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Winter 2024 What-I’m-Watching Summary – Week 8

Undead Unluck – 21 [Memento Mori]

It’s simultaneously fantastic and depressing just how good Undead Unluck is when it’s not poorly paced. Seriously, this episode was brilliant. Spending 20 minutes with a young Andy who doesn’t know about his powers? Watching him go from this dour person unable to find joy in life to one strong enough to face tomorrow? That one Fuko line about how learning about Andy meant learning about the numerous farewells, something obvious in hindsight since he’s functionally immortal? I loved all of it. Honestly, between this, Frieren, and the Wolverine comics I’m reading right now, the “Immortal finds purpose through the transient lives of others” trope might be one of my favorites. It’s ripe with potential, and each of them is hitting it in a different way. I also loved that we saw the beginnings of what has been holding Andy back power-wise. How he views death as “The brain stops functioning”, which inherently limits his “Undeath” to negating just that. But if he broadens his mind a bit, views death like Fuko does, as “When you’re forgotten”… What will that do to his negation ability? What will that do to his personality? Only time will tell. And then Undead Unluck just has to cap it off with a beautiful confession scene, tying a nice little bow on one of the best episodes we’ve gotten in weeks.

Dungeon Meshi – 9 [Tentacles/Stew]

Unsurprisingly, Dungeon Meshi had another good week this week. Half of it was dedicated simply to getting Marcille back to health, of defeating the Undine and finding a way to cook a water elemental of all things. And you know what? It was fun! Senshi having an Adamant pot, a family heirloom that he repurposed because cooking was more important too him than fighting, was hilarious. And using it to capture the Undine by sandwiching it with the pot, boiling it over a fire and making a stew out of it, was brilliant. Dungeon Meshi always comes up with the cleverest ways to cook these creatures, and that’s no different here. Meanwhile the other half was all about Namari, my wife, and her relationship with the crew. I quite like her! Not only because she’s a ho beef cake capable of holding down an Undine or because for all her bluster she clearly does care about them, but because she seems to fit with the group so well. I was really sad when it turned out she wasn’t sticking with the group, I would have loved to add her as a permanent member. Alas, I will have to settle for small moments like these. Oh also the episode looked incredible, again, and was also surprisingly brutal with Namari getting absolutely domed. Was not expecting that, really set the tone for the rest of the episode. Also really liked the “This dungeon is a place where people can’t die” bit, really cool world building.

A Sign of Affection – 8 [One Small Step]

Really, really cute episode of Yubisaki. Up until now I’ve talked a lot about Yuki’s expressiveness, the detail in the sign language animation, and how wholesome their interactions are. And that all holds true for this episode as well! If anything, Yubisaki is only improving on those fronts. What I want to talk about this week though is Itsuomi, and how I’m coming to like him more and more. Early on he came off as this idealized “pretty boy”, the wish-fulfillment type character we see so often who get away with having the personality of a cardboard box. But the more time we spend with him, the more the real Itsuomi bleeds through, the more cracks appear in that “perfect” image we were originally given. His tan now clashes with the rest of his color palette, his dye is fading and his roots are showing, his clothes and hair slowly becoming more and more unkempt. It’s like he’s becoming more comfortable showing his true self around Yuki and, by extension, us the audience. And as if to reinforce that, this week we finally get a look into his backstory, his history with the other characters. Yeah it’s through Shin’s eyes as he friend-zones himself with Emma, both of them deluding themselves into thinking one day Itsuomi will say yes and being unable to break the bad news to her, but its still a nice bit of intimacy we haven’t had with the character before. So yeah, great episode, Yubisaki continues to get better every week. Oh, real quick, I also really appreciated that Itsuomi clarified the kiss thing and setup a signal in the future to avoid miscommunication, I love it when anime don’t just assume the girl will say “yes” to everything.

The Apothecary Diaries – 20 [Thornapple]

This episode felt like a stark improvement over the previous. I mentioned last time I wasn’t a fan of the over the top mystery, nor Jinshi’s incredibly reserved reaction to everything that happened. So it was really nice that this week started with everyone showing serious concern for Mao Mao and finally trying to figure out what the hell happened. Sure, a good chunk of it was just repeating the mystery to us, could have done without that. But it lead to a rather interesting reveal with Suirei that I really wasn’t expecting. Especially the poison, and the callback to the medicine hill! The idea that she would put herself into a coma to escape execution never crossed my mind, so this was a great twist. As for Jinshi, this week Apothecary Diaries finally admitted he wasn’t actually a eunuch, something we’ve suspected for a while, and that his “pretty man” routine is actually all done on purpose to lull people into a sense of security. We also learn he’s actually 19, not 24, which makes his attraction to Mao Mao a bit better, and the joke about impotency with the drink was funny too. The main take away from this bit of the episode though was that Mao Mao is being sent back to the Rear Palace, a welcome change if you ask me. Not only will it bring back a lot of characters I like, the setting of the Rear Palace is just far more interesting too me. Suffice to say, I’m looking forward to whats going on with Gaoshu, Loulan and the Verdigris princess being bought out. Sounds like a lot is getting setup again.

