Enough dithering around with newer, but lesser shows for the moment. Time to get to one of the big shows: Knights of Sidonia 2.
It will come as no surprise that episode 2 deals with the chimera, Tsumugi as she’s called, and the impact she(?) has on the citizens and the internal politics, not to mention that other gauna. Apart from quick bonds made on the battlefield between it and Nagate, most of it comes out in a coming-out event arranged by Kunata/Ochiai. Some of the other soldiers are a little standoffish, others think she seems okay, Nagate is fascinated by her, as you would expect, and the rest of the attendees throw stuff at her. The issue for us at home is that she uses a young woman’s voice and is polite and deferential, actually kind of sweet, and gets flustered when she/it sees Nagate in a cast. Yet she’s a giant, monstrous alien in a woman’s form. That cute tentacle she creates to interact with people doesn’t help unravel the mixed signals she gives us.
When the episode isn’t having various people going WTF at Tsumugi, we watch some political machinations go on that contrast with the often cute chimera and her darling tentacles. Kobayashi gets all of Ochiai’s memories unsealed and then reseals them so that only she can access them. She also fully supports Tsumugi and, alas, Kunata/Ochiai. Then at the end she sends that clone to the Immortal Committee, that group of old farts who just lie there and bicker and blather about the old days, when they’ve just decided to impeach Kobayashi. That leaves her control of everything, in some ways good, because she’s a capable and uncorrupt commander, but now there’s no checks or balances on her decision-making. Will this mess her up?
Kekkai Sensen, with its wild action and great sense of style, is one of the new shows that has the potential for being “big.” However, episode 3 is a more laid-back affair that touches only lightly on Leo (as he enjoys hanging out with the ghost girl) and instead concentrates on Libra’s efforts to find info about a new, nasty drug. The normal routes turn up empty, so Klaus goes with a formidable woman named KK to appeal to a boss, Don Arlelelle, a big bug, and we learn something about a game called Prosfair, sort of an augmented chess. There’s a side story with Klaus trying to save the life of a chess master who lost to Arlelelle, but it’s mainly a battle of skill and endurance.
The show does its best, even throws in Beethoven’s ninth, but it doesn’t really work. The trouble with imaginary games is we don’t know the rules for them and can’t tell how it’s going. Also, while the board gets bigger, with little islands popping up, and weird pieces, it’s still a sit down game, and we have to get our dramatic cues from the characters moving pieces, sweating, and grunting, oh, and in this case, dripping blood. And since the game must last 99 hours, Klaus’s reactions might be from fatigue rather than worry or dismay. And meanwhile, KK just stands outside the room tapping her foot. Also, we already can guess that Klaus is going to survive. Well, not a bad episode, just not as wild as the first two.
Hibike! Euphonium also has potential to be a “big” show (Let’s be clear that the concept is entirely in my own head). I like the sober way it’s approaching this story. We have people in the band who really care about getting better, and we have people who don’t care. The latter are dragging down the former, and the year before it caused a rift and a number of then-first-years quit. They’re in danger of having that happen again. The third years are trying to keep it from happening, while the first years are getting frustrated. So would I. It’s being handled the wrong way. No practice because of a meeting? Damn it, the only way to get better is to practice! Find a room! Learn your parts!
First, there’s Taki’s assessment that they suck. Well, they do, but to use that as an excuse to not rehearse them isn’t going to help. Besides, there are absolute beginners here. Hazuki’s never played a tuba before! They’re going to suck for the whole school year no matter how hard you make them practice. And here’s the next thing. I played in my high school band (but since I played percussion, you could argue that point), and we had a very good ensemble, but we also practiced every day and gave a shit. Mind you, we were given more interesting music than the simple piece the girls and boys here are expected to play, and I suppose there isn’t a lot of easy music that’s fun to play. But Taki’s calm, friendly, “call me when you don’t suck” attitude probably wouldn’t work in the real world. I suppose it will in the anime, however.