Unless three or four shows spontaneously turn terrible, this season’s ridiculous set of shows is going to kill me. I don’t even
Kyousogiga 2: Yeah, it held up. This second episode maintained the promise of the first – it was poignant and well-written and far beyond well-directed and pretty and creative and smart in all kinds of ways. This time we explored the childhood of Koto 2, who is I guess the Koto we’re actually going to be focusing on, so I should really upgrade her to just Koto. Anyway, this episode revealed her fractured upbringing in very graceful fashion, telling a powerful story of her overcoming loneliness through the lessons and presence of her possibly adopted father while also exploring the wonderfully designed multiverse hub that lies at the center of this created universe. The centerpiece sequence of this episode was obviously Koto’s nighttime walk, which was gorgeously directed, very carefully scored, and overall just a very satisfying resolution to this episode’s personal arc. This show is definitely on another level.
Nagi no Asukara 3: Easily the best episode yet of a show that’s been impressing me at pretty much every turn. This week saw Hikari being forced to acknowledge the limited nature of his perspective through his relationship with his sister, a subplot that managed to combine backstory, character development, and plot progression in a way that came off as not just natural, but legitimately affecting. The understated musical score and direction definitely helped here, but I think this episode’s composition was the real force – that sequence where hearing his sister crying through the wall forced him to reflect on their whole relationship was just beautifully constructed. A really strong episode.
Kill la Kill 3: All the stuff this show is good at, it continues to be extremely good at. This episode was probably the funniest, the most outrageous, and the most action-packed episode so far. The fanservice stuff? Man, I don’t even know what to say. I can buy into the positions of the characters themselves – both Satsuki and Ryuuko are solid characters, and their reasoning for accepting/embracing these outfits is solid as well. But that’s a very different thing from this being a smart or reasonable choice from a meta, creator-minded perspective. Yeah, they could actually make a point here – but these shots? These jokes? So far, I’m falling on the side of “have their cake and eat it too.” But we’ll see.
Kyoukai no Kanata 4: Definitely the best episode so far, even though it felt very uneven to me. The first half was interesting visually, and did a bit to push these characters, but I still didn’t really feel personally invested in Mirai’s conflict. The second half helped a lot – I might just be a fan of shows that hammer out their character’s emotions through brute force, but I actually ended up caring about both these characters by the end. Akihito’s little issues ended up kind of retroactively improving his earlier actions, and Mirai actually went through some honest-to-goodness development. I think this show might finally have the solid footing it needs.
Samurai Flamenco 2: Much stronger than the first episode, and the first episode was really good. This show still has great style, great humor, and a great world, and this episode featured an epic chase scene that basically pulled everything this show does well into one gleeful, winking finale sequence.
Log Horizon 3: I’m really enjoying this show, but it’d be hard to say why. Well, I think the writing’s good, which is a huge plus. But it doesn’t really stand out in any way – the characters are solid but not flashy, the dialogue is strong but not piercing, the direction and soundtrack are unremarkable, the adventure is just that, an adventure. It’s just well-written entertainment executed in a very respectable manner. I can dig that.
Golden Time 3: This episode was more interesting because it included an insane cult, but insane cults can only get you so far. I still find the show pretty tedious, and just cannot relate to these characters in any way. Even if they’re well-written, how could I tell? The one is characterized by his amnesia, and the other by her absurd obsession with a boy who has no interest in her. Neither of those things ring as relatable character fundamentals to me. I think the fact that I haven’t dropped this yet is really just indicative of exactly how much goodwill towards this author Toradora engendered in me.
Galilei Donna 2: This show is a pretty good articulation of many of the things shows can care about that I don’t care about at all. It’s a competently executed wacky adventure more focused on its page-turner momentum than pretty much anything else. In a weaker season, the fact that it’s not actively bad might be enough to make me watch something I don’t really find personally compelling in any way – but in this season, I think this is probably as far as I go.
White Album 2 3: This was a fantastic episode for Ogiso, who secured true main character status by actually convincing Touma to join the club. That actually points to one of this show’s greatest strengths – it’s not Dude MC and Co, it’s a group of people who all have their own desires and personalities, and the way those personalities affects their pursuit of those desires is immediately and continuously relevant. Touma I’m far less sold on – her personality seems far more typical than Ogiso’s (though obviously typical does not mean bad, it’s all in execution), and in particular that “We’ll either be best friends or worst enemies” line kind of made me throw up in my mouth. But overall this drama is chugging along nicely.
Outbreak Company 3: Yeah, I’m current on this thing. It’s definitely far more interesting than I initially gave it credit for – but in my defense, read that goddamn synopsis again. Anyway, I really like how pretty much everyone outside of the MC doesn’t play along with his gags and references – his jokes just make me sigh, and their sighs of resigned tolerance actually make me laugh. And the show is actually addressing the significance of the culture clash here – I really didn’t expect it to so quickly make cultural imperialism an outright admitted concern here. Personally, I’m not much of a cultural relativist – if a democratic society wants to overwhelm a caste-based one, I’m not going to shed a tear. But of course that’s what I would say, given I prefer my own culturally-trained moral values. Right? Yeah, this stuff’s interesting. Let’s see how far a show with a loli empress and half-elf maid can actually go.
Yozakura Quartet 3: This show is pretty much just solidly watchable to me. Entertaining for twenty-three minutes and then I go do something else. Not much else to say – the fact that it’s adapting old content means it’s sort of flipping between actually very nice, understated exposition and this episode’s big central infodump, but as long as I don’t have high expectations for the show, that doesn’t really become a problem.