As a counterpoint to last week’s gushing praise about watching only a handful of shows, and having them all be shows you like, this week’s anime seemed (especially early on) determined to remind me that the other side of this is that the week can seem kind of drab if a bunch of your shows decide to take an unfortunate week off all at the same time. Of course, it wasn’t everything that this happened to—it just seems like a lot more when you’ve only got eight show that you’re keeping up with.
Classroom Crisis, Episode 10: Leading off the relative disappointments was an episode of Classroom Crisis that really could have been better than it was, but ended up not being so. The biggest problem I see in the show (as a whole, not just in this episode) is that it’s biggest charm points are: A) Mizuki, B) Kaitou, C) A-TEC as a unit, D) Nagisa, E) Iris, and F) Angelina. These characters are the absolute best thing about Classroom Crisis by a long, long shot, but these plot heavy episodes don’t really give any of them the chance to shine, instead throwing us into the political whirlwind of activity that could be meaningful, but ultimately comes up short for a variety of reasons (most prominent of which is the simple lack of time spent with the characters who matter—Nagisa, primarily).
All that being said, the (actually pretty well set up) twist that Iris is the true Nagisa and Nagisa is working to protect her—maybe?—keeps the show’s flagging narrative interesting. The question that’s immediately obvious here is, of course: is Nagisa really working to protect Iris, or is he actually as revenge-driven as we’ve seen him to be? I don’t know. Also, Mizuki is in love with him, which didn’t come completely out of nowhere, but it still would have been nice to see, I dunno, a little more responsiveness from Nagisa in Mizuki’s direction so it felt less like she just feel in love with him because ??? she was supposed to?
Gakkou Gurashi, Episode 9: Like I said, a rough week. Gakkou Gurashi‘s exploits in pure slice-of-life moe (and occasionally very bad fanservice taste) have mostly been limited to very short segments of individual episodes, but this episode took everything that’s weak about the show and indulged in it. And yeah, again…the fanservice is ugh. This all particularly grates on me because one of the takes I’ve had on Gakkou Gurashi is that there’s some meta-level commentary on the moe genre vis-a-vis the shifts from cutesy, insubstantial fluff to a degrading, nasty reality, but when the show’s just doing straight fluff (particularly when its also stripping its characters of humanity and dignity through fanservice) that kind of edge gets lost amidst all the nonsense—plus it kills the narrative momentum in a way that’s not refreshing, but irritating. Of course, then we got the final few moments of the episode—yay, we’re back to stomach turning tension. Next week should be fun.
Gatchaman Crowds insight, Episode 9: For an introduction, here are some thoughts on Hajime and Tsubasa, courtesy of Illegenes’ wonderful post over on SBD—go check it out! Back? Okay, the comment I wrote there is kind of the groundwork for what I want to talk about on this episode of Crowds. Here’s the deal. The Kuu-samas represent a physical incarnation of a very recognizable occurrence in human social interaction: someone doesn’t quite fit the group’s accepted mode of relating? Eliminate them from the group, whether it be through isolation, outright meanness, or just a persistence in ignoring their difference. Eventually, they go away. Of course, this is the theatre of fiction, so all these different options have been dramatized into the single action of the Kuu-samas devouring anyone who doesn’t fit the mold—whether because they disagree with the overall trajectory of humanity, or just because they don’t feel like going to karaoke tonight.
How does this relate to my comment? It’s about self-reflectiveness. The really annoying thing about being human is that it’s impossible to be entirely self-aware at any one time. The moment you reach the theoretical point of full self-knowledge, immediately there begin to be things about you that you’re unaware of. In a group setting, this looks like moderation of the social norms. If the group (as small as a few friends, or as big as society) is aware of its customs, rituals, and rules, it can identify where those collectively agreed upon ideas begin generate dissenters. Unfortunately, due to the human tendency to adhere to what other humans are doing, this kind of social self-awareness is really difficult. As soon as we start moderating those who are being Kuu-samas, we stand the risk of becoming Kuu-samas ourselves.
That’s why Hajime is so important. She is, as I wrote in my comment, the mirror of humanity—and we’d best keep looking in, no matter how ugly it gets.
Akagami no Shirayuki-hime, Episode 10: Oh my goodness, this show is something else. Although the episode as a whole passed by in a flash, I was getting ready to chalk this one up as one of Shirayuki-hime‘s weaker offerings—a one-off episode that didn’t really do much for the characters…and then the viscount started threatening Shirayuki, and Shirayuki talked back, and then she jumped in the water, and then Zen showed up, and then…and then…
And then I cried because oh my goodness this show, it is stunning. Because when Zen came to check on Shirayuki’s (thankfully minor) injury, everything else about this episode fell into place. The pressure of Zen’s station and the way Shirayuki relieves him of the stress of it, the reality of their socially difficult relationship due to their class differences, the slow building intensity of their relationship that’s starting to boil over…it all clicked with that one kiss because everything that is good and wonderful and beautiful about this show comes back to Zen and Shirayuki. It comes back to the way they deeply care for each other. It comes back to the way they deeply trust each other. It comes back to the fact that they’ve both made a choice about wanting to be around the other. Ah, geez. I’m really starting to fall for this show…
- Ushio to Tora, Episode 10: This is clearly not the show’s best material, as the monster of the week formula is starting to weary me despite the nice twists to it that they brought this week. I’m just ready for the story to actually move, rather than watching Ushio and Tora toss away time on one-shot adventures. It wasn’t the episode so much as it’s the format.
- Miss Monochrome S2, Episode 10: Well, we spent all episode getting ready for a joke a Yui Horie’s expense, so I guess it’s all good. Miss Monochrome in general is a show that I still can’t believe we get, and am grateful for. It’s just silly and absurd in such a tongue-in-cheek kind of way. I like it a lot.
- Working!!!, Episode 10: i swear i’m going to die before this show actually lets inami x souta have real resolution huh oh well I had a good run see you all in the next life lets pray we all reincarnate into a world where working!!! ships actually come true