SpyXFamily S2 – 8 [The Symphony Upon the Ship]
This was good. In fact I’d go so far as to say this was my favorite episode of SpyXFamily this season, maybe of the entire show. It had everything. A badass fight scene where Yor got to strut her stuff against a variety of enemies with their own unique gimmicks, all well choreographed and timed to music with a flashy fireworks backdrop, as well as an emotional and personal internal decision finally letting Yor take ownership of her job. We’ve known why Loid works as a spy for a long time, he wants to prevent a war, sacrificing his chance at a normal life to protect everyone else’s. But Yor has always felt a bit aimless, doing this job to look after a brother that’s already an adult getting by on his own. She herself mentions maybe quitting a few times, making it not feel very important. This episode fixes that. She finally has the chance to look at what she’s doing, steel herself as to the possible consequences, and commit for reasons all her own. And you know what? She’s right. Loid would completely understand, hell he’d probably encourage it and respect her for making the choice. Because it’s basically the same choice he made when becoming a spy. I’ve bitched for a long, long time about Yor feeling like a 3rd wheel in the show, about how she needed an arc of her own. And a couple of you haven’t been too happy about that, feel I’ve been unfair. Well to me, this episode is vindication. This is how good SpyXFamily can be when it has 3 main characters, not 2 and a tag-a-long wife. It was fantastic, and I’m really really looking forward to tomorrows (Or today depending on when this goes up) climax to the arc. Good shit.
Undead Unluck – 9 [Return]
Another banger from Undead Unluck. There was some jank in the animation and after effects this week, and I have to say I’m getting tired of this red tint and just how dark some scenes can be making it impossible to pick out details. Plus I still don’t like the ecchi/boob jokes with Fuuko, though I know that eventually goes away entirely so I’ll bear with it for now. The directing however continues to be top notch. I don’t know why but I absolutely love these closeup eye shots. Something about them, how detailed they are and the emotion they convey with them, gets me every time. As for what happened, mostly a lot of fighting. Victor is fun, basically testing everyone, meanwhile Fuuko finally gets a chance to shine and proactively beat someone/save Andy. That was nice, and the kiss was great. Undead Unluck really sold the emotion behind that one, cutting out the music and slowing down their movement. Plus Fuuko’s nervous little toe movements after. All around a very emotional scene and a good episode, even if the production is starting to get a bit shaky.
The Apothecary Diaries – 8 [Wheat Stalks]
This was an interesting episode for me. I like it when Mao Mao is allowed to be herself and show her expertise, figuring out what/how/why something happened. Adding her father into the mix also brought an interesting dynamic where she could say and do what she wanted, unlike the Palace, but still wasn’t the true “authority” in the room. There’s also the way he criticized her desire to look so deeply into things, basically telling her she was there to do a job and nothing more, that this tendency to go beyond that would get her in trouble. Oh and the whole thing with the liquid densities, the straw, layered drinks and such? That was awesome. I thought for sure the inside of the straw had been coated in poison, but this was so much cooler. It also helped that something about the brothel politics was so much more interesting than Palace politics. I think it’s because there’s no Emperor in the brothel, there is no king, no higher authority whom they are appealing to. It really is just trying to survive in a shitty business with assholes preying on them, with one girl having to much and trying to get some revenge. As for returning to the Palace, Jinshi’s reaction was fun. Mao Mao clearly wasn’t doing it on purpose, but the way he shut down as she talked about her time with Lihaku, the implication that she slept with him, how Jinshi feels like a “consolation prize”. It’s good banter, I always enjoy their interactions. So yeah, good episode. Not incredible, but fun.
Frieren – 13 [Aversion to One’s Own Kind]
Honestly, this was the weakest Frieren episode in a while. Not that it was bad, it wasn’t. More that I wasn’t all that interested in the focus of the episode, Sein, a new party member. I get it, they do need a priest, and connecting his refusal, his fear, of leaving because it’s “to late” back to Frieren’s first meeting with Himmel was cute. But I just don’t… Like him? Very much? Frieren is going for something similar to Heiter with Sein, a very irreverent priest looking for something more in the world, someone with a heart of gold beneath all of their drinking and smoking. And that’s fine. It’s just… We had that with Heiter, and I liked him and his relationship with Frieren, teaching her about the world and relationships, more. I don’t think it works as well when Frieren is the one teaching someone else. A big draw for me with the show is Frieren figuring out how to live among people and to savor her time with them, not this immortal being gifting them lessons. I suppose I just didn’t connect with the episode. Again, it wasn’t bad. Still looks great, and Frieren has some fantastic faces, that whole “Smooch” thing was pretty funny. It just lacked the emotional connection for me so many of Frieren’s other episodes had.
Oh and P.S. Hitting your family is now how you communicate your feelings, Japan please stahp.
Shangri-La Frontier – 9 [A Dazzling Sea of Trees]
Decent week? Shangri-La Frontier is setting the seeds for a much larger story this week. Pencil all but leaving her PK guild because they turned into a bunch of whiny bitches afraid to pursue the “impossible” content, running from big fights, etc etc. She clearly wants to bet it all on beating one of these big Colossi, on becoming a legend within the game by doing something no one else has. She’s just like Sunraku in the sense that she’s always looking for a challenge. I figure this will inevitably lead her to joining his team, instead of hunting him. As for Sunraku, he becomes friends with Psyger, the cute girl who has a crush on him who will also inevitably join him, and then wanders off into the forest. Then its just a bunch of exploration, looking around the new environment, watching the monsters and how they interact. This was fun, I enjoy the idea of a game that rewards you for killing things in certain ways, reminds me of how Dark Souls would give you special weapons if you cut off a dragons tail before you killed it, or The Surge where you got specific parts for cutting of specific limbs and such. It’s a very appealing mechanic, and I think Shangri-la communicates it well here. Aside from that though? Sunraku didn’t make a whole lot of progress or do anything too interesting. So just sort of a middle of the road episode.
Goblin Slayer S2 – 9 [Once There Was Youth, Now There Is Nothing At All]
Goblin Slayer takes it back to the basics here with some classic D&D fun. I won’t pretend to care about the Arch Bishops thing with goblins, nor her relationship with Goblin Slayer. I really don’t. My favorite part of the episode was easily their fight with the Sea Serpents on behalf of the Sahuagin. The action, the tactics, clever ideas like using Water Walk on it so that it can’t go back underwater, that’s what I come to Goblin Slayer for. Aside from that there were some funny bits. Goblin Slayer being terrible at reporting on any quest that isn’t about goblins, meaning his rank is probably lower than it should be for all the shit he’s killed. The guards at the capital, doubting him only to pull a 180 once the Arch Bishop sticks her head out. There’s some fun classic “Charisma is my dump stat” stuff in there. It’s just the Arch Bishop, her stripper outfit, and her weird obsession with Goblin Slayer that I wasn’t into. Everything else was fine.