The Winter Games 2018: Week 2

The second week of our episodic collaboration project commences, and the prediction game starts here. It’s time to school these bastards!

The anime opens with the news of our main character invading a castle finally reaching the neighboring lords. One of them, a big guy named Lassic, decided to move his chess piece and try to kill the king. Meanwhile, Theo seems to be accepted as lord of the land with no real opposition. That’s good, I guess. Siluca, on the other hand, has started to conjure up some strategy when the neighboring lords do invade. As I said before, the true test of this anime’s quality will be revealed on the third episode. Right now, we’re doing some world building and we’re getting to understand the status quo of the show. I also said that our prediction game will be tested with this anime and that’s proven right as well.

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Firstly, I never expected to see Siluca summon a cat, pick him up and cuddle the beast. I also didn’t expect the throw away lord that battled Theo to actually be a recurring character. I also didn’t expect a kissing scene in the second episode, so yeah, I’m flustered at how this anime develops. It also has a light hearted element that seems weird, since it was immediately followed by a battle campaign where a guy got a knife in the eye. I love how the anime is slowly building flavor though, since the battle is pretty fun to watch. The many moving parts are nicely paced, and it does give you an idea of what to expect in further episodes. I love the RPG dynamic of the battle where a mage used lightning to disable opponents, a thief type character with max agility fights a tank character, and a hammer wielder is outsmarted by a quick witted squire type character.

The battle ends when Lassic’s mage is captured. I’d give points for unpredictability one more time, because I didn’t expect muscle guy to actually surrender. While Lassic and his mage, Moreno, had good chemistry, I thought they’d be one-off characters. Instead, they surrendered and joined rank with Theo. Lassic is apparently impressed by Theo, and he revealed that he has no ambition of ruling the world. He’s fine serving under a strong lord and just owning a country. I like this character.

The interesting part about the second episode though is the mention of the first lord. He apparently gathered a lot of Crests and summoned the Heavenly Crest, and I think it’s a mark of the true ruler or something. It’s a nice added flavor to this stock, since lords are motivated to play chess hard with an ambitious goal like that. On top of the Federation vs Alliance war, the Heavenly Crest adds more intrigue to the mix. I expect the story to blow up soon enough, since after Theo defeats his neighboring lords, he’d be recognized as an important chess piece for the Alliance against the Federation. I’m concerned about the pacing of the anime though being a bit too fast unless this is more than twelve episodes. Either way, I’m excited to see more. The story slut in me is just biting his lip in excitement.

Notable Characters of the episode: There are a lot of standouts here. Irving is impressive here, attacking his opponent’s eye to win. It’s cheap, but I expect him to turn evil so he should do more stuff like this.

Aishela is adorable. Obviously a war freak, and the way she wields her hammer is awesome. Will she have a thing with that guy she kissed in this episode?

I expect Siluca to be a damsel character, and I do believe it’s the most effective role for her, but I do love how she plans and schemes in the episode.

Now for the fun part, the predictions. The rule states one plot related prediction and one character action prediction. This anime is a massive troll, since it didn’t have a preview for episode three, and the end credits just featured the lord that Siluca dumped for Theo, who turns out to be a mama’s boy. Oh boy. Again, my prediction skills is being challenged, especially since I have little grasp of the show’s direction for now. Here’s goes nothing.

Plot Related: Siluca gets kidnapped by that mama’s boy, Villar Constance.

Character Related: Aishela kisses that guy again, since I expect he’s an important character.

This promising marshmallow show continues to show some incredible promise. The episode follows Nadeshiko joining the Outdoor Activities club, and I actually laughed when she passed by the hiking club. She mentions that hiking is a manly activity, unlike the club she plans to join. Whoa, is that a rib at Yama Susume that mistakenly brands itself as a hiking anime? Omg, shots fired. C-Station is calling out 8-bit! This anime tickles my brain with how beautifully paced it is, and I can’t believe it’s done by a first time director. He handles pace and comedic timing expertly and I’ve seen Kino’s Journey sullied by a first time director. Yoshiaki seems to get it though, and he touches on the core elements of what makes a marshmallow show irresistible to watch. He dishes out the cuteness, the comedy and the ambiance strongly, but he doesn’t just sit back and let the marshmallow roast on the campfire though. He actually directs this anime with some wonderful passion. Forgive the hoity toity TPAB that talks like a critic right now, but I love this shot:

This is the meanest thing Rin has ever said. It’s self-centered, and a really cold statement, and the director pull away. He shows us her back, creates distance, and it implies that you need to reach out to her. Someone will reach out to her, and Nadeshiko eventually does when she appears late in the episode to have some hotpot with Rin.

I also love Rin’s solo camp routine. We see it again in this episode, but it offsets the cast gathering that we saw from before. Notice how the fun and the cuteness is so engaging and endearing when the group is together, and then it parallels with Rin-chan’s quiet and almost zen type of camping. She’s the loner type, so you do understand her need to camp in cold weather if it’s the only chance to be alone. BUT the first thing she pulls out though is her phone, implying that she is seeking connection despite putting up a distance between herself and the other girls. Damn it, I should hate this anime.

