Impressions: Winter 2016, Week Seven

Lucky number seven, and it’s fortunately been a good week all round.

Well, except for Jiggly Jiggly Heaven, which now might as well be NekoPara Vol 2.

GATE: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri

Turns out the Emperor’s warnings of barbarians ruining everything you’ve worked for should have been directed at his own kingdom. Zorzal’s rule already look doomed to fail; the question is, how much will he turn to rubble before he’s put back in his place?

The thought of reaching out to other kingdoms, the wizard fight in GATE’s magical equivalent of Cambridge, and some lore about the Gate that somehow made complete sense, have grown this world’s spectacle more and more.  It really does feel like an otaku’s dream, far more so than in Outbreak Company, often because Itami isn’t lusting after it’s fantasy charms while being too badass and charming himself to be relegated to a self-insert.

And what better way to crash two plotlines together than with an assassination attempt that shoots us through with a realisation of how inescapable the plight of Zorzal’s rule will be?

Jiggly Jiggly Heaven

Oh dear, it’s a fan-service episode.

Oh dear, KyoAni are trying to make up for a wafer-thin plot with pretty animation and the cute antics of the cast playing around as kitties.

Oh dear, the only interesting thing in the episode is again signposted before the opening credits making me feel like a pupil being taught it by the show and giving me no interest in exploring it for myself.

Oh dear.

Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu

Some scepticism of whether the love triangle would derail the action away from its lighthearted VN focus, but the show weaves it in really well. The great conflict of Bishoujo romance versus ‘real’ romance continues, and Bunta’s troubles with scriptwriting reveal a worrying trait for his character; he won’t be the one to confess his love. Is there a generic harem protagonist underneath him – underneath all of us, even – that working on this game is drawing out?

Yuuka’s choked confession is another warning sign that Bunta may be tragically sucked into this realm of scripted love. Would Bunta have understood her feelings in the kind of explicit context that VNs set up?

Whatever happens, seeing the cast’s versions of romance come to life to inspire Bunta was a great way of having fun with their characters without stopping the flow of the plot, and showing how different everyone’s tastes are in the market. Blooter also continues to be a source of questionable help. It all feeds into us asking if there is any ‘right’ way for Bunta and the group to make their game – or, rather, what might be the ‘wrong’ ways that they need to avoid.

Boku dake ga Inai Machi

Continuing to push this season’s hype into the sky, Boku Machi went back this week to bring Satoru down to Earth. He now knows he can’t hold back at all, no matter how strange it makes him look, in trying to save Kayo. Having Kenya catch wind of him, and watching him open up to his friend, releases some of our worries; if Satoru knows anything from writing manga, it’s that The Power of Friendship is often key to success.

His protection of Kayo had the bittersweetness of giving her what most kids have – a hideout, camping trip, time together away from parents – but with the stress that it was for her safety more than her enjoyment. It’s a testament of how much child abuse tears up the lives of young people even if they survive, but also of how much children could do for each other if they have the maturity to look after each other.

The cliffhangers kill me every time.

 

Short-Cuts:

  • Ojisan to Marshmallow. A rival competing for Hige! A slightly longer episode and no cooking show! These shorts just keep getting more mourish
  • Ooyasan wa Shishunki! If a short can convey the hard-work of cooking and keep up its comedy in a little over a minute, why can’t some other comedies make me laugh at all? 

On the Catch-up List:

  • Durarara!!x2 Ketsu. Would you look at that, I’ve finally finished Ten! Now I just need to get up to speed with what’s going on in Ikebukero today.
  • Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. Still meaning to try it out, still yet to have the time.

Current theme music: Club Cheval – Young Rich and Radical

 

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