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.