It’s Monday. There’s Anime. Let’s Round Em’ Up!
From January 19th to January 25th.
Welcome to the Mary Sue Monday Anime Round-up, the series that reveals that my anime queue is way too full these days! This week I’m going to try a new format where I break down what I’ve watched each day, especially since two of the series air on Mondays. Those will be at the end as I start from last week and work my way toward today.
Also, as always, there will be spoilers for every show I talk about. I’ll also be working on the assumption that you’re also watching these shows weekly, so there won’t be much of a recap for each episode.
Oh! One extra note! I did watch Kuroko’s Basketball on Netflix since it was recently dubbed, AND I finished watching Akudama Drive on Funimation, which I was watching as the dub aired, but since the subtitled version finished (and I’m impatient), I went ahead and marathoned the entire thing. There won’t be any recaps here since those are entire series, but there might be write-ups later.
For now, I’ll say that I HIGHLY recommend watching both. Akudama Drive is one season while the first season of Kuroko’s Basketball is ready to go (however, if you’re impatient, the other two seasons are on Crunchyroll).
Also, content warning for Wonder Egg Priority, as always, since it deals with suicide.
- Tuesday, January 19
Wonder Egg Priority episode 2
Where to watch: Funimation
**Contains mention of suicide and onscreen abuse (a teacher abusing a student).**
This week starts with Ai meeting Neiru (the one who was collecting a bunch of eggs at once). Ai tries to befriend Neiru, but Neiru isn’t really interested, instead focused on saving her sister. Neiru accuses Ai of doing all of this for herself, but does, at least, exchange contact information with her. It’s interesting to see Ai attempting to make a friend and I have a feeling the end game message will be something about moving on after tragedy, especially since, so far, the ones collecting eggs are trying to save people close to them that have killed themselves.
Also, the ones in the eggs also seem to be suicide victims.
Ai decides not to break her egg at all since that’s when the Seeno Evil appear. Unfortunately, the egg ends up broken and out pops a girl named Minami Suzuhara. Ai tries to protect Minami in the same fashion Kurumi protected her, but it’s a lot harder than it looks, especially since there’s no preventing the Wonder Killer from getting to Minami (a.k.a. the big baddie). The Wonder Killer represents the person’s trauma, and in Minami’s case, it’s her gymnastics coach. Ai tries to protect her, but Minami obediently follows after her coach after the coach knocks Ai away.
We get flashbacks of Ai and Koito’s relationship where we see that Koito was bullied because the other girls thought that their teacher favored her. I’m pretty sure this is the teacher that visited Ai’s house to check up on her and asked if she hated him. I’m not sure why I have a bad feeling about him, but it’s there, in the pit of my stomach.
Ai is belittled for not being able to protect Minami, this time by appliances on the school roof. While that’s going on we see an attempt Koito made to get her bullies in trouble. Ai was supposed to secretly record her harassment but was too scared to get a clear video. Ai decides to step up and save Minami, clearly to make up for what happened with Koito. She sees Minami’s coach slapping her around and goes to fight for her, able to defeat the coach with the help of Minami’s ribbon and, more importantly, Minami yelling GOODBYE to her coach. Just like Kurumi, Minami disappears.
In the regular world, Neiru is hospitalized because she keeps fighting alone and taking on too many things. Ai visits her and the two slowly develop a friendship with each other.
This series continues to be a symbolic trip that I know is going to lead to some big, heartbreaking, but necessary message. It’s going to be one of those stories that has multiple interpretations depending on whose watching and it’s been a while since I’ve watched an anime like that. I’m really enjoying it, even if it takes a bit to process everything.
- Thursday, January 21
The Promised Neverland season 2 episode 3
Where to watch: Funimation
Sorry, I get excited when the best kid shows up, even if it’s just Emma showing a photograph to Mujika. Someday, Emma and the others will go back for Phil and the rest of the younger kids. For now, the group is ready to set off on their own to find the location they discovered through the pen in hopes of meeting William Minerva at the coordinates. When they leave, Sonju reveals that he’s not nearly as kind as we were led to believe. He’s happy that the children escaped the farm (yay!) because now they can breed when they get older (eh?) so he can go and hunt their offspring (EH?!) since their offspring will be “natural,” aka, not from the farm (OMFG?!?!?!).
