I stole the picture above shamelessly from Reddit. Um, let’s see… how do I currently feel about the winter season? I still like Violet Evergarden and Darling in the FranXX. I’m surprisingly warming up to Koi wa Ameagari no You ni, but we’ll see how long that lasts. Nothing else has really rocked my world, but Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens could turn out better than expected. On the other hand, I’m dropping both Basilisk – Ouka Ninpouchou and Pop Team Epic from my weekly rotation. I couldn’t finish either of their episodes.
Dagashi Kashi S2 Ep. 2
I like how the show flashes a warning to tell kids not to run out and play in typhoons, but no warning against peeping. Then again, my own peers seem to be busy railing against metaphors. Ain’t no mentions, retweets, and likes to mine from Dagashi Kashi, right?
Anyways, the focus this week seems to be on toys. I think I prefer the first season’s format. The longer episodes gave the characters a chance to breathe. At the moment, they seem a bit Flanderized.
Dragon Ball Super Ep. 124?!
A friend told me to tune in, because Vegeta had unlocked yet another SSJ form. Better yet, he and Goku are teaming up against some cute grey alien dude from another universe, and shit’s about to go down. So just my luck, as soon as I start paying attention to Dragon Ball, I get an episode all about Frieza and Gohan fighting some weird cat thing. If you haven’t been paying attention like me, Frieza is apparently golden now. Dragon Ball, man. Don’t even start; it’s a gateway to even more pathetic shounen anime. Then I looked up why Gohan wasn’t in his SSJ form, and it turns out he has some transformation called “Potential Unleashed.” I eventually fell into the rabbit hole called the “Dragon Ball Wiki,” and before I knew it, I had wasted an hour of my precious life. Did you know there’s a cinematic event where Goku fuses with the audience in order to defeat Broly God? Good lord…
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Ep. 2
Ooh, this ramen is getting kinda spicy. Banba offers to pay off Xianming’s debts in exchange for information. Unfortunately, the yakuza that used to employ Xianming just sold his sister to the other bad guys. What other bad guys? Y’know, the ones working for the corrupt mayor. The mayor is apparently bold enough to buy women for his sadistic son to torture and kill. Qiaomei predictably and unfortunately turns up dead in Saito’s bed. Saito’s the guy who got kidnapped by a bunch of avengers at the end of last week’s episode. Yeah, I was wrong about them. They’re not hitmen; they just help their clients get revenge. If you punch someone, expect to get punched back. They mistook Saito for Jun Nagase, but the kid was lucky enough to clear up that misunderstanding. Too bad he’s now framed for murder. Woo boy, that’s a lot of plot points to cover. I’m sure I left out a few minor details, too. There’s not much to analyze here. The show’s just getting juicier than I expect it too. I mean, you can’t get any juicier than killing off one of the main character’s imouto. Plus, there’s all this tension between Xianming and Banba all over that OP. Let’s just say the show’s finally got my attention.
If there’s anything that gives me pause, it’s the way the story treats women. They all seem disposable to the story. I’m not calling the show misogynistic or anything… not yet, anyways. It’s too early to draw any definite conclusions. For now, just know that Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens is not exactly a walk in the park if you’re still deciding whether or not to add it to your weekly rotation. I know, I know — one of the characters is a hitwoman, so they’re not all victims, but between the sex workers at the titty bar and victims of human trafficking, things look pretty dire for the women in this show.
Ito Junji Collection Ep. 3
I tried to devote a post a week to this series, but after watching this episode, I realized that this just wasn’t really feasible. I could obsessively compare each episode to its source material, but I don’t want to do that. I don’t think an adaptation necessarily needs to adhere closely to the original work. It just needs to be its own thing. Unfortunately, as much as I want to love Ito Junji Collection, it isn’t shaping up to be much more than a mere footnote in the man’s long career.
There’s actually more to Ryuusuke and Midori’s story than what we get here. If the rest of it doesn’t get adapted, let’s just say that the two of them don’t exactly get a happy ending. Frankly, I never thought much of Lovesick Dead due to its premise. Lots of things are unexplained in Ito Junji’s stories, but girls going crazy over a fortune that they get from a bishie in the fog is just… kinda stupid. If anything, it makes the girls seem shallow and easily manipulable. Yeah, some people tend to care too much about fortunes and horoscopes. I have a coworker who reads that shit daily. I bet the mangaka saw this behavior and decided to exaggerate the elements into a macabre story. But the end result just makes everyone involved look like idiots.
