Abbreviated new shows fall 2016 1

With my schedule being what it is I don’t have the time to look at as many new shows, let alone follow them. so I’m afraid that this season I will be a lot more picky about what I’ll watch and skip shows I would normally take a look at. Sorry about that. As usual I’ll follow with the order given on the Random Curiosity preview page, and I’ll start with the first coherent image from each episode one.  Here we go …

I got bogged down in the first season of Bubuki Buranki, so I’ll skip this new one.

Shuumatsu no Izetta starts with little floaty things that will be important later.
Shuumatsu no Izetta starts with little floaty things that will be important later.

Which takes us to Shuumatsu no Izetta, where we see a girl named Fine chasing around the woods with her dog until she discovers floating glowing things which leads to a redhead floating there. Jump to 1939 and Germania invading everybody, and threatening the tiny country of Eylstadt (Austria, or part of it) where Fine is princess. She’s on a train to a neutral country (Switzerland) to meet with a rep from Britannica (you know) to agree to marry their prince if Britannica helps out Eylstadt in the war. Oh, Germania soldiers and some sinister officers are chasing them around in a train for a while. She’s captured eventually, and, wouldn’t you know it, winds up on the same plane as the top secret thingy where guess who is kept in cold storage. It’s a happy meeting, things blow up, and so WW Whatever gets a little crazier.

Hell of a way to meet an old friend.
Hell of a way to meet an old friend.

Not bad, a little darker than the promo picture with the redhead floating on a bazooka would suggest. Fine has two subjects watching over her, they act like they’re going to be regulars, but they’re both killed. Fine reminded me of Chiko from Daughter of Twenty Faces, brave and resourceful. Too soon to tell about the witch yet. There’s a hint of yuri about between the two girls as well. On the other hand, the whole rewriting of WWII is simplistic and you can be sure, as dark as the show might get, that the atrocities of that war will mostly be left out. They’re just using the war as a framework to tell their story. Also, I didn’t care for how the show ogled Fine in the shower. So some good and bad. But in my current state I won’t watch any more.

It's always old in the Working world.
It’s always cold in the Working! world.

Working! was okay, Working!! was excellent, didn’t finish the third one, and now we got WWW.Working!, based on the webcomic. We meet Daisuke, the new kid at Wagnaria, where he works because his dad went bankrupt (Tou otousan!, or something like that). He spends the rest of the episode meeting the rest of the staff, all of them weird, especially the girls, and watching them interact while finding a niche for himself. In other words it’s just like the previous Working(!!!) but with different weird characters.

All Wagnarias are the same, apparently.
All Wagnarias are the same, apparently.

It’s off to a good start. One thing the first three seasons had trouble doing was finding a comic rhythm, but when it found it the series was terrific. This new series has the comic framework already in place and so the obligatory introduction episode avoided the problems such episodes usually have. The new characters all have potential for fun. My favorites at the moment are Miyakoshi and Sayura. I’m a little concerned about Daisuke. He’s too normal right now and his family are more annoying than funny–I miss the Takanashi sisters already, but that’s about the only thing I missed this episode, well, apart from Popura, of course. I may have to keep this one.

Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku … a dark take on magical girls. I can’t deal with anything heavy this season, so no. … VIVid Strike is another take on a franchise I never watched in the first place, so no. Never got far with Uta no Prince-sama, so not going to watch this new one … Not interested in wrestling, so going to skip Tiger Mask W. Never watched the first Gundam Orphans, so no …

Those colors, this is Show by Rock all right.
Those colors, this is Show by Rock all right.

Let’s look at Show by Rock!!#. I was one of those strange people who liked the first season, not that I’d put it on any list. What will they do for an encore? Well, we start with our newest villain, the Queen of Darkness, as she and her armada launch a “black hole Canon” beam at Planet Sound, and everything blows up. It looks bad, so some folks go back in time to stave off the attack, leading us to Plasmagica, minus Cyan, Criticrista, and those Key guys bickering(and thus reintroducing themselves) about a big concert. Then they announce an earlier, bigger concert, everyone goes off to play, but are interrupted by an evil girls group, and it looks bad until the future group actually called Ninjinriot, interrupt the interruption. Oh, Cyan, back in reality, tries to write a song but an armored suit enters her bedroom and carries her off, hopefully to Midi City.

