Covers the week of February 5 2023 to February 11 2023.
It’s been a long week.
I’ve got my first paid graphic design project in months, and I’m finally relearning what it’s like to have something to work on. At the same time, I had a massive to-do list of anime to watch to make up for the shows I didn’t watch last month.
Because of all these shows looming over my head, I haven’t been enjoying watching anime as much lately. Therefore, I’ve decided to either drop or pause all the shows in my backlog so I can focus on work instead.
Soaring Sky! PreCure #1-2
It’s crazy that something like this is the highlight of my week.
For anyone who hasn’t seen last week’s post, PreCure is a magical girl franchise that is massively popular with children in Japan. It’s gained a niche fan community in the west for being the birthplace of many professionals in the anime industry. It’s also considered one of the last bastions of sincerely positive magical girl shows since Madoka Magica irreparably changed the genre.
I haven’t been too fond of the recently completed Delicious Party PreCure, so the first two episodes of Soaring Sky felt like a breath of fresh air. Since PreCure is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, it makes sense that these episodes went as hard as they did.
Sora, our main protagonist, is from Sky Land, which is… well, you can guess what Sky Land is like. She saves the princess of Sky Land from a kidnapping but ends up teleported to our world in the process, and now she needs to get back home. The plot isn’t anything too special, but it’s fun to see Sora act like a fish out of water in this new world (well, a new world for her at least).
The presentation of Soaring Sky is what really drew me in. The animation is great, from Sora parkouring across rooftops in Sky Land to the brilliant fight choreography when she becomes a PreCure. I also love the softer, more delicate look Atsushi Saitou brings to the character designs. The characters also have a bit of an idol motif, though that might be due to Saitou’s previous work on Love Live Superstar.
I can’t say I fully recommend this show though. Even though I’m enjoying this way more than Delicious Party, I have to keep in mind that I’m only two episodes in, and the episode previews don’t look too promising. Still, I’m just glad I have something new and interesting to watch this season.
Current Score: TBD
Bungou Stray Dogs S4 #6
I’ve been watching old reaction videos for the first season of BSD, and it’s crazy how little it took itself seriously back then. Honestly, I’m happy with the direction it’s taking itself now because this is the most engaging the show has been in a while.
This episode was tense throughout, but its most shocking moments came at the end. I don’t want to spoil too much, but we finally get to see what that reality-changing book is capable of, and its use in this episode is fascinating.
Speaking of shocking, this episode has some of the most gruesome moments in the show. Sure, a lot of gruesome things have happened in BSD (one particular moment with kids stuck in a car comes to mind), but this is the most visually graphic the show has been. I’m not trying to say gore equals good, but it helps add to the darker direction the show is going.
The only thing that didn’t really work for me in this episode was Nikolai. He’s a scene-stealer for sure, but his personality and motives don’t go too far past “crazy anime villain”, at least until the final moments. He just seemed like wasted potential.
Overall, this is still one of my favorite episodes of BSD so far. My time binging this show is finally paying off.
Current score: 8.5/10
My cousin told me this screenshot is what Anime Expo is like:
Okay, so what happened in this episode…
- Mahiro is going to school now.
- She’s made new friends.
- I like the snaggletooth friend.
- There’s a nice POV shot.
- They used a Scooby-Doo stock sound effect, which was funny.
- Outside of brief flashes of sexualization, the show has been relatively clean compared to Episode 1.
And that’s all my notes for this episode.
It sucks that a show that looks this good has so little to talk about. I’m still going to watch it weekly, but don’t expect me to have anything new to say.
Current score: 6.25/10
It’s getting better, but not by much.
Cool Doji Danshi #17
This is the only thing I watch on Mondays, and its charm is starting to wear off. I had a better time binging this show than waiting a week for each 11-minute episode.
It’s cute though. Kid Mima and Igarashi are sweethearts.
Current Score: 7.25/10
Delicious Party PreCure #19-23
I watched five more episodes, and my opinion on this show hasn’t changed.
Let’s start with some positives before I start ranting again. First, the animation is getting better. It sucks that every fight still occurs in the same “Delicious Field,” but at least the fight choreography is more fun to watch. Second, I’ll admit that the character designs are cute. This show has “marketable plushie” written all over it, from the PreCures themselves to their corresponding mascot characters, to the collectible toy look of the Recipeppis.
