I just learned that Beatless is a 2-cour anime. So’s Grancrest Senki. And Toji no Miko too. How? Why? Anyways, here’s everything else from the latest week…
Dagashi Kashi S2 Ep. 5
No Hotaru in this week’s episode at all. Is this show even worth watching without her? She doesn’t really show up in next week’s preview either. Man, I really want the full-length episodes more than ever. Anyways, Coconut’s dagashi shop has fallen into disarray due to financial troubles. It also doesn’t help that his father just tripped and broke one of his toes. Still, with his friends’ help, he manages to get the place back to the way it used to look… but obviously, the way it used to look isn’t working anymore, so Coconuts needs a new idea to help the place stand apart. And just like that, the episode is over. We also learn that the main character has been down in the dumps ever since his manic pixie girl disappeared, but it’s hard for me the empathize. Just call her up, you dolt. While I appreciate plot progression over silly dagashi hijinks, these episodes are just too short to be satisfying.
Dragon Ball Super Ep. 127
Jiren’s backstory is pathetic. He looks bland, and his motivations are equally bland. It’s really a shame. Also, Dragon Ball Super shows its age, because most of the episode is really dull and boring. Basically, it’s the same song and dance for like 75% of the episode. The good guys try to land a hit on the bad guy, but they just can’t do it because numbers. Jiren has a higher number under the power column and that’s all that matters. Eventually, Android 17 has to sacrifice himself in order to protect Goku and Vegeta, so the show finally hits an emotional high again. But that takes up like… what? Only three or four measly minutes out of the entire episode? The series is only this long because it wastes its time with pointless, redundant fighting scenes. In other shounens, characters have unique powers and abilities that they have to strategize around. In any given Dragon Ball Anything episode, however, it’s just one big tug-of-war beam match until it’s time to delete a character from the battlefield. So am I enjoying this show? Eh, I wouldn’t be if it weren’t for the nostalgia factor.
Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Ep. 5
Well, it’s the start of a new arc, so the story is back to being all over the place. The first arc was the same way. It didn’t really hook me until the story focused in on Lin’s revenge. It’s not clear what the main focus for the second arc will be yet. Red Rum Inc wants Saito dead, because he might leak their secrets. Was he really there long enough to know any secrets, though? Ah well. Even though Saito got plastic surgery in order to live a new life, Enokida sold him out… but the mushroom-head was nice enough to warn him beforehand.
The other subplot focuses on some guy trying to become a hitman, but he keeps getting “shit jobs.” So he decides to go it alone, and with his friend’s help, he gains notoriety as the “Submarine Ninja.” Why submarine? ‘Cause he throws his shuriken like a submarine pitch. Yep. He’s eventually contracted by those Kakyu goons to go after the Niwaka Samurai, aka Banba, so that’s kinda important, I guess. Like I said, until the arc finds a strong story to focus on, I’ll be kinda disengaged for now.
Ito Junji Collection Ep. 6
It felt like the first story ended as soon as it was starting to get good. Shame…
As for the second story, if we had more time to get to know Riko, it might have been a nice, sad story. But it was too rushed in the end. I felt like I was listening to her husband spell things out half the time, so the story couldn’t really build atmosphere or layer on Riko’s sense of isolation and loneliness in a family that did not want her. I do think Makoto is a bit of a jackass, though. After-image or not, your wife can apparently still feel pain. Pretty low of him to cheat.
Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san Ep. 5
This is the first episode where I found myself kinda disliking Takagi. Teasing her crush is all fine and dandy, but purposefully wasting his time by instructing him to study the wrong material is going a bit too far. Oh well, that’ll teach him to try and study at the library. I never bothered doing that when I was growing up.
Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san Ep. 6
First up is this bowl of dried sardines ramen. I like sushi. I like grilled fish. Unfortunately, I do not like anything that has a strong fishy flavor. Things like sardines are not to my taste. I don’t even like the nori that you often get in every ramen bowl. I usually just dunk that thing into the broth to get it into a ball then gulp it down in one go. Done. Now I don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the meal. Anyways, there are a few places around here that do seafood ramen, but I haven’t bothered to try them. I just know I won’t enjoy them. If they were cheaper, maybe…
By the way, I know you’re allowed to do this, but I still haven’t tried it in public. It just feels weird. So instead, I choose to look like an idiot by scooping up the broth with my spoon. It’ll take me a while, but I’ll empty the bowl eventually.
