I am a bit of a boring person when it comes to ships. If the ship is cute and kind of canon, I will ship it. I don’t need a good ship to like a show, but when I say I am disappointed with the shipping this season, I mean there are at least 2 kind of canon ships I SHOULD, BUT DO NOT LIKE and this has upset me.
Bad Canon Ships
When I clicked into the first episode of Blend S, I was sort of looking forward to the main ship shown for but a second in the opening. Yes, I was looking forward to Maika x Manager. Oh, how naive I was.
There is a slightly problematic age gap thing (which I didn’t realize right away and well problematic ships can still be ~good~), but more importantly the 2nd half of that ship is the Manager and the Manager sucks absolutely and completely.
There are a fair few Blend S fans on my timeline (including myself), but I do not think there is anyone who likes the Manager. He’s just extremely cringe-worthy. How do I explain this.
There are some terrible, slightly creepy anime characters you can still love a lot (such as Araragi), and then there is the Blend S Manager who is slightly creepy and terrible and entirely unlovable.
The show tries to flesh out the manager. It makes him obsessed with Maika, but then also shows him being ‘genuinely nice’ and honestly the contrast doesn’t work. If he was just there to be a scapegoat, to be stepped on by Maika, then I’d be fine, but the show tries to turn him into a ‘Maika obsessed nice guy’ and I frankly think that’s a worse look.
I had grown to kinda ignore him or simply laugh at Maika owning him and for a while I was convinced the show was going down the ‘Maika will never reciprocate his feelings and he’ll continue to get owned forever’ path, but nope. Episode 06 had Maika CLEARLY feeling something for him and that’s just bollocks. Why do bad things happen in otherwise good shows. ;____;
That said, the Alizuki x Kaho ship is extremely good! They just get along with one another, share the same interests and you know I’d totally love to see them going out with one another.
I am still going to keep watching Blend S because the rest of it, especially Maika’s faces, is good enough but darn if I just AGH wish the manager was not here.
Recovery of an MMO Junkie
Oh dear, I can already hear the complaints. Don’t worry. I understand. I love this show. I love it a lot. But it has betrayed me and thus I am here, ranting. If you happen to adore this show, feel free to press the back button now. Do it for your own sanity, I know just a few episodes ago I’d have done the same.
The video game parts of Netjuu and Morioka in general are fantastic. Even setting aside the awesome novelty of a female lead in her 30s, Morioka is relatable, funny and just so goshdarn cute. The in MMO sections are great because Lillie is also fantastic! Lillie and Morioka’s friendship is just heartwarming and wholesome good.
Unfortunately, stuff gets far murkier once Lillie’s offline half gets involved. Sakurai is a cute boy in glasses and I definitely liked him when I first saw him. Lillie’s occasional sad look, somber mood and admittance to life not always going their way added a whole lot of potential depth to Sakurai. I was looking forward to seeing him develop! And perhaps he still will and it will be awesome, but our first glimpse into his psyche has been through his interactions with Morioka and it hasn’t been the best, and it hasn’t been especially interesting.
The first romance related very questionable thing the show did (that almost everyone on my TL called it out for) was Sakurai’s friend Koiwai who practically extorted Morioka’s phone number out of her. That’s not cool, it is pretty creepy and the show pretty much pretends it is all normal and not that bad. Sakurai isn’t especially innocent either with him being stalker-y. Heck, the show even calls him out on it (through Koiwai’s banter) and Sakurai even knows it and despairs over it.
I kind of just rolled my eyes and cringed at most of that problematic stuff, but that isn’t the main reason I am making this post. See, episode 06 aired…and I just did not like the romance.
I found myself thinking a bit about what kind of romance I enjoy and what I don’t enjoy. I love shipping and I love romantic stories, especially romcoms, but this episode which was a supposedly cute, sweet romance distilled to its nectar core did not work for me. It is a rather rudimentary observation, but romance where one or more of the participants is defined solely by their affection of the other is boring.
Lillie may seemingly have a great deal of depth and a genuinely wholesome approach to their relationships but Sakurai is nothing but his obsession with Morioka. Maybe I am being mean here and the show plans on showing more of him in a different context, but at least in that episode it didn’t. Another tragedy of that episode was I felt Morioka, who is incredibly well developed and super lovable, was reduced to being nothing but a cute, shy date. I mean she behaved mostly like you’d expect, but it felt like Morioka was buried by the overbearing nature of their encounter.
On a more visual note, one thing I found incredibly tiring about the episode was the camera. It is not that the camera was lecherous (I love a good Grimgar style camera), but that the perspective kept implying a level difference I found rather uncomfortable.
In the game, Lillie and Hayate’s levels were almost always equal or otherwise incredibly fun and joyous with Lillie pooping in from the leaves or bushes.
In episode 06, it felt like they weren’t equal. It felt like Morioka was powerless and frail, which given that she’s been roped into a love triangle she likely wanted no part of, is kind of accurate.
I still haven’t watched episodes 7 and 8 and I am sure they are fine and I am just blowing this one episode out of proportion but yeah I just needed to get that off my chest. (Heck I rewatched a bit of the episode just to get screencaps and it felt less bad the second time.)
Oh and Morioka with long hair >>>>>>> Morioka with short hair.
Good/I don’t mind shows
I wasn’t actually sure about the structure of this post when I started, so I wrote the following about some other shows this season. I was considering trashing the rest, but I figure I might as well include them to lend a small positive end-note to this post!
Code:Realize – Sousei no Himegimi
I am pretty behind on Code:Realize, but the main girl is cute and her ship with main dude is kind of romantic too. No complaints other than the show as a whole not really grabbing me.
Fox Spirit Matchmaker
Ah, the show with the extrememly good canon ships. I L O V E the romantic plot in Fox Spirit Matchmaker. Eternal love and the melancholy that comes with it is tied right into the narrative and it is just everything good. The Koko – Han Gosho romance is just everything. It makes me cry.
Houseki no Kuni
This is not really the canon ship shipping show per say, but gosh darn if I don’t enjoy just want some of these gems to get together and hold hands and stuff. Cinnabar and Phos are made for one another and bless Dia and maybe Bort too. Gah!
It is a very subdued, ‘you can ship if you really want, but shipping or not is not tantamount to enjoying the experience’ show and I love it.
Imouto sae Ireba Ii.
This is also not really a shipping show, but first impressions might imply it, so I am putting it here. On the one hand I really like Nayuta and want her to be happy by getting to suck Itsuki’s d*ck (her words not mine), on the other hand, this show is so cozy with the four way friendship, you really just don’t need any shipping. Though I ship Ashley with me. I am sorry, she’s doing my taxes.
Okay this is the show with the good shipping. I probably ship main dude with photographer girl, but either way, this is the good stuff. I am a lot of episodes behind, but I have no complaints about the relationships in this very teenager drama anime.
Shokugeki no Soma
Soma x Erina ALL THE WAY
(Meat is also good and while I like Megumi I don’t really enjoy shipping her with Soma)