This week in anime was… not so good. In addition to Dragon Maid making its first legitimate missteps, there was also no Tanya, and apparently a week without Tanya pretty much instantly demonstrates that this season is resting on the thinnest of ice. There’s nothing like Flip Flappers here for me to constantly gush over – Rakugo is great, but it doesn’t really enchant or speak to me in the way my true favorites do. In the absence of Tanya (and with me having dropped ACCA for the moment), I’ve been forced to watch a bunch of Kemono Friends, the show about cute animal-girls who clip through their surroundings because their CG is so bad. It’s a rough time out there. Stay safe, everybody.
Alright, enough doom and gloom. Let’s get right to it and run this week down!
This week’s Dragon Maid was a whole lot hornier than I expected or am frankly comfortable with the show being. I’m totally cool with Tohru lusting after Kobayashi in whatever ways she finds appropriate – they’re both adults, Tohru herself seems fine with it, that’s the premise of the show. But when scenes hinge on Lucoa sexually harassing a child for comedy, or linger over friggin’ Kanna’s thighs, I have to call a timeout. I’d hoped the adaptation might smooth out some of the authorial creepiness from the source material, but that sadly didn’t seem to be the case here. Fortunately there was still some endearing family material to keep my happy, and the material between Fafnir and Kobayashi’s coworker was excellent as well. Here’s hoping KyoAni somehow go two for two on not-terrible swimsuit episodes next week!
Seiren pulled off something I never would have expected this week – an actual conventionally good episode. In lieu of its usual bizarre one-liners and singular perspective on what is sexy, we got thoughtful character-based dialogue, reasonable conflicts, and comprehensible narrative movement. I actually believe in the relationship between Shoichi and Toru now, which I certainly wouldn’t have imagined just a week ago. Great friggin’ work, Seiren. The tweet-ready lines are nice, but I’d much rather watch a show that’s just enjoyable because it’s doing its thing well.
March comes in like a lion had a generally reasonable episode this week, if not a highlight like last week. Basically all of Shimada’s material here was excellent, as his material generally is. Shimada seems to be the one adult who treats Rei as an equal, as opposed to a child, curiosity, or object of sympathy. He comes off as just as vulnerable as Rei in a way that feels very realistic, and even more fragile – after all, Rei’s the one with his whole life ahead of him. I really like how the show is contrasting his fond thoughts of his hometown with Rei’s feelings on home, and hope he actually manages to take enough games in this tournament to get that trip home. At least someone in this world deserves a little happiness.
The latest Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju was both a visual standout and an utter heartbreaker, a truly unfair combination. The reprise of Bon and Sukeroku’s dual performance gave Rakugo plenty more opportunities to illustrate the magic of stagecraft, but this time, the focus was squarely on how each of their performances reflected their feelings and personality at the time. The subsequent context made Sukeroku’s contentment at that moment that much more clear and poignant, and seeing Yotaro absorb it all was its own kind of delight. Then we finally got the truth behind Sukeroku and Miyokichi’s death, which was as horrifying as you might expect. With Konatsu as the true “culprit,” Bon’s hands were tied – there was absolutely no way he was going to tell the innocent daughter of his greatest friend that she had caused his death. But for all that, my favorite sequence of this episode had to be the ending, where Yotaro consoled himself in Konatsu’s snarky but fond arms. Few shows offer a couple as wonderful as those two, and they’re just one of Rakugo’s many, many treasures.