Still catching up on all of this until it ends, and this is my second catch-up post of the Spring season. As I mentioned in the last one, urgent real-life circumstances meant I had to step back from Otaku Theater. In that time, I missed quite a few episodes, and have since made the decision to drop To Your Eternity – not because it was a bad show, but because I worried that it would put me in a mood that I really don’t need to be in right now. Hard to describe, but let me have this one, please.
My other two shows are wrapping up though, and are building up to that epic finale episode that every anime show promises. I’m looking especially at the finale episode of SSSS.Dynazenon, as an awful lot of things have happened all at once in that. I’ll be talking about that later, but let’s get started with my other show.
Pretty Boy Detective Club
I swear, me bitching about Pretty Boy Detective Club is turning into a broken record. We’ve had the first two stand-out arcs: The Dark Star That Shines For You Alone, and The Swindler, The Vanishing Man, and the Pretty Boys. Each of those arcs developed Mayumi Dojima’s character pretty well, with the five other boys acting as side characters more or less. As the fourth arc comes and goes, it really felt like that this ‘je ne sais quoi‘ I felt just disappeared. An opening story about finding a missing star, and then antics in a casino run by teenagers. Then an arc about a series of mysterious unsigned paintings that appear out of nowhere. These are all pretty fascinating and, dare I say it, atypical Nisioisin arcs. So what do I make of the arc that follows it? The Pretty Boy Travelling with the Brocade Portrait? It just felt so…out there compared to the last three.
The premise of this story centers around a girl named Kodaki, and oh boy, does she have the mouth on her. It turns out that she not only is Nagahiro’s fiancée (ummm, okay…), but was also denied membership into the Pretty Boy Detective Club. This would certainly explain her animosity towards Mayumi who, as we saw at the beginning of the show, took 3 episodes before she became a member. What about this ‘present’ she leaves in the club house/art room?
I had to actually look up what this was, and it turns out this is what’s called a oshie-hagoita, something that is supposed to ward off evil spirits. What it is isn’t important…it’s why it was sent. Why did Kodaki think of sending something like this as some kind of ‘message’? And why has her very name shaken the hearts of the rest of the club. We are given quite a deep story that is both very fascinating and very different to what we have seen in the show so far. Personally, out of all the arcs in the show, I think this one is the weakest one I have seen. That’s not to say it doesn’t have substance though. I found the idea of ‘fallen nobility’ very interesting, but introducing it into a very visual show like this is something that has left me scratch me head a little. We discover that the marriage is actually a arranged one made out of convenience. Yes, she’s bitter about not being in the club, but her immaturity and her rude mouth have made her into a very unlikeable and relatable character.
We get to see this oshie-hagoita, ‘fallen nobility’, and why a vengeful maiden in love would never become a member of the club, but there was still something that just wasn’t right. That certain something that the last arcs had. I’ve used the term ‘je ne sais quoi‘ one time too many already, but I think that’s the best way I can describe this arc. It’s very unexceptional compared to the others. Past episodes have had cases and stories that have us hooked in and wanting to know more. I didn’t get any of that here, which I think is a real shame. SHAFT cannot be blamed for this of course; we can point the finger at the source material perhaps…I don’t know, where would you pin the blame?
This arc lasted only two episodes thankfully, and so we are brought into what looks to be the final arc in this anime adaptation. I’ve since discovered that SHAFT decided to skip two whole arcs from the light novels, and move straight to this one. Why exactly, I’m not quite sure. I don’t know what happens in those light novels; they have yet to be translated into English, after all. So…bring on the final arc.
I mention how Pretty Boy Detective Club is starting to get a little uninspiring thanks to this very lackluster arc. Thankfully the same cannot be said when it comes to SSSS.Dynazenon. Saying that though, we are thrown off a little in these recent episodes. The mood seems to have changed.
Episode 10 begins with a new kaiju that has a very different power than the ones we’ve seen in past episodes. Instead of destroying the city, it removes people from time and makes them relive a moment in time where they live in regret. This ends up happening with Yume, Koyomi and Gauma. Yume is sent back to when she was younger, just before her sister Kano dies. Koyomi is sent to when he finds that bag of money, and Gauma is sent to when he was a Kaiju Eugenicist himself, and betrays the others.
It’s a very fascinating story concept, and something that I actually expected from a show like this in this universe Trigger has created. Its predecessor, SSSS.Gridman, did something similar, where Akane makes timelines where she becomes close friends with the others, only for us to discover that she is the broken one who needs help, and is not the main antagonist the show made her out to be.
The penultimate episode follows on with this change of mood. Seeing that there are no more kaiju to find, the Kaiju Eugenicists concede and all go their separate ways. Juuga and Mujina both find themselves listless and wondering what they can do next now that they have nothing, while Onija remains committed to violence and goes on a wild crime spree. But now there are no more kaiju to fight, what about the Dynazenon crew? They have become so attached to this life of joining together as a mech, giving them some kind of purpose. So what could they possibly do now?
One big thing I really enjoyed when it came to SSSS.Gridman was how the focus of the show shifted from kaiju fighting to real-life circumstances. Here in SSSS.Dynazenon, Yomogi battles with his feelings for Yume while dreading the prospect of having a new step-dad. Yume has figured out that Kano’s death really was an accident, and was noone’s fault. Koyomi realizes that he needs to get off his backside and find a job. And Chise battles with the thought that the people she has grown attached to are leaving her alone again.
I won’t spoil the end of this penultimate episode, but it’s something that I didn’t see coming at all. Saying that, I did feel a little disappointed by it. It didn’t have the same kind of impact and drama the penultimate episode of SSSS.Gridman had. Followers still say that this show doesn’t quite hold a candle to its predecessor, and I agree. While the real-life story tangents have been fun, the show’s plot runs on a far more linear path, which in turn makes it not as exciting to watch.
I’ll be covering the finale episode in my next post, which will be the season review. Along with that, I’ll finally be able to finish my out-of-season show. I’ve been enjoying A Lull In The Sea, but I really do want to see what the ending will be.
A Lull In The Sea
I didn’t want to cover the 8 episodes that are left (the show is 26 episodes long) all at once, you see. It’s tempting to do, though. Hard to really put in words though, so just let me have this.
I left off on Episode 19, where Hikari is able to rescue Manaka from her cocoon and bring her to the surface before she drowns (her ena has completely disappeared). She remains asleep though, and is unable to awake. We also see how Kaname is getting more and more emotional after seeing Chisaki and Tsumugu gel together much more. I suppose you could say his pubescent hormones have kicked in finally, after being such a pacifist in the show for so long.
Episode 20 sees Hikari determined to find Uroko-sama and get some answers from him. Why did Manaka choose to become ‘the sacrifice’, why has her ena disappeared, and why won’t she wake up? This has created a rift between him and Miuna, who is seeing many things. One is the fact that he is stopping going to school to go on this mission for answers, but the main thing is envy and jealousy. Her own crush on Hikari is getting stronger, and her seeing him so determined to discover what’s wrong with the girl he promised to protect through thick and thin throws her off.
These final episodes are showing all of the characters’ emotions and feelings in all their glory. We get to see how Tsumugu was secretly hoping Hikari and Kaname wouldn’t wake up, so that Chisaki could see his own feelings for her. I already mentioned Miuna’s growing crush and how she wishes Hikari felt for her they way he feels for Manaka, who finally wakes up at the end of Episode 20, by the way. But it’s a different Manaka than Hikari and the others were expecting. To her, it’s as if nothing had happened at all. She’s lost her ena, but to her it’s like The Sending never happened, and she didn’t choose to become the sacrifice. Her memories of that time have vanished, and it’s like she is the same she was when we first saw her in the very first episode. Amidst all of this, the entire country is starting to get colder, with snow becoming more frequent. And not just that either; Tsumugu reveals that he himself has been cursed by Uroko-sama, somehow. Remember that fish that put on Manaka’s knee all the way in Episode 1? He has a fish of his own now, on his elbow.
It’s all getting curiouser and curiouser, and I’m loving all of it. I had originally been thrown off by the trademark P.A Works Melodrama™, but it ended up hooking me in, and now I’m really desperate to see if all of these kids will get the happy ending they all deserve. Hikari, Manaka, Chisaki, Kaname, Tsumugu, Miuna, and Sayu. All of them deserve happy endings, and I hope they get them.
I have a lot of episodes of A Lull In The Sea to talk about in the Season Review post that’s coming soon, along with the final episodes for both SSSS.Dynazenon and Pretty Boy Detective Club. My summer shows have already been picked, and I’m happy with the choices. Then again, I tend to say that at the start of every anime season, don’t I? Well, now the Spring season is that much closer to the end, how has it been for you? Feel free to hit that like button and air your opinions in the comments below!