Final Arcs – Ready! Go! – Winter 2021 – Week 9


Busy, busy week as many shows are either setting up for or diving into their finale arcs! Lots to chat about this week and lots to look forward to.

Hit the jump and let’s chat!

The shows that I’m watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italicsstrikethrough marks dropped shows and (*) marks shows with no comments this week.

A reminder for the Winter 2021 season: Due to the large amount of shows this season, brief comments and no comments are likely going to be common… This is about the only way I can remain sane.

Attack on Titan: The Final Season Episode 13
Shingeki no Kyojin: The Final Season

Jorge, you were absolutely correct in your comment to last week’s post…  I was absolutely not ready for this.  Once again the viewer is asked to mourn Sasha and to see the impact of her death on the community around her.

But worse yet, and harder, we’re asked alongside the cast to stand in judgement of Gabi.  But what, ultimately, is she guilty of?  From one point of view, she killed Sasha in practically cold blood (as opposed to active combat).  From another, it was justifiable retribution for the Scout Regiment’s attack on her people.  But there’s an elephant in the room – Gabi was raised and indoctrinated as a weapon of vengeance.  Was her choice to kill really a choice?  And what end does punishing her serve?

Attack on Titan - Episode 9 - Children of the forest.

Papa Braus stays his hand and asks the folks in the room to look inside themselves and asks them to consider their role in bringing about these circumstances.  Gabi is a symbol, a scapegoat being held individually responsible for collective actions.

That’s very hard to think about.

On the other hand…  there’s Eren.  He knows damm well what he’s doing and what he’s responsible for.  And he walks into the restaurant pretty as you please to explain himself.  What does he hope to accomplish?  Does he expect to sway them and gain forgiveness for the genocide he all but openly espouses?

Final Episodes Trailer:

Crunchyroll has released a final episode trailer. and though I haven’t gone through it in detail, it looks… WOW. While it’s common for trailers to be designed to “WOW”, given what’s happened so far I don’t think they had to work too hard in this instance.

There’s an ending coming, and I don’t think it’s going to happy for anyone.

Dr. Stone: Stone Wars Episode 8

This episode was everything I’d hoped for.  The Kingdom of Science didn’t gain an easy victory…  But the Empire of Might (Tsukasa) can’t simply steamroll them.

Tsukasa stands there, with one individual at this side – against the Kingdom, who individually and jointly declare their fealty to Senku, the community he has built and the ideals he represents.   A fascinating study in contrasts.  Even if, at the end, they weaken it a little bit by casting as a brain-versus-brawn contest with the Kingdom only fighting to buy time.

But while the Kingdom was busy declaring their humanity – they forgot one thing.  Not one person even tried to go to Ukyo’s aid.  It was all about Senku.  While the episode was everything I’d hoped for in terms of action, that gaping hole in terms of humanity and community does cast a pall.

Horimiya Episode 9
Hori-san to Miyamura-kun

I am… not sure what I think about this episode.

I get it that having Miyamura overcome his past is big part of the plot.  And he’s been making great strides on that front.  But having Tanimura repent his bullying (and apologizing for killing the school’s rabbits) because Hori assaulted him just seems to send the wrong message.  And having Miyamura accept him as a friend on that basis also seems off.

Forgiving someone is good, especially when the repentance is honest (which this one isn’t really).  But it gives an air of desperation to go beyond that and makes friends with them.

Horimiya Season 1 Episode 9 - Not Miyamura's fault

And that’s doubled down in this case…  Where Miyamura is reluctant to stand up to Hori.  That girl is entirely out of control, and increasingly self centered.  I can’t see anyone being happy in the long term and Miyamura is certainly uncomfortable.

That’s the big hurdle coming in their relationship.  Can Miyamura stand up for himself – and can Hori deal with it?  Can they come to an equitable balance and remain a couple?  I’m hoping that issue is addressed in the remaining episodes. 

Worth Reading: The Glorio Blog takes a First Look: Horimiya (live action)

Idoly Pride Episode 9

All about working out the implications of Sakura having Miss Mana’s heart…  and of Sakura essentially being possessed by Miss Mana.  Something she’s not very happy about.

I’m not sure where they’re going with this.  I’m not entirely confident they are either.

Kiyo in Kyoto: From the Maiko House
Maiko-san Chi no Makanai-san

Turns out, this will be aired monthly…  So I’ll cover an episode whenever a new one comes out.

Laid-Back Camp 2nd Season Episode 9
Yuru Camp 2nd Season

I wanted to call this a “Rin focused” episode, but it really wasn’t…  More like a “Shima family focused” episode.  Without laying it on too thick, they really showed how supportive they are of Rin.  (The adults in this series really are positive role models – almost too perfect.)

