Spring 2014 – Week 9 in Review

With Mushishi still on break and One Week Friends kinda stumbling around, this week was a little below-average. Ping Pong is still fantastic though, and I feel like Sidonia is actually getting better every week. This season’s still a pretty good place to be!

Hitsugi no Chaika 8: It was kind of interesting to hear that magic is essentially a kind of fossil fuel in this universe. That’s both just a neat detail and also kind of reflective of the show’s themes, so gold star for that one. Magic as a form of science is actually a good idea – you just can’t, you know, bury your show in explaining how neat your system is.

Aside from that, this was really just an isolated adventure episode, and worked well enough as that. I like this cast, so it’s nice spending time with them, and I enjoy seeing Toru lose more and more of his practicality as his goals become more vague and human. Rescuing Julia is a terrible idea from the perspective of their mission, but it makes Chaika happy, so he does it.

Hitsugi no Chaika

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders 9: Goddamnit Kakyoin stop doing that tongue thing it is the worst.

Fine Jojo episode this week! We’ve definitely settled into something of a monster-of-the-week formula at this point, which is less interesting than Jojo at its best, but still perfectly entertaining. Especially when that weekly monster does awful tongue-cherry tricks and gives Joseph an opportunity to look enraged or disgusted about various things. My favorite Jojo moment this week was the throwaway gag when the real Kakyoin came back from sunbathing in his full school uniform. Sometimes it’s the little things, not the beetle-eating and severed dog heads.

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure

Knights of Sidonia 8: First off, the fight scenes in this episode were great. Fast-paced, claustrophobic, thrillingly staged – this show really knows how to make the CG work for it. Even the actual human fight scene at the end was great, which is surprising and encouraging.

But more importantly, this episode really, really dove into some of the most compelling ideas of this series – questions of the nature of mankind, and of transhumanism. Using brain transplants to counteract aging, the variable treatment of a clone as either a child or resource, and even the Gauna apparently adopting human characteristics – all of these are wonderful choices in a show that’s already demonstrated a fascination with exploring the limits of what “humanity” really means, as well as whether that’s even a relevant question. All of this was capped off with the captain’s command at the end – “your life is no longer in your hands. Your experience and sagacity are Sidonia’s!” “What will we do to survive” is a fair enough question by itself, but “what will we become to survive” is possibly even richer, and Sidonia seems interested in exploring that on both the individual and societal level.

All of which makes me kind of concerned that we’re already eight episodes into the show. But I’ve heard it’s selling well, so hopefully this is a story we’ll get to see continue soon enough.

Knights of Sidonia

One Week Friends 9: This week was mainly dominated by the main characters derping around together again, and while that’s pleasant enough, I’ve kind of lost any real enthusiasm for it. The ending also actually frustrated me – obviously we need to deal with Fujimiya’s root issue, but having her reset the amnesia seems like an incredibly contrived way to do that. In light of that, the main thing I want to point out this episode is how ridiculously clueless Hase looks to Fujimiya’s obvious/oblivious advances at pretty much all times. Goddamn man. Get a clue.

One Week Friends

Ping Pong 8: This week, I wrote about shoes.

Ping Pong

15 thoughts on “Spring 2014 – Week 9 in Review

  1. What? You think it’s Hase’s fault? I’m pretty sure he knows EXACTLY what Fujimiya’s gestures indicate in a normal situation, but I also think he realizes that she herself doesn’t know what they mean. I’m pretty sure Fujimiya has no romantic inclinations right now; her actions, at least in her head, are completely platonic.

    • Nah, I don’t think it’s really Hase’s fault – but I also don’t think he’s as perceptive as you’re saying. At this point, I just kinda feel like both of them have slipped past “very naive/oblivious” into “anime naive/oblivious,” which I’m not a fan of.

  2. Hase worst character, everyone is better than him! And if we get far enough, even the new guy will be cooler than him!

  3. You know a show’s good when the cast is so much fun that you don’t mind them doing whatever, you’re just happy to watch them do it. World-building isn’t enough – you need someone to keep you rooted in that world, and that’s where Chaika gets it right.

  4. See those guys at the end of this week’s Chaika? I’m guessing they will eventually set up a situation where war between their countries can only be stopped by Toru’s party. Then Toru will have to choose if he wants war or not, if those people he met were miserable because of the end of the war or actually because there was war in the first place.

    • I’m guessing the show’s going to push past Toru’s initial conflict. It might even make him choose between personal happiness through the people he cares about and better serving a peaceful future.

  5. Isshuukan Friends was basically wanking itself off for the entire episode. Could it get any more droll?

    I really didn’t like Sidonia when it was trying to do character stuff, because I think its character writing is really quite shoddy. I was really happy about this weeks episode.

    Ping Pong looks to have a really promising ending right now. It seems as if these bits and pieces they’ve thrown around in the beginning are culminating together here at the tournament to form something really resonant and cohesive. The Hero’s back, and he’s ready to save the robot and ping pong.

    • I can’t wait to see how Ping Pong ends. It’s been so confident in how it arranges its pieces so far, I’m sure it’ll come together wonderfully.

      • After recently reading through the manga, I can assure you that it will have a satisfactory ending. With all the little nuances that Yuasa has been adding in to enhance the source material (I know you found out that the karaoke bit was anime original and so is Yurie, amongst other things), it’s bound to improve on an already solid finale.

  6. I’m starting to get a bit annoyed at Isshuukan. It stopped exploring properly the consequences of Kaori’s periodic memory losses, and that was already a problem. It teases us endlessly with relationship flags between Hase and Kaori without resolving, and that’s frustrating. Now HERE COMES A NEW CHALLENGER! It’s a bit cheesy really, and him being that harsh makes one suspect there was a love interest there too… if we go into love triangle territory I’m outta here. Not saying this is ever going to become Nisekoi, but… yeah. If it focuses on romance-y shenanigans rather than on the crux of the problem it just loses its way imho. Of course now the memory loss is back with a vengeance, but the set up seems one where the conflict is going to be between Hase and the new guy for Kaori, rather than Hase and Kaori together against the hardships caused by her condition – which would have been way more original and interesting.

    • Yeah, exactly – Kaori losing her memory again makes her much less of an active player in this story, which is frustrating and false. It’d be much more interesting to see her and Hase actually working through whatever this guy causes together.

      Well, can’t condemn it until it actually happens, I suppose. But I’m not that optimistic.

  7. Yeah, One Week Friends has just kind of coasted through this recent stretch. Sort of a shame, but it’s still pleasant enough.

  8. Ping Pong 8: “This week, I wrote about shoes”

    Hahahaha, and that picture of Kazama from the commercial was perfect.

    Well player sir, keep up the good work.

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