Another week, another round of anime to talk about. And this time I’ll try to do it with a li’l more structure.
This section I’ll restrict to things I’m covering in the TKO, just to air out a few thoughts that post didn’t cover. As we’re probably all well aware, those posts exist to entertain, first and foremost. I intentionally keep some of my thoughts out of it, either for length or just to help maintain a consistent tone for the overall review. Here, however, my thoughts can go unfiltered. Also, just so it’s clear, I am only talking about the second episodes of these shows. I know the third episode is out for a few of them. However, we intentionally stagger our viewing of the TKO shows so we can cover their episodes in sync. If you would like to see my thoughts from the official post, you can visit THIS link or (at the time of my posting this), it’s the newest post on the main site and can be found in the bar to the right. So, without any further ado, here we go.
My thoughts on this episode are largely the same as those I have from the official TKO post on the main site. I like the way the series is going about setting up this arc, so far, but I know where this is going and that this is only the beginning. Arcs like this are nothing new, but few of them really explore things on the level I think that DanMachi has the potential to. I don’t want to say that the series is uniquely positioned to explore this type of material. After all, DanMachi is hardly the most innovative thing out there. But it’s handle on things tends to be rather fresh and while the series is generally lighthearted, it doesn’t shy away from darker things. That said, I tend to worry about things that want to skew darker because I often find situations in which the effort to go the dark route with something results in a sort of abandoning of… well… sense. I don’t want to call it inherently cynical, but it can come across that way. Or, at best, it could be perceived as dismissive. It’s where things like my discussed pet peeve from the official post come in.
I was a little annoyed at the response to Weine getting exposed in the middle of town. I do not, for a second, expect that the outcome would have been any different. Hell, I wouldn’t want it to have been any different. But I think the absolute oneness of that crowd was bothersome. As much as mob mentality can be a thing, it’s simply not that cut and dry. Even among a crowd, there will be people who think and behave independently. So I would have liked to see even the slightest variance in reaction from the people in that crowd. Not just everyone being all scared and panicked, resorting to throwing rocks and all that. Again. Even just one or two people who at least look more hesitant. Especially as someone would have to have seen the full context of what happened. It bugs me, but it’s not really a serious criticism. It just feels lazy.
As a whole, the episode was some good stuff, doing well to build up a tense scenario while also delving into a genuine mystery and establishing a moral dilemma for Bell. After all, now he has to constantly wonder if any other monsters he kills in that dungeon are sentient. And that clearly affects him. Also, I think people are going to perhaps unfairly come down on Lili for this? I dunno. While I certainly think the lot of them clearly showed some serious negligence when considering Weine is a monster, so of course she could hear them, Lili is just trying to look out for everyone. She’s “the pragmatic one,” not prone to actions purely based on her feelings. Because her past molded her that way. And that means she’s going to come across as harsh or even unlikable at times. But she’s not hateful or stupid. I dunno. I just don’t want people to start vilifying her over this. Especially since she turned things around and risked her own neck to help clean up the mess she helped create.
I genuinely do not have a lot to say about this episode. Mostly because… well… it was just kinda bonkers. The rampant JoJo references aside, it was all over the place. But in a good way. A lot was going on, but it was never difficult to follow. The band of idiots went to the Stenka in order to confront the latest tattooed prisoner. Meanwhile, the kids took it upon themselves to get the dog back. Throw in a Russian sauna and a wolverine and… well, things get interesting.
Actually, on the subject of the kids, I was genuinely surprised at their prominence in this series. I genuinely did not expect that little guy to be a major character at all, much less fill out an entire B-Story of his own with his new friend. And it was kind of charming in a way, too. Showing some progression in his own little miniature coming-of-age story, but also just some genuinely kid-like fun with the clever and mischievous way they went about getting the dog back.
Also, as much as I hard on this season already for being yet another instance of Sugimoto having to find Asirpa, I did like the little bit of development we got out of him towards the end of that fight. It’s not like we didn’t already more-or-less understand this about him. But seeing the extent to which his promise bothers him actually come about in the form of this unstoppable rage was a genuinely nice moment in an otherwise ludicrous scene. And I like it when a series can do that – sneaking moment of genuine heart between largely sections of humor or what have you.
