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Re:Creators 11, Saekano Flat 10

June 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Re:Creators 11 is basically three scenes of talk, but after all the battling recently I think we were due for one.

With Selesia and Meteora out of danger (they heal really fast it seems) Takashi and Selesia have a little talk. It’s not terribly important in terms of the story, but it helps strengthen the bond these two have. Takashi feels really bad about creating Selesia in a world like that, and while she often uses the “You’re the one who created it!” line, it’s begun to sound more like bickering between family. Takashi is a decent man and whatever Selesia feels about the world he made, she sees the decency. He also says he should start adding stories into his story, and I wonder if some day some of those characters will appear in Selesia’s world … The show plays with the implications a lot, but really doesn’t follow up. Not enough time in the series to cover them all.

We follow that with another nice scene where Kanoya takes Souta for a spin in his mecha to cheer him up. While it works (in cheering Souta up, anyway), Kanoya’s conclusions should be more depressing to himself. Basically, he urges Souta to move forward, to create, because, well, creators can DO that, and he can’t. Kanoya might have a point, but he seems pretty cheerful to have realized that he’s limited to the actions of his story and can’t do anything beyond that, sort of “I Have No Mouth, but I Must Scream” situation, except he’s laughing. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s free from that now. I wonder what the fictional characters would do if someone handed them pencil and paper and told to write, or draw? Probably no worse than your average amateur. Another idea the show has no time to explore.

Then we get Souta’s confession to the group for causing this mess in the first place, and then making it worse by not talking. And we get the story in a flashback. He and Yuna meet through an dojin website or something, have a cute first date (but what was the deal with the glasses?), then she gets famous enough that bad stuff happens to her through jealous fans, and Souta … does nothing. That seems to be it. Okay, he wasn’t a very good friend at that time, and while we don’t get the very end of his story, only that he secretly felt satisfied that people were dumping on Yuna, there’s nothing to suggest he joined in and attacked her himself. Also, no indication that her talent was any greater than his. Only that she was luckier. I had thought he was just a low-talent. Anyway, yes, he should feel bad about deserting her, but that doesn’t justify his refusal to give everyone the information. What someone ought to do is put Yuna in a popular story so maybe she’ll get sent here. Problem solved!

Saekano Flat 10 has a few fundamental conversations too, but they happen mostly because characters have to talk themselves into doing the inevitable, that is join Akane’s team. Eriri says she’s against it at first, but Utaha points out that she was just naming the negatives before her decision. Turns out she’s right, but that comes later. Then we have a shorter conversation where Iori politely leaves Akane’s team, then return to Eriri and Utaha, the former discovering she’s over her slump, and that it was Akane’s bad treatment that did it. We were expecting that, but maybe not her wail that if she stayed with Tomoya, she would never be as good an artist as Tomoya wants her to be–best moment in the episode. But what about Tomoya? He does what we expect–he accepts it. After all, this is a hell of a big career advancement for the girls, and while his boast that they wouldn’t have gotten it without him might be a way to grab some good out of a bad situation, it’s also correct. So everyone does as expected–well, apart from Megumi, who asks Tomoya out on a date. Too soon to know if she’s just trying to cheer her up or if she’s serious.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going traveling and won’t have a chance post again for about a week. ┬áSee you later.

Categories: Re:Creators, Saekano

LWA 23, Uchouten Kazoku and Sakura Q 11

June 15, 2017 Leave a comment

As expected, Little Witch Academia 23 is a mopey, sad episode where Akko, repeatedly told “A believing heart is your magic,” finds there’s nothing to believe in at the moment and vanishes, while characters spend most of their time worrying about her. The rest is Ursula’s flashback to Chariot’s wild days, and we learn an important fact that you’d think SOMEONE would tell AKKO about: Chariot had no idea what that Dream Fuel Spirit magic was doing to the audience, and when she discovered the truth, she dropped it immediately … and lost her audience, though not before trying to blow up the moon … Anyway, it wasn’t deliberate, and while Akko has every right to be upset, she shouldn’t be upset too much with Ursula, which Ursula and/or Croix should have told Akko last week, but didn’t. Ursula possibly because she would still feel responsible, Croix because she’s the bad person on the show. No, the only person who actually sits down and talks with Akko about all this is Diana, who reassures her while sternly refusing to let her drown in her own pity, and gives everyone watching the last of the backstory. Now we’re set for the final big story arc.

It might happen.