Basically, he wants an organic meal, I guess? No word on how Mujika feels about that, nor do we get to see the aftermath of the confrontation Sonju has in the woods against that high ranked demon who’d been hunting the kids earlier.
Speaking of kids, they arrive at their destination, only to find nothing there. Upon further inspection of what they’ve read in the books and what the pen has shown them, they’re able to discover an underground base that I’m… immediately suspicious of…
The place is in completely livable condition with hot water, electricity, a working radio, food, and look, I know I should be happy since these children have been through hell, but HOW is everything so perfectly set up? What’s with all of these numbered rooms? What’s with the underground tunnel they find? Oh, and um, what’s with the giant HELP message scrawled over one of the walls? And the telephone that looks like a payphone? That “William Minerva” calls them on just as they discover it?
Is that William Minerva calling? If it is, can he even be trusted? Who was in this base before? WILL THESE CHILDREN EVER KNOW PEACE?!
2.43: Seiin High School Boys Volleyball Team episode 3
Where to watch: Funimation
In hindsight, I should’ve realized that the first two episodes of this series would be about the middle school fight that’s mentioned in the synopsis, after all, our two “please just hug it out” leads weren’t at Seiin yet and the school name is in the damn title.
Regardless, I was caught off guard, but now I’m ready for the full impact of volleyball boy feels… I think?
Both Yuni and Chika are now in the same high school but haven’t talked since middle school, but hey, that’s what volleyball is for. Unfortunately, Chika isn’t really interested in joining the club and has come to the conclusion that if he does, no one will really like him. The team captain, Shinichiro Oda (aka: short king) is determined to get him to join and is this close to doing it, but Yuni shows up and Chika reassures him that he isn’t joining.
Shinichiro discusses the situation with the vice-captain, Misao Aoki (aka: extremely tall king), and Misao says what anyone watching is thinking: Yuni and Chika just need to release all those pent up emotions so they can focus on the game. I mean, he’s right, I’m just surprised to hear it so early in the series. Misao actually wants a different player to join the team (Yusuke Okuma) and makes a wager with Shinichiro on who gets to join the team depending on the outcome of a practice match.
And you’ll never guess who’s on opposing teams.
If you guessed Yuni and Chika then congrats, you’ve watched sports anime before! Apparently, so has Misao, because he not only put them on opposing teams, he told Yuni to throw the match, knowing it would set Chika off and get them into a fight. It works, the two yelling it out, with Chika being frustrated that Yuni hasn’t improved/gotten over his fear when facing opponents, and Yuni revealing Misao’s plan and pleading with Chika to join the team with him because he wants to play with him again.
At this point, I’m stunned that there’s a character so self-aware of sports anime tropes that he uses it to his advantage. Good job, Misao! It looks like we’re getting a volleyball team!
Heaven’s Design Team episode 3
Where to watch: Crunchyroll
This is, by far, my favorite episode of the series so far. It definitely captures just how silly this show is. More educational programs like this, please!
We begin with Shimoda dramatically summoning a dragon, the theatrics of the summoning done just for the hell of it. There’s absolutely no reason to have a thunderous backdrop, a dark cloak, and a summoning circle with a pentagram (sorry, a blueprint of a starfish, as revealed later) and Shimoda reveals that he was following a script to set the mood.
Mizushima shows up to reveal that the dragon was one of his old designs from back in his Livejournal days of random doodles that he thought would lead to something, only to have them rejected. However, God wants something that has no wings but still flies, so Mizushima’s dragon came to mind. Kanamori, Kimura, and Shimoda try and come up with a way to make a dragon that does work, creating an absolute disaster creature that’s part dragon, part rooster, and it… you know what nevermind Mizushima scraps all of that in favor of a flying snake (which, yes, does actually exist, yikes).
