Whew! Catching up after a few IRL busy weeks/weekends. Some awfully good episodes while I was away. And the cliffhanger in the image above… Wow.
Hit the jump for all that and more!
The shows that I’m watching are in bold, shows my wife and I are watching together are in bold italics,
strikethrough marks dropped shows and (*) marks shows that are watched but not regularly reviewed.
A Couple of Cuckoos
Kakkou no Iinazuke – Episodes 6-8
Cuckoos is settling down into more-or-less standard rom-com/harem shenanigans. I do find the Erika/Sachi dynamic interesting. I really hope Sachi doesn’t go the whole harem competitor route.
I don’t have anything more to say than I hope it mixes up stuff a bit. Two cour of paint-by-numbers will be just too much.
(*) Aharen-san wa Hakarenai
Aharen-san Is Indecipherable – Episodes 9-11
Deaimon: Recipe for Happiness
Deaimon has settled into… A kind of excellent mediocrity? Does that make sense? It’s never going to be a classic, but despite my complaints earlier in the season I’m starting to find myself starting to look forward to it.
Yep, as I’ve been saying, Kanoko definitely has unfinished business… And that was nicely explored in this episode. She really needs to sit down and have a long heart-to-heart with Nagomu though. Both of them have (unconsciously?) put up some walls that I don’t think either really wants to be there.
But we won’t see that, this show isn’t about them.
Two parts to this episode that really bring home how far it’s come and neatly wrap up a lot of the show’s themes.
The first part was all about Nagomu and how he’s one hell of a nice guy. And how both his father and Itsuka are starting to accept him. The hatsumode scenes were practically a master class in how to make this come across without quite coming out and saying it outright.
The second part was… How do I phrase this? All about family, connections, continuity, and acceptance, but illustrated through community. I know I’ve b*tched about Deaimon‘s oblique approach in the past, but it really worked here.
Heroines Run the Show: The Unpopular Girl and the Secret Task
Heroine Tarumono! Kiraware Heroine to Naisho no Oshigoto
Not too much to say here… I’m kind of waiting for the scandal arc to play out. And is it just me, or is it Ken (Aizo’s older brother) who is behind the photographs? We’ve already seen him spying on Aizo/Yujiro/Hiyori at least once before.
Oh, and before I forget, I loved the field day episode. It was nice to get a [more] purely Hiyori focused episode. I know LIP x LIP & their relationship with her is the focus of the show, but she’s not really as 3D a character as I’d like. They lads? They’re walking tropes, I’m just fine with them shading towards 2D.
On the flip side, Hiyori is the self insert isn’t she? I assume shojou has self inserts, right? Dawn, help me out here.
Love After World Domination
Koi wa Sekai Seifuku no Ato de
World Domination, like several shows this season, has settled into something of a rut… basically re-running the same schtick, over and over again. Me, not complaining too loudly because Fudo and Desumi have remained completely loveable dorks. What more can you ask for out of this series?
A pair of high schoolers in love, gotta have the school cultural festival episode to bookend the summer break beach episode, right? Right. And I chuckled at this one. Especially at the romantically frustrated Beast Princess being the Discipline Squad and devoted to breaking up couples.
The high point of the episode was Fudo and Desumi making like they were Red Gelato and Reaper Princess cosplayers. (And of course Desumi/Reaper Princess has a henshin sequence, which I just loved.) And this episode would have been the perfect finale…
And the after-credits was LOL. You did watch the after-credits? I always check for them, though I rarely watch the ED.
SPY x FAMILY
These two episodes introduce Yuri – Yor’s younger brother, serious siscon, and dedicated servant of the State as a member of Ostania’s Secret Police. And I didn’t care for them. Mostly because I didn’t care for Yuri himself. They really overplayed the ‘siscon’ hand. Spy x Family is at it’s best when it plays with expectations.
The Anya and Damien episode… Y’know, the more we learn about Damien, the more I feel sorry for him. He’s not actually a bad guy. But he’s ignored by his parents and he’s got toadies rather than friends. That’s gotta hurt.
Anya, was… well, Anya. Love her reactions faces during Yor’s more than over-the-top training sessions. And the complete flop of “Star Catch Arrow” had me in stitches.
But the screenshot-of-the-episode…
Well, that’s gotta go to Henderson sensei because the contrast of his formal Victorian era appearance and manners with gym clothes was just too funny. And he maintained his elegance throughout.
The Executioner and Her Way of Life
Shokei Shoujo no Virgin Road
I to get two episodes behind…. And found I have absolutely NO motivation to get caught up. I’m not even going to bother trying as the series has been on the precipice for a while now.
Ya Boy Kongming!
Paripi Koumei – Episodes 9-11
That was… incredible. Dramatic. And then the cliffhanger. As I said on Twitter, it left me broken in heart and soul.
