Catching up … Hyouka 14, Tari Tari 4, SOA 3, Manga has Declined 4

Mystery? Hyouka doesn’t need a mystery to be good.

This is a battle of sorts.

Oh, there’s a mystery all right, the missing Go stones, the tarot card, and this week the ladle that nearly cost the Classics club the cooking contest title. Up until now it hasn’t gotten anyone’s interest except Satoshi’s; you can tell by his grin that he can’t wait to tell Houtarou all about it. But the ladle thing comes late. What we get before that is more festival shenanigens, the highlight (before the cooking competition begins) being Eru asking Irisu for people manipulation lessons. The very fact that Irisu gives her some tips shows that Eru really doesn’t need them. Irisu, a master of manipulation, is no match for Eru’s sheer force of honest entreaty, though I suspect the deal she cut with Eru will work to her advantage, too.

But it’s nearly forgotten when the cooking contest starts. No mysteries here, either. Instead we get to see the characters at their best. Satoshi seems flustered while he cooks, a little surprising. Eru, no surprise, cooks adoreably. Even Satoshi has to smile. And she adoreably uses up all the ingredients before Ibara shows up! Isn’t that cute? And Ibara, under pressure, gets help from an unexpected place, showing again that Houtarou often pretends to be disinterested when he actually isn’t. But why is the snack research club or whatever doing handing out bags of flour? Though that trading-up scene between them and Houtarou was a delight on its own. A lot of the scenes this episode were. We’ll get to the mystery next week. It’ll almost be a shame. The past two episodes have been so fun and carefree that solving the mystery might prove to be a letdown.

I’m trying to figure out the problem I’m having with Tari Tari. When I watch an episode I enjoy the way it’s plotted, the clever jumps from one place to another and back, little details, things that characters might do which may not seem like much but add up. It’s maybe the most sophisticated storytelling going on in anime right now. On the other hand, I have a hard time getting into the story, er, stories. The only one that really matters to me is Wakana and her late mother. In episode three we learn a little more about her, but not much, from the musicians named Condor Queen. Why did she never tell her daughter about the song she wrote with them? Maybe if we knew more about that we might understand why Wakana gave up music. The other stories don’t matter much at all. Konatsu is supposed to be the main character, I guess, but she doesn’t stand out. The others move in and out of the action but I find it hard to worry about them. Well, I will say that the use of Condor Queen this episode was terrific, both from their comic foreigner moments and the wise thoughts they have on music and life. I’m going to miss them.

DOOOMED! THEY’RE DOOMED!

Sword Art Online 3 fell into bitterness and sentimentality and so is a lapse in the series. Much time has passed and Kirito has moved up some floors and joined a group delighted to have him. Why he accepts their invitation is never really explained; I got the sense that his reasons for being a loner were the same before and after the trap, even with Sachi gone, so why join? And once he has, and tries to cheer up Sachi, the relatively helpless character who shouldn’t even be there, by saying she won’t die you knew she would that very episode, and probably the rest of the team as well. Would it be interesting? No, not very. More interesting was Klein’s behaviour during all this, imploring him to join another group but guarding his back when Kirito won’t. In other words, Kirito wouldn’t have gotten that evil Santa’s prize without a team helping him. The Christmas message was perhaps helpful in assuaging Kirito’s guilt but did little else. Maybe the show jumped forward too far. I couldn’t get connection with anything, not the characters or the storytelling. Odd for this show.

With Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita I was more interested in why Watashi, Y, and Assistant had been sucked into a manga than anything that happened while they were there. It might have had to do with the fact that once they had reached the top rating they didn’t do anything about finishing their story, but instead just plowed on. And once we figured out what was going on the satirical look at the popular manga industry wasn’t much better than what other shows might have done. Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei would have had better satire, and SKET-Dance regularly mocks manga clichés. I think the constant white background also went against it. The show is usually so colorful! No, what interested me was why these three were chosen, and why were the fairies doing it, anyway? For their own entertainment? Because they thought the humans, the people who give the delicious sweets, would like it? Or Maybe the fairies are simply the supernatural vehicle for whatever aspect of modern society the creators want to mock next? I hope not, because while there’s some wild imagination here the satire isn’t up at its level. Or maybe the manga industry is just too small and easy a target.

One thought on “Catching up … Hyouka 14, Tari Tari 4, SOA 3, Manga has Declined 4

  1. You really produced a lot of good items within ur blog, “Catching up Hyouka 14, Tari Tari 4, SOA 3, Manga has Declined 4 Too Old for Anime”.
    I may become coming to ur page soon. Thanks -Fatima

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