Evergarden, FranXX, Dagashi, and Takunomi up to 5

The Princess’s letters get more interesting when she writes them herself.

Violet Evergarden, with episode 5, looks ready to break out of its recent standalone stories where she writes letters and heals hearts. At the end of the episode we meet someone that she met in battle once, and he is NOT happy. In fact, he wonders, aloud and spitefully, how a murderous war machine can be capable of writing letters to bring people together like she does now. It looks like the show is finally confronting this issue, and we’ll be seeing more of Violet’s violent past in future episodes. As for this heartwarming standalone, it looked all right until we learn that the 14 year-old princess set to marry an older man for political reasons actually LIKES the man. It feels like a lost opportunity to examine a person who might not ever get the love she wants. While the actual replies the two start sending was a nice touch (not to mention the citizens of both kingdoms reading them), I had kind of hoped someone would botch everything up, leading to political fallout. Well, I believe we’ll have more fun in the future. Meanwhile KyoAni sidestepped an issue by having Violet become good at her job when we weren’t looking. Maybe they figured machine learning isn’t the most interesting of subjects, but I would have liked to see them try.

Darling in the FranXX 5, plot-wise, is a big buildup for a battle that will break out when two of the domed things “kiss” (refuel) and attract a ton of klaxosaurs. Everyone is unhappy for one reason or another. Mitsuru, unable to cope with his fun time with 02, is popping pills he miraculously got from somewhere. Ichigo is messed up because she’s worried her role as leader and about Hiro. Gorou, her partner, is beginning to show signs of jealousy, and worse, he sees the physical changes that Hiro is undergoing, like a fever, chills, elevated “yellow cell” blood count, and a blue-green growth on his chest, caused by riding with 02. Plus, a veteran parasite team is brought in to help, and they’re all surprised at our groups’ nicknames, how the franxx’s are all different from each other, and they’re shocked that 02 is going to be there. She’s too wild in battle. It all adds up to a possibly disastrous battle next week. We, meanwhile, wonder if Hiro’s going to survive, and like Ichigo, I’m appalled at 02’s cavalier attitude toward it all. Hiro, when not doubled over with whatever he’s got, is confident and reassuring to everyone, like he’s ready to die if it means dying with 02. I think he’ll live but get transformed farther, however, I wouldn’t put it past the show to kill off a main character soon. Finally, the sexual metaphors are kept to a minimum this week, replaced with romantic-emotional ones.

I absolutely love Saya’s expression in this picture.

Now that I’ve taken care of the season’s minor shows it’s time to catch up with Dagashi Kashi, the only show that matters! I can’t believe I let three episodes slip by! Let’s see, episode 3 is a cheery, routine one about beigoma, where Saya again demonstrates why Hotaru calls her “Master.” We also get a flashback to the elementary school Hotaru bugging a dagashi vender, and then we learn that the shop has gone out of business. I didn’t realize at the time that this was foreshadowing …

Then in episode 4 we get … plot! I know there’s a setup to this entire series, Hotaru trying to get Kokonotsu to take over the shop so his dad can develop new dagashi at Hotaru’s company, but the show is just fine when it ignores it. But the show decides to get a little sad on us, as Hotaru has a nice time alone with Kokonotsu with fireworks going and all, then she says “Sayonara,” and we know something’s up … But even now they slip a little dagashi in, with Hotaru’s winning Home Run Bar stick for bewildered Kokonotsu to remember her by.

Which leads us back to where the season started, a cold, late fall and the dagashi shop falling to pieces, because Kokonotsu is still mooning over Hotaru. But with his idiot dad’s help, and Saya’s he gets the store back together, except for an unpleasant surprise at the end, and I suspect we’re going to soon meet the other people in the opening credits. It’s about time. Plus we learn about a snack called “Get a Move on, You Cod,” but alas, Hotaru does not give us the background that the snack deserves with a name like that. A rare slip-up for the show. Hotaru’s absence is still being felt.

Nyan.

Finally I catch up with Takunomi, and learn about Suiyoubi no Neko beer, Kyoketsu … beer, I suppose, and red wine with ginger ale. While this show is as educational as Dagashi Kashi, the characters and situations are generally not as interesting, though I do like Michiru’s enthusiasm for the sophisticated Tokyo lifestyle. On the other hand, sometimes one of the girls gets plastered and does something embarrassing …

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