And then, this…

Laid Back Camp Season 2 - Rin and Grandpa ride together

Beautiful.  It’s everything I didn’t know I wanted in having Ojīsan finally appear in the story.

OK, there was more than Rin to this episode, which was mostly about everyone getting ready for the Big Trip.  (And probably the finale arc to the season.)  And when I say everyone, I mean everyone.  Rin was right there with the Outclub and taking part in the planning.

Two days of chill camping around the Izu Peninsula.  I can’t wait.

Non Non Biyori Nonstop Episode 9

This week was all about Komari…  Surprising and a bit unusual because it’s usually Natsume or Renge who get the focus lately, but it was a darn good episode.

So I’m a Spider, So What? Episode 9
Kumo desu ga, Nanika?

Big reveal this week – the human and spider sides are fifteen years out of sync.  Which makes sense as Kumoko was born in the first episode, and in the same ep we meet the humans as teenagers.

Will we see the plot lines sync up this season?  Will a huge time skip even make sense on the spider side?  I have no idea, and they don’t have many episodes to go.

And for all that…  there’s a lot of plot lines going on.  Kumoko’s encounter with a game admin.  The demon lord & demons they took a lot of pains to introduce us too…  And if I’ve got everything straight, Shun just ascended to heir apparent.  (Complicating the political dimension in the human world.)

(*) The Promised Neverland 2nd Season Episode 8
Yakusoku no Neverland 2nd Season

Snarky rant deleted, show demoted to “watched-but-no-comment”.

The Quintessential Quintuplets ∬ Episode 9
Go-Toubun no Hanayome ∬ (Second season)

The episode is basically all Nino and Ichika…  So, to take each in turn:

Poor Nino…  She gets the job, but she knows she’s not ahead in the game.  Miku is hard on her tail and not giving an inch.  Miku isn’t Best Girl, but in this episode she shows why she’s always been in second place for me.

But when Nino gets some face time with Futaro, she uses it to her best advantage.  I can’t say I blame her for not wanting to hear Futaro’s answer.  She’s not exactly been the friendliest in the world, and hitting someone with a Mickey Finn in order to break up with them is bound to have relationship repercussions.

Was trying to figure out how to screenshot it, when I found that Crunchy had posted the important parts of the scene.  I’m guessing I need to spend more time looking at YouTube and Twitter accounts…  Save me a lot of work.

And… well, Ichika this episode. Forcing your sisters to work, even if it’s really for your own selfish reasons, is sorta justifiable. But then she disguises herself as Miku and….


Ichika, no. NO. This is the very definition of a Really Bad Idea.

There’s no way this will end well.

All’s fair in love and war… and this is no longer a competition. Ichika has just declared war.

Uma Musume: Pretty Derby Season 2

Episode 9 – Tokai Teio is injured again.  That’s three times this season…

Episode 10 – not watched this week.

(*) With a Dog AND a Cat, Every Day is Fun
Inu to Neko Docchi mo Katteru to Mainichi Tanoshii

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Our usual Tuesday show was a repeat, so started randomly looking through the Tivo’s suggestions… and found (and watched) the original (American, 1956) Godzilla, King of Monsters.

First time I’ve seen it in decades, and certainly since I really understood the impact of the Lucky Dragon incident on Japanese society and how that relates to the themes of the film.

Knowing the American version chopped up and altered the Japanese original, now I’m curious to dig up a copy and see (and try to understand) it in the original.

=========

Also -just got a text from my landlord, and the new washer is scheduled to be delivered and installed next Tuesday. Right in the middle of when I do most of the work on my weekly blog post.

So, I’ll try and work around it, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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So, you thoughts on this weeks shows? Especially Stone Wars and Titan? Drop a comment and let’s chat!

16 thoughts on “Final Arcs – Ready! Go! – Winter 2021 – Week 9”

  1. @Spider: I’m more confused than ever about identities. So the demon lord is Kumoko? She certainly sounds like Yuki Aoi (but has a different voice actress). Meanwhile, the veiled woman in white continues her colour scheme… It wouldn’t have been the first spider I’ve seen in anime to take up puppetteering. She did pick up the demon lord trait fairly early in the series, and with all that she’s been through, I wouldn’t put it past her to deflect attention from herself, but… Really, the identity game in this show makes no sense to me (but I actually trust that it makes sense to the author).

