Nothing this week could top the highs of Sound! Euphonium last week, but each show this week was reasonable except Arslan Senki. Arslan Senki had yet another dip in quality, making it almost rival my distaste for Yuki Nagato this season. I don’t plan on dropping it quite yet, but if it keeps going at this rate, I might not care to get to the second half of this 25 episode show.
Oregairu Zoku 9
The awkwardness in the air is palpable, but this episode shows progress. The service clubs is not ready to address the issue, but at least they are acknowledging it. They are no longer trying to hide behind a facade of normalcy and are reaching out to one another. Though it can be quite embarrassing to act vulnerable, its a necessary step to achieve the genuine relationship that Hachiman is searching for.
The first half of the episode returned to the lighthearted antics reminiscent of the first season. The audience gets to see Hachiman’s embarrassment first hand, and it gives a needed break from the drama. It warms my heart to see these three finally be comfortable around each other again as they plan to find a solution to the Christmas party. In the second half, the drama returns, and Studio Feels did a great job elevating moments through visuals. Yukino, opens up to Hachiman on the roller coaster, and it startles him when she is asked to be saved. This isn’t the first time that Yukino has surprised Hachiman, but it had much more impact due to it being displayed by the world turning around him. Studio Feels also did a great job portraying Iroha’s rejection. The audience could not hear a word they said, but it is easily interpreted. Iroha is taking the next step in progressing her relationship similarly to the Service club, but it doesn’t seem to be working out for he. As she runs away in tears, Hachiman’s expression shows that he cares for his new found friendship with her. But the question is, has he grown enough to be willing to act without someone giving him an excuse.
Arslan Senki 9
The erratic visuals are hampering this show, and each episode causes me to notice more of these flaws. Even if I neglect mentioning the horrifying computer graphics and the carbon copy soldiers, I would still have plenty to complain about. This episode has been the biggest offender, not only did it have inconsistent animation, some of the lousy artwork has creeped into what should be scenes with impact. When Arslan is revealing to the young Lusitanian soldier that his friends have been killed, his remorse should be portrayed through his facial expression and voice acting.
It’s an essential part of Arslan’s character, it shouldn’t look like this travesty. At a lot of animation studios animators cut corners to get the product out on time, but will fix it in the blu-ray release. It is “okay” (sort of), to do this, but it just cannot happen during any meaningful dialogue. Its such a shame since Arslan Senki has decent narrative driving the show, and it did expand on the magic like I had wanted it to. Arslan Senki is shaping up to be the high fantasy adventure it should be, but there are just too many factors holding this show back.
Started off with a magical girl show spoof that felt really disconnected from the rest of the show. The audience was just kind of thrown into it, and I had trouble finding a reason why it was even included. It just feels like filler that divided the building conflict with Haru. To be fair, conflicts within Nisekoi have never really mattered much in the first place, but these scenes felt too much like a fan service cash grab. The only parts of the parody I appreciated were the city shots, the animation in the transformation sequences, and the pouting gorilla suit Chitoge.
Then back to reality with Raku helping out at the Onodera family pastry shop, to have some quality time with Haru. I despise Haru. By far the most annoying character in Nisekoi. Anyone that has to remind themselves to hate people just gets on my nerves. Also, she feels the need to protect Kosaki from something she obviously doesn’t want to be protected from, ignoring her own siblings feelings. The only good trait she has is that she was the reason this shot was made.
Though there were not as many beautiful shots as last week, this particular frame had a striking purple shade over Raku’s face. Even without the exaggerated sweat falling down Raku’s face, the audience can identify Raku’s uneasiness. Shaft’s expertise is in portraying a scene with engaging visuals, and they deliver here.
Sound! Euphonium 9
This episode of Sound! Euphonium does not have the highlights of last week, but it still carried itself well. The show continues to support drawing inspirations from others, and the first half focuses on the friendships of many of the cast. But the second half adds another view that isn’t as positive. The auditions demonstrate that sometimes, ones own achievements will inhibit others from reaching their goals. As Kumiko pointed out, “everyone wants to be in the competition” and there only a limited number of positions. It takes a little bit of help from Reina to make Kumiko realize that one can’t just stop because it may hurt someone else.
Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works 21
For an action oriented, battle royale show, Unlimited Blade Works sure does have a lot of talking. The show’s momentum is constantly interrupted by pointless dialogue that only asserts facts that the audience already knows. Ufotable is trying too hard to adapt the visual novel, and is forgetting that anime can convey things through animation without it being said in words. It doesn’t help that the visual novel itself has many rules to explain, and the whole 2nd half of this episode points out its narrative issues. Even with my issues with the show, I still carry on with the time-stamped episode write ups. Hoping for a miracle of an ending to bring the 2nd half of the show up to the energy of the first.