In which we explore the unlimited potential offered by alpha waves.
We open this week with a few housekeeping notes. First, as you may already know from ParticularlyPeeved’s PP Power Rankings post from yesterday, the official anime power rankings has changed its deadline to cover only shows that are subbed prior to Saturday at midnight US east coast time. I will be writing my power rankings posts using the official APR deadline rather than the deadline for our internal rankings since I write comments for the official APR already. Of the shows I’m watching, this affects Sora no Method, Girlfriend Beta and Grisaia no Kajitsu. Since this week’s APR covers episodes of these shows that I covered in last week’s post so I won’t cover them again here. To make up for the lack of these shows this week, I’ll have some bonus content in another post so look out for that. Also, if you had been missing my recaps of my favorite anime, don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten them. The next one on the list was a very long series which I finally wrapped up last night so expect the next post in that series with the week. Finally, because the Sora no Method episode covered by APR will be from the previous Sunday, I will now be running my power rankings before my weekly Sora no Method posts. So going forward the schedule should be: Power Rankings on Tuesdays, Sora no Method Wednesdays and Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso sometime over the weekend with (ir)regular top anime posts in between. Anyway, that’s enough housekeeping for now, on to the rankings:
1. Sora no Method (Episode 4)
Still the same episode of Sora no Method as last week and it’s still just as great. Easy number one.
2. Yama no Susume (Episodes 15 and 16)
Praise Madoka! Yama no Susume is back on Crunchyroll! No more waiting for unreliable fansubs each week. This wasn’t in time for last week’s rankings so we have two episodes to cover this week. Episode fifteen was an outstanding episode and among my favorites in the entire series. First of all it was Kaede-centric, which is always a nice thing, but it also had the kind of sentimental tone that really appeals to me. It showed Kaede’s growth as a mountain climber and the girl who influenced her when she was younger all wrapped up in a sweet, poignant package. That was followed up with an episode that set the stage for another ascent by the girls that ended up making use of the rain coat plot point introduced in episode fifteen. Tanigawa-dake is actually a fairly daunting summit to take on. It’s more treacherous than the more gently-sloped and heavily traveled Fuji-san even if it’s half the elevation. It manages to work as a follow up to Fuji and I look forward to seeing our heroines take on this new challenge.
3. Shirobako (Episode 4)
Shirobako is really starting to grow on my now that I’m no longer overwhelmed by the size of the cast. This episode covered what the girls do when they aren’t hard at work making anime. I really liked seeing the group of five friends together again and talking about their work. The discussion they had after watching the movie was revealing as it showed the different ways each of them looked at the movie and how that is informed by their specific area of expertise. The group discussions in general this week were very well executed. They flowed well and felt natural and engaging. There’s something relaxing about seeing the characters settle down for a round of drinks and discussing their professional lives. It helps that drunk Zuka-chan is completely adorable. I also really liked the phone conversation between Aoi and her mother. Seeing the way her parents are cheering her on as she chases her dreams was simultaneously a very sweet moment as well as a very humanizing one. I get the feeling that Shirobako is going to be one of those shows where I like the earlier episodes more when I go back and watch them after getting to know all the characters. It’s a very charming show that I am looking forward to more and more each week.
4. Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru (Episode 4)
This was mostly a bridge episode of Yuuuki Yuuna as we dug at some of the motivations of the characters without much actually going on. I like that they’re taking the time to develop these characters and let us get to know them and how these circumstances are affecting them. I wouldn’t want this every week but it was a good episode to have at this point in the show. Next week’s episode is pretty ominous as death flags have been getting thrown up left and right in this show. There’s a large faction among the online fandom that believes that Karin will be the one to bite the dust in this episode since she doesn’t appear in the OP animation. Itsuki is the likeliest candidate in my mind as she has the most in-universe death flags. Regardless, I have a feeling that we won’t get through this episode with the entire group of five intact. It’ll be gut-wrenching but that’s a good thing since it means I actually care about the characters. I just hope they follow through on it, otherwise I’ll have to revise my assessment of this show’s potential way down.
