Welcome, one and all, to this year’s Crunchyroll of the Dice final! This time around, we’ve got a three-way battle on our hands. Which series will take the crown? Let’s find out in … The Triple Threat Tangle!
Recovery Of An MMO Junkie
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Slice of Life
Studio: Signal MD
- Still really enjoying the opening theme and video, and we’re diving right into that again. Unlike last time, we’re starting with the real world this time, with Sakurai Yuta in bed. It’s nice seeing him flustered about Morioka replying.
- Ah, so there’s some crossover in their real lives too. It’s clear from the flashback that she finds work really hard, at least in terms of feeling responsible and dealing with other people.
- I like Koiwai; he’s fun.
- Morioka continues to be so likable, even when in a toned down, happy mood. She definitely seems more in her element online though. Seeing gaming as a salvation is something that’s I can relate to too.
- I love Morioka’s over-romanticized view of gift giving and men being on the ball with it. Pokotarou’s explanation of when he was in a similar situation was very good too. Though using the words ulterior motives was clearly a mistake on his part.
- Housework as a distraction. I’ve been there. I’ve just noticed that Morioka appears to have the same mouse and keyboard as me too.
- Poor Lily had a tough time of it when she started playing. I’m beginning to wonder if they knew each other in the previous game too given they both have fond memories of it, and a clear connection now.
- Morioka’s overwhelming happiness is adorable. I love that the rest of the guild are happy for them too.
- That episode was a really easy watch.
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Studio: Studio Gokumi
- The opening does a good job of showing the immense cast. Chiaki and Kana have had a kiss-free first year of dating. Ah, he didn’t realize they were dating. Well, that would explain how Kana’s feeling about their relationship. There’s something tragic about the situation, when you see her cry as much as she does. I’m glad it had a happy conclusion though.
- Matsuura gets rejected. That’s not a good start. Katori is clearly trying his best to cheer her up, though I get the impression she finds his style of help annoying. I love the little musical break when he’s talking.
- Yamane is gloriously awkward when Kurihara asks him to lunch. His stepping in during the bus incident was very good though. He’s completely unable to function, which is quite endearing. The badger badger mushroom sub made me laugh.
- Takano is stuck with clean-up duty alone until Sugawara turns up and offers to help. He clearly likes her, but she’s rather oblivious. The whole exchange is rather amusing.
- Another consistently good showing.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride OVA
Studio: With Studio
- The art style in Ancient Magus’ Bride is stunning. We pick up right where the last episode left off, with Chise and Riichi. We get a little flashback to his time with Niikura.
- The whole sequence really draws you in and fleshes Riichi out as a character. It’s a tragic end for him.
- Chise’s reflection in the wet road as she runs is really well done.
- The creature slumping by in the background in the hospital is creepy. Chise and Niikura’s exchange is really touching though, if a little sad.
- Riichi and Chise’s talk about the lonely star is really nice. This has been a real tug-on-the-heartstrings episode. It’s a shame Chise struggled to believe what he was trying to say.
- And we’re back to the present with Chise, Elias and the various spirits. The story comes full circle, and Chise is able to approach the story with different eyes and experiences.
- Really good episode, with a suitably magical feeling ending theme. The post credit scene is also a nice addendum to it.
Let the battle commence!
I will now compare each series on several different aspects. The winning series in each category gets two points, and both series get one point in the case of a draw. The battles will be:
1. Best Character: which character, whether leading or background, drew me in, or at worst annoyed me the least?
2. Best Individual Scene: which scene stands out the most in my mind?
3. Best Art And Animation: which show did the best job in terms of overall art quality?
4. Best Soundtrack: which show shone in the sound department?
5. Best Story progression: which show did a better job of pushing the story forward?
So, let’s see who excelled at what …
BEST CHARACTER: This is where Tsuredure Children will begin to stumble as, although the characters are usually quite good, there are so many that we go through that it’s harder to get attached. Meanwhile, Recovery of an MMO Junkie gave us a little more for Sakurai this time, as well as lots of the ever relatable Morioka. Chise continues to be a sympathetic lead in The Ancient magus’ Bride, and Riichi had some fleshing out too. In the end though, while it’s a close battle with Chise, I do feel that Morioka’s sheer relatability gives her the edge. And so … THE WINNER IS: Morioka (Recovery Of An MMO Junkie)
BEST INDIVIDUAL SCENE: Morioka’s reaction to Lily’s request to be her partner in-game was brilliant. The whole thing balanced the OTT comedy I the real world with a nice heart-warming feel in-game. For Tsuredure Children, there was a lot of fun, but I think that the moment where Kana realizes that Chiaki didn’t know they’d been dating for a year was really good. Riichi and Chise’s talk about The Lonely Star is also really memorable. It was what Chise needed to hear, even if she couldn’t see that she wouldn’t be living in darkness forever. But which one wins? Honestly, given how quickly it was resolved, I don’t think Tsuredure Children can really win this one. The other two are pretty close though, so … THE WINNDER IS: Draw – Partner Up (Recovery Of An MMO Junkie) and It Can’t Rain All The Time (The Ancient Magus’ Bride)
BEST ART AND ANIMATION: This one is actually a fairly one sided battle overall. Neither Tsuredure Children nor Recovery Of An MMO Junkie are bad. In fact, Recovery Of An MM Junkie is objectively very good when it comes to playing with light to represent the differences between Morioka’s online and offline world. The Ancient Magus’ Bride is an easy pick though. The overall quality there is really, really good. So … THE WINNER IS: The Ancient Magus’ Bride
BEST SOUNDTRACK: I would say that Recovery Of An MM Junkie has my favourite of the opening and closing themes here. As has been the case throughout so far, it also does a good job with ambient sounds, and the little musical bits in the background are fine. Tsuredure Children had my favourite musical moment with Katori’s goofy moments aided a lot by the background music. The Ancient Magus’ Bride actually didn’t stand out as much in any one moment, but was overall better in terms of actual quality when it came to background music fitting the scenes. With all three having moments to shine, it’s tough t pick a clear winner. So … THE WINNER IS: Draw – Recovery Of An MMO Junkie, Tsuredure Children, The Ancient Magus’ Bride
BEST STORY PROGRESSION: Tsuredure Children remains at a disadvantage in this category with the various short skits not really advancing the pre-established lines. The Ancient Magus’ Bride has a distinct advantage though, with the episode being the final of a three-part arc. As such, you’d hope that it does a good job with tying up loose ends. In that respect, it does, providing a satisfying end to the tale. Recovery Of An MMO Junkie doesn’t have an end to the tale here, but it does advance both Sakurai’s arc and Morioka’s continued growth towards Lily. The flashback moment for them to bond over was a really nice touch there that presented it from being covering the same ground with Morioka for me. So, while both have different goals, the longer-episode shows both do their job well. Did either outshine the other? Well … THE WINNER IS: Draw – Recovery Of An MMO Junkie and The Ancient Magus’ Bride
Final Scores: Recover Of An MMO Junkie – 5, Tsuredure Children – 1, The Ancient Magus’ Bride – 5
A draw means that we go into sudden death overtime with both shows squaring off on bonus categories until we have a winner. We’re starting with …
BEST VA: So, with Tsuredure Children effectively eliminated, we’re only looking at Recovery Of An MMO Junkie and The Ancient Magus’ Bride here. So really, this comes down to Atsumi Tanezaki’s Chise and Mamiko Noto’s Morioka. Here’s the thing with that: both do very good jobs but differently so. Chise doesn’t actually feel like she has as much dialogue here. Even with this though, Atsumi does a great job in conveying her upset throughout, as well as a more relaxed portrayal at the end. Mamiko’s Morioka has a lot more to work with, and flits between embarrassment, excitement, and relaxed through the episode. It was actually the natural feel to Morioka’s relaxed mood in the shop that really stuck with me, as it was different her normal state, but still felt right. For that … THE WINNER IS: Mamiko Noto as Morioka (Recovery Of An MMO Junkie)
Final Scores: Recover Of An MMO Junkie – 7, Tsuredure Children – 1, The Ancient Magus’ Bride – 5
And there you have it! The first three-way final ends with a sudden death overtime between two of the finalists, and in the end, Recovery Of An MMO Junkie took the win. Despite the low score here, I’ve really enjoyed Tsuredure Children so far, though it is fair to say that it was my least favourite of the three. The Ancient Magus’ Bride OVA was beautiful, and really quite magical. Recovery Of The MMO Junkie is just such a wonderfully grounded show though. Morioka may be my favourite lead this year!
But what about yourselves? Do you agree with the result? Let me know in the comments below.