Anyways, let’s list down the best moments of the episode.

  • Hey, she listened to my advice as she camps in a populated place. Heh, I’m sure it’s just coincidence though, and I think the park is real so it’s asking viewers to go on a camp pilgrimage after watching this anime.
  • Pine Cone-chan makes a cameo. I love that.
  • The cramp club room is a wonderful idea, since it’s a different wrinkle to the typical marshmallow setup, while maintaining the intimate setup of goofing around in a clubroom.
  • I love that pipe fitter joke. She just happens to have one to conveniently fix the broken tent.
  • I also love the fact that they decided to setup the tent on school grounds while other students watch. It’s random, but the comedic timing is pretty inspired.
  • She goes to the bathroom a lot. It’d be annoying to go camping with someone that needs to go to the bathroom constantly. I do think it’s a smart excuse to wander around the camp ground, and we’re totally pointing out that viewers shouldn’t pee on trees standing up. We’re a civilized society.
  • The text banter is so cute, and it establishes the relationship between Rin and that other girl. I forgot her name.

Predictions

Plot related: This anime has no story, so predictions are a bit narrow. There is consistency though in minute doses. But, just to test the waters, I’d say – the characters go out to buy a better tent.

Character related: Pine Cone-chan makes another cameo

Oh boy, this anime opened with shirtless dudes in the shower. This episode actually had three shirtless scenes in it, and it’s pretty weird. It is also loaded with product placement as the “ad anime” lives up to its name. It has products like shampoo and whatever with Sanrio characters in it. It also has this scene:

See, I like the shirtless dude, and I like the Hello Kitty towel but I just cannot like the two together. Also, again, what demographic are they targeting? Moms in their early 20s that watches this anime with their kids? It’s like letting a six year old watch Free, and I’ve seen it. They flipped the channel to Sophia the First while staring for a good ten seconds at the OP. I’m getting mixed messages with this show, and it just ruins the experience for me.

Anyways, that Yuu character is still hounding our main character. He realized Kouta is a fan of Sanrio as well, and he’s recruiting him to join his weird group of hot guys that like Sanrio characters. Kouta is conflicted though, because he’s ashamed of liking Pompompurin. He avoids Yuu at all times, but he does ponder about liking the cute dog in public. Crisis happens though when his mother threw out his Pompompurin stuff toy, and he went out of his house frantic about it. The scene is so gawd damn contrived, when you think about it. The mom doesn’t know the stuff toy is a memento from the dead grandmother? Why of all days did she decide to clean his room at that convenient moment? Why did she think a giant stuff toy like is automatically trash just because it’s in the trash can. What if the picture frame next to the stuff toy fell in the trash? Will she throw that out as well? This was played seriously too. See, I’m fine with contrived scene if it’s just comedic randomness. The trash can scene is played seriously. The mom even goes “oh, it’s in the trash so I threw it”. Well, it’s about to rain so I guess it’s time for you to chase after it, cry in the rain and maybe take your shirt off. It’s for the kids.

Speaking of shirtless, we also got a weird scene of the student council president, shirtless in public, just hanging out in the walk way, ready to talk to Shouta about nothing. At least he didn’t have any Sanrio product on him. I laughed at this though:

C’mon, that is smartly done. I wish this anime can just be a self-aware comedy show, instead of this forced serious show with heavy product placement. Keeping to things I like in this episode, I also love that fourth wall break when Shouta asked the audience if they saw his Pompompurin toy. I shouted “yes, in your gay ass” but the camera moved on its own. Boo.

Anyways, he did cry in the rain. It was a pretty good moment, since he’s kinda feeling frustrated that he let his grandma down. The issue is still pretty stupid though. “oh, why can’t I like cute mascots of Sanrio in public”, oh woe is me. The anguish is crushing.  Yuu and that other guy is there though, and they gave a contrived answer to his problem then they searched for the stuff toy. They found it, crisis resolved, Shouta can now do product placement without feeling guilty, and then we go to the main event.

Oh my gawd, product placement. Product placement everywhere. No real product is advertised though, except maybe the place itself. I would’ve loved to see Shunsuke hug a Hello Kitty stuffie, but I guess the pre-requisite is that he needs to be shirtless first. Yknow, for the kids. It’d be fun if they poked Pompompurin’s butt again. That’s a fan service I’d like to see done shirtless, to be honest. Anyways, the episode ends with Yuu’s sister calling them disgusting for liking cute mascots, and I guess that’s the focus of the next episode. Cool. Now, by principle, I hate this anime, so you should check out the other bloggers’ post to see a fair episode review of Sanrio Boys.

Predictions

Plot Related: Yuu’s sister actually likes My Melody as well

Character related: Someone will go shirtless. I’d say Yuu, since I think next episode will be about him.  

Check Irina’s post by clicking HERE, and HERE and HERE

AstralGemini’s post HERE

And Leap’s post HERE

For sh*ts and giggle, you can also click this one for no reason.

25 thoughts on “The Winter Games 2018: Week 2

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