A look at all the characters that matter except Cyan.
A look at all the characters that matter except Cyan.

Yeah, the show never cared much about a coherent story, that and the nuttiness they use to replace it are one of the things I liked about the original. I think this episode made a misstep in not showing us Cyan until nearly the end, since I for one was waiting for her to appear. Meanwhile, everyone else in the cast goes through their motions until she does, which isn’t a bad thing, though I get a little tired of all the Shingan Crimsonz members having to deliver a line at once, entertaining as some of then are. Not sure if I want to keep watching this with my schedule and all, but since there’s no significant drop in quality I’ll keep it in mind.

What’s next … Touken Ranbu–I think I’ve seen people play that game on Niconico, but no … Idol Memories–no … 12-Sai. Chicchana Mune no Tokimeki, didn’t watch the first season, so no … Stella no Mahou, maybe later … Trickster looks interesting but heavy and I want silliness for the time being, so no … Shakunetsu no Takkyuu Musume–no. TO BE CONTINUED …

New shows Summer 2016 #2

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Kind of creepy, really.

Don’t know if I really want to start this post with a report on Show by Rock!! Short!!, but I’m waiting on a couple episodes. Anyway, the girls appear on a talk show and show their, er, tails. That’s it.

Hi girls!  Good to see you again!  How you been?
Hi girls! Good to see you again! How you been?

Basically a way to reintroduce the girls. I was one of the people who actually enjoyed the original series, so I’ll probably keep watching this. I just hope they bring in that visual kei boys band for contrast. Moving on …

Nice pretty tree to open Fukigen.
Nice pretty tree to open Fukigen.

Fukigen no Monokean stars Hanae, just starting high school but is having no fun because there’s a fuzzy youkai on his back. After too many scenes of him trying to make to school only to collapse from exhaustion at the gate, the shoe lockers, etc, he meets a grumpy exorcist named Abeno who helps him out. Turns out the youkai is a former pet, and since Hanae could see him, clung to him for love and attention. But now he has to pay off the debt for the exorcism, and there you have it.

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It could be simply first episode syndrome, where the inevitable setting up of situation and characters gets in the way of telling an effective story, but this show did absolutely nothing for me. Hanae seems like a decent character, but there’s nothing much about him. Meanwhile Abeno is a jerk. The episode’s story, where Hanae learns that supernatural creatures who attach to him and suck his life force have feelings too, didn’t thrill me very much. I figured there was an angle to the fuzzy thing acting like this and impatiently waited for the show to reveal it. It feels like a completely mundane anime series, so I’ll leave it at episode one.

We don't get many side views of balconies in opening shots.
We don’t get many side views of balconies in opening shots.

A possibly good food porn series next. Amaaama to Inazuma stars Inuzuka, high school teacher whose wife died half a year ago, leaving him to take care of his young daughter Tsumugi alone. He’s doing his best, spending all the time with her that he can in spite of his being very busy, but cooking well got left out of the picture, it’s mostly conbini bento for them both, and she’s getting tired of it. Through some strange circumstances he winds up taking her to a restaurant where there’s only his sometime student Kotori, some rice, and no one really knows how to cook.

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An interesting setup. Kotori, seeing how happy the rice makes the father and daughter, asks Inuzuka to cook and eat with her, and Tsumugi. Her own mother, who does the cooking at the restaurant, maybe has as little time for her as Inuzuka has for Tsumugi, since Kotori can’t cook anything, so we have two people who can help each other, and the bond is food. They can learn to cook together and then they get to eat. The importance of eating with people was the main theme of Koufuku Graffiti (part of the OP looks exactly like something from Shaft’s show), and with Amaama to Inazuma might bring us the cooking aspect that Koufuku often didn’t stress. The three characters are all good to watch; I especially like Kotori’s shy reluctance, though I can’t believe she can’t even cook RICE! Tsumugi might be a little TOO adorable, on the other hand they’re avoiding (so far) making her and the situation too emotional.

We're fallllinnnggg!!
We’re fallllinnnggg!!

