The top tier shows picked back up from the lull in drama from last week, leading to some fantastic episodes. I wish I could say the same for everything else, but the rest of the shows are just not holding my attention like Oregairu and Sound! Euphonium. The vanishing of Yuki Nagato was especially bad this week, while Arslan Senki, Unlimited Blade Works and Nisekoi had a slight improvement from the prior week.
Arslan Senki 7
Arslan Senki’s plot finally seems to be picking up some steam, but it is still held back by its inconsistent visuals. The fight between Gieve and Elam was enjoyable to watch, and had decently fluid animation but any other piece of action in this episode looked terrible. Especially the new bow woman we got to meet this episode, with her “cool” action sequence. The choreography of the actions itself wasn’t too bad, but the cinematography to portray it just made it look pitiful. All we get to see are these Lusitanian soldiers be slaughtered, and the fact they are massacred doesn’t really tell anything about the characters other than their strong. It doesn’t help that we had a large amount of CG horses in the mix as well.
This week’s episode is Kyoto Animation’s best feat of visual storytelling I have seen! The weather and subdued colors set the somber tone and character emotions are exposed through their posture. Many moments used the reflection of their instruments or windows to keep a traditional camera angle while still showing emotions through body language. I especially liked the recurring visual theme of rain and water. Water is often used as a symbol for cleansing, and in Sound! Euphonium it was the cleansing of those that lack the conviction within the band. Of course Aoi is the obvious one, but Haruka also cleansed herself of her doubts of being president, with a little help from the trumpeter, Kaori. Again, Sound! Euphonium reminds us to draw inspiration and motivation from the people around us.
The Vanishing of Nagato Yuki-chan 7
Other than to progress the plot forward to a hot springs location, what was the point of this episode? It had all the usual gags and references to Haruhi, but I was not entertained at all. Even the cute Yuki faces could not save the episode, as it just didn’t have anything else going for it. Usually I dislike the badly handled romantic drama in this show, but if this is the alternative I would rather go back to that. If I end up watching another episode like this next week, I think I will forget the nostalgia and drop the show. It was such a waste of time, but I guess at least it wasn’t actively offending me.
Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works 19
The Fate/Stay Night franchise has always been a little bad with exposition and character’s lines, and it shows up again here. Saber likes to explain some things that are really apparent to the audience and the people she is speaking with. Ufotable should take note of how they handled the “reveal” of who archer is because they handled it with much more grace. The rest of the episode was pretty solid as far as Unlimited Blade Works goes. As usual, here is my weekly time stamped write up on it.
Oregairu Zoku 7
Hachiman is comfortable around his sister, and the banter between them is just too sweet. These moments really show how open Hachiman can be, and how reserved he is around other people. To contrast, Hachiman finds it awkward being seen while leaving the classroom with Yui. Yui wants to help him with his problems, but he doesn’t allow her to do that. Hachiman wants to keep her out of it, but it ends up having the opposite result as Yui is pained by the fact that she can’t get closer to him.
Hachiman has a weird interaction with Isshiki Iroha as he seems more comfortable around her than his arguably more intimate friends, Yui and Yukino. Iroha has been growing on me as I enjoy the chemistry that she has with Hachiman, and I particularly liked the long shot of them crossing the street. In their typical routine, Hachiman offers to carry her snacks, but this time Iroha refused. The long shot shows Hachiman as he catches up to her and convinces Iroha to let him carry the bags for her. The bag of snacks is a metaphor for the work Iroha has to do, and Hachiman’s usual “solution” of lifting that weight off them by doing the work himself. Too bad his solutions never end up solving the core issues of the problem, and the return of Tsurumi Rumi exemplifies that. The reintroduction of Rumi shows her looking lonely and isolated, the problem Hachiman supposedly solved. Seeing her again made Hachiman finally realize the flaws in his way of thinking, too bad it’s a little too late. Yukino is fed up with putting on a facade to try to retain their relationship, and everything Hachiman has been trying to preserve is crumbling around him.
Studio Feels did an incredible job with Yukino’s resigned smile, and building the atmosphere of the scene between Hachiman and Yukino. The way the two were framed slightly apart fit perfectly for the misunderstandings that divided them. Also the piano version of the opening from season one was a nice touch that continued on with the slower tempo with this episode’s ending. It really allowed the audience to ride the emotions of the scene through to preview of the next episode.
Another valentine’s day episode of anime goes by where the protagonist complains about not getting chocolate then proceeds to be given chocolate from almost every character in the show. Though I say that, I actually enjoyed some of the misunderstandings and jokes this week. Watching Marika run through the halls of the school with a ripped, chocolate Raku was funny. I think ripped anime characters always make me laugh. Reminds me of Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure.