There was an exciting football game this weekend. Back to anime...

It’s strange, as it never occurred to me to actually look for filler episodes for this season. It’s either in the shows that I’ve been watching, or that I’ve become so inert to them that I don’t even notice them anymore…probably the latter.

This week’s Sangatsu no Lion didn’t quite go as I expected. As opposed to the big showdown between Shimada and Gotou dominating the episode, another more subtle theme took charge: helping those in need. This episode offered a lot of examples of this; firstly Rei needed to perform class science experiments in order to catch up on schoolwork, and working with the school’s science club…then onto Shimada’s workshop that he has been itching to join. We even saw Hina pouting when she doesn’t understand Rei not coming over to eat all the time, out of masculine pride (which is very true, btw…it’s one of many weaknesses we have).

I suppose that, by now, I ought to have learnt that each episode in Sangatsu no Lion will have something that I just don’t expect in the slightest.

Gabriel Dropout has, sadly, suddenly stopped being funny, and I can’t quite understand why or how. Dogakobo are normally very good at delivering short and sharp chuckles and mini-stabs at society, so what has gone wrong, all of a sudden?

Maybe I should just accept that this will just be one short joke after another. While I am rather quick to find faults in shows, I can see some things I like – the setting, for instance. With this show, the facts that two of them are angels and two of them are demons don’t matter in the human world. I could go all metaphorical about the show, and say that only a human world can make angels bad and demons good, but I’ll save you that drivel.

You may or may not have heard the news that some screenshots of future Little Witch Academia episode have been leaked online, much to Netflix’s chagrin. This could have well been some accident, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Trigger deliberately made these available and either:

  • Chose to tease the viewers early, as all we seem to be having are one-shot episodes, instead of a long-running story.
  • Trigger are trolling us.

It will be curious to see what kind of on-going story Little Witch Academia will have. Now that Professor Ursula/Shiny Chariot won’t be the bad guy, what kind of antagonist would it have? Does Luna Nova Magical Academy even have evil houses like Harry Potter does? Or maybe it’ll just be one big (and rather non-descript) magical creature that threatens the school. I’d be rather disappointed if each episode had their own separate story, saying that, these mini-stories have been very entertaining to watch, especially last week’s one, with Stephenie Meyer getting owned.

I’m not quitting Fuuka, if that’s what you’re thinking; call it ‘natural frustration’. With girl number 3, Sara, introduced last week, this episode does a bit of a 180 and brings us back to Koyuki. I initially thought that she was to have some kind of substance about her, but alas I was proven wrong.

All three girls have had their time to shine properly now, but it’s long overdue…unless this turns out to be a 2-cour show, which I really hope it won’t. This adaptation fell flat on its first two episodes with a very lackluster story, and the show’s characters are just so empty and void of any real emotion. Like I said last week in regards to people trying to be cool carrying guitars, it has occurred to me that it doesn’t matter how blue Fuuka’s hair is; people can still look like they regularly shop at Hot Topic and still be losers. Koyuki has proved she is a good solo singer, and Sara has proved she is a good guitarist – the two of them should just leave the show while they still can and leave the other losers to fester.

Thankfully, I have better shows to watch; Chihayafuru is warming more to me now, especially as the karuta club is now offical. Despite her being a high-schooler, Chihaya still acts before she thinks, and begins to push Tsutomu and Kanade to their limits whilst training for an upcoming tournament, even though they’re new to the game. It’s at this point where she realises that all she has ever talked about since grade school is karuta, and has not bothered to pay attention to anything else or care about other peoples’ feelings.

Tsutomu also hits a sore spot, and it’s something I’m surprised the others haven’t noticed either: Chihaya isn’t just obsessed with karuta, but is also fixated with seeing Arata again…and treats everything else as secondary or unimportant. Her behaviour has been rather annoying in some places, so I can understand both his and Taichi’s frustration. A team can’t be a team when only one person takes the lead and ignores everything else. Episodes 9 and 10 are only here to develop the story a tiny bit though, and even with the rather important topics, I felt a little disappointed. They’ve reached this stage of the tournament now and so the first half of the show may see them winning, or even losing (and later reflecting on how bad they sucked). A show like this, along with Sangatsu no Lion, demonstrates to us that winning matches aren’t the be-all and end-all in life, despite what many people think.

Also, I’ve taken the time to catch up on some other shows that have been doing the rounds. Both Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and Scum’s Wish are on my watch list, and the very fact that I’ve found watching Saga of Tanya The Evil a bit of a guilty pleasure is something alone. But another show that caught my eye is The Beheading Cycle: The Blue Savant and The Nonsense Bearer, or Zaregoto.

By SHAFT, this is an adaptation of Nisio Isin’s very first novel series, and it sets the scene on how detailed, complex and thought-provoking his future work would be. It starts off on a secluded island, where geniuses are invited by an heiress for entertainment. Computer-savvy moe girl Tomo (The Blue Savant) is one of them and, along with her close friend/caretaker Ii-chan (The Nonsense Bearer), they find themselves solving a bizarre murder that takes place on the island. As each episode is released every month (similar to what White Fox did for Katanagatari), all that has been revealed is the murder and the investigation; as the novel series goes on, Ii-chan eventually leaves the island and solves more mysteries elsewhere.

While I love the story and the character design, I feel that it has been overshadowed by Nisio Isin’s most famous novel series, Monogatari. The adaptation shows influences from not just that, but from some other surreal shows, like Revolutionary Girl Utena and even Puella Magi Madoka Magica in some places. But SHAFT are in a bit of a catch-22, as only they could adapt a show like Zaregoto; any other studio would have messed it up big time. Just imagine seeing Kyoani’s jazz hands in a show like this…

As this season goes on, I’ll talk some more about other shows I’ve been watching; Long Riders! has come back to finally end, so back to watching dull girls riding road bikes. So yeah, it’s a bit of a shock that, aside from Fuuka, this season has brought me some pretty decent shows. I might need to lie down.