The saga continues.
Here There Be (Mild) Spoilers: Remember, these posts look at some of the common trends and threads in the currently streaming anime that I’m watching (full list is on the sidebar). I keep things vague but if you’re a plot purist, you may want to skim past.
Who stumbled? Who soared? The answers to your burning questions below the jump.
Second-Stringers (Baby Steps, Chaika the Coffin Princess, Haikyuu!!, One Week Friends, Ping Pong, The World is Still Beautiful, Yowamushi Pedal)
I struggled on exactly how to describe this group of characters, but I think “second stringers” works best.
Of course all of the sports anime gave their bench guys a time to shine – whether they were freshman climbers pulling their ailing teammates back into the race, newbie players finally getting past the third round, veteran setters willing to step out of the spotlight for the sake of the team (Suga-san, you HAVE become awesome), or best friends turning into heroes, this was the week of the little guy being the bigger man, for certain.
But even outside of sports, our second string proved its worth. Kiryu continues to be the Supporting Character (and Best Bro) of the Year, Gillette proved his loyalty to his allies in a fist-pump-worthy standoff, and can we all take a moment to appreciate Neil, who in addition to being a paper-pushing dance instructor manservant BFF ALSO knows how to beat the ever-loving snot out of people? Let’s give these second stringers and sidekicks a round of applause.
Teamwork! (Chaika the Coffin Princess, One Week Friends, The World Is Still Beautiful, Yowamushi Pedal)
Weird how only one of the shows mentioned was a sports anime, huh? But there you have it – while Yowamushi Pedal saw the Souhoku gang reunited (and it felt so good), most of the other great partnerships were happening outside the world of sports this week.
Team Chaika Toru and Team Gillette Zita put aside their differences to work for the greater good, and Hase and Hajime call a truce (er, mostly) to solve some Kaori mysteries together. Nike and Livi weren’t even in the same room, but they sure were of one mind, doing everything in their power to stand up to Granny Thunder. Most of these conflicts haven’t been resolved yet, but with the way these guys work together, my money’s on teamwork winning the day next week.
Dragons (Chaika the Coffin Princess, Ping Pong)
Both literally and figuratively and on soooo many levels.
The actual dragon (well, “Dragoon”) Frederica had herself a very bad day, and nicknamed Dragon Ryuichi flew as far as his wings could take him. While there’s a good chance this week’s losses may be temporary instead of permanent (in fact Ryuichi is sure to wind up the better for it), it looks like both have stepped out of the limelight, and I suspect neither will have much to do with their show’s respective season finales.
Ladies (Chaika the Coffin Princess, One Week Friends, Mushi-shi, The World is Still Beautiful)
Man, but the gals had a rough time of it this week – and what made it even rougher was how much of it was inflicted by other ladies.
Kaori learned the truth of her memory loss, Nike found herself locked in a dungeon on the orders of her grandma and mentor, and the young mother on this week’s Mushi-shi fell victim to a mysterious milky illness (remember, kids: never drink from the mysterious glowing pond).
Oh – and did I mention what was behind Door #3 on Chaika? Easily the most disturbing moment of the series, that.
Let’s hope the women of anime can rally next week and give us some good old-fashioned lady justice, because they sure as shootin’ could use some.
Scenery Porn (Haikyuu!!, Mushi-shi, One Week Friends, Ping Pong, The World is Still Beautiful)
Mushi-shi’s breathtaking backgrounds could make the list every week, but this time around plenty of other shows stepped up their game as well, giving us a palette of outdoor scenes snowy, rainy, urban, and pastoral. And P.A. Works isn’t even producing a show this season!
It’s easy for me to sometimes forget how much better a show can become when the artists put as much work into the backgrounds as they do into the other elements of the story, but this week really drove that point home. Gorgeous, lush scenery adds life, mood, and context to a series, making the world of the characters – and by extension the characters themselves – seem that more real. (And they make damn good computer wallpapers to boot.)
Keep up the lovely work, background artists.