 

Little Witch Academia

And the star of this week’s episode of Little Witch Academia is none other than the soft-spoken Ursula, who for the most part has played only bit roles since the show premiered seven weeks ago. She obviously resonates with Akko given her affinity to Chariot’s wand, and though it isn’t clear yet why she’s so heavily attached to the bumbling student, Urusla‘s resolve in guiding Akko is made clear in her outspoken counterargument against her senior lectors. It’s a joy to see Ursula gain an inner voice after being moved by the actions of Akko. And though much of this episode was more silly antics care of Akko, the moral of this episode is quite clear — that the rubric of the academia is inadequate to assess the overall potential of any student, and that passion and motivation are greater drivers that bring out the true potential of any student. It isn’t the role of a teacher to increase their student’s grades; rather, it’s their duty to guide them towards becoming the best persons that they could possibly become. This is a sentiment that I’ve covered quite extensively in my old weekly review posts on My Hero Academia, which you can check out here. But suffice it to know that this episode was quite fulfilling in terms of overall message.

 

Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid

I think I can best enjoy this show when I’m not getting myself too worked up on where the plot is headed, because to be honest I think it’s better to beat myself at my own game and just resign to the fact that it’s gonna end like Amagi Brilliant Park or Kannagi. That’s it. I’m done with that argument.

So with that out of the way, I was quite pleased to see some insightful comments crop out of a supposed “beach episode”. In particular, the first half of the episode brings up the idea of “the things that make us different”, in particular the markedly different meaning of the word “family” between Tohru and Kobayashi. Their different upbringing and the difference in their worlds makes them close and yet distant, which is exemplified in Kobayashi’s musings of her not really knowing that much about Tohru. And Tohru brings along this notion of “difference” when she is overwhelmed at the practice of humans during a Comiket. She is perplexed at the passion that drives them to go to such extents of self-expression, only to realize that their passion is the same passion she has for Kobayashi — it’s love. And that similarity, in one way or another, has allowed Tohru to feel like she’s just that much closer to Kobayashi as a person. This was an endearing episode that really did pluck at my heartstrings, so despite my reservations as to where this show is headed, I’m still very well impressed at how this show can manage its comedic shenanigans and heartfelt commentary with relative ease. It’s not perfect, but hey it’s still very touching to watch.

 

Gabriel DropOut

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To clarify, this isn’t last because it wasn’t any good… again, it’s just a case of all other shows being so much better this week. But Gabriel DropOut actually did pretty well in episode 7! Vigne is just a far more endearing character to watch as opposed to the overly tropey Satania. Seeing her fail is amusing in and of itself, but it’s moments like her “high five” with Satania that break the monotony in such an unsuspecting way, I couldn’t help but throw out a loud laugh. But the comedy I was looking for finally made itself present in the form of religious references that made better use of their angel/demon setup, which was unfortunately Lost in Translation, which you can read about here. But suffice it to know that the comedy in this episode was a welcome step up from previous episodes, and I look forward to something a bit more consistent for the remaining episodes to come. Here’s hoping.

 

And there you have it! One more week till I get a Switch, and that means you’ll be seeing less of me, gwahaha! But nah, seriously, I’ll be going on a business trip in a week for a couple weeks, so yeah, I really will suddenly disappear for a bit. But I hope to release some posts every now and then when I get the chance. I can’t just disappear off the face of the earth. So yeah, here’s hoping I can still write some stuff despite being on a business trip. So until next time, ciao!

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7 thoughts on “[Side B] Winter 2017 – Thoughts on Week 7

  1. moonhawk81 February 24, 2017 / 22:45

    Why sound so surprised that the dragons and demons did well? While ACCA’s quality is immediately apparent, I think that neither Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid nor Gabriel DropOut are getting the credit they deserve (and I’m NOT directing that complaint at you, but in general). I think that sometimes folks get so caught up in what they want a show–or book, or person–to be that they can’t see the worth of what’s actually offered. Viewers should understand that by viewing they become part of the creative process–so don’t get left behind by waiting for the author/creator to do all the work. Help it happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • edsamac February 24, 2017 / 23:14

      TBH, I’m a little confused at your comment. You’re complaining about how people are caught up in what they want from a show, and then you end by stating people have to be a part of the creative process and not wait for the author/creator? Sorry, I think I need a little clarification on that point.

      Because if anything, I think a work has to stand for itself with some form of authorial tone, otherwise it becomes a confusing work that can be anything to anyone. That sort of production, in my opinion, lacks character and individuality — that’s basically a work pandering to the whims of a darling audience.

