You know that feeling when you’ve just got so much stuff to do, but you procrastinate till the last minute? Yeah, pretty much.
But then I finally get my ass into gear and, surely enough, start ticking off things on my “need-to-do-list”. And so I decide to reward myself with some well-deserved animu, only to be greeted with mmmmmmmmeeh titles. I’ve sorta mentioned it before, but Side A feels a bit week in comparison to Side B. So yeah, with that out of the way, let’s run down just what happened this week!
Attack on Titan (Season 2)
To be honest, this entire episode felt a little more dragged out than it needed to be given that it was pretty obvious who the titan was amongst the recruits. It just feels a bit odd that I can’t really place what the significance of taking a bit character and suddenly propelling them into an important role in the narrative is when it’s clear that the shock value of the reveal is simply due to a lack of information. But don’t get me wrong, I have nothing wrong against a show withholding its plot reveals — in fact, I mentioned that I appreciate how the worldview of Attack on Titan seems to be deliberately against the human race — it’s just that I feel none of these new variables enriches my overall impression of the show and the previous events that have lead up to the present moment. In fact, this is how retroactive plot variables are supposed to enrich a show and is what makes for an enjoyable second watching, like in the case of Puella Magi Madoka Magica — the initial impression of Homura as aloof and dismissive towards Madoka takes on a different light after the reveal is made. That said, I’m not sure I can make the same comparison for the reveals in this show thus far. Things are just happening, and the resultant action leads to the suspense of wondering who is going to die next, and in what manner are they going to die. So in the end, the reveal of a new titan just feels like the next movement in a sequence of reveals meant to propel the story towards even more scenes that depict more gore and violence. And I think this is the reason why I can’t help but view this show on a very simplistic level as a survival flick — and in some ways I guess you can say that that’s the very point of this show, and on that regard it’s actually doing its job very well. But looking at the entire production in a holistic fashion, I just can’t appreciate this show any more than I would a blockbuster action flick or gore fest. It’s entertaining, yes, but that’s pretty much it.
My Hero Academia
As usual, things progressed at a snail’s pace during this week’s episode of My Hero Academia. I think part of what makes this frustrating to watch is how the Shonen battler format has to insert excessive commentary between action scenes, as if it isn’t already obvious what the heck is going on. This fragments the action unnecessarily, which results in a sluggish sequence of events that basically establishes how silly and petty Class A is in comparison to the rather cunning Class B. In addition, the side commentary from the senior hero’s talking about how the sports festival is a metaphor of sorts to the real world is nothing short of preachy. I know it fits the overall feel of a shounen borderline seinen brawler series, but this show was capable of carrying a far more sincere message in its initial run. I’m not sure if it’s because tournament arcs tend to make things stale in general, but things aren’t looking too great so far.
God was there a lot of exposition this week. Not that it was bland or anything — I actually appreciate how they’re toying with the idea of “creators” being able to alter their “creation’s” abilities by writing/drawing/influencing, but the whole episode pretty much dragged things on further than necessary. Then there’s the obviousness of the plot regarding Sôta’s connection to the “military girl”. Call it predictable, but at least the story is interesting enough to keep me engaged. And I think this is partly because the story is being presented from Sôta’s perspective, yes, but at the same time the world doesn’t overplay his importance so early in the narrative. And the show does this by placing him in the periphery throughout most of the interaction scenes, only to give him a parting scene from his would-be heroines from another world. And yet at the same time, Sôta IS relevant through subtle directional cues, like in the way he knows from what franchises each of these characters come from. It’s a welcome balance from the clear-cut-in-your-face Otaku is the hero schtick that has made this sort of genre pretty bland. So as much as I didn’t really enjoy this episode as those that came before it, the show’s attempts are still admirable. Let’s just hope the story is worth the ride.
Lots of stuff happened in this episode, but all of it feels contrived. This is a fantasy show, so we need an evil empire that likes to bully the plebs (because they can), and now we need to introduce a Cid Highwind rip-off who is able to pull off a deus ex machina and fly a wrecked airship when they needed it most. And let’s not forget this whole airship’s got feelings bullshit that conveniently fits into the whole mess of morals necessary to propel a story about a hero’s triumph against evil. But yeah, I’m just ranting at this point. Might as well shut up and just watch the show — but that being said, I have very, very low expectations at this point.
Alice & Zôroku
Warning: this week’s episode of Alice & Zôroku might require some viewer discretion. And I’m not saying this because I’m some wuss that doesn’t like to see young children getting hurt — I’m saying this because I don’t think excessive violence against young children is NECESSARY in order to drive the plot forward. The show is treading really thin ice when it comes to what is essentially animated child abuse. And it doesn’t help either that Sana is dehumanized and treated like an object. And you can argue that that’s not the show’s intent — but that’s not the point. It’s the mere depiction that makes it a very uncomfortable — distasteful — scene to watch. And then along comes Zôroku with his oral anti-thesis towards the genre of Sci-fi in what appears to be one of the most meta spiels I’ve ever seen in a show. I’m not sure if this show is intentionally trying to invalidate itself, but damn was this episode a mess. If this sort of thing keeps up, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to tolerate any more of this.
I know I’m not supposed to get my hopes up on a spin-off show, so I’m not going to repeat what’s already been said. If anything, the show needs to be more creative with the use of fan service, since that’s clearly the intent. I mean, seriously? A shower scene? And a maid outfit? Is that the best you can do, Sword Oratoria? At least have the dignity to sell your characters without having to resort to the nostalgia bone for people who have watched the original show. Sheesh.
Hey look, a Switch parody. Neat!
But seriously, this show… this show. I take it back, this isn’t Oreimo ver. 2. At least that show was able to establish a sensible narrative early on, and to some extent Kyôsuke and Kirino’s relationship felt a bit more relatable as far as siblings go (except for that final scene, but let’s not talk about that). But this show… it’s like the writer downed an Adderall with some Red Bull before jumping into a river in the middle of January buck naked. And before you toss the whole “but there were some morals about writing and passion versus work blah blah blah” schtick, that’s like saying a mustard seed grows out of a pile of cow shit. Sure, the cow shit is a good fertilizer, and mustard seeds grow into huge plants, but that doesn’t change the fact that this whole show is a heaping pile of shit.
Ugh, it’s almost infuriating to have to write about Side A, but oh well… How’s your Spring 2017 going so far? Do share your thoughts in the comments below! Until next time, ciao!