I apologize for releasing this weekly recap so late, but I had an emergency at home. The sink of the condo above me broke and gallons of water were leaking into my kitchen. The water ended up drifting all the way to my bedroom and made it difficult to write there. At least we were able to quickly clean it up and call some people to help us dry out the house with fans and dehumidifiers. It will be a few days until my house is dry, and a couple more weeks before repairs are completed, but at least I still have anime to watch. Lets run down this past week!
Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works 23
Unlimited Blade Works hasn’t receded back to the frustrating episodes of Archer vs Shirou spouting their ideals at each other, but a little of that was still present with Gilgamesh. The fight itself between Shirou and Gilgamesh was visually boring as they just threw swords at each other, but Saber’s fight with Assassin was another spectacle to match their first encounter. Still boring overall as I consider the bad parts to heavily outweigh the strengths of Unlimited Blade Works. But I am not going to let stubborn people dismiss my opinions because “I didn’t finish the show”. Onward I go.
Arslan Senki 11
So I have been reading some high fantasy novels recently and finished Game of Throne’s fifth book, A Dance with Dragon, and started the Stormlight Archives series. I know its unfair to compare these to something like Arslan Senki as they are presented through different mediums, but through reading these books I got clarity in what I yearned for in high fantasy stories. Grand narratives, complex magical systems, compelling characters and extensive world building. All things that Arslan Senki lacks. Arslan Senki follows typical fantasy archetypes without adding any twists, which ends up having the characters become very one dimensional. The comedy is repetitive with Gieve just constantly hitting on Farangis. Strength of the character’s are unbalanced with the carbon copy soldiers who I have deemed “trash mobs” cleared up in hoards by the main cast. And I feel I have mentioned enough about the show’s animation in previous recaps. This episode didn’t have anything to captivate me either. I stuck it out because it was the only fantasy adventure I was watching this season, but I’d rather spend my time reading new books. Dropped.
What an unimpressive episode. How does Nisekoi expect to take Shu’s romance seriously when he falls in love from one scene where the teacher calls him mature. They weren’t seen ever talking or building a relationship except in this episode. I wouldn’t have such a problem with it if it was more comical, but Nisekoi viewed his confession as a significant event. Shaft’s style didn’t score any points on this episode either, as the animation was second-rate. The teacher’s office shown through shadows contributed to the serious tone of the show that I found so unfit for the romance.
Oregairu Zoku 11
Another wonderful episode from Oregairu, with a focus on Hayato’s insecurities. Every character in the show has unrealistic expectations of Hayato and see him as the perfect child that could do no wrong. These assumptions are crushing him because he believes that people like their vision of him and not Hayato himself. Because of this, Hayato is unsure of his own identity and has distanced himself from the others while contemplating it. Contrary to what Hayato actually says he enjoys Hachiman’s companionship. They both admire traits in each other that they don’t have themselves and are candid with each other. Even if how they act with each other isn’t like their usual selves, or particularly nice. It is still genuine.
Some other highlights of this episode were Iroha trolling Hachiman. Yumiko searching for her own genuine relationship, and Yukino’s harsh insults to those she deems annoying.
Sound! Euphonium 11
Sound! Euphonium continually comes back to the ideas of mutual inspiration and support. Dreams aren’t achieved through solitude. Building relationships that help drive one to achieve their goals seems to be a core part of the show, but there are some flaws in how they go about it. Yuuko represents the selfish type of support. Yuuko believes that Kaori should be compensated for missing her opportunity last year, but doesn’t take Kaori’s emotions into consideration. Natsuki points out that Yuuko is only hurting Kaori through her actions. Which is then paralleled by the same biased support with Kumiko and Reina.
The whole scene between Yumiko and Reina was too romantically charged to be yuri baiting anymore. If it ends up returning back to the status quo after a scene like this, Kyoto Animation is doing a disservice to the show. Teasing the audience but never actually addressing the emotions shown will only weaken Sound! Euphonium as a whole. But it was useful in displaying that Kumiko is not so different than Yuuko. They both would unconditionally vote for their friend, no matter who was better.
On to the audition, the cinematography was phenomenal. The upward camera pan before each of them performed, heightened the drama, allowing a moment of silence before the first note was played. Kyoto Animation also did a great job making Reina sound significantly better than Kaori. Even though Kaori hit all the notes, Reina’s solo performance sounded more vibrant and intense. But the primary thing I took away from this audition was how much Kumiko has changed due to Reina’s influence. The voting gave an analogous scene to the band’s earlier decision to aim for gold, in which Kumiko just went along with the crowd. Here she takes the initiative to show support for Reina despite the other band students’ differing opinions.