Winter 2020 – Week 10

Chihayafuru - the Taichi Cup

Week ten…  The final episodes of the season are coming into view around the bend!  But first, we have to talk about this week.  Hit the jump and let’s dive right into it.

The shows that I am watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italicsstrikethrough marks dropped shows and (*) marks shows that are watched but not regularly reviewed.

A Certain Scientific Railgun T (Railgun S3)

No episode this week due to the Coronavirus epidemic.

Asteroid in Love (Koisuru Asteroid)  Episode 9

A lovely episode, pretty much closing out all the major plot threads established in the previous episodes.  The only jarring note was how easily and quickly the “Ao moves in with Mira” subplot was resolved.  I kinda knew it would happen at the end, but I expected it would receive more focus.  OTOH, Asteroid has always soft-pedaled the drama.  It’s stuck pretty closely to CGDCT and SOL, and those generally aren’t driven by significant drama.

Screenshot (194)
Aren’t they cute with their matching mugs?

But it also leaves me confused…  Episode 9 went out of it’s way to appear like a finale.  The series is supposed to be twelve episodes, so they can’t be going for a “finale plus epilogue” structure.  There’s three episodes left, so there’s not a lot of time to really go anywhere.  It is an ongoing manga, so there’s that…  “go read the manga” ending are common, but this still feels off.  I have this feeling the series is going to go out on a fizzle rather than a high note.

BOFURI: I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, so I’ll Max Out My Defense  Episode 9
(Itai no wa Iya nano de Bougyoryoku ni Kyokufuri Shitai to Omoimasu.)

And the Third Event is underway!  Do Japanese MMO events not get names?  Every MMO I’ve ever played names their events…  Maybe it’s just the show.

The event is a moderately complex capture-the-flag game, with rules designed to make it kinda difficult to knock out teams and definitely difficult to dethrone a strong guild that gets a lead.  And Maple Tree is certainly could be one of those guilds…  On the defense side, aside from Maple herself, they’ve also got the sisters May and Yui.  Their offense depends on Kasumi and Sally the one-woman-army.  Sally is a character that doesn’t quite get enough attention…  She’s a serious player, and seriously good, but she’s constantly overshadowed by Maple.  This episode would have felt a little better to me if they’d spent more time fleshing her out.

Chihayafuru 3  Episode 22

I was…  well, to honest openly chuckling during much of this episode.  When it comes to Valentine’s chocolate – of course Sumire is The Expert.  I think the writers did their research, I know a little about baking and candymaking and what they portrayed was reasonably accurate.

The key takeaway from this Sumire focused episode is that I think she’s finally faced reality.  The best she can hope for is to catch Taichi on the rebound even so, he’ll never really be hers.  With that realization, the best she can do is support and encourage him even as it breaks her own heart.  Will she emerge sadder but wiser?  I’m curious to find out.

Chihayafuru - the Taichi Cup
I wondered why they so carefully showed us that Chihaya was contacting all of the rival clubs…  What the club was cooking up that had them all working so hard, why Taichi was noticeably absent…

The answer exceed my wildest dreams!  A Karuta tournament celebrating Taichi’s birthday!  I have no idea how this is going to play out, and I’m not even going to try and predict.  In some ways, Chihayafuru has hit all the standard beats of the sports anime genre, but this is a wild card.

If My Favorite Pop Idol Made it to the Budokan, I Would Die  Episode 9
(Oshi ga Budoukan Ittekuretara Shinu)

Not what I expected.  Along with Asteroid and Chihayafuru, this seems to be the theme this week.  After the slow-but-certain shifts in Eripyo and Maina’s relationship, Oshibudo abruptly swerves off onto a different track…  And we get a pleasant SOLish episode that spends more time than usual on the relationships between the members of Cham Jam.

I felt a little sorry for Eripyo, her family was seriously harsh on her.

Now I’m curious about how they’re going to play out the month the theater will closed.  The previews show Maina at Aya’s maid cafe, that should be interesting.  Will she have an encounter with Eripyo?  While there are restrictions on behavior and interactions at maid cafe’s, they’re a little looser than the normal strictures on idol-fan interactions.  In particular, there’s not that pesky time limit.  And with no merch on sale, Eripyo will have spare money…

Oshibudo - not as a wota but as a person
Speaking of relationships and boundaries, Eripyo blew across the most basic one like a rocket on rails.  She wanted something kinda selfish, but she was also speaking from her heart and expressing her deepest wish.

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! (Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasuna!)  Episode 10

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(First time I tried a slideshow… I think it really works here.  Your thoughts?)