In Taboo Tattoo we’re in a future Japan where there’s a new geopolitical power called Selinistan around, though that’s just boring backdrop for the story where a decent lad named either Seigi or Justice, I’ll stick with the latter, lives up to his name by saving a man from a thug and gets a weird tattoo on his hand as thanks. This is discovered by a girl named Izzy, American, I presume, who tracks him down and beats the crap out of him. Eventually, through some infodumps, we learn the tattoos are American weapons that have gotten into the wild and she’s trying to get them back. Why she didn’t do it the first time I don’t know, but she’s intrigued by this boy … Then there’s more fighting, etc.

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The story might not be so great but I rather enjoyed the first episode. First we see Izzy brutally killing someone, then we switch to Justice in a battle, and we think it’s going to be gory battles all the way through, but his fight comes with a bit of humor at the end. This show likes to inject silly gags and chibi characters in to keep things from getting too ridiculously silly-serious (unlike Berserk). There’s also Touko, Justice’s friend, who is good for some normalcy, like deciding on dinner. The fight scenes look good; I suspect the show’s budget can’t go overboard, with all the still shots they throw in, but it’s directed to be exciting. I might get tired of this series eventually, but for now …

This show starts by telling us what it is.
This show starts by telling us what it is.

Now another short: Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu, where highschooler Sakaguchi loves all sorts of BL manga, but he’s totally not gay, really! We see the embarrassment he undergoes at the bookstore buying a volume, with the assumptions that staff and other customers make, and then he complains about the whole thing to his longhair friend, who’s got problems of his own, mainly getting groped and Sakaguchi tweeting about it.

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Doesn’t sound like much, but it has an easygoing feel to it that I liked. Sakaguchi’s troubles at the bookstore might have been embarrassing to him, but it was just a minor occurrence in a day-to-day life. Both him and his buddy seem like decent characters and they have a good rapport. Sakaguchi tries to explain the appeal of BL to us, but I didn’t get it, but that’s okay. Kind of a slice-of-life with BL as the overall theme, and totally not gay, understand?

Servamp starts with Mahiro's mother's funeral.  But things lighten up after that.
Servamp starts with Mahiro’s mother’s funeral. But things lighten up after that.

Servamp stars Mahiro, high school boy who wants peace and quiet and simplicity and so takes on the troublesome jobs no one else wants to do because it’s such a pain to argue over it, sort of a different take on Tanaka-kun, really. So he picks up the stray cat at the station because no one else will. Guess what? It’s a vampire. Not only that, but Kuro really can’t be bothered to do anything either. I suppose if Mahiro’s going to get linked to a vampire this one is compatible. But Mahiro, cognizant of the fact that he’s where he is because others took the trouble for him, can’t just run away when another vampire shows up, no matter what Kuro thinks of it.

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Shounen story with vampires and less moody atmosphere than most. There is plenty of that, but the show throws in a lot of slapstick and silly jokes as well. The trouble is that Mahiro is a bit of a stick-in-the-mud and Kuro is a lazy thing who mutters insults most of the time, neither of which is terribly interesting to me. The villain vampires are just as bad; they’re the laughing-insanely type who gruesomely murder people for no reason while grinning a lot. Not much subtlety there, and pretty boring. Going to miss this one.

Twelves: Euphonium, Nisekoi2, Finales: Show by Rock, Mikagura, and Teekyuu!

Hibike Euphonium 12 … It’s going to take a while to get that little tune out of my head.

She practiced her way to the infirmary.
She practiced her way to the infirmary.

It starts with Taki asking the Euphs to help play one particularly nasty passage.  Kumiko can’t handle it, but spends most of her time practicing, and gets better.  Taki is still not impressed, but she promises she will play it well by the competition.  And still it’s not good enough.  Taki asks Asuka to play it alone.  There could be a little life lesson here, saying “No matter how hard you work you still might not be good enough,” which is true, but the situation puts Kumiko in a funk.
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But it demonstrates a change.  Earlier, Katou had mentioned that Kumiko seemed less detached and more passionate now.  After she loses the part, she runs around screaming how she wants to get better (and so does Shuichi, but who cares about him?).Obviously, Reina is an inspiration.  Reina seems to like this new passion, and offers encouragement, as well she would, because Kumiko HAS gotten better.  It comes down to a chance meeting with Taki, where he talks about doing things he wants to do (not to mention encouraging her to keep practicing that part, because she had promised she’d get better).
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“I love the euphonium!” she cries out more than once near the end, which, frankly, makes her a little weird in my book, but weirdness is good.  She wants to keep working at it.  All of this is countered by reality and studying, her sister who dropped music to cram, and Aoi, who’s doing the same thing, making practical decisions they say they don’t regret, and I believe them.  I believe there’s only one episode left, which is a shame partly because we won’t get to see Kumiko and the others deal with life after the competition.  Meanwhile, I’ve still got that little tune in my head.

