Oigakkosan’s Summer 2019 Anime Season Wrap-up

Arifureta began as a grim, visually unremarkable dungeon crawler, hinting at global conflicts and structures of political and social control… before devolving into guy-shoots-monsters-gets-harem-rinse-repeat. Pitting guns, missiles and motorcycles against orcs and wolves is tricky to make compelling, and Arifureta’s mediocre animation, slow plot, and constant battles doesn’t help.

Worse shows aired this season but few featured dragons being anally raped by the protagonist with a giant metal spike, nor said dragon joining said protagonist’s harem afterwards. However, and I’m going out on a limb here, even if this is up your personal kink, Arifureta’s PG-13 sensibilities probably wont go far enough for you. Niche at best, Barely Watchable for the rest of us.

Dr Stone is delightfully consistent with it’s focus on science process, over the top characters, and methodical plot to rebuild society from the stone age up. While its medium term objective (defeat super-strong/ super evil antagonist with science) has taken a back seat to gaining support of the villagers Senko discovered mid-season, its not forgotten.

We’ve learned about electricity, food chemistry, and glass as much as human nature, motivation and weakness. Hand in hand with lovable characters and charming visual style, Dr Stone is probably my most recommended show of the season.

Given’s relationship story is lovely, thoughtful, and matured with deeper issues of loss. The wow is in the details. From taking a dozen buses just to stand by the ocean, just to stand where you once stood with a close friend, to walking off stage after only one song, Given doesn’t over explain itself with dialog.  It’s solid but, like real romance, the best parts come from getting to know the characters. So I called it quits after episode six. Still, highly recommended

Granbelm finally developed an emotional core: Mangetsu is a magic puppet created by Ernesta’s subconscious desire to have a friend who isn’t an effed up mess. Also, despite earlier signs that losing wasn’t that big a deal, it has been revealed that girls die all the time in magic fights but no one remembers because… magic amnesia.

These are solid reveals and Mangetsu’s heart filled good bye to the cast (almost all of which immediately forget she ever existed) was strongly delivered. It just took way too long to develop. Combined with a dull pure evil villain, power levels that swing at the whim of the story, and Granbelm’s misunderstanding of what a mystery is (as opposed to just being confusing) and the show is only watchable.

Maou-sama, Retry! started off so absurdly bad, so generically Demon Lord/Isekai, that it had a certain charm. As it strolled forward, it took no greater objective than to introduce new characters to Maou’s harem, and forget about previous characters and potential destinations for the story. Aku hasn’t even been in the previous two episodes. The result is powerfully without purpose. It doesn’t care. You shouldn’t either. Barely watchable.

UchiMusume also suffers from a lack of purpose and follow through. For a show that features a central character who’s past is a mystery, and a hero who occasionally kills people for political gain, there’s an awful lot of wandering around aimlessly and eating food!

The result is harmlessly cute but smidgens of world building do not make up for a four episode long trip to and from a village to buy a new trench coat. It’s Barely watchable.

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Dr. Stone – Dropped

Dr Stone is a wonderfully silly program that charms me with it’s real-science references and lovably over the top characters. Trouble is, there isn’t much else to say?

Episode 3 brough Yuzuriha back into the picture and forced her and Senku and Taiju to flee from Shishio’s kill-all-adults rampage. Episode 4 brought gun powder into the mix and flashed back to the beginning of Senku’s love for science and friendship with the other two characters. It also introduces another female character (sorta) and cliff hangers with Shishio killing Senku, which obviously isn’t going to happen.

So yeah… it’s a fun show to watch and, if something really interesting happens, I may post about it later in the season. For now, lets all enjoy it for what it is: lovingly silly anime at it’s finest and most silly.

Dr. Stone – 02 – King of the Stone World

Yuzuriha literally in hand and mere moments before freeing her from the stone casing, Senku and Taiju taste the perils of stone age life for the first time. It’s October in the year 5738AD and humans no longer top the food chain.

A pride of lions gives chase and our heroes are only saved by luck and proximity to Shishio Tsukasa casing. You see, Shishio was the ‘super primative’ high schooler back in the day and in pure OTT Dr Stone fashion, he is immediately able to slay the male lion. By hand.

While Taiju is immediately bro-swept by Shishio’s strength and earthy values, Senku (and foreshadowing) quietly sound the alarm. Shishio’s strength is a threat because no societal structures or technological advantages exist to keep it in balance.

