Spring 2018 #2

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Your average high school atop a hill to start 3D Kanojo.

3D Kanojo Real Girl stars Tsutsui, your average high school loser otaku, mocked by all but his good friend Ito, who wears animal ears all the time, so he’s not any more fortunate. Tsutsui is made to clean the pool one day with the class slut Iroha, who must also look down at him, right? This being a love story, she doesn’t, but instead humors his antisocial ramblings about how antisocial the world considers him to be. Later she discovers Tsutsui and Ito being abused by some unpleasant girls and stands up for him, and after that he rescues her from some asshole by getting beat up. After that, after more bitterness from Tsutsui and patience by Iroha, they become a couple, though she’s transferring in six months. Oh, and she visits the hospital, so there’s some sad stuff coming.

3dkanoko1-1While I’m sympathetic to the put-upon nerd getting a sexy girl story, I’m not crazy about this one. Tsutsui’s bitterness is understandable, but off-putting, maybe because that’s all there is to him, well, that and his perfect academic record. Iroha is somewhat better; her honesty and ability to cut through bullshit is admirable, also the sense that she sees something in Tsutsui that resonates with her. The show around them is often inept. The scene in the WacDonalds with mean girl Mika (who, since she’s given a name, might return later) was not only completely unrealistic, I mean, in real life, do you really think Mika would go out of her way to insult some loser from her past, but also blatant: “We have to give the audience concrete evidence that he gets abuse in order to justify his nasty personality.” Nothing really stands out as new or fresh, at least in episode one, well, apart from that magical girl character. The bits with her were usually fun.

alicetoalicebegAlice or Alice … perhaps the less said the better. However, I did find it kind of cute, and it’s only three minutes long.

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Note the plane. Probably Teresa’s on it.

Juushinki Pandora … can’t find at the moment, so I’ll turn to Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai, an honest-to-god original series starring Mitsuyoshi, out and about taking photos when an odd little blonde foreigner thing named Teresa keeps crashing his shots, acting strange and being something of a homeless waif. So he takes her to his family’s cafe where we meet some fairly normal people, and an idiot named Mitsuyoshi, until Teresa’s friend Alexandra shows up. Turns out they live next door, and they’re transferring into Mitsuyoshi’s school!

tada1-1Not bad. Nothing really new in it but it’s put together well. Mitsuyoshi could be a dull character but seiyuu Yuuichi Nakamura is too experienced for that; instead, we have a potentially great straight man. Teresa is too much of a ditz right now, and I’m not crazy about the voice Manaka Yuuichi gives her right now–it sounds too forced. The side characters are all the usual types. I like the dependable, scolding little sister Yui the most. For the moment, there’s nothing seriously wrong with this show, and since it also has a cute cat, I’ll try another episode.

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Comic Girls is one of those shows that wants to make sure you know what show you’re about to watch. But why not kata?

Comic Girls is set in a dorm where women draw manga. We follow Kaos (her cool penname), a struggling newbie who wants new life experiences, as she moves in on her first day, gets nervous about her talent, what the other girls are like, and everything else. She meets her nice, silly roommate Koyume, and then the relatively worldly-wise dorm-mates, the intense, boyish Ruki, and Tsubasa, who draws pervy stuff though she’s quite normal. Together they work together to help Ruki get through a deadline, while Kaos tries to not screw up too much.

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Kaos can’t handle this manga-ka shop talk.

There are moments here where the conversations get too ridiculous–like whenever Kaos and Koyume look up to their senpais. In addition, Kaos’s constant anxiety and whining got on my nerves a few times, though her relatively new seiyuu Hikaru Akao otherwise does a fine job. And did the scene where Kaos tries to find the dorm have to be so long? On the good side, a lot of the dialogue is fun and playful, jumping from one manga topic (genres, anxieties, editors, drawing styles …) with the odd gag thrown in, and it moves at a high speed with good comic timing. It’s all a bit silly, of course, but it could be a lot of fun to watch.

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The funniest line in the new season so far.

 

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There’s a ring falling to the ground here somewhere, but like most of the interesting scenes it’s too dark to figure it out.

