Akiba’s Trip The Animation – 03

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Well, I wasn’t expecting that – an episode of Akiba’s Trip outscoring a KonoSuba. Where this week’s Kono felt listless and scraping the barrel, Akiba’s Trip had a manic energy to it (along with an idol group called Manias) as it ditched the bugged ones story for a straight-up exploration of various kinds of obsessions, which can all to easily be taken up to 11 in a place like Akiba.

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It starts, innocently enough, with Tamotsu catching a moment of an idol concert Nikawa is watching, and like a diamond arrow, sends him into the soaring space of fandom. His obsession with the idol (who just comically phones it in) in all possible media frustrates Mayo, whose patrol plans with Tamotsu are completely overrun by his various idol-worshipping activities. That, in turn, leads Mayo to stress eat over at Carl’s Jr. (tacky product placement FTL).

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At some point, Tamotsu’s obsession shifts from merely consuming idoltry to really getting down into the nitty-gritty of audio, maxing out his GonzoCard many times over with impulsive purchases of increasingly dubious equipment, only to literally bowl his roommates over with his very expensive realization that it’s better just to hear the idol in person.

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Then things shift to the girls, who get swept up by a famous former-idol, now super/hyper/mega-whatever producer who calls the trio MANIAS and books them for numerous photo shoots in increasingly revealing outfits and increasingly lecherous photographers.

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Eventually, things get so bad Arisa is being casually asked to lie in bed and take off her top, but when Mayo and Nikawa hold her back, the producer and photographer reveal their true selves as Bugged Ones. Just like that, the episode snaps back into what the show is about, having itself gotten swept up in the stories of its characters getting obsessed with things.

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Arisa and Mayo fight the Bugged Ones, and Tamotsu joins in since he started taking every possible part-time or temp job he can to pay his debts, the constant cycle of odd jobs becoming its own obsession. Being the producer’s part-time janitor pays off, as he’s able to save his sister.

The recovered famous producer then quickly hooks up the trio for a little idol concert event that looks the business (and is sung by the three lead seiyuu, performing as “Headphones”, their group from Sore ga Seiyuu). 

They only perform in front of a handful of people, but that’s fine with Mayo, who seems to like the attention she gets from Tamotsu, who ends up with a new idol group to, well, idolize. Will all of this be forgotten next week? Probably. Was it still not just fun, but a shitload of fun? Absolutely.

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KonoSuba 2 – 02

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The expressions on the faces of Kazuma on Aqua kinda match up with my feelings about this episode, which was, in a word, listless. They still have the mansion (for now), but all their other earthly goods are gone. Megumin brings in a cat, so now the party has a mascot. The three worry about what might be happening to Darkness.

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Then Sena observes as the party strikes out into the snow to do what it does best: nothing right. Granted, this is a show all about the ineptitude of the party, so it’s not like I expect competence. It’s just that the slimy giant toads were already done last season, and despite casting Megumin’s rival Yunyun and Sena into the slimy fray, it all comes off as a bit stale.

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In other news, Kazuma and Megumin’s stubborn pride leads them to share a bath together, when neither wants to lose face by backing down from threats of…bathing together. To be fair, it’s a huge bath, so I don’t really see the problem as long as they’re covering up, which is the case here. Nevertheless, this is another retread from last season, with Megumin instead of Darkness.

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I’m not sure what would have improved this episode, but less (or no) Yunyun might’ve done the trick. The projections of her and Megumin’s most embarrassing moments were good for a chuckle, but otherwise she was half-baked and didn’t bring enough new out of Megumin to make her worth having around. This episode just felt like it lacked energy, and wasn’t up to the standard KonoSuba programmed me to expect through its much better efforts.

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Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon – 02

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The Gist: Kanna-chan, a blue bird-like Dragon Gothic Lolita with a tribal theme, quickly moves in with Kobayashi and Tohru this week. She’s recently been kicked out of the dragon world for pulling a prank but she’s also here because she was worried about Tohru, who she’d heard was killed.

Much of the episode is spent with her and Tohru wandering around the human world, misunderstanding how things work, but generally being close and enjoying each other’s company. Many little moments, like thinking a see-saw is for catapult training, are framed inside yellow and black segment cards, which gives the entire adventure a vignette feel.

Over all, we learn less about plot and more about how characters interact, and it’s all delightfully shown and not told. And as for showing, there’s plenty of action too! Tohru beats down a purse snatcher, Kanna and Tohru rough-house in an epic magic battle, and the girls launch each other into the stratosphere with the before mentioned see-saw.

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The Verdict: what an odd little episode? Like Flying Witch, this was very pleasant, despite having no stakes at all. Characters just have fun taking in the world and trying to tease out a little more about each other’s circumstances. If it were not for all the magic and epic action shots, you could even call it… naturalistic in feel.

As with last week, Kobayashi feels like a gender swapped male. In fact, I’m certain this is a harem show with a andro-female protagonist, who’s not really interested in the harem. Coupled with the magic, dragons and everything else, and you’ve got one weird little world. Weird and lovely!

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Winter 2017 Master Schedule

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Monday

Little Witch Academia
Demi-chan wa Kataritai*

Tuesday

ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka

Wednesday

KonoSuba 2
Akiba’s Trip The Animation*
Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon*

Thursday

Kuzu no Honkai
Masamune-kun no Revenge

Friday

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu 2
Fuuka*
Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen

Saturday

3-gatsu no Lion
Youjo Senki*

Sunday

Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans S2
Tales of Zestiria the X

Schedule subject to change.