Fun new note: I have decided to order these recaps from most to least favorite. So anything near the bottom? It’s at risk of getting cut. Just some more fun times I guess.
Frieren – 6 [The Hero of the Village]
Frieren was good this week. It continues to have a fantastic mix of poignant reflection and fun fantasy action. From Frieren reminiscing about the fun and ridiculous parts of their journey, making the elemental dance and stuff, to a rad dragon fight, I had a lot of fun. There were a few things I wasn’t big on, I’m never huge on dick jokes and I don’t think a romance between Fern and Stark will add much to the story. I’m willing to see where it goes, I just don’t want it to take away from Frieren specifically. Speaking of Stark, I like his motivations for all of this. He isn’t going because he cares for adventure or to stop some great demon or some other tragic thing. He just wants to be able to come back and tell Eisen some stories, like how Eisen told him some during their time together. Even if it’s through another character, I love hearing that Eisen cherished his time adventuring with them, that those 10 years left a memorable mark for him, enough of one to impart it onto someone else. So yeah, good episode, Frieren still going strong.
Undead Unluck – 3 [How to Use My Unluck]
I don’t understand it. Who the hell over at David Production is so into this series that they are able to bring all good parts of it, the emotions, the relationships, the individual character philosophies, while deemphasizing all of the ecchi bullshit. Like I get it, a lot of this was already there early on, it’s just the presentation that’s changed. Rather than focusing in on gags and gropes Undead Unluck is building every episode around the characters. But god it’s just so GOOD. The way the moon and lantern shine in the night, providing just enough for light for us to see what’s going on while still letting the darkness frame the scene, the use of wide shots and silence to just get us into the moment, and the action! Oh there’s so much energy to the action. Even just Gena waving her arms up and down looks so good. And Gena! I love Gena. I could gush about this episode for a while, I’m kind of glad I’m not doing full writeups on it because I would end up spoiling a lot of the manga and the hints that are being dropped. Suffice to say, Undead Unluck might pass Frieren for me if it keeps this up.
SpyXFamily S2 – 2 [Bond’s Strategy to Stay Alive/Damian’s Field Research Trip]
SpyXFamily was cute this week. First half was a Bond centric episode, which I enjoyed. It’s a bunch of jokes at the other characters expense, focusing in on their most meme-able traits, like Yor’s inability to cook and Loid being the only semi-competent person in the household. It was just a cute, fun time, nothing less nothing more. As for the second half, this was easily my favorite part of the episode. I love stories that focus on the cast outside of the core family, Damian especially. This is just a sad wholesome kid trying to make his father proud. Seeing him find a surrogate in the teacher, going on a camping trip, learning to just enjoy life and admire the beauty of nature. Combine that with his pals being more than just toadies to the rich popular kid and more like actual friends, getting in trouble specifically to help him out and spend time with him going on a field trip, it’s just a super wholesome story. Easily the best mini-sode we’ve gotten in a while from the series, including Season 1.
Shangri-La Frontier – 3 [Black Wolf Nightslayer]
Shangri-la was… fine? There’s still all the MMO stuff I enjoy, still feels like the person who wrote it actually played/enjoyed them. Plus that opening fight was cool and I’m happy the MC lost, giving him a goal to strive for. My issue though is that I’m not huge on these luck-based “uniques” he keeps getting. Unique marks, unique items, unique quests. I get it, he boosted luck, that’s meant to explain it all since most people don’t level those. But for our MC, who is supposedly multiple stats behind on everything else in an MMO, a game heavily based on stats and levels, it just feels… convenient. I’d rather he just be clever, figuring things out through experience, or willing to grind since he’s so used to trash games. Those would feel more “earned” to me. It’s not a big deal, it’s not ruining the show or anything. Hell it’s not even bad. Really more of just a nitpick, and a hope for the future.
Goblin Slayer S2 – 3 [The Training Grounds on the Outskirts of Town]
This was a surprisingly slow week for Goblin Slayer. No monsters, combat, gore or adventuring. Just training the next generation and hanging out with friends. You might think this would be detrimental to the series, that Goblin Slayer isn’t equipped for these kinds of episodes. And before this week, I’d say you were right! But this one was surprisingly nice. Seeing Goblin slayer interact with people outside of Goblins, like a Goblin Bechdel Test, was surprisingly emotional. I wouldn’t call it great, it didn’t reach the levels of Frieren or anything. But hearing him speak about his dreams, care for other people, reflect on their time together and their opinions on him brings what little humanity he had in Season 1 to the forefront. Combine that with the end of episode 2, promising us a deeper dive into how he views his quest and contributions to the world, as well as the Goblins attacking the rebuilding settlement I think it’s implied he once lived in, and Goblin Slayer might actually do something… meaningful. And that’s cool! I love the goblin on adventurer action, up until now that’s been the only reason to watch it. But if it an mix that with stuff like this? Well color me pleasantly surprised.
Overtake – 3
Overtake had some ups and downs this week. On the ups, I’m glad the crying picture didn’t become some huge pointless drama. Instead it’s building up this character conflict between the Belsorrio driver Toshiki and our lead, Haruka. That has some potential, this desire to prove oneself and the feeling that someone else is, accidentally or not, continuously getting in your way. I’m especially happy it’s centered around the actual driving and not some off-track bullshit. I like that. On the downs though, it feels like the show doesn’t care about the driving as much as it did in the pilot. The race scenes we got weren’t as good and they were focused a lot more on off-track conversations. Maybe that’s just because it’s setting some stuff up, I don’t know. But I hope it picks back up again. It’s kind of funny really, MF Ghost is all race no story while Overtake has been all story little race. If only the two could merge their strengths.
MF Ghost – 3 [Kamaboko Straight]
MF Ghost continues its trend of the race being fun and everything outside of it… not. The whole thing with Saionji, her slapping him, felt unnecessary and random. I still hate her outfit and all of these up and down panning shots on a freaking 16 year old. Plus the overarching plot about the “secret to MFG” or whatever and Kanata looking for his dad. None of these are really interesting, I don’t buy these motivations. Basically, whenever Eurobeat isn’t blasting and cars aren’t revving, MF Ghost just kind of sucks. And in this episode in particular, there wasn’t much Eurobeat or revving. Suffice to say, it’s a step down for me from last week.
Under Ninja – 3 [Boobs: So lose, Yet So Far] – Dropped
Yeah, I think this is it for me and Under Ninja. It has a lot of interesting things going on, the non-linear story telling, the world, a lot of the weird stuff behind it all. That’s fine. Good even! But I just can’t get through it’s sense of humor and crass nature. From the Breast Milk man to bribing people with sexual photos of an unconscious woman and selling her bras off without her permission. And this extends to the visuals to! Every other shot is either of scantily clad girls or them in compromised positions, like their legs spread to the camera. It infects both the character moments of our ninja NEET protagonist and the larger ninja action. I want to like this show. But it’s just not enjoyable to watch at this point.