Tonikaku Kawaii 11 is one of the livelier ones, because it’s a takoyaki party! Basically, Nasa finds a takoyaki grill in that old apartment (which has a million fun items in it), and since Chitose and the maids have shown up, why the hell not. It’s the first episode where all the characters are in the same place and allows them to bounce comments and gags off each other. Most of it has to do with getting Aya and Chitose to accept the fact that Nasa and Tsukasa are married, at least that’s the underlying plan of the episode. It weakens a bit when they break out the game consoles, and gets full of competition laced with jealousy. That said, the show animated both the modern console well, and it was a laugh to compare it to the original Street Fighter art, complete with a copyright warning (“You are committing a grime”), and it was a way for Tsukasa and Aya to bond, and for everyone else as well.
And then we have a finale, and apart from a group scene at the end it felt like any other episode. First, Nasa overworks and gets sick while Tsukasa worries about what cute wife things she can do for her husband, apart from the medicine, peeled apples, and admonishments about taking good care of himself, he belongs to her … In part two we get a festival and fireworks scene where everyone shows up and everyone is happy. And so it ends, just like every other episode. It didn’t really feel like a finale since many of the episodes had a bit of soliloquy from Nasa about their life together. This one was no different.
So, a light-hearted show about two newlyweds learning to live together. I still wonder about Tsukasa’s family. There are interesting hints about her past which never get answered, but I suppose that wasn’t the point of this show. Meanwhile, since we mostly see things through his point of view, Nasa’s an open book to us. I had hoped that he would go and find a better job to support his cute wife (though indications are she isn’t wanting for money), and I also marvel that after all this time the couple didn’t get more frisky, but that’s their choice and they’re comfortable with it. The side characters were all fun with no exceptions. Kaname was my favorite with her common sense, pragmatism, and constant ecchi references. She would have fit right into a Kumeta Kouji manga. But the other characters, particularly the maids, held their own, too. I don’t know if a second season is needed. It would undoubtedly be more of the same, and if they did get into Tsukasa’s situation I guess it wouldn’t have felt right. This was a light show about a couple and that’s all it wanted to be.
Maji no Tabitabi was actually the first show I followed to cross the finish line. Assault Lily would have been, but, you know, COVID … Anyway, Elaina visits a land where your wishes are fulfilled. In spite of hoping for lots of money she meets places she’s traveled to, and the castle where the vengeful woman lived, only now there are a bunch of Elainas in it. Intellectual Elaina, Stupid Elaina, Ghoul Elaina, etc.. Yeah, that old trick. You wonder if they all achieved their current state due to variations in the adventures (Gelatinous Elaina?!). A case for that argument is Violent Elaina, with short hair from that doll-land, who gets into a fight with our Elaina (in a delightful bit of meta, named “Protagonist Elaina” and deemed their leader) until they’re too tired to go on.
The idea is that both Violent and Protagonist Elaina really came to this land to see other sides of themselves. Indeed, it was fun watching P.Elaina see parts of herself in the others while being mildly put off. There’s also the theme of forgiving yourself, and it’s hinted that that’s what our Elaina intended, a consequence of the time-travel episode where she failed to help. The series throws in bait for another season by having V and P Elaina meet in the real world and that they would travel together, though neither one recognizes the other. V’s name in this scene is “Amnesia.” I don’t want to think about what that means for Elaina right now.
And, yeah, I’d probably watch another season. The finale was similar to the other episodes, a predictable setup done with enough variations and charm that I was never overly bored. Elaina was fun to watch because she was more than an observer. She was headstrong, a little vain, and could get angry too quickly. It was all pretty to look at, and while the animation most of the time was basic (though never poor), they’d ramp up for the battle sequences. The direction aimed at fun, a light tone, much of the time, but could shift to a more frightening gear if the episode was a dark one, and it was good for the overall balance that the show could get unpleasant at times. The “visit a land where such-and-such is happening” format limits the possibilities for Elaina, and leads to unrealistic social situations–people just all don’t behave like that, but the show did the best they could with it. Definitely worth a season two, especially if we do see Elaina with a traveling companion that is actually a different version of herself. Possibilities there …
The second show I finished is 100-man no Inochi no Ue ni Ore wa Tatte Iru, and right away it dives into the consequences of Yuusuke’s killing someone. Basically, he’s in a funk. His teammates are sympathetic but afraid to speak to him and so go about their lives mulling over things. Yuusuke, to his credit, won’t deny what he did, or lie about it to Half-Head (in the guise of a little girl on summer holiday). There’s also the duty of getting a new team member, a kid who is working for the mafia. Yuusuke pulls this off by getting him out of danger during a murder attempt, but things get darker after that. I thought Yuusuke would maybe improve his behavior, or his belief system, but he makes it clear that a lot of people deserve to die, he knows it’s wrong, but that’s what he believes and fuck off everyone else. Everything he does in the other world is for the survival of his team, meaning the survival of himself. In other words, nothing has changed with him at all. If you think that’s a bad way to end the series, we learn that there will be a season two in July. In space! Buck-naked edition! Okay, the final bits of every episode have been silly, but the new season seems legit. Maybe it won’t be in space, and certainly not naked. Alas.
I wonder if I will watch. I’m getting a little tired of Yuusuke’s lack of morals and love of killing. And since he hasn’t learned anything in 12 episodes I wonder what they’ll do with him next. The new player doesn’t interest me much, but he is a little older and experienced in society and can bring a different perspective. The show paid less attention to the side characters Shindou, Kusue, and Yuka, and I wish they had gotten more time. Well, Yuka got plenty in the last episode, but when juggling these characters, too much time is spent with Yuusuke. With an additional character they will be harder to juggle. Also, as the series progressed we lost much of the KonoSuba type of humor that kept the show buoyant. I don’t want it sinking into Yuusuke’s funk. Well, we’ll see how it goes in July.