Impressions: Winter 2016, Week Eleven

This week: Satoru gets emotional over these Impressions getting posted on schedule this week. That and some stuff about Kayo.

I’m also getting ready to binge some shows on my catch-up list – and some that haven’t been – because it looks like I’ve missed out on some highlights this season. Maybe there’ll be some full series reviews. It’s unlikely I’ll be able to do my Impressions series for the next season (exams, etc.), so the Spring might instead be filled mildly interspersed with full-length reviews of shows I feel like writing about.

Jiggly Jiggly Heaven

Slowly the theme of family has come together, but it’s too little too late to make an impact. The cast have all in turn had their dreams of finding people to belong with fulfilled, but has it ever changed who they are? Haruhiko got to live like a family, and so did Mai, but it only results in the same end-of-episode bliss we’ve seen every time before.

It’s superficial viewing. We could have had a sense of drama coming from Haruhiko and his angst at his childhood throughout the series, making us invested in seeing into the depths of his problems, all to make this episode a great payoff. Instead Haruhiko was practically invisible until this episode focusing on him. Mai likewise has had no challenges of character to overcome until the loneliness introduced this week. Characterisation in this show is here one moment, gone the next. The only consideration for the cast’s future is how they can comfortably fit together as a harem.

Plus, if one’s ‘abilities’ are so flexible that they can turn you into a child if you wish hard enough, I’m again finding it hard to be interested in how this world supports its character developments. It remains that literally anything can happen to these characters if a plot dynamic wishes it. Magic without limits is simply wish-fulfilment, like each episode of Myriad Colours has been for the cast and the viewers.

GATE: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri

Amazing how much the empires lack of logistics is what costs them. We’ve established the JSDF have bigger guns, but even when outnumbered they’ll still win through superior organisation. On top of that,  their lack of magic users just goes to show how disconnected the capital is from the rest of the world behind the GATE. The Empire’s one trick was a terrifying dragon; with that slain, of course they’d have wanted to kill Lelei, seeing as how she poses as the potential for the JSDF to get the world’s magic users on their side more and more.

I’m still far more interested in seeing Tyuule get kicked off her high horse more than engorging on Civilisation 5 tech dominance, but the latter is always fun, so I’ll be patient. It’s really her that’s run the Empire into the ground – a classic case of the puppet pulling the strings. Zorzal’s enslavement of her is a stark warning of how we can think we can enslave ‘inferior’ species under us for pleasure and power. Yet, when things go wrong, they’ll be the ones digging our graves, and we’ll even end up looking to them for guidance. Our fate will be in their hands, and they’ll be crushing it to dust ever so slowly.

Now all we need to do is rescue Pina. It may be a cliche to reduce her to a damsel-in-distress, but it’s fitting when you appreciate how cliche Zorzal has developed himself into being. Tropes like these are the enemies of the JSDF; enslavement to norms of the fantasy genre speaks in parallel to the enslavement of the empire that the JSDF are freeing those beyond the Gate from.

Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu

The game is more important than those who make it. All this time Kuroda had been trying to keep a community together, she had been a hypocrite and never fully trusted them herself. It fits the distant persona she’s always had, the kind one would expect from a girl who terms her field of work a ‘wasteland’ and is obsessed with a world full of NPCs, full of games that cast you apart from the rest of the world and lock you into one route of your choosing. She thought the game would be made, her brother’s debts repaid, and all would be well. She forgot to treat her team as the people they are – each their own hero in this story of creation.

But what brings them back together is exactly that sense of their individual heroism. No-one wants to make their work go to waste. Bunta’s job may keep him afloat, but it’s the kind of job that never gives the sense of anything being ‘finished’. Seeing all the realest characters meet on the roof also spoke of how their friendship, surviving as it is, accomplishes nothing for any of them but passing the time. Making a VN is like playing a VN – it not only fills the time, but also fills you with the determination to reach a goal.

Interesting to see a mad dash to hand in the master disk; it echoes Shirobako’s similar ending. Is this just what happens with companies, or is one show emulating the other here? Either way, hearing Rikka’s defiant will to not lose to Kuroda snatched up my vote for her, as much as I’m sure it’s going to the losing side. What’s most on my mind is what Kuroda has been seeing in Bunta; surely our finale will uncover her heart.

Boku dake ga Inai Machi

I have to say, after last week’s cliffhanger, this follow-up wasn’t as gripping as I’d expected. The irony of amnesia and confronting your nemesis in the future was a tad overwrought, and Yashiro’s overstatement of his villainy in his car is now less excusable with him continuing to only reek of that dimension 15 years on. His whole analogy of the spider’s thread also felt too writerly. He’s too clean a psychopath for my interest now.

To top it all off, Satoru’s announcement that he has his memories back was incredibly pedestrian. We’ve had amazing cinematic sequences for memories, fears and dreams. Why leave us with that note of rediscovery without putting any excitement, pleasure or horror into the moment? All we saw on his face was determination. If I was powerless in a wheelchair, on a roof, I wouldn’t announce to my enemy what Satoru seemed so bold to have remembered.

There were touching, well-directed moments: Satoru’s mother saying ‘good morning’ to him in his coma, seeing Kayo safe and his friends grown-up, and the OP with the protagonist subtracted. The voice of his child self narrating events, inverting the norm, gave a sense of moving on from regret of the past to hope for the future, looking ahead rather than behind. That character development was immensely satisfying to mull over through the episode, as was the continuing theme of the suspicion of paedophilia through the reporters. But the plot itself has lost my interest, right before the end.

The killer was sinister in the shadows, and it would have gelled more with the show’s sense of demons hiding behind who society trusts if he’d stayed there, behind the scenes, forever. We need a finale that rekindles this kind of active viewing, not one that spells out every revelation and leaves nothing to the imagination. As Satoru forgot about his past this episode, so I am losing track of all the magic of this series with the plot becoming so straightforward.

I really hope there’s a way Boku Machi can wow me again, one last time, because I’ve been left with little to look forward to next week.

Short-Cuts:

  • Ojisan to Marshmallow. The marshmallow physics aren’t realistic enough. 3/10
  • Ooyasan wa Shishunki! Expected more dynamics to the comedy, but it feels like we’re reusing old humour.

On the Catch-up List:

  • Durarara!!x2 Ketsu. Not been in a Durarara!! for a while, but some gifs of Shizuo throwing things ought to sort that out.
  • Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. Maybe I’ll just watch the first wepisode in two halves to trick my short attention span into feeling up to it.
  • Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! First few episodes were hilarious. Apparently I’ll either love this or absolutely hate it by the end. Feeling like it’s going to be the former.

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Current theme music: slow it down bb ❤

 

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3 thoughts on “Impressions: Winter 2016, Week Eleven”

  1. I hope Jiggly Jiggly Heaven is going to explain that device main character brought home during Reina introduction episode. Everyone seems to forget about that.

    Liked by 1 person

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