Winter Weeks 2 and 3

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.

Aldnoah.Zero 2 episode 2
If there’s anything nice that can be said about Aldnoah.Zero as of late, it’s the fact that at the very least we have an explanation as to why Inaho can steamroll through Martian opposition in the form of his computer eye. Still does absolutely nothing to make the dude more likeable as a character. Really, that one scene with Inko this week was probably supposed to be funny but all it does is characterize Inaho as a dude with about as much social tact as a dude with a severe case of aspergers. It also doesn’t make much sense to me how the Terrans are so outmatched when they already have the technology that should give them a leg up against the Martians. Why it’s only been fitted into Inaho’s eye socket is beyond me. There was more to this week then Inaho being more Inaho then usual though. There was more in the form of Asseylum’s sister getting all pissy over the fact that she knows all she is to Slaine is a dispenser of Magical Saliva. It seems she can also take away Slaine’s ability to pilot Martian technology because we need to keep her relevant for the sake of beefing up the love parallelogram I guess There was also a cliffhanger at the end in which Slaine and Inaho are about to face off, but knowing this show we still have another half dozen Martian super robots of the week before something weighty actual happens, so don’t get your hopes up.
EDIT: Now I’ve seen the latest episode I must say that I was actually about ready to tear into the show halfway through watching it for setting up a cliffhanger from the previous week that it didn’t commit too. However it did return to the battlefield for yet another Slaine/Inaho encounter anyway so it’s all good there. What isn’t all good however was the handling of how he writers finally decided to put Slaine over. In order for Slaine to have his triumphant moment, Saazbaum had to suspend his logic long enough to fully trust (and even adopt as a son in an impromptu fashion) the man who has every reason to be his mortal enemy and tried to take his life. Slaine’s sudden ascension to the level of Count also raises eyebrows considering how one would think systemic barriers would prevent him, a Terran, from attaining such a rank instantly without opposition. Unless of course the title of Count was passed down to him merely because Saazbaum took him as a son which would mean that all you really have to do to officially adopt to a child is to call them your son/daughter, which is kinda silly don’t you think? Now that Slaine von Lohengramm vi Britannia is the Big Cheese in town, I can’t help but wonder where this Machiavellian attitude of his that’s making him to continue this war has come from and exactly what ends he thinks will come of him walking down a path paved with both Terran and Martian blood. Seems pretty odd considering how the Princess he worships is against any and all bloodshed. Hopefully every quandary I have regarding Slaine’s new position and his different outlook towards the war is answered promptly.
Maria the Virgin Witch episode 2
Definitely a tale of 2 halves with this week. The 1st being focused on the sex humor of the 1st episode, which is still mostly conveyed through dialogue rather then fanservicey shots, which is oddly tasteful. About as tasteful as humor surrounding Maria’s bashfulness with regards to male genitalia can get. It’s the 2nd half that kept this show outta “it’s aight, but I’ll drop it to lighten my watchlist” territory when it gave us a hint of the authors overall narrative voice. It’s got a lot of things to say about matters like the nature of Heaven, Gods’ approach to dealing with humans and what impact the Church has on society. I personally want to stick around to see exactly what these narrative leanings will do to Maria and her simple philosophy.
EDIT: Not an episode that really got all that much accomplished plotwise. Besides finishing off the establishing of the premise this was more about tossing a couple new cast members into the mix, mainly the new angel proxy for Michael, who complete lacks the presence of her superior and whose schtick will more then likely be how badly she fails at getting Maria to take her seriously. The second half was more focused on Maria and her troubled relationship with the Church, however we don’t really learn much about either of the two sides from this exchange so much as the fact the two sides are irreconcilable is further hammered down. A reasonable episode I suppose.
Tokyo Ghoul √A episodes 2 and 3
Tokyo Ghoul Root A - 0214
I was never really all that big into the first season of Tokyo Ghoul, but at least there things happened at a decent enough clip, which is exactly why I feel that there’s been a steep drop-off in quality in this newer season. The 2nd episode in particular was pretty much just a bunch of office work and really did nothing special unless you count the introduction of Tokyo Ghoul’s answer to Franscizka von Karma of the Phoenix Wright franchise in Mado’s daughter. Besides that it was just a load of really dull exposition form CCG members I can’t be arsed to care about at this point, because apparently we’d rather be told about the stuff Aogiri Tree has been up to rather than seeing it unfold before our eyes. Yeah that sounds a whole lot better then focusing on the characters at the center of the show’s conflict right? Shuffle through that paperwork! We don’t need to spend any time rationalizing the recent behavior of our Random Heel-Turning Edge Lord of the Shadows protagonist right? You might be saving something like that for down the road in if so, fine. But seriously, were they just trying to save budget by advancing the plot in as slow and meandery as possible? OK, sarcasm asides, I’m gonna have to ask for more next week then just chit chat and scenes of random background characters and Kaneki acting all mysterious and shit, m’kay?
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders Egypt arc episodes 2 and 3
The battle with Geb was never a favorite of mine when it comes to Stardust Crusaders. Not that it was bad really since it’s still on the same level quality of the better fights in the 1st half of the arc, but it never really compared to the rest of the battles that took place in Egypt. I do appreciate the fact that this was a Jotaro-lead battle that had more of an interesting dynamic then “yare yare I figured you out and now I will punch you into mush” and it employed a bit of strategy, but the humor just wasn’t there considering the absence of Polnareff and Joseph. The 3rd episode though is where Stardust Crusaders really began to shine for me before and that’s holding up to just as true for the anime as well. The episode was essentially a very Jojo take on the classic “Looney Toons” villains, who despite their best efforts, can only barely manage to show up on the radar of out heroes’ radar at best despite their potentially threatening abilities. What really drove the humor was the insane amount of trolling from both Polnareff/Joseph and even the book of Thoth itself, which ironically lead to the failure of the brothers through it’s vague predictions. Seeing Jotaro’s face contorted into expressions beyond an uninterested look was also a pretty big plus. And the Oingo Boingo outtro? David please, you guys’re spoilin’ me here.

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