Anime doesn't stop for Trump. Not just yet.
Maybe they’ll adapt this manga. I’d review it for this column, regardless of how bad it is…
Okay, so no more talk about ‘you-know-what’ anymore; I don’t want to upset any more people. So let’s just get straight to the cool (and uncool) things that happened in my shows this week.
Little Witch Academia is still winning at being a simple and very entertaining show. This week, the rebel witch (and fan favorite) Amanda is introduced in a broom relay contest. You’d think she’d be voiced by Ami Koshimizu (I always thought she was, until I looked it up this week), but alas a relative newbie fills her shoes (Arisa Shida, who has voiced small parts in Naruto and Maken-Ki!). The contest itself is rather irrelevant, it simply shows how inept Akko still is at magic, not being able to fly. Also, it was apparent that Professor Ursula was Shiny Chariot the whole time. The academy looking down at witches using magic for spectacle, she has to live in hiding, but we’ll probably get more on that later.
Akko and the others didn’t win, but that didn’t really matter either. The show will carry on with these mini-stories that highlight both Akko’s blight and any adventures she and the others have, and that’s perfectly fine with me, as any long-stretching story wouldn’t make for such a good show.
Sangatsu no Lion, on the other hand, has morphed into something more interesting, and a little unexpected. I was really thinking that Rei would come around and beat Shimada, but his terrible loss has put him on edge, more so than past matches. He was so fixated on his personal grudge that he thought that Shimada would be just a hurdle before the big show-off. I think that this is all an eye-opener for him; not to show that there is more to life than shogi, but that the arrogance that has made him the feared player he is can easily bite him on the behind, like it did this week. Briefly looking at other choices in life (graduating high school, finding part-time work), he hears about a shogi workshop his opponent runs to help young players and make the game more accessible. Joining would do him the world of good, as shogi has isolated him from the world, seeing that he can bring the game to others and better himself will give him a sense of purpose in life; something to strive for. Rei is a “but” person, though: something I can relate to. He can see these potential positives, however the first thing he will say is “But…” It gets on peoples’ nerves, but it’s something that just can’t be helped sometimes.
Instead of following the usual story-line of revenge, this second half of the show has turned back to Rei and him finding happiness again, as opposed to the first half which focuses on his lingering depression. Looking back at it now, it was probably for the best that he didn’t have to face Gotou; any crushing defeat would have depressed him even more.
SHAFT have made a quality coming-of-age show here…but eh, I always seem to praise their shows. Speaking of which, their other show, Zaregoto, is still airing (monthly). It won’t end until May, though. The studio haven’t said much about their releases this year, aside from the final Kizumonogatari movie (in Japanese cinemas now), the second half of Owarimonogatari (which has no release date…fall maybe?), and a new movie (with an original story) in the summer. Of course I’ll be watching more Monogatari in the future…and I don’t think we’ll hear any new Madoka Magica news for another year or two.
It’s just a shame that Gabriel Dropout has fallen flat (I’m referring to episode 2 of course; delay in this post and episode airing). Now that the 4 main characters have had their introductions, there’s not much else that the show can work on, in terms of an actual story. This time, Gabriel actually leaves the house and decides going to school might be a good idea. After discovering Satania eats lunch alone, they choose to cling onto her…and later on, Raphiel proclaims herself as an ‘apprentice’ of Satania and wishes to obey her commands, although this is a clever ruse to humiliate her. Not much to work on, but the show doesn’t operate on a beginning-middle-end plot. We know Gabriel is a lazy slob, and Vignette is over-caring, and Satania is trying to be evil, only to fail at every turn. Raphiel’s character is the more complex out of them all so far. She is both good and bad at the same time. Unlike Satania’s definition of bad, Raphiel chooses mental torture and humiliation as a means of getting what she wants, and targets Satania straightaway, as she is the most gullible and childish out of all of them.
The slapstick humour in the show is on that fine line between good and okay; I’m glad I didn’t have to cringe or facepalm like I have done in past slice-of-life shows I grew to hate. I just wish there was…more in this show to watch. Fair enough, Yuru Yuri had next to no plot, but the character designs more than made up for it, and New Game! had both a solid story and great characters. Gabriel Dropout just has okay characters with next to no plot.
At least it’s a watchable show to laugh at; Fuuka has gone from meh to bad to painful in the space of 4 episodes. This week was the awkward “I-saw-you-hugging-your-childhood-friend-but-it’s-not-like-I-have-a-crush-on-you-or-anything” episode, mixed with the revelation that certain people around Yuu, Fuuka and co are actual members of the band they all idolise. This alone was just ridiculous; if they idolised them so much, then surely they would have known what they looked like in the first place??
Fuuka can sing, apparently, which will no doubt make Koyuki uber-jealous. Koyuki is actually the most substantial character out of all of them, despite having so little screen time (so far). She’s also infinitely cuter. Her crush on Yuu is a little silly to watch, but the more you watch the show, the more you actually want to scream at him and ask him why he wasn’t going after her instead of Fuuka, who is the most two-dimensional character out of all of the entire show. At the end of this episode, I forgot that the sole purpose of them going to a beach house was to raise money for instruments for a band. I’d even forgotten the fact that this was supposed to be an anime about music.
So Fuuka, ultimately, is the show I end up choosing by accident.
No more talk about a mediocre show; time for some Chihayafuru.
The story has developed so much more now. With Arata’s unexpected response in episode 4, Chihaya and Taichi decide to go to Fukui to find out what’s going on, only to find Arata has quit karuta after all, and wants them to leave. It’s only later when we discover he’s at the bottom of a well since his grandfather, the karuta master who taught him how to play, had only just died. Everyone takes the loss of a loved one in different ways, so I totally get why he acted the way he did to the others, but the healthiest thing to do is to move on in life; this is personal experience after losing immediate family a couple of years ago myself. Hopefully this is something Arata will learn to do. At least Taichi agrees to Chihaya’s request of doing a karuta club…
…but every school club in every show needs 5 people, so with just Chihaya and Taichi, the club isn’t really much of a club. Enter Kanade, the most adorable thing I’ve seen so far this year. A lover of traditional Japan, she says her love of the game is fundamentally different to Chihaya’s, since she reads more into the history of the game, and the metaphors in the Hundred Poems…something that Chihaya is very keen to learn too. Soon enough, Kanade joins, with her demand of the club wearing hakama in any tournaments, which should be cool to see later on.
They still need two more, and as I’m liking Chihayafuru more and more now, I’m very interested to see what kind of people they will attract to the club.
So not much changed since last week; Little Witch Academia, Sangatsu no Lion and Chihayafuru still rock, while Fuuka and Gabriel Dropout…well…don’t.