[Side B] Spring 2017 – Week 4 in Review

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Okay, this post came out a bit later than expected because I spent the whole day yesterday (and half of today) playing Mariokart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch. This might sound weird, but the last time I’ve ever played MarioKart was waaaaaay back during the SNES era… So yeah, let’s just say that I realized A LOT has happened to the franchise since then.

But anyway, we’re supposed to be talking about anime. This week is a bit strange because Little Witch Academia got delayed for some reason, so there are just six shows to talk about. Things are pretty much “okay” you can say. So far, Spring 2017 has been a disappointment — I’m not gonna lie — but yeah, so enough chit chat: let’s RUN ‘EM DOWN!

Tsuki ga Kirei

It goes without saying that I’m very biased towards this show, simply because I’m a fan of how well it executes an otherwise simple story. I’ve already gone into it in some depth in previous entries, so I won’t reiterate them here. But basically, I really enjoyed how the whole “middle school field trip” episode made me actually feel like I was being transported to my younger years. I don’t know about you, but I was perhaps one of the more conventional kinda guys, and I resonate quite strongly with Kota and Akane and their inability to voice out their own thoughts when in each other’s presence. And this is where the whole concept of technology makes up for the lack of vocal volition, where the two seem to communicate just fine through LINE. And there is some truth to this concept of the “digital persona” being an external investment, of sorts, that shields us from the torture of direct contact. But this does not mean that these words have no weight in their own right. Kota‘s excitement in receiving a favorable reply is enough to make him hurl punches at a light switch as if he were some welterweight champion; and Akane’s frustration in having no reply is enough to make her reflect her own dissatisfaction in not just the manner in which Kota was unable to reply (i.e. he used Chinatsu’s phone), but also in her frustration in that they aren’t able to talk to one another normally. At this point, the show isn’t trying to sell a romance by virtue of the inevitable (i.e. these characters are “meant” to fall for one another); rather, the show is investing in the spaces these characters occupy, how this affects the other, and in what ways each character then navigates their feelings towards that end. Kota is obviously infatuated with Akane, but Akane’s own feelings aren’t so clear — but she does want to know Kota better. She want’s to be in a relationship with him, but perhaps not in the same manner that Kota does — and this, ladies and gentlemen, is a confusing little thing called love.

It’s very, very simple when you look at it, but it’s the execution that makes the entire production just a lovely thing to watch from start to finish. I can feel the tension that each party feels; I can reminisce in the experiences they’re having with my own personal escapades with this abnormal thing called “love”; man, I’m in love with just how simple, yet effective this show is.

 

KADO: The Right Answer

I’m quite happy that KADO decided to maintain its neutral position towards the diplomatic events that occurred in this week’s episode. The decision of the UN choose non-proliferation and oversight over the so-called “Wamu” is a sound decision that seems consistent with our current worldview, but I was more impressed with how the show focused on each of its individual character’s ideas beyond the bureaucratic. Tsukai, for example, clearly has some conservatist ideas regarding “Wamu”, but that doesn’t close her mind from accepting the reality that many people have ideas different than hers. It’s this nuanced sort of character trait that feels more relatable, and when combined with her own idiosyncratic reactions to Shindô’s unintentional trolling, makes her one of the more well-rounded characters I’ve seen thus far. Even Shindô gets a nice dose of characterization when we see how astute he is at reading and interacting with the people around him. His pseudo-manipulation of Hanamori into becoming an envoy for the Anisotropic, for example, was obviously an effort to avoid any unnecessary work, but it also shows his own resolve to see things through. He understands his own importance and capacity to be an intermediary between humanity and zaShunina — and its this self-driven sort of character that serves as the viewer’s portal into challenging the worldview of KADO. Instead of overtly challenging the plot device issued forward — the problem of humanity when faced with limitless energy — the show decides to maximize its characters to propel their own unique worldview’s as the viewer’s surrogate. When I see it this way, I can’t help but praise KADO’s effort to construct a well-thought narrative. I’m definitely going to enjoy this show as one of my favorite character dramas this season.

 