I loved this episode…  We’ve seen how Midori and Tsubame visualize the worlds they create and we finally see how Doumeki visualizes her view of the world.  They’ve kinda hinted around the roles sounds play, but this is the first time they’ve really emphasized it.  A Doumeki centered episode would be nice, but if we don’t get one, she certainly had some fine moments here.

My Hero Academia 4th Season  Episode 21

Deku, Deku, Deku…  Is it really the smartest idea in the world to take on an accomplished villain all by yourself?   To answer my own question:  No, it is not very smart at all.  He’s got himself in quite a predicament – something of a lose-lose situation.  Seems to me that not matter what he does, even if he wins, the festival is going to be called off.

My Hero Academia - Gentle Criminal
That being said, I found Gentle Criminal’s Quirk interesting and he used it cleverly and tactically.  It’s a refreshing change as many characters in the MHA universe tend more towards the brute force end of the spectrum.

Huge downside to the episode though…  Once again poor timing of flashbacks and interior monologues bog down the pace and interrupt the narrative flow.

Room Camp (Heya Camp△)  Episode 10

Rin’s presence felt a little forced…  but I won’t complain too loudly because more Rin is always a good thing.  Other than that, this felt like a classic episode – the main trio derping around and having fun.  I enjoyed the heck out of it.

I’ve hiked parts of the Iron Goat trail, and there’s an “ice tunnel” up above the Interpretive Center trail head…  and it’s thoroughly bizarre to stand in the summer heat and look at permanent ice just a few dozen feet away.

Laid Back Camp - Secret Society Blanket figures
In other news… Bandai is releasing a series of “Secret Society Blanket” figures.  At $90 apiece, no way I can afford them – but WANT!

=========

There we have it!  Week ten in a nutshell…  For pretty much all the shows, their cards are on the table and they’re rounding the final turn into their finales…  I guess I shoulda spent more time speculating on the finales, but whatever.  I don’t think any of this season’s shows are poised to really surprise us with anything unexpected.

Your thoughts?  Commments?  Hit the comment box below and let’s chat!

4 thoughts on “Winter 2020 – Week 10”

  1. @Railgun: I wonder if the insane workload puts you at more risk when you’ve actually contracted the virus. These work conditions can’t be good for the immune system. It’s not that lethal a virus, but combined with live-in offices and lack of sleep and maybe balanced nutrition… It’s a chilling angle on an old problem.

    @Secret Society Blanket: These are so adorable! $ 90,– a piece is insane, though, considering they work best as a set. I wouldn’t want just one; what’s the point?

    I barely remember this weeks Budokan – not my favourite episode. Eripiyo’s family may be harsh on her, but considering how she made money and what she spent it on, I can’t entirely fault them if they’re worried (though it seemed a tad more generic for the most part, not sure they know). Frankly, the entire idol industry seems to foster a fiction addiction.

    @Eizouken: Great slideshow that really evokes that scene. The sound-direction in this epiode was great, too. I love how the show often pushes the element they’re talking about into the foreground (like talking about animating wind, only to get a typhoon later on, or with sound this week).

    @Chihayafuru: Sumire’s always been sort of a tag-on, in my view. She had her moments (mostly this season; I didn’t even remember her or that other new club member from season 3, to be honest), but this episode she really came into her own. I also wondered what Kana was thinking when she suggested Valentine chocolates. We’ve seen on several occasions that she’s aware of the situation, so I was pretty sure that wasn’t a random suggestion, but I couldn’t quite figure out how much of a plan she had here. I think I’m still a little mystified by the holiday in Japan. I mean, I know the basics, but it’s episodes like this where I feel I just don’t have the whole picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good question about the virus… But there’s another factor at work too. China imposed the lockdown and travel ban during the Lunar New Year holiday, a time when many Chinese travel home. How many animators weren’t even in the cities where they work?

      Frankly, the entire idol industry seems to foster a fiction addiction.

      Idol cultures fosters addiction, period. (IMO)

      Re: Eizouken: I spent more time than I probably should have picking the shots. I think I’ll be doing more of that in the future because it really is effective in conveying some stuff. RIP my storage space on WordPress.

      I also wondered what Kana was thinking when she suggested Valentine chocolates. We’ve seen on several occasions that she’s aware of the situation, so I was pretty sure that wasn’t a random suggestion, but I couldn’t quite figure out how much of a plan she had here.

      Kana is… a little in in love with the idea of love (not an uncommon character type) and something of a romantic herself. So her idea makes sense from that POV. In terms of group dynamics… I dunno. Doesn’t quite make sense to me either, as she knows about Sumire and that she’s targeting Taichi as well. It could have gone very wrong.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s