Nonon’s Otaku Theater: Winter Anime 2022, Week 10

I’m not going to lie: my faith in new anime shows and in my own self have really been shaken this season. It took me a whole 2 months to realize that picking a show like World’s End Harem was a terrible idea for this column. I haven’t been enjoying Slow Loop as much as I had hoped I would. And so the only thing that has really kept me on my toes is My Dress-Up Darling. Now I’m not really sure if this is exclusively a winter season thing; I mean I’ve enjoyed many shows in the past that began in January. All that’s left is hope for the spring to be better before the winter shows finish.

World’s End Harem Episode 10

World's End Harem

I really did roast the last episode of this, and the show as a whole. Well as the final episode approaches, the script writers are trying desperately hard to fill in any gaps. But instead they have either introduced new things for us to complain about, or just glossed over them entirely. Take the very start of episode 10 as a good example. After the terrorist attack last week, it could have been better if Shouta have discovered that he wasn’t the only male in a much more serious way. Instead Karen just goes “whoops, forgot to tell you…” and the topic is dropped completely. The show paid far more attention to Shouta, turning him from into a sex-crazed maniac, while Reito is still brooding over who to trust. He was meant to be the main character, with his great mission to cure this engineered virus, and yet because he wasn’t getting it on, the show decided to turn to the poor little innocent soul being slowly corrupted.

World's End Harem

To no one’s real surprise, his long lost girlfriend turned out to be a member of this group who launched this attack. As they say in their pirate broadcast, they want to expose UW and develop a more natural method of repopulating the world, as opposed to the strictly monitored way that is currently being done. And to make sure they mean business, they do the broadcast wearing robes and carrying torches.

To be honest, it’s become really hard to tell who are the baddies here. Because Reito doesn’t radiate any kind of spark or energy, we can’t sympathize with his plight. And because he is just one gormless guy who is still hung-up over one girl, it’s plain to see that he doesn’t stand a chance against this shadowy government. So he reveals to the world that the virus was engineered…then what?

World's End Harem

We don’t find the evil UW (who didn’t exactly hide their evil-ness) very threatening either. Creating some ‘Utopia‘ where science has developed a way for people to become pregnant quicker isn’t portrayed as some world-shattering event in the show, and by the end of the show, we aren’t given the shock penultimate moment that pretty much every other show has – you know, to tease us into getting excited to watch the finale.

This week’s episode of World’s End Harem gives us plot points that we are meant to be surprised by, but turn out to be nothing that we haven’t known already or saw coming long ago. Will Reito take down the shadow government and be reunited with his long-lost love? Will Shouta get a redemption arc? Will Suou even have any lines? Does anyone even care anymore? Be sure to tune into next week’s final episode…and I can finally celebrate not having to watch this anymore.

Slow Loop Episode 10

I mentioned at the beginning of this post how my faith has been shaken in seasonal anime shows thanks to what I picked. Well I think I’ve reached a weird sense of numbness when it comes to Slow Loop. But not because it’s a bad show; it’s just gotten so extremely predictable now. We had been waiting for a ‘special’ episode, and we finally got one this week: the cultural festival episode. I had completely forgotten that Hiyori and Koharu had been put into different classes, so instead of one major thing we get to see a class do, we get two. While Koharu picked up a bizarre fish parasite exhibition, Hiyori’s one ended up doing the kind of event that nearly every high-school anime show has: the café.

Slow Loop

Thankfully that didn’t take up the whole of the episode. The other part focused on Futaba (who we haven’t seen in a while), and how she recently won a prefectorial writing contest. And this all means that she has to conquer her fears of speaking to an audience. This section of the show was something I found pretty weak, although it did give us some room to see Hiyori be nostalgic once more. Her dad and Koi’s dad struggled a lot when it came to picking up fly fishing, it seems. So with this, Hiyori lets Futaba know that she can easily overcome any fears she has, especially when it comes to impressing her new best buddy, who we saw a while back.

Do I want Slow Loop to end as much as I want World’s End Harem to? Well no, since there are a good bunch of things I’m still enjoying here. The show has just become far too predictable for my liking, and while that trait is nothing new in cutesy slice-of-life shows, there are times in the show that just make me want to jump up and pay attention. The whole plot point of Hiyori still in mourning over the loss of her father was something that could have been expanded further, but instead the sudden arrival of Koharu just made it look like some quick fix. At least this show didn’t go down the route of adding secondary characters left, right and center; we are given a small number that we get attached to. I was even surprised that Koi was labelled as one too.

