With my backlog growing bigger and bigger I turned to the shows I hadn’t watched since episode one to see if I wanted to keep them. That submarine girl series? Nah. Tokyo Ravens? Maybe. Gingitsune? Haven’t gotten back to it and maybe never will. I had almost forgotten about NouCome, and so watched episode 2 confident that I had another show to drop and so more time to watch others. But episode 2 was funny. So was episode 3.
Sure, we get a lot of panty shots and other things like it, but after that clumsy episode one the story and pacing picked up, so have the good gags. They’re set up cleverly, like the entire banana business. Chocolat, that useless girl from the sky gives him a banana as an afterthought early in the episode. While searching for the tickling book Kanade discovers it and tosses it aside. I should have known from the “CHOOSE!” option (classic gags vs surreality) what would happen next, but I didn’t, nor did I expect it to mean Kanade’s first “challenge” was successful. We’ve had two of these challenges so far and I did not see either conclusion coming. It’s not profound writing, but it’s smart gag writing that you usually don’t see in shows like this.
Throughout the little stories there are little bits tossed in, unexpected lines that almost sound like ad-libs (the voice actors sound like they’re having a lot of fun with the material, especially Toyonaga Toshiyuki, who plays Kanade), and you get the dreaded “CHOOSE!” option, now used to ramp up the absurdity of an already absurd and hopeless situation. So far, all the little bits come together, and somehow, it works. I’ve laughed more at this show than anything else running … Watch as in episode four it will fall apart and become a horrible series.
Kill la Kill has already hit episode four, and it is not horrible. But this one, a mad race to make it to homeroom in time in spite of endless traps the student council sets up, feels a little different, more routine than the previous three. Before, we were still exploring the world and the characters, and considering the implications of good and evil characters considerations of stripping naked to put on scanty fighting suits. Purity? Blood? Here, apart from the concept of doing most of challenges without her godrobe, thus demonstrating her abilities without aid, and dragging along a treacherous third character (and note that the godrobe doesn’t cooperate when Maiko puts it on, or maybe it’s too much starch), we have here a simple race against time with obstacles, violence, and laughs, and nothing much to analyze. Good thing, too. Some of the blog posts I’ve been reading about this show are exhausting.
Kyoukai no Kanata 4’s big climax might have been predictable–boy with deadly powers he’s lost control of is fixed up by a hug from his would-be girlfriend–but it was the crisis heaped upon crisis that made it all so much fun to watch.
They start where they were before, in WTF land, with Sakura, the sister of Yui, who Mirai killed years ago, literally gunning for them. So they run from explosions in the dream school and find themselves on endless escalators (the first time I’ve seen the “stairs flattening out making the people slip down” trick twice in one day), snarking like a dysfunctional cop team the entire time, onto a dream subway with the tracks and cars and dead Yui just out of reach. It’s dazzling, and gets even better when we hit what we think is the crisis: Mirai having to accept that this giant Yui who’s about to crush her like a grape isn’t real, whereupon it reverts to Hollow shadow and she stabs it. Wow! So the rest of the episode will be aftermath and filler, right? Heh.
It just means they’re back in the forest and out of Hollow Shadow’s world. And HS decides to invade Akihito’s body, so Mirai now has to stab him, and depending on what you think is in Mirai’s mind, we get the show’s only real misstep. Akihito’s begging for her to stab him, he won’t die, etc, and at first she can’t do it. Why not? She’s stabbed him many times before. It was a running gag. Okay, maybe now she feels more attached to him and, and thus reluctant, but either way it means another long bit where we all have to wait for her to get up the gumption. So now we’re done, right? Wrong! Now it’s Akihito’s accursed demon side to come out and we have our third big crisis of the episode, with even more great visual effects, until Mirai can run up and hug him, and only then is the plot point taken care of: Mirai and Akihito are average people with freaky sides who learn that fact about each other and thus bond a little. But a wild ride to get there.