Sorry, been traveling. Now I’m finally able to look at some episode twos. The trouble is, it’s now week three … So, here I go!
Hackadoll 2 has the girls, well, one of them, deciding to be idols, so they meed some producer guy, they train, and then they do a big show as a replacement group. So far it’s the usual idol dreams stuff. Then we see the concert going terribly, though no explanation is given for why, except the song is a little weird and so is the dancing. Then the walls collapse on everybody because of the resonance. I can’t figure this show out. Why was the song so weird? And the dancing? And the resonance bit–why? I don’t know if all this confusion in a show is annoying or appealing to me …
Meanwhile One Punch Man 2 is as fun as the first one. Though I wonder if all those mosquitoes had descended upon Saitama would he have been sucked dry too? How many mosquitoes can you hit with one punch? … Nah, if it came to that the show would have had him punch them all somehow. It’s already clear from the way he ducked the big lion’s multiple punches and caught up with that evil mole that he has more than punching ability going for him. Besides, the show wouldn’t be as much fun if they tried to set limits or laws on what he could do, or how all those cities can get destroyed week after week. As for Genos, I don’t know if Saitama needs a sidekick, especially a one-dimensional one like that, but he works well enough with Saitama’s understated humor, and the show demonstrated, by way of how they presented his origin speech to the increasingly agitated Saitama, that they’re aware of the dangers his type of character presents.
Sakurako-san 2 leaves me a bit worried. It’s not that the story isn’t interesting, even if I’m not the biggest fan of seeing grisly murders reenacted, especially when they involve small children. From the moment the kid went on about I-chan jumping it was clear that this was important, and I was further surprised by the arrival of the second kid. What bothers me is the stuff around it. I would say it feels too by-the-book. Genius detective, sidekick narrator, and this week the cop was introduced as bumbling but supportive member of the force. The two standalone stories we’ve gotten so far make the humdrum setup more obvious. Plus, we got the INCREDIBLE COINCIDENCE of Shoutarou’s friend Kougami showing up at just that time and recognizing the kid. That bit was ridiculous. But the stuff that IS different is still pretty good. Shoutarou looks at Sakurako with a mix of puppy love and morbid curiosity, while her opinion of him is apparently the long-term story to be told.
We learn more about Heavy Object in episode 2 as well, but here it doesn’t feel as worrisome. Milinda’s heavy object gets blowed up by another heavy object, and after that Qwenther and Havia learn all about what the enemy, for one, thinks about all that white flag nonsense as it continues to blow things and people up, like what usually happens in modern warfare. So there’s that, and also the moral decisions that are made. Qwenther decides to go rescue Milinda even while being told that Milinda sent the SOS to distract the HO so the others can escape. It leads to a too-long argument in ethics with Havia. Later there’s more philosophy as Milinda wonders why commoners rescued her, countered by a “you put your life on the line” speech, also too long, but better, and a far-too long internal struggle with fear Qwester has when he sees Milinda captured. Later, the three of them evade the HO and talk more, but it’s about strategy and tactics and mad plans, so it was far more enjoyable.
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk 2 starts with Ayato having a dream about his sister, made more poignant by the fact that we know she’s probably dead and he doesn’t. But after that the mood lightens up as the show adds another harem member, blue-haired and laconic childhood friend Saya, and immediately she and Julis start to bicker. Then Claudia comes along to make the other girls even angrier. The “who gets to show Ayato around the campus?” battle is made funnier by the fact that Saya didn’t know where anything is, either. Then the girls bicker some more, some hapless assassins show up, the girls bond a bit fighting it off, Ayato gets his inevitable weapon, and Claudia starts putting the moves on him. All typical stuff, but none of it felt as wearying as in other shows. I can’t put my finger on why. I guess I’ll look at Cavalry next for contrast … oh wait, here’s episode 3!
And it’s an episode where I begin to wonder if the show really wants to make a harem series. Saya doesn’t show up at all. Claudia does offer herself, but you really don’t know what’s going on in her head. It’s mainly Julis who spends time with Ayato. It’s mostly predictable, including the assassin attack during the city tour, but we get some interesting backstory on her and her orphan friends who gave her a dose of reality at an early age, more than most princesses get. But mainly the episode works with the “Do what you’re supposed to do” concept, which in Julis’s case, means fighting duels in a system she despises because she needs the money (with a nice commentary about modern political beliefs–the immorality of refusing to care for people because there’s no profit in it), and in Ayato’s case protecting Julis. But how does he know where she went? And how is he going to land?