This is a case where my thoughts are basically mirrored to the official post. The episode was just… efficient. It set up nearly everything it needed to. There was exposition, certainly, but it felt natural, rather than forced. And the series has so far done a good job of introducing new elements in such a pace that nothing is overwhelming. We get to know the school, for one. But just as importantly, the new characters really make a statement with their first major appearances, both being fights. But that’s to be expected. This is a Battle Shounen series, after all.
Something I’ve mentioned before is that I love a series where there’s a very real, tangible goal. In fact, it was the main crux of the first episode in a series of videos I plan to do on No Game No Life. I like things like that because there are clear markers to show progress in something. And no one says that a series has to stick with the same one, every time. The goal posts can move or the goal can change. But having a series of markers to a tangible goal is just a better storytelling device to me. Finding the Dragon Balls, collecting all the Clow Cards, etc. It’s one of my kinda sorta issues with things like “Become the Wizard King/Hokage/#1 Hero.” What, exactly, are the goal posts to reach that? It’s vague and therefore makes progress towards that goal difficult to gauge. But this is something simple – save the world by collecting all the fingers of an ancient demon… curse… thing.
Also, I was talking with Bob about this earlier, but just as an aside, I really love that they essentially have to work with the big bad in order to find these things in the first place. Essentially both sides are after the same plot coupons for entirely opposing reasons and the end result is going to be some manner of clash between them. So seeing how all that pans out should be fun.
This episode was good. Should’ve been the first episode, but if you read the official post, you already knew I thought that. Really, there’s not a lot to say other than that. It did a good job of setting up the three major players. Though I do wonder if the tension throughout the episode for our main heroine felt a bit… manufactured to anyone else. I dunno. I wasn’t feeling it. Felt forced. And the stuff at the end with kidnapping the family… eh. Not really a fan. Seemed honestly like little more than obligatorily engineered conflict. I guess it establishes her character? Kinda? I dunno. I don’t think it had the effect they were going for. Particularly not with her kid sister telling her to stop… when someone just threatened… to carve her up. I honestly refuse to believe any kid is that stupid.
I think this episode was a solid look into “Moriarty’s” background. Where he comes from, why he feels the way he does, all of it. I found it really fascinating, watching him essentially taking the place of that other pampered brat. But good lord did I not expect that dark a twist so soon. I mean… I knew it was gonna go that way, but not that quick. Also, him having a little cult of 6 to 10-year-olds honestly threw me for a loop. Watching Albert piece it all together actually was really interesting, especially as we got to see the inner workings of his own mind. I’d like to know where his compassion comes from, though. Clearly it’s not something inspired by any of his biological family or his butler. Perhaps he’s naturally like that. I dunno. But I really find is fascinating, watching how the more positive aspects of a man can drive them to darkness or even cruelty, as much as the more heinous aspects.
I also liked seeing the whole “fake charity” thing from the father, showing that he (and other nobles, to be fair) were only showing any kind of charity for the clout. It really was an intriguing episode. I think the thing that made the world-building so strong, this time, as opposed to last time, is the approach. In the previous episode, they just wanted to give us a taste of everything. So they dropped us right in. We were presented with Victorian England and told to go with it. Fair enough. It’s not like we’ve never seen or read about Victorian England. BUT. That doesn’t mean you don’t do world-building. The art of world-building is not just literally presenting us with a world. You don’t get to skimp on it purely because it’s a familiar (or even real) place and time. If you have a story, one can assume certain aspects about that world are important. That’s what needs to be properly built. And this episode did all of that. It showed us the class system at its worst and the classism/elitism is bred. It showed us how the have-nots struggled and how integral that divide would be to the rest of the story. It did so rather well, in fact. And that’s why I believe this episode to be stronger, even if the previous one wasn’t actually bad at all.