    I’m not sure if Shun is in succession for the throne, but I think we’ve seen him inherit the title of Hero. Our two sides are obviously antagonists. I’d want to know more about the elf-reincarnated teacher; there’s something she knows we don’t.

    @Quintuplets: Gah… that final scene was uncomfortable. Oh Ichika, holding it in until it explodes in your face. Prepare for the fallout.

    @Yurucamp: I really like Rin’s family. They’re great. (Mum really knows her Dad, doesn’t she?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Spider: I’m more confused than ever about identities.

      You’re not the only one! It’s a hot topic everywhere the show is discussed… Not only who Kumoko becomes, but who she was. But yeah, it must make sense eventually and I’ve seen hints that it does – well beyond the likely end of the anime. (Bar a MASSIVE and unlikely timeskip.)

      @Yurucamp: I really like Rin’s family. They’re great. (Mum really knows her Dad, doesn’t she?)

      Indeed! And did you catch the shot of her in her leathers in the post credits?

      Like

      1. I didn’t catch the Yurucamp post credits. I’ll have to get back to that; thanks for the heads-up. (I sometimes watch post-credit stuff, and sometimes don’t. Yurucamp’s a show where I don’t expect them, for some reason, even though I’ve seen a few.)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yuru Camp always has at least minimal post credits… The artwork in their disclaimer is usually related to the episode, so I always check it out.

          Like

  2. Very similar thoughts came to my mind after watching Horimiya’s last episode. A story about redeeming yourself is always a good idea, but when it spans not even a full episode and is so roughly handled… I’d say it’d be better to spend more time with characters that actually matter, but I’m not sure I actually want to see more of this forceful dynamic between the leads.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’d say it’d be better to spend more time with characters that actually matter

      Horimya‘s record with side characters is mixed at best. Some great stuff, but some not so too. And the main characters (as you correctly point out) aren’t so attractive right now either. Hopefully they can get back on track soon. I’ve loved this show until the last couple of eps, and I really want it to go out on high note. I hate investing time in a show that just peters out.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. @Shingeki no Kyojin:

    Papa Braus stays his hand and asks the folks in the room to look inside themselves and asks them to consider their role in bringing about these circumstances. Gabi is a symbol, a scapegoat being held individually responsible for collective actions.

    Sasha’s father is not what I would normally call “articulate” but in his short speech he manages to sum up not just the deeper meaning of Sasha’s life and death but one of the main themes of the show… there’s callbacks to Eren Kruger’s speech to Grisha Jaegar at the end of S3 here.

    The wall that Gabi has built around her indoctrinated worldview is crumbling… in the space of a few minutes, a Marleyan tries to kill her and Eldians save her.

    Poor Kaya… she put on a brave face of wanting to be more like Sasha, but when confronted face-to-face with Sasha’s killer, she quite understandably loses it and attacks Gabi.

    And Hange called it, didn’t she? In the previous episode she suspected Zeke and Yelena had an “insurance policy” in case the Paradisians didn’t go along with Zeke’s plan, and here we find out she was right… and now Zeke can turn any Eldian in earshot who drank that wine, whether it be the MP Officer corps, the Survey Corps soldiers guarding Zeke, or (gulp) Falco, into a Titan with just a scream. And thanks to MAPPA’s choices in adapting the manga to anime, the anime-only audience gets hit with this all at once rather than the slow buildup/reveal in the manga (though the ominous music they played in previous episodes while Nicolo was handling the wine provided an offsetting clue).

    Zeke is claiming to be an Eldian sympathizer, but he’s got an… odd way of showing it, and Levi isn’t buying it at all. The scene with Levi rethinking his life choices, against a background of all his old comrades who died to save Eren, was beautifully done, IMO.

    On the other hand… there’s Eren. He knows damm well what he’s doing and what he’s responsible for. And he walks into the restaurant pretty as you please to explain himself.

    What I loved about his grand entrance is how low-key it was. Armin: “Kill, kill, kill… you remind me of someone I know.” Eren: “You rang?” The scene reminds me of Reiner outing himself and Bertolt as the Armored and Colossal Titans back in Season 2. So what do we have to look forward to next week? Three friends having a totally non-threatening chat around a table… what could go wrong? And the title of the episode is “Savagery”… mmgh. I am even less ready for this episode than the last.

    Crunchyroll has released a final episode trailer. and though I haven’t gone through it in detail, it looks… WOW. While it’s common for trailers to be designed to “WOW”, given what’s happened so far I don’t think they had to work too hard in this instance.

