This Week: Kill la Kill, Nagi No Asukara, Miss Monochrome, Coppelion, Non Non Biyori, Gingitsune: Messenger of the Fox Gods, and Gundam Build Fighters.
Anime season midterms are one week off for most of these productions, so we will see who has been studying and which shows are slacking off.
Kill La Kill (Episode 5)
I remember stating previously that Ryuuko was in danger of going down a bit of a rougher direction given how her characterization was shifting, and leave it to Senketsu to bring us back to that. Her blood is salty, and she is getting too cocky.
We have the introduction of there being another organization out there in the form the Nudist Beach folks, which I’m nowhere near surprised that Aikurou is on board with. He’s been one of the only folks seemingly aware of a much larger gameplan going on, and given his statements about Ryuuko possibly proving to be a powerful ally, we’ll need to see what leads up those series of strings.
Ryuuko’s primary objective has been to get information on the death of her father, with key secondary ones going towards Doing The Right Thing and such, but this hasn’t necessarily been much in her regarding bigger political games or whatnot. Watch it turn out that Aikurou was somehow responsible for the death of his dear friend Mr. Matoi all as a part of some larger gambit to dislodge the Kiryuuin’s or something by driving Ryuuko on some independent forward quest for revenge.
It is interesting that nobody else outside of Ryuuko has been able to hear Senketsu until now. That’s been sort of a running little bit in its own right, given how silly that can look to an outsider, just seeing her rambling to her uniform. However, now we also have recognition that Senketsu can actually be heard by other people should he seem to actually care for them to be able to listen. As there is stated concern that Senketsu could be a dangerous entity leading to one being consumed and destroyed by him, that will certainly be something to play with one way or another going forwards.
Nagi No Asukara (Episode 5)
It was going to happen sooner or later, and here we are: an episode where a whole lot of anguished crying goes down.
In this case though, given the methodical build that has brought us to this point, I think it has earned the right to let some loose as a part of where we will go from here.
Chisaki manages to get at least a little of her feelings heard by someone, Hikari’s more fireball nature pushes him to actually do right not once but twice (pushing his Akari to be with Itaru, and going after Miuna), breakups happen, kids go missing, fish fries are had, and a lot of chewing gum gets chewed. And tears.
I think the show has done alright by this on the whole, but Miuna does seem to me to be speaking beyond her age bracket. She goes with a more poetic direction that seems at least a little out of alignment with where she should be, especially near the end of the episode. Given, as the source of her anguish has to due with something she has had time to think about (the loss of her mother, inability to swim, etc), this isn’t so much unbelievable as it is merely unlikely.
I’ll be surprised if Miuna doesn’t end up developing some kind of crush on Hikari.
Miss Monochrome (Episode 6)
This week our idol imagines herself in a wide variety of rather impossible professional situations.
Or perhaps merely improbable, given how her life tends to turn out.
As is often the case, she has the aspirations despite her position at the convenience store, its just the follow through that tends to gum up the works. In this case, by being brought in to have a part in a Candid Camera style surprise show, she actually gave a far more surprising reaction than one would have perhaps expected from her monotone tone. So surprising, in fact, that nobody in the intended audience of the show they were recording for will actually be able to be surprised by it themselves.
I do continue to appreciate how much they are really able to package into these skits every week, as the format does allow for very little extraneous material. We still maintain the convenience store clerk angle in the mix of everything else, and we see that Miss Monochrome actually uses Ru-chan the Roomba… as a pillow.
It’s an interesting little dynamic in the mix of everything else, as on the one hand there is the long relationship these two friends have with one another that can give that scene a warm little flavor. On the other hand, we know from establishing enough of her economic situation already the Monochrome doesn’t really have a whole lot of resources anymore, and thus literally may lack the means at this time for a more proper pillow
Coppelion (Episode 6)
All things considered, we have had a surprisingly little in the way of genuine explosions so far in Coppelion. This week aimed to fix some of that while at the same time trying to ensure we get our continued dose of heavy handed Humans Suck speeches.
Aoi’s exaggerated shenanigans get her kidnapped by the renegade military members, which makes up the bulk of the episode operations. We link up with the member of the Cleanup Crew sent by the Vice Principal, who supplies a penchant for firepower while also giving grand statements on rooftops about why one can only see the stars in the night sky in places as devoid of people as the disaster zone.