I see a cute. I has a happy. No, but really. I really enjoyed this episode, for as simple as it was. A very basic dilemma presents itself. “I want the girl I idolize to be my partner, but she’s really cold.” That was it. That was the whole episode. But it was made so much more interesting with that. With Riri talking to others about it and trying to learn everything she could about why she became this way. Also I like seeing the reason she’s like this come up. I think too often we almost cynically write off a desire to make others happy as a sign of ego. But that simply doesn’t feel right. And this sort of addresses that, while not coming up with a direct answer for it, at least not just yet. I appreciate that.
But the one thing I think I appreciated most about this episode was Kaede. Yes. She’s funny and she’s adorable. Her inability to filter herself is an extremely entertaining trait which leads to amusingly deadpan reactions from others. It’s one of my favorite styles of humor when executed well. Made better by Shaft’s exaggerated visual gags whenever she slips into her fantasy zone. And yet despite that, she had perhaps the single best moment in the entire episode. One that defines her so very much more than all those antics of hers would have you believe. I loved watching her stand up for Riri for reasons that seem honestly even more intrinsic to her on a deep character level than just her straight up attraction to our pink-haired heroine.
Also… mate… no one’s fooled. The woman is a memory. No one is actually in that room with Yuyu. She’s talking to a ghost. Stahp. That said, it was a nice touch seeing Yuyu actively contradict herself in private and reveal that darkness that’s no doubt living inside of her as a result of whatever happened.
…no, really. My thoughts are a straight-up 1-1 with the official post. I can name you more things that feel very much like contrivances. But why bother? No one’ll care but me. Pure style and fun aren’t really enough to grab me, so this show honestly needs to step it up with the actual character work. At the moment I genuinely could not care less if everyone aside from the main girl gets axed. And my desire for the main girl to get out of this okay and return to her ordinary life is purely because she’s an innocent who hasn’t done anything. Certainly nothing to deserve prison time, let alone execution (as far as we know. Of course, there’s always the possibility that she genuinely is some god-tier Akudama who gamed the system, but I doubt it). Basic human empathy. That is all. She’s otherwise not interested, at present.
If Doctor can sew her own neck back together, then I won’t really buy any death in this series that doesn’t involve bombs (though given the crash and that rail gun explosion, I’m inclined not to believe bombs would work either) or instant destruction of the brain. Also, if Hacker’s so good, why doesn’t he just… hack… the bombs. If he can’t, then wouldn’t that mean whoever’s behind this is better than him? Why do you need cutthroat when it seems he’s functionally there to stab things? Literally everyone else in this squad (aside from Swindler and Hoodlum) seem to have more utility to provide and he’s so unstable he seems more likely to endanger the mission than help it. I have far more questions than I suspect will be answered. And since I don’t really care about anyone or anything going on, I’m not really in the mental headspace to ignore them, like I usually would.
This was fine. In retrospect I don’t remember a great deal of it, but I do recall the important character building moments. So that was all pretty good. The visuals weren’t as good this time. And I still think this series is suffering from “lack of antagonist.” But we’re only two episodes in, so… yeah.
Now for my current solo-watches.
This… was adorable. I honestly have nothing more to add. But… seriously, look at that face. That smug little face is perfection. The misunderstanding at the end was also pretty amusing.
This is a weird series. I don’t really know how I feel about it yet. The astronaut thing is a bizarre distraction. But setting that aside, the vast majority of this episode seemed to be internal monologue. It was almost all in one girl’s head or another. And while that can work, it’s no substitute for things actually… happening. I like watching the slowly budding feelings of romance and whatnot. Even as the one closest to those feelings tries her hardest to deny them. I’m just not overly certain where this series has to go. It doesn’t have a clear event to base itself around and we’ve yet to be fully clued into any character background to inform some of the more unique behavior. So it definitely isn’t a Bloom Into You type scenario. That said, I don’t dislike watching it, so I think at this point I’m just along for the ride.
And those are my thoughts. I think next time I’ll hop back into Deca-Dence, so I can finally wrap up that series ahead of… well, something. What did you guys think of these shows? Le’me know in the comments. Thanks, as always, for reading.
Stay safe, Stay healthy, Stay Awesome!