Summer 2017 – Weeks 10 & 11

I’M BACK, BOYS! After a weekend of socializing with 3D scums, going back into the world of anime has never felt so great.

Made in Abyss – Episodes 10 & 11

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Apart from my only gripe about its shaky pacing throughout the middle, Made in Abyss has gradually evolved from an ostentatious thrilling adventure at first glance, to a mystery-thriller painting a darker texture to the atmosphere, and now we’re witnessing a first-hand experience of the Abyss’ true horrors.

Somewhat emphatically, I mentioned how exciting it is to dive deeper into the Abyss knowing almost nothing that is possibly going to happen — little did we know that that same ignorance could’ve caused Reg and Riko their lives. For the most part episode 10 was obviously gruesome, but there’s an exact moment last week when I recoiled from genuine shock. It’s not the oozing blood nor deformities, but rather it’s seeing Reg trying to remove the glove from Riko’s bloated hand. This scene was like “oh shit kid is so in panic that he didn’t know what the f to do RIKO IN PEACE”, and not to mention how — even if it’s a bit comical — Reg isn’t aware of that thing called CPR.

I mean, for whatever reason you’re ever going on a trip to a place that you know is absolutely dangerous, one of the priority on your list is to study basic survival tactics. But that’s something that they weren’t exactly able to prepare beforehand (plus the fact that they’re only Red Whistles whom people aren’t expecting a lot from hitherto). Sure, episode 10 was a definitive display of the Abyss’ growing savagery, but on the flipside it’s a lot terrifying to have this idea behind the back of your head that you’re watching two kids with little to no experience of the Abyss wander around equipped only with bravado
and trivias. (God, did you see how Riko tried to do some exposition right in front of a goddamn raid boss?)

Made in Abyss is backed by a solid premise and mechanics, thus why after a single look at its key visuals and blurb I took it in as one of this season’s blockbuster hit. However, none of these would’ve ‘clicked in’ without its producers’ deft handling of the atmosphere, specifically these last few weeks where the horrors all broke loose. Atmosphere here, atmosphere there… if does feel like the term is now starting to get thrown around frequently like a buzzword, but try to compare the recent episodes to Reg and Riko’s encounter with Ozen which I jabbed at because of how they underplayed it (and to be quite honest Ozen was just joking about it so…). From the thumping percussion generating that implacable sense of dread, that surgical precision of Reg’s hands trembling as he unsheathes his dagger, first-person perspective shots putting us into the headspace of the characters… everything is geared towards making us feel as if this freak accident is truly happening — that they’re scared, in pain, hopeless. Until of course Nanachi comes to save the day with her adorb fur and voice.

Anyways, I saw this article whilst in the office regarding how horror tropes trigger a psychological response on us, and I can’t help but feel Made in Abyss nailed every part of it. Go read it, yo.

Ballroom e Youkoso – Episodes 10 & 11

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I wasn’t expecting episode 11 to be THAT loaded with emotions. I guess that’s to be expected when Ballroom stops being economical, eh? Like that part where the camera did this grand swoop swerving past by the dancers — one of the few instances that you’ll go DANCING IS AMAZING! and not WOW SAKUGA!!1 Really, there’s a difference.

Anyways, there weren’t anything held back in this climax; literally everything was in service of making me sob. Tatara was already high-strung from the beginning, but it was only during these recent episodes where his effort and frustration starts to permeate. He’s certainly a rare breed of protagonist in which he doesn’t have that certain talent and skill that makes him a prodigious character in his narrative (eg. Kuroko no Basuke, Ace of Diamond, any anime with an MC that has an  overpowered skill etc) — it’s just pure heart, passion, and hard work coming from this guy.

And speaking of hard work, Tatara’s going to get his hands full WHEN BEST GRILL FINALLY APPEARS NEXT WEEK WOOOOO

Addendum:

I guess one drawback of Ballroom‘s “still images” is that the characters doesn’t feel like they’re moving at all, but more like they’re striking for a pose presumably for the sake of enunciating their expressions. Obviously the manga has more space and control to move the characters — like paneling per se — used to manipulate our eyes into seeing(?) a sensation of movement.

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Another example out of many.

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Princess Principal – Episodes 10 & 11

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It’s starting to get difficult to keep track of who’s who.

And a civil war caught fire two episodes before the finale. Considering Princess Principal‘s intuitive execution with its previous episodes, I’m rather confident going into this climax… Okay, but seriously, hopefully they can cap this off with a satisfying closure.

Kakegurui – Episodes 10 & 11

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So I just caught up with all the talk about Kakegurui being a sub-par gambling anime after comparing it to the likes of Kaiji and Akagi. C’mon, guys. You’re comparing oranges and tangerines here. And no, don’t even mention Akagi as that thing is essentially different from the former two.

Koi to Uso – Episodes 10 & 11

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One thing that constantly frustrates me with Koi to Uso‘s characters is that they don’t seem to be that aware of their situation’s causality. Their sense of urgency is nowhere to be found in such an important matter, and it feels more like they’re just being swayed by whatever is happening around them than actively trying to overcome their predicament (with the exclusion of Ririna who was practically the only character that got a reasonable amount of development). Burial Mounds went like: if I marry girl B then my ideal relationship with girl A will cease to exist! Good job figuring that out after 10 episodes.

Sakura Quest – Episodes 23 & 24

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Even if I got a job like that, I’m sure it’d become normal after a while, and if you find inspiration in normal jobs, they don’t feel so normal anymore.

Ahh, did Yoshino just pull off the most quotable quote this season? Whatever the case is, this is character development paying off, folks.

After seeing this episode, I just realized that I’m actually going to miss this anime. That’s something that I didn’t get to mull over yet which is normally what should happen when a season is nearing its end. I think I got a bit more emotional when familiar faces and stories started showing up in episode 24. One of Sakura Quest‘s pivotal theme is identity, and being able to revisit these people and overarching stories is, in a way, a retrospective look at how one’s character developed and mature.  It’s a reminder that what we’ve seen weren’t inconsequential (I’m taking a jab at you, BnHA!), but rather they become merged together into this compendium of personal experience we build ourselves upon.

Re:Creators – Episodes 21 & 22 (END)

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She looks like she forgot something. Who could it be…?

Is being predictable and corny necessarily a bad thing? I don’t think it is, and neither does the argument why Re:Creators tanked lie in there.

Weekly Weekly-chan

All right. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy my little vacation. To sum it up me and my colleagues went into the beach, drove miles onto the mountain just to eat beef broth. Here are some snaps I took.

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Surprisingly I enjoyed the trip to Tagaytay, a lovely city situated atop a volcano’s ridge(?), a lot more than the time I spent drunk in the beach. It was raining cats and dogs all throughout our trip, but the panoramic view and delish food was more than enough to compensate for the not-so-ideal weather. Here’s what the view looks like on a normal day (that crater similar to the Abyss’ entrance is supposedly an active volcano)

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