Looks like I spoke to soon in the Fall Check-in – Shirobako is the kind of show its previews suggested it would be, for one week at least.
I found this CGBC episode of Shirobako to be a lot less interesting than the mockumentary episodes have been, largely because there really hasn’t been any characterization up to this point. So when you do a character-driven episode four episodes into a series where the characters are mainly props, it’s going to come off pretty hollow (plus, these fat jokes are pretty infantile and mean-spirited). Putting characters with no depth through these kinds of paces is pretty much the definition of a cute girls being cute show, though this was more tolerable because at least they’re adults and we got to spend some time hearing them bitch about work.
Indeed, I might have skipped talking about the ep altogether except that I rather liked the depiction of Kichijoji, the delightful town at the terminus of the Inokashira Line about 20 minutes from Shibuya. I lived there briefly when I came to Tokyo, but even more personal to me was seeing “Pancake Home” on-screen, because this is actually the Original Pancake House – one of my favorite American restaurant chains, which opened a branch in Kichijoji last winter which looks exactly like the one in the episode. They even showed the “Dutch Baby” (that’s it on the right), the delightful oven pancake with lemon, butter and powdered sugar that’s one of my all-time favorite meals any time of day.
For the record, I also enjoyed seeing Sakaki audition for a show called “I Think My Harem is Slowly Falling Apart But I Might Just Be Imagining it (not final)“. That felt like a hidden message from Mizushima-sensei that he really does want to mock what’s happening in the industry but can’t do it openly – like a kidnap victim being shown on camera who blinks out a message in Morse Code.
Psycho-Pass 2 – 04
Well, wasn’t that a thing?
While the overall plot still feels like a clumsier and less nuanced ripoff of the first season’s and half the cast has clearly been hit with the stupid stick, this was easily the most entertaining episode of Psycho-Pass 2. Admittedly it achieved that purely with shock value, but well-executed shock value is nothing to sneeze at (especially on Halloween).
The takeover of the mental health facility by one of Kamui’s acolytes was pretty darn bloody and disturbing. For pure senseless violence it had an almost Clockwork Orange quality to it, though with none of the political satire or psychological underpinnings. It was just good old-fashioned gore, and in dramatic terms it hit the spot – it’s really the first time in the season I’ve felt anything watching this series, even if a lot of what I felt was disgust.
I certainly felt anger too, though. It’s pretty remarkable that so little has been learned and so little changed after the Makashima debacle in the first series. Sybil is still stupid, the cops are still mostly idiots, and they’re still helpless if their opponent has a Crime Coefficient under 100. Mika is the worst offender in every way of course, and she was even more repulsively useless this week – standing by helpless as an office full of victims were being brutalized because she was terrified of being blamed for a mistake. Seriously, cocky and snarky characters and incompetent characters are both annoying as hell, but one that’s incompetent and snarky about it?
It seems I was wrong about Aoyanagi having a larger role this season – though she did for four eps, at least. She took a few hard blows from the stupid stick as well, relying on her dominator rather than simply taking out the perp with the nail gun. And that’s when Division 3 (who I assume are Kaisei’s lap dogs) barged and starting blowing away everyone with a CC over 300, which included most of the victims and Aoyanagi. Seriously, is it really possible for so many people to be this stupid? What a ridiculous debacle – yet despite all that, it was undeniably a pretty riveting 22 minutes, and I guess that’s progress.