The Winter Games 2018: Week 5

We are in the fifth week, and the race is heating up. With the new point system implemented, the daring predictions are finally given the points they deserve. Everyone is on the scoreboard as we reach the midway of our marathon. 

The anime opened with a vampire, a were-woman and a witch talking. I had to pause to make sure I had the right anime, because I do not know who these characters are. Luckily, the OP played and I was assured I am watching the right show. It seems the anime is moving on a chapter basis, wherein the first four episodes focused on the “SAVIS” chapter. This can mean the next four episodes will be focused on ARTUK, but who the hell knows at this point. A straight forward show about war and strategies is now expanding some more as it tries to build a more massive world than before. Clearly this is a bad idea, since the anime sucks at world building. This has been my gripe ever since the first episode.

I love the old school RPG aesthetics we’ve stumbled into though. The vampire is awesome, the werewolves living in a dark forest sounds cool, and the “return of the demon lords” feels like I uploaded a different save file than the one I previously played. New characters dominated this episode, and it seems they have beef with each other. The were-woman seems to have no plan resurrecting the “demon lord”, and this pisses off the black witch. The vampire plays neutral though, but he still welcomes the black witch to cause havoc if she wants. She did, and she kidnapped the were-woman’s daughters to lure her into a fight. I do not know these characters, but f*ck it, I gave up caring about plot cohesion since episode two. A whale can drop from the sky, and I would not be surprised about it.

Meanwhile, Theo is now in Artuk under Villar’s command. He said that Theo’s only duty for now is to protect him outside of the castle, but this changed when he ordered Theo to investigate why the werewolves all abandoned their village.  We also meet a new character who looks down on Theo for abandoning his rank as an “archduke” apparently. I’m guessing he means being a lord and trying to level up his crest. He also mentions a new place called DARTAGNIA, a neighboring country of Artuk across the ocean. If the anime won’t build the world, then I will! I believe Theo’s home town is also an island so we’ll keep a look out for that as well. Anyways, new dude hated the fact that Theo abandoned rank just for a mage. A reasonable outcry, since Theo is pretty dumb for doing that. Villar gave you a gawd damn region to manage. What the hell is wrong with you? New dude was somewhat impressed though that Lassic, trying to conquer Savis atm (? Didn’t Theo already ruled it?), pledged fealty to Theo. So that shuts up new dude for now. I’m guessing pink haired girl is with Lassic, since she did not appear in this episode. Come to think of it, is Aishela still benched? I’m just going to think everyone is with Lassic, even that Caith Sith cat or whatever.

The episode climaxed into a battle between Theo, Siluca and were-woman against the black witch. Obviously, the three member party won. But oh noes, were-woman died. The rest of the were-wolves joined Theo’s alliance though, and the daughters are now maids in Villar’s castle. As a standalone episode, I think this one is pretty decent. It started on a clean slate, so I was ready for whatever it’ll hurl at me. The old school Castlevania vibe of the episode scored points for me. I also love the whole “we must destroy the crests” plot point that appeared here. As the yin –yang concept is explored deeper, there are people that values chaos more than crests. If chaos is eliminated, by obtaining the heavenly crest mentioned before, the witches and the wolves and the “artists” will be eliminated as well. I like that. It’s an added wrinkle to the plot, and the mastermind behind the massacre in the first episode is revealed as well. The union of the Alliance and the Federation could result in a heavenly crest, so the vampire king actually orchestrated the plan to kill the arch-dukes. Hey, some continuity! Nice. Anyways, the plot thickens (rapidly) and Theo plans to go “north” for the next episode. Oh boy.

Notable Characters from this episode

The vampire king is awesome. The visuals make him menacing, despite his chaos neutral stance in the episode. The anime introduces and dumps characters haphazardly though, so I don’t expect more from him. I wanted more Aishela, but we never really see her again.

The duo of Theo and Siluca seems to be the only stable thing in this anime, and they did some great things in this episode. Siluca busts out her lightning magic, while Theo deflects a strong attack or something. Either way, they are proving to be an exciting duo.

As for predictions, I don’t really know where to begin. Both of my predictions from last week were a bust, but I think my smug “I’m ahead so I can waste some predictions” got the better of me. We are entering a new chapter, so anything can happen, really.