Considering there are only two episodes of Uchouten Kazoku left after this week’s, and now we have Benten actually pissed off at Yasaburou, I figured they’d be cramming in as many story bits as possible, but the episode took its sweet time getting anywhere, building up the tension, flitting from Yaichirou’s ceremony to Yajirou’s travels and meeting that nice young girl, to Yasaburou’s comfortable hiding … how would they get to Yasaburou? And who or what would they pull out of their enormous bag of tricks to do the job? With hindsight it makes perfect sense. I was wondering what was going on with Tenmaya and that gun … Well, he and Kaisei will get out of it somehow. I’m actually more intrigued by the idea that the now-decent Kureichirou might be an imposter; that has long-term ramifications for both families, and whether the time the show has left will be enough to take care of this news.

While Sakura Quest 11’s arc wrap-up was sweet, the series is beginning to feel more contrived than before. It always was to an extent, and I think that slice-of-life shows like this that have obvious themes for its arcs (here it was “outsiders”) have to bend realism a bit to get the theme to work in different ways. It’s not the theme itself doesn’t work; we have Ririko, the Resident Outsider, sad because she doesn’t fit in, who really just needed a hug, and that’s fine. We have the girl outsiders here for a visit, and they’re neutral. Then there’s Chitose, whose family life was broken by outsiders, and Sandal, part Manoyaman as it turns out, with his great grandfather being the outsider, for the counterpoint. Not to mention the origin of the dance, and the legends that go with it. The main idea gets viewed from several angles. Good. It’s the execution where we see the flaws. I can’t believe occult-nut Ririko hadn’t already known of the dragon legend and the various versions. And how Sandal’s song just happened to appear just at the right moment. At times like this my willing suspension of disbelief gets strained. Don’t even get me startd on the guy in the pond.

Sakura Quest 10, Saekano2 9, Re:Creators 10

June 11, 2017 Leave a comment

The man climbing out of the pod during the thunderstorm in Sakura Quest 10 no doubt has a mundane and slightly funny explanation, but it came as a surprise at the end of a typical episode, where once again little bits here and there are thrown together to make a not supernatural at all story. This particular one involves three women in town for a romantic tour of sorts, put together by the tourist board against their will, but of course the real story involves Ririko and her eccentricities. We don’t learn much about them. She’s always been quiet and had different tastes. She doesn’t want to do the traditional dance because, I guess, she would be forced to smile. Nevertheless, she seems to be in more of a funk than usual this week, sitting around mopily, wandering about in the rain. Too bad she can’t or won’t tell anyone why this is going on. Shiori says she’s “changed” but she’s so quiet anyway it’s hard to us at home to tell.

Creator recruitment scene 1

Creator recruitment scene 2

Last week in Saekano Flat, Tomoya got Megumi back into the fold. But unfortunately it looks like Utaha and Eriri are not, because they’ve been recruited to work on a famous game franchise with their 20th anniversary release, with their rival dojin-maker’s Akane at the helm. On one level joining the big franchise makes sense. This would be a major step up the career ladder for both girls and much more than Tomoya could offer. On another, Utaha tells the stricken Tomoya that the new offer is far more challenging and will require much more from them, and in a twisted scene at the end, a glimpse of the recruitment meeting, Akane using both flattery and abuse on them in a flashback, we see just how intense it might be. Tomoya, says Utaha, is too nice to be an effective producer; he doesn’t want to hurt anybody. Yet creative types, she says, need some stress to keep growing. I’m not sure she’s right; the last game turned out fine, and the advice reminds me of that bullshit line about artists having to suffer. Anyway, it’s a surprising turn for the show because right now Tomoya has absolutely no one to make his new game for him.

One thing that Mamika’s death means to us, watching Re:Creators, is that we can expect any character to die now. It almost happens twice in episode 10, one when Meteora is clobbered by the big idiot Aliceteria, and the other when Altair interferes by destroying Selesia’s sword; the jury’s still out on the second one. While she reverts to her injured self after a rather miraculous, ridiculous, but fun sequence involving a new illustration and some fan likes, she’s still alive at the episode’s end. The nicest moment for me was Takashi’s angry speech, as she was lying in a pool of her own blood. The father/daughter relationship they have is one of the better things in the show, which is another reason why I don’t think Selesia’s bought it yet.

Well, he’s trying.

Yeah, this episode was full of heroic rescues and dramatic little bits that had me going, Selestia’s bits at the top–both her appearance and revitalized reappearance. But Yuuya also had his nick-of-time moments. Souta, meanwhile, tries to make up for his complete lack of usefulness by being useful, trying to talk sense into stupid Aliceteria by using her heroism as a model. Nice try, kid. Unfortunately, Magane’s still involved, and now she’s got that doll-thing that Yuuya had, because no one thought to brief him on Magane’s abilities. What are the good guys thinking, anyway? But that’s about all she manages to do.