      But if you will indulge in me for a second, I’d like to defend my criticisms on Kobayashi and DropOut not as me insisting on something from the franchise; rather, me simply pointing out flaws that could make the production more representative of what it’s supposedly trying to portray. This isn’t so much me insisting on what I think the show should be; rather, I believe there are better ways than what is currently being pursued. In Kobayashi, for example, there are elements of fan service that detract from the seriousness of its dramatic segments, and even the comedy feels a little distracting when it’s becoming too tropey. For DropOut, my frustrations come from how the comedy feels a little tame despite having an interesting set of characters and premise at its disposal. There are just so many ways to use Satania as the comedic foil, and so that is what I point out. To a certain extent, you can say I’m LOOKING for more variety in DropOut, but I would like to believe that any criticism that is supported with observations is reasonably justified. In fact, I believe people SHOULD insist on things from shows, because it speaks of the values that we hold in a production. If I didn’t react the way I do towards these franchises, that’s saying little about who I am as a person. So it’s my individuality that allows me to react the way I do towards these shows. And I can’t help it if that’s what I feel about DropOut or Kobayashi — I tell it as it is. At the very least, I try to express myself in a way that isn’t offensive (and is something I honestly think others need to learn to some extent).

      So I guess what I’m trying to say is, instead of complaining as to why the shows aren’t getting the “credit they deserve”, try and ask yourself why people don’t SEE the shows the way you do? It’s nice that you enjoy the shows for what their worth, but I think it’s also interesting to discover why people DON’T appreciate it the same way you do. It’s just a slightly different way of looking at things, I guess is what I’m trying to say. It’s kinda like how I know that many people didn’t like Flip Flappers, when I myself enjoyed it. And I’m not really complaining — in fact, I tried to figure out why people didn’t enjoy it, and when I did, it helped me appreciate the show even more. Strange, but yeah, it did.

      So yeah, I think I’d like to hear a little clarification on what you mean by people wanting a show to be one thing, and yet saying that people need to be a part of the creative process.

      Like

      • moonhawk81 February 24, 2017 / 23:34

        I replied. Where’d it go?

        Like

  2. moonhawk81 February 24, 2017 / 23:32

    Well, the audience is automatically part of the creative team. Each individual viewer processes and internalizes a work individually and therefore uniquely, meaning that not only does perception affect the experience, but also that the experience affects perception. You and I are good examples: having watched the same show, we come away with different interpretations of what we both saw–and we both saw the same thing, which acted as catalyst to each of us. We each individually helped create what we each individually saw. Your expectations led you down one path; my own led me down another. What disturbs me is encountering those who do not recognize their own creative role as audience, and then complain that a show, story, or other offering wasn’t what they expected. Obviously, you begin with what you’re given, but don’t expect the author/creator to do all the work! The viewer should recognize his/her own creative input into the process and help shape what s/he experiences. Greater satisfaction will result!

    Like

    • edsamac February 24, 2017 / 23:45

      Flew into spam. My blog is weird that way in that it asks for initial confirmation of new comments by new users, but it doesn’t assume any future comments by the same users can’t possibly be spam. Weird, I know.

      I would like to believe that people who “complain” about a show “not offering what they were expecting” is just the same as us appreciating a show in different ways. Their experience was just a bit more negative. And I agree that there are some “complaints” that make no sense whatsoever, but I think the people who really “complain” with proper arguments all have valid points that DO form part of the creative process, because they are providing input. It’s negative input, yes, but it’s that criticism that allows works to build up from that.

      It’s kinda like how I criticized 5cm per second and A garden of words as inadequate at addressing the human response to the world’s efforts to thwart human connectedness. Makoto Shinkai has always had a bad habit of creating shows for the sake of feels, and I think that’s a valid argument moving forward from his supposed authorial tone. The result (I would like to believe) of such criticism is the fulfillment I received when I watched Your name in light of those previous gripes I had.

      The overall experience CAN be a shared experience, but I think you can enrich your own personal experience of the show by imbibing even the negative comments from people who don’t see things the way you do. I feel that your comment tries to undermine negative comments as counter to the creative process, when in fact I think it requires a great deal of creativity to actually criticize a work beyond simple approval. Granted that not all people have the ability to critique properly, I’d like to believe that your frustrations are directed towards people who simply express disdain without any clear explanation.

      In that vein, I guess it’s just a question of self-expression. Trolls will be trolls, but even some people who seriously don’t like something might have difficulty expressing themselves. And that doesn’t make their personal opinions any less valid. So yeah, I’m starting to meander a bit, so I’ll just end by saying that I think negative opinions will always be present. I can understand why Kobayashi and DropOut might not be as appreciated as other shows, but I would like to believe that there are some negative comments out there that are worth pursuing from the context of a creative standpoint.

      Like

  3. Karandi February 25, 2017 / 00:23

    The way ACCA gave that reveal was perfect for the show. the writing for it has just been continuously impressive and while the tone and pace don’t work for everyone I’m completely hooked on it. Probably just as well given how few other shows are working for me this season. I need something to be very excited about each week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • edsamac February 25, 2017 / 00:29

      Definitely! I read your entry and agree entirely — so much was revealed, but it’s not like they gave away too much. It’s such a well balanced show and it does what it does effortlessly. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to do this well. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, Karandi! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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