Twos and a three: Tokyo Ghouls, Nozaki-kun, Free 2

tokyoghoul2-1

I’m dropping Tokyo Ghouls, not because I think it’s a bad show, but I’ve never been big on horror and this show is dripping with it. Episode 2 had Ken get a lecture from Touka while she beats him up, and later he gets a lecture from Nishiki while HE beats him up. It’s satisfying in the latter case that Ken takes hold of his inner ghoulishness and proceeds to beat Nishiki up, but I couldn’t stand the lectures. However, these lectures come from the POV of the characters, i.e., they’re not just generic ghouls but people with personalities, a point made in Yoshimura’s lecture, where he DOESN’T beat Ken up. They’ve also set up Ken’s dilemma (Ghoul? Human?) very well, establishing the threat to his human friend Hideyoshi in the process. Well done. Just not my bag. One more thing: what is it about coffee that ghouls like, and could they extract whatever it is and make non-human food, solving the problem, or do the ghouls just not care? I may never find out.

WIll this shot will appear in every episode, with a different person facing Sakura?
WIll this shot will appear in every episode, with a different person facing Sakura?

So, if I’m dropping TG, what am I keeping for now? How about Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun, about as opposite as one can get (no … Tamayura would be the opposite, but anyway …). It’s episode two and time to introduce new characters. We start with Mikoto, handsome, brash, often rude. Happily, after establishing this, the show goes to great lengths to make fun of him. He’s embarrassed by his own bad boy lines, after he says them; he has a desperate need to be needed, so much so that Nozaki asks Sakura to ask Mikoto something so he’ll get to be the wise senpai he sets himself out to be. In fact, Nozaki uses him as a model for his shoujo heroines. Sakura, meanwhile, is dutiful but irritated by all this. Sakura’s irritation is becoming one of her better traits.

Seo's approach to sports.
Seo’s approach to sports.

Good as Mikoto is, he’s outshined by Seo, Sakura’s friend, who is so oblivious to her surroundings and the feelings of people around her that Nozaki can’t believe it’s not an act. For us she’s a character who’s not afraid of anyone and says whatever she thinks. Sakura’s sort of the same way, but she has to think her opinions. Seo gets to say them. Calm Nozaki is a little overwhelmed by her, another good thing for the series. I don’t know about the contrasting side of her, singing like an angel, though. It seems a little forced. Still, a nice job: two good new characters in one episode.

Er, what?
Wrong sport.

Three episodes into Free! Eternal Summer, and every time the show threatens to get darker the creators back off. They introduce Sousuke, Rin’s best friend from way back, an excellent swimmer and an all-around decent fellow, only he carries a grudge against Haru for “making” Rin swim on their team last year. The confrontation they have at the vending machines feels like it’s from another, more intense sports anime, and even after they race he still has that attitude toward Haru, but to no one else. Meanwhile, Haru does some glaring of his own, but I don’t know what to make of it. Neither does the show, apparently, as it’s pretty much dropped for other, sillier plotlines, like a relay to open Goro’s pool, and the mistaken belief that Rei is considering rejoining the track team, leading to a few dull spying scenes. And while that business doubles back to Sousuke and Rin, the former doesn’t seem to care much anymore. So, is this show going to go back to Sousuke’s grudge or is it going to chase butterflies for the entire season?

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