Megalo Box, no (sports anime) … Next it’s Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryuu to Odoru. It starts with a quantum physics discovery lecture that essentially tries to explain why are magic, dragons, cute elf girlfriends, basically the whole European fantasy world experience, set in a modern-day city, somewhere. Then we watch two guys, Gayus Levina Soleil and Gigina Jardi Doruk Meleios Ashley-Bufh dispatch two nasty dragons, the second one nasty enough that they get a bit of a reputation but very little pay, because they’re idiots, well, Gigina is. They’re also “offensive Yushiki,” or so we’re told. Then it’s political intrigue time with cardinals, hot emperesses and other weirdos scheduling mysterious meetings. A Yushiki gets killed in the streets by a really nasty woman, Gayus walks around being poor and later making out with his elf-girlfriend, and finally that nasty woman kills another Yushiki. That makes four. Oh, and our heroes are going to be hired by that cardinal I mentioned later.

saredo1-1In other words there’s a lot of backstory and world-building to be done here; unfortunately, episode one doesn’t do all that good a job. I don’t mind hopping from one storyline to another, in fact the show did an okay job with that, but the dialogue was so intent on filling us in about everything that it became unrealistic. WHen it wasn’t trying to do that it tried to set up character relationships, also fine, but every character so far is deadly dull. Gigina and Gayus of course don’t always get along, with Gayus being the put-upon guy, yeah yeah yeah. We’ve seen almost all of it before, and so most of the conversations are dull. Finally, the fight scenes are so murky-dark that you can’t make out much of what was going on. I hope that wasn’t deliberate because the animation quality isn’t much … I haven’t watched a supernatural thriller series for a while, but I’ll pass on this one.

Inuzuma Eleven, more sports anime … (Tsuduku)

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Spring 2018 new season #1

Welcome once again to my thoughts on the new season, well, at least the shows I decide to watch, which won’t be a hell of a lot. Time and circumstances and all that. As usual I’ll go by the Random Curiosity preview order, unless it’s wrong (and it already is), and I won’t watch anything I don’t want to, so there. Oh, and as usual I’ll give you the first image of each episode for the hell of it.

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Pretty Derby doesn’t waste any time getting started. Also, I’m tempted to add a “first show out of the gate” line here, but I won’t.

After skipping Gegege no Kitarou Season 6 (because of the “6”–no sequels to shows I haven’t watched) and Nil Admirai no Tenbin (it actually starts next week), we start with Uma Musume Pretty Derby, where a nice girl named Special Week (Spe for short) enters a prestigious academy for horse girls, yes, horse girls. They all have ears and a tail. The details on how you come up with horse girls is not explained, and I don’t think I want to know. Anyway, she’s there to race, of course, she joins a team, has a seemingly aloof but actually shy roommate named Silence Suzuka, does weird training with the team’s idiot trainer, and at the end of the episode, breaks her maiden. Oh, turns out she’s also an idol-in-training, but she didn’t know that.

derby1-1… and it’s done by PA Works. I couldn’t believe it when I saw their name on the credits. This bit of silly fluff isn’t anywhere near the kind of show they normally do. Well, since they ARE involved it explains how tight the first episode is. It’s energetic, bright, colorful, and doesn’t take itself too seriously, shown by Spe’s “late for school” dash except instead of toast it’s a carrot. The animation level is also higher than it might have been had another studio done it. Not to say this is a masterpiece, it’s actually kind of stupid and had a boatload of “first day of school” clichés. There’s nothing special here, except the production is better than average. But if you like this sort of show, it’s reassuring to know that the production will probably not screw up.

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Mahou Shoujo Ore starts with a view of some planet or another …

Up next, and no less silly, is Mahou Shoujo Ore, where we meet Saki, an incredibly unpopular idol, and her friend, the taciturn Sakuyo, who can at least sing a little. We see a fantasy dream involving magiacl girls, see Saki and Sakuyo perform, rather badly, and learn that Sakuyo’s big brother Mohiro is actually a very popular idol in his own right. By now half the episode is over and I’m getting bored. Things liven up when Saki goes home and encounters a Yakuza trying to coerce her mom to … return to being a magical girl. Mohiro, Saki’s crush, is captured by demons, so she agrees to taking over for her mom, and transforms, as you probably know by now, into a man in a dress.