5. Selector Spread WIXOSS (Episode 5)
Another new character, another tragic backstory. It’s almost becoming routine at this point which is a dangerous place for WIXOSS to be. When a show deals almost completely in shock value, having your story become routine is a big problem. This episode also was treading in dangerous water during the battle sequence as platitudes about fighting for your friends and just trying harder in order to win plus inflating power levels threaten to kill my interest in the actual card game portion of the show. Introducing a level cap of four here just so you can break it immediately isn’t a good look. That said, I do like the potential of what they’re doing with Iona and her plans to take on the “white girl”. There’s a lot of potential in the system surrounding the game of WIXOSS as long as the nonsense that is the game itself doesn’t undermine it.
6. Parasyte (Episode 4)
I really liked the first half of this episode as we finally got to see a situation where Shinichi had to fight for his own survival rather than letting Migi do all the work. It’s nice to see that Shinichi does have some survival instincts (“It’s either him or me”) even if they aren’t as overwhelming as those of the parasites. It adds another layer to the relationship between the Shinichi and Migi and their differing world views. This episode also raises the question of whether Shinichi is actually killing somebody when he attacks an infested human since they still have a human body even if it is controlled by something inhuman. All of this contributes to Shinichi’s crisis of conscience and it’s great to watch. The second half was more mundane but it did introduce a very interesting dynamic where family members and close friends are able to tell the difference between a person before and after they become infested. I see a lot of potential here for exploring the nature of the connection between humans and how that differs from how the parasites interact. It’s weird to call something as hyped as Parasyte a surprise but given my low levels of interest going in, I am surprised by how much I like the show.
7. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Episode 4)
My full post on this episode can be found here. The show still has the issues that dogged it in previous episodes, although I acknowledge that some of these issues are a matter of how I’m approaching Shigatsu and the biases I bring to the show, but that’s true of almost anything. This is just a special case where my personal interpretation of the set-up has drastic effects on how I feel about the show. I hope that Shigatsu can clarify what it’s trying to do and alleviate some of my concerns but for now it’s rough sailing.
8. Ore Twintail ni Narimasu (Episode 4)
The full post with our reactions to this episode of Twintails can be found here. I personally don’t think this was a very good episode of Twintails. It was zany for sure but not zany enough and it had a lot of talking that wasn’t very funny. A lot of LN adaptations like this run out of steam after using up most of their good ideas in the first volume or two. We will see if Twintails falls into this pattern as well.
9. Girlfriend Beta (Episode 3)
This is technically the same episode of Girlfriend as last week but I liked this week’s Amagi less than last week’s so it moves up without doing anything.
10. Amagi Brilliant Park (Episode 5)
I think this episode of Amagi Brilliant Park is further evidence that this show just isn’t for me. The episode should have been funny, and I get why a lot of people did find it funny, but most of it just missed me. I guess I just like my zany comedies to be covered in a thick layer of otaku-meta-humor like OreTwi rather than the more standard comedy of Amagi. The show’s still not bad and I continue to be impressed by KyoAni’s ability to execute it but I’m not particularly enjoying the ride.
11. Fate/stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (Episode 4)
UBW seems to be falling into a comfortable rhythm of action-focused episodes followed by talk-y episodes where more of the world is explained. The talking episodes aren’t as tedious as their VN analogues to be sure, but given I already know all about the world this takes place in, they’re a serious bore. The dialog just isn’t engaging like what Fate/Zero had and all the pretty animation in the world can’t really make up for that. The focus being on Shirou and Saber, the two most boring characters, didn’t help matters. I’ll keep watching UBW because I’m curious how it will unfold compared to the VN but I’m not terribly enthusiastic about it.
12. Daitoshokan wa Hitsujikai (Episode 4)
That was a fun little episode that I remember basically nothing from, which seems to be the case for Daitoshokan in general. The characters dressed up which I guess was nice. Kyoutarou was a maid, which is weird but okay. Whatever. It’s fine.
13. Grisaia no Kajitsu (Episode 4)
This is the same Grisaia episode from last week. It’s still bad.
14. Inou-battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de (Episode 4)
I didn’t actually finish this episode because this show is very not good. I love Hayamin but she isn’t enough to keep me interested in this show. At least Mahouka was so bad it’s funny. My thoughts on Inou-battle can generally be summed up with “eh”. I guess I’ll continue searching for a good Trigger anime.