Wednesday has come again! And I’m at a bit of a loss. As I’ve mentioned before, the fact that I’m watching so little this season means these week in review posts feel a little barren to me. So I’m gonna take that situation as a chance to experiment a bit – get a little looser and more conversational with the style, and actually cover how my “week in anime” really was, and not just blurbs about the specific airing shows.
So how was this week in anime?
It was extremely damn good, actually. Because I’m not being overwhelmed with airing shows and am somewhat ahead on my ANN work, I was able to get to a bunch of backlog stuff. I’ve got a pretty diverse mix of shows I’m watching now, but I guess we can start with the stuff that actually was airing. Let’s run it down!
First, Gatchaman Crowds insight pulled off maybe its most dense episode yet, basically giving all the characters a chance to sit down and sound off their opinions about Rui’s ideals, Tsubasa’s actions, Gelsadra’s goals, and pretty much everything else stirring the pot. One of the biggest open questions now, one pointed out to me by more than a few commenters, is the actual nature of Gel-chan. Is Gelsadra naive, or an inhuman intelligence seeking an inhuman goal? And does Gel need any sinister plans for the idea of “everyone feeling the same way” to be a frankly horrifying scenario? Hajime certainly pushes back against that, outright stating that “maybe conflict is a good thing,” which makes sense human nature-wise. But we also haven’t seen the other shoe drop with Berg Katze, so that could go anywhere from here.
Classroom Crisis has a less strong episode, but it’s still playing in compelling spaces that pretty much no other shows are touching. And while Paranoia Agent’s third episode impressed me on an aesthetic level, it also left me kind of cold – or at least, with the impression that the show itself is a little too cold. Maybe I’m overreacting.
Overlord solidified its extreme watchability with another solid episode this week. This episode was almost entirely given over to one major battle, which, although it had to rely on some fairly awkward CG, managed to merge that with a good bit of dynamic direction and some really nice cuts of animation. Once Ains Ooal Gown stepped in, the fight pivoted from “desperate battle against CG angels” to “it sure is fun to stomp lowbies,” which I found kinda surprisingly enjoyable. I’m actually having a bit of trouble identifying why exactly I find this show so watchable – it’s certainly not because I care about the characters, but I think the combination of solid pacing (things have been moving quickly since the MC headed to this village, and there’ve been no bad LN humor digressions for two episodes now) and the various ways this show echoes classic moments of MMO play combine to make it a very breezy ride. I don’t end an episode totally impressed with the show, but the running time tends to fly by.
Monster Musume remains the most outright fun show of the season, somehow. The show clearly delights in finding new ways to be as bizarrely over-the-line as possible in its style of fanservice and gags. Or, uh, orthogonal to the line? There’s a line, and it exists, and Monster Musume also exists, but it exists in a dimension where you have to try and square ideas like “the line” and “oh my god is Darling really being drowned in Suu’s slime-stomach.” We got a new haremette, who seems to fulfill the “less hyperactive version of the younger non-threatening harem member” (the Shinobu to Papi’s Kaolla Su, if we’re talking in Love Hina terms). But many of the best gags this week came from the old team, who remain as accidentally violent and oddly charming as ever. The production seemed to dip a bit this week (there were a few awkwardly held or repeated still frames), which is honestly pretty damaging in a show as reliant on immediate entertainment as Monster Musume, but hopefully the show can keep it together. I mean seriously, where else is this going to happen:
I also caught up on Prison School this week, burning through the second and third episodes and more or less enjoying the experience. Prison School is obviously hot trash, but so far “ridiculous scenarios played out with all the absurd self-seriousness of a Mission Impossible movie” hasn’t worn out its welcome for me. Hopefully the show gets past the damn gay jokes, though – but I guess expecting class from Prison School is maybe an idle hope.
Outside of the airing schedule, I also spent this week watching the first half of Love Live S2, in preparation for the coming movie. This show was a joy to get back to – just as funny and energetic as the first season, and actually way more focused on its strengths than before. At its best, the first season of Love Live embraced a self-aware, almost camp edge that made it feel more inherently funny than most actual, intentional comedies. Season two fully embraces the show’s underlying absurdity, reveling in Looney Tunes-style sight gags, extended pratfalls full of minor jokes, sequences of the characters either playing to type or undercutting each other in a very genre-savvy way, and even treacly, absolutely perfect random musical interludes. Even the drama has improved, with the show apparently now understanding it can’t really lean on its characters for multi-episode tragedy, and instead giving characters quick focus episodes lightly sprinkled with emotional moments. Season two is a big step up all around.
And on the old backlog front, I also watched episodes four through six of Giant Robo, leaving myself the finale for this coming week. Giant Robo’s a pleasure to watch, pretty much the most concentrated version of What It Is you could imagine – international heroes called the “Experts of Justice” fighting to prevent Big Fire from drowning the world in eternal night, a giant robot left from an ambiguous father figure destined to save the world, high-flying adventures in the Alps and Paris destroyed in an instant. The show’s always been a visual marvel, making great use of shadow, color, and just overall composition to paint the most stark and iconic scenes possible, but in the second half, even the story is starting to impress me.
It’s about as Life in the Shadow of the Bomb as you can get, with all the characters grappling with ambiguous technological legacies, the duty of scientists, and what we learn from the generations that came before. Its lessons and concerns are classic ones, but there’s abundant heart in the way it lays out its variables, and the way it layers its ideas on parenting, technology, and generational conflict makes for some real compelling character moments. And it’s also just a rollicking good time.