    It’s cruel too… I guess it’s not a big secret now, but this cour of “The Final Season” will not make it to the end of the manga. An announcement is expected on the day of the last episode (3/28) of what will follow… I’m expecting a split cour, like Season 3, given the number of chapters remaining. The competing rumor is that the ending will be a movie, which would make sense given that the, um, scenery of the final arc really can’t be done justice by limited TV animation, but would really compress the plot.

    @everything else:
    I’ve fallen a week behind most of the other series I’m following, for work reasons… so deliberately skipping discussion to avoid spoilers until I can catch up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Shingeki no Kyojin:

      The wall that Gabi has built around her indoctrinated worldview is crumbling… in the space of a few minutes, a Marleyan tries to kill her and Eldians save her.

      Also side comment… There’s damm few anime that could get away with constantly hammering so baldly on their theme in so few episodes.

      And she’s fighting like hell to shore up those walls… I’ve never been in the “hate Gabi” camp, but ever since the escape I’m becoming more sympathetic to her.

      Zeke is claiming to be an Eldian sympathizer, but he’s got an… odd way of showing it, and Levi isn’t buying it at all. The scene with Levi rethinking his life choices, against a background of all his old comrades who died to save Eren, was beautifully done, IMO.

      Does Eren have any of his older bridges left unburnt?

      (And agreed on his entrance and the rest of that paragraph.)

      It’s cruel too… I guess it’s not a big secret now, but this cour of “The Final Season” will not make it to the end of the manga. An announcement is expected on the day of the last episode (3/28) of what will follow… I’m expecting a split cour, like Season 3, given the number of chapters remaining. The competing rumor is that the ending will be a movie, which would make sense given that the, um, scenery of the final arc really can’t be done justice by limited TV animation, but would really compress the plot.

      The movie might be attractive, and could work for Japanese fans… But those of us here in the States, it’s better than it was (modulo the coronavirus mess), but it’s still hit-or-miss as to whether we’ll get a movie and close it will screen. I’m hoping it’s a split-cour.

      Like

      1. Also side comment… There’s damm few anime that could get away with constantly hammering so baldly on their theme in so few episodes.

        Ayup. I don’t think “message fiction” is inherently a bad thing but it’s so damm easy to do badly, and I’m in the camp that believes badly executed message fiction could drive SF&F into the grave. I forgive Heinlein for putting fairly obvious self-insert characters like Jean Dubois and Jubal Harshaw into his novels as mouthpieces for philosophy… though to what extent those characters represent Heinlein’s personal philosophy remain debatable to this day… because the stories Heinlein wrote are so compelling. I’m not ready to compare Isayama to Heinlein yet… he’s maybe at the point where Heinlein was in the mid 50s, a few years before he broke out of his juvie novels… but he has at least mastered the art of putting a message in a character’s mouth while retaining the character’s own voice.

        I’ve never been in the “hate Gabi” camp, but ever since the escape I’m becoming more sympathetic to her.

        Having an A-list voice actress certainly doesn’t hurt (I still don’t hear any Yotsuba in Gabi, or vice-versa… the ability to turn it on and off like that is surely a rare gift)… that is certainly an advantage anime holds over manga. I didn’t like Gabi when I first read the manga, probably because I was imagining a more shrill voice from her than Ayane Sakura has given her.

        Does Eren have any of his older bridges left unburnt?

        By my count, two, for nowmmgh.

        But those of us here in the States, it’s better than it was (modulo the coronavirus mess), but it’s still hit-or-miss as to whether we’ll get a movie and close it will screen. I’m hoping it’s a split-cour.

        Me too. I am firmly in the camp of “finish the story right… and as for animation quality… just do the best you can… I can fill in the rest with imagination.”

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Welp, looks like we may not get a new Shingeki no Kyojin episode this week… the live episode was interrupted for coverage of a 4.6 earthquake in Wakayama. Hope everyone is ok. Looks like no danger of tsunami. Last time an episode was pre-empted by news (during S3, for a typhoon) the overseas licensees didn’t get the episode that week and the whole schedule got pushed back.

          Recorded livestream here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/949155853
          Episode starts at 12:56, news coverage interrupts at 32:31 (so only the last 4-5 minutes or so are missing).

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Ayup. I don’t think “message fiction” is inherently a bad thing but it’s so damm easy to do badly, and I’m in the camp that believes badly executed message fiction could drive SF&F into the grave.

          I dunno. It sometimes seems to be that there’s a broad market for “message fiction” with lowered regards for quality. (And by “broad market” I mean “across the political spectrum”.) It’s not so much going to drive SF&F into it’s grave as into balkanization between (culture) warring clans.

          But that’s getting close to one of the few lines I draw here at the Lounge.

