I watch three Kotoura-Sans and one Space Brothers

Kotoura-san continues to threaten whiplash with its mood changes.

Even Kotoura can't handle them.
Even Kotoura can’t handle them.

While catching up and watching episodes 7-9 today it struck me that I’ve never seen a show that can turn on a dime like this one. Episode one, with its tragic first half and all-romcom second warned us early on. And even now, with a completely predictable story arc concerning assaults on girls and a subsequently more serious tone, the opposite emotion to what we’re watching just pops up out of nowhere. The scenes with the detectives at the crime scene with the usual blood and yellow tape almost turns into a slapstick comedy act. Sometimes Manabe’s guileless presence alone is enough to unpredictably disarm a tense scene, as when he and the others meet Kotoura’s dreaded mother and we get Kimiko’s first moment of sympathy when she clobbers him for saying pervy things about Kotoura. When Manabe is too busy (earning money to get a gift for Kotoura) to talk to Kotoura, the image of her mother’s cruelest moment pops up, a symbol of abandonment, ready to bite the still vulnerable Kotoura when she’s not ready. Just as the grimness is undone by, er, romcom silliness, it doesn’t go away forever.

Moritani's turn to push the story forward.
Moritani’s turn to push the story forward.

Rather sad then that the new arc is falling along predictable lines, as much as the show does when it doesn’t go 360 and hit us from behind with a rubber chicken. Kotoura’s had just been thinking about how happy she was when the violent assault image pops into her brain. You could see it coming in a cloud of dust a mile away. though it admittedly did have an impact given the violence of the images. When Moritani, driven by guilt over rumors spreading about Kotoura that she was in no way responsible for (Moritani is driven to built by everything that moves, apparently), does a “I’ll catch the criminal myself!” routine, you know she’s going to land in trouble, and thus, we know where the story arc is going next. This show has been very good at developing the characters and situation while keeping us guessing, it’s a shame it has to be so routine at the same time. One more thing. While the cops don’t believe Kotoura’s ability, other adults do, like her grandfather, that priest, and her mother. Or maybe that’s how they’ll help bail Moritani out.

spacebros47-1

Space Brothers 47 feels like a wasted episode. We learn one interesting thing, that Hibito probably won’t be allowed to do any more EVAs. Mutta’s reaction is interesting–he’s a little relieved. But I and probably he realize that this must be tearing poor Hibito up. Staying at the moonbase, no matter how busy they keep him there, must feel like a punishment to him. But the episode doesn’t touch on that, just shows him lying there in bed, thinking. Elsewhere we have that trainer guy going on about how he’s going to make Mutta’s life hell, but he did that last week. This episode dithers around so much with Murasaki’s theatre metaphor (pointless the first time he brings it up), Serika and so-and-so finding a place to live, an Indian astronaut’s not-optimistic telling of Mutta’s future (though she had already slipped up on another fortune, and seriously, how hard can it be to get ahold of the personnel files and memorize some details?) and Apo’s fear of a dog statue. They don’t even get around to the training. I know this series likes to take things slow, but this is ridiculous. Or have I said that before?

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