Uchouten Kazoku 9, Little Witch 22

June 6, 2017 2 comments

Benten sums herself up, at least until her mood changes.

Though it looks as though Uchouten Kazoku 2 isn’t going to have as big a story arc as its first season, it’s still finding ways to entertain. It helps, again, that the show has Benten, a character so dangerous and unpredictable that the very thought of having her as the observer for the Trick Magister election fills the tanuki community with grave doubt. She does, after all, eat tanuki. She doesn’t float into the episode until very late, and then it’s to wreak a little havoc and get some revenge on Yasaburou, who was mostly responsible for getting Nidaime to take her place. It was the first time I’ve ever been grateful to have Nidaime–a bit of a tool–show up, because at that moment I was genuinely worried for Yasaburou’s health. The Benten effect again. One other thing … do we know why Yajiro has taken off on a grand tour of Japan?

All of Croix’s favorite things.

Uchouten Kazoku might be lacking in story right now, but Little Witch Academia 22 just doubled its own story’s intensity. It’s one of those episodes where the creators lay all their cards on the table, well save one (the incident at Chariot’s last show), and poor Akko is running away in tears, unable to trust anyone. That we find out the details of Croix’s nasty plans to save magic is the smallest event. Akko also learns that Ursula is Chariot. That’s been a long time coming, to the point where I was getting sick of every attempt of Ursula’s to tell her, because I knew there would be a knock on the door, or something flitting past the window, something to delay the news a little longer. It was also clear that when Akko did discover the truth, it would be by accident.

But because we were expecting this reveal for some time, it’s not the big moment of the episode. That comes at the end, when Croix rebukes Ursula for using emotion magic when she herself used something worse to fuel the magic for her performances, and hey, now you know why Akko has so little magic! It’s a revelation that technically makes little sense since Akko indeed HAS magic and is pursuing those stones, not sure how they’ll wriggle out of that one, anyway, that’s not the shock. Chariot/Ursula was not only morally okay with stealing magical abilities, but she probably stole Akko’s, and, maybe worst of all, she’s been lying about it all this time. Hell of a lot to dump on poor Akko in one episode! There’s going to be lots of tears and moping the next couple episodes, until she remembers that line she shared with Andrew: nobody else is going to do it, you have to do it yourself.

I have a feeling this line will become very important soon.

Sakura Quest 9, Saekano2 8, Re:Creators 9

June 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Yet they can’t think of a regional dish to promote …

Sakura Quest 9, while satisfying in a straight plot kind of way gets a little sloppy in execution. Everything the show was up to last week is taken care of. Shiori takes command of the project and does a good job. The tourism board comes up with a dish. Sayuri and Kumano learn why the other “didn’t show up” on that day. Baa-san and Kadota are satisfied enough that they are less annoying than usual. But I’m not terribly happy about how they went about it. Shiori just steps in, nervously, and does everything. Nothing more is made of it. The dish, chosen by a competition at the festival, came from the fact that everyone in their town eats a hell of a lot of somen, yet no one thought of using it for their promotional dish. Same with the konbu. Finally, how was Sayuri able to deduce that she had the wrong day, several years ago, by seeing calendar for 2016, several years later? So much lazy plotting in this episode. And then there was Yoshi/Doku’s contraption … Maybe it was Yoshi’s way of publicly atoning for screwing up.

Prior to Saekano Flat 8, Tomoya had difficulties with all three girls. Utaha is graduating and may no longer have the time for his next project. Eriri still had artist block, and Meguni was angry with him for excluding her late in the last game’s production. You can’t deal with all three problems in one episode, so instead we get a full half-hour of Tomoya and Megumi talking it out, in the AV room, shopping, cooking dinner, having a bath (by phone), and in (separate) beds. Even without the erotic or even domestic overtones, this sounds great because it’s Megumi, but she, perhaps out of anger, doesn’t come up with a lot of good lines. Nevertheless, one interesting thing comes out. Tomoya makes her realize that she was partly angry because she loved working with the group. But after that there isn’t much interesting to say; you can tell she’s at least partly forgiven him because of all the time they spend together, but it becomes clear that he hasn’t really changed that much. His new game sounds pretty lame, for all his talk, and as Megumi points out, he still can’t figure out what she (or most girls) are thinking. Why she’s hanging around I don’t know.

Souta looks as bored with Magane as I am.