          I didn’t like Gabi when I first read the manga, probably because I was imagining a more shrill voice from her than Ayane Sakura has given her.

          We tend to associate the voices we hear in our head with personality traits… So, that makes sense.

          Welp, looks like we may not get a new Shingeki no Kyojin episode this week… the live episode was interrupted for coverage of a 4.6 earthquake in Wakayama.

          Yep, just checked Crunchy and they’ve announced a delay. Looking at that stream, are you fluent in Japanese.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. But that’s getting close to one of the few lines I draw here at the Lounge.

            Understandable. I’ll stay away from that.

            Looking at that stream, are you fluent in Japanese.

            Not by any reasonable definition. I can pick out maybe a couple of words per sentence. For any anime for which I’ve read the manga, that’s enough to “sync my memory” to keep up with it. For the news, I had to look up Wakayama on Google Maps since I couldn’t read the kanji on their map, and heard the anchor repeat something like “tsunami arimasen” several times.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Quints: Ah, it’s time for Snek Ichika to come out and play! One of the things I’ve always liked about Quints is that Negi-sensei is never afraid to show his characters at both their best and their worst. And this is definitely a glimpse of Ichika at her worst. At her best this week was Yotsuba getting Futaro out of his isolation by volunteering him for class rep duty. Even if he doesn’t appreciate his newfound popularity right now (and neither does Miku), it’s very sweet of her to not only want him to be appreciated by people but figure out a way to do something about it. And I just really like the whole scene with Nino and Futaro at work, from her flirtiness to his honest attempt to comfort her after she screws up.

    Weekly Yotsuba: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EtD4sRzUYAM21qI?format=jpg&name=large

    Camp: I really enjoyed meeting Rin’s family properly this week. Not that we hadn’t seen them all individually before, but we hasn’t seen them all together as a family or gotten to know them so well yet. It’s pretty cool that they were all bikers once – Rin comes by it honestly! – and the old man being a total sap for his granddaughter was great. I think they’ve done a really good job this season of expanding the supporting cast and the lived-in world of the show without taking away from the core of what we want – namely lots of Rin, Nadeshiko, camping trips, and beautiful scenery.

    BTW, you asked me last week about NNB. I will definitely get to that, but probably not until after the season. I tend to immerse myself in one iyashikei at a time and right now it’s LBC’s turn, but I’m still really looking forward to coming back to NNB again too. I might just go all the way back to the beginning again, since it’s been a few years since I last visited with Renge & Co.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Quints: Ah, it’s time for Snek Ichika to come out and play! One of the things I’ve always liked about Quints is that Negi-sensei is never afraid to show his characters at both their best and their worst. And this is definitely a glimpse of Ichika at her worst.

      This and Yotsuba (and to a lesser extent Nino), we’ve entered a new phase… The Quints more-or-less openly manipulating Futaro. Mostly in their own self interest. I’ll have to remember to talk more on that next week, where it really crops up.

      And that’s a darn fine Yotsuba!

      re: Laid Back Camp

      It’s pretty cool that they were all bikers once – Rin comes by it honestly! – and the old man being a total sap for his granddaughter was great.

      Agreed! And the best part is that he’s matter-of-fact rather than maudlin about it. Camp does a lot of that, bending stereotypes, tropes, and assumptions… Without shoving it in your face, the characters feel much more real. How many anime would have taken Ayano and run with a “jealous old friend” arc? Instead it was “this is Nadeshiko’s new friend, cool, let’s hang out”. Of course, “cool, let’s hang out” is one of the big threads that run through the series…

      re:Non Non Byori
      Cool. You’d mentioned it back in the preview and then nothing since, so I was curious since I knew you liked the series.

      Like

  5. You know I’ve only ever watched two episodes of Attack on Titan and that was enough for me. On Idolly Pride episodes 9 and 10 are essentially a two parter where the issues arising in episode 9 are satisfactorily resolved in episode 10. I watched the episodes back to back and was happy how it turned out.

    I can’t say the same for poor Tokei Teo though. Finally U.M.P.D. 2 has achieved some emotional resonance through Teo’s crisis. But why does Special Week not run races any more in the series? Has she finally become hopelessly addicted to the carrots she loves?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But why does Special Week not run races any more in the series?

      Her story arc is pretty much complete, so now she’s a side character. It’s Silence Suzuka (Best Horse Girl) that I miss, she’s not even getting cameos anymore.

      I can’t say Teo’s crisis resonates with me, because it’s the third time we’ve run this arc… The basic idea is sound, but the detailed handling has (for me) fallen a bit flat.

      Like

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