Frieren – 11 [Winter in the Northern Lands]
This was a pretty chill episode of Frieren, which makes sense and is totally fine after the mid-season climax we got in the last 2 episodes. It was all about taking some time to enjoy life, get thanked by the people they saved, see the effects of their actions on those around them as the families finally get the bodies of their loved ones back. Oh and burgers, giant giant burgers. The most interesting thing about the episode I’d say was Kraft, the first elf we’ve met aside from Frieren. With him we get a completely different look at what it means to live for so long, as well as how nonchalant they are about it. Talking about not knowing each other, acting like the past 80 years was “recent news”, and talking about seeing each other again in a few centuries. It was kinda cool. The only thing that felt like a miss for me was their talk of praise, of being desperate for it and finding a way to get it. Kraft looks for it in his Goddess while Frieren got it from her adventuring friends, specifically Heiter. While it’s nice that she puts so much weight behind Heiter’s opinions, I don’t really vibe with this idea that we live our lives looking for praise from others. Maybe it’s just my perspective is different, as I generally only care about if I think something I do is good enough, and while praise from others is nice and affirming it’s not something I seek out. Because of that, Frieren lost me a bit here. Still even with that the passage of time, those 6 months as we slowly see them change in the montage like one by one praying at meals, was nice. Still a very well put together episode.
Undead Unluck – 7 [Dream]
Despite appearing so early, this has always been one of my favorite Undead Unluck arcs. Part of that is because it’s an incredibly inventive one, the way it uses zombies as unluck missiles while Andy sort of arm-chair generals them into attacking Spoil. Tack on how Fuuko has to be fond of her targets for it to work, which she is after hearing the history of this town, and it becomes a lot of fun. Meanwhile the emotional backbone of the fight, everything with the teacher and the kids, her desire to wear a wedding dress and finally getting that and using it to make the biggest unluck bomb possible with Fuuko while Shen uses his ability to stop the kids from chasing after her, was really heartwarming. The presentation also goes a long way to making it so emotionally gripping, the run through the sunflower fields, the VA work, the quick eye shots I love, everything. David Productions is doing a great job. Then we get Phase 2 with Spoil, he absorbs all of the zombies eventually leading to Fuuko’s “I have a dream” speech while Spoil argues for the necessity of his existence. It’s all solid stuff I enjoyed a lot, taking regular shounen tropes and, doing them solidly. There’s not much new here yet, the series doesn’t go off the rails for a while, but it’s here that Undead Unluck figures out what it wants to do.
The Apothecary Diaries – 6 [The Garden Party]
She said the line! Mao Mao said the line! As interesting as the political intrigue around Mao Mao finding poison might be, and there’s plenty going on there with the loli consort being allergic and her assistant purposefully screwing things up to embarrass her, it’s actually all of the smaller moments this episode that I enjoyed the most. Mao Mao collecting hairpins while not understanding what they mean, and I don’t either to be fair, the difference in her comportment while taste testing compared to the other testers and how those watching reacted, how the other hand maidens are afraid of her, even her getting all horny over the thought of ingesting poison like a damn masochist and enjoying good food. I expect next week will dive into the politics more, but it’s all of those small moments that really pulled me in and I appreciate Apothecary Diaries for including them.
SpyXFamily S2 – 6 [The Fearsome Luxury Cruise Ship]
Yor did something, she did the thing! I was pleasantly surprised by how much this episode focused on Yor. I was fully prepared for SpyXFamily to split our time on this cruise between her and Anya/Loid, and to be fair they did still get some screen time. But even when they did show up, their appearance was still centered on Yor. How to avoid letting Loid see her, how to help her, how close they were to crossing paths. That was nice. This arc is everything I’ve been wanting from a Yor-centric arc since season 1. She gets to be a badass, taking out assassins silently and efficiently, her head on a swivel catching the smallest movement like a hawk, knocking them out with buttons or breaking their hands. It’s cool! And it’s not like that’s all she does either, her talks with Mrs. Gretcher about enjoying the 3rd day with her family, or how out of place Yor seems in this business. I like how involved the Gretcher’s are in this, not just being faceless “clients”. As for Anya and Loid, like I said their gag is mostly around not letting Loid see Yor on the job. This is pretty funny, Loid trying to be the best “excited dad” while completely missing the point of a vacation by treating “relaxing” like a job. That whole joke about “Become the role, become the optimal dad” had me chuckling for a while. So yeah, good episode.
Shangri-La Frontier – 7 [Remnant of the Divinity: The Aberrant Loser]
Shangri-La was… fine this week? Not much more to say, going to be a short one. I like that Pencil actually got taken down. Since there’s no “death game” aspect to Shangri-la like a lot of other MMO anime it’s totally OK for characters to die and then respawn later with only their pride being hurt. Maybe that ruins the tension for some, but I treat Shangri-La like a popcorn action series as it was never that tense to begin with. I will say I’m not huge on this “trial” they have going on. This is supposed to be a level 80 quest with him fighting monsters far far above him, yet here he is clearing it anyways. Some of the explanations, watching him figure out mechanics and such, are nice and help make it work. But it feels like Shangri-La is breaking the rules of an “MMO” a bit here to me.
Goblin Slayer S2 – 7 [Jungle Cruise]
Finally, Goblin Slayer is back doing what it does best: D&D dungeon crawls killing goblins with clever tactics. Sending a false boat ahead to bait out ambushes, figuring out the plans to poison the water supply, noticing small details like the goblins being better armed than they should be and generally putting his knowledge to good use. That was all fun, I enjoyed that. Goblin Slayer also did a bit better with the personal quiet moments this week as well, stuff like High Elf Archer and her sister, Priestess’s reaction to what the goblins are doing, it even put some real effort into the Elven language! Frieren does most of this, like the age differences between their races, better of course. But I’ll commend Goblin Slayer for trying to give some more emotional depth to its characters with hints at real reasons for them to crush on Goblin Slayer, even if it immediately undercuts it with closeups of a girls thigh-gap. So yeah, feels like Goblin Slayer is getting back to what I watch it for: Fantasy Doom-Guy murdering goblins.
Overtake – 7 [Underexposure] – DROPPED
I hate to say it but… I’m done with Overtake. I can only handle so much repeated melodrama, there’s only to many times it can bring back the same plot point over and over and over again without ever truly resolving it. There were some bits that gave me hope, like Haruka coming to understand Kouya’s side and such. But I’m just done having this one photo thrown back in our faces over and over again, losing them a sponsorship or just fucking with their lives, without ever doing anything to try and grow past it. Meanwhile Overtake robs us of emotional catharsis by taking all of the big payoffs and attaching them to something irrelevant. It’s trying to have it’s cake and eat it to, and it’s achieving neither. So… I’m done. I’m not going to let Overtake have any more of my time.
MF Ghost – 7 [The Man In The 4 Car] – DROPPED
MF Ghost is in much the same spot, only worse. Where Overtake at least had, and maybe still has I’m just out of patience with it, the potential to be good, MF Ghost has none. I’m done with these ass closeups, I’m done with the creepy racer who only dates 17 year old’s and explicitly says he “likes them young”, I’m done with nothing happening in this race until the last 3 minutes of the episode. I’d get more out of slapping the Eurobeat soundtrack on and reading a book for 30 minutes than I would watching this show.