Plot related: Characters will battle in the snow, a snow filled area

Character related: Irvin will appear behind an enemy before he kills them

This episode featured the outdoor club going camping, while also featuring Rin’s solo camping. Once again, the parallels of both camping is highlighted, as we see the moe side of the show more emphasized in the outdoor club’s camping while the zen slice of life side is featured in Rin’s side. I can enjoy both sides like this, with one element not taking over the other. But enough about the anime, what about my predictions? How did it pan out? Well, I suck. I overestimated the show, and I relied too much on clichés to help my prediction game. You see, I predicted the curry will be spicy and Nadeshiko will drink milk after going to the hot springs. It makes sense, right? I mean, what moe show hasn’t gone there? Except I was stupid in my approach.

Nadeshiko is a capable one pot cook, and she didn’t mess up the curry. Instead, it was actually delicious as she apparently added some package ramen flavorings into the curry. See, no one can predict that sh*t so I lost some points on that. I realized the anime values “happy eating time” so no gags can be spared for messing up dishes. This anime is serious about its food. So much so that Nadeshiko did not ingest liquids upon leaving the hot spring. Nope, she went for “happy meal time” and indulged in some fried hot spring eggs instead. This reminds me of Harvest Moon and its famous spa boiled eggs that every character loves. I didn’t score points this week, but that’s ok. I’m slowly understanding my enemy, and you need to sacrifice some pawns to do that. I’m ready to dominate this show.

Rin also had some “happy meal time” of her own as she decided to cook some pasta. Her dish looks awesome, and I was actually hungry looking at it. Something about the rustic, college-on-his-last-two-dollars-stretching-it-for-three-weeks, appeal of her dish really resonated with me. The satisfying feeling of having your stomach warmed, even if the dish isn’t that polished, just feels very personal to me. I don’t use milk though, because it is expensive in my market. I’d use the ramen flavorings Nadeshiko used instead, and a couple of bread slices to give it more body. I lived a miserable college life is what I’m saying.

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The visuals are amazing though. The brown colors, welcoming you as you watch Rin ride through the mountain, just feels so relaxing to look at. The area itself feels so alive, despite only having Rin in it. I love the mark of human life in this environment, with the signs, the tower station and the path all made by human hands. I also love how nature is expressed giving way to human life, and that’s actually the zen-est thing I enjoyed about this show. It just welcomes quiet reflection, as Rin just does nothing but explore places. Despite her lonely venture though, you can’t help but feel like you were a quiet companion always following her lead. I really love this side of the anime, and it balances out the super moe moments. I guess I should list off those moments next.

The best moments in the show:

  • The food porn is strong. They should slap an R rating on this anime. Geez. I love the cute moment of the club indulging on some eggs, while I also quietly reflect on my wasted years as Rin eat her pasta dish alone. She also sipped from the pot, and I was actually a bit alarmed since I’m pretty sure it was still hot at that point. Nothing ruins “happy meal time” though. Also, don’t sip from the pot. Pretty sure you’ll taste the metal.
  • The view of the cities is fantastic! Rin’s gloomy fog encounter was suddenly offset by a breath taking view a few hikes later, and I loved the build up to that moment. As someone quietly following Rin’s lead, I soaked in the moment as well. Nadeshiko’s nighttime view is pretty cool as well. It reminded me, actually, of my hike when all my hiking buddies just gazed at the nighttime view of the city once we reached the peak.
  • The whole “under one sky” moment is pretty amazing as well. Rin seems to have realized solo camping isn’t doing much for her, and she immediately seeks connections with Nadeshiko. Their text back and forth all the way to them sharing one starry sky is a highlight of the entire show for me. It was the moe side and the zen side actually going hand in hand to deliver a beautiful moment fleeting in all of its mundanity.
  • This is also how I wait for a reply from a text. This was a couple of seconds long, but I really love it.
  • The outdoor club dumping Nadeshiko to sleep alone on another tent feels cruel. Since it’s from the moe side, it was played for laughs though. I’d never leave Nadeshiko alone. I’d want to talk with her all night, so I protest hurting her feelings.
  • I learned of Swedish Torches, and I love it. It’s also called a Canadian candle, so I’m immediately asking Irina to confirm this. Their collective scream when the candle’s string snapped is pretty hilarious though.
  • Last time, I joked a coffin would appear. This time, Irina joked that aliens will appear and holy f*cking sh*t, it happened! Why didn’t you put it down as your prediction Irina?! It’s kinda funny that our bold predictions for this anime are weirdly coming true.