Next, we meet Tsuchiya’s grandson (Kenta) who got a hold of his grandpa’s seahorse plans from the last episode and mixed up the male and female labels on them. Since the design has already been approved, the team have to figure out a way to make it work with the differing genders, leading to what we all know about seahorses: the males are the ones who have the offspring after the females deposit the eggs inside of them. There are also some other fun fish facts discussed like how the largest male clownfish will turn into a female and the next biggest clownfish becomes her mate, and how the female football fish towers over the male football fish, the males literally attaching themselves to the females.
That’s right, Animal Crossing: New Horizons players, we’ve been catching female football fish this whole time!
Later, God approves a design made by Kenta, but the design is a monstrous creature that the team has to try and get the plans for so they can figure out how to stop it. Somehow, they manage to make an elephant from a gorilla, and the elephant uses its trunk to grab the plans. They realize that the creature Kenta made is supposed to be tiny, and once it’s shrunk it’s much more manageable.
Meet the hallucigenia which, yes, actually existed despite the fact that it looks like it came from a child’s sketchbook.
- Friday, January 22
Jujutsu Kaisen episode 15
Where to watch: Crunchyroll
The group battle begins and Yuji finds himself going up against the massive tank known as Aoi Todo. Initially, the Tokyo group planned on having Panda or Megumi take him on, but now that Yuji’s here they decide to go with him instead. Aoi is impressed by Yuji’s raw talent and asks the most important question of the entire series, “What kind of girls do you like?”
Yuji (after getting over the shock) answers, “A tall woman with a big ass, like Jennifer Lawrence.”
A couple of things, Yuji. 1) Have you see the tall vampire lady from Resident Evil Village because PHEW! And 2) Megan Thee Stallion is RIGHT THERE and is an anime fan, she probably watches you weekly, go shoot your shot!
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Aoi is so moved by this answer that he spirals into a slice of life anime sequence where he and Yuji are best friends. Yuji is there for him when the girl he likes (Takada-chan, aka, the pop idol he watches all the time) rejects him, which, um, why is the girl you like rejecting you even in your dreams, Aoi? You’ve got to love yourself more than that, my guy.
Outside of the fantasy, Aoi is moved to tears… then immediately annoyed when the rest of the Kyoto kids show up to corner Yuji in an attempt to kill him. Fortunately, the Tokyo crew figured out this was their plan, so they rush back to take on the Kyoto school.
Aoi notices that Yuji isn’t quite there yet when it comes to using his abilities, and if Yuji is satisfied with himself as is, then they can’t be best friends (aka: Aoi will lose respect for him and probably murder his face). To Aoi’s delight, Yuji declares that he wants to be better, and the two prepare to face each other again.
Sounds like the makings of a good ol’ fashioned shonen bro fight that ends up training the main character along the way.
- Saturday, January 23
SK8 the Infinity episode 3
Where to watch: Funimation
Langa accepts Miya’s challenge, much to Reki’s dismay since Miya is a skateboarding prodigy and candidate for Japan’s national team. What Reki and Langa don’t realize is that Miya is missing something when it comes to skateboarding. He no longer has any fun with it, his growing celebrity status distancing him from the friends he used to skateboard with him. Those friends now think that Miya looks down on them, which has completely isolated him.
Perhaps going up against some “slimes” will inspire him.
As Reki continues to teach Langa the ins and outs of skateboarding he discovers why Langa has such a hard time turning corners on the board: turning is different with snowboarding than it is with skateboarding. Reki gets an idea to use wheels from an old office chair on a new skateboard he’s making for Langa. These wheels swivel around, which would be difficult for more skateboarders, but not for Langa.
Langa and Miya face-off and Langa defeats him, much to everyone’s surprise (including the bickering husband duo of Joe and Cherry Blossom, no, they’re not actually married, but they are actually married, don’t @ me). Reki points out to Miya that the reason he lost is because he doesn’t have fun with skateboarding anymore, and if he’s not having fun, what’s the point? Both Reki and Langa befriend him, only for the moment to be interrupted by that Maximillion Pegasus dude who we now know is named Adam. Initially, Reki is thrilled to be in Adam’s presence, but it turns out Adam is a bit of an ass and insults Miya after his loss (I should also point out that Miya said earlier that it was Adam’s idea for him to challenge Langa in hopes that he’d regain his spark). Adam then turns his attention to Langa and has a perfectly heterosexual interaction with him that doesn’t at all read as “I’d teach you how to skateboard in my bedroom chambers.” Reki puts a stop to that because, well, he and Langa are the ship of the series besides the bickering husbands, oh, and because he doesn’t like how Adam talked to Miya.