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Nisekoi 12 seems to have abandoned any pretense of the plot moving forward.  I mean, when was the last time anyone brought up the locket?  Instead in episode 11 it’s two stories about Onodera.  The first one was predictable.  She’s afraid she’s gaining weight and starts starving herself, er, dieting.  I think we all knew the second time she got on the scale that it was broken.  The second story is much nicer.  We go back to middle school and see how she decides to get into the same high school that Raku is going to.  It sounds like a silly reason to choose a school, because your unrequited crush is going there, but she adds that it’s the first time in her life she feels determined to do anything, a nice though unintended reference to Euphonium …

And there was this lovely moment in the middle.
And there was this lovely moment in the middle.

 

showbyrock12-1Show by Rock! was a dumb show from start to finish, so I guess I shouldn’t have expected a great, slam-bang finale, but I was still surprised that it was such a clumsy, ham-fisted affair.  It felt like the creators said “Okay, you guys do the rescue Rosia bit, you guys do the Angelica and Maple sneaking in bit, yo guys work on those kids coming to Midi City.  Don’t worry about flow–we’ll just splice it all together.”  That is to say, one scene would go on, then another, and back to the first scene, full of clumsy starts and finishes, each of them full of potential that they wasted.  You had all those bands together, you could have had a big battle, but instead all they did was gape, except for that blonde guy and Darudayu.  Dagger turned into an impressive monster and Cyan wiped him out with one shot.  Grateful King’s ultimate song was never used.  And I never did figure out what the deal was between Rom and the blonde guy.

During the big battle, the other girls just stand there gaping.
During the big battle, the other girls just stand there gaping.

Okay, one or two good points, like Grateful King sending Cyan back to her own world but she fought to come back and finish the battle.  They spared us the tearful goodbye scenes (they had enough tearful scenes already) at the end and just had Cyan getting the nerve to enter that clubroom–end of show … That’s all I can think of.  Okay, I shouldn’t have expected more, except that this show had given us moments of loopy fun and a couple of moving scenes before.  And they had handled the story pretty well–until the finale.  Sigh.

One more of Shingan Crimsonz, and what's left of Dagger.
One more of Shingan Crimsonz, and what’s left of Dagger.

Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku‘s finale was pretty silly, but it was funny-silly and had moments of joy in it.
mikagura12-1Though they never really explained what was going on with the reality breakdown.  Eruna has a flashback dream to … her ancestors maybe, and Seisa is there too, and, sadly, Shigure, then she’s falling in the air, caught and finds herself in what must be the real world, the ruins of the school.  The rest of the student body is there too, but they don’t seem shocked at all.  Do they even notice?  Meanwhile, the fighting pavilion is still in one piece and there are still midterm matches to attend to.  Through the rest of it, sometimes we see the complete school, sometimes the ruins.  Later, it all comes back, but isn’t that an illusion?  Should they all be happy to be there?
mikagura12-2In terms of the story now, there are no villains to defeat.  They just want to get Seisa out of her mansion.  Eruna asks her to join her club if she wins, and Seisa doesn’t say yes or no, but in the final, which is supposed to be Eruna and Kyouma, he is suddenly “abducted” by the drama club.  Up to that point the episode had dragged a bit; the confusion over what was going on mixed with heartfelt speeches about intentions was responsible, but the sheer inanity of the abduction (to clear the way for Seisa) brought back the happy, goofy side of the series, and led to the moment of joy I mentioned before.
mikagura12-3Eruna has always been fun to watch because, as I’ve said countless times before, she’s a blithering idiot, but also because she manages to have fun no matter what the situation, and when she hits a setback she bounces right up to try again.  Finally, this rubs off on Seisa, and they have a great battle, crashing out of the pavilion, over rooftops, into the forest, then flying in the air (while Bimi exclaims that they’re breaking the laws of physics).  Eruna is smiling throughout … and so is Seisa.  And while there’s a little wrap-up time after that, it isn’t really necessary.  You knew Seisa would join Eruna’s club, nothing else really mattered.  I don’t need to say more about it, or about the show.  Eruna’s positive idiocy redeemed Seisa, and most of the time, it redeemed the show as well.  Well, the Drama Club helped.

