Space Brothers, being all about, you know, space and space exploration, pauses from any sort of plot development for an episode while Hibito gets launched. Which is as it should be. They’ve been leading to this from episode one. We see the launch from different perspectives and it’s hard to say which one takes precedence. You’d think Hibito’s would, but he spends most of the time looking out at window and grinning, or looking at weightless objects float and grinning, or just grinning. You can’t blame him, but since as a character he’s not very interesting. However, the launch procedure, the casting off of stages and other things, so routine but with a joy underneath, shines through. On the other hand, Mutta, watching from that abandoned blockhouse, given few lines, projects a combination of awe and mutta-ness that’s as moving as the events inside the spacecraft. And all he does is watch the rocket go up. The music (playing for the spectators in the stands perspective) goes away, there’s silence, then a roar and a rush of wind. Mutta slowly chanting “Go.” It’s one of the best moments of the series so far, in one of the show’s most important events so far. Oh, by the way, well done, Hibito!
Sort of an interlude episode for Sword Art Online 18, really a way to learn more about Leafa’s experiences in the game and Sugu’s in the real world. For the latter we don’t learn much, we just watch as they tease the fact that she and Kirito are playing together in the game but have no knowledge of it in the real world, even though they’re living in the same home. I forget, does Kirito know that Sugu plays the game? Why doesn’t she tell him? … The episode also makes it clear why Sugu loves the game so much–the flying. I’d probably be nuts about the game if I could fly like that, too. What little plot they do get in involve Asuna learning that Kirito’s alive (though what good that’ll do her in her mind I don’t know), finally memorizing the exit code Oberon uses when he’s done twirling his mustache at her, and the fact that they’re being followed by a bunch of monks led by a bat. Oh, Sugu is falling in love with Kirito, though that’s not really news. I can’t wait until they discover who the other is in real life1
Little Busters 5 is like the other episodes, routine, and not as magical as it should be. Riki and Komari dominate it, since it’s Komari’s arc and Riki is the show’s steerman. It’s made clear early on that her missing brother died in hospital and she’s suppressing the bad news, then we can only wait for the memories to come back and see what kind of balm Riki can add to it. Apart from that annoying voice Komari has it’s done pretty well. Komari guides Riki through a couple of random events, like watching a meteor shower and having a “date,” where she used to live. When we get some flashbacks of her time with her dead brother we see them doing exactly the same thing, apart from the boat ride, which they would take when he got out of hospital. Which explains why she spontaneously asked Riki to be her onii-chan when THEY take a boat out. It’s satisfying to see Riki doing what he can. When the memories come back it is, like it is often in real life, triggered by the most mundane of things. That was nicely done, too. Nothing really wrong with the episode, apart from that voice, but it all feels routine, like they’re going through the motions. Also, Riki adds unnecessary commentary for us during his time with Komari, “Her eyes were sad …” that sort of thing, and that got annoying, too. Maybe that’s the problem with this adaptation: too much talk.
The Busou Shinki girls are all set to go to Okinawa with their master, but he grabs the wrong case and leaves them behind. So they decide to travel by themselves. It’s the usual lighthearted and inept episode until they lose their luggage, including their battery packs, are in danger of being stranded in the middle of nowhere with no power, essentially death, since no one knows where they are (no tracing devices on those dolls? That seems like a major oversight). This is rather more serious theme for this silly, often inept show. We also get doll fanservice including the bikini top falling off, if you’re interested.