Coppelion 4 had more scenes where people showed remorse and others are forgiven and rescued, and none of worked. Well, the scene where the headmaster confronts Denjiro, and you aren’t sure if he’s going to embrace him or slug him, was a decent moment. Denjiro, who had just tried to wander off and die, would have accepted either one. Other than that, and a good chase scene between a B2 stealth jet and a jeep (if you ignore the ridiculousness), the only thing that stands out is an ongoing character tic: Ibara’s anger and self-castigation when someone on her mission dies. This show has far too many tears in it, and while crying in sadness is necessary at times, it’s too easy to wallow in them (see AnoHana) and they don’t prompt you do DO anything. Anger is a more powerful tool. You can be sad that companies are using the ruined city as a dumping ground, but getting angry about it prompts one to actually make changes. Right now, Ibara’s anger in the face of death is the only emotion in the show that I can connect with. Otherwise, the show is as senseless as ever, my least favorite bit (besides the tears), being that stupid countdown timer they used to try and heighten the drama. People just don’t die on cue like that.
Non Non Biyori 3 concentrated on the Koshigaya sisters, first as part of the team, planting rice as a school field trip exercise, an excuse for Kazuha to get some work in her family’s fields done, and it’s followed by Komari watching a scary movie and sleeping with Natsumi, where we see the traditional older/younger sister roles reversed again. So far, this is the only thing the two have given us. The next part, where Natsumi runs away from home and drags Komari with her, is a little better, since Komari is the mature one for a change, but there’s still nothing really new here. Which made me wonder if I had made a mistake about choosing this show. They had this lovely pastoral setting and potentially good characters, but it felt like they were going through the motions. It hadn’t been bad so far, but nothing had impressed me after episode one.
But episode four more than makes up for it. The first half, where Renge and Kazuha’s middle sister Hikage returns, wasn’t bad. She came home expecting to wow her friends with stories about Tokyo, but here’s Hotaru already there, ruining her fun. As I said, not bad, but the show really shines in the second half. Renge, on summer break and bored is wandering around the area (nice scene of this where she walks into view, walks up a barrier, jumps down, looks down, wanders off, obviously looking for something to interest her) when she runs into a girl her age(!) named Honoka. And she has a camera! The two are instant friends; Renge shows her cool places and they take pictures together. And when Honoka’s father’s work calls him and his family home so quickly she can’t even say goodbye, we get, for almost a full minute, a close-up of Renge’s deadpan face, registering the terrible news, finally surrendering to tears and a few sniffles, before she begins her slow, lonely walk home. It’s a beautiful little sequence. And finally, Renge is allowed to act her age. This trivial little story about a girl who makes a friend and loses her (until next summer vacation) is sadder than anything Coppelion has managed to put together so far.
Teekyuu had slipped badly in the past couple weeks, but has made up some ground. Just under five seconds per gag. Keep at it, girls!