Reki challenges Adam to a race and the episode ends, and like, I swear I thought Shadow was going to be high on the bad guy ranks, making second in command to Adam, but it’s clear that Adam’s going to be the final boss of skateboarding here.
Horimiya episode 3
Where to watch: Funimation
My. Entire. HEART!
The episode begins with a look at Miya’s life growing up, the kids in his class deeming him as the weird one and never wanting to partner with him for class projects. We see him give himself his first piercing with a safety pin, and we see his first interaction with Hori, who was the first person to not be put off by the fact that she had to work with him.
In the present day, another group project comes up, and Miya is surprised how easily Hori, Yuki, and Toru slide their desks over to him. Still, it’s hard to rid yourself of that voice that reminds you of the years spent as “the outcast,” so Miya doubts his standing with his friends.
Honestly, this is such a relatable portrayal of high school, and life in general, that it smacked me in the face. Having a character who is surrounded by positivity who still struggles to accept it because of all the negativity they’ve faced is something I think a lot of us understand, even as adults. Questioning whether or not the group you’ve found legitimately likes you or if you’re too weird for them is a timeless message, and the fact that Toru’s response when he talks to Miya is “you’re weird, but that’s ok” is such a necessary takeaway.
After that, we switch to Hori’s POV as she has a conversation with Remi. Remi decides to mess with Hori by asking what her relationship is with Miya, going so far as to ask if she can pursue him since he and Hori aren’t together. To Remi’s (and even Hori’s) surprise, Hori declares that Miya is hers before she walks off. Oh Hori, this is how rumors start, I just know it, so maybe you should tell Miya that-
Oh my god, she just told Miya that she loves him!
As they watch horror movies together they remember being in class and looking at the size of their friends’ hands. This leads to Hori blurting out that she loves Miya… ‘s… hands… or something… ahahahahaha you can’t just SAY you’re in love. Unless you’re Miya, who admits that he loves Hori. Even if they share a tender, hand-holding moment, Miya still questions Miya’s feelings, circling back to his earlier insecurities. It probably doesn’t help much that she laughed off her love confession out of nervousness. This, later, leads to a fight between Miya and Toru, and you think it’s because Toru has a crush on Hori, but really, it’s because he’s frustrated that Miya doesn’t realize that Hori loves him.
I wasn’t expecting that at all. I can’t believe this series took the “guy who has a crush on the popular girl” and didn’t make him a rival for her feelings and, instead, made him an actual friend! Toru’s right, Miya! You are loved!
But um… don’t start fistfights with him, he’ll destroy you.
- Sunday, January 24
Theatre of Darkness: Yamashibai 8 episode 3
Where to watch: Crunchyroll
This week’s story has a simple task: don’t look back.
A man has lost his way, wandering the sidewalks after he calls a friend in the hops of being picked up. He runs into a woman who warns him to not look back, but he assumes that she’s being hysterical about the entire thing. It doesn’t take long to figure out that the woman is right in her worry about looking back.
What I really enjoy about these shorts is that, so far, we’re never shown what it is that causes the fear. Instead, it focuses on the character’s perspective and their reaction when they are faced with the horror. This leaves it up to our imagination to decide what it is that scared them.
- Today, January 25
Otherside Picnic episode 4
Where to watch: Funimation
Ah, we’re at the point of me getting agitated at Toriko and this entire potential pairing of her with Sorawo.
But first, Sorawo has a vision of the Space-Time Man who warns her not to return “here” or she’ll be trapped. I’m assuming this apparition means trapped in the Otherside. This is cause for concern because up until this point we’ve seen these ghostly urban legends in the Otherside, but not in the real world.
