From now on these posts of mine will only highlight the shows that give me the most to talk about. If I skip out on something, it’s safe to say my general opinion of it hasn’t really gone anywhere.
Death Parade episode 2 and 3
Although as of now I’m not currently up to date on everything on my watchlist, I strongly doubt that there was a bigger disappointment this week then what Death Parade had in store for it’s second installment. The problem here is that the 1st 2/3rds essentially functioned as a recap episode no matter how they tried to dress it up. Everything that was explained here was nothing that we weren’t already told, or could have inferred from the 1st episode and Death Billiards. The last third of the episode clued us in on stuff we didn’t already know, but even that was to the show’s detriment for the most part since it just removed the sense of lingering ambiguity, robbing the show of it’s mystique AKA part of the appeal. I for one didn’t need to know what “the Void” entails since not knowing what it is makes it all the more scary to think about. I guess the biggest takeaway from this episode is that A. arbiters pass judgement by gaining the memories of whatever individual(s) show up and B. that judgement is still fallible. The latter of which is demonstrated by Decim, who despite giving off the veneer of having decades, or even centuries of experience, can make wrong decisions based off of his incapability to comprehend human emotions. It’s not a bad twist really, but the fact that it had to give up the ambiguous “who was really in the right?” ending the last episode left us with isn’t something I’m cool with really.
EDIT: The 3rd episode returned everything to Death Parade’s roots for sure, but there was definitely something different about this week. With this story there’s definitely of dread and extreme reactions and the outcome is unanimously a happy one to top it off. It’s sorta like watching Mushishi for the first time only to discover that 1st episode where Ginko isn’t actually able to save someone from the mushi afflicting them, aka an outcome that’s totally averse to what I was expecting. The show might’ve told only three stories thus far which isn’t much time to establish a pattern/formula, but what lead me to expect a disastrous final twist was Decim’s short aside with the newbie that suggested there was twist that would destroy one or both of them. That said, the actual reveal turned out to be that the girl was just a childhood friend using the face of the dude’s crush to get out of the friendzone….and that’s it. Nothing terrible happens, the dude doesn’t even think for a moment about how’s been played the whole time. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though since this episode overall does a good job of demonstrating the range of stories that can be weaved from this premise. Still the whole “plastic surgery” angle was a pretty “meh” direction to take the story in and it felt rather random due to it not being connected to any of the flashbacks or dialogue via foreshadowing. It’s also a pretty creepy thing to do, to Durarara!! fans, remember Mika Harima? One thing I can’t help but wonder is what exactly the two did for their date in a purgatory bar. It didn’t seem like they got wasted since they looked sober at the end of the episode, so what? Did they just play some body horror bar games for a couple hours? How romantic.
In one of my previous posts, I compared AssClass to Death Parade with the reasoning being my uncertainty as to whether or not the premises of the two shows would hold up to an entire series length. Now as disappointed I was with Death Parade this week, whether or not gimmick will wear out it’s welcome has yet to be seen, but AssClass is already straining itself to meet it’s 22 episode goal. Let’s be honest here, way too much of this episode was spent on reiterating stuff we were already made aware of in the first episode, like the basic premise, the speed at which Koro-sensei can travel, the baggage Class E carries, etc. Most of these things weren’t really expounded in on in anyway really. Sure we now know a few of Koro-sensei’s weaknesses, but c’mon, there’s no way those are going to lead to a successful assassination by the time the episode ends. I’m trying to stay patient with this one mainly because I’m curious to see if it’ll settle on the comedy or the more serious aspects of the setting because as of now there’s no really clear idea as to what the show wants to accomplish. Sure, it’s mostly made up of silly assassination vignettes, but inbetween the levity is are some hints at introspective drama that the show doesn’t seem ready to fully commit too, and there’s also those Japanese CIA dudes who seem to be setting up some contingency plans of sorts to deal with the yellow-tentacled powerhouse. I doubt will be easy to take seriously given how silly the setup is. Right now the show seems a bit too complacent with itself by assuming the ironic comedy between Koro-sensei and his students is enough to carry a full length series. It’s not.
EDIT: If they weren’t already hard enough to ignore, the GTO comparisons are back in full force this week. Really, the first two episodes already established the overpowered, unconventional and oddly inspirational teacher and his class that seems to be carrying unexplained emotional baggage. This week introduced a cocky student who does does his damnedest to make a fool of Koro-sensei only to have it all backfire and end up with a fond sense of respect for the guy. I don’t really have much else to say other then bring up how this was essentially a GTO character arc stuffed into one episode. It was fine.
Handsome High School Defense Club LOVE! episode 2 and 3
Though there are a couple of things here that are worthy of my yucks, I’m still pretty ambivalent towards this thing as a whole. The idea of the boys casually downplaying the manslaughter of their teacher is amusing, as is Green Sonic from Planet Evil as the antagonist, but that’s about all that gets me. I guess this can be chalked up to two issues I have here. The 1st being that personality-wise, there’s not enough being brought to the table by the cast to really work as a comedy ensemble. Seriously, besides the Genki Blonde (and I guess Red pulled his weight a little in episode 3), the Battle Lovers are all pretty much interchangeable personality-wise since they lack defining/memorable traits. The other issue here is that the humor still relies a bit too much on commenting on how silly some tropes are instead of just carrying on naturally and letting the humor speak for itself. Is something is funny, I don’t need to be told that it’s funny. 3rd episode was a bit better because taking the piss out of yaoi is at the very least something I don’t see all that often (because seriously, Magical Girl parodies aren’t really all that hard to come by). I did find it amusing how all the yaoi elements in this episode (and the first 2 as well to an extent) are simply there to dance around and imply homolust, only to fully embrace it in the last 3rd of the episode when it’s revealed that making everyone gay was a part of the evil hedgehogs plan to destroy humanity. Pretty OK stuff.