Alright, keeping “happy meal time” and zen life in mind, I’m pretty confident with my predictions now. Ok, not really, but we’ll see. For now, I’m prepared to have a few more pawns sacrificed.

Plot related: Nadeshiko will cook with meat and potatoes

Character related: A character will put another character in a submission (wrestling) hold.

I like this episode of Sanrio Rangers, because the drama is considerably toned down. Also, I get weird flashbacks to Love Stage, a shounen ai anime. This week, the focus is on Ryo and Seichiiro, the last two members of the Sanrio rangers. They have a very intentional seme and uke dynamic between them, and I f*cking love it. It brings me back to Love Stage, where the seme falls in love with an uke mistaking him for a girl. The same concept is applied to Ryo, who grew up being treated like a girl to his dismay. He doesn’t like girly things, and he would even confront handsome boys who like girly things. He has issues, man. It makes for a reasonable episode though, since we are lazily relying on clichéd shounen ai tropes. The uke is this person with a personal conflict that attracts the seme and makes him want to dominate the uke. They better f*ck, or else this whole endeavor is pointless. I should make that my prediction, but I wouldn’t count on it. Uke’s hatred for girly things makes him confront the group, and he outright insults the Sanrio rangers for liking the sanrio mascots. Yuu doesn’t take this lying down, and the whole kerfuffle at the end of episode four is finally given context.

Leap once mentioned that he likes Sanrio Boys because it brings up a point of how you are judged for liking something you’re not supposed to like. He likens it to grown ass people that like anime, and I think this episode hits on that point beautifully. Uke’s gripe is very much on the shallow, and it reminds me of how some people are bullied for dashing in the halls like Naruto or using Japanese words in their everyday language with cringe inducing results. I’m with Leap here. This element is part of the anime, but I only really saw it in episode five. The reason is because the forced drama ruins the nuance of Leap’s point. The drama is so flimsy and stupid that I just cannot accept it. In episode five, the drama is toned down and Uke is portrayed in the wrong. He shouldn’t hate people like that, and this concerns his seme partner. And gawd almight, seme confronts uke in the most intimate way possible that builds this funny unexplained sexual tension between them. Seme breaks uke’s walls though, and Ryo explains that he was always treated as a girl. He hates seeing manly guys like girly things, and that’s a fair point. It’s a reasonable conflict, and it establishes a reasonable climax to it. Seme basically establishes rapport with uke, and things end on a happy note.

But oh noes, it’s revealed that Seiichiro, who looks like Doumeki from xxxholic, actually likes Sanrio as well. In a weird transition, we see him do his student council president job, and he mentions that he likes to de-stress by visiting Sanrio Puroland. He even imagines shaking hands with a mascot there, and that’s freaking adorable. See, this is how you do a good balance of product placement, lazy storytelling and character introduction. Nothing is heavy handed, and things build as the story progresses. Seiichiro even stares at his annual pass to Sanrio Puroland to help him relax. Conflict is established though when Ryo finds Seiichiro’s pass and uke feels betrayed. Ryo argues that Seiichiro only talked to him because he was just like the sanrio rangers, liking girly things too. The episode ends with the seme chasing the uke (to f*ck him). It’s a great episode, and I can’t wait for the next one. Gawd, I hope the rest of the show can be this “okay”, but I doubt it. I really only like this episode because the core characters have little to do in it. Yuu and the other guys didn’t dominate the show with their sucking. I’m sure that’ll change though, but the weird shounen ai elements do balance things out. We’ll have to wait and see how the entire group plays off each other.

Plot Related: The characters will visit Sanrio Puroland

Character Related: Ryo will cry

I realized I should post the points of the prediction game. The other guys are tracking down the points though, and Irina has setup a main page for it. Please check it out to see who’s in the lead. Last week, it was me. This week, it is not me. Why not hear the others brag about their lead in the points so far.

Irina’s posts HERE, HERE, and HERE

Leap’s post HERE

AstralGemini’s post HERE

Check out my collab with Keiko aout After the Rain, HERE.

2 thoughts on “The Winter Games 2018: Week 5

  1. Pingback: Anime Seasonals 2018 — The Winter Games: Week 5 | Leap250's Blog

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