Afterwards, Koizumi goes and gets a bowl of ramen that comes with ice cubes. That sounds nice for a hot summer day. Unfortunately, most places here don’t deviate from the popular tonkotsu broth, which wouldn’t work at cold temperatures. The fat in the soup would quickly turn into a nasty slurry. While people in San Francisco will happily wait in line for an hour just to eat ramen, I don’t think the dish is popular enough for ramen joints to start doing weird gimmicks like throwing ice cubes into the broth.
Later, she has a bowl of shoyu ramen. Standard stuff for once.
Then she has this German-inspired bowl with speck and sauerkraut. That actually sounds pretty good…
…and finally, she wraps up her trip with a bowl of seafood ramen. Eh. Alright, I guess it’s my turn.
Last Friday, I paid Ken Ken Ramen a visit. I had actually been there before — about two years ago — and I wasn’t a fan of their tantanmen. If you’re not familiar with tantanmen, it’s ramen’s take on dan dan noodles. Basically, ramen with some bold Chinese flavors. The bowl I had two years ago was incredibly salty. It was so salty, I could feel it in my feet if that makes any sense.
So Ken Ken Ramen is kinda gimmicky, because the interior of the restaurant is really dark. From the entrance, there’s enough natural light outside for you to see the front bar area. They’ve got a bunch of kitschy lanterns strung up all over the ceiling. Go further back, however, and you’ll barely be able to read the menu in front of you. Anyways, I hate restaurants with bad lighting, because I like to see what I’m eating. Part of food’s appeal is how tasty it looks. You eat with your eyes, too. Plus, it’s just hard to take a good picture in the dark (and I’d never turn on my camera’s flash in a restaurant).
So yeah, this blurry mess is my bowl of yuzu shio ramen. The broth is a combination of pork and chicken stock. Piled high on top of the soup is a mess of mizuna greens. Beneath that, you’ll find all the standard ramen toppings: chashu, soft-boiled egg, green onions, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and wakame. There’s also bok choy, which I haven’t seen anywhere else in SF.
I tried to take another picture just to prove that there’s ramen under all those greens. Again, the shot came out blurry. On the menu that night was also miso (regular, vegetarian, or vegan), shoyu, and the aforementioned tantanmen. I chose the yuzu shio because I had been eating nothing but rich tonkotsu ramen lately, so I thought I’d try something lighter. In the end, however, I didn’t like my bowl all that much. Maybe I don’t like shio ramen… or maybe I just honestly don’t like Ken Ken Ramen. Certainly, the mountain of mizuna greens didn’t help. I felt like I was eating a salad for the first couple of minutes. But once I got past the greens, the flavor of the broth just wasn’t that impressive. Not enough yuzu, I guess. They certainly didn’t cheap out on the cuts of chashu like Ippudo, but you can definitely tell that the pork wasn’t braised long enough. Worst of all, the noodles were non-distinct. Just no flavor in them. To sum it all up, this was a disappointing night.
Oh yeah, I might not do ramen again next Friday. This is starting to put a serious dent in my wallet. I’ll probably just talk about the sushi dinner I had back in December.
On the plus side, I did get to have this beer again (and yes, this shot somehow came out right). I was going to have a yuzu soda to go along with the yuzu shio ramen, but they ran out of the drink.
I saw this ad while waiting to watch Before We Vanish at the Alamo Drafthouse. Cracked me up.
Takunomi Ep. 5
I thought this was a show about drinking.
Hmm, better take a closer look.
Ah, there it is… it is a show about drinking! If you have a hard time with red wine — and they can be pretty tannic, I gotta admit — then just try sangria. There’s your gateway drug to red wine. I guess ginger ale is fine, but it’s a little too sweet for me.
Oh wait, it’s not a show about drinking anymore. Basically, drink cute beers like the white cat Belgian ale. Don’t drink red wine. It’ll fuck you up.
Toji no Miko Ep. 6
Don’t do drugs, kids. Lots of derpy animation in this week’s episode, but that’s not even the worst part. The fights just look so plain and boring. For a bunch of expert swordswomen, the duels between these girls often boil down to simple slashing moves. Cute girls and swordfighting — how do you screw up with a premise like that? By not allocating your resources properly, that’s how. The action just look so bad. Again, you don’t really need clean animation, really. Choreography is what matters.
Anyways, if you’re curious about the story… uh… the bad guys are injecting themselves with some kind of drug that infuses them with aradama. Ellen let herself get caught last week just so she could bring back evidence of Yukari’s human experiments. She runs into Yomi this week, and we get to see her gimmick again. For now, the story kinda sucks.