Anime roundup 4/23/2020: Blue Skies

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Appare-Ranman! #2 – After Kosame accepts that there’s no way to get back to Japan immediately, he and Appare start figuring out how to survive their first few days in an alien land. And then Appare discovers his next obsession and they make a new friend, for a definition of “friend” which includes them almost losing her her job and Kosame getting sucker-punched. (Personally, I suspect true love is now in Kosame’s future.)

Judging how this show is treating its minority characters is a bit tricky given its origins and setup. The scene where the heroes intervene to stop harassment of a dark-skinned character is a stock one in Western steampunk, but it usually exists to show that a white hero is Not Like Other White People. When the heroes are weirdly dressed outsiders themselves, it’s a different dynamic.

On a similar note, Xialian’s parents running a laundry could be a lazy decision in an American work, but coming from anime, with its terrible record of historical accuracy, having done enough research to know that Chinese laundries were a big thing on the West Coast at the time is kind of impressive.

Appare may be the one getting title billing, but Kosame is the real star of the show so far. In addition to bringing a level of heart and humanity to the story that Appare is uninterested in providing, he is, as Appare said, a complicated guy. As a representative of old Japan in a new, fast-advancing era, he was already a stranger in an increasingly foreign land before crossing the Pacific. And now we have the business of why he can’t draw his sword…

(FunimationAnimeLabWakanimSelecta VisiónYamato Animation)

Listeners #3 – Echo and Mu are rescued from the forest by a knight and her companion, who test them and then send them on a quest: to seek out the remaining major Players and piece together what went so horribly wrong in Liverchester ten years ago.

What Bilin knows is that the concert to end all concerts was supposed to wipe out the Earless once and for all. Instead, someone with a connection to Mu went rogue. Why?

It’s being implied more and more that there is some kind of symbiotic relationship between Players and Earless. The Earless may be a terrifying reminder of potential failure, but they also serve as an audience. Perhaps Jimi Stonefree discovered that removing the Earless would be worse in some way than living with them.

Whatever the truth is, Echo and Mu have a nice long colorful trip ahead of them as they discover it. Next week sounds like they encounter anime Kurt Cobain, and maybe get him to lighten up a little.

(FunimationAnimeLabHuluWakanimbilibili)

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! #3 – Catarina goes looking for a fellow romance fan, finds one in Sophia Ascart, and develops an immense crush on both her and her brother. With two great friends and relations established with all four of the Fortune Lover romantic possibilities, what could possibly go wrong now?

Catarina at 15 seems to have convinced herself that life is perfect, when she’s got a manipulative jerk of a fiancé, an eating disorder, and of course the impending doom signalled by her entry into magic school. Kudos to the show for not romanticizing Geordo’s creepy behavior, as a game like Fortune Lover almost certainly would. Fewer kudos for playing the eating disorder as comedy, unless that’s just a way to communicate how Catarina is deluding herself until someone points out how messed up it is.

(CrunchyrollADNAnimax Asiabilibili)

Tower of God #3 – Khun muses on his past when a test gives him a chance to demonstrate his tendency to overthink things. Then a bureacratic snafu sets up an opportunity for Bam to see Rachel (or someone who looks suspiciously like her) much sooner than he thought he might.

All right, I’ll give Tower of God this much in comparison to Hunter x Hunter: the Hunters’ Association never had a proctor cut corners in giving tests and then get help from his boss in covering it up.

The Princesses of Jahad seem to be a very big deal in the Tower’s society. They get servants and super-special magic swords, and if a candidate fails to qualify as a princess, the candidate’s entire family is broken apart and exiled. Clearly stakes that would encourage the kind of desperate manipulation Khun’s sister engaged in.

I guess this one has managed to scrape its way into the season lineup. Great looks aren’t everything, but it’s showing just enough originality to stick around. And with the plague slowing down the anime industry, not everything may actually make it to the end of the season on time.

(CrunchyrollAniplus Asiabilibili)

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