This week saw the end of one series, and the penultimate episodes of many more. It wasn’t as happy overall as last week, mostly due to the influence of Kemono Friends, but overall it was still a pretty great time. As the season winds down I’m shifting into other anime while preparing to marathon a few of the ones that I missed. I’m likely to watch less shows next season, but I often say that before picking up shows in the middle of the season, so who knows. Either way, I have a lot of thoughts on this week’s shows, and here they are.
Rakugo – Episode 11
I thought last episode felt like a finale, but that paled in comparison to this. And to be fair, this is the true emotional climax of the story. Kiku’s tale is now over, and it ended in brilliant fashion. I actually won’t go in too much detail in this one, because everything was too perfect. The entire reunion was excellent, but the standout was the actual rakugo performances. Kiku’s performance of the children rakugo that he refused to do in order to make Shin and young Konatsu happy is a great demonstration of his development, and his smile afterwards warmed my heart. I was basically just a teary mess the entire time. As long as our epilogue turns out well, this season will be an easy 10 for me.
MaiDragon – Episode 11
This episode could’ve been straight out of an iyashikei instead of a comedy series, and I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference. This episode managed to capture the lazy, comfy mood it needed to perfectly, using far less comedy and character focus in order to really make you feel like you’re in the Kobayashi household itself. It worked great, and I was happy and relaxed the entire time. As always, the sense of family and closeness was great, and the final conversation between Kobayashi and Tohru was fantastic at that. It looks like we’re getting to some emotional heavy-hitters in the final two episodes, so I’m excited for that.
3-gatsu – Episode 22
3-gatsu managed to deliver a great conclusion in spite of the fact that’s it’s got plenty more content to cover, with a second season already announced. The first half did a great job at making it clear that Rei has gained another safe place, and it allowed him to finally consider the idea that he could be consistently happy one day. Even better though was the second half, which managed to put in perspective how much shogi means to him. It wasn’t just something he enjoyed doing, it was something which allowed him to connect with others when he was ordinarily ostracized. Showing his modern shogi friends’ willingness to sit with him next to everyone refusing to sit with him on the bus to a field trip makes it clear that shogi is literally the reason he has any friends at all. The entire final scene on the train was excellent and exemplified what I love about the series, as did the episode in general. I’m excited to continue this show in Fall, and it was one of the best of the last few years.
Kemono Friends – Episode 11
Wow, this episode. The plot this episode was so heavy that I don’t want to comment on it too much, since I’m sure the finale will upend all my predictions and expectations. I merely want to comment on how well the final scene was handled. The whole episode, and the show in general, built up how important Serval is to Kaban, especially after she was willing to jump into the Cerulean in order to save her. The final sacrifice was timed perfectly, and the direction was also great, with fantastic writing and good writing. I really can’t praise this show enough. No matter what, I have to find a way to sneak this onto my end of the year list.
Urara – Episode 11
Just like Rakugo, this episode seemed to be the end of the dramatic arc, at least as far as this season goes. Urara has a lot more to cover, but next episode looks to be a relaxing break, and after the amount of info and plot progression we got this time, I’m cool with that. The show dumped a huge amount of Chiya’s backstory this episode, and it did so without outright telling us about most of it. The development of her divination method was excellent, as was the rest of the episode. I really just love that a Kirara show is merging a serious story with it this well; the last Kirara show to do something like this was Gakkou Gurashi, and I wasn’t expecting another one when I started this show. I’d be fine if it ended here, but next episode looks fun, and I’m hopeful for a second season.
LWA – Episode 11
This episode wasn’t nearly as disappointing as episode 10. It was unfortunately less pretty than I would’ve hoped, which seems to be a trend in the last few episodes. I assume they’ve been doing a lot of outsourcing, and with it has come a lot less sakuga than in the Trigger-produced episodes. Narratively though, I thought this episode did great, which was a major relief after last week. This week ditched the comedy for a serious focus on plot progression, and it managed to do a lot. Akko made up her mind that she’ll become as wonderful as Chariot through her own effort, while also playing a major role in the revival of the witches, though how that’s going to occur is unclear. Diana too worked towards that goal this episode, though what the book she found will tell her is unclear. It seems that we may be getting a bit more plot while gearing up for the mid-season mark, and I’m eager to see what happens.
GabDro – Episode 11
I liked this episode, though it did feel weird. I was expecting to cover more of the Heaven and Hell territory, but I guess that just wasn’t on the table. That said, the content surrounding Satania was great this episode, delivering from solid emotional material which used a past running gag effectively. It didn’t touch me that deeply or anything, but for a show like this, it managed to accomplish a lot. The second half was great too, mostly because Tapris is a very enjoyable character to watch. The setup for the finale was the highlight though, as I can’t wait to see Gab react to her older sister she’s so clearly afraid of.
KiraKira – Episode 7
This was a good and important episode. Good because it both characterized Pekorin while also showing off all of Ichika’s lovable traits. Important because it gave the Cures an actual goal. Gathering Pekorin’s friends is a far more interesting goal for the series than just stopping the nebulous villains from taking away all of the world’s sweets. It’s still not the most interesting conflict, but it’s a place to start from, and that’s what was needed. Also Yukari and Akira looked gay as fuck this episode, spending all their time next to each other while giving each other very charged glances.
IBO S2 – Episode 23
I’ve been disappointed in the last few episodes a bit, but I’m quite happy with how this one is turned out. The idea that Orga is the one to die in order to push Mika to create a bright future for Tekkadan is great, because I expected them to cheaply kill Atra. Fridging characters is annoying, but Orga’s death here feels like it actually matters. Tekkadan is in an awful position right now, but it looks like they’ll actually be able to progress and have a shot at survival, and I’m eager to see how that turns out in the final 2 episodes.