How’s your anime watching been this week? There certainly seems to be no shortage of good shows out now, and Netflix has promised so many more during their Geeked Week event.
If you need any more evidence that anime is going mainstream, then look no further than New Line pushing through and prioritising The War of the Rohirrim. That’s a Middle-earth anime heading to the cinema screen, set 250 years or so before the events in Lord of the Rings, and may well overlap with awareness of Amazon’s hugely expensive live-action series.
We don’t yet have any visuals for The War of the Rohirrim, but we look forward to the teasers before the trailers appear. Geek Native posts about one anime trailer a day, spacing them out as not to flood the site, and if you’re interested in keeping an eye on them, then the anime category and accompanying RSS feed is probably the best bet.
That’s the anime news. In this Irregular Reconnaissance, we’re doing mini-reviews for some episodic shows out now.
In this Irregular Reconnaissance;
Moriarty the Patriot
Episodes 15 to 17
That’s an amusing way to incorporate Irene Alder into the show. Moriarty the Patriot will, I suspect, find a tension between the what-if of “Moriarty as a vigilante patriot” as a feasible idea and the curveball plots that anime and manga cherishes. So, far, so good.
There’s also tension here between the “murder a week” concept and structure and the desire to scratch away at a larger plot. One solution to that is to stretch episodes over two or more. By and large, I think it works well, but it also slows things down. An event an episode sets a specific tempo, and at times Moriarty does feel a little slow.
The third balancing act comes from the relationship between Sherlock and Moriarty. Are we just watching two people who are broadly pushing in the same direction? There’s a lot of focus on Holmes in this second half of the season, but he’s reactive only. There’s no drive here, and that’s a risk to take with a decrease in the pace of progress.
Overall, I think Moriarty the Patriot has found a balance that works. The reveal at the end of episode 17 suggests that there might be something that binds Holmes and the Moriarty gang together.
So I’m a Spider, So What?
Episodes 17 to 20
Spider continues to be a whole world of fun. Part of the enjoyment comes from silent speculation on just how much they’re messing us around with the timeline.
We suspect a bit of that is happening, right, since one character told of an encounter with “the nightmare” as if it was not recent past. We also know that people reincarnated back into different timelines, with one still being a young child now.
What’s certain is that the power levels of the series are rocking up as we deal with demon lords, dragon bosses and now potential interference from the third party behind the scenes. But, just how high is this going to go? The clues, I think, are in the nomenclature of legends the human characters refer to.
I look forward to more!
Episodes 7 to 9
At times I forget entirely that Tokyo Revengers is a time-travelling show. The drama of the past gets so good, so quickly and so convincingly, that I happily focus on that and forget the bigger picture.
Tokyo Revengers should take that as a huge success. It means the past can be changed.
As a story, Tokyo Revengers then rolls with the consequences of changing the timeline. It does so intelligently and sometimes darkly.
Takemichi is a thoroughly flawed hero, but he steps up when he needs to, and the show is resisting the urge to give him only successes. What happens in Revengers isn’t always the best results for the kinder characters. However, since the series also explores the consequences of changes, even a tiny nudge towards “better” can be crucial. Just as imperfections can be devesting to the future.
Episode 6 to 9
86 could well have ended on episode 9, which is called “Goodbye”. If it had done so then, the anime would have been surprising, brutal and a darkly accurate commentary on society today.
There’s a lot more to come as it happens, but only two episodes before the season break.
The not-a-secret is that the drones one side in a conflict uses aren’t drones but outcasts from a homogeneous society. No one cares; in fact, they’re happy with the situation. The Status Quo Warriors are the villains here, but they’re not alone. The tank-crab pilots, our heroes, have battlefield enemies to confront.
In the first few episodes, I honestly worried that 86 EIGHTY-SIX was going to be a letdown. I’m pleased to say that it’s slowly, but persistently, clawing its way upwards in my estimations. My expectations, cast away so quickly, are being replaced with a growing interest in exactly whether (and how) the doomed situation might change.
You do have to wonder whether a group of highly militant outcasts, stuck in a fight or die scenario, have any other route in life than a violent one when it comes to attaining equality (or just anything better than they currently have). So if 86 is a dark reflection on today’s real-life society, what does that forecast for us?
Zombie Land Saga
Season 2 (Revenge), Episodes 5 to 9
Zombie Land Saga may just have taken a surprising twist. Sort-of-surprising, anyway.
I had begun to fear that the structure of season two, Revenge, would merely be fall-from-grace -> plucky each-character-in-turn episodes -> dramatic recovery in time for the deserved feel-good moment.
Maybe that will be the broad structure, but I no longer think it’ll be such a straight line as other events, other portentous backstories, will have an influence.
The show’s premise, of an all zombie group of idols working their way to the big time, has been accepted—the how and why of it all politely handwaved away as unnecessary to the day’s drama. However, the recent focus on specific characters, especially their backstories, has been to subvert this.
It’s been a good sort of undermining, and it’s given me a renewed interest in the series!
Seen anything terrible recently? Watched anything great? Share your discoveries in the comments below.