In which it’s not what you think.
1. Sora no Method (Episode 4)
I wrote a full post about this wonderful episode right here. I loved the way this episode fleshed out Koharu and Yuzuki’s characters. You can really feel for Yuzuki as she progresses down the path of despair but also understand why the people around her behave the way they do. It’s a tragic situation all around and I hope that Nonoka can overcome it eventually.
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Yama no Susume would probably go here if there were subs. Or maybe it would have been third. I don’t know.
2. Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru (Episode 3)
Yuuki Yuuna moved away from the combat oriented plot of the first two episodes to introduce a new member to the group. Karin reminds me a lot of Nico from Love Live, although the extreme seriousness Karin brings to being a hero is probably more merited than Nico’s extreme behavior regarding idols. Either way, seeing her struggle against the goofy, laid-back nature of the hero club was funny at first and later progressed into heartwarming during the impromptu birthday party. I really like the dynamic that Karin adds to the group and look forward to seeing where things go from here.
3. Shirobako (Episode 3)
Shirobako’s no-nonsense look at the world of anime production is really starting to grow on me. It’s rare that we get an anime that takes a serious look at the working world and Shirobako does a great job of filling that void. I can’t claim to be able to understand all of the ins and outs of anime production that they throw at you but on a conceptual level the show is still very relatable and the trials of office life ring true. The show is immersive and a pleasure to watch each week.
4. Selector Spread WIXOSS (Episode 4)
This was a weird episode in what’s shaping up to be kind of a weird season for me. Given the zaniness of her behavior and my tendency to punish shows that don’t have good tonal consistency I would have expected Chiyori to annoy the hell out of me. Instead I find myself kind of charmed by her. I don’t know if it’s because I identify with her love of cliché or because of her Arai Satomi voiced LRIG but I actually enjoy having her around. Aside from Chiyori’s completely out of place antics, I like the way the second half of WIXOSS is working to slowly unravel the mystery set up in the first half. The introduction of a mysterious author who may potentially know a lot about the secrets behind the system is an interesting twist and I’m curious where they plan to go with it.
5. Ore Twintail ni Narimasu (Episode 3)
If you want to read about our other writers’ reactions to this episode in addition to my own you can check them out here. In my mind OreTwi has two mandates: one, be funny, and two, don’t take yourself too seriously. The show is certainly succeeding at the latter and in my opinion also succeeding at the former. There were several laugh out loud points this episode with the highlight for me being what Souji gets up to when he’s alone and transformed. Also the tsundere defense system is a pretty cool concept. Top marks all around for this episode.
6. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Episode 3)
I wrote a full post about the problems I had with this episode here. I sincerely hope that Shigatsu’s author realizes how destructive Kaori and Tsubaki’s behavior is. It’s not that the two of them aren’t allowed to make mistakes. They’re kids. That’s to be expected. My problem is that I don’t see any telltale flags indicating that the author sees this behavior as anything but the right way to treat Kousei’s condition. Episode four will go a long way towards determining whether Shigatsu is going to be a compelling story of childhood romance and overcoming trauma or whether it will be a show that treats short-sighted, naïve actions as responsible behavior.
7. Parasyte (Episode 3)
There’s a lot going on in Parasyte, even aside from the invasion of Shinichi’s school by a bloodthirsty parasite-host. The show really does a great job of building up the sense of constant grave danger that Shinichi perceives and contrasts that with the people around him that don’t realize the danger at all. The general populace even seems almost accustomed to the murders at this point. They’re becoming more a fact of life than something horrifying. I find it interesting that the different parasites seem to have different personalities. Based on the purely logical, survive at all costs mindset of Migi, I expect all the parasites to behave basically the same way. The fact that Shinichi’s teacher takes an interest in him and Migi while Mr. A is just out for blood is an interesting twist as it shows that not all parasites think in the same purely logical way. Perhaps it is possible to reason with these beings that seemed beyond all human reason previously. Still, Migi’s extreme utilitarian views seem wholly incompatible with Shinichi’s more compassionate worldview and the conversations between them raise a lot of interesting questions about empathy and what people should really desire beyond mere survival.
8. Amagi Brilliant Park (Episode 4)
This was probably the best episode of Amagi so far. The way this episode opened a window into Isuzu’s history and showed us why she struggles to manage the park and how it fell into disrepair was both interesting and heartbreaking. This penny-pinching attitude stands in stark contrast to Kanie’s “bring in guests at all costs” strategy which seems more wise given the metric the park has to meet is merely an attendance metric rather than a profitability metric. This more somber tone was supplemented by KyoAni’s trademark sense of humor and it was done in a way that didn’t detract from the more serious parts of the episode. All in all a solid display by a show I was close to writing off.
9. Girlfriend Kari (Episode 3)
This episode had copious amounts of yuri. Enough said.
10. Fate/stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (Episode 3)
Going into a combat episode of UBW I pretty much know that it’s going to look amazing and that I won’t have much reaction to it other than “oooh, pretty.” That was mostly the case this week although there were some interesting differences between the experience watching the fight animated versus reading through it in visual novel form. First, Berserker is far more intimidating when he’s moving around and causing destruction right in front of your eyes rather than merely doing so via words on a screen. Second, this battle was far more tolerable when you view it as a third-party observer rather than experiencing it from inside Shirou’s head. The anime really toned down Shirou’s hero complex to the point where it was actually kind of cool when he threw himself in front of Berserker instead of one of the most idiotic moments in the VN. In addition, Shirou’s internal monologues were replaced by a side-battle between Rin and Illya that made great use of ufotable’s outstanding visual effects. I don’t know if UBW can keep this up as there are some bad moments later on in the story that are harder to get around than this initial battle but at the very least it’s a good sign.
11. Grisaia no Kajitsu (Episode 4)
Grisaia is trying really hard to take itself seriously but that’s going to be a tall order after last week’s nonsense. Michiru’s questions about what happens when you die and the fear of going to sleep and never waking up were interesting but throughout her philosophical rambling I had a hard time thinking anything besides “I saw your panties like three minutes ago.” Grisaia’s inconsistent tone undermines the believability of its characters which make connecting with anything serious they do very difficult. I said after the first episode that Grisaia would need to pick a side between fanservice romp and serious psychological drama but it hasn’t and is suffering because of it.
12. Daitoshokan wa Hitsujikai (Episode 3)
In contrast to Grisaia, Daitoshokan has picked a side and is actually quite charming because of it. The production values are still low and the story isn’t that compelling but the characters are likable and the show really isn’t doing anything wrong. I don’t expect the show to be more than a fun little diversion in the middle of each week but if it can achieve that modest success I’d call it a win in my book.
14. Inou-battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de (Episode 3)
Inou-battle has two parts: the good part where Hayami Saori is talking, and the rest of the show. The former occurs far too rarely for my taste so I’ll probably be dropping this next week after giving it one last chance to show me something.