Weekly Roundups are a new post where I cover some of the biggest events in the seasonal anime I’m watching.
The major event this week was Shinchou Yuusha’s hiatus. Due to the typhoon, I’m surprised more anime weren’t hit. However, one episode skipped, right near the beginning of its run? I’m a little concerned for the rest of the show, but I imagine it’s nothing.
But there’s two shows I have absolutely no worries about.
There’s something special about Fate/Grand Order
Fate/Grand Order: Zettai Majuu Sensen Babylonia Episode 0-1 Review
There are definitely some qualities that have been lost from Grand Order’s jaw-dropping Episode 0. I can’t deny that. Pacing, in particular, is something that is at a passable level, but I just can’t help but think the crew aren’t defining exactly what it is they want each episode to achieve – so many scenes, such as the 3rd episode’s montage helping around Uruk, felt a little on the long side. That’s not what we’re here to talk about today, though. Episode 3, ‘The King of His People’, served to remind me that there’s that little something special about this anime.
Did you notice
Rin’s Ishtar’s ‘white flag’ gesture as she waved adios, flying out of the ceiling? Not many anime can gesture with that sort of charisma, and fewer still can do it consistently. This is just one example of many minute details that set Grand Order apart from the competition. It looks great, but it truly feels great, with so many scenes imbued with personality and love.
And that’s to say nothing of that fight scene in the hall. We knew it was coming from last week’s cliffhanger, and we knew it would be a treat considering the priorly exciting usage of dynamic shots, thrilling kinetics and powerful sound design. But I watched it back, and realised just how phenomenal the choreography was. There were so many hooks (figuratively). Often, using chains and other grappling weapons will put memorable moments into battles, yet the direction was consistently aware of what that little chain was grabbing onto – tightening to slack against a pillar and Ana rolling down it, immobilising her foe, or her foe using this aspect offensively… there was a real awareness of that fight design. When Ishtar’s attack failed, I was particularly impressed with the extremely brief zoom-out of Gilgamesh’s fingers, that showed he was the source of the spell – this entire scene was mere seconds, but added so much flavour. The show has consistently demonstrated smart cinematography, and that aspect has not faltered in-spite of the whooshing camera.
The cool-down from the battle was also a sight to see, reminding me of Episode 0’s artistic manipulation of exhilarating energy. Maybe not on the larger scale, but on the minute scale – Fate/Grand Order still has that special something.
The heart-stopping tension of BEASTARS
Anime need openings. I could talk for years about how wonderfully BEASTARS’ opening is animated to its jazz-hip hop beats, but that’s, also, not what we’re here to talk about. Truly great direction will use those openings for a reason, such as a scene-change, perspective-shift or exposition. In Episode 2, ‘The Heart of the School is in the Garden’, BEASTARS opens immediately with the morning after, as Legoshi’s reflection turns into a monster. At the height of the tension, the music stops – and the opening comes in. We’re left wondering exactly what happened to Haru. This scene transition blends seamlessly into what happened, from Legoshi’s perspective, but a musical cut still leaves us with questions.
The episode builds up in intensity as Legoshi’s internal monologue delves into the shame of his actions, and his quit observations of life are tainted by the instinctual urges that have been awakened. As a fight between fellow predators in the cafeteria goes on, the music rises to a crescendo – that, once again, drops to silence, as Legoshi shouts for them to cut it out. We’re definitely in the middle-point of the episode, and the episode enunciates this as it seeks to build up to its final, and even more shocking, climax.
Legoshi is forced to face Haru. He can’t escape his guilt or animalistic urges around her, and we see him desperately trying to push the matter further – asking her why is she wearing those bandages? – for reasons he cannot explain. The monologue delivery here is crucial for the scene, but the music is, once again, quietly building to that crescendo. When Haru misreads Legoshi’s messages… the music cuts out once again. And the credits roll. A perfectly setup cliffhanger is rare to see, but excellent use of tension, and a truly eye-opening twist demonstrates that BEASTARS is, perhaps, the most intricately crafted show of the year. Even from a written perspective, willing to go to these extents with such finesse makes it a true rarity in anime.
Before that finale, I was going to address how well written and nuanced the background dialogue was, but this aspect nicely contrasted my Fate Post. What I’m getting at is this: it’s one you can’t miss.
1. BEASTARS (Episode 2: 5/5)
2. Fate/Grand Order (Episode 3: 4.5/5)
3. Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy (Episode 3: 4/5)
4. Vinland Saga (Episode 15: 3.5/5)
5. Null Peta (Episode 3: 3.5/5)
6. Azur Lane (Episode 3: 3.5/5)
7. Hoshiai no Sora (Episode 2: 3.5/5)
8. Blade of the Immortal (Episode 2: 3/5)
10. Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi de tte Itta yo Ne! (Episode 2: 2.5/5)
11. Honzoki no Gekokujou (Episode 3: 2.5/5)
12. Hataage! Kemono Michi (Episode 3: 2.5/5)
~ Shinchou Yuusha (No New Episode: 4.5~/5)
Here are my rankings of each episode from the past week! How’s your seasonal rankings looking right now? Any episode in particular that stuck out?
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