WataMote doesn’t really have a consistent sense of episode structure in a way that some comedies do. Contrary to last week’s, where the rain and the cold bits split the episode, this week’s show ran through a series of 3 skits. The underwear one invoked some legitimate pity, and had a fairly touching conclusion.* However, the others (the nightmare and the molestation one) were based around karmic payback for Tomoko’s stupidity. All of which was accompanied by the series’ typical visual panache and some nigh-flawless transitions.
One of the big draws of this show is its varied character designs, and up till now it’s mainly been letting each personality tell its own story. This week, it kicked things up a notch and really gave us a lot more of the characters spending time with each other. The scene showcasing the rising tension was as solid as the early episodes were, but the comedy was vintage Kishi Seiji.* Between numerous scenes proving that Shoukiin Kagerou would have a field day with every one of them and the sauna scene proving that Ishimaru and Oowada were bad enough to be right at home being captains in Kaiser Reinhard’s fleet, pretty much every joke was a dead-on critical critical. What’s even better is that including all that didn’t disrupt the series’ appreciably fast pacing.
It’s one of the oldest conundrums in the anime fandom that the shows that get the most attention are often not the best-made shows, the ones that blow people’s minds when they see them. In a vaccum, that’s pretty confusing; shouldn’t we be giving the most attention to the shows we’ll enjoy the most? Why do some shows get high ratings and languish in the proverbial basement popularity-wise while others get abyssmal scores but receive tons of attention? I found a quick and dirty way to dig into this problem using my set of seasonal anime data and got a set of results that was equal parts depressingly predictable and pleasantly surprising.
This episode had everything I liked about the show stuffed inside. What a great way to go out for what’s definitely been my favorite show of Spring 2013.
This show really does love to depend on new character introductions to provide a weekly hook. At first I was doubtful as to whether or not it was really feasible for a small-world type of show with only a few characters shown in the opening/on the boxart to maintain this approach for a full 13 episodes. This week was going to be critical, since every character from the opening had finally been introduced. So the makers this show faced a choice; if they didn’t want to lose their momentum, skim the bottom of the barrel or start building deeper relationships around the current cast.
Or do both at the same time, what do I know?
Full Disclosure: I like making lists. This particular list is the result of an afternoon of me sitting down and trying to list all the anime episode titles I remember. This correlates pretty well with my actual favorite anime episodes, because I’ve seen most of them enough times to remember their titles. When making this one, I set myself a limit at 60 and reached it fairly quickly. After making the list, I actually ranked them. So yeah, had a lot of fun with this one.
I got an email the other day (my first one, so thanks, anonymous reader Y!) asking why I’m blogging this show over Attack on Titan, which also airs on Saturday. There are two main reasons, which I want to briefly address that before moving into the meat of the episode.
First, good comedies are no less difficult to produce than good dramas. If you handed Astro Fighter Sunred, Panty and Stocking, or another comedy that relies on its particular sense of style (workplace-themed deadpan and rampant excess, respectively) to a replacement-level handler like Chiaki Kon or Yuu Kou, you’d almost certainly get something darn near forgettable. A comedy has to have real personality to work, which is something that’s not at all easy to do; just because they seem* to come along more often than dramas doesn’t mean a good laugh is worth any less than a good teardrop. Muromi-san specifically happens to be a *very* well-executed comedy, as it’s effectively mixing the high-energy of Angel Beats with the tongue-in-cheek sarcasm and subtly clever camera play of Joshiraku, and has a ceiling as a low-tier 10/10 on my ranking scale.
Second, while I like Titan quite a bit, it has a plot I’m very familiar with as a reader of the manga. It means that a) there’s less I can legitimately speculate on, b) I don’t want to spoil anything by accident, and c) I’d only be able to comment on the execution, which I find slow and less interesting than the wham-bam lightning rod pacing of the manga. It’s distinctly my third-favorite Saturday show at this point. Which is, if anything, a mark of how fun Saturdays this spring have been.
This week’s Muromi-san episode felt a lot like a deliberate homage, taking themes from a number of older, well-established comedies and building them into a fun episode about irrational specism.
Choosing the new show to blog for Saturdays was tough. It’s too good of a slate to take nothing from it. But I’ll still be blogging Space Brothers once the new-timeslot recaps finish up, and I don’t even want to think about what a 3-show weekend would do to the progress of stats and miscellaneous articles I’m writing up. So I’m left with a choice between Attack on Titan and Muromi-san. Titan has the plot and presumably some upcoming great action scenes, while Muromi-san has the higher energy level and small-things cleverness. While both are probably within my favorite 5 of the season at this point, I ultimately settled on Muromi-san because I simply liked it better from what I’ve seen so far.
My biggest criticism of this show as a whole is just the fact that it hasn’t been able to constantly harness its potential and occasionally throws in a long-dull skit that breaks up the action. It became a lot easier to rate after the final episode, which was one of the highest-energy ones of the show.