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Still, he’s probably more trustworthy than Kyubey.

If the horse-girl show was predictable but raised by production values, Ore has some clever moments and nice voice work marred by often inept direction and poor animation. Did they really need to show so much of both those songs? What was up with that ship going/not going under that bridge? All right, be fair, I liked some of it. The idea of a Yakuza type being a mascot character, whipping out a dubious contract and all, was funny. The comments during the dream sequence about the black and white confusing the viewers was sort of funny, and much of the dialogue works well, but otherwise, things felt off, not timed right. That can be fixed, I suppose, and I’ll probably watch another episode to see if they do.

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Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi is one of those rare shows that starts its run with the actual opening credit sequence.

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi stars Aoi, a young woman who can see spirits but otherwise has a normal life, well apart from her mother deserting her, almost starving to death, etc, but otherwise pretty normal. Then she gets abducted to the spirit realm by an ogre named Oodana, and she learns that her nice grandpa who raised her put her up as collateral for a debt (100,000,000 yen). Okay, maybe not so nice, as now this ogre intends to marry her. She offers to work it off but can’t find a job in the spirit realm until the nice fox spirit (choice #2 in Aoi’s male harem), inspired by her omrurice, suggests she open a restaurant in a building near the inn.

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… as Aoi searches the fine print.

Of course, she’d have to work at that inn for a long time to make up the money, so this is essentially a story of which already romantically attracted person is going to cave in to the other’s wishes first. With some food involved, which is good because so far it’s paced at romance-anime speed, meaning everything takes about twice as long to happen than it normally would, at least for people who like me who don’t much care for romance stories. Food would be good, like an Isekai Shokudo with a love story. Yeah, that’s it! However, I suspect that they’ll focus more on the romance and the harem than the food, and the connection between the two. The show bandies about the concept of “being eaten” a lot.

Okay, next is Captain Tsubasa. Sports anime so I’m not interested. Gundam Build Divers is part of a franchise I can barely comprehend (All I’ve seen is the original series) … Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Die Neue These Kaikou … can’t find it yet … so it’s Tokyo Ghoul:re, but that’s a sequel to a show I dropped …

tachibanabegSo now it’s Tachibana-kan To Lie Angle, where a girl named Hanabi, first year high schooler, moves to a dorm she thought was fancy, but it’s not, but she sees a naked girl, and that makes her feel better, and we know what kind of show we’re getting. She meets some other residents who come tease her in various ways, including a childhood friend named Konomi, whom she’s forgotten and possibly won’t be forgiven for it, at least not for a couple episodes.

tachibana1-1It could be worse in all respects, animation, art, fanservice, in other words, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from the yuri premise, but not blatant. Also, it’s only three minutes long. This is good because I frankly don’t think any of the characters can hold up their end for any longer than that at a time.

Evergarden 12, Hakumei/Mikochi and Dagashi Kashi finales

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Nice man.

With hindsight it seems obvious that Violet Evergarden, both the show and the character, would return to fighting to round off the series. It also comes as no surprise that the story will involve Violet struggling to reject the war and the death it causes while at the same time trying to protect people from a threat. In episode 12, doing this causes her to be more or less spat upon by both sides of the war. First it’s Diethard Bougainvillea, Gilbert’s brother and all-around petulant asshole, who accuses her of being nothing but a killing machine that can do nothing without orders, mocks her desire for peace, and most of all, hates her because she could not protect his brother. That last bit, blurted out near the end, almost made him tolerable. On the other hand it’s an enemy general and one soldier from last week, who don’t like her because she’s the enemy and also because she wants peace–they’re the generic enemy soldier types, all for war and destruction and contemptuous of anyone who isn’t.

evergarden12-2Frankly, I would have made Violet use that knife she holds most of the time, but that’s the type of emotional manipulation the show wants to work on me. Good guys vs. bad guys, with Violet in the middle, claiming she doesn’t follow orders anymore, but saying that Gilbert’s last orders to her were “to live.” Interesting that she loses his pendant this episode … It leads to a striking moment at the end where she uses her abilities to not kill, warding off a bullet to save Diethard, who is gratifingly surprised. Where that event will lead to I don’t know, but the train’s still in the hands of the enemy, so there’s plenty of fighting to do.

