With Komi Can’t Communicate finished now on Netflix (despite it having finished at the end of last month), more people can focus on what the Summer has in store for us. And I notice that the show Lycoris Recoil has gotten a lot of people talking. With the theme of ‘problem eliminators’ hiding under the guise of a cute Tokyo café, it would have been the kind of show I might have picked. But I won’t be kicking myself for a whole season on why I didn’t pick it; Instead I’ll try and find some positives in the shows I did pick. While I have found a lot of things to nit-pick at in them, now that they have established their characters some more, perhaps we’ll see something more fleshed out.
Yurei Deco Episode 4
Is Yurei Deco going to be a slow burn show for me? It took me 5 episodes to get into both Komi Can’t Communicate and the moe-fishing show Slow Loop. We’re at episode 4 of Yurei Deco Now, and Berry is pretty much on the run and living off-the-grid along with the others. So why am I not so excited about this?
It gets all the more confusing now that four months have suddenly passed by in the show, since the cliffhanger end of last week where both Berry and Hack were presumed dead. Hack was able to make doppelgangers of the both of them to make the authorities think they both died in that explosion, and so how Berry has lost her home, her friends, her family, her love score, and has no means to make a living other than help this Yurei Detective Club in the slums that we’ve only just heard about now…but she still finds it all ‘Love-y’. I always thought that was a silly word to use. But seriously, she has taken this ordeal unusually well, and so I don’t think she’s quite understood the gravity of this situation, and is still treating this detective agency as another fun adventure.
The time jump in the show is something that ended up bothering me a lot, both the how’s and the why’s. Berry has gone from nearly getting killed after going on the run from impersonating a defense lawyer on Hack’s court case to squatting in a shack living as a ‘Yurei’. Four months pass by in the show, but we’re not really seen that much of how we got here outside of expository dialogue. I suppose you can compare this to if we had the scene where Neo took the red pill, to him suddenly arriving at Zion in the next scene. While I understand the necessity of this time jump in Yurei Deco For the story to progress, it’s the execution that has gotten to me.
Then again, now that Berry has become a Yurei (I think that’s the right term they use in the show), and is a part of this detective agency, we’ll be getting into the real part of the show. This week’s episode sees her first real case: a man who has ‘lost’ his avatar mysteriously. The detective agency’s main goal is discovering what is behind the Zero Phenomenon, and are thinking if this is related considering the man lost it at the same time Berry and Hack had to escape the Hyperverse a while back.
In the earlier episodes, I haven’t really caught the Yurei Deco bug, and now I think that the reason for that is how confused I can get while watching it. But now that Berry is officially a part of this detective agency, I’m hoping that episodes will be easier for me to watch. Character designs have been better established, as has the world of Tom Sawyer Island. And as well as this, the pokes at censoring of social media and a dystopic world disguised as the most liberal place ever are easier to notice. This might just be a slow burn for me after all, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to see a lot more of what I’m looking at right now.
When Will Ayumu Make His Move? Episode 3
I want to think that Ayumu is starting to find its ground with this third episode. Urushi and Tanaka go on their ‘date/not date’ when the school festival takes place, with him enthusiastically helping her class sell yakisoba to the public. This week we see Tanaka get jealous for the first time, even if he doesn’t really like to show it. When ghost member Takeru (who signed up last week) arrives and shows Urushi how well he knows the rules of shogi despite never actually having played before, he subtly makes it clear that he should be the one who impresses his senpai, but not after Sakurako steps in and drags Takeru back to his place at the school library.
We see a little more of her this week, who has become my favorite character so far, and in such a short amount of time. More screen time for her means that we get a better impression of who she really is; not some gloomy kid, but just someone who is softly-spoken and thoughtful. And just like Urushi and Tanaka, she and Takeru are wrestling with how they are going to confess to each other. The line begins this week with a ‘is there someone who like?’; nothing so out-there and special. Even if she will remain a secondary character in the show, she appears to be the only one I feel a connect with. She both Takeru wants to build up the courage to say something to her, and wants to support her first-year fellow Tanaka in confessing to senpai Urushi. Her hypnotism may as well just be some side gimmick here, but I hope it’s something that won’t be used all the time in the show, as there’s only so far that joke can go before it stops being funny.
These four characters are cute to watch, but for me that seems to be as far as it goes. I mean by the dialogue the two couples have, and the relationships they want to create and build just feels so two-dimensional. Tanaka’s deadpan face and monotone voice is a real disconnect and contradicts Urushi’s highly-charged adolescent emotions. But is this just a case of opposites attract? The same can be applied to Takeru and Sakurako. I do enjoy her softly-spoken intimate character design, but Takeru’s own childhood friend design is the kind we have seen in a million school rom coms before. Tanaka’s jealousy as Urushi talks about Takeru throughout this week’s episode doesn’t feel so natural and is pretty meh. So if we don’t care about the conflict, then we don’t care about the characters and how they feel about each other. And if we don’t care about the characters, then we don’t care about their story.
