Kimi ni Todoke 13, Chu-Bra 1 (and done), Sora no Woto 1

Before I jump into what I have of the Winter season it’s nice to start with something familiar.

Kimi ni Todoke 13 starts right where it ended last time, with Kazehaya, led by Kurumi, spotting Sawako and Ryou together. Here, Kazehaya could do one of two things: he could run off in despair, which would lead to dozens of scenes through many episodes where he and Sawako slowly and agonizingly repair their trust, which would have driven me up the wall, or he could do this …

This does lead to a drawn-out scene with lots of nervous pauses and heartbeat noises, but at least there’s only one of them. What’s more, things get accomplished. Sawako makes it clear that Ryou’s just a friend, and Kazehaya actually asks her out. It’s also sweet. Both of them get to see the other at their most vulnerable, and their reactions are to reassure. It was especially nice to see Sawako act like this, as she’s usually the one showing vulnerabilities.

A reassuring Sawako. Nice to see.

But we also have to deal with Kurumi. It’s fitting that she, an expert in the use of eavesdropping strategies, gets undone by such a thing. More amusing still, it involves Pin, an expert on showing up at just the wrong time. What’s more, Kurumi still has to deal with vengeance-motivated Yano and Yoshida, which is where the episode ends. But the vengeance will surely be muted. In spite of what she’s done, Sawako isn’t going to allow the girls to get nasty. She will still want to get along with Kurumi. Call it naïve, but that’s the way Sawako works, and it’s the best part of her nature.

Okay, let’s roll with the new season …

I’ll watch one episode of anything. Some will argue that’s not enough time to get a feel for the series, but in the case of Chu Bra, it’s actually twenty minutes too long …

We're off to a bad start.

Even if you can overlook the content of the show (and I can’t), there’s little to recommend it. The side characters they show us this episode aren’t very interesting, it’s not written very well. However, if you want to know about the science of women’s underwear (you know who you are), this show might be for you. As for me, I’m happy to be dropping a show so early in the season for a change.

Anything after Chu-Bra is bound to be an improvement, so I’ll try to keep my early thoughts in context, but, man, Sora no Woto is great to look at! From the opening scene, mostly black-and-white with a few colors added here and there (the blue tiles on the wall), to the festival scenes to the later night scenes, you can tell there’s someone on this staff who knows something about good-looking design. Whether the story is going to stand up to this we’ll have to see.

We follow Kanata, a spunky and easily distracted private in the Helvetia army, who’s been sent to the town of Seize to play trumpet. The war is over, so there’s not much for the soldiers to do, I guess. Kanata immediately gets lost, and rather wet, when she stumbles onto a local festival.

A quaint local custom.

Then she meets Rio, a tsundere senior trumpeter, who loses her precious bell to an owl, and naturally Kanata forgets that she’s a soldier and is to report at a certain time, so intent is she on retrieving it. We’re in danger of a show where the fuckup main character manages to make everything better thanks to said fuckups, not my favorite premise, but I’ll have to live with that.

We have a lot of backstory and local culture to absorb; fortunately the show is going to take its time revealing it to us. Indeed, the show is already adept at giving us just the little details we need to follow any scene. Even the opening credits contain little scenes that will become important later on. Characters appear at the edges or the background that will appear later; we’re being fed backstory without shoving it down our throats.

That said, I already mentioned that the story may not live up to the sophisticated art and direction. The other characters, at least the ones we’ve met, don’t break the stereotypical modes their appearances suggest, at least not yet. And there’s the character design. Many have lamented the “K-ON!” look, and I’m afraid their fears might be justified.

She'll get better, Rio.

On the other hand the rest of Sora no Woto looks so good and is so smartly produced that there’s no way I can drop THIS show after one episode.

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