We’re almost there! We’re at the penultimate wrap of the fall season, and I appreciate those of you still reading, or who have just joined the discussion. The following three series are a mixed bag of the supernatural, alcohol, and idols, but they share a talent for warming you up from the inside.
- 0 dango – average and forgettable.
- 1 dango – very good in its category.
- 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
- 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.
Youkai Apartment no Yuuga na Nichijou
In my round up of shows to finish for the fall, I almost forgot about Youkai Apartment—not because the series itself is forgettable, but because I had taken for granted that these characters would be around forever. Youkai Apartment enjoyed a slow and steady burn through the two cours it aired. I may not have been clicking on it first at the start of each week, but I definitely looked forward to each episode. If I fell behind on the schedule, I didn’t mind watching a few in a row to catch back up. Visiting Youkai Apartment felt as natural as breathing.
If you overlooked this show, or dismissed it on the bland premise, then you were part of the vast majority. When I first got into anime, settings heavy with Japanese myth and culture were like crack to me. I’m talking about the likes of xxxHOLiC and Natsume Yuujinchou. That’s true even now. There’s almost always a youkai story in each season, so it’s easy to only pick the ones that stand out the most. Youkai Apartment doesn’t jump to the front visually or story-wise, and I can’t even recall any memorable music.
What the anime has going for it, however, is dedication to its characters, both the protagonist and everyone around him. Thanks to the episodic nature of the series, we get to see the apartment residents, teachers, and students from many different angles. I can’t help but feel like I really know them as people and not just faces on the screen. I found the focus on the teachers particularly interesting; Aoki repeatedly makes herself unlikable in her holier-than-thou approach to everyone and everything, and by the time we hit the end, Inaba and his friends have accepted that you can’t resolve everything. There will be people with whom you never connect, and broken situations that need space and time to fix themselves. It’s a lesson we don’t often see in stories meant to uplift and comfort.
If you ever find yourself with a bit of spare time and enjoy youkai stories, then I suggest you take the time to try Youkai Apartment. You may find yourself a voluntary resident.
Rating: 1 dango
Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte kara
For once this time around I only had one short on the schedule, and that was Love is Like a Cocktail, an anime with the simple vision of a married couple and the cocktails they share. Each week, Sora introduces a new concoction—sometimes alcoholic, sometimes not—and we repeatedly see Chisato let down her hair in response. Much like Wakakozake’s signature noise of pleasure, Chisato also gives out a now familiar sound the moment she relaxes. It’s endearing, and makes me want to try out some of the cocktail recipes. If I do, you can be sure I’ll review them here!
Rating: 0 dango
Love Live! Sunshine!! 2nd Season
Our journey with Aqours is finally over and I can now say with certainty after two seasons of Uranohoshi’s fight to survive, I’m ready to move on. As much fun as I had with the girls, I’ll still look back on μ’s as my Love Live! group of choice. Aqours never captured my heart as completely as I would have liked; they were a group of girls who mostly felt too manipulated to fully trust. I could always see the mind behind the creation, the money behind the product.
I realize I sound harsh for an anime I did like. I even have my favorite girls, the third years with their older sister vibes. Mari was easily my main laugh of the series. Just looking back on her grin and self-made album cracks me up. I also heartily approve of the direction the story took at the end. The drive to save Uranohoshi was always a terrible motivator, one that could have easily robbed the girls of their love for singing and dancing. Once they accepted the inevitable and looked forward to the future, they grasped a new dream just as worthwhile as the previous one.
Now that Sunshine is over, other than any movies or specials that might air, I’ll be curious to see if Love Live! will continue with a new school. I didn’t expect Aqours when Sunshine was first announced, and was even resistant to the idea of it. Now I’m open to any challengers to the title…perhaps a revamped group led by none other than Saint Snow’s Leah?
Rating : 1 dango
10 thoughts on “Fall 2017 Season Wrap: Elegant Yokai Apartment Life, Love is Like a Cocktail, & Love Live! Sunshine!! S2”
Love Live Sunshine’s biggest problem is that the production staff wasn’t really willing to stray too far from their winning formula.
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Another reason why I prefer the original, where the formula still felt fresh.
