I have quite a bit to say about this week’s episodes, since all of them are quite unique in their own way. A better way to put it would maybe be that each of them stood out from what a regular episode of this anime is. I saw the skits that each show is famous for, absolutely, but because the main story for each of them is being handled with so much care, each show I’m watching (even my out-of-season one) makes me glad I picked them all. I could have gone and picked what seems like everyone’s favorite show too (Spy x Family), but no more 2-cour shows for me…for this year anyway.
Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 3 Episode 5
I said last week how I was enjoying how this unique style of comedy is being so effortlessly woven into what counts as the ‘main story’ of the show. Now as each episode passes, I start to think more about the kind of sketches I’m seeing in this season. I had initially compared them a lot to what we saw in season 2, but I think that because it seems like the main story (in the source manga) is becoming more apparent, the sketches feel different somehow. When I heard that this week’s episode was going to be different from the others, I worried a bit. And then I actually watched it.
Rapping has never been Miyuki’s strongest suit, and outside from more crying from Maki (who I didn’t think we’d see again), this dominated this episode. But despite what viewers might think, the raping wasn’t what this episode was about. We find out this week that Hayasaka actually told Miyuki who she was in that karaoke session a few episodes back. Through this, we realize why she went out of her way to make Kaguya worry; because she wants a normal teenage life again, and not be in constant service of the Shinomiya family.
Just like what The Demon Girl Next Door is doing, this season of Kaguya-sama is weaving the main story with the regular skits we know it for. Right now, we see Hayasaka very stuck with what she wants to do, and she believes that actually having a friend who sees her for who she is (and not a maid, or butler, or whatever persona she puts on) will be a good thing for her. Miyuki is filling the role, what is Kaguya meant to think?
With an episode like this, I’m torn on what the future will have. Hayasaka will definitely feature more, that’s for sure. And as a result of this, Kaguya needs to do more in order to keep on getting her beloved’s attention. As for the whole Ishigami x Tsubame part of the show, answers on a postcard for that one.
Komi Can’t Communicate Season 2 Episode 2
When I started Komi Can’t Communicate (not this season, but season 1 last year), it took me a while for me to warm to it. I wasn’t quite won over when it came to the narration, plus Ren Yamai’s behavior in the show really rubbed me the wrong way. While she hasn’t really changed, her knowing about Komi’s social anxiety is something at least. For this episode though, it seems like her fantasies haven’t vanished. More on that later, but let’s go to the episode as a whole.
Compared to Komi episodes I’ve seen, this week’s one was a rather strange one to watch. If you watch the show too, you’ll know the kind of skits that we see regularly. Well I’m noticing a bit of a sea change this time around; they are given to us harder and faster, as opposed to something that is drawn out. The skits are also becoming more ‘creative’ to watch too. This might be down to the fact that season 1 was more of a character introduction one, while these same characters are developed much more this time. I’ll take the ‘cat cafe’ section as an example. If this skit was in an earlier episode, perhaps the focus would wholly be on the three girls who visit (Komi, Onemine and Otori). This time however, we get to see this through the eyes of the ‘boss’ of the cafe, a moody black cat called Chocolat who hates all humans. I couldn’t help but think of “I Am A Cat‘ by Natsume Soseki here, a satire book told through the eyes of a nameless cat who observes middle-class people around them. It’s a good book and I love it, by the way.
Moving on to the elephant in the room, it seems that Ren Yamai is someone who is disliked by more critics than I originally thought. The one episode that tipped me over the edge for me is her introductory one, where she decides to kidnap and tie up Tadano in her closet, making Komi freak out. Like everyone else at this private misfits school, she plays a stereotype, but her own yandere one stands out but in all the wrong ways. The skits I see her in are ones I don’t look forward to as much as the others. I can tolerate Agari being so submissive, and the chuunibyou girl, and many of the other classmates, who I only recently learned are named partly by their own stereotypes. For this episode, one of the skits sees her lusting to see Komi’s panties through her black tights; This particular skit stands out like a sore thumb compared to the others (typhoon, dream date, cat cafe). I know she’s a big part of the secondary cast, but I honestly wish that the less I see her the better.
