Hello everyone! Apologies for the delay on this, I’ve been playing a lot of Granblue Fantasy Versus Rising. I made it to A4! Woo! Anyways, this is a special week as Aidan is making a return to help cover Sengoku Youko! So if that’s a show your interested in, read to the end and see what he thinks. I’ll admit, I’ve heard a lot of good things about the second episode, so I might pick it back up again if that continues. Anyways, read on!
Dungeon Meshi- 3 [Living Armor]
This was easily the best Dungeon Meshi episode yet, and exactly what I was looking for from the series. The food stuff is still there, it’s relevant and we still get a bunch of unique monster dishes at the end. But the focus is much more on the characters, Laios specifically, their past, and conquering the unique challenges the dungeon presents. Starting the episode with his sword breaking only to wind up in a hall that had challenged him previously in his career, then ending with them not only conquering it but discovering something new about it and gaining a new sword, was great. And the design of the Living Armor? How it’s actually a bunch of mollusks inside mimicking human movement like muscles, and you have to deal with it like a shellfish? That’s an absolutely brilliant idea, inspired even, and so much more “magical” and interesting than just “The armor is enchanted”. This is the first time Dungeon Meshi has impressed me with it’s world building and monster design, it really was great. And of course to top it off, I believe this was the Kai Ikarashi episode we’ve been expecting for a while, the same guy who did Cyberpunk: Edgerunners episode 6. And surprise surprise, it looked stellar. Dungeon Meshi looks decent to good on a normal day, but this episode knocked it out of the park. All around a fantastic week for the show, I’m bought in now.
The Apothecary Diaries – 14 [The New Pure Consort]
A fine enough episode. The first half was Mao Mao interacting with the courtesans again, being recommended for a class of some kind. I can only assume she’s teaching them things from the Verdigris House, judging by the various blushes and reactions. This is mainly to introduce the new Pure Consort Rou Ran (?), the one replacing Au Duo. So far she seems a bit reclusive, keeping to herself and not reacting or saying much. I suspect there’s some plotting going on that we will find out about later. The second half was Mao Mao investigating an explosion in a warehouse, figuring out it was a flour explosion, and generally showing off her intelligence to some members of the military. No doubt this will get out and someone will want to talk to her, pulling her into court politics. That feels like a given. Still, it was fun to watch, set up some intrigue, and Jinshi being jealous of Gaoshun for how much Mao Mao actually appreciates him is hilarious.
Solo Leveling – 2 [If I had one more]
Solo Leveling was actually really good this week. I know I give it a lot of shit, because I know where the original series goes, and I bring that up a lot. But credit where it’s due, Solo Leveling absolutely nailed the horror of this episode. The looming danger of the statues, the almost sadistic pleasure the boss took in it all, the desperation of the adventurers. It was also shockingly gory. I knew people died, I just wasn’t expecting the anime to show it so clearly. I figured we would get that black shadow cover up or something. Some people won’t like that, they aren’t big on needless gore, but I think it sold the scene rather well. It’s a shame the RPG elements are starting to come in, never an enjoyable trope. But hey, it was a great episode and the adaptation absolutely nailed the inciting incident of the story. Good shit. I hope it can keep it up.
Frieren – 19 [Well-Laid Plans]
I’m really mixed on this episode. On one side, I maintain that Frieren doesn’t need what amounts to a tournament arc, that the best parts of the show continue to be Frieren’s memories of the past and how the present reminds her of them. It’s those chill moments remembering halcyon days that I enjoy the most, like the small bit with Himmel we got this week. On the other hand, the action is pretty cool. The plan to freeze the lake, to infuse all bodies of water they could find with magic, to drive the Stille to one in particular so Frieren could capture it was smart. I also like that Frieren has a hyper specific spell just for capturing birds, because finding incredibly specific and unique magic like that is what she’s done for almost 1,000 years. It also doesn’t feel OP when the range is so limited, because folk magic, despite it working on “All bird-like things” including monsters. Fern also makes a decent showing, executing the basics to such a high level that even her opponent is impressed. It is nice to see that old style of magic duking it out with the more modern, “complex” spells people are coming up with. Overall where I’m at is that the episodes are fun in the sense that watching a well animated, well executed fantasy show is fun, but it’s not giving me what I want from Frieren as a show specifically, the comparison between past and future as she walks the same road she did 100 years ago. Still, pretty lights go brr.