As always, the production values are a letdown. When the girl cuts her own throat, I don’t understand why the blood spray becomes one giant red cloud suspended in midair. Oh well, onto the next show…
Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san Ep. 2 & 3
This show is like a primer for all those blatantly obvious signs we all missed in grade school. Takagi couldn’t be more overt about her feelings, and if Nishikata is still single by the time he heads off to college, he’s going to be kicking himself every night. Anyways, the show’s still cute, but it’s gotten a bit repetitive. I know, I know, it’s not the kind of show where people overcome personal obstacles and discover life-changing epiphanies, but I’d still like to see these characters grow a bit. For better or worse, every episode feels the same.
Marchen Madchen Ep. 2
Hazuki gets to enroll in a magical academy, but she’s behind the curve since she’s been a normal person up until now. Naturally, she has trouble casting even the most basic of spells, so the other kids all make fun of her. Again, this is a subplot that we’ve seen before in other similar-minded anime. Worst of all, Marchen Madchen does nothing special with the trope except stick the poor girls in burumas. Afterwards, we get some limp drama about friendship. Spoilers: Hazuki and Shizuka are now BFFs.
Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san Ep. 3
Dude, I would love a cubicle for eating ramen. Hell, I just want cubicles period. I love my privacy, but unfortunately, the open office concept has pretty much caught on like wildfire. I hate that everyone can see what I’m doing and vice versa. Yeah, that’s right, I see you watching videos on Facebook over there. Me? Oh, I’m always busy working~. But back to ramen… yeah, I know it’s not supposed to be eaten elegantly, which is exactly why I’d love a cubicle. I don’t know a single ramen shop where space isn’t a premium. You’re always practically bumping elbows with the people next to you. That’s just not my style. No one talks while they’re scarfing down ramen anyways. On the other hand, I don’t need to limit human interactions this much.
I hate people like Yu.
As for Koizumi, is there any ramen bowl she won’t eat? She’s never critical. She reminds me more of a blind fanatic than a true ramen connoisseur. It’s possible to screw up ramen, y’know. In any case, that’s all I’ll say about the show’s characters for this week’s episode.
Oh yeah, I went on a ramen excursion of my own. I visited Coco’s Ramen, a restaurant located in the sleepy Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. Luckily, it’s actually not too far off from 24th Street Station.
I ordered myself tonkotsu ramen with chashu and black garlic oil. I also had takoyaki to go with it. The whole thing set me back $25 including tax and tip. Yes, yes, food in San Francisco is expensive. I know, I know. Anyways, I actually dislike the taste of black garlic oil on its own. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to taste good by itself or not. I just know that it’s kind of nasty as its own thing. But somehow, it manages to elevate a bowl of ramen. It’s almost cliche at this point to use the word “umami” to describe Japanese food, but I don’t know how else to describe it. The oil is just like a punch of funky umami in your broth. The place also had curry ramen on the menu, so I’ll probably come back to try it at some point. Having said that, I’m going somewhere else next weekend.
Side note: I need to get a better camera. Any recommendations for a cheap one around $150?
Takunomi Ep. 2
One of the characters says she can’t be bought with alcohol. She’s not that much of a lush, alright? She then proceeds to teach Michiru all about “chu-hi,” a mixture of shochu and flavored carbonated water. Uh-huh. Totally not a lush.
Michiru also gets fashion advice from the same girl, but I went to get something to drink and missed this whole portion of the episode. Oh well!
Toji no Miko Ep. 3
So if they send someone to hunt you down, just geek out about sword-fighting, and your enemy will soon become your friend. It’s that easy! Anyways, the stakes haven’t gotten any higher. Kanami and Hiyori are still on the lam. They manage to find someone to provide them shelter, so to show their gratitude, I get to watch our two girls clean a grown woman’s apartment. As for the bad guys, they’re pretty much just sitting around screaming at each other. Since Kanami’s posse still needs to grow before she can take on Final Boss Yukari, I bet the next few episodes will feel just as sleepy as this one.
Since I dropped two shows, I could pick up another one. Is there a gem of an anime that I’m somehow missing out on? Don’t say Citrus.