His ability to hunt and protect the tribe is welcome, and his respect for Senku’s brilliance keeps things on the rails for a while. However, Senku’s late night crossbow building and intentional omission of calcium carbonate’s importance as a weapon, make it clear rail-riding is only temporary.

And Just as Senku feared, Shishio becomes the new stone age’s first murderer. Shishio doesn’t want to bring adults back, and doesn’t really want the structure of society to return either. But before a second stone head goes flying, Senku lays it down: he’s bringing everyone back and Shishio is going to have to kill him to prevent it from happening.

The Good: While no one could argue that Dr Stone is educational, I really appreciate the care it takes to explain the science and application of things. This week’s item was calcium carbonate, which is used for soil management, mortar and soap. The value of each application is clearly spelled out, and Taiju’s enthusiasm just makes it fun to take in.

I also appreciated Senku’s explanation that lions are in Japan because they were probably in a zoo during the event and have had free reign to eat the other zoo animals and unattended pets for 3,700 years. It’s a completely unnecessary detail that feels crafted for the vlog critic era who would otherwise cry ‘nonsense’ about Lions being in Japan, even though this is a nonsense show about global petrification.

The Meh: The show’s exaggerated art style and get-you-pumped-bro shouty dialog are take it or leave it. Honestly, I’m not a fan but it somehow works with the goofy story.

Verdict: I can’t imagine rating Dr Stone higher or lower than a 7 all season. That may make it boring to review but I doubt it will ever get boring to watch. Annoying, perhaps, but not boring.

In the mean time, I’m wondering how tragically funny Yuzuriha’s death will be and spending too much time wondering why some species of birds were turned to stone, but no other non-human animals? You’re probably better off just taking the show at face value. No wondering necessary.

Mr. OldSchool’s Summer Season Quick-Fire Reviews

Granbelm – A kind girl stumbles into a magic girl battle royale with super deformed style Gundam. The art style is visually striking and the action is top shelf’ish. Too bad Granbleh’s kitchen sink of tropes is delivered in such a loveless and generic way. 7

Maou-sama, Retry! – A game developer is sucked into the fantasy MMO he created in the moments before the servers go dark! Now he is a super powerful demon lord and looks like a yakuza! Zap! Loli! Art with zero style and story without originality or substance! 5

Kanata no Astra – Space High schoolers get lost in space; must show grit (and team work) to overcome crisis. Crisp animation and competent narrative construction save it from an underwhelming cast and middle shelf art style. If a kid dies next week, my opinion will move higher. 8

UchiMusume – A young adventurer adopts an orphaned demon girl he finds in the woods. There’s a potty joke! It’s charming but very safe and gives all the hints that it wont go anywhere by the end of the season. 8

Joshikousei no Mudazukai – A girl realizes she picked an all girls high school and she just. can’t. even. The comedic timing is on the money… but humor kinda whiffs? Mid shelf artwork makes it watchable but not remarkable. 7

Araburu Kisetsu no Otome – The literature club tackles sex in literature… AND LIFE! Reading train schedules and draping penises on girls’ heads play out in this earnest, bashful, slow burn. Looks to be Summer’s sleeper hit. 9!

Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? – A high school girl gains weight for comedy. Goes to gym for comedy. I got bored and stopped watching. 6

Sounan Desu ka? – Girls wash up on a beech. Panty shots. ¯\_()_/¯

Tejina-senpai – A boy must choose a school club and meets a girl into magic. 12 minutes of humorless antics ensue. #Skippable 5

Enen no Shouboutai – A boy with a tragic past starts his first day as a Magic Firemen fighting demoney fire people. There’s a churchy vibe and Soul Eater art style. The animated fire is fantastic but the production costs must have been too much for the studio. (scenes linger) Worth a watch though. 8

Katsute Kami Datta Kemono – A squad of super human monsters turn evil shortly after winning an alt US civil war. Bad guys laugh like evil bad guys and tragic love interests die for motivational purposes. It’s lower shelf animation and writing with some blood to tide viewers over. 5 #shitshow

Dr. Stone – Suddenly everyone turns to stone. 3,700 years later, two teens break out and start to figure out the stone-age world around them. With style so jarringly OTT my brain can’t tell if I love it or hate it, and a narrative construction so bat shit crazy I have to keep watching. 8 #WTFFTW