Winter 2018 #5

Takunomi opens with Tokyo Station, which is a place for transferring, so many people don’t know it looks like this outside.

Sharing the half hour with Dagashi Kashi is Takunomi, where a young woman named Michiru comes to Tokyo for the first time, runs into trouble, gets freaked out, falls asleep on the train, freaks out some more, but is finally taken to her new home by Kae, the motherly one of the all-woman hostel. The then meets Nao, drunk already, and we learn how to pour Yebisu beer, and a secret about its label. Also, good food is prepared, but they didn’t have brand names. Looked delicious, though. And that’s about it.

I suppose as Dagashi Kashi is for snack food, Takunomi is supposed to be for drinks. Not sure we need it, but why not?  Did we need Dagashi?  Only with hindsight do we say “hell, yes!”  It’s too early to tell how good this show will get yet, but I noticed that I really didn’t get interested until drunken Kae talked about how she got her lost hopes and dreams back thanks to a special Yebisu beer label, and all I can figure is that her life wasn’t turning out the way she wanted so she turned to drink, but presented in a more surreal way.  So maybe it’s a show about adult failures, and why not?  At least the other women at the hostel think Kae drinks too much, though they can all put it away. Not sure about this one.

Fairy-tale opening placard for Hakume to Mikochi.  Yes, they are tiny.

Hakumei to Mikochi is about the titular, diminutive women, as they live and work in a forest somewhere. It’s a good life. Mikochi cooks minestrone, they both ride beetles when they get tired, and they make friends with enormous (for them) birds who you think would just eat them. In the second half they visit a busy market and Mikochi (the sensible one) loses her wallet, but since she’s good friends with all the shop people it just means she and Hakumei get lots of freebies. They find the wallet, anyway, and they eat and drink a lot.

Mikochi and Hakume, in the enormous grass.

Hadn’t seen this one coming. A quite nice episode where nothing really bad happens to anyone, and I don’t think anything will in the future. So it’s a stop and smell the roses show, perhaps, with bright and colorful artwork that looks like it comes out of a children’s picture book. The main characters have the same dynamic we’ve seen elsewhere, Mikochi is sensible, Hakumei less so, but practical and caring. You wonder just how the two met up and how they became so close. You’ll also wonder about the world they’re in, but I think the show will be more than happy to show us more in future episodes.

Think I’ll skip Hakyuu Houshin Engi because I seriously doubt I’ll watch more than one episode even if I like it, and I’m behind again …

I’m so sorry, apparently I didn’t take screenshots of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens!  Anyway, takes place in Hakata, Fukuoka, where we are told that maybe up to three percent of the population are professional hitmen. With all the dead bodies we see in episode one, the place lives up to its reputation, We follow a few of the killers around, a crossdresser who keeps getting sent off to kill more people and is really tired of it, also some shady people hanging around the mayor, his son, I believe, who just kills for the fun of it, and some other guy who’s never killed anyone before and really isn’t up to the job. We got detectives, too, namely Banba, who is looking into the death of another detective until the crossdresser shows up to kill him, or not.

It’s all very confusing; it’s one of those shows where the creators just toss you right in without telling you much of anything. When the show loops back to the opening scene of the crossdresser watching TV in Banba’s office I gave a sigh of relief–something I recognized. I suspect it will stay hard to follow because they introduce a lot of characters and give us very little information about them, and the intrigue will probably get more convoluted by the minute. These aren’t bad things, and I don’t mean to suggest that the show is handing the material badly, but viewers will probably have to do a little guessing and remembering to figure things out, at least early on.

Beatless starts with words slowly forming about loving souless beings.

Beatless takes place in a future world where there are a lot of servant androids about, known as hIEs, and it stars a high school boy named Arato who knows they’re not real and are trying to mimic human emotions for usually business reasons. Also, there’s been some sort of event at a nearby facility and several highly-modded hIEs are going about causing destruction and smirking as they do it. Who taught them that? It’s boring.  Anyway Arato meets a nice hIE he knows in a parking lot but she goes crazy and tries to kill him, until he’s rescued by another hIE, of the, er, Lacia class. They do a formal contract thing, mostly because of the crazy cars that are now trying to kill him, and now he owns her, and must accept all responsibility for whatever mayhem he tells her to do. I think that last bit is going to be very important later on.