Slow Loop
Slow Loop

Slow Loop may well end on some kind of Xmas episode, where instead of ordering fried chicken they make fried fish. Okay that was a weird joke, but given how I have seen plot points coming in the show from a mile away, I don’t anticipate this slow leaving us with some cliffhanger episode at all. This just isn’t the kind of show that does that.

My Dress-Up Darling Episode 10

So while I’m waiting for both World’s End Harem and Slow Loop to end, it feels kind of sad that My Dress-Up Darling will also end soon too. This whole arc of meeting cosplay veteran Juju and her sister Shinju, and working with the both of them to create new outfits has turned into something just as wonderful as when Wakana worked his fingers to the bone to make Marin’s Shizuku outfit. Juju puts on a tsundere-like front, but she is never violent or abusive. So any scenes with either one of the other main characters make her stand out…but in a good way.

I bring this up because the character design in My Dress-Up Darling is very well done. Instead of pushing away characters we don’t like so much, we get to sympathize with everyone, even those who don’t have that much in the way of screen time. This week they do their photoshoot at the hospital, with Marin fangirling unsurprisingly and Juju getting frustrated with her carefree and unprofessional attitude. However as she sees all of this, it makes her reminisce of how she herself started off cosplaying. Just like everyone else, it began as a fun hobby, until she realized she could make money from doing it.

My Dress-Up Darling
My Dress-Up Darling

Marin’s attitude is very infectious it seems, and has affected Juju just as much as it has Wakana. If this show ever gets a second season, I’m sure that we’ll be seeing plenty more of her and Shinju. Anyway, this week also covered Marin’s latest cosplay idea: Veronica. Thankfully this one is very simple, as the character doesn’t actually wear that much clothes to begin with, and so the only thing that is an issue is her skin tone and her teeth…all something Marin is very happy to go out of her way to recreate.

I think that as this show will end, the focus will shift less on the outfits themselves. Of course Marin’s puppy love and Wakana’s obliviousness have both been things we can immediately see, and while I don’t see any kind of confession coming, cosplay could well take even more of a backseat. I say that as an anime-only person though since I haven’t read the manga, so for all I know the final episode could lead on Wakana frantically worrying about how to react to Marin letting slip that she likes him.

The Helpful Fox Senko-san Episode 10

Episode 10 is the winter episode. When the roofs and streets are covered with snow, it’s something that really warms the hearts of children, but nope…Nakano is still expected to show up to work. This was something I particularly liked in this episode; it notices this difference between child-like delight and adult disappointment when winter comes.

The Helpful Fox Senko-san

There is this, but the other attraction for episode 10 was the proper introduction of Yozora, Senko and Shiro’s boss; she appeared briefly in the beach episode when Nakano disappeared off to look for shaved ice. As much as she is a welcome addition to the cast, it feels like she drives a wedge between Nakano and Senko. The romance subtexts that have been building in past episodes begin to feel awkward here. Senko is not his wife, or his mother, or his pet. She is a 600-year-old fox deity who arrives in his life as a result of his family’s past respects to her. All of this pampering we see has been both sweet and weird to watch, especially when it comes to all the fur and tail-stroking. I suppose there’s some relief that Nakano isn’t falling for the atypical harem trait of falling for Yozora’s voluptuous figure, blushing and pleading to the others that”this-isn’t-what-you-think!!!.

The Helpful Fox Senko-san

It does feel like Yozora was added to the cast at this late point because the writers had hoped that a second season will come, meaning her character would be developed some more. Well a second season of The Helpful Fox Senko-san hasn’t been announced yet. Would I watch a second season of this? Probably not. As much as I have found a lot of things here entertaining, the show hasn’t been something that has made me scream for more.

I’m fairly certain that any other show that I pick in the rest of this year will be better than the ones I chose this season. Maybe studios bet too much on the big franchises (Attack on Titan, Demon Slayer, The Case Study of Vanitas) meaning that some of the shows that began in January have disappeared from the spotlight. Shows like My Dress-Up Darling and Akebi’s Sailor Uniform have been exceptions, but I think this Winter season will be remembered as the dullest for a long while.

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