Man, it sure is a good feeling when you get to the end of your anime week and not a single episode you watched let you down! Once again, it seems I’m experiencing the power of whittling down things to just what I’m really loving—and it’s exciting, fun, and refreshing. I swear I’m going to do this every season from here on out! And I know I said that after last season, but I mean it this time (spoilers: probably not ever going to happen because I’m too much of a sucker for shiny new things).
Gakkou Gurashi, Episode 8: I’m honestly not sure which is worse news—having the whole world turned into zombies and not knowing the cause or having the whole world turned into zombies and knowing the cause. Whichever it is, this week’s reveal, playing on the ridiculous convenience of the school setting that’s been mentioned for weeks by people, adds yet another layer of complexity to Gakkou Gurashi—this time on the plot level, instead of the psychological one. We also get to see Rii-san start to crack a little bit under the weight of having to baby Yuki and see Kurumi crack at the news of their situation. Fascinatingly, Miki is the one who seems to be most in control at this point, perhaps because she’s already started the worst in the face and come out of it alive. Once again, I’m not sure of the answers, but that’s a big part of what makes Gakkou Gurashi works. What’s going on with Yuki, exactly? What’s going on with this disaster? These questions fuel the tension of the show and make it, if not exactly fun to watch, at least compelling.
Classroom Crisis, Episode 9: Ah, Seekirasee, how lovely though art. Well, at least for one amazing scene of Nagisa and Kaitou having it out…the rest of the episode felt a bit dull to me despite the fact that it totally flashed by. I think this is really just a case of me being engaged in the narrative, but the show wandering less into the character-based stuff I really care about. The closest we got (other than the aforementioned shoutdown) was seeing Murakami standing on the streets campaigning, a voiceless victim to Nagisa’s quest for revenge. It gave a sense of reality to Nagisa’s obvious discomfort with his actions—despite all of his tough talk, he’s still just a kid who’s had a really awful life so far, clutching at straws in an attempt to make himself feel better…and leaving behind the one place he could have actually found some happiness. And I guess that’s kind of the tragedy of his character. Nagisa sees himself as too far gone, too much a fool, to stop now, even if he’s found a reason that he doesn’t have to take this path. Kaitou sees that tragedy (as does Mizuki), and that’s why they both are so affected by Nagisa’s situation.
In their own way, both Mizuki and Kaitou have been reaching out to Nagisa almost since the very first day they came into contact with him. Despite Kaitou’s relative airheadedness, it’s obvious he has a huge heart for his students—and Mizuki is just preternaturally a good person. The painful part is that it’s obvious their efforts have had a positive effect on Nagisa, but to a degree he’s actually right about himself. He’s locked so tightly into this path of revenge that pulling him out was always going to be a long, difficult process, and the situation with Yuji being his direct supervisor has counteracted their efforts and overrun the slower, steadier work of healing. These things are tough. Can’t wait to see where Classroom Crisis goes next week!
Gatchaman Crowds insight, Episode 8: It’s not surprising everything’s going to pot for Japan, but the really discomforting thing is just how gentle the ride to the bottom has been. It’s been little steps, one after another, guiding the country down into the pit of mindless agreement. Which is kind of a weird thing for me to be unhappy about, because I’m one of the least comfortable people with conflict I know. I instinctively want harmony and peace between people, yet even I can see that Gelsedra’s power to wipe away the individual for the sake of the group is B-A-D. As one of the Kuu’s says to the former Crowds 100 member, “We don’t discriminate,” which, read another way, really means: “We don’t acknowledge differences.” And anyone who doesn’t conform to the system gets swallowed up by it. Literally.
The other big things going on are that Rui is apparently out of commission entirely, and that Katze seems to be so pissed off about Gel “the world’s biggest flower gardern” sedra that he’s starting to talk a lot more with Hajime (via riddles, still). The world’s not congealed into a giant festering pile of sickeningly nice groupthink yet! I dunno how the Gatchaman are gonna get out of this pinch, though…
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, Episode 9: I don’t know how this show does it. I simply don’t. Actually, maybe I do, but I’m just so often in a state of awed bliss after watching it that I don’t care to deconstruct what it is about Shirayuki-hime that makes it just so unambiguously good to watch. And I know I’ve already prattled on about the overarching traits of the show that make it work so well for me—the music, the delicacy of its character movements, the beautiful visuals (even if the cinematography and direction aren’t always as inspired), and the overall sense of a warm, dignified elegance. This episode, though, let the typical places where the show really works go to sleep (aka Shirayuki is passed out)—and proves that it can work at the same subdued level with other characters besides just Zen and Shirayuki. Zen and Obi’s conversation on the floor together was one of the series’ highlights for me, demonstrating all the lessons Zen’s accumulated to this point in subtle action and starting to build a relationship (however still uneasy) between him and his new attendant. Starting to think about how gorgeous the BDs are going to look…
Miss Monochrome, Episode 9: Will someone please stop the menace that is Mana—wait. Mana’s words got Miss Monochrome in a ponytail and to do a happy fist pump? …all…is forgiven…
Ushio to Tora, Episode 9: I always forget how much I tell people about my job, but I work with a nonprofit that specializes in caregiving, so it was really cool to see a super accurate depiction of excellent relating to a suffering person with Ushio saying, “I’m sorry. That must have been hard.” Those are the words! No excuses, no pinking thinking. Just an acknowledgement of another’s pain. Good stuff.
Durarara!! x2-2, Episode 9: Man, how long have we been waiting to see 1) how Izaya and Shinra became friends, and 2) Izaya show even a hint of not being a complete sociopath? Not a particularly exciting episode, but with the production holding up much better than it did for the first season of the sequel, that’s fine.
Working!!!, Episode 9: And so, we take an ever-so-slight step towards a real Takanashi x Inami relationship. Three episodes left; please—let us witness it!