Re:Creators 9 has some bad news in it. I won’t spoil it since it was only aired yesterday, though I also think it’s not the end. Besides, the REALLY bad thing about this episode is that it’s almost entirely devoted to Magane. First she ruins Mamika’s plan to warn Alice-chan about Altair. Alice, being dumb as a box of rocks, falls for it. Then she tries to drive Souta out of his mind with guilt, then it’s another “You’re the same as me” speech, or maybe that was with Souta … Then it’s more smirking and half-truthing when Yuuya and Meteora show up. You want an evil character, fine, but her evil is so damn boring I wanted to jump ahead to a scene where she wasn’t around. Next episode, please, and make it one without Magane.

Re:Creators 8, LWA 20-21, Uchouten Kazoku 8

May 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Oh what a giveaway!

Re:Creators 8, after an amusing scene where more authors are confronted with their creations, well, Yuuya meets his and is not impressed, follows Souta’s path down the road of fear and self-hate, starting with a nice chat with Meteora, the first time I’ve not thought of her as a boy, must be the skirt, where he more or less blurts out that out of jealousy he was mean to Setsuna, and she offed herself because of it, or so he thinks. Meteora might not have realized who Souta was talking about, she didn’t let on, but that would surprise me coming from such a thoughtful and perceptive person. I hope she figures it out. Anyway, Souta should have blurted this all out the moment he made the connection two episodes ago. Now Magane, nasty as ever, knows the truth and will use it for her own ends, which surely aren’t good. Nice job Souta, you spineless wimp.

Meanwhile, Mamika has a goodbye speech with Aliceteria, has just enough wits to figure out the subtext but too dense to figure out what Mamika is up to, and we get our weekly verbal battle, this one with Altar (I’m so happy I don’t have to write “Military Uniform Girl” anymore), over her motives. We know enough now to see some sorrow in Altair, whose creator was alone and miserable, and to have a little sympathy for her. But Mamika’s right. She doesn’t have to choose this “destroy the world” path. It’s rather similar to what Meteora was saying to Souta about jealousy and how it festers. Altair also seems to suggest that her creator, Setsuna, is a character in another story; maybe she’s talking about our daily lives in this real world, and that’s why she wants to destroy it. Well, doesn’t matter, as she snaps when Mamika says Setsuna’s name, and I guess we’ll learn next week if these characters can actually die in this land …

Fell behind with Little Witch Academia again, sorry. Episode 20 finishes the Diana story arc in a way I sort of expected, that is, I knew Diana would get inspired by an Akko pep talk at one point, but I didn’t expect that the pep talk would have Diana go ahead and try to become family head. Well, okay, Akko suggests that Diana could be family head AND attend Luna Nova, which hadn’t occurred to anybody. The thing is, we still don’t know what Diana is trying to accomplish there. Akko’s got the magic stones thing going for her; what’s Diana got except stubbornness? The episode was worth it to see Diana’s face light up with joy when she sees the new stone recovered and discovers there IS a way to get the ritual done.

What is she thinking now?

#21 is much more substantial, even if it leaves a lot of things unaccomplished. While it has Akko off to climb a very big tree (more of a beanstalk, really, but that’s another tale) which might release pollen which will take her powers, such as they are, away, the big story is who she will choose as a mentor. So we have Croix lying to her about the tree’s danger and sewing seeds of doubt toward Ursula in the meantime, and we have Ursula coming to Akko’s rescue and being, at first, rejected, at least until the pollen comes out. And we get another new word in the process. It also makes Croix’s attitude toward Ursula a mystery. We get a flashback from Croix’s memory where rod chooses a partner: Chariot, not her, and we see Croix’s bitterness over that, but we also see Croix, in Ursula’s memory of things, being gracious about it. Which version is true? Maybe both. Maybe Croix’s version is tainted by regret and guilt, in which case it’s a shock at the end to have Croix announce that she doesn’t need all those words, she’ll break the seal with technology. Interesting woman.

This screenshot doesn’t have much to do with anything, but it’s pretty.

Uchouten Kazoku 8 naturally first spends some time with aftermath of Soun’s death, and some peace being made between the two families, thanks to Kureichirou. After that it looked to be a bunch little scenes to feed this plot point or that. Yashirou gets a “lab” play around with, there’s talk about what makes each of them lose their transformation and turn back into tanuki, Benten and Nidaime go out on an odd date, Yajirou plans to leave Kyoto, but why? It’s only later when Yaichiro asks Yasaburou to re-start his engagement to Kaisei that any sort of story momentum happens, as Yasaburou rejects the idea and goes off to pout for a week. For two seasons now we’ve been wondering why it was called off in the first place. Yasaburou’s disgust with Kaisei’s sharp tongue seemed like a superficial reason. Well, we find out when she goes off to bring Yasaburou back, in a sweet and funny scene, and one of the things I mentioned above turns out to be a punchline.