Speaking of marketable, let me talk about one of my biggest pet peeves this season; Delicious Party reminds me that business always comes first for PreCure. To elaborate, the themes of each PreCure season need to be easily translated into a profitable toy line. Although Delicious Party does talk about how we share precious memories through food, it never goes hard enough to say anything compelling. Delicious Party feels like it’s selling food-themed merchandise and not much else.
At least Soaring Sky is fun to watch on its own, but Delicious Party is just disappointing.
Current Score: 5.5/10 (Dropped)
Vinland Saga #5-10
Massive Spoiler Warning
I’m fascinated by Thorfinn’s character development after his father’s death. He knows that getting revenge wouldn’t make his father happy, but the trauma of watching him die prevents him from seeking anything else. His honor as a warrior holds him back, and it makes Thorfinn an easy pawn for someone as honorless as Askeladd. He can’t kill Askeladd in his sleep because that would be dishonorable. He can’t beat Askeladd in a duel because Askeladd would either talk his way out of it or kick Thorfinn’s ass. Even if he were to escape to a nearby village, Askeladd’s band of thieves would eventually pillage and kill everything there. All Thorfinn can do is dissociate from the world and become Askeladd’s personal assassin, the kind of fate his father was trying to prevent.
Speaking of Askellad, he is somehow the most likable character in the show. I say “somehow” because he’s categorically an evil person. He’s manipulated Thorfinn into becoming a killing machine at a young age. He will quickly murder anyone if it benefits him. Yet, somehow has more charisma than any of this world’s leaders.
What makes Askeladd so engaging to me is his worldview that “everyone is a slave to something”. For example, Askeladd’s uncle loves money, to the point where just looking at it makes him happy. When one of his slaves accidentally dropped some food, he beat her with a whip for not realizing how much money he lost from her mistake. Askeladd watches this and finds it ironic.
“The guy who’s a slave to money holds a whip, and pretends to be a master of the slave he bought with his money.”-Askeladd
Askeladd might be manipulative, but at least he doesn’t overindulge himself in the typical Viking lifestyle. In a world where people kill each other for petty reasons, Askeladd has his priorities straight and actually has goals for himself.
The only thing that isn’t keeping me engaged is the political intrigue, but that’s not at all Vinland Saga’s fault. I have my own preferences when it comes to storytelling, and I tend to prefer the more personal stories in this show as opposed to the whole war subplot. Still, this series has easily become on of my favorites.
Current Score: 9.25/10 (Paused)
This is the first KyoAni show I’ve seen since I watched Nichijou a decade ago. It’s alright.
It’s less a show about archery and more about the difficulties of doing the things you love in the face of grief and failure. Still, I haven’t really resonated with its emotional moments. It’s a good show, and I’m sure it will hit hard for some people, but it just doesn’t work for me at the moment.
Current Score: 7.5/10 (Paused)
Invincible Season 2 Teaser
I’ve been meaning to watch this for a while now. No, I haven’t watched the first season, but the animation for this teaser looked really good, and I’ve seen a few memes about it too.
The character animation is great. From what I’ve seen, Season 1 looked like it was struggling on the production front due to it being produced during COVID, so it’s nice to see the animators get a chance to flex their stuff for once.
I didn’t expect this teaser to be so meta though. I think many people my age have become tired of self-referential humor in modern entertainment, but I like the idea that Mark did the writing, designing, storyboarding, voice-acting, key-posing, etc. for the entire show. It was pretty charming.
It’s also nice to see a show well-known for its degenerate levels of violence tease its next season with a quiet moment in a burger shop. It’s pretty cute. Still surprised Seth Rogan is here.
It’s funny how I finished Ending A one week before the anime started airing again. I took too long to write this segment (again), so here are some quick thoughts.
The world’s melancholic and beautiful, with some awe-inspiring set pieces spread throughout. Also, for a game filled with machines and androids, the story is surprisingly human.
This is the 3rd Platinum game I’ve played (5th if you include the Star Fox games). The gameplay is the most approachable of the three, though the game will kick your butt if you don’t do any side quests.
Overall, I’m loving this game, and it’s sad that the show doesn’t even come close to what the game offers.
That’s the end of my second weekly recap. I’m still getting used to blogging, so I might make these weekly updates shorter in the future. I might also post some things in the middle of the week to keep people engaged, but I’ll need to think about what that would be.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I’ll see you next week.