Undead Unluck – 15 [Under]
Decent episode. A lot of recap at the start, and the new OP isn’t that great compared to the first. Over all though it feels like Undead Unluck is starting to get back on its feet after an otherwise lackluster arc. The conversation with Chikara was nice, exploring how he got here and why he makes the decision to join them. Also liked Fuuko gushing about highschool. It’s quite sad when you remember she never got to attend one herself, because of her Unluck, so this is the first time she’s been able to see the place all of her Shoujo manga are set. It’s like a dream to her in a way, and I think Andy recognizes that. That’s really all that happened in the episode though, and while it was rather emotional at times, it still probably didn’t need to take up the whole episode. Hopefully the next arc will be paced a bit better, what with the new quests coming out.
Unwanted Undead Adventurer – 3 [The Undead Infiltrates the Town]
Unwanted Undead continues to chug along, neither particularly impressive nor bad enough to drop. I spends just enough time exploring Rentt’s relationships within the town, meeting people who once knew them, having them suspect or figure out something is up themselves, that I maintain hope it will go somewhere with it. That Unwanted Undead won’t just use this curse as window dressing for an OP MC. But then it also goes back into the labyrinth, the least interesting part of the story, for some exploration, action and new trouble. This isn’t all bad, Unwanted Undead has an opportunity to do something interesting by letting another character in on his secret, possibly exposing him to the town at large. The upcoming fight with the Giant Skeleton could be fun too. I just… I’m not convinced Unwanted Undead will actually commit to that sort of character stuff. Still, I’m having enough fun with it that I’ll keep watching. It’s at least trying to do what I want after all.
The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic – 3 [Brutal! The Darkness of Llinger!]
I am once again shocked, shocked I tell you, at how solid Wrong Way is. This is an OP MC Isekai, it’s not supposed to be good. Yet… I’m having so much fun with it. The way it takes a stupid basic “training” quest to go kill a strong creature and turns it into a revenge story, culminating in our lead gaining a friend/companion. How our lead is fueled primarily by spite for his teacher, Rose. It goes through the effort of setting up the “Pull victory out of my ass” bullshit properly by having him drink bad water, learning how to heal it, and then using the same technique against poison! Is that a huge thing worthy of praise? Not really, it’s basic narrative structure. But so many isekai fail it that I can’t help but be happy Wrong Way is putting in some amount of effort. Speaking of effort, this VA is doing a great job of selling it. Seriously, it’s crazy how fun this is. I don’t like it the same way I do Affection or Undead Unluck, I probably won’t remember it once this season is over. But Wrong Way, so far, is one of my favorite “Sit down and chill” anime of the season. I’m just having a good time with it, enjoying an Isekai that for once seems to actually give a shit. It’s a nice surprise. Also the twist with the rabbit was hilarious, sneaky bastard.
Ishura – 3 [Dakai the Magpie and Regnejee the Wings of Sunset]
This was another disappointing episode for Ishura. Once again rather than spending time with our leads, it instead introduces and sets up two “new” characters. I get it, Ishura wants to prepare this big cast for one giant tournament, building each of them up as valid protagonists to possibly win the whole thing. There’s only two issues with that: 1) The show is nowhere near long enough, at one cour, to cover an entire arc like that at the pace it’s going, and 2) We already know who the lead is, who the most important character will be. You don’t need to introduce all of these rivals when we’ve only known our leading man for about 8 minutes in the first episode. Introduce them via the lead! Have them run into each other in a friendly setting, or have him listen to a story about them and reacting even, anything to build up who he is and what he’s doing. Right now? The fucking red wyvern, Regnejee, has gotten more screen time than our lead. I don’t give a shit about the wyvern! I want to see the guy who solo’ed a titan!
A Sign of Affection – 2 [To Affection]
I enjoyed this episode of Affection a lot. Like… a lot a lot. There were so many small things to love, from the care and detail put into all the little hand movements from the sign language, to the way others got Yuki’s attention by lightly tapping her. The background English, the distinct way Oushi signs compared to Yuki or Itsuomi, how expressive the eyes and faces are, the lips, god I love these lips. And that’s just on a production side! Narratively I’m really enjoying the direction Affection decided to take this. Of Yuki actively choosing to fall in love. How Oushi is overprotective, like many childhood friends, but he actually has legitimately good reason to be so since Yuki is deaf, and it people who aren’t that can’t help but be seen as as a weakness, someone needing protecting. Obviously he’s being setup to fail, he’s overbearing and rather rude about his concern, but the point is it is a valid concern. He just takes it too far. Really the only issue I have is Itsuomi seems to have absolutely no concept of personal space, and I could see that becoming rather toxic in the future? No judgement yet, will have to see how Affection handles it, but it could go wrong. Whatever it does, for now I’m enjoying this show a lot. It’s a really solid romance.