At a cafe, Sorawo voices her concerns (finally) about going to the Otherside. Satsuki’s been missing for three months, so chances are, she’s not even alive anymore. Toriko is sure she’s alive, though, and tells Sorawo that Satsuki is special to her, therefore, she needs Sorawo’s help in finding her. Sorawo makes a valid point in how Toriko is asking her to risk her life for someone she doesn’t even know, and Toriko translates that as “friendship over” which I immediately hate. Like, am I supposed to be mad at Sorawo for being right? She IS risking her life for someone she doesn’t know, she has a right to be worried about traveling back and forth into a space they know nothing about that continues to try and kill them each trip.
Still, the damage is done and now Sorawo feels bad for what she said, especially when it turns out that Toriko travels to the Otherside alone. Great.
Sorawo visits Kozakura in the hopes of getting some assistance, but Kozakura reminds her that she is NOT about visiting the Otherside because, you know, it’s dangerous! That doesn’t stop them from ending up there as the horrors keep leaking into the real world, the two girls being pulled in. As they explore together it leads to them getting to know each other better. Sorawo, apparently, had parents who were in a cult?! And Kozakura reveals that Toriko’s parents were in the military, which is how she knows how to use guns. It’s not the backstory I was expecting, especially the cult angle with Sorawo. I kinda feel like that’s overkill, to be honest, and it kinda gets brushed aside like it’s not a big deal?
While in the Otherside there are a lot of jumbled supernatural creatures to deal with and I’m not sure they all gel together this week. There are bizarre, overgrown plant people, the Space-Time Man, an odd version of Sorawo running into a replica of Toriko’s apartment, and some Final Fantasy looking monster that Toriko sees as Satsuki. Sorawo ends up shooting it to free Toriko of its hold and Toriko… kinda apologizes? Not really. To be honest she partially blames Sorawo because, as I said, she took Sorawo’s concerns to mean “we aren’t friends anymore.”
It’s… frustrating because Toriko doesn’t really learn anything, even going so far as to ask Sorawo when they’ll return to exploring the Otherside. If she’s going to keep acting like that this story is going to end up bothering me more than the Otherside intrigues me.
Wave!! Let’s Go Surfing!! episode 3
Where to watch: Crunchyroll
Apparently, it’s been a… year?!
Did we just time jump?
Anyway, it’s time to prepare for the competition (the Forest Cup), and I’m really hoping that Masaki knows how to swim by now.
We get to meet the chair of the competition’s committee (Mori William Soichiro), one of the surfer’s from the opening so you know he’s going to be important. We also meet the one with the cute mascot girl on his surfboard (Kido Naoya) who fully embraces the potential ridiculousness sports anime can offer by shouting his moves while he’s surfing.
Kido wins his heat (of course he does) and Masaki goes on to compete. He’s nervous, but Sho encourages him, leading to an entire montage of the previous two episodes and Masaki remembering how he said he wanted to be like Sho a year ago.
A year. It’s really been a year?! We’re told that Masaki’s learned a lot in the year and I guess we’re supposed to just take the series’ word for it?
We also meet (kinda) the other characters in the opening… in a song montage? I dunno, the pacing of this series is kinda taking me out of it. We also don’t know much about the characters, even the series lead, beyond him enjoying the feeling of surfing all of the sudden. I will say that I give the series props for not having Masaki win the whole damn thing. This leads to some brooding narration from him as he watches Sho and Nalu head to the finals without him, but he’s also proud of his best buds facing off against each other.
The episode ends with Sho and Nalu heading toward the water, and I dunno, after three episodes I’m still not completely into this series? There’s nothing to really grasp onto with the characters, the CG surfing is really bothersome, and it keeps skimming through the parts of sports anime I actually want to see. How do you skip an entire year of content? ESPECIALLY since the last episode ended with Masaki nearly getting himself killed by surfing in the middle of a thunderstorm?
How do we not get to see the prep work for the competition?
How are we already there?
After binging Kuroko’s Basketball and watching SK8 AND 2.43 Seiin weekly, this just isn’t hitting me the way those sports anime do.
This concludes this week’s round-up! See you next week for more action that’s worthy of impressing a new best friend!
(featured image: Funimation)
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