Dialogue proceeds as usual, going along the lines of “These men do not fear death!” while never really giving us any reason to buy into that as a statement beforehand. The show functions like a really excited creative writing class student who wants to tell us all about how Totally Hardcore Awesome something is, and then only tries to cobble together the parts for that after the fact when the peer reviews come in and nobody seemed to have “got” it due to how front loaded everything is.
Given the way the writing in this show works, I really don’t feel anything towards the danger or set of injuries Ibara has acquired by the end of the episode. The plot armor of this team is made of borderline diamonds, so she will be just fine. I literally do not believe any attempt by this show when it tries to tell me otherwise.
Non Non Biyori (Episode 5)
Now that each of the main cast have received a central episode, we can get back into the swing of having another whole group episode during the summer vacation period.
So in that way, it allowed everyone to come back together as a unit while at the same time being among the lowest stakes environment, prime for messing around before school gets back in session. So we gear up and head to the beach.
As a Girls Doing Things show, one pretty much should be well aware by episode five if they are on board with what it is up to or not. I’m honestly not very much a fan of the genre myself. But I think the attention it has paid to slowly giving everyone the spotlight and developing character relationships organically over just telling us what they are supposed to be has been making this show an enjoyable experience for me every week. The more rural pace of everything has complimented it well.
We’ve seen whole segments with the Koshigaya sisters acting as sisters together in their previously dedicated episode time for instance, so when Natsumi’s and Komari’s train station meal situation goes down, it is a more natural set of affairs then just “Well, we need to set up for the next punchline because I poured too much pepper on my food and that’s the joke next in the script.” The show allows its jokes to work at a slower pace than other ones of its genre, and goes for smaller and more achievable humor, seeming all the more natural than them for it.
Gingitsune: Messenger of the Fox Gods (Episode 5)
This was likely the best episode since the opening two, though I think this is really only stopping up the bleeding rather than being a real return to form.
I think what I want this show to do, and what it is prepared to give me, are just operating on different wavelengths.
We receive more of Satoru and Haru’s backstories and where they are coming from, mostly via flashbacks with bits here and there back in the present. This doesn’t really sit as well with me, because if I am being honest, I still am waiting to see this kind of development done for Makoto and Gintaro. Or more time with Hiwako and/or Yumi. Any one of which I would have loved to see more focus and development on, and it just keeps chugging along to the next character. Heck, I find Makoto’s dad a pretty swell dude, show more of him and that family dynamic even.
It doesn’t make the world around them seem bigger or more interesting as much as I just get tired of meeting new folks in a show with a limited number of episodes remaining and when we haven’t really explored much with who we already know. This is the kind of slice of life writing that seems at a bit of a loss on situations for its characters, like it is somehow afraid that we will get bored and leave unless it can wiggle in enough drama. But it also isn’t really a drama either, which could have worked in its own right. It’s hedging its bets and trying to straddle multiple approaches in an attempt to have some kind of broader appeal, but I think it is weaker for it by not being honest with itself one way or the other.
Given the next episode preview it looks like we’ll see past characters again, but when anime name episodes things like “How Do I Look?” my hopes don’t exactly get raised. I assume there will be the whole set of Anime Misunderstandings to go along with that. But I’ll allow it to prove me wrong in the event it turns out better than expected.
Gundam Build Fighters (Episode 5)
Despite the last episode of this show throwing me for a loop we are right back to chuckling about Ral talking about the beauty of anime dioramas and fights happening in childhood imaginations.
It really is like the previous episode just sort of fell out of nowhere, because everyone seems back into their previously defined characterizations. If someone had called out China as Sei’s girlfriend last week, I honestly think she would have been written to either dramatically run off or Anime Glasses Glare at them. Here she keeps walking with the group and smiles about it.
Scripting corrections aside, this episode acts more as a series of light individual shenanigans and a setup for a future battle, which is perfectly valid for where we are in a tournament fighter series at the moment. We can’t just meet everyone in the matches, or we won’t really care about them beyond cannon fodder when they need to be fought, and Mao is no different.
Tatsuya’s affairs seem to also indicate we are reaching Something Larger Is Afoot status, which is again also pretty much to be expected at this point. So, nothing surprising, but better off than where we were last week.
Hangers is a weekly series containing my passing thoughts on currently airing anime productions. Opinions, as always, are subject to change.