Urushi can show her new ponytail and try to catch Tanaka’s eye all she wants, and he can get upset when the ghost member Takeru arrives and impresses her with his own knowledge of shogi rules. But Ayumu needs to do a lot more in making these relationships fun to watch, and not to be so two-dimensional.
Call of the Night Episode 3
Over on Call of the Night, the end of last week’s episode introduced the next character in the show, Akira Asai. A girl from Yamori’s past, she is left very confused that someone she used to know well suddenly decided to quit school and pretty much disappear without a trace. He knows Akira from when they were both little, and she was able to find him that night as she was the one who discovered the blue transceiver Yamori didn’t use and just left on top of the apartment complexes’ mailbox. But the main theme of this week’s episode though is friendship, and what it is exactly.
Hearing Yamori talk about what he defines as ‘friends’ was interesting. How close are ‘friends’ supposed to be? If you haven’t spoken to them for a long time, are they still ‘friends’? If you have never met in real life, are you ‘friends’? One would think that as Nazuna and Akira meet for the first time, either one of them would get jealous of one stealing away the other, but the lover’s quarrel that Nazuna and Yamori have here (and it clearly is one, despite what they say) is a little complicated.
This week we hear from Yamori on why he decided to stop coming to school, and it’s a rather simple reason to be honest, even if it’s a little selfish – he just stopped having fun and finding satisfaction there. Upon hearing that, she chastises him for just giving up school for that one selfish reason, saying that she feels the same way but still puts up with it. But now it seems these two women in Yamori’s life appear to be fighting for his attention, and yet I still get the impression that they will eventually get along at some point. So far Akira is acting very maturely upon meeting a vampire for the first time, especially when she sees Nazuna ‘marking her territory’ by sucking his blood in front of her. Meanwhile Yamori is wrestling with the idea of whether Akira is a ‘friend’ or not, as the two haven’t seen each other in a long time. The boy is more non-social and anti-social, and this is why he finds such difficulty in determining what really is friendship and what isn’t.
The show overall continues with its unique personality that hooks you straight in. I notice more now that there are other little things in the show that stand out aside from the gorgeous art. The bar scene this episode is something I want to highlight in particular. It may appear non-descript to some, but the scene’s direction, the focus on the three characters and Nazuna’s casual behavior drinking beer at an unusual time are all things that will make Call of the Night as a rom com stand out in particular. Although I’m sure that it’ll be the artwork and the soundtrack will stand out the most here.
Akebi’s Sailor Uniform Episode 4
Last week I said I was worried about whether Akebi’s Sailor Uniform would go overboard on skin shots. I think that because everyone and everything in the show is so photogenic, we as the viewer can’t help but think about the weirdness we see in these characters. You really do get the impression that it is pretty much a foot fetish show, but now I’ve gotten to episode 4, I see much less of that. But the extremely photogenic shots we get don’t disappear at all.
Speaking of which, episode 4 goes into Akebi settling into her new school club, the Drama club. Here Tanigawa from the previous episode in the Photography club approaches her and asks to be a model for her, which she happily agrees. But while all of this posing takes place, she begins to think about why her fellow classmates have this image of her: the positive, outgoing and athletic girl with the sailor uniform. Even Tanigawa is torn over how she wants to portray Akebi at her best and most natural.
This episode also gives Usagihara a proper introduction. On the baseball team, she lives at the nearby dorm many of the schoolgirls live in, and it also gives us a better look on the rest of the characters in the show. Akebi has been painted as the popular girl in the class very quickly, but as we see here, she is far from perfect – not the idol that some of the girls see her as. She went to this school to make friends in the sailor uniform that she has wanted to wear for so long, and as a result of that same uniform, she has caught the eye of so many, she wanted it or not.
I like the simplicity of the story in Akebi’s Sailor Uniform. This very simple episode plot of getting uniform dirty and going to dorm to get it clean while eating home-made sweets works because it gives us a look at everyone at school. People need to remember that, while she may be the main character, the school and its inhabitants are the real stars. I’m expecting more secondary characters to make their appearances in other episodes, and there we’ll get to see that Akebi is not the practically perfect idol in a sailor uniform that some of the girls see her as.
I probably will watch that Lycoris Recoil show, but in my own time. Hey, by now I’d be looking at what I want to watch for the Fall season…that’s not a joke, by the way. And looking at what’s going to be store, I underestimated how many big-name shows are getting sequel seasons. My Hero Academia obviously, but there’s so much more. In fact if I were to list them all, I’d need an entire post to talk about them. The Fall season has traditionally always been the one season where studios like to show off their ‘best’ shows. I swore that I wouldn’t do an all-sequel season Otaku Theater run again and I won’t, but all of these upcoming sequels are something I’ll definitely be talking about either in this season or the next one.