Having a super android girl who can stop insane cars is useful.

No reason to like it especially, it boils down to sexy android girl who obey whatever command you give her, but I did anyway. I wonder why the hell Lacia showed up to save him all of a sudden, and if she was one of the renegade hIEs, and if so why Arato? Except there was this brief flashback where Arato as a boy watches a surgery/tuneup of another android explode. We also don’t know what the evil grinning hIEs want, except the one who produces nanobots like flower petals from her dress suggests that Arato is implicated somehow. He’s a nice chap, overly kind, perhaps, but he has a goofy sister and some nice friends to ground him. Right now, just the right balance between domesticity and weird violence.

Killing Bites, ha ha, no … Gin no Guardian, another season 2 of an unwatched season 1 …

Not sure if those are petals or bits of bird feathers …

So the last show I’m going to watch this season is Darling in the FranXX, with its hero actually named Hiro, except he’s actually called 016 because he’s a subject in a facility that raises pistils (pilots) to command giant mecha in female form (at least the one we see this week) and fight monsters of various kinds. The twist of this very generic setup is that you need a male and female pilot to bond, become the two wings of the franXX. Hiro has bombed out of the program, unfortunately taking a nice girl named Naomi down with him, and while he has special permission to stay (for unknown reasons, heh) he elects to leave the facility, but before he does he catches sight of a naked, strange, feral pistil named, er, 002, who takes a liking to him as she catches a fish in her mouth and he stares at her body. The inevitable happens: monsters attack the facility, 002’s darling (partner) is killed, and Hiro’s powers are awakened as he takes his place, well, that and a sexy kiss.

Now gimmie a kiss.

So we got a mish-mosh of many different mecha shows, going back a decade or two, and I’m not a big mecha fan anyway … Yet I’m going to keep watching this for a while. I don’t know why. I watched it this morning then went to work, and from time to time I tried to figure out what about it appealed to me. Maybe it’s the unspoken situation of the students there, that if they fail there’s no going back home, though no one knows where they go. I figure in a place like that there is a strict limit on resources, and if they can’t pull their weight, so government/society issues … Or maybe it was 002 and 016’s self-perceived status as lonely people who can’t get along who find someone that just might accept them for what they are. That’s hardly new either, but it seems to resonate here, and again, I don’t know why it does. Maybe it’s Trigger’s contribution to the animation, making everything seem more like a drawing exploding out of reality at times. … I don’t know what it is, but the episode appealed to me and I will watch the next episode at least.

Speaking of which, now’s the time I have to decide which shows to keep and which to drop. But THIS season I’ll hang around and write about a few!  Thank you for reading.  Agreements, disagreements, let me know!

2 thoughts on “Winter 2018 #5

  1. Man, there are too many *OK* shows this season. My watch threshold is lower than yours, so I end up following too many shows (but enjoying the heck out of it all). I have a cutline decision to make later this weekend.

    There’s a good post about Darling in the FRANXX over at Sakuga Blog that maybe explains some of the appeal of that show. The episode was disjointed and uneven… but there was much Gainax goodness to love. I hadn’t realized that A-1 Pictures’ contribution was additional ex-Gainax talent.

    1. Yeah, nothing that really jumps out at you, but a good number of good shows, and I can’t watch them all. I just my first round of culling and I still have way too many. My usual response to this is on the following week, asking myself “Do I REALLY want to watch this?” It works for me.

      Thanks for the post recommendation. I hadn’t known going in that there was any Trigger or Gainax influence on Franxx, but it became obvious when I watched. Thinking about it I think that’s probably the main reason why I enjoyed the episode, but the other things I mentioned (lonely people, etc) have something to do with it too. I hope the story can continue to hold up its end, generic as most of it is …

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