One more of just about everyone.
One more of the Drama Club (right).

 

teekyuu48-1Finally, Teekyuu!  THE WORLD’S GREATEST ANIME SERIES EVER, UNLESS IT’S NASUNO DESU, finishes with a dismal SPG of 4.5.  It felt almost leisurely.  And only two of the girls were in it (doesn’t Nasuno have enough screentime with her own series?  Is two minutes a week not enough for her?) But don’t worry!  Season 5 is coming up!

Nisekoi 10, Show by Rock and Euphonium 11

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Nisekoi 10 is a more sober affair than most episodes.  Shuu has a crush on Kyoko, the homeroom teacher, but she announces she’s quitting to get married next month.  So the question for Shuu, and Raku, is should he confess before she leaves, knowing it might complicate things, or carry the secret to his grave.  As if he can’t fall in love again.  Strangely, Raku asks Tsugumi her opinion and no one else.  I kept waiting for complications to appear, conversations overheard or meanings misconstrued, but the show was determined to play this out straight.  Shuu is such an annoying character that I didn’t really care too much, and seeing him sad and contemplative didn’t change my opinion.  I much rather liked the Raku/Tsugumi conversations because of her reaction to these personal though theoretical questions.
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Show by Rock 11 gets us to the big showdown, part one.  Most of the episode was spent getting everyone fired up, wondering where Mr. Berry was, Grateful King’s new but as yet unheard song, and meeting all the acts we’ve met before.  Necessary, but I sort of hoped that they would polish off the series this week and spent less time with it.  As for the big attack, there was still mystery about how it would be done.  Sending one monster out so that Darudayu could fight it was a tad predictable, but having that girl from Critacrista inside the monster, scared as hell, was an unexpected thing.  Of course it meant that next week we’ll have a lot of scenes where the good guys can’t figure out how to fight it and get their butts kicked for a while …
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All I get out of Hibike! Euphonium 11 is “what a rotten way to run an audition.”  Okay, not true.  It’s just that we have both Kaori and Reina performing in front of each other, in front of the entire band.  In this situation, the question is no longer “who plays the part better?” but “which girl do you prefer?”  What’s more, the judges are just as exposed as the contestants are.  A couple of them, Yuko and Kumiko, aren’t afraid to be in that position, applauding for their friend, but the rest of them are too afraid to clap for anybody.  What a miserable situation to be in, for everyone except Taki, who doesn’t seem to care.
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But it led to a nice outcome, unexpected until a moment later.  Kaori gets a few golf claps more than Reina and is asked to do the solos, but she refuses, saying Reina should do it.  It was the closure Kaori needed.  She had the solos but could choose whether to accept it or not.  Because Kaori is a decent, reasonable person who wants the best for the band, she hands the parts to Reina.  No one has any right to complain now.
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Elsewhere, we get an odd comparison between Kaori/Yuko and Reina/Kumiko, girls and the girls who worship them.  I don’t know if Yuko’s really figured her feelings out for Kaori, and I’m not sure about Kumiko, but it appears she might actually have feelings for Reina, who has feelings for Taki, in spite of that charged scene between them, the best scene of the episode in spite of all the audition drama.  In fact, I wonder just how much Reina has feelings for Taki or for Kumiko or if she just doesn’t know or care.

Show by Rock and Euphonium 10, Nasuno desu 9-10

In Show by Rock! 10, we learn that Chuchu has high ambitions, that she planned to use Plasmagica as a stepping stone on the way to being a star.
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As we saw last week, Cyan has innocently begun to steal her limelight, and now she’s thinking of quitting.  Dagger knows what’s up and immediately invites her to his offices, where he brainwashes her into thinking that she planned to use Plasmagica as a stepping stone, etc.  Her eyes glowing red in that brainwashed way she goes back and tells the girls that she’s quitting, she had planned to use Plasmagica as a stepping stone, etc, but is snapped out of it when Cyan starts playing a song Chuchu wrote.  Free of the brainwashing, Chuchu says she planned to use Plasmagica, etc etc, but will stay with them anyway.  Oh, we also learn that the Grateful King is that shadowy kid, he’s trapped by Dagger, and he’s also the voice of Mr. Berry.

