Firstly, apologies for missing last week’s entry. Organising Otaku Connect/Trivia takes longer than you might think, and I decided to prioritise making it a success. This has also been a busy week for me so I haven’t caught up on everything. Consider Red Data Girl, Majestic Prince, Muromi-san and Oreimo S2 all to be on hold for now. Alrighty, let’s get to it.
The Devil is a Part-Timer! 2-3
You know what, this show is getting WAY too good a wrap all round the aniblogosphere, but I do quite like it. Episode 3 gave us the first joke I actually laughed at too! In all seriousness its problem is that it’s a jack-of-all-trades, hence master of none. It’s a little funny, it’s a little suspenseful, there’s a little social commentary in there, and there’s a little interesting character interaction and development. A little competence all round certainly makes it very watchable, but it’s a popcorn show, you know? A salty little treat you consume between real meals. This probably sounds like pretty harsh criticism, but to be honest, I’m ok with it being a little vacuous. Provided it doesn’t seriously misstep anywhere (like making the Hero go all dere-dere on the Demon Lord, or something equally stupid), it’ll be an enjoyable ride.
Attack on Titan/The Eotena Onslaught 2-3
I enjoy this show more when everything is completely fucked, to be completely honest. Obviously the pacing would be a mess if it was constant doom and despair, but what did episode 3 really bring to the table? A pretty generic training episode, all in all. They’re kind of jumping around a bit, too. If the Eotena broke through the outer wall so easily, how have they not breached the other walls by now? It’s been years, in world. Episodes 2 and 3 weren’t bad, by any means, but it felt a bit cheap in parts. The first episode led us to believe that everything was totally screwed, but come second episode they make it to escape boats no problem, deal with some food issues, then that’s it. Wasn’t the point of showing us that smaller armoured titan breaking down the wall to show that the titans were gonna keep advancing?
Ah well, if the preview is to be believed, tits will be heading skywards once more. Yay!
My Light Novel Title is Too Long as I Expected 2-3
You know, between this, The Devil is a Part-Timer, and Majestic Prince, this season is doing pretty well for shows that are a lot better than their impressively bland premises would suggest. This is hardly a rave review I know, but My Teenage RomCom is Wrong as I Expected is nowhere near as bad as I was expecting it to be. It’s not exactly funny, but there’s an amusing whimsy to it at times. The characters are all shallow caricatures, but they’re actually building up some amusing chemistry. I’m honestly not sure where it’s going, though I think I can safely assume nowhere much, but who knows, maybe they’ll pull something halfway worthwhile out of the set-up. For now, it’s not bad enough to drop, so here’s to conservative optimism.
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet 2-3
Honestly, I still like this show, but my nitpicks are building up to substantially hurt my enjoyment here. Those super shiny character designs aren’t getting any less painful on the eyes, and episode 3 brought us Rackage, the Pirate Queen. Ok, so we all agree that male pirates are generally rough, brutish and bad-looking, at least by our wealthy, western aesthetic standards. Gargantia seems to think so too, judging by the male pirates we see. Ok, so why then is the Pirate Queen generically good looking, and wearing about half as many clothes as you’d expect a hardened warrior to wear? No, seriously, this is your homework: sometime this week, sit down for, oh, let’s say 20 minutes, and think, seriously think, about why it’s fine for male villain characters to be bad-looking but not for female ones. Mull over the implications, the message a work sends when it’s not ok for a main female character to be bad looking, despite the double-standard it sets.
Just to add the cherry to the cake, the show gives us some pretty strong lesbian undertones for Rackage as well. Because everyone knows action-oriented, independent women munch more carpet than a malfunctioning vacuum cleaner. Honestly, I was a little worried when Psycho Pass made all its female criminals gay, pretty much equating lesbianism with mental instability, but somehow this feels even more offensive.
It’s a pity, because I think they’re progressing the plot very nicely. The dialogue is pretty tight, characters don’t agonise over decisions, and things are progressing at a pretty good pace. Unfortunately I still can’t find a character who is even mildly sympathetic, or empathetic, for me. I have absolutely no common ground with Red/Ledo and have trouble really associating with him or his predicament at all. Amy is just a Genki Girl with a sick little brother at this point, there’s nothing particularly relatable or interesting about her as of yet. The core struggle thus far is the adaptation of Red/Ledo to his new surroundings and the conflicts that arise from the power this fleet now has by having his cooperation. That’s interesting enough, but without some relatable character arcs it all feels a little hollow to me. Maybe you find Red/Ledo and Amy associable and charming, I don’t know, I can’t find anything particularly wrong with them, but I just can’t get invested in them yet, either.
The Flowers of Evil 2-3
My only complaint at the moment would be that they’re following the manga a little too closely now. It’s probably actually not much of an issue at all, but the first episode’s diversions from the source material made it a little more engaging for me, as someone who still remembers the manga quite vividly.
Actually, seeing the anime is really bringing it home to me how much this story hangs on how single-mindedly compelling Nakamura is. She’s fantastically enigmatic, and the sole plot-driving element for quite some time. Her intentions are so veiled and confusing, and she continuously escapes a reductionist attempt to understand her. I’m not sure how far into the manga they’re going to get in 13 episodes, but I’m hoping they finish this cour at the end of the second volume. Seeing the final scene from the second volume animated would be one of the greatest pleasures of my anime viewing experience.
All round this show is staying consistently great, easily holding best of season for now.