hakumeimikochi11-1Hakumei to Mikochi 11 happens on a train, too, but there isn’t any fighting or dark pasts to consider, just deciding the best place to fish. The train ride, when you think about it, is mundane, like many now except for the dining car, and the warm look of all that wood … I love all the different colors in this show. But I couldn’t get past the train itself, which ought to be about a foot high. Not to mention that fish. I know that a tiny hedgehog character catching that big fish is a gag, but I can’t help but wonder how fried yam man managed it.

hakumeimikochi12-1Then in episode 12 we say goodbye, as the two ladies take a perilous trip to catch a glimpse of Hakumei’s old trade route gang and we get a flashback. While many of the episodes have made me wonder how things work in that world, my main question this time is more personal: how did Hakume and Mikochi first meet? How did they get so close? There is some unspoken worry from Mikochi that Hakumei might leave some day, but why she’s worried we’ll never know, unless the manga has that information. Or maybe we’ll get a season two.

hakumeimikochi12-2This is a series that could easily do another season if it wanted. It had no story arc that led to a conclusion that would make what happens later an anticlimax. It was purely slice of life, and a season two could pick up those lives anywhere they wanted. I’d happily watch it. It was fun watching these tiny, slightly odd creatures going through their days, partly because they make a nice team, but also because of the rich and detailed fantasy world they lived in. There were strange and wonderful things all around them, little things like those orb teapots, or bigger, like the steam train, that conjure up nostalgia for an innocent past none of us actually experienced, along with living things, talking insects, really big (for that world) rodents, and bones that could be controlled with tambourines. I don’t know if I’d like to visit such a world, they wouldn’t let me in the city because of my height, after all, but I like to imagine that that it really exists. After an episode of Yuru Camp, I would think it’s the most charming show of the season, and I’d do the same after an episode of Hakumei to Mikochi. Since I watched the finale of the latter last, I declare Hakumei to Mikochi the winner, Yuru Camp a close second. I don’t know if the new season will be able to top either one.

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One more of Makinata, which we can’t visit because we’re way too big.

 

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This season made too much sense in general.

Finally, Dagashi Kashi 2 wraps up, with a predictable and un-crazy episode 11 that has Kokonotsu finishing his manga, going to the review, getting skewered by the editor and about to return, depressed, with snow even delaying his train overnight. Fortunately the show chooses this moment to bring Hotaru back, but it’s too late to save this episode. But we get a good finale, Hotaru, after a bit of surprising sobriety while she listens to Kokonotsu’s despair, goes back to crazy mode and has one more candy to introduce (Mario Manga Gum actually looks pretty cool), and there’s a crazy final scene where we discover that Hotaru now wants Kokonotsu to join her company, not You, and that Beniyutaka from the konbini is Hotaru’s older brother, all leading to one of those running-away scenes while the credits roll.

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Ready for the big finale!

Well, while this season had its moments, it suffered because of Hotaru’s absence, and so I can’t rate it as highly as the first one. Also, there were episodes where hardly any dagashi was featured. I guess if an aimless show (I don’t mean that as an insult) runs long enough the creators feel obliged to add plot and character background, and quite often it spoils the fun. Oh, well, it had Saya (though not enough), and they were able to briefly riff on convenience store work culture. And there’s still plenty they could do even if the series decides to return. But please, more Hotaru and Saya!

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One more of Hotaru.
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And one more of Saya, and her bitter coffee.

Evergarden 11, Yuru Camp 12 (finale), Franxx 11

evergarden11-1Violet Evergarden 11 has a civil war going on in the north, between some well-organized bad guys who have a thorough and well-planned strategy, and the good guys from “Camp Menace” who are so incompetent, just standing there and not looking for cover during an ambush, that you wonder how they managed to win the war. That was mainly what I was thinking during the early stages of the episode, as Violet goes up there to do a couple letters for a soldier named Aiden, who gets shot just before she arrives, the letters thusly written on his deathbed, or death-floor-of-a-cabin. Interestingly, she has to fight through a few bad guys (and showing us maybe why the good guys won after all) but does not kill them. Then when they stand down she turns her back on them to look at Aiden on the ground–they could have shot her right there, so I guess neither side deserved to win this war.