SukaSuka

Vinegar vomit. 🙂

There was quite a bit of exposition in this episode, and I couldn’t help but feel that the drama was a little misplaced since I couldn’t directly connect with the sort of frustrations that Ctholly was experiencing. Regardless, I was quite impressed with the overall message that was brought up with Willem’s sudden revelation of being a member of the ancient race that brought about the ruin of the world down below. In a nutshell, what Ctholly lacked wasn’t resolve — she made it clear that she doesn’t really want to be a warrior, so there’s definitely nothing for her stand by. And that dragon lieutenant can just shut it because he’s throwing out smart-sounding platitudes that don’t really mean anything. Of course resolve and resignation are not the same thing. Resolve means having the drive to choose a certain option because you are aware of the consequences; resignation means undergoing an option because you have no choice. The difference here is CHOICE. What Willem was essentially trying to tell Ctholly was that her resolve was lacking because she wasn’t given any choice. But what makes her situation ridiculous in the first place isn’t because she does not have a choice; rather, it’s that she BELIEVES that she has no choice. And this is why the conclusion of the episode ends with Ctholly finally realizing that her original outlook was, indeed, one of resignation. She was not doing anything noble — her sacrifice will mean nothing, because there will be others to replace her — her death has meaning to no one, even herself. But it’s in realizing that she has feelings for Willem, and that Willem also holds her dear to some extent, that she is not answerable to simply her own whims of dying without reason — rather, she must face the consequences of what her death would mean for those who hold her dear. That peck on the forehead was supposed to mean something — and now that promise of baking up some cake when she comes back has meaning, again. And it’s interesting how Willem takes this as an painfully ironic cue back to his previously botched mission.

So all in all, this show is showing some promise. I think it’s being rushed a bit too much given how the drama feels a little misplaced, but I think it might actually have the potential to be a rather heartfelt story. Here’s hoping.

 

Natsume Yûjinchô Roku

This week’s episode of Natsume Yûjinchô was interesting, to say the least, and I appreciate how they’re continuing the theme on re-visiting Natsume’s lived experience from an introspective approach. In particular, we see the re-appearance of Shibata, who for the purposes of this episode, helped highlight Natsume’s tendency to shun people outside of his own lived experience. Natsume can often use the rhetoric of “protecting” others as his excuse, but most of the time it’s a fear of being misunderstood that underpins his own anxieties. But come the end of this episode, Natsume realizes that his own misunderstandings are what actually makes him fail to see Shibata’s sincere desire to simply reunite with him. On the surface, Shibata’s mention of a Yokai for Natsume to investigate might have been a pretext for the two to meet, but it’s quite clear that Shibata has been moved in some way by Natsume — his recollection of him being the result of overhearing rumors of the occult. To NatsumeShibata seeking companionship with him might have been a means for him to sooth his own sense of loss given the only person who would understand him is someone who could see spirits — but that in itself is reassuring to Natsume. At least in this way, Natsume has come to understand, to a broader extent, just what companionship means. I’m quite happy to say that this season’s offering of Natsume Yûjinchô is being pleasantly consistent. I think I can start to relax and enjoy, now.

 

Sakura Quest

I have a Master’s degree in Business Administration, and I can say with confidence that this show is basically about “clueless girls doing MBA without realizing it”. It’s a nice little mental exercise of sorts to have to identify movers and resistors towards change, but that’s something for another article. In general, this episode was pretty much about getting things into motion, and with that I can’t really complain. I was just a little put off by the excessive dramatization of Sanae’s backstory. I mean, I understand EXACTLY what she’s talking about, given I work in the medical industry, myself. It is demoralizing to know that you are replaceable, and her realization that her words were misplaced when she attempted to lecture a man who’s profession COULD NOT be replaced, made her feel like she might as well quit, altogether. And that’s tragic given he saw right through her — you simply ran away — and that that’s precisely what she’s going to do again: run away. I think I would have felt more moved by Sanae’s decision if the show wasn’t to busy trying to highlight her incredible dislike of creepy crawlers, but you get what you get, I guess.

Otherwise, this was pretty much just “okay” as far as episodes go. I really hope we don’t have to go through a similar process for all of the girls. I guess Sakura Quest could use some tips from KADO with regard to using its characters more efficiently.

 

Fukumenkei Noise

Okay, I think I need to clarify some stuff here.

Yes, it is technically possible to lose the ability to sing from a surgical procedure, specifically one that involves the thyroid gland. If you inadvertently hit a nerve called the recurrent laryngeal nerve, the patient will no longer be able to tense the vocal cord of the affected side, making them incapable of creating fine nuances in pitch. This is what happened to Julie Andrews (Sound of Music) — but take note, this also means that the person will end up having either a hoarse-sounding or a soft-spoken voice.

That said, I have no idea where this show is going now introducing such outlandish plot variables. And as much as I’d like to understand the sort of emotions at stake by the characters in this show, I just don’t find Yuzu’s character charming, at all. I dunno, everything is just so needlessly complicated just for the sake of creating dramatic tension. Either that or I’m getting too old for this kind of shit.

 

And there you have it! Have any thoughts regarding any of the shows I’ve discussed this week? Do share your comments down below. Until next time, ciao!

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2 thoughts on “[Side B] Spring 2017 – Week 4 in Review

  1. Remy Fool May 1, 2017 / 02:53

    This side does seem stronger as a whole. You’re making me really consider picking up Tsuki ga Kirei and KADO!

    Liked by 1 person

    • edsamac May 1, 2017 / 12:11

      Yeah, those two are the strongest contenders for me this season. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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