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I liked Love Live Sunshine enough to watch it, but it just never really moved the characters into their own people for me. And even listening to Aquors’ songs, I can’t tell when any particular person is singing. For µ’s, I can tell everyone’s voice, easily (although sometimes Eli and Maki can sound similar). But there’s just so much more individuality in µ’s that didn’t come through in Aquors. I think there are a lot of things to attribute it to, like taking so much time up with the “saving the school” plot line, and then having failed at that the “closing the school” plot line. And then the rest of the show’s run was taken up by pulling Chika along. For someone who’s supposed to be so inspiring to everyone, she was, honestly, a drag on the unit and on the show. Those scenes where she’d show up to somewhere with all sorts of resolve after thinking about something… and the rest of the group is already there going “What took you so long?” Those moments totally struck me in the way that the show didn’t want: Chika is lagging, the last one to get with the program. And getting her out of that was 1) tiring and 2) time consuming.
And that just didn’t leave time for the rest of the cast. Ruby and Dia had a sister thing with Saint Snow, and Riko and Yoshiko had the thing with the dogs, but past that, everyone else was just kinda background. The 3rd years got a little together to comfort each other about going their separate ways, but You and Hanamaru were ghosts, sidekick characters that just showed up when Chika or Yoshiko needed help. And all of that was disappointing. Some of the songs were ok, but none were top level like some of the µ’s songs were (even if you think it’s cheating that they redid Snow Halation, Dancing Stars on Me was still a tremendous song in S2, and Start:Dash, Korekara Someday, and No Brand Girls are terrific from S1).
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I can think of very few idol songs that have grabbed me and compelled me to listen to them outside of their anime, and Aquors is not an exception. I don’t think I can even tell µ’s voices apart from one another, but then again, I’ve never tried.
Your observation of Chika is spot on and something that’s bugged me since the first season. For being the leader, the inspiration, she certainly has a lot of moments of doubt and fear.
I did feel like the group worked itself into trios naturally, particularly after the dog arc (even if I thought it felt out of place). But you’re right. The third years as a group were the strongest showing, with most everyone else playing support to insecure Chika.
I have several WUG songs on my anime playlist, plus two from μ’s.
I have a ton of µ’s songs, a few WUG songs, a few IM@S songs. One of the best things about µ’s is that they, and their subunits, explore a lot of styles in terrifically authentic ways. “Kaguya no Shiro de” is a perfect disco song, “Takarazumono” is outright ska, “Angelic Angel” is all 70’s. “No Brand Girls” and “Wonderful Rush” are rock. They’re not “µ’s take on a style”, they are that style. So that’s something I really like about them more than other groups.
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Youkai Apartment was a fun show. For whatever reason I like a lot of youkai shows (like Fukigen na Mononokean), and while they aren’t going to score really highly, this kind of show is just nice to watch. I thought that it kind of dropped the ball in the larger narrative sense, dealing with Yamamoto by pushing her into Aoki’s orbit, leaving the story of Chiaki’s “damage” just hanging, and using the Petits for special effects. It also kind of minimized Inaba more than I wish it would have, always making him look worse than Hase. I liked the storylines about Inaba being a good guy.
Cocktail was ok. Not a great short. It got around the “hey, get your wife drunk to loosen her up” with having Sora be a good guy about it, and with Chi having the same behavior with non-alcoholic drinks, but was still not the best messaging.
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I’m also reminded a bit of of Kyoukai no Rinne, that lighthearted approach and cheesy comedy. There’s just something about these youkai shows that always appeals to me and insures we get one almost every season. Regarding the Petits, I have to agree with you. They were interesting at the start, but then I started to see them as a crutch. I thought Inaba was growing and that he’d move on to more advanced techniques, yet the Petits stuck around until the very end.
Cocktail — I was wary from the very beginning about the idea that Chi needed this alcohol to unwind, and that Sora would push it on her the moment she got home even when she said no. He didn’t really do it after the first episode, but I never fully trusted him after that.
I watched a few episodes of Kyoukai no Rinne, but it was quickly settling into that long, repetitive, shounen-kids-show mode.
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