Metallic Rouge – 2 [Wander in the Labyrinth]
This episode of Metallic Rouge was… sort of bad? The action at the end was admittedly great, sure. Everyone loves a car chase with explosions and a Tokusatsu robot suit fight. But the way we got there was so… uninspired. Did we really need to sit through a lecture on competing alien species? And are you telling me 3 of these super dangerous autonomous war robots were just sitting out there, waiting to wake up on a commonly traveled route, right as our leads pass by? It’s just… So much about Metallic Rouge feels like a “Paint by committee” generic sci-fi, as if they chose a number of common science-fiction tropes, shoved them in a box, and shook it up to see what would come out. And don’t even get me started on our leads. Their relationship feels so… forced? It almost feels like blatant bait to me, especially with that one “woof” scene that didn’t fit at all and only exists to drive up the “Sexual tension”. I just… The only part of this show I’m enjoying, I’m engaged with, is the action. Everything else feels hollow and uninteresting. Hopefully it manages to do something with it, because so far I’m incredibly disappointed with Metallic Rouge.
The Witch and the Beast – 2 [The Witch’s Pasttime: Opening Act]
This was a solid week for Witch and Beast. Animation wise it still isn’t great, and to be honest I don’t think it ever will be. Nothing about this show strikes me as a looker. Still, I am becoming more and more interested in its world, its setting and magic system. I enjoy how it isn’t some secret society, rather magic is everywhere and everyone is aware of it, making their job entirely legal with almost no need to hide it. I enjoy the monsters, the mention of forbidden tools, the use of animals and the gruesome way the witch kills people. But you want to know what I enjoy the most? I enjoy the leads and their dynamic. The way Guideau and Ashaf bounce off of each other is fantastic. The banter, the insults, the VA work, the way Ashaf clearly enjoys messing with her, and how Guideau clearly hates him but puts up with it for work. Much like Undead Murder Farce from a few seasons ago, and yes I will write that review I swear, Witch and Beast is being carried by its leads and their dynamic. Hopefully, unlike Undead Murder Farce, it uses them as a sort of vehicle into an equally as interesting world and plot. That’s what it seems to be doing so far at least. Only time will tell if it succeeds. For now though? I’m down to watch these two assholes interact and hunt witches.
‘Tis Time for “Torture”, Princess!- 2
Time for Torture continues to be fantastic. I was worried at first that it would stick to the food thing, that it would get old rather quickly. But this week I was pleasantly surprised to find Time for Torture already branching out. From playing video games together and making jokes about the Demon King’s kid having cram school to outdoor bathes and giant women. You want to know what my favorite joke of the episode was? The thing that had me laughing out loud? When transporting the princess to the bath, they put a blindfold on her. You know who else they put one on? The god damn sword. And it’s those small details that makes Time for Torture work I think. It always makes sure to include every character present in the joke, no matter how nonsensical it may have to get to do so, and it just makes it funnier. It helps that Time for Torture is one of the best looking, most expressively animated, and vibrantly colored showed of the season. It looks incredible, of that there can be no doubt. But great animation isn’t enough to carry a show, and so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised on that front. I really hope it manages to keep reinventing things, coming up with new situations, until the end of the season. I’d be really sad if it got stale.
Sengoku Youko – 2 [Shakugan]
AidanAK47: It took over a decade but Mizukami finally got an anime adaption that actually cares about his work. We are not getting mindblowing sakuga but it’s serviceable enough to do the job. Really this is a show that both looks and feels like an anime from the 2000’s and that’s because the manga actually is from 2007. Indeed this is the best effort a Mizukami work has gotten so far but despite that I must say this through gritted teeth. This show is solid. It has an enjoyable cast, its plot is progressing well with it introduing darker elements and its animation is fine. It’s a solid show…but it isn’t a great one. If you are enjoying this I can promise you it only gets better but if you are unimpressed then I am unsurprised. There is a reason that this is the manga that this is the mang that is read the least out of Mizukami’s big hits and that’s in how the story takes a long time to find its footing. We could have an upsurge of popularity once it hits its stride much in how Demon Slayer exploded with its 19th episode(Well obviously not to that level) but the biggest hurdle to this show’s success is in how many are going to stick around for it to bloom.
Pon no Michi – 3 [Let’s Eat] – DROPPED
Well it’s official, Pon no Michi was being carried by its novelty and the Mahjong, as this week had very little of either. It forfeited so much of what made it fun and interesting for me, the girls playing and learning Mahjong together and discovering their various styles, jokes or simply making references, and devolved into a much more standard Slice of Life where they go around and do regular every day things. They go out shopping, cooking, exploring the space in this tiny ass parlor. The only interesting bit about the episode for me was the talk on cheating, where they actually played around with the game a bit. That’s nice, that’s what I want! But Pon no Michi doesn’t seem to want to give it to me. And that’s a shame. So I’m just going to… not continue watching.