Spring 2014 Final Impression

(featuring: Akuma no Riddle, Isshuukan Friends, Love Live, Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii)

I’ve been real busy moving and with side projects that I didn’t have time to do this right away. And then instead of doing this, I rushed to watch Akuma no Riddle. But for real moving has taken a huge toll on me and I feel like a miserable sack and it’s kind of reflected here, huh. Well enjoy the word vomit.

Akuma no Riddle

Akuma no Riddle was a show where I watched the first episode after it aired and then got too busy to continue. But as usual, there’s a show where I see lots of stuff from it and regret dropping. However this one I managed to marathon this week (well, over the course of a few days).

Based on the first episode I expected it to be a lot… creepier. High school girls who are all assassins? It’s kind of a squicky concept but eh. I imagined the violence in it would be fetishized as well and it would have some ryona elements but I was pleasantly surprised and it was pretty decent on that front.

But let’s be real. This was ok for what it was. The writing was sloppy at times and there were things that weren’t very clearly explained. The ending itself was a whole big mess of a thing. And while I do like the idea that everybody lived happily, how it possibly came about is what bothered me. I guess it was never explicitly stated after episode six that Hitsugi and Chitaru had died though the episode made it pretty clear that they had? And then they’re ok at the end? Apparently getting stabbed in the chest means nothing to no one.

I stopped and scoffed at “oh btw haru has titanium ribs lol” explanation for why she didn’t die but it made sense after I realized with all those scars, she probably had some surgery done or something and sure I GUESS. It’s so dumb but I guess I can buy it.

I really enjoyed the series up until the last two or three episodes. The revelation, seemingly out of nowhere, that Haru had subconsciously manipulated Tokaku and the only way to be sure was to kill her as well as the confusing mix up of two Tokaku’s… ugh. Well, for what it’s worth, the scene where Tokaku realizes she had just protected Haru because she cared about her and Haru ‘dies’ was pretty sad.

The thing is I think someone like Tokaku would be able to tell if Haru was dead so I think she and Nio probably died for real (though Nio had all that phoenix imagery so idk). So I assume her wish probably made sure everybody was alive again? Using the other clan’s ninja magic, maybe they could accomplish it? But hell maybe everybody did live and maybe Haru did have silly ribs and Tokaku’s wish was just for her and Haru to be free of their clans. Which would be nice and what I’d hope for. And what was with the lighting change when Tokaku said she had a wish that couldn’t come true?

I ended up liking a lot of the characters even as things got more and more and more ridiculous (“I’m immortal!” “Look at my bionic body!” “Look I’m Tokaku now!”). It was still such a ride and despite the small amount of time alloted to certain characters, they certainly did manage to win me over and sympathize with them in some cases.

So because I liked the majority of the characters (there wasn’t anybody I disliked, really) looking at it as Haru would, all the characters still live because being alive means your being forgiven. So all the girls can change their lives hopefully for the better and all that good stuff.

And I had thought that the short series length benefitted this show immensely until the end. Now it’s like… what? There’s an OVA but I highly doubt that’ll explain much. I almost wish for a Gatchaman Crowds type thing where they add in some extra scenes to make sense of this. Yeah the last episode has some real Crowds vibes for its confusing happy ending.

I kinda babbled here. It’s just I’m having so much trouble wrapping my head around the ending. I like that everybody is happy (going in I expected everyone to die a la DR) but it’s just the sheer lack of explanation and sense that bothers me. The manga is still ongoing so it’ll probably vary completely and I’ll never fully understand. Which is a bit funny since in my original first impressions post, I thought it would have an inconclusive ending and I’d need to read the manga to find out more. Haha, was I wrong?

Oh well. It was a fun ride up until the end.

Isshuukan Friends

Hey, speaking of things that was a fun ride until we got to the end and then was suddenly the opposite of fun: One Week Friends! I loved this show. Initially.

I wish I wouldn’t have watched past the beach episode. Everything was fine and great up until then. And when Kuro showed up, I thought it was an interesting addition of drama, sure. Too bad it was handled so poorly.

They did the *~ONE~* thing that bad dramas, like Nagiasu, do. There’s a problem that could be solved with communication and hey, you could what would be a good idea? Communicating! What are we not gonna do? Communicate!

Not to mention Hase’s selfishness really got annoying after awhile. Early on it was just him being selfish because he didn’t want Saki and Shogo hanging around and I was like ehhhh but then after she lost her memory? Like sure, I get that’s tough for you too but instead of being like “hey this sucks but she’s suffering and what can I do to help her out again?” he was very “wah I made so much progress and it’s ruined why me why bother wah”. Sure, eventually he did get to the first choice there eventually but even when he did it was such a poor way of going about it that she had to break down crying and begging for things to go back to normal before he realized what an idiot he was.

