In which we have a challenger for the top spot.
1. Sora no Method (Episode 10)
This was kind of a middling episode of Sora no Method as I detailed in my full post on the episode. It was a transition episode that didn’t really have any great moments of its own but it set up the opportunity for bigger things next episode. Obviously not every episode can be amazing moments from start to finish but if episode eleven is middling we could have a new number one next week. (Spoiler alert: no we won’t. Episode eleven was outstanding)
2. Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru (Episode 10)
Yuuki Yuuna continues its climb all the way up to number two this week after turning in yet another phenomenal episode. It’s rare that a show manages to suddenly answer almost every criticism you previously had of it but Yuuki Yuuna has managed that with the past two episodes. Every inconsistency I saw or question I had about the storytelling is justified now that I know where they were actually going with this. It’s beautiful to watch a show come together the way Yuuki Yuuna has as its transformed from a seasonal also-ran to a contender for anime of the year. If you aren’t watching the show you should go fix that right now. This is your last chance before I go back to discussing spoilers next week.
3. Shirobako (Episode 10)
I have a ton of respect for the fact that Shirobako chooses not to limit itself to little idiosyncratic annoyances that the cast has to deal with and instead decides to tackle the fundamental conflict that young people deal with as they start out in the working world. Sure there are the occasional production delays and minor hiccups in daily work life but when the show shines is when it’s dealing with thing like Misa’s search for fulfillment in her job. It’s probably reckless of her to quit, but at the same time you understand what she’s feeling that causes her to make that decision. When you’re at that point in your life it’s hard to see anything beyond what’s in front of you and imagine yourself doing and you can start to feel like you’re trapped in a job you hate if you don’t do something. Shirobako contrasts this nicely with Shizuka who would love the stability and income provided by Misa’s job but can’t really appreciate the suffocating feeling that Misa experiences when she can’t imagine herself doing anything but cars ever if she doesn’t quit now. The show says that young people don’t last very long in this industry and we can see the reasons for that with Misa and Shizuka. Sometimes you get lucky and can find something you love that pays the bills and sometimes you wash out and try something else that isn’t what you dreamed of but at least it keeps you solvent. Shirobako’s ability to present truths like these in such a genuine and straightforward manner is why I love it so much.
4. Yama no Susume Second Season (Episode 22)
We finally got formally introduced to Honoka this week and I have to say I identify with her quite a bit. Whenever I go hiking I’m usually the one out there alone with a camera, not wanting to be bothered. Aside from being easy for me to identify with, Honoka provides a great opportunity for Aoi to show some growth of her own. The fact that she approaches Honoka rather than letting Hinata or Kaede take the lead like usual is a big step for her. The episode also brings up the inevitable question of where Hinata and Aoi go once they’ve fulfilled their promise to each other. I’m sure there will always be another mountain to take aim at for them but the fact that the show looks like it will get more than a little sentimental by the end is a good sign to me.
5. Parasyte (Episode 11)
Things are starting to look worse and worse for the humans now that the parasites are coordinating with each other and testing their limits. The ability of the parasites to learn and evolve is starting to put a timer on the humans’ ability to fight back sine each day that humans aren’t mounting a defense against the parasites is another day of extra knowledge and progress for the enemy. Aside from the growing tension, Parasyte is still doing a great job showing us the tug of war regarding Shinichi’s own humanity. We see him clinging to his relationship with Murano as his feelings for her are one of the few purely human feelings he has left in him, or at least he seems to see it that way. However, we see Migi’s thought process slowly invading his own as evidenced by his comment about thinking of humans as cattle to be less horrified by death. It’s a very inhuman thought to have and shows us that Shinichi definitely has lost something since the incident with his mother. We also got a hilarious dream sequence from Kana to start what was an all-around solid episode of Parasyte.
6. Girlfriend (Beta) Episode 9
HAYAMIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN~ There were plenty of things I liked about this episode but the one at the top of the list has to be that it focused on Hayami Saori’s character. Hayamin’s heavenly voice aside, this was a really fun episode that focused on the light music club. While it might not have been up to K-ON’s standards of light music club antics, it was still a very charming episode just like the rest of Girlfriend has been. I also enjoyed Erena’s antics as she snuck around with her camera. She’s becoming a strong contender for best character in the show.
7. Fate/stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works (Episode 10)
Now that was a solid episode of Fate/stay Night! The show opened with a superb conversation between Archer and Rin that was reflective of each of their worldviews. Rin wants to ally with a good person, regardless of how strong they are while Archer would prefer a strong ally and being a good person is optional. We also got a fight scene that had everything I want out of a FSN fight scene. It maintained a high level of tension and really conveyed the weight of the biggest moments in the fight effectively. It was also a conflict that dealt with some of the show’s central themes as Shirou tried to appeal to what he assumed was the inherent goodness in Souichirou. Unfortunately for Shirou, not everybody actually has the best interests of humanity at heart and sometimes you have to take action against other people rather than simply hoping you can all get along if you say the right words first. The episode also included one of the rare moments of Shirou being genuinely badass which is always a good thing. We might not get this every week from FSN but when we do there’s nothing else like it.
8. Selector Spread WIXOSS (Episode 11)
I’ve come to the conclusion that WIXOSS is too mind-blowingly brilliant for our feeble brains to comprehend. It might seem on the surface like it’s a confused mess that’s stumbling towards the finish line but that’s just because we pinheaded chumps can’t understand the deep intricacies of what’s going on in this show. Sure, it might look like Ruuko just got up from a battle and ran off because why the hell not, but that’s just because we don’t know the truth of what it means to be WIXOSS. Or at least I hope that’s what’s going on because this episode was dumb as hell.
9. Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso (Episode 10)
This was a brilliant episode that was also awful which is kind of the story for Shigatsu so far. You can read my full conflicted thoughts on the episode here. The show is phenomenal visually, thematically dense, and full of great lines and set pieces and all that other good stuff, but I can’t bring myself to support what it’s doing which is a real shame.
10. Amagi Brilliant Park (Episode 11)
Amagi’s still working on its mediocre drama instead of sticking to comedy which means it drops in the rankings again this week. The show just doesn’t have the writing or the characters to support what it’s been trying to do the last two episodes. The show is just so inherently silly and non-serious that trying to inject any kind of stakes into the proceedings just feels forced. The end of the episode was clearly supposed to be some sort of intense, frightening moment but I’ve never really gotten invested in their goal of meeting the guest quota so it mostly fell flat for me. It looks like we’ll get at least one more episode like this but hopefully the thirteenth episode is funny again.
11. Ore Twintail ni Narimasu (Episode 10)
If you were hoping for a return to a sane production schedule for episode 10 of OreTwi you were severely disappointed. It probably wasn’t as bad as episode 9 but the show still looks god-awful and that brings everything else it’s trying to do down. Usually light novel adaptations wait until their second season to tank but it looks like OreTwi decided to do that early.
12. Grisaia no Kajitsu (Episode 10)
I have a theory about Grisaia. You see, writing characters that act like real people is hard. You have to worry about making a characters words and actions have some sort of overall cohesiveness and purpose that’s reflective of their experiences and their desires. Grisaia has decided to write a show with plot-devices rather than characters that happen to do whatever the plot calls for regardless of internal consistency or giving them anything resembling human personalities. Then you just say that they’re all at a school for people with mental problems and any oddities in their behavior are because of the mental issues they have. Super convenient if you just want to write a story without worrying about making your characters feel real. Not like it’s a good idea though. Oh this episode? I think a bus crashed or something. It was pretty dumb I’m sure.