Hey all, and welcome to the Week in Review. It’s time to get ruthless this week – with preview week having finished and all of the new shows starting to demonstrate their actual stamina, we now enter the time where we learn what truly survives, and what hits the seasonal chopping block. If abandoning all these new shows wasn’t enough, the density of preview week meant I also had to take some time off from last season’s continuing shows, meaning it’s also time to reassess which of those I really care about. Long story short, Re:Creators is getting the boot, and I’ll have to think about whether I’m catching up on Sakura Quest. This is going to be a lean, lean season, but I’m trying to make the most of it. Let’s run this week’s contenders down!
Made in Abyss couldn’t match the stunning, propulsive, otherworldly consistency of its first episode, but it still offered a fine followup that easily maintained its status as the season’s top show. Lots of the exposition that the first episode avoided ended up stuffed into this one, but the show managed to mitigate some of the inherent blandness of that through its diverse methods of in-show storytelling. Made in Abyss’s overt premise and structure cast it as an old-fashioned fairy tale, and the show married that unabashedly mythic structure to lots of scenes that celebrate the joy of storytelling in more immediate ways. Given Riko’s age when she died, her mother pretty much only exists as an object of fantasy to her, and this episode’s multiple interpretations of her mother’s story were both inherently intriguing and an interesting reflection on the mutability of history. The show’s world is also consistently gorgeous, and its cast is being fortified one rewarding conversation at a time. This show’s the real deal.
Next up, My Hero Academia demonstrated just how much care it’s putting into the manga’s kinda lukewarm hero killer arc, offering an interpretation of Midoriya’s duel with Gran Torino that easily eclipsed the manga’s version. The dynamic action highlights and parsable choreography are making the most of what is ultimately just classic training arc material, making Gran Torino feel far more imposing than his manga incarnation. Given the mediocre first season, I didn’t really expect season two to actually rehabilitate some of the manga’s weaker material, but I’m certainly not complaining. The My Hero Academia adaptation has risen above its fine-could-be-better starting act to stand as a truly excellent action franchise.
Of course, it can’t all be good news. This week’s A Centaur’s Life only seemed to underline the weaknesses of this adaptation, doing its best to actively bury the appeal of the material. The fact that the show doesn’t look very good art design-wise is already a given, but this episode’s direction and pacing issues went well beyond that. Conversations in this episode were constantly undercut by weird pauses, useless cuts, and generally delayed visual and auditory reactions. It often felt like the characters were reading lines off a play script, as if they were having to be reminded that it’s their line a couple moments after the previous character finished speaking. The show’s actual material is still pretty interesting, but a slice of life show can’t bear execution this terrible and maintain its normal appeal. I think it’s time for me to switch to the manga.
And next, we’ve got…
Have I actually run out of shows?
Dear lord, I’ve already run out of shows.
I’m literally only watching three shows right now, and though I’ll be reviewing one more show, I’m likely dropping Centaur’s Life here.
NEXT UP, this week’s Tsuredure Children was just as friggin’ fantastic as the first two, reprising one of my favorite couples so far and also introducing a lovely scattering of new favorites. Tsuredure Children’s dialogue is all-timer tier, and it’s consistently applying that strength to the edge-of-relationship drama I find totally enchanting. I don’t generally cover shorts in these articles, but this season is garbage and Tsuredure Children is amazing. GET ON THAT.