Weekly Watch Round-Up July 29th

So how ‘bout that ‘JoJo’s’ finalé, huh?

We’re four weeks into the season and I feel like I’m well settled in – I’m happy with the shows that I picked and, with one exception (‘Try Knights’, which as far as I know hasn’t dropped its first episode yet), there’s nothing I feel like I should have tried out by now.

Loved it

After dumping its first three episodes all at once, Vinland Saga has finally dropped episode four, and while I knew what was coming, I was still impressed with the way it played out. All the previews had spoiled the fact that the plot proper is driven by Thorfinn’s desire for revenge after the death of his father, so that wasn’t surprising. But oh boy, that fight scene. Thors taking out a boat full of guys single-handedly and without killing anyone? Taking a sword-swipe to the chest without falling? Having Askeladd solidly beaten and refusing to kill him in front of his son? Absolutely spectacular. And  how much is it going to hurt to see Thorfinn grow up aiming to be the man his father did not want him to be, all to get revenge for his father’s death? I was expecting this show to give us a spectacle, but I was not expecting feels on this level. That shot of young Thorfinn glaring at Askeladd at the end was so foreboding and sad. 

Fruits Basket continues its solid showing with the second part of Uotani’s backstory. I’ve been wondering about the reasons for giving this more detail than the original series did (again, I have no complaints about it at all). I hope it will help newer fans understand why Uo reacts the way she does in what I can only describe as the ‘final form’ arc, and why two characters who are practically polar opposites wound up such good friends. But I’ve also been wondering if it’s a way to show how the series deals with character development, as if it’s showing us now that the roles we have in life can change, if we work to change them. Remember that; it’ll come in handy later!

Liked it

Cop Craft is my ‘didn’t expect to like it’ show this season, much like ‘RobiHachi’ was last season. I mostly tuned in for the Tsuda Kenjirou ASMR, expecting to be mildly annoyed by Tirana. And I’m still mildly annoyed, but that’s largely by how the show is treating the character; as a slightly embarrassing fish-out-of-water type who gets talked into dressing inappropriately and going into dangerous situations. Given her situation, I’m surprised it took the show this long to attempt to garner any sympathy for her, and it took putting her in a room full of captured fairies to achieve that. The inevitable cop show double-cross came in surprisingly early, making me wonder where the story is going next, as that’s the kind of plot twist that usually requires more build-up. A good show should keep you guessing, not leave you feeling lost. I still have hope for this one, so let’s see what today’s episode brings.

There was no new Carole and Tuesday this week, but three episodes of the ‘Mini Series’ have popped up if you know where to look, and although they’re super short, they are flippin’ adorable! They’re 2D chibi versions of the characters talking about nothing in particular: Gus and Roddy, Ertegun and Roddy, and Angela and Tao. It’s the Ertegun one you need to check out, simply because Miyano Mamorou is possibly the best thing that ever happened to voice acting. He’s an actor who knows how much overacting is enough, and then still goes past that limit and somehow it works even better. It’s for this reason that I’m also looking forward to the recently announced second season of ‘Zombie Land Saga’.

Given feels like a fairly solid show at this point; things are still building steadily, which I like when it comes to love stories. I want things to feel natural and organic, rather than having characters jumping into lust or fixation. Using Mafuyu’s guitar as a way for Uenoyama to get to know him and his history, and the teasing with a new character and some backstory was an effective hook for the next episode. Everyone so far feels likeable, and I love the richness of the scenery, which gives the story an added sense of realness

Let down by:

Episode four of To The Abandoned Sacred Beasts wasn’t especially bad, but it’s at the bottom of my list because it could have been so much better. This was such a sad and heartfelt story after the violence of last week’s episode, but we had to work out the sadness for ourselves because the episode did not give us enough insight into Arthur. I’m assuming he was a quiet, reserved and gentle man, making his transformation into the Behemoth such a stark contrast. Likewise, his drive to reach the ocean while doing his best to avoid causing harm was important but felt glossed over. And while his eventual death after reaching his goal was given an appropriate amount of reverence, how much better might it have been if he’d been allowed to get to the ocean instead of just looking at it through a blasted hole in the landscape before laying down to die? The whole episode felt rushed; we’re not being given enough reason to care about each of these people before they’re killed off, and I worry that this show is going to continue with the hurried monster-of-the-week format at the expense of some quality storytelling and emotional impact.

Lastly:

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure finally wrapped this week, after a short hiatus. Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about it because it was not at all what I was expecting. Diavolo’s death came right at the start of episode 38, and while I liked the device of trapping him eternally in a series of what-ifs, it left me wondering how on earth the show was going to fill the rest of the episode and the one after it. As an autistic person, I don’t always cope well with non-linear storytelling, so the sudden jump to a flashback caught me off-guard. I was expecting something with the killed-off members of Passione, but not a whole self-contained story. So I spent a lot of it trying to figure out what was going on instead of enjoying seeing all of them together again. I did appreciate the visual nod to the fallen, with the flowers Giorno left for Narancia and Abbachio, and one of Bucciaratti’s zippers. And that final shot of Don Giovanna was gorgeous (as long as you ignore the fact that Giorno is still a flippin’ teenager!). 

I’m in the process of re-watching the whole saga – I’m currently in the first half of ‘Stardust Crusaders’, and perhaps binge-watching the series rather than waiting a whole week between episodes will help me to get a better handle on the story. But that’s a while off yet. I can only assume that the massive amount of interest in this latest installment will pretty much guarantee that ‘Stone Ocean’ will get an anime adaptation. I do hope so; I never expected to enjoy JJBA half as much as I have done, and for all its faults and its silliness, I will gladly watch any future installments.

So that’s this week’s shows. Are you using the Three Episode Rule this season? Have you decided to drop a show? Tell me in the comments!

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