Gonna go down these episodes by the bullet points, ‘cuz I haven’t been able to make ’em fit a coherent narrative. (It’s my blog, I’ll be as inconsistent as I want.)
- Kabetaijin. I have really grown to appreciate him over the last few episodes… His felt like one of the more natural “redemption”/growth arcs I’ve ever seen. I loved how Sekitoba Kung Fu sacrificed himself for him.
That being said, I hope he’s more than the quick throw-away gimmick he was in Ep 11. He really deserves a true moment in the sun.
- Azalea. Their story is kinda heartbreaking actually. They’ve sacrificed everything to Be Big. But they haven’t actually been achieving their dreams. They’ve been thwarted in that by Karasawa, who uses a very different metric for success. And though we’ve seen events only through Nanamin’s eyes, I suspect she’s not the only one unhappy as h*ll with where they’ve ended up.
- Kongming. One sly son-of-a-b*tch. And Ep 11 wasn’t a face-heel turn, because he’s not even on that spectrum. If sly and manipulative won’t win the day, he’s cool with dirty tricks. He’s got one goal and isn’t picky about the route he takes to reach it.
- Eiko. Oh, Eiko… Is she, like Nanamin, turning away from herself to reach her goals? I’m conflicted here, because she doesn’t really appear happy during Ep 11. Partly determined, partly… sad? Because of Nanamin?
Will she choose to sacrifice her dream in favor of rescuing Nanamin? She just might. She just might…
And of course after I come off of one hiatus due to being IRL busy… I have to announce another. The Kitsap Medieval Faire is this weekend, and as usual I’ll be taking part. (Stop by the Medieval Culinary Demo and say hi! I’ll probably be tending the fire as usual.) So from tomorrow until next Wens/Thurs I’ll be busy with that.
So, no post next week and a two-parter the week after that. Unless I decide to wait for all the finale episodes… And I have to get my season preview out too.
And of course the big news of the last couple of weeks – more Sound! Euphonium is on the way! A movie/OVA in 2023, and a third season in 2024. Of course, it goes without saying that I cannot wait. Everyone knows that Euph is one of my favorite anime.
Our weather has returned to cold and damp… We’ve been breaking records left and right for low temperatures and high precipitation. It is warming a little, but we’re still much colder than normal. Even by Seattle standards this is wonky.
But it did finally warm up enough over the weekend to get outside and fire up the grill… So that was nice.
Anyhow, enough of my blathering for a week (or two). What are your thoughts on the episodes of the last couple of weeks? Have any interesting or memorable meals recently?
Drop a comment, and let’s chat!
4 thoughts on “Spring 2022 – Weeks 8/9/10 “ish””
Spy x Family:
The expected kiss that didn’t happen. Loved how Yor psyched herself up for it, then slapped the shit out of Yuri. Twice. Still on Team Anya but feeling the pull of all aspects of Yor. Ditzy pretend-wife Yor, angry mama bear Yor, cute drunk Yor, cold-blooded assassin Yor. Her personality flips like a switch but Hayami Saori handles it perfectly. She has a list of VA credits too long to list but you’ll recognize her as Shiraishi Yuzuki from Sora yori mo Tooi Basho, one of our mutual favorites. But Anya is the glue that holds this show together. She’s just a little girl that wants a home and a family, and is not above using a little telepathic manipulation to get it.
Aharen-san wa Hakarenai:
The unexpected kiss that did happen. Had to rewatch that scene to be sure. And Aharen’s clingy friend is plotting her revenge…
Shokei Shoujo no Virgin Road:
Wow, we dropped it almost simultaneously… I sat down to watch #11, saw that #10 was still unwatched, hit play… and didn’t recognize the scenes in the opening recap. Crap, must have fallen asleep during #9. Do I go back and rewatch 9, or soldier on through 10, or… fuck it, that sounds like work. Yeah, I chose fuck it.
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re: SPY x FAMILY: For Best Girl, I’m solidly Team Yor. I don’t neglect Anya though – she’s going to the podium alongside Renge (Non Non Byori) and Naru (Barakamon) as one of the Best Anime Child Characters Ever.
Of course I recognize Hayami Saori! :) :) One of my favorite seiyuu. Too many standout roles to list. I’m not even sure I could limit myself to a Top Ten.
Re: Aheran-san Yes, I should have broken my radio silence to bring up the confession/kiss scene.
re: Shokei Shoujo no Virgin Road Yeah, same. I thought I was one ep behind, but when I saw it was two, all motivation fled gibbering in fear and horror.
@Cuckoos: Yeah, I’m watching it, and it’s fun enough for the duration, but I’m having a hard time saying anything about the show good or bad. I’m not drawn in, I’m not bored, it’s… there and entertaining enough in the moment, and that’s just where it ends.
