This was a good week. I dropped Bang Dream, less out of hatred than out of mild boredom, but I picked up Kemono Friends, and that was certainly a worthwhile trade-off. I’ve got a new project beginning with a write-up on Saturday, and if all goes well another project will be starting on Sunday. I’ve finally got a schedule worked out that allows multiple posts every week, and I’m pretty excited with my writing in general right now. My anime watching rate might go down now that I can play Nier: Automata, but I’ve got a big enough buffer now that I’m not worried. Look out for my new stuff, and enjoy my thoughts on this week.
Rakugo S2 – Episode 7
Wow. It’s hard to imagine that this show really keeps getting better each episode, but it absolutely does. Besides this episode’s incredibly on-point usage of color, I really loved the contrast between the present and past here. We got a rare return to season one’s focus, getting to see a young Kiku and Sukeroku perform, while at the same time seeing how Sukeroku and Miyokichi truly died. These moments were quite different emotionally, but both served similar purposes. They made it clear that Kiku truly did love to perform rakugo at one point, only becoming jaded and explicitly self-hating after the tragic events surrounding Sukeroku and Miyokichi occurred. This makes his pure depression this episode alongside his modern form of rakugo very meaningful. At the same time, I’m very interested in Kiku’s sense of relief but also dread at no longer needing to perform rakugo. We’re so lucky to have this show.
MaiDragon – Episode 7
Outside one or two of the Shouta scenes, this was a great episode. Touching on Tohru’s family was great, and it seemed to be foreshadowing a future confrontation with them. More importantly though were the scenes between Tohru and Kobayashi, as always. Kobayashi’s feelings towards Tohru may be vague, but she makes it clear every episode how much she values having her around. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this show is the best at balancing its comedy and its emotional moments. It looks like next episode we’ll be getting info on Tohru’s past and the other dragon in the OP and ED, so as always I’m eagerly awaiting next week.
3-gatsu – Episode 18
This show’s visual representation of emotions has always been great, but the depiction of Shimada and Rei’s match was truly perfect. Shaft is very capable of using strange, avant-garde art in order to convey meaning, and that was done really well here. The torrent of water covered in words depicting Shimada’s overwhelming thoughts worked wonders, and Rei’s vain attempts to struggle against the current were great. The show’s used water and drowning as a symbol for depression before, but it works well here as an inversion. Rei actually struggles not to drown this time, while he often gives in when depressed. The rest of the episode was great too, especially the stuff surrounding Kyouko, but it was really the visuals which stood out this time.
LWA – Episode 7
This episode felt like it was storyboarded by Imaishi, though I didn’t see his name in the credits so I guess it probably wasn’t. This episode managed to continue the issue brought up at the end of episode 6, delivering on the idea that Akko will actually have to work towards her dream of becoming like Shiny Chariot. She proved this episode that she really is an awful witch, but she also proved that she’s capable of trying when she needs to. It was weird to see Akko diligently studying and paying attention in class, but it makes what happened last epiosde so much more important with the knowledge that Akko is actually able to take a step forward. This was also just a funny and enjoyable episode, and at times it can be funny to see someone fail as hard and as often as Akko failed here. I was a bit shaky on the last episode, but this one was solid all the way through.
Kemono Friends – Episode 7
So yeah, I got caught up on Kemono Friends over the last week. I really like the show, but it’s a bit hard to describe. I suppose it appeals to me in the same way as kids shows like Precure and CGDCT shows like Gochiusa, and the post-apocalyptic setting which sits in the background only makes it better. It’s also teaching me that I apparently don’t care about anime looking good, despite believing that I did, so that’s a fun experience. Seriously though, this show is just really fun and does a lot of interesting thing with its world-building. I really wasn’t expecting to like it this much.
In regards to this episode, it was really good. I love that the owls just blatantly fucked with Bag-chan and Serval in order to get some food, and I managed to learn that camels storing water in their humps is just a myth, something I really didn’t know beforehand. Then of course, there’s the new revelations about Bag-chan being a human and a new goal — finding what happened to the rest of the humans. As long as that element doesn’t get over-emphasized and the show stays fun, this show could be the surprise of the year.
Urara – Episode 7
I really liked this one. The first half was fun and managed to continue a lot of the antics that this show executes well while giving some nice pathos to Nono, but it’s really the back half which managed to pull me in. Koume has been great the whole time, but she’s gotten a lot less focus than Chiya and Kon, and probably even Nono as well. This episode did a lot for her character: it was made clear why she wears Western clothing and has Western items, it gave her a very emotional moment, and it gave her a specific goal to work towards. Her separation from Marie was great and managed to make me tear up, something I wasn’t expecting to do, while her declaration of her goal made me love her even more. I love when people in SoL anime still have goals to work towards, and Urara manages to handle that really well.
GabDro – Episode 7
This was a really nice episode. The reason for this is, of course, the focus on Vigne. Satania might be the character who’s most fun to watch, but Vigne is definitevely best girl. This episode managed to lean into her joke in a way that didn’t come across as tired or boring, and I have to give it some major props for that. I also love the scene at the end with Gab and Vigne. Gab’s gimmick is funny, but it is nice to know that she really does care about Vigne somewhere in her fallen soul.
KiraKira Precure – Episode 3
This show is so fucking fun. What stood out the most this episode was Cure Gelato’s fantastic transformation sequence, but the episode was great all around. The characters aren’t the deepest, but all of them, especially Ichika, are really fun and have a decent amount of emotional depth in spite of their simplicity. Shows meant for children really are the best, especially because I can watch them without needing subs. Seriously though, the show hasn’t dipped at all and has probably gotten better since the first episode, and I hope that trend continues throughout its run.
Konosuba S2 – Episode 7
I haven’t been a huge fan this season, but I thought this was quite a good episode, if not enough to bring the show up to the top half of my list. It basically avoided playing on all the jokes I hate, and it even managed to make a somewhat funny Darkness joke, something I don’t think it’s done in a long time. Of course, it had a lot of issues in spite of its successes, and at times Kazuma still came across as unlikable. But overall it was a good episode which really embodied most of the reasons why I ultimately enjoy this series.
IBO S2 – Episode 19
God, I’m starting to think we’re going to see a Zeta-level bloodbath in the coming episodes. The whole focus on this being the “last battle” is ominous on its own, but Atra’s scene with Mika at the end really triggered some death flags. Scenes like that scream upcoming death in this show, and I’m fully expecting them to follow through. I’m happy that Orga finally pushed back against McGillis here, and that some in Tekkadan are showing that they really aren’t up for going into all these reckless battle that they have no actual stake in. This episode definitely feels like a prologue to the final arc, and with six episodes left there’s a lot of room for the show to go, and I’m excited to see which direction they ultimately take.