Ok but whatever. So Fujimiya and Hase was cute until the end where it started to get too melodramatic and Hase started to become a protag I had trouble hoping for because of his whininess and poor behaviour (which I guess makes him in live with how teenage boys act but for real teenage boys do not act the way he acts in every single other regard).

Saki and Shogo though. SAKI AND SHOGO THOUGH. At first I was like “cute pairing sure” but then when she said he should be her husband and he got all flustered I lost my mind. Even before that when it was revealed her was taking care of her in elementary school. GOSH. That pairing was so cute and sweet. Especially because it forced Saki who had, until that point, played a ditzy, forgettable girl who was played as comedic relief to show some serious emotion and concern and wow it was a lot more compelling than Hase being  a huge baby.

Maybe I’ll wait for the manga to get well a head of this because I might like to see how things end up, yeah. It was a pleasant enough show. I’ve certainly watched more offensive drama, sure. LOOKING AT YOU NAGI NO ASUKARA.

Love Live

I swear, these aren’t tears. It’s just raining in my room.

 Generally I find the drama in Love Live to be very… contrived. It’s not quite as melodramatic as other things (except for the Snow Halation episode because that was awful) but it’s still something I have trouble feeling for. Despite that, I teared up during the graduation when all the members started singing Aishiteru Banzai.

The show definitely excels when it’s being lighthearted and comedic. When it was, it usually succeeded in making me laugh at least once or twice. But when it tried to be dramatic about things like Snow Halation, it just made me end up disliking Honoka.

Yeah, I really don’t like her. It’s not just that I don’t like characters like her but every cringeworthy moment in the show came from her. And I can’t accept such behaviour where she, Umi and Kotori couldn’t handle walking in a snow storm while the rest of the school is out there shovelling BLOCKS of road for them.

This season was pretty cool for giving characters like Nozomi and Rin some focus. I already loved Rin but it was great to see her get some spotlight and character development instead of just remaining a hyper goof for the rest of her existence in the show. Nozomi, however, was a character I really didn’t like through S1. The whole sexual harassment as comedy thing never really sat well with me. But they made her likable and toned down (just a bit) the things that had made her unlikable.

Same with Nico. Didn’t like her but when she got her own spotlight episode, I really changed my opinion about her. In the end it was only Umi and Honoka that I really disliked. Umi because she’s a boring stick in the mud and Honoka because she’s Honoka.

The movie is no surprise either. I hope they go on a trip like in K-ON though there would be very little idol performances if that were the case. Well what reason do they have to have idol performances now anyways? Though I guess I’ll miss them. The Happy Maker one was so dang fun and the cameos by the rest of the cast was really sweet.

Seriously, it was a good ending. Emotional and heartfelt with an air of closure and tears that ends in a completely bombastic way that gives you a chance to see everybody one last time. It was great. More series should end on such a note.

I don’t know if I’ll miss Love Live but I guess I enjoyed it enough. Well I say that but I’ve been playing waaaay too much School Idol Festival. They got me. They hooked me and they got me bad.

Soredemo Sekai wa Utsukushii

I’ve already talked about this show at length so I’ll just keep this one short and sweet. I liked it. It was corny (HE SHOWS UP ON A WHITE HORSE istg), cliche and predictable but I ate that up.

It had a lot of things common to shoujo stories and while that isn’t always a good thing (such as my past post about Livi being a horrific monster and the consequences being pretty slim), it was still enjoyable to see such an… “old fashioned” kinda show. That’s the vibe I got anyways.

Bard was a surprisingly good addition to the cast. Both for serious and comedic relief reasons. Same with Neil who was there from the beginning but didn’t really shine in the comedy department until later on.

I guess that’s one of the things I enjoyed most about this show. Every episode was sure to make me laugh every time. Pretty sure I had to pause when Livi and Nike returned and Bard had turned the castle into a kingdom of debauchery because I simply could not stop laughing.

Drama was… eh. I won’t say it was ineffective at getting me excited or worried or invested but it was very… repetitive? Like, the format was easy to guess. Things would flare up at the end of an episode and be resolved right away in the next one. I guess for a twelve episode series you gotta squish as much in it but it kinda took the air of things knowing it would be resolved within two episodes no matter what.

The last arc was rather cool, though. The different setting and a bunch of new characters made things interesting. But the end of episode 10 where Livi is about to drown and Nike’s going to break out or die trying? I groaned audibly when the credits rolled because I was on the edge of my seat and it ended so suddenly.

I would recommend Soreseka if you’re looking for a shoujo series in an unusual setting with a nice mix of drama, comedy and romance. It won’t blow your mind or shake the foundations of your world, but you should probably have a sweet enough time. I know the age difference kinda weirds some people out but if you can get past that, go for it.


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