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Sounds dumb, and some people might be disappointed that they didn’t carry Chuchu’s betrayal out farther, extend it to a couple of episodes, but I don’t think this show wants to get that heavy on us.  Besides, Chuchu’s de-brainwashing is a lovely little moment.  At one point, when the other girls play one of her songs, it turns to a major key while Mao and Retoree chant “Chuchu!”  At that moment the show briefly changed into a musical from just another show that has music in it.  A second or two, Chuchu is playing with them, frantically strumming, eyes closed, like she’s trying to drive something out of her (and the key is back to minor).  Yes, very silly, but it reminds me that the silly anime shows can have great moments if you’re patient with them.

Also, it allowed Retoree to say the following:

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Hibike! Euphonium 10, not surprisingly, has to do with the fallout from the auditions.

Devoted to Kaori to the point of idiocy.
Devoted to Kaori to the point of idiocy.

We all know how disappointed Kaori was by the result, but she had accepted it and was continuing to practice hard.  The dissent comes from Yuko, the long-haired girl we’ve often seen but not heard much of.  In spite of Kaori’s entreaties, she accuses Taki of favoritism.  He and Reina were acquainted before, you see.  This puts everyone in a blue funk and many of the students start to mutter, until Taki decides to hold a second audition for whoever’s interested.

I smell trouble.
I smell trouble.

Not sure I would have handled it that way, but I suppose something needed to be done.  But these kids ought to learn that there’s always going to be ridiculous rumors floating about in any place where people gather, be it a high school concert band or any modern company, and that 9/10ths of them are bullshit.  Also, putting the solo trumpets in competition where the winner is by a show of hands is begging for another type of favoritism.  Kaori is popular, Reina is not.  It’ll make for interesting viewing, but I think it’s less fair than the audition they already had.

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Takamiya Nasuno Desu! 9 is still in a slump (or is that Teekyuu?) with a SPG of 3.6.  In the episode Nasuno gets kidnapped a lot and really ought to be dead each time, but you know Nasuno, or you don’t.  The kidnappers have the best lines.  Episode 10, with its school festival and lots of dorayaki, is hardly better with a 3.46 SPG, but at least she wasn’t getting kidnapped all the time.

Show by Rock and Euphonium 9, Teekyuu 45

What happens if you lose a battle of the bands.
What happens if you lose a battle of the bands.

Show by Rock! 9 finally brings us the battle of the bands, but not before another attempt at changing their image a little until Rom and the rest of Shingan Crimsonz, the most superficial band in the series, tells them they’re being superficial.  Still, he’s right.  They should let the music speak for itself, oh, and have fun.  Meanwhile, Dagger and that guy in the booth have a meaningless chat, and Angelica goes off to get that trad band leader to let her speak to Grateful King, whoever that is.  So it’s all sinister and dark beneath the girls’ smiles.  Meanwhile Critacrista’s Rosia gets overly worried about losing this rematch, with, as it turns out, good reason (but why was she the only one to know what would happen?).  And so the big final story arc begins in earnest.  I just wonder what other little plot bombs they’ve tossed around are going to explode.  Chuchu’s bad vibes for sure; that’s probably next week.  We still have the missing Mr. Berry and that kid in the booth to work out as well, or will they downplay some of it in the end like Aion’s non-story last week?  Who knows with this show?

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In Hibike! Euphonium 9 we get to the auditions, and while I can’t say the show stretched out the waiting and practicing the past few episodes (it had other bits of drama to play with), it’s about time.  The audition scenes themselves were mercifully brief, with just enough scenes of students breathlessly stressing out, and Kumiko’s audition was nicely handled.  She plays that bit we’ve heard all the euphs play, is asked to play another bit, briefly panics, but then the camera pulls out and peers through the window while we get her voice-over talking about not really knowing how long it all took.  Moments like that can be so intense for the person that they really don’t remember much.
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While not prepping for auditions they work a bit with Katou’s rejection in a perfectly normal, sane fashion.  Most of the real story happens at the end, where the 55 members are announced.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Katou didn’t make it (two rejections in two episodes!)–she is a beginner, but somehow, I was.  I’m sadder about Natsuki, because it looked like she finally had something to play for.  Reina getting first chair was no surprise, but it has a big effect on Kaori.  And so, a brief scene at the end of the episode gives us plenty of emotional story-fodder for the next couple weeks.