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Violet delivers bad news.

As for where the show is going now, unless they’re going to bring back the war full-time, I have no idea. The letters and Aiden’s death was done with the same sentimentality that the other episodes have, and it’s getting a little tiresome. However, the episode does depict just how cruel and violent a battle can be. It’s well done, even if the soldiers are mainly bumbling idiots.

yurucamp12-1While Violet Evergarden keeps us guessing as how they will end things, we have no such doubts about the finale of Yuru Camp. The only question is what little problem they might have with this or that, and it turns out there’s no problems or complications at all, well, except for the camping being too cold for the dog, but they had that covered. But they do throw us the viewer a curveball at the start. Rin returns from getting gas, so we think, only she’s riding a motorcycle now, all the girls are older, and, well, it left me giggling hysterically. Apart from that it was just the night spent all together, and a lovely moment at the end when the sun rises by Fuji-san. And then back to the real world.

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The Outclub, plus Rin, squinting in the sunrise over Fuji-san.

There’s really nothing more they can do with this setup, so I don’t expect a season two, but I am sorry to see Yuru Camp go. Every season needs a show where nothing much happens, the trouble is with the wrong setup they can get deadly dull. Yuru Camp was rarely dull. Each of the girls was different and complimentary enough to make interesting and funny scenes, whether it’s Chiaki’s self-mocking leadership tirades or Rin’s quiet but not unfriendly observation. In fact, Rin is an interesting character in that while she likes to camp alone, it’s not because she dislikes or is afraid of others. Other shows would treat her as an antisocial beast who needs to be dragged into the social world. Here they make it clear that there are plenty of good reasons to go it alone, if that’s what you want to do, but it’s nice to do things with others too, a little fact that Rin comes to accept. Couple that with the edcuation we get about camping, and all the pretty scenery … yeah, well, I’m sorry to see it go.

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Bye girls! Happy camping!

franxx11-1Darling in the FranXX 11 has the kids doing a voluntary partner shuffle, just so we can mess with the kids even more. Mitsuru and Ikuno have had enough of each other, so perhaps out of spite, Ikuno asks to test-partner with Ichigo, which brings up a perhaps inevitable variation of the pistil/stamen relationships the kids have been forced into. On the male side, we find Mitsuru was burned long ago when Hiro forgot a promise to pilot with him. Anyway, Ichigo tries but can’t get it going, so Ikuno moves on to Futoshi, who has his heart broken when Kokoro, whom he loves, asks to switch to Mitsuru. Since he’s a one-note character (food), we don’t see him do much but shout in the cockpit as we watch the more interesting combination, Mitsuru and Kokoro, almost mess everything up.

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You know things aren’t going well when the mecha shows Eva-like teeth.

Most of this is understandable. Some of the kids are tired of their partners or want to try something new. The only one that I don’t understand is Kokoro’s request to team with Mitsuru. Was it out of romantic interest, or out of pity? There is some therapy in the cockpit (tiresome since a Gutenberg-class is about to wreck the plantation) … Mitsuru should learn to trust and lean on people sometimes, that sort of thing. Then there was the rage thing, like Kokoro was about to go rogue, never mind that we haven’t seen that before, what brought on the anger in the first place? Possibly she was angry at herself for hurting Futoshi. But it’s clear that there’s more going on in her head than she lets on. As for the more stable couples, they do just fine … apart from 02’s line about being together with Hiro … until they die. She has more in hear head than she lets on too, and probably with good reason.

FranXX and Hakumei/Mikochi 10, Yuru Camp 11

franxx10-1Darling in the FranXX 10, as expected, turns from one couple to the next, Zorome and Miku, though it’s mainly Zorome’s episode with Miku just doing enough of the Miku things that it gets Zorome going. However, the examination of Zorome is handled only superficially–what the episode’s really about is a closer look at civilian society, how it lives, and what it thinks of the kids defending it. The higher-ups consider them to be simply living weapons who can be kept in line with a medal and a brief tour of the city, though they’re worried about the squad’s lack of uniformity. Though some of them, like the lady that Zorome meets when he gets lost in there, and one of his escorts returning him, suggest a level of pity. The lady seems so foreign, though kind, that Zorome can’t figure her or her lifestyle out–not his fault, neither can I, but she seemed decayed to me, unable to really function without the machinery, apart from her kindness, nearly not human. The city is, as 02 repeats, “lifeless.” Bright new lights notwithstanding, who would want to live there? When they switch back to the kids’ place, that cozy living room, where everyone is gathered and not in pleasure boxes, it’s a relief. The show will continue to explore this inhuman angle, I’m sure. In the meantime, 02 is worried about something …

