WWW.Working!! – 02
On balance, the second episode of WWW.Working was better than the first, and the series is still modestly entertaining. But there’s still something missing for me. The cast just doesn’t pop the way the first one did – they’re just as quirky but not as funny or interesting. And the over-reliance on deformed faces and chibis (presumably as a cost-cutter) – is distracting.
A couple of interesting revelations took place in the second episode. Kisaki revealed that she had a kid, which is kind of unusual for a 20 year-old in anime (she must have been about 17 when she got pregnant). It’ll be interesting to see if she smokes when “Hime” is around. And we got a kikokushijo (a Japanese raised in a foreign country who returns home) in Kouki Saiki (a well-disguised Hosoya Yoshimasa). That too can be a controversial topic in Japan, as kikokushijo often face brutal discrimination when they come home, especially when their Japanese is poor (as Kouki’s is), though I hardly expect Working to go too deep down that rabbit hole.
Maybe it’s me though, but based on the first two episodes this series does feel darker than the first one – a little edgier, a little more mean-spirited. I mean, all that stuff about Yuuta as a little kid eating grass to survive – damn, comedy or no that’s grim. Maybe that will be a good thing, and keep this series from feeling like a retread, but there are already a few characters here (like Shiro and to a lesser extent Kisaki) that I genuinely dislike. The jury is definitely still out on this one for me.
Shuumatsu no Izetta – 02
Shuumatsu no Izetta remains a modestly interesting historical fantasy, but there’s not much in the second episode to suggest it’s going to be more than that. The formula is pretty standard and the visuals took a bit of a tumble from the first episode – loss of detail in the hand-drawn scenes and almost exclusively CGI for the aerial sequences.
The most engaging element of Izetta for me is that this series hews a lot closer to history than most anime takes on WW II re-imaginings, which tend to blur the moral lines between sides for obvious reasons. We got an open acknowledgement here that a lot of small European countries faced the prospect of being brutally conquered by an abjectly evil superpower, with little help coming from outside sources for way too long. There are an awful lot of countries that would have loved to have a witch like Izetta on their side, obviously. But whether there’s enough here to make an interesting series, I really don’t know. The characters are so boilerplate that it’s hard to draw much identification with them, so all the pressure is on the plot to carry the day. I’m skeptical but I’ll give Izetta a bit more time.
Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans 2nd Season – 02
I’m kind of bored here, to be honest, but at least no one is doing incredibly stuff and being rewarded for it. But is this really Nagai Tatsuyuki and Okada Mari? Tekketsu no Orphans has gotten rather bland, it seems to me, and that’s the last thing in the world I would have expected out of that pairing (especially Okada).
Thinking back on it, have any of the main cast really developed since the start of the series? I noted more than once during the first season that the cart was driving the horse with IBO in terms of plot driving character, and that still seems to be the case. We get a new guy (played by Ohsaka Ryouta, so you know he’s important) whose given a rote backstory (his hero and protector had failed Alaya-Vijnana surgery and became paralyzed, so he resents Mikazuki), but not much reason to care about him. And “Hash Midey” – seriously, Gundam? There’s also another pirate subplot and another devil’s deal with McGillis, but right now everything feels quite repetitive. This one is dropped, I think, unless and until it gives me something worth picking it back up.