Spring 2014 – Week 8 in Review

It’s so nice to only be watching good shows. I think One Week Friends kinda stumbled this week, but other than that, I don’t really have any complaints about anything. I should drop shows more often!

Hitsugi no Chaika 7: Well this episode was derp as fuck and I loved it. It’s such a relief to know this show has two seasons – it can ramble its way through these small adventures, building the characters and indulging in awesome gags and slowly building the themes, without any concern of not pulling itself together. Chaika’s always a pretty funny show, but this episode kinda proved how much action scenes and physical comedy have in common – the timing of gags like Chaika falling off the cliff, or the way Frederica managed to convey perfect sulking in her dragon form, were fantastic. And Chaika waving goodbye to Toru with her father’s decomposing arm… yeah, this show is pretty great.

We got another little tidbit of the grieving/moving-on process from this week’s “hero,” with the man so consumed by the pain of betrayal that he wished to inflict the same pain on others. But this week was mainly just really funny, and I’m perfectly happy with that.

Hitsugi no Chaika

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders 8: No need to do a “most ridiculous Jojo moment” this week – this week was action Jojo, and that action was firing on all cylinders. The battle between Polnareff and Soul Sacrifice (SOUL SACRIFICE, WHO SUGGESTS THE DEVIL?!?) was fast-paced and visually stunning – there were a couple tremendous animation standouts this week, and the framing of the fight overall really successfully maintained a horror movie atmosphere while also working as pure action. Nice choreography, a fun progression of stakes, and a suitably ridiculous premise – personally I enjoy Jojo just as much when it’s just being silly, but it’s nice to get a reminder of how strong Jojo can be as an actual action show. This is the second week in a row the episode’s gimmick has betrayed Jojo’s love of horror movies, and if I’m all for it if they can stay as compelling as this one.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

Knights of Sidonia 7: Goddamn. There’s “dick move,” and then there’s, well, “intentionally fucking up your command orders and potentially dooming the human race just to make one of your subordinates look bad.” Get some perspective, guy!

Anyway. The dickest of dick moves aside, we actually got the big battle this week, and it was pretty great. Although the CG makes everyone look like terrifying plastic-faced aliens outside of battles, it also allows for some very ambitious work in the setpieces. The big pans across the gauna with multiple squads fighting, the many layers of debris, the tricks they pull using reflections on glass – all of this stuff would be either impossible or financially unfeasible in traditional animation, so it’s nice to see them getting real value out of this choice.

Outside of the battle, this episode pretty much played out in predictable fashion – Nagate felt guilt for Hoshijiro’s death, Nagate was built back up by his friends, Nagate returned to combat. I guess the main thing I was happy to see Yuhata moving into a bridge position – I like her character, and it seems less likely the show will find a way to murder her up there.

Also, this show has some very lovely shots.

Knights of Sidonia

One Week Friends 8: I was a fan of a lot of scenes in this episode, but I can’t say I was a fan of the episode overall. This show kind of excels in small slice-of-life moments – its conversations generally progress pretty naturally, and scenes like Hase and Fujimiya by the water have a natural flow to them that seems more interested in conveying an honesty of character interaction than an economy of scene purpose. There were a good number of scenes like that this episode.

That said, for the first time, this episode made me feel like the Hase-Fujimiya relationship was being dragged out in a somewhat artificial-seeming way. This episode shifted them from just being sort of oblivious to their growing emotions to either actively denying them or not recognizing what they were, and that kind of endangers my suspension of disbelief. I like these characters, but I don’t like being screwed with – at the first hint of Nisekoi-style shenanigans, I generally start to feel like a show is no longer respecting me as a viewer. In light of that, the introduction of an ominous New Challenger in the last scene seems even more awkward than it might otherwise be – although we probably do need to address whatever Fujimiya’s initial memory-block was about, and that probably does require introducing a variable from her past. So I’m still on board for now, but this episode definitely raised my suspicions a little.

Those sunset shots sure were nice, though.

One Week Friends

Ping Pong 7: Aw snap, wrote another full episode post. Can’t help it, Ping Pong too good. I particularly loved the ending of this week’s episode, but as usual the whole thing was pretty great.Ping Pong

13 thoughts on “Spring 2014 – Week 8 in Review

  1. Yea felt the same about one week friends it’s starting to drag on. Hope it won’t end up dragging has much has lovely complex (which was a great show before that point). At this point new challenger has as much change has Hase to get the girl back.

    Still not into Jojo has much has during the 2nd part of the first season…

    I hope that you will really pick up Akuma no Riddle. It’s a fun show with little vignettes exploring the killers ideology without going too far into insanity. (though I personally would prefer it to be much more crazy!)

    • I’m not too worried about One Week Friends. I assume this new guy they’ve introduced is going to pretty much immediately prompt the Fujimiya’s-memories conflict that will define the last act of the show, and that this was merely a temporary lull.

      Akuma no Riddle actually sounds pretty fun, but I am having all kinds of trouble keeping up with the stuff I want to keep up with already…

  2. Really liked the humorous wit of Chaika alone in this episode, plus there’s definitely interesting food for thought to dissect in between, the supposed reasons behind “hero’s” madness in addition to the lines behind Toru’s despair. The show decided to portray that despair rather comedically. It works on its own, the writers were able to mess around with the material they were working with until it reached the fluid snap and snip they wanted, but I’d like to have seen it from its original, more dramatic form.

    A couple of quotes I scrounged up:

    “Due to time constraint the anime shifted the tone from dark to just light hearted NTR fun. In the LN instead of running forward like a lame dog Toru was actually lashing out at the ones who betrayed him, Chaika included. Then again this requires too much build up so the anime writer just dumb it down a notch.”

    “He fears losing Chaika to someone like Gillette, who has all the things he lacks: a high social status, a purpose in doing the right thing, wealth, gentlemanly demeanor, etc.”

    • Huh, that’s an interesting adaptation choice. I think it’s actually a fine one – I don’t think a single episode offers enough time for that to come off as dramatically effective, and the stuff Toru is worried about here is all stuff we can more or less gather from his actions. That point about “lashing out at those who’ve betrayed him,” though… I wonder if that’s relevant to something in his past we haven’t seen yet.

  3. I’m willing to overlook the little stumble One Week Friends took this week, because at this point it’s kind of obvious what it’s for – an admittedly ham-handed attempt to get the show where it’s supposed to be for its final act, which given the quality of the series so far, has a great chance at being terrific.

    And Chaika, as always, was pricelessly fun and comfy as f*ck. That ending scene with Toru talking his way out of a confession (and Chaika’s sulkiness at this) actively made me lose it. Firmly on board!

  4. Waiting on those Hunter X Hunter impressions yo. ^.^
    Chaika is easily the most under rated show this season. I actual think it’s blend of adventure, comedy and action is roughly equivalent to the Last Airbender. I don’t think it’s as GOOD, but it has the same pacing and tone to me.

  5. “It’s so nice to only be watching good shows.” Might have to drop Chaika then!

    It’s not like quality should be the #1 priority when watching shows, enjoyability matters too.

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