So I guess what happens when you drop all your mediocre shows is you end up with only good shows to talk about every week. Fascinating. Let us explore this phenomenon at greater length.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders 18: Oh man, I really liked this episode. It started off pretty slow, in spite of the entertainment of Joseph being terrible at both bargains and camels, but this week’s Stand fight was a lot of fun. Unlike with Lovers, it actually felt like the Jojos were in serious danger this time, and it was an open question of how they’d figure their enemy out. Additionally, this episode’s visual design really made the most of a conflict that essentially involved the Jojos getting super hot and hiding in a hole for a while – I particularly loved the crazy heat-dreamscapes and equally crazy laughs. The ultimate resolution was super dumb, but the show actually reveled in that dumbness, and it didn’t diminish any of the prior drama – it worked, it was just a silly reveal. And if that weren’t enough, Joseph finally upgraded from “OH NOOO” to “SON OF A BITCH,” which is clearly also a cause for celebration. Nice work, Jojos. I am very entertained. Sword Art Online II 5: Solid episode this week! The plot moved forward, Sinon remained a compelling character (outside of one dumb scene), and we were granted a very entertaining action finale. I had few actual complaints, but still managed to find plenty of stuff to be silly about. Barakamon 5: Another simply good episode of Barakamon this week. The show has proven itself a tremendously stable platform at this point – the characters are likable, their interactions are genuine, and each episode has its own quirks that give it a definable flavor. This week’s big art theme was another understandable one – the desire to impart some kind of grandeur on the suffering of the art experience. Creating art is a tremendous struggle, no doubt, but Sensei was kind of going about things in the opposite direction here – instead of trying to help the kids express what they wanted to, he just wanted to make sure they understood what a hard thing his work is. That led into the breezier beach half, which ended with Sensei at his most moe and featured some wonderfully Yotsuba-esque Naru moments. This show makes slice of life look easy.
Aldnoah.Zero 5: I had a lot to say about this episode, enough that I ended up accidentally writing a post about it. HOW DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING???
Hunter x Hunter 141: God damn is it nice to see this show having fun again. This was a classic episode of HxH, engaging, exciting, and gleefully inventive from beginning to end. It started off strong with the introduction of the top sixteen election nominees – I loved that Leorio apparently proved himself the third-most-capable candidate by virtue of punching Ging in the face, and I love that Biskey is apparently now capitalizing on her maybe questionable reputation. Then we got some classic mental games as the politics of the Zoldyck household continue to be revealed, followed by a crazy car “chase” and some wonderful Hisoka faces. They’re really doing great work portraying Killua’s Godspeed ability – it’s generally tricky to convey tremendous speed in a way that isn’t just vaguely metaphorical, but the unique specifics of Killua’s ability allow them to effectively depict it through dust and lightning. And it’s a very good sign that whatever thread next week decides to pick up on, I’m eager to see it continued – be it the election itself, the Hisoka-Gotoh fight, or whatever Killua’s about to run into, all of this narrative’s current threads are brimming with potential.
Zankyou no Terror 4: Just kidding, I’m actually an episode behind on this because I kept planning to write about it and thus kept putting it off. That worked out well. The good news is releasing my Chimera Ant post means I’m completely current on larger projects, so I shouldn’t have trouble catching up this weekend. See you then!