Weekly Digest 10/18/16 – Haikyuu!!, Watashi ga Motete Dousunda, Drifters

A Backlog this big necessitates some extreme vetting. These are going to be capsule reviews I’m afraid, but that’s better than nothing…

Haikyuu!!: Karasuno Koukou VS Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou – 02

It was a very sad week in the world of Haikyuu, as actor Tanaka Kazunari, who plays Ukai, passed away from a brain hemorrhage at just 49 years old. Ukai is a deceptively important character in the series, so that represents a big blow above and beyond the heartbreak of losing a talented seiyuu far too young.

As for the match with Shiratorizawa, it proceeds more or less as you would have expected based on the buildup. Shiratorzawa is a clear step up from any opponent so far, and they win the first set 25-17. In addition to all his other dominant attributes, Ushijima is also left-handed – which is a big problem, especially for Yuu.  An uncharacteristic outburst from Suga does shake Karasuno out of their early jiitters, but nerves or not, Shiratorizawa is still too much – for now. That will surely change as the Crowlets get into the match (we have to have some drama, don’t we?) – especially Shouyou, who was rotated out almost as soon as the set began.

Watashi ga Motete Dousunda – 02

So apparently Watashi ga Motete Dousunda has decided to call itself “Watamote” – which strikes me as both unwise and rather presumptuous. I mean – that name s taken, couldn’t you come up with something original (like “Watamoudou”)?

That aside, I still find this show pretty funny. The second episode wasn’t as hilarious as the first, but there were moments (like the appearance by Kae’s Mom), and it also wasn’t as mean-spirited as the premiere. I quite enjoyed Kae and Nanashima arguing over the party of Captain Tsubasa, and her miraculous boomerang kick. At this point it’s beginning to look like Nana – the rudest and most anti-otaku of the quartet of suitors – is going to end up being the main guy. His reaction to seeing himself in Shion’s altar was one of the comic highlights of the episode.

One other note – Kobayashi Yuu’s performance isn’t quite working for me.  I get where she’s going with it, but it doesn’t seem like a wise choice to me.

Drifters – 02

I find myself quite liking Drifters, rather more than I might have thought in light of a couple of fairly serious reservations I have. I mean, the humour in this show is really off-putting – the deformed faces and chibis coming hot on the heels of children being murdered and decapitations just don’t work. The CGI can also be a bit much at times, though that’s less of an issue on the whole.

Still, there are elements of Drifters that are, frankly, really good. The premise is interesting, with a lot of potential for world-building. The way the series is shot and lit is quite striking, and there’s a lot of drama in the battle scenes and the events leading up to them. There’s a lot to take in here – the “Octobrists”, their leader Murasaki and his battle with “Easy”, a whole world of demi-humans (apparently in addition to elves there are other familiar fantastical species) being oppressed by those loyal to Easy.

There’s also a brutality to Drifters that packs quite an impact. Seemingly, this is not a series that glorifies war, and the “heroes” who thrill in it are very much morally ambiguous characters. There’s a lot to like, warts and all – I think Drifters has a chance to be a keeper.

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6 comments

  1. e

    Re Haikyuu: they’re lucky it’s a five sets match. They are so gonna need those two extra chances. Basically now that the purple buttoms royalty has claimed first advantage the pattern is likely bound to be the Crows winning every other set to last up and until the 5th to make their murder victory believable I think.
    I mean if they are going to win a catch up of 2 consecutive sets against Shiratorizawa leading to the final set seems a stretch…
    That said Suga’s outburst was precious – the quiet ones uhuh. Go mah boy :p – , Noya’s flaming spirit is especially invigorating in cold soggy weather and Mr. Ginger Spiky Hair is giving off faint Midousoji vibes ohohoh.

    Re Drifters: the humour is not super entertaining execution-wise compared to the premiere – Blackadder Goes Forth this ain’t – but I can sort of understand why it’s there in a ‘war veterans cracking jokes among the bloody mess and destruction in the face of death’ way.
    Yet I do like those SD snippet in the OP sequence for instance – angry chibi elves nananananahhing out of nowhere? Elf to the yes! – . The earworm song itself and those strecthes of hand-drawn ‘retro rough’ animation definitely don’t hurt either.
    On the plot side so far there’s tantalizing potential. And those partially desaturated reds popping among the subdued color palette are still hitting the spot.

  2. F

    Well, I would also really like to see that when the two factions do meet in the battlefield the angry elves (and dwarfes, werewolves and other demihumans) keep “nananananahhing” while slaughtering the enemy. That would be one (or better to say the one ) good joke that the show could make.

  3. I quite like Drifters too, those depictions of historical figures aren’t too bad. My biggest issue is with the character designs though, those people in white clothes have some of the weirdest designs I’ve ever seen.

  4. F

    I also quite enjoy these three shows as pastime which doesn’t require much brainwork so it’s not that bad that we couldn’t get our usual detailed commentary from Enzo this weekend, and I hope that you had a good time. On a side note and a bit off-topic I would like to ask whether you had checked out “Lostorage incited WIXOSS” and if yes maybe some words about it.

    I mean I know that there is a “First Impressions” post about “SIW” but this alternative setting seems better suited to the whole card game merchandising effort and in my opinion and the first two episodes were quite good. I myself dropped Selector infected WIXOSS after the third or fourth episode because it was too focused on “the cute girls suffering for no obvious reason” aspect, the card game itself was just boring for someone who had never even heard about it before, and it didn’t help that Okada Mari’s script seemed jarring considering the “Madoka”-ish theme of the show.

    So why did I find this iteration agreeable? First of all, this new version seems more balanced in case of the gender ratio of the characters (although the two mains are still cute girls so I wouldn’t make long-term bets), which is a big plus for me (I mean I could count on one hand how many shows this season utilise a gender-balanced cast and point out that a considerable amount of potential is lost when a show focuses only on the male or female characters ) Secondly the pace of the story is quite dynamic, the card game battles are quick, there is no unnecessary exposition (mainly because of the previous seasons) and the anime is more about the consequences of the aforementioned games. All in all the suffering doesn’t feel that much forced which made the whole thing a better watch than the first season(‘s first episodes).

    And lastly a quick question about the coverage of live-action shows. Pardon my ignorance if I’m wrong but I have seen posts of GoT and Doctor Who, so I did wonder if those are special cases fo Enzo’s favourite franchises or quality shows get a chance from time to time (of course it could be both), and if it’s the latter then maybe HBO’s Westworld could get that chance, since I’m really eager to read intelligently worded criticism of the show.

  5. Wixoss does nothing for me I’m afraid, in any iteration.

    As of now I have no plans to blog any live-action stuff beyond GoT – I’m stretched thin enough as it is. I do watch a bunch of other stuff, but nothing that nags at me for blogging purposes.

  6. F

    Thanks for the quick reply anyway and it’s totally understandable that you don’t want to fritter away your time.

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