Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Anime-zing Race, Spring 2015 Edition: Week 3

Now with 200% more shocking twists, just like an actual reality show!
Last week, 16 shows entered the race to be one of the best new shows of Spring 2015. It was a battle to not be the first show on the chopping block, but after a close final dash between Etotama and Punch Line, it was ultimately Punch Line that was the first show to be sent home. Here is a recap of the standings from last week's race:

  1. Sound! Euphonium
  2. Hello! Kinmoza
  3. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO
  4. Baby Steps Season 2
  5. My love Story
  6. Plastic Memories
  7. The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan
  8. Re-kan
  9. Show by Rock
  10. Wish Upon the Pleiades
  11. Rin-ne
  12. Mikagura School Suite
  13. Food Wars - Shokugeki no Souma
  14. Ultimate Otaku Teacher
  15. Etotama
These fifteen shows stand ready to run the next leg of the race to avoid being last and the next show to be dropped... but wait! What is this...


That's right; at any point in this race, a new show may invade the race to compete for a winning spot. And when a new show appears, that week's race will always have a double elimination! So now racers must avoid being in the two bottom spots to still stay in the race one more week. As for who the new challenger is... well, let's introduce:

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches - A supernatural rom-com with witches, body-swapping, and kisses... lots and lots of kisses. It might be a week late in joining the race, but if it puts a strong performance, it can still claim a top spot and get its own victory smooch.

This week, all shows will be judged up to (and mainly on) Episode 3, except for Yamada-kun which will be judged up to episode 2 (the most recent episode). So let's begin the next leg of the race!

Continuing to show its strength as a low-key drama and a band-themed anime, Sound! Euphonium takes the 1st place spot yet again. However, in a surprise move, the show to take 2nd place in this leg is My love Story, which breaks the usual shoujo conventions by skipping all that romantic misunderstanding nonsense and putting the main couple together already, in addition to highlighting the strong friendship between the two males very well. It's a bold move by the show, and it remains to be seen how it proceeds from a point where most shoujo series would have called it quits.

The subtitler took some translation liberties, but I guess that's what we call close male friendships now.

Meanwhile, the three sequels have been very consistent, and Hello! Kinmoza takes up 3rd place easily with a fun episode involving Youko's younger siblings. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO takes 4th place with an episode that pokes into Hachiman's past, and Baby Steps Season 2 is still doing its thing well and takes 5th place as a result.

Plastic Memories is another strong contender in this race... or was before this episode. However, Episode 3 gave us a ridiculous number of classic rom-com hijinks with only a bit of the show's strongest quality in its understated emotion. Amusing, but it slows down the show a lot. The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan easily passes it to take 6th place, especially as it puts up a strong episode that puts Haruhi Suzumiya more officially into the show in glorious fashion. Re-kan is also able to pass Plastic Memories and take 7th place. As Plastic Memories continues to fall behind, two more shows, both putting in solid episodes that push forward their stories, come in with a slight shift in positions: Wish Upon the Pleiades in 8th, and Show by Rock in 9th.

Another bit of a shake-up has occurred as Food Wars - Shokugeki no Souma takes 10th place, with the introduction of a fun new character in Megumi. And Rin-ne keeps its 11th place as it also introduces a fun new character in Rokumon. Coming in 12th place is the newcomer, Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, being a fun show with amusing body-swapping hijinks.

But while Plastic Memories continues to fall into the back of the pack, an even greater tragedy befalls another show. Etotama, a show I thought I might enjoy just as a stupid-fun show to not take seriously, decides to pull a bold--and very stupid--move, and kill off one of its major characters. Yes, that's a spoiler, and no, I'm not spoilering it, because if you're even considering watching this show, you better know this sort of thing can happen. This is a complete clash of tone for the show, and is a horribly poorly executed attempt to add shock value to a show that just does not need it. Honestly, it sickened me so much that I lost all will to continue with the show at all. As such, Etotama is the first show to be dropped in the middle of the race.

The cat might not have deserved to be left out of the Zodiac, but this show definitely deserves to be left out of my anime viewing list.

However, this week is a double-elimination week, and that means one more show will be eliminated. The shows left are Plastic Memories, Mikagura School Suite, and Ultimate Otaku Teacher. Which one of the three will falter at the end?

Mikagura School Suite will not, as it takes a safe spot at 13th place, still being a fun show overall. And for all the problems it had with its latest episode, Plastic Memories still shows a lot of promise, so it takes up 14th place as it hopes to make a comeback next week.

Which means that Ultimate Otaku Teacher is dropped. Which is really unfortunate, as it was actually one of the shows I was really looking forward to this season, but my expectations were dashed upon realizing how immature the show actually was. With low production values and a wholly unlikable lead teacher character--kind of a problem for a show that espouses the power of teachers so much--I just do not have the time to bother with it anymore. I really should just go and catch up with Assassination Classroom instead.

I'm always up for a good teacher-centric show. The problem with this show is that Kagami-sensei isn't a good teacher.

Next week, one more show will be dropped before I have a viewing list for this season, after which I can eliminate shows without dropping them. With a spot in my seasonal "What I'm Watching" post at stake, next week will be a very important week for all of the shows still in the race, but especially for the bottom three; Yamada-kun and Mikagura are both solid shows on their own but they are up against tough competition, while Plastic Memories needs to prove it can still live up to the potential shown by its early episodes and not shoot itself in the foot trying too hard to be a classic rom-com.

1 comment:

  1. I should mention here that I looked into Etotama further and apparently the spirit girls can all revive (and thus can get killed over and over again). So this was just a case of an episode executing a "death is cheap" concept *really* badly.

    Still not enough to save the show from elimination, though.