The Demon Girl Next Door Season 2 Episode 5
There’s going to be some point where I can sit and watch this season of The Demon Girl Next Door and not feel some lingering sense of dread. Well for this week’s episode, we got hit hard on plot for a change. Characters in the show (both main and secondary) have come in-and-out and been a part of sketches and sub-plots, but it’s here where things are beginning to take a turn.
It isn’t hard to see one big difference between Shamiko and Momo: while Shamiko has lots of people (friends, family, co-demons) around her, Momo is alone and isolated. We’ve gotten jokes and jabs from her, but she’s obviously looking for every opportunity she can in hanging around with the others. I mean no other magical girl would actively want to go and hang around with denizens of the demon world, like what Shamiko is trying to be. A magical girl is generally meant to be seen as a beacon of hope and perfection, and thus cutting themselves off from society is something Momo has just gotten used to now.
I look at other reviews of this sequel season, and they seem to pick up on things I can’t see. I’m able to pick up on Momo’s isolation, but as I watch I often forget how poor Shamiko’s family really is. But I can’t seem to tell whether this is meant to be some joke/gimmick or not. Momo’s family and lineage are on the other hand fairly rich, and so I suppose it’s a sense of rich people feeling lonely and empty, while poorer people pride themselves on closeness and friendship.
I go back to what this week’s episode had to offer us, well from the start we see that they make a significant step into finding Sakura. Turns out that as a younger child, Shamiko had to have a few hospital visits, a white cat would appear in whatever hazy visions she had. And so everyone puts together a plan to get her into a dream state set in that same hospital, so she can maybe find Sakura’s last location. And lo and behold…
…Sakura finally arrives. Considering what had happened at the end of season 1, I’m sure Momo would want to ask a million and one questions. To be honest, I’m not sure if she’s going to be anyone trustworthy. Not malicious, just someone who would only look for me, myself and I. I may be proven completely wrong though, but after what our main characters have gone through to find her, only for her to just arrive as if nothing has happened…
Iroduku: The World in Colors Episode 5
Kohaku has already made herself into a very key character in the space of one episode, she seems to radiate that much energy. Last week for episode 4, I thought about whether she would be able to win me over; here for episode 5, I am still undecided. I think that I have just gotten too used to Hitomi the waif being the lead that seeing someone come in with such a domineering attitude feels off to me, even if they are grandmother and granddaughter. This is probably only me though, as it’s obvious to see that Kohaku knows more about life than she lets on.
Speaking of energy, I’m beginning to see why people saw Iroduku as one of PA Works’ most forgettable shows. Magic has been added to the show without much of an explanation, and while I’m sure we’ll find out the answer by the time the show ends, Hitomi’s mission to see why she was sent back in time hasn’t really been touched on as much as I thought it would. For episode 5, we learn that Kohaku is feeling more motivated to research into older spells and Hitomi seems just as motivated to practice this magic she hates so much. There could be many reasons why: to impress the dorks around her, to prove something to her grandmother and her family, or to even find a way to fix this colorblindness of hers.
But watching Hitomi and Asagi over the weeks has made me see one thing I am enjoying a lot. The both of them have severe impostor syndrome. I’ve already touched on how worthless Hitomi feels by not liking/casting magic despite being in a mage family, but episode 5 shows us that Asagi does not feel she belongs in the Photography club, despite enjoying the hobby so much. Maybe I really am very much drawn to these kind of characters in shows, which possibly explains why a character like Kohaku in comparison has made the show’s cast feel a little weird to watch. I liked one thing Asagi pointed out in another one of their get-togethers where nothing really happens (which seems to be a reoccurring thing in the show now); Sho makes sure to bring food that is all the same color (brown) so Hitomi can pick out what’s what. Why is this a thing, you ask? Well we notice that Sho is making an unusual amount of effort to make Hitomi adjust to this new age, where paper money exists and tablets don’t appear on school tables.
This could be brushed off as jealousy, but I think it’s more than that. And I’m hoping that some things like this will come back in later episodes. Is Iroduku as forgettable a show as people seem to think it is? Well I’m enjoying it, and that’s what matters to me.
Yes, I have picked out my Summer shows. Not sure if this is a record or not, but the Summer season actually has some stuff I’m very interested in watching, and not all of them are sequel shows either. Yeah…while it’s been cool to do only sequel shows for this season’s Otaku Theater, I think I’d like to go back to normal.