Slow episode this week, as we spent time eating lunch, and then dinner, and then lunch again with Tohya and friends. It always seems a little strange to me that the same show contains both Shiroe’s narrative and the Tohya/Minori stuff – yeah, it’s not like the Shiroe narrative is the height of narrative/thematic complexity, but it feels like this material is aimed at an audience significantly younger than the rest of the show. Are the same people going to enjoy watching Tohya figure out how maps work and also be able to sit still for a twenty minute speech on the double-edged nature of MMO fanaticism? I dunno.
Parasyte’s kinda just rambling along at the moment, retreading character points and slowly making its way towards exciting plot beats. There’s just a critical mass a show can reach of touching on certain refrains without further exploring them where it starts to drag, and Parasyte’s about there right now. My eyes were kind of glazed during this episode’s middle sequences, but I fortunately perked up at the ending, as it seems the plot’s starting to kick in again. Go kick some ass, Shinichi. Go do something, for chrissake.
I am watching too many shows. Way too many shows. Shows on backlog and shows for release review and too many goddamn airing shows. I’ve tried to be ruthless. I cut Saekano because the first few minutes seemed typical. I cut Earth High Defense Club because I just didn’t feel like it. But there’s too much good anime! Too many of the premiers weren’t red herrings, too many of the long shots turned out to be great. I’m not gonna survive this season, you guys. Something’s gonna snap.
Well, whatever. Let’s run ‘em down, starting with the last two episodes of Shirobako!
Time for more gay bears! I did an absurd megapost for last week’s episode, and that’s not sustainable, but I should be able to keep up reasonably-sized writeups on this thing. I mean, it’s really up to Ikuhara, I suppose – I feel like I’ve got a decent handle on the flower/bird/bear imagery at the moment, but who knows where we’ll be five episodes from now. All that we’ve seen up til now could very well be a clever trap, and the bears will end up being representative of late capitalism instead of societally villainized sexuality. Stranger things have happened.
But no use theorizing on how exactly this show will make me look dumb in the future. Let’s get to the bears!
Preview week’s done, so we’re back on the review train! I actually watched most of this back over winter break, in a rigorous three-day marathon of Smooth Nyanta and friends. The show remains as compelling in its worldbuilding and lukewarm in its aesthetics as it did the first time around, and is actually about as marathon-able as a show can probably be. This second viewing didn’t really illuminate any themes I missed the first time around, but goddamnit if that was going to keep me from taking a bunch of notes anyway.
These were some lovely, lovely episodes. The animation and art design, the fun world, the whole Riot Grrl theme – it’s excellent stuff. I kinda wish we weren’t forced to watch it in Funimation streaming quality, but what can you do. These first two episodes largely just set up the premise, and we still don’t really know what these rolling girls are after, so the real work starts here – but if this show can keep up the idea density and visual flare of its start, we’re in for a fun ride.
Welp, we’re back with the kids again. This was a slow, slice-of-life style episode, with lots of gags and enjoying food, but it did establish a new character conflict for Isuzu and new overall goal for the younger team. It’s hard to really feel much enthusiasm for a quest that doesn’t have any inherent tension to it, but hopefully the character conflicts will give it some weight. And “go get quest materials to make a bag” is such a boring starting narrative that I have to assume this will go somewhere else eventually… or it could just focus on the concert stuff, I guess.
This episode felt kinda unfocused, with a bunch of general plot movement taking the place of one focused conflict. The plot movement was decently engaging though, and it’s nice to see basically all our principles continuing to evolve – Shinichi, Migi, and Ryouko all exhibited new wrinkles in their evolution this week, and it’s always pretty great seeing Ryouko handle her baby like a sack of potatoes. Parasyte chugs along.
The preview guide has come to a close, and I covered every damn show except “that Warring States Thing That’s Apparently Just A Worse Sengoku Basara,” so we’ve got plenty to talk about. We get a lot of anime every season, and none of you guys are receiving hazard pay for suffering through the worst of it, so I’m very ready to run down what demands to be watched, what you could maybe watch I guess if you feel like it, and what should be handled with lead-lined gloves and disposed of in a properly licensed waste treatment facility. I wasn’t really expecting much of this season, but the opening episodes ended up offering a stellar first and second tier of shows – yeah, first episodes are often liars, but it’s still nice to start off on the right foot. This post here will give you brief rankings and descriptions of everything I muddled through this week, along with links to the ANN pages containing my longer thoughts. Let’s run them down!
Hey guys. I don’t know if I’ll be keeping this up, but I really can’t resist doing a writeup or two for a new Ikuhara show. Almost nothing else in anime lends itself to close reading as consistently and necessarily as his work – he’s basically always constructing a conversation on the level of metaphor and theme, and Yuri Kuma Arashi seems to have almost disposed of the base narrative level entirely in preference to that stuff.
Yuri Kuma Arashi is also a show about bears who are lesbians having fun naked times together. So… yeah. Ikuhara’s definitely decided to embrace his own niche, but I certainly don’t have a problem with that. You can check out my writeup of the first episode if you’d like, as we’re already knee-deep in plenty of potential thematic threads, but who knows where this will all end up. Let’s hang out with some lesbian bears!