hakumeimikochi10-1Hakumei to Mikochi 10 didn’t do very much except charm the hell out of me again. The first half has the girls pining for an onsen, only to find the local one is clogged with cat hair–I’d like to get the story behind that; cats of course tend not to like water and besides, the show hasn’t had a cat in it yet. Anyway, Hakumei makes a bathtub on her own. With all the other things going on it’s easy to over the DIY attitude Hakumei has. So now they have a tub. The second half introduces us to Ayune, Mikochi’s unwelcome sister, unwelcome only in that she drives Mikochi crazy. So we get a sense of what shaped Mikochi’s childhood, the best line perhaps being from Ayune, that Hakumei reminds her of their father.

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Red Fuji

Speaking of shows where nothing much happens but I don’t care, Yuru Camp 11 brings us the drama-filled Christmas camp trip! All of the girls together, for the first and last time, since the show probably finishes next week. We have moments of intense action as Nadeshiko is chased around by a little dog, and soon some kids join in, the rest of the girls, and a frisbee. We have psychological character study as the teen girls learn their sensei is a stinking drunk–actually, that IS kind of disturbing, but the others are perfectly capable of managing by themselves, until the final great crisis arrives: they run out of fuel for the gas stove! Well, Rin is off to get more. What else? Oh, Nadeshiko discovers s’mores, and a lot of good beef is devoured as well. … After an annoying day at work it’s great to come to a show like this, even if it all seems so damn cold.

Yuru Camp and Evergarden 10, Gagashi2 9-10

yurucamp10-1In Yuru Camp 10, Rin faces her GREATEST CRISIS! But it is OVERCOME with the assistance of Nadeshiko and Chiaki, who sends her a Line message suggesting that the closed road really wasn’t closed, but they forgot to take down the barrier. Then she battled GREAT WINDS to set up her tent. But she TRIUMPHS and drinks tea and grills a steam bun with a lovely view after all. Truthfully, I was a little worried for Rin, but not because of any danger, but because she might not have as much relaxing fun as normal. As for the goofier girls, they sit around being goofy as usual, though as usual it’s refreshing for goofy characters to actually successfully accomplish things like go on camping trips. Oh, Toba the drunk camper/teacher’s secret it out, but I doubt it’s going to make a difference unless she brings a lot of alcohol to the Christmas trip. Next week, the epic final story arc, i.e., the girls’ last trip of the series, begins.

evergarden10-1Just when you think Violet Evergarden is going to further explore its still unsettled world in a broader scope, maybe get the war going again in some fashion, episode 10 gives us instead another personal, emotional story involving individuals undergoing the types of grief and loss that everyone undergoes, and has been told countless times to boot. This time it’s Ann, a little girl whose mom is dying. Violet arrives to help Ann’s mother write a big letter or something (I guessed a will, and I was wrong) that takes a week, during which Ann can’t spend time with her. To ramp up the bathos, the mom keeps collapsing. Now, while I’m annoyed by this sort of emotional manipulation the show puts us through, I’ll say again that the production is so well-done that it’s next to impossible NOT to be affected. On the other hand, I’m not sure of the trade off. All those future letters written to Ann was time spent not playing with this obviously lonely and confused girl.

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Kokonotsu and Hajime’s first stab at a store website.

Dagashi Kashi 9-10 spins its wheels and doesn’t do much. We’ve seen plenty of Hajime in the past few weeks and while she has her moments, I’m getting tired of watching her all the time, especially with solo work; luckily Kokonotsu is around for the first half of episode 9 as they develop a website for their store, and the second half had her making her own super balls, though I wish they had gotten more specific with the recipe. It was the closest thing to explaining dagashi the episode ever got. #10 is better. We see the dad again, though I’m more worried about disappointing the actual customer who made the order. And we learn about Monjiro Squid, which I wish I had some of now. And, thank heavens, we actually get some trivia about the product as well. The show has finally remembered that it’s supposed to be educational. But no Hotaru until next week. Well, at least we know she’s coming back.

