Summer 2013 – Week 8 in Review

Because both story structure and the 1-cour system are kinda inflexible, this week pulled the interesting trick of having almost every single show I’m watching put their protagonist through the emotional wringer, questioning their very base motivation and bringing them as close to “defeat” (relative to each story’s stakes) as possible. Fun times!

Uchouten Kazoku 8: Jeez, you thought last week’s episode was heavy? This week dove directly into the grieving process, exploring the brothers’ father more fully than ever before through a series of quirky and moving flashbacks. Yajirou’s relevant backstory was fully laid out, culminating in the beautiful image of a rail car terrorizing downtown Kyoto and fading with the haunting shot of the family standing on the roadside, waiting for their father to come home. Even Yasaburou was forced to reflect on his relationship with his father, and possibly acknowledge that he must take up the mantle of responsibility simply because no one else can. Still on track to be the fourth anime in my list of basically perfect shows.

Gatchaman Crowds 7: Another doozy. Hajime pointing out Rui’s hypocrisy pushes him to Do The Right Thing and directly confront Katze. And so his Hundred are murdered, he’s nearly killed himself, and the Gatchamen’s chain of command is shattered. Only Hajime is able to save them, and even then only because her intelligence and philosophy amuse Katze. But even she is shaken by the appearance of a character who seems to put the lie to her fundamental faith in our common goals and desire for connection and understanding. Rui chose to forego his own ideals in order to hopefully create a future worthy of them. Will Hajime be forced to do the same?

Monogatari S2 7: Man, I act all cool and brooding about this season’s two Anime Worth Discussing, and then we get to Monogatari which was all derping around with loli Hanekawa and making terrible decisions about time travel. So far, this new arc has been much more comedy-focused than the first, which is fine as long as the comedy is good, and Araragi/Shinobu still have a fantastic dynamic. This episode was entertaining for what it was, but I’ll be happy to get into the meat of this time travel nonsense next week, and discover exactly how badly these idiots have fucked everything up.

C3-bu 8: Back to frowntown for this one, as Yura’s incredible insecurity has led her to first prove her worth to the team at any cost, and now seek victory in the same way. Cheating? Why, I never. I find pretty much everything about this show outside of Yura’s character development pretty flat (routine plotting, workmanly direction and dialogue), so it’s fortunate that they’re doing such solid work with her arc.

Free 8: And wrapping up my “everything sucks for everyone” roundup, this week featured Haru feeling really sad about not winning at swimming. Aaand not much else – the very distinctive direction from last week has been tuned down again, so once again it’s mainly watchable because I make silly jokes the whole time. I sure am excited for KyoAni’s next show…

TWGOK S3 8: I think this show’s turn will come next week, when Keima’s overt two-timing blows up in his face, but this show has always been more episodic anyway. Regardless, this particular week was mainly a rearrange-the-board style episode, setting up pieces to be knocked down in the next couple episodes. That’s fine, that’s sometimes necessary, but it’s not the kind of episode that shines in a weekly context.

So yeah, kind of a downer week overall, but the shows I’m invested in are still doing their thing with aplomb. As long as 2-3 shows continue to impress me, I’m happy.