1. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Too
This seems to have been the week for cathartic, show changing episodes. It is no surprise that the biggest release came from the show with the most angst. It is amazing how much can be crammed into basically two long scenes. A word for all the Yukino lovers and haters, she is a mirror image of Hachiman, and she always has been. That is the point of the show. The two are changing in parallel, with a healthy amount of help from sensei and Yui. If you like one you should at least understand the other. I don’t understand putting her on the pedestal either. Yes, Hachiman and Yukino would be good for each other, but so would Hachiman and Yui or Hachiman and Iroha. All of these characters need a little more time in the oven before they are ready for any kind of lasting relationship, but that is the draw of the series. It is doing a fantastic job so far.
2. Sound! Euphonium
Everything about the episode was done nicely. I never thought that Reina would be the one to trumpet her feelings to Kumiko (sorry, I couldn’t resist), nor did I think that things would come out so soon. The romantic tension on the hike was great, the visuals were stunning, and the drama knob has been cranked to eleven. “That’s kinda hot,” damn Kumiko, if I was drinking something I would have sprayed it all over the screen. Gah! I must resist the urge to find manga spoilers. It is hard to believe I considered dropping this title back in week two. The characters and their interactions are just done so well.
3. Is it Wrong to Pick Up girls in a Dungeon?
This was not about gender, it was about not being the victim anymore. It was about taking control and taking responsibility for your fate. Bete’s comment was that he was being a man instead of a boy, and not a man instead of a woman. As awesome as that fight was, what immediately popped into my head was, “What happens now?” Having faced his fears and reached more of an equal standing with his hero/crush, what will Bell do now? Hestia’s comment that their story is just beginning is intriguing. There are so many directions that the show could take from this point. I am very interested in seeing where this goes, and as with the shows above, I am surprised that we were able to see Bell overcome his demons so quickly. This was a great episode that raised my opinion of this show considerably.
4. Plastic Memories
This was a nice episode, but we should have had this moment already. The show has wasted too much time on tangents and unfunny gags and not enough time exploring an interesting sci-fi concept or its bittersweet romance. Now the clock is ticking and the show has the daunting task reconciling both the subplots relating to Giftia use and the reluctance of a dying girl to give in to her feelings for fear of hurting others. While it is not necessarily impossible, I don’t have much confidence that they will pull it off. If only they hadn’t wasted so much screen time…
5. Yamada and the Seven Witches
The poor decision to run this as a single cour has finally started to sink its teeth into the quality of this show. This week’s episode should really have been done in two episodes, and it showed. There was no time to develop characters or plot, just a rapid fire story explanation mixed in with a couple of stale underwear jokes. I had a hard time following what was going on at the end, and I have read the manga. This doesn’t bode well for the rest of the series, and it shortchanged what should have been a nice and significant romantic moment between our protag and best girl Urara. She tried to sacrifice herself for his sake. That deserved more airtime than it got. Up until this point the show has managed the fast pace without losing too much in terms of quality. I fear that they will be unable to do so going forward.
6. Nisekoi 2
The more interesting Onadera has arrived, but too late to inject any life into this dog of a season. Rumor has it that next week’s episode will come from the magical girl spinoff manga. At first that sounds like a horrible idea. That is the kind of thing that is normally reserved for an OVA bundled with a tankobon release. In this case though, it might be an improvement. This season has gotten ridiculously stale. I think that any departure from these tired romcom tropes would be welcome. I am curious how this season is being received in Japan and how well it will sell. There is much better material available for a third season, should there be one. I just wonder if there will be any demand for it once this awful second season finishes.
7. Fate/Stay: UBW
The Shirou/Archer show continues, with some cameos by Saber, who looks like she is watching a tennis match, Shinji the pervy punching bag, Lancer, whose death scene just won’t end, and of course Rin, who spends yet another episode as a princess in a castle waiting to be rescued. Leaving aside the dreadful pacing and listless story, I am dumbfounded that the show is following the Sword Art Online template on how to take a strong confident heroine and turn her into a sex object to saved. In fact, Fate/Stay: UBW has done this twice! Both Saber and Rin have now gotten this treatment. Why build a strong female character just so you can sexually harass her and make her look weak later?