Nines: Evergarden, Tiny Life, FranXX

evergarden9-1The story in Violet Evergarden 9 is as predictable as they come. We start with the end of the flashback, with Gilbert dying and the suddenly armless Violet determined to pull him out of there with her teeth if need be. Pretty much everything we expected. After that we get scenes of Violet dealing with both grief and guilt in ways that, again, could be predicted, and the beginning of the slow climb out of it … the concept that there are people who are happy she’s alive dawns on her. They bring up the concept of writing and delivering letters, helping people come closer, as an antidote for sins committed in the past, for the second time. In a nice touch, Iris and Erica write their own letter to her, and Violet realizes just how valued the act is, fine and dandy, she’s healing.

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A letter!

I’m not sure I like the idea of mail delivery to counter sins of the past, but I do understand how just the act of doing a good dead, or even working, can aid the healing process. But what happens now? Violet isn’t yet where she wants to be, but she’s turned the corner. NOW what is the show going to do? Many more scenes of Violet getting through it all is going to get repetitive, but there are at least three more episodes to go. Are they going to crank up the war again? They’ve been hinting at it for a while, this week being some “Anti-peace” activists causing trouble, but is there time to introduce a whole new war, or maybe Violet and her friends will get caught in a smaller struggle, and she will have to make choices in order to save her friends, which would be interesting since she will not be following orders this time, but also kind of predictable. So it will probably happen.

hakumeimikochi9-1The first half of Hakomei to Mikochi 9 has one of the oddest situations I’ve ever seen in fiction, let alone anime. The girls, along with Sen and Konju, explore life underwater in an airtight sphere, powered by the skeleton of a fish named Simon, which gets its rhythm through a wire connected to a tambourine Konju plays. As they descend deeper and deeper, all we can hear is a tambourine beat and some underwater noises. The concept is so individual and odd that no creative committee could have thought it up, and the anime creators knew to keep it simple and basic, and let the situation speak for itself. Well, I suppose that for all the bright colors and details in the series, you could also call it subdued. Alas, we don’t see many wonders down there but fish. The story focuses more on Sen and Konju squabbling about this and that, and another moment of life and death. The second half, where Mikochi designs Sen a new outfit, feels more like a “how-to” show, what with all the talk of dyes, but remember these are three-inch tall girls doing the design work, using only basic tools and things found in the forest.

franxx9-1
Gorou gets it.

Darling in the FranXX now turns from Hiro and 02, mostly, and begins to pay attention to the troubled side couples. First up is perhaps the dullest, Gorou and Ichigo. “Dullest” because there’s nothing much anyone can do about the situation. Ichigo loves Hiro, who is taken. She is trying to accept it, but hasn’t gotten there yet. Meanwhile, Gorou loves Ichigo, repeat the above … All they can really all do is keep working to accept what they can and can’t have, and find something of value there. Which they do, thanks to Gorou and his Franxx being eaten by a Klaxosaur but still alive after Ichigo gets ejected.

franxx9-2I suppose there’s your weekly metaphor right there, Ichigo getting pushed aside so that Gorou can do the heroic thing at the cost of his life. Ichigo and Gorou know each other well enough that she knows he’ll try something heroic and get himself killed, even though the others have a plan to rescue him, also he’s totally forgetting their line, overused in this episode, that he’s too weak to do anything alone, but with her they can win. And so together they manage to save the day (well, the others help too) and reach an understanding of just how important the other is. Gorou even confesses and gets Ichigo cutely flustered. Probably things will get better for them now. Meanwhile, I still wonder if the show is going to sacrifice any of these couples, or pieces of them. Not this week. Not that I’m rooting for such a thing–I don’t really like it when regular characters die in a series, but right now it all seems a little tame. Well, maybe one of the other couples will spice it up. Or they’ll start questioning their roles as saviors with no choice …