Genshiken reviews continue! The manga has largely regained its stride at this point, and seems fairly comfortable in its more romance-heavy New Normal. Hato and Madarame are working well as the dramatic centerpieces, the side characters are stepping it up, and everything’s getting more awkward and emotionally loaded by the second. We’re also finally into territory I haven’t read before, so I’m as interested in seeing where this goes as anyone.
Kinda behind on linking these, but I’ve been busy with stuff! Anyway, I got a bit negative on this one, since we’re now right in the unsteadiness of Genshiken shifting towards a more full-drama style. The whole Madarame harem thing doesn’t kill the manga for me, but it certainly tends to make it lean into a more heightened reality than the story normally evokes. I guess we were all guilty of loving Madarame just a little too much.
The student council arc resolved in an uneasy peace this week, with Hachiman convincing Isshiki to rescind her own club request. Of course, this solution isn’t actually great either for Hachiman’s group or for the school overall – once again, he chose a slash and burn solution that only solves the most immediate problem. Joining the student council probably would have been the best thing for all three of our protagonists, but that’s the kind of thing Hikki can only realize once he’s already been told. Life is tough for our brittle little teenagers!
And so Nagato’s valentine drama resolves in the most predictable way possible. This whole arc was definitely a bit of a disappointment, and as I said in my review, it seems to demonstrate the limits of this show’s dramatic reach. Hopefully I’m mistaken, but there are far more tired and rote shows than there are unique and engaging ones, and this episode did not give me much hope for Yuki-chan. We’ll have to see.
Hoo boy was this show garbage. Hot, steaming garbage. This is actually the most negative review I’ve written for ANN, beating out even the Sword Art Online Swimsuit Episode. At least that had SAO’s usual solid aesthetics to create some interest – this was just a collection of terrible ingredients tossed together in a terrible stew. Do not watch Looking Up at the Half-Moon.
I wasn’t as big of a fan of this episode as the last several, but this is still a very good show, and now I at least can actually see how this show might end within a single season. Kumiko remains great, Taki got another standout episode, and everything’s still pretty and well-written and at least reasonably composed. Sound! Euphonium continues apace.
It was do or die time this week, and two shows ended up on the chopping block – both Plastic Memories and Punch Line won’t be joining us for the rest of the season. Punch Line was always a stretch, but I’m pretty sad to see Plastic Memories go. Fortunately, those drops are really just reflective of what I already knew about this season – the top tier is fantastic, everything else is kinda crap. BBB, Oregairu, Sound! Euphonium, and Ore Monogatari!! remain excellent, Unlimited Blade Works and JoJo are still perfectly entertaining, and Nagato Yuki is… well, Nagato Yuki. Keep doing your thing, Nagato.
Hey guys! I wrote another essay, and we’re doing a bit of an experiment this time – the folks at ANN asked if I could send some pieces their way, and so we’re going to see what the usual ANN readers make of my heart-on-sleeve thematic pieces. If this works out, I’ll likely be able to write more consistent essays in the future, so here’s hoping they give a damn. Like those poor souls in Shirobako, I’m basically doing anything I can here to keep writing, but it’s not easy! Feel free to comment there or right here, and let me know if you have any concerns about me shipping some of these to ANN – I was somewhat anxious about it, but this will ultimately hopefully allow for more writing altogether, which I’m guessing is what people want the most. So here’s one more set of lyrics, playing in my newest piece, on that most heartwarming of dramas.
“I keep my head up tight / I make my plans at night / And I don’t sleep, I don’t sleep, I don’t sleep til it’s light / Some folks float, some are buried alive.”
Yeah, Oregairu is brilliant. I’ve already written a couple thousand words about it today, so I don’t really have much left for this blurb besides: damn. This sequel is doing everything I could have hoped for, focusing on the show’s strengths, highlighting its strongest characters, and generally executing at a higher level than the original. We are very lucky to have it.
Haruhi continued her invasion of Nagato’s show this week, almost accidentally stealing Kyon as Nagato derped about working on Valentine’s Day chocolate. I didn’t feel like this heightened drama was a great fit for this show, and said as much in the review, but it certainly is an interesting experience to see the assumptions of one show acting as the “villain” in another one. Still, I think cute scenes with Kyon and Nagato are basically this show at its best. We’ll see how this wacky misunderstanding plays out next time.