Frieren – 25 [A Fatal Vulnerability]

Good Frieren episode this week. I’ll admit, I didn’t really care about the fight itself, it’s just a bunch of flashy lights and while it looks cool, there’s not a whole lot of weight behind it. Not like with Aura and the demons. The real meat for me, rather, was the flashback with Serie. That whole conversation, the clear grief he felt for Flamme’s death despite his constant denial that it was anything more than a “whim”, the resigned acceptance that the age of humans will one day come and they will surpass the elves. All of that, the imagery of the field of flowers, the spell we first saw Frieren cast so long ago, was great. The last one, the age of humans bit, especially stuck with me. How elves have all the time in the world to make their decisions, and so they delay and overthink them knowing a 100 years is nothing, meanwhile humans have so little time that they don’t hesitate at all. As little as I cared for the fight, this fed into it well and explained, at least a little, how Fern was able to contribute to defeating Frieren. I still think that’s a bit bullshit, all that stuff about Frieren basically “magically flinching” when casting a spell, but hey. Gotta make things exciting somehow right. So yeah, solid episode, the flashbacks where we see how Frieren was compared to how she is now continue to be the best part of the show. Magical arms races are funny.

The Wrong Way to Use Healing Magic – 9 [The End and the Beginning]

The conclusion to Rose’s flashback, Wrong Way absolutely nailed it this week. The fights weren’t much, sure. But the emotion behind them, the way it sold the deaths of the squad and Rose’s trauma, worked really well.  The way Nero ordered his men to give their lives one for one, how shocked the humans were by it, how offended Rose got not by the deaths of her people but by Nero giving up on the lives of his own. I adored the way Aul took the final hit herself, giving her life to ensure Roses victory. And the way Amila, the current demon General who was just a soldier back then, looks after and drags her leader to safety, acting just enough like Aul in Rose’s eyes that she couldn’t kill her, was the cherry on top. Brought some much needed personal history to the upcoming conflict, makes me a lot more invested in the fights we’re about to be getting next week. An all around good episode, great way to setup the conflict, and really sold me on what Rose sees in Usato.

Ishura – 9 [Fire From the Sky]

Ishura’s big battle royal continues this week, as more and more fighters flock to Lithia. First and foremost, Soujirou survived! And he made it to Lithia. However as it turns out, he really doesn’t care who he fights, only so long as they are strong. Lithian soldiers? Giant spider mechs apparently on his side? He makes no distinction, only caring that they are strong enough to be a challenge. In a way, Soujirou is a 3rd party in this political conflict, and will no doubt cause a lot of problems for a lot of people. For now though, he’s just trying to catch up to the action. As for the 2nd half, this was all Regnejee and Alus duking it out. This was… Pretty cool. I don’t much care for Regnejee admittedly, his power set is basically “General”, he commands a large number of wyverns with what is basically mind control. But the way he interacts with Alus made it all work, a classic conflict between individuality and conformity. Alus himself didn’t seem to care all that much, only fighting because Regnejee forced him too, he would have gladly left well enough alone. Because to him, this whole thing? He’s gone beyond it. Beyond Regnejee. And that was kind of interesting. Also the fight, especially the fire spreading along the ground and up the tower, was pretty damn cool, so that was fun.

Shangri-La Frontier – 20 [Current Situations and Next Steps]

Shangri-La continues to bask in the afterglow of the Wezaemon fight. Sunraku is exploring his loot, trying to progressive the games narrative with Vash, and generally enjoying some downtime. Meanwhile Arthur resolves to beat the rest of the game after hearing Setsuna’s last words, when originally she had planned to quit after defeating Wezaemon. All in all, it’s more book keeping and box checking. The most interesting thing I would say was the reaction of the company itself. The relationship between the two directors, one centered on the setting, the other one turning into an actual game, was fun. A bit over the top, but it’s clear both are passionate about what they do, and learning what Wezaemon was meant to be more of a late-game Colossus rather than the first defeated was kind of interesting. Tells us they have an order, a difficulty, and that defeating one may give clues to the others. Should be cool to see where it goes!

Unwanted Undead Adventurer – 9 [Dragonblood Flower]

A solid, if rather dull, episode of Unwanted Undead. Felt very much like filler to be honest. We already know Rentt is a good guy, a true hero, we saw it with the village last episode and his general conduct with everyone else. We don’t really need an episode around helping an orphanage in a rather stereotypical plot. Oh the matron is sick and the kids put out a request, a bronze coin, a tradition in the guild hall for charity basically? It’s fine I suppose, I just wasn’t particularly interested is all. he rat especially turned me away, Rentt doesn’t need a mascot and the addition of one is just pointless. Hopefully this was a one-off slip-up for Unwanted Undead.

The Witch and the Beast – 7 [The Witch and the Demon Sword, Act II]

This episode of Majo to Yajuu was, to be frank, mediocre. The obvious weaknesses like the action are still there of course. Majo to Yajuu can’t have a good looking fight scene to save its life, honestly it’s some of the worst production of the season, not just of what I’m watching. That’s a real shame considering how interesting some of the powers and combatants involved, Matt Cugat was pretty cool even with his shitty production.  Sadly though he’s held back by Majo to Yajuu’s complete and utter inability to move. Unique to this episode though is the narrative. It’s just so… Boring? Lots of running away, mediocre fights, and a completely expected “twist” with the church guy being evil? Honestly what gets me the most is the question “Why do these Executioners exist”. You already have 2 organizations built around hunting witches, why does the narrative need a 3rd? It feels pointless and unnecessary, just like the entire arc. Take me back to the undead lady please and thank you.

Solo Leveling – 8 – No Episode This Week

Bucchigiri – 7 – No Episode This Week

The post Winter 2024 What-I’m-Watching Summary – Week 8 appeared first on Star Crossed Anime.

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