Impressions: Winter 2016, Week Ten

This week: shifts in Shoujo-tachi, consistent crap in KyoAni’s fan-service flick, and continued praise for Boku Machi even if the internet is upset that the obvious villain was obvious.

Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu

No romance this week; it’s down to business. And boy is business rude. The writers of Shoujo-tachi can make flesh out an antagonist in the tenth episode, and I’m not complaining at all about how little time there is to ‘get to know her better’. We know her well enough – the anti-thesis of Kuroda’s collaborative spirit – and her interactions with her writer instantly developed his character too. We don’t have to guess why her ‘team’ only have two people attending the meeting to Kuroda’s six.

Kuroda’s note that different audiences net different critical minefields was really apt; the show itself is one of those that won’t be on the ‘hardcore otaku’ radar because they’re too busy looking for something that’s marketed in a way that makes it look special so that they can poo-poo it for being ‘edgy’ or praise it as if they’ve witnessed the moe equivalent of Christ. No; Shoujo-tachi, like many shows each season, succeeds under that radar with joyful little quirks that make it stand out from the generic. The hope is that Bunta can do likewise; write artistically in an unassuming medium.

With the brother’s reveal at the end, it looks like romance is going to get further pushed back. Problems in the club, and scores to settle with their rival; Kuroda and Bunta have a lot on the line.

But how will Bunta cope with a confession in the end – from Kuroda or Rikka, or both – if he’s been trying to write them all this time?

GATE: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri

Maybe Shandy was an idiot for forgetting Lelei would be wearing ‘plot armour’, but in the heat of the moment I forgot that too. So many kinds of pressure were on that scene. GATE immersed me this week perhaps more than it’sever done before.

We knew Pina would be imprisoned, but by dropping it as suddenly as the news was dropped on her, we feel how imperilled she is with these larger conflicts going on around her. Our favourite warrior bunny also got lots of moments this week, including Pina’s incarceration, to give us more reasons to want to kick the crap out of her. Her first, Zorzal second. We could kick her grotesuqe fanserivce out of the show too. Two birds with one stone.  Or rather, two rabbit-related problems with one paradrop.

These problems in the plot’s sense, not for the show. It’s a lot of fun to want to tear someone down because they represent everything you hate. I swear I see some of the bad side of empowered feminism in her. Of course, she has the right to go around in skimpy clothing, but do we think it looks tasteful? Authoritative? Give me Pina’s knights and their real armour any day.

Jiggly Jiggly Heaven

Anyone else noticed that nothing of any consequence has happened in this show so far? Characters have each had their ‘development’ episodes, only to assist the growing harem. There’s no overaching conflict, nothing for our cast to get worried about besides each episode’s baddie, and now we have an episode fleshing out a character that has been the definition of a headache all throughout the series so far.

Sure, some plots that are all about lying work when they’re for a greater good, but all Ruru does is try to please herself. She doesn’t get to drink ramune when big, after nonsensically turning it down herself for the sheer purpose of looking cute, but she enjoys it after all when small. Is the moral that it’s okay to be small? Doesn’t work when the character carrying it out is a massive pain. The melodramatic tears for her death weren’t funny or moving either. Neither was the continuation of the cliche ‘everyone try your one move one after another so we can show that none of us can defeat it’. I pity the voice actors who do those scenes. Must feel like Groundhog Day.

I really expected some more pressing plot to pop up during these last few episodes, but we’re still riding the fanservice train to stop at each trope one by one. This week, yukatas. And a witch too, if anyone’s into that. Anything else happen? Nope. Not even an intellectual backdrop to this week’s episode. It’s like the writer has given up with pretending there’s anything clever about Myriad Colours Phantom World and is being open and honest: this is a vapid sinkhole of an anime where your twenty-five minutes get sucked away and nothing happens. Girls look cute. MC is a moron and practically asexual. . If this is paradise, I want to go where the sun isn’t shining.

Please, KyoAni, give me something interesting to write about.

Boku dake ga Inai Machi

Someone’s out there criticising the plot for being too obvious, the killer in plain sight, but I only have praise. Boku Machi knew it had too small a cast to foster a normal detective drama around its villain. Instead it cashed in this revelation early and gave us a whole new issue to rack our brains with: where do we go from here?

Satoru’s efforts became too comfortable, so it was fitting that his own life ended up on the line. Had he ever wondered about his own safety? His naivety towards his teacher is justified though; he had his mind so fixed on helping everyone that he only saw Yashiro as a means to an end. Trust is a mighty gift, but Satoru’s was misplaced. He believed in Yashiro because he was a teacher – because of the image he gave. He let that trump knowing him on a more personal level – seeing the sweets in his car – even using those sweets in an ironic analogy about the killer. We may have known it was Yashiro, but we weren’t the ones desperate to save those we loved.

You can’t Revive out of the grave, so how Satoru escapes is beyond me. From the characters we were shown, the only one missing was Yuuki. Having him save Satoru would be the antithesis of everything his character gives off to society. It would surely fill another gap in Satoru’s heart. Yashiro doesn’t just have a gap in his he can’t fill – he is the gap in society’s heart, the selfish force that takes from the world and gives nothing back but grief. Would a liberated Yuuki be able to help Satoru against him?

The future of Boku Machi has so many prospects, and I’m dying to see what will come to pass. So is Satoru, I guess…

Short-Cuts:

  • Ojisan to Marshmallow. Ought to subtitle this ‘How the sweetness of workplace romance can make you forget a guy at his age probably has a family and stuff.’
  • Ooyasan wa Shishunki! Lingerie really isn’t my department.

On the Catch-up List:

  • Durarara!!x2 Ketsu. Made my way back into Ikebukero, but not quite up to speed yet
  • Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. Might have to accept that I lack the willpower to soldier into this show, as good as it sounds. Maybe one to binge once my exams are over.

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Current theme music: T-Mass & Ellusive – Trapped in Fourths (feat. Mona Moua)

 

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