I’m feeling confident in having dropped The Pilot’s Love Song at this point, given what I’ve heard about the last two episodes. As expected, they’ve basically just been focused on murdering all the characters the show introduced to be murdered, all in service of a conflict the audience has no stake in beyond possibly an attachment to the Ramen Kids. Aside from that, I’m feeling somewhat fatigued by everything except the season’s highlights, and this season’s highlights are kind of middling shows anyway. Running it down…
Chuunibyou Ren 7: So yeah, the plot’s starting in earnest at this point. And honestly, I’m kind of not sure what to make of it. The actual “building their relationship” stuff, I’m totally on board with – I liked the overarching conflict of this episode, I liked the little moments Yuuta and Rikka share, and I liked how it was less a typical misunderstanding and more a Real thing, about building trust in a relationship.
But I think I just might be chuunibyou’d out.
In the first season, the chuunibyou had a very real context – it was Rikka’s way of not dealing with her father’s death. And they confronted that, and the ultimate resolution was “denying your childish instincts means denying your own personality,” which is perfectly fine. But… there’s “not denying your childish instincts,” and then there’s “being super chuunibyou all the goddamn time.” I don’t remember the first season’s second half being like this – when Rikka actually had real issues to deal with, she was perfectly willing to get serious, and the chuunibyou was more a tick than her entire deal. But this season seems to be going in the other direction – Rikka’s basically a child, and Yuuta’s the indulgent parent who tolerates her shenanigans. And what is Saturn’s deal? Her flashback this episode – “I realized I was growing out of my childish fantasies, and so… I DOUBLED DOWN ON MY CHILDISH FANTASIES.” WHAT? What is THAT supposed to imply?
So at this point, every chuunibyou thing Rikka does is starting to aggravate me. I feel like this season’s entirely commercial reasons for existing clash directly with the progression of the first season, and I’m not at all happy with the result.
Log Horizon 21: A solid cooldown episode here, that caught us up with all of the cast and introduced a few new threads. We definitely needed this after the long building conflict of the conference->Goblin King, and any opportunity for more silly Lenessia faces is obviously a great victory for everyone. Log Horizon’s established a pretty impressive, comfortable platform at this point – if the source material holds out, I could see a show like this running confidently for a long time.
Space Dandy 8: One more episode demonstrating what a strange little show this is. This episode might as well have been two twelve minute episodes – its two halves shared barely any narrative connections and absolutely no tonal ones. The first half was a Sad Dandy in the ramen vendor school – that is, a story that tried to be affecting too quickly to earn it, and thus just came off as abruptly melancholy. And then the second half was a silly slapstick piece about man-fleas colonizing the Aloha crew. Why these two pieces were sandwiched together this way, I really couldn’t tell you – I’d be interested in seeing the genesis of this episode’s script, because it really did feel like two separate episodes welded awkwardly together.
Sekai Seifuku 7: Sekai Seifuku is generally at its best when it completely surrenders to its own nonsense reality, and fortunately, this episode featured a giant demon Kate rampaging through the high school. What did the sequence in the desert-school actually mean? I can’t tell you, at least not yet, but I know it’s more interesting than wacky high school shenanigans. And this episode’s wacky high school shenanigans were also funny, and Renge’s character even got some decent development, so all in all I have to consider this one a win.
Hunter x Hunter 118: If this is the show “cooling down” after 116, I’m terrified of what will happen when it gets tense again. The second half of this episode had me holding my breath – given the body count of the first half of Chimera Ant, I’m pretty much assuming our whole team will not survive this, and it really looked like Knuckle’s number was up there. Madhouse once again demonstrated they know how to save their continuous animation for where it really counts – the mad rush into Youpi, followed by the slowed time of the leap, followed by the equally mad flurry of attacks and escape was fantastically paced. I was right there with Knuckle, cheering in relief at having survived – with Youpi in particular, it’s always clear that these characters are not fighting on equal terms, and one good shot will end any of our heroes.
Nagi no Asukara 20: This episode featured Miuna wandering to various places and feeling sad and guilty. She wandered to school and felt sad, she talked to Sayu and felt sad, she read some books and felt guilty, she took care of Manaka and Hikari while feeling guilty-sad, and then she talked to Tsumugu about feeling sad and guilty and he made her feel better by saying that’s completely normal. Then Manaka woke up. The end!
Yeah, at this point, NagiAsu’s failure to actually do anything with its characters is wearing me down. I’ll finish it, but I’m far less enthusiastic than I was at the start of this half – the first half’s middle also dragged, but this is a whooole lot of dragging. This episode added almost nothing to the narrative, to the character dynamics, or to my understanding of the characters – it just occupied twenty-three minutes. Manaka waking up will probably lead to another rallying, but just like last time, it won’t retroactively justify the path we took to get there.
Kill la Kill 19: A fine episode. The Gamagoori stuff was very cute, the whole episode was funny, and in general I’m just tremendously relieved to see us over the show’s premise-hurdle. No more “I gotta find who killed my dad!”, no more “I’ll get you, Satsuki!” – finally, the fuse we assumed would blow around episode 8, or episode 12, or episode 15, has actually gone sky-high. It’s fun to see the heroes on the run, it’s fun to see Kill la Kill’s version of the apocalypse, and it’s very fun to see all our favorites finally on the same side. Though Ryuuko’s ending line has me more exasperated than anything – what is this, the fourth time she finds the resolve to trust Senketsu? Literally – this follows on the heels of 3, 12, and 13-14, all of which dealt with Ryuuko managing her relationship with her clothes. Not exactly holding my breath here.