My Love Story!! – Episode 5: “I’m Dense”

What’s eating Yamato Rinko?

I’m not sure if they added the little Yamato figure to the opening theme’s cake this week or last and I just didn’t notice, but it left me in Cute Overload Mode before the episode even began, which is always a good thing. It also helps highlight the amount of attention that’s gone into this adaptation. Regardless of what you think of the content, this is a director and animation staff who puts a lot of thought and affection into the production, and it shows from the myriad ways they convey our couple’s uncontainable love-love (sparkles! bubbles! stars! doilies!) to the endless array of expressions. Takeo Faces alone could have their own Tumblr.

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My Love Story!! – Episode 4: “My Boyfriend”

Singles’ outing day is a very dangerous day.

The cast expands in a big way this time, although we’ve yet to see if those expansions were a one-time event or if we’ll see any of these characters again in the coming weeks. What this episode really does is give us a better picture of the world outside of our Trio of Ultimate Niceness, and it’s… well, not nearly as nice as they are. Although it does have 100% more afro, which is definitely a plus.

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Rule of Three Review, Dark Horse Digest: PUNCH LINE, Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches – Episodes 2-3

Well, this is unexpected.

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I didn’t expect either of these shows to earn a full meet ‘n’ greet, never mind this Rule of Three Review. More surprising still, both are staying on the watch list for now, and I’m actually looking forward to seeing where they take their stories.

The “how” and “why” of it mostly boils down to solid writing, something that other shows which looked better on paper have struggled with this season. Likable characters and engaging (or at least bizarre) scenarios go a long way all on their own; throw in some energetic animation/direction, and you’ve got yourself the two most pleasant surprises of the season. Both could fall off a cliff at any moment, and I’m halfway expecting it to happen, but they’re still with me for now, and in a season this sparse I’ll take whatever I can get. Hit the jump for details, concerns, and early praise.

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My Love Story!! – Episode 3: “My Blue Ogre”

Best Dude Forever Status: Achieved.

My Love Story continues to gleefully ignore rom-com genre conventions, and I couldn’t be happier. A “Beauty and the Beast” style tale about a girl gradually coming to love someone for their “inner beauty”? Nah, screw that—Yamato thought Takeo was awesome from the start! A messy love triangle among friends? Been there, done that, and this show ain’t sellin’ those T-shirts. A long, drawn-out “will they won’t they” dance between Oblivious-san and Shy-kun? No, thank you, ma’am, we’ll just approach this relationship head-on, if you don’t mind.

Well, okay. OreMono does adhere to conventions in one way: It is ridiculously, unreasonably, and overwhelmingly adorable.

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Rule of Three Review, Doga Kobo Digest: Plastic Memories, Mikagura School Suite – Episodes 2-3

Sometimes execution just isn’t enough.

Studio Doga Kobo is trying their damnedest with both of these shows, filling them with expressive faces, lots of motion both in terms of animation and shot selection, and energetic vocal performances. And that would probably be enough to sell me on both these series—if only the writing were even a little bit better. One of these series fritters its fascinating premise away on cliche interactions, while the other juggles a large, likable cast but struggles with a generic premise and shallow conflicts. And man, are they both trying real hard to be funny and doing a realmediocre job at it.

So yeah, this digest post ain’t the most positive thing I’ve written, but you’re welcome to hit the jump for specifics on what worked, what didn’t, and whether either of these shows will get a chance to prove themselves next week.

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Rule of Three Review: Show by Rock!! – Episodes 2-3

The ending theme was right: I am indeed having a nice MUSIC!!

I described Show by Rock!! as “utter nonsense” in my premiere review, and remarked on Twitter that it was “so dumb and I loved it,” but after a couple extra episodes, I’m reevaluating my opinion somewhat. SbR isn’t dumb. It’s silly. “Dumb” implies a lack of intent; it suggests that something is amusing without that being the creators’ goal. “Silly,” on the other hand, means that the creators know exactly what they’re doing and are enjoying the heck out of themselves. And I’d say SbR firmly falls into the second category.

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Rule of Three Review, Fantasy Digest: Seraph of the End, The Heroic Legend of Arslan – Episodes 2-3

Sometimes it’s not just what you say, but how you say it.

Both of these shows are firmly on my bubble, and no one is more surprised than me. I’d expectedArslan to be a season lock and Seraph to lose my interest, but neither’s been the case. More surprising still, if you asked me to rank one ahead of the other, I’d have to admit that thanks to solid some direction, animation, and acting, Seraph is doing a better job of winning me over thanArslan.

I know, you guys. It’s weird. This season is weird.

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Rule of Three Review: Blood Blockade Battlefront – Episodes 2-3

Big, Bombastic, Beautiful.

BBB is a first-class example of how a talented director, composer, and animation studio can take solid source material and crank it up to about 11. We likely would have had this frenetic world along with its enigmatic supernatural beings, its underground organization that oozes cool, and its affable but troubled protagonist regardless of the creative team, and it probably would have been fun in any competent director’s hands. But what BONES, Matsumoto, and her team have created here is more than just fun: It’s a visual and aural feast, taking Nightow’s often blank canvas and splashing it with color, depth, and imagery.

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My Love Story!! – Episode 2: “My Romance”

You know, Takeo, if you’re gonna be in a love triangle, you should probably make sure the other two people know they’re in it, too.

As expected, this is the week rom-com shenanigans and misunderstandings take center stage, as Takeo (almost willfully) misinterprets Yamato’s oh-so-obvious advances at every turn and does his ample best to give her a happy ending with Suna. As a result, Suna ends up taking more of a center stage this week, as Takeo tries to learn Suna’s “type” but doesn’t come up with much. Suna claims to be interested in girls, but says he finds the idea of a relationship tiring (I hear ya, buddy).

Oh, and just in case you forgot this was also a goofball comedy, all of this happens under Tina Belcher’s favorite tree.

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