Soccer.
Soccer.

Teekyuu 45 turned into the Nasuno Desu! for a week, as it was only Nasuno and Yota, and a soccer match including a baseball umpire and a zebra.  SPG of 3.33, a nice rebound after last week’s dismal showing.

DanMachi, Show by Rock, Euphonium 8, Teekyuu 44

Bell gets serious.
Bell gets serious.

DanMachi 8 feels like a story arc ending, but we weren’t really in one, were we?  But then I realized that all that getting beaten up by Aiz and moaning about how he isn’t getting stronger was a personal arc for bell, preparing him for his big success against that minotaur.  It works fairly well  I hadn’t expected that level-upped minotaur to appear for another episode or two, and during the fight we got to see Bell going through stages.  First, run away, second let Lili escape, third, survive …  When Aiz’s gang showed up the same thought went through my head as Bell;s: Oh, shit, is he going to get rescued again?  Bete became sort of a barometer: when he put Bell down you knew the story or maybe the battle wasn’t over, but when he shut his trap you knew Bell was going to win.  As for Bell, the stages kept coming, from survival mode to a sort of black rage, almost frightening to watch.  Well, it shut up Bete.  But I have a question: was his victory because of his great desire to get stronger, or because he rather unfairly levels up higher than most people do?

Isn't that his schtick?
Isn’t that his schtick?

Last week’s Show by Rock! gave us Shingan Crimsonz acquitting themselves well against a dark monster, and possibly the opinions of those who’d rather the show focus more on Plasmagica.  Well, this week they spent even more time with SC and it went nowhere.  It was hinted that the dark monsters grow in the darkness in performers’ hearts, and that Aion (the one with the hand in his face all the time) was a potential victim.  He quits the band and the others go and look for him.  Meanwhile, we’re all waiting for him to transform into something completely evil, you know, what the story was promising, but instead he gets a few punches from Rom and an apology from Crow and rejoins the band … and that’s it.  No dark monster, no nothing.  As for Plasmagica, they challenged Critacrista simply to do a live concert so they can get into a bigger contest, but didn’t that first band battle count?  Anyway, now we’re waiting for whatever Rosia’s evil about to move the story, unless the series craps out again.

Hibike! Euphonium 8 is a sweet, dreamlike episode about a love triangle, and it looks straightforward until we get to the later part.

Yeah yeah yeah ...
Yeah yeah yeah …

Let’s see, Katou digs Shuuichi, who may or may not like Kumiko, who doesn’t appear to be interested in anybody, so it’s not really a triangle, more like a string.  The opening scenes are full of Sapphire trying to get Katou to admit her crush and then act on it, while Kumiko tries to stay out of the way, even after Suuichi asks HER out (all to the Agata festival, BTW), so she snags Reina’s hand and says she’s going with her.  At the festival, Katou confesses (Bravo!), gets gently shot down, and so declares that she’ll help him get Kumiko from the sidelines.  Not sure he’s up for that or not.  They haven’t given us any of Kumiko and Suuichi’s history, but we can guess it isn’t entirely pleasant.
euphonium8-2
Typical high school love stuff, nicely handled, but what takes farther is Reina dragging Kumiko (and her euph) up a mountain to play a duet.  This is almost a romantic scene, I expect shippers will like it.  During the climb and at the top Reina talks about Kumiko’s “terrible personality,” and how she likes it, how she wants to be special and to do things that other people wouldn’t (like climbing a mountain to play a duet).  Kumiko mainly listens and adds commonsense lines.  And in the end they play a duet, maybe reaffirming their friendship from before, as the credits roll.  Like I said: sweet and almost romantic.  So maybe Kumiko’s place in the love string is toward Reina, who seems to accept it in some way.

teekyuu44-1Teekyuu! 44 features only Kanae as she visits her grandmother.  Maybe because she didn’t have the other girls’ speedy mouths to support her, the episode has a wretched SPG of 5.29.  Very disappointing, especially when Nasuno has no trouble keeping the gags in her spinoff show racing along.  Tsk.