Re:Creators, Uchouten Kazoku 7, Sakura Quest 8, Saekano2 7

May 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Would you lie to this girl?

In Re:Creators 7 it looks like Souta was the one who created military arms girl, or should I say, Altair, but we can’t be sure. He says “Altair is my …” but stops himself. He might have gone on to say “My friend’s creation.” We still don’t know who the pigtailed girl is. On the other hand, there’s that earlier scene where Masaaki and Takashi ask to see his drawings, and he abruptly leaves. (And, sigh, I went onto Wikipedia to check on a name and accidentally learned the truth. Sigh. Well, I won’t say it here). Meanwhile I want to slap him around for not telling anyone anything about his connection. It also meant lying to Mamika, who, in her earnest search for answers, had begged him for the truth.

Mamika kicks a lot of butt in the battle scene.

And I don’t like the idea of lying to Mamika, not because she’s such a nice girl, well, she is, but her simplicity and earnest desire to do the best thing is one of her greatest assets, not to mention Yuuya’s thought that creations here, cut off from the things that drive them, might be looking for another purpose in life now, exactly what she is doing. Telling her a lie isn’t going to help her development, especially after she almost single-handedly stopped the various factions from fighting in the first scene, using both her powers and common sense.

Meanwhile, we get that fight, enjoyable because we get to see how each character squares up one-and-one against each other, at least until Mamika gets tired of it and kicks some ass. We also get to see Yuuya and Rui bond, which was also fun. And we get the usual speculation and discussion. Is Altair really controlling who gets across? What is Magane going to do with the info she overheard at the Ufotable Cafe? Did she figure out what the show is only teasing us poor people at home? And why Ufotable? Are they involved in the production?

As for Uchouten Kazoku 7, I don’t think anyone saw this coming.

I thought for sure Soun’s new maneuverings would be the focus of the show’s main story arc, but instead he’s shot and bleeds to death in the forest, while Yasaburou tries to comfort him and wonders where all his rage went. Interesting to note that Soun had suggested last episode that he was no longer a tanuki, and when he tried to kill Yasaburou this week he did so in a demon form, yet when he dies, he’s the furball that he had tried to deny he was. It changes everything for the story of course. Just where is the story going now? Will there be a single, main villain? Tenmaya? Jyurojin? There’s still plenty of jerks in the Ebisugawa family, I suppose, but I can’t see any of them stepping up.

Yasaburou’s reaction to Benten’s latest scheme.

These newest events also put a damper on what had been another, delightfully unpredictable episode just minutes before. Weird enough that Soun, a tanuki, would try to join the Friday Club, a group that eats a Tanuki every year, and I think Jyurojin was just toying with him. Yasaburou’s impassioned speech towards Yodogawa about hot pots was a strange moment. I suspect he was just talking to stall for time until a better idea came along than Yodogawa getting shot at by Jyurojin, but his subject matter had me scratching my head. But it worked. Then, heh, Benten decided to have some fun. And so while it was good to see Soun rejected, and intriguing to have Yasaburou(!) join the Friday club instead (the look on his face!), the final five minutes changed everything.

Sakura Quest 8 has the tourism board screwing up big time, holding a regional dish unveiling on the same day as the area’s annual festival, and worse, not telling the merchants board, especially baa-san about it. So Shiori, who baa-san actually seems to like, says she will take charge, after earlier saying she likes to work in the background. So there’s that, and a love-plot going on with Shiroi’s big sis Sayuri and a gourmet chef named Bear, er, Kumano. But really the episode is about eating. Most of the early scenes involve eating food, at home and in restaurants, munching on snacks, coming up with original, weird dishes, and even harvesting. It would have been nice to have more of that and less plot, but I’m hungry at the moment anyway.

Saekano Flat 7, after the publishing of the game, goes into a holding pattern. They make more copies, Utaha prepares to graduate, Eriri finds herself unable to create, and Megumi is still pretty much ignoring Tomoya. The questions on Tomoya’s mind, after chatting with Iori (loved the eavesdropping sale clerk in the background), was what the next project would be and how to get everyone involved in it again. I figured Utaha, who is graduating, would be the biggest problem, but she’s fine with it, and so, I assume, is Eriri, who overhears her. The biggest problem turns out to be Megumi’s hurt feelings, and that links to the next project question–I assume, because Tomoya starts working on it after a Megumi guilt-trip. In the biggest meta moment of the series yet, he calls it “How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend.” So is the new work going to be the story we’ve been watching for nearly two seasons? Well, this show handles its references well, so it would probably be interesting to watch.