@Deaimon: This show has actually made it to anime of the season for me. I just love this show. It’s perfect for me, and it’s filling the slice-of-life/iyashikei slot better than anything since Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori. I’ve been missing a solid entry in the genre, and here it is. What you said about part 2 of episode 10? That’s my default mode for watching the show. That’s how I pretty much see everything. I’m not sure I’d call it a pure slice-of-life, though: there’s a little too much plot in the background. They seem to be building up to something, which isn’t what I expect from slice-of-life. Definitely iyashikei, though.
Also, Nagomu may be a nice guy, but I get the idea that they’re focussing on his easygoing nature as both a strength and a weakness. It’s hard to put my finger on it. Maybe more next week (new episode’s out).
@Heroines: Yeah, shoujo harems have them as much as shounen harems. And the beats are about the same: no goals of their own; just a backdrop for the fantasy. Their personality usually expresses itself in how they help the girlsl/boys (both genres). However, right from the start Hiyori’s a runner, and they never really drop it. They do have her waver, but they don’t forget it, and they actually don’t subjugate that aspect to the boys. That’s unusual. Hiyori is for more her own character than usual. She’s also got a regional dialect; that’s a no-no for a self-insert. You usually get the standard Tokyo dialect (I think; not that I’d recognise it in the wild). She did say something like “Supporting LipXLip is more important than the running,” but her actually saying it is also a breach of manners (if you say it, it can be doubted; if you imply it, it can be ignored).
The self-insert favourable attributes are: plain Jane, not popular, proactive when it comes to caring for others, etc. Ultimately, she’s written like a typical harem protagonist, but given more weight and more quirks than usual. The show’s far more her story than you’d expect. In your typical show of the type, you’d see Lip X Lip’s problems be focussed on one after the other (and just two is a little on the count). Here, their problems show up when they slot into her story. That’s unusual.
Oh, and I’m really, really annoyed at the show for pulling the oh-no-I-made-the-fans-sad card. The creepiest aspect of the Idol industry played straight without a single shred of an indicating that there’s something wrong about this. Grrr. Pet peeve. Look, I know the “idols” are literally “idols”. There’s this two-headed ogre of purity and be-dirty-just-for-me fantasy that infects people’s real life, when it really, really shouldn’t. If anyone’s sad that an idol has a romantic partner, then that’s on them It’s stupid. Yeah, they’re selling a fantasy, but the fantasy should be confined to the stage. Hiyori, you made no one sad. They did it to themselves, and it’s just creepy. Let them be normal people off-stage; is that really so hard? Doesn’t destroy the show for me, but it’s very, very annoying – especially since the show usually handles such issues pretty well.
@Spy x Family: Love the show still, but I don’t really know how to talk about the show. For me, it’s an ensemble show. All the characters need each other to play off of. Anya can find a home with them, because they’re both inexperienced dorks and don’t notice that she’s a little strange. It’s a stroke of genius to have the only person who knows all the identies be a person who, due to age, doesn’t yet have the means to properly interpret the context. It’s awesome comedy material, and because the show’s got this excellent light touch, when something happens that actually cuts deep, it’s doubly effective, because the set-up makes it plausible, and the genre-induced exaggeration makes suspension of disbelief easy (“it’s not a bug, it’s a feature.”) It’s quite a tough balancing act, even if the show makes it look easy.
@Executioner: Yeah, still watching. Definitely not telling you to pick it back up.
@Kongming: Love the show. It does nearly everything well. I don’t think, though, that it works very well as a show about making music. Remember how I moaned about Eiko wanting many people to hear her song, without the show giving us any insight into what it means to be heard by many people? Yeah, the Azalea drama plays that out now, as foil. Don’t sell out your dreams. There are two paths: stay true to yourself, or do what’s popular. Bleh. It’s just so… worn out and shallow. There’s nothing here that interest me. Part of it is that the set-up for the Azalea drama is just so… silly. What they wanted to do is so extremely different from what they wanted to do that them saying “yes” to it is just not credible. I mean you go to an aspiring romance author and tell him his books can sell if he writes mysteries instead and outsources the plot to a team of experts. It feels that stupid to me, so it’s hard to get invested for me. That said, it doesn’t much matter, since what we get instead is just such fun. It works really well and is cool and stylish. I don’t worry about any of that while watching an episode; it’s just afterwards that I’m a little sad for what could have been.
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Sorry for the VERY late reply… The medieval festival always leaves me ragged.
Re: Cuckoos: Honestly, I’m considering dropping it if I end up with a heavy load next season. It’s increasingly just not doing it for me as it’s pretty generic characters running through rote scenarios.
Re: Heroines: Thanks for the explanation of Shojou tropes. I agree with “made the fans sad”.