I look back at what I watched in the Winter season and my mind immediately turns to the mess that was season 2 of The Promised Neverland. Now I don’t want to say that I’m making some dumb assumptions of the shows I’m watching this season, but it’s like I just can’t help it. Shows are meant to have a ‘3 episode rule’, and now we are at that third episode, I kind of have to decide whether to take them seriously or grit my teeth and bear it.
Not the best thing to say in a weekly column like this, I know, but I do have a history of dropping shows here. I dropped Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight when it initially came out because I was getting frustrated with it (for some unknown reason), and ended up replacing it with something else. I look at what else is going on this season, and I ask myself “Would anything else be different for me?” Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn’t. But let’s take a look at what these third episodes have for me…
Pretty Boy Detective Club Episode 3
Starting off on a poor note here, as I still think that Pretty Boy Detective Club has gone too far when it comes to style. For this week, we get a continuation of what happened while the club tried to lure out Mayumi’s stalker by cutting her hair short and dressing her up, but it’s only led to her getting the attention of someone else entirely; another malevolent force calling herself Rei. She acts like an atypical Nisioisin antagonist here; being both upfront and complex at once. Despite nearly all of the episode taking place in this unusually long limousine of hers, I don’t think that that is what makes this week’s episode what it is.
Rei challenges Mayumi’s motivation to find this ‘star’ of hers, despite the fact that it has already been established that she actually saw a satellite be shot down instead. Mayumi had spent her whole childhood with the dream of becoming an astronaut, and now with it shot down (no pun intended) twice, what is she to do now? To be fair, I completely understand Rei’s questioning here. As children and teenagers, we think of a lot of things we want to be when we grow up, and then when we become adults, we end up with terrible jobs or a part of the gig economy. Manabu does chime in and tells her that the dream itself is just fine, and that it’s okay to turn to something else. This also is something I agree with, so why do I feel so conflicted with all of this?
I spent a bit of time in deep thought over this after I finished this week’s episode. As a child, I had dreams of joining the Navy but my poor health shot that dream down. I went to college to study media, but since then, my interests have ended up going in other directions. So yeah, it’s okay to give up childhood dreams and try something else. Maybe it’s this standard blend of SHAFT and Nisioisin that I’ve gotten so tired of now that has swayed me. I’ve reached the three episode mark for Pretty Boy Detective Club, and yet despite a lot of ground being covered in this first arc (if you can call it that), I’m still not satisfied. Maybe a second watch of the show would help me understand more.
To Your Eternity Episode 3
…just like a second watch of To Your Eternity might help me too.
I like the slow burn shows, as they give plenty of time to build characters and their settings, but I’ve found this to be an unusually slow burn. We’ve had an amazing debut episode that acted more like a prologue to the real story, and the second episode begins the show properly, introducing March and her backstory of being a sacrifice to a mountain god. Well this week we discover that the people who collected March for the sacrifice believed in a myth that didn’t exist at all. Even with all of this, March can’t go back to her village; the reason why is something I don’t think I should spoil for the anime-only folk. We know for sure now that the show will not operate on an episode-by-episode manner. What will happen to March and the people around her will be something that will continue on to next week.
Outside of all that, To Your Eternity now moves on to how Fushi develops. A line the narration said was something that stood out for me:
“Most animals cannot choose their own environments. Therefore, in order to adapt, they need to change themselves. For humans especially, such changes are preceded by emotion.”
I’ve stopped thinking that Fushi is just someone who can pick up all the traits of humanity you & I take for granted in a heartbeat. As the show moves on, he will learn them all as his journey continues. He will be the one to adapt to this new environment and learn from the people he encounter along the way. He’s had the unnamed boy in episode 1, and now March and the ritual people. Who will he meet next?
I can’t really say that I’ve been sucked into the hype of this show that many other anime followers have, as for me, there are still a couple of things that don’t 100% sit right with me. I’m fairly confident that those tiny things will disappear, and I will end up being very glad I picked this show for Otaku Theater.
SSSS.Dynazenon Episode 4
I really don’t mean to sling mud at all of these shows, because I know a lot of anime followers are really enjoying them. To Your Eternity is a slow burner that I think will take me a while to warm to, and I worry that Pretty Boy Detective Club is being far too stylish for its own good. SSSS.Dynazenon, on the other hand, is getting to me far more, and for all sorts of reasons.
Four episodes into SSSS.Dynazenon, and we haven’t really seen much in the way of a stand-out character that is on the level of what Akane was. Gauma is portrayed as some impulsive and mysterious kaiju user from far away, both Yomogi and Koyomi are portrayed as regular people, whilst a considerable amount of focus is on Yume and what kind of character she was, and has become. Last week, I said how I was finding her more interesting, well for me now, it’s much more than just what her backstory is. I see that already people are comparing her character design to that of Akane from SSSS.Gridman. I think it’s far too early to call comparisons like that though, since Akane was such a stand-out character in that show. And it wasn’t because of her circumstances in the world around her either.
I think it’s still a little early for Yume’s character design to be fully established, even with a good part of this week’s episode delving into it. This whole Akane/Yume comparison theory might end up being something I want to discuss in more detail in my main blog in the future. Anyway…
This week another member of the Kaiju Eugenists makes a move on the children, this time by transferring into their class as an exchange student. Right now, this hasn’t brought about anything but it’s definitely something that’ll crop up in the future. But most of the show is dominated by the relationship that Yomogi and Yume have built up despite only meeting recently. Yume is finding out more about her sister, while Yomogi is now thinking about how he has been effectively forced into this situation of being a part of the Dynazenon, all while battling a nasty cold.
One thing I have enjoyed a lot in these Trigger Gridman Universe shows is that we see a lot more of the characters themselves and the ordinary lives they live, as opposed to other mecha/tokusatsu shows where the action and fighting end up taking over their lives almost entirely. We have these situations where Yomogi is asking himself why he should even do it in the first place, when someone like Chise is much more eager to take his place. This shift of focus is definitely something that be recurring in the show, and that’s a plus for me.
A Lull In The Sea Episode 16
Episode 16 moves on to Hikari’s return to school, and since he’s still the same age as he was, he goes into Sayu and Miuna’s class. The kids here seem to take it in stride, so maybe it’s something that they understand entirely. The prejudice of sea people and surface people has pretty much evaporated at this point. The events of the Sending have given the surface people a great level of empathy towards them, who will all eventually wake up and realize the world on the surface has changed a great deal. As we see in episode 16, Miuna isn’t dealing with this change so well…or as much as she thought.
She has suppressed a crush on Hikari since they first met, and now she is stuck with the great dilemma of them being distantly related now. As Sayu and another classmate tell her, they cannot be together. While he has hardly changed one bit, Miuna’s oncoming teenage hormones mean she is acting before she thinks. She knows that they cannot be together, but doesn’t know how to suppress her crush anymore. Should she continue or just give up and go after the boy at school who likes her?
The scene at the tailor’s stood out for me too. Hikari and Miuna are sent off to get him the new school uniform, but out of nowhere Miuna insists that he have the uniform of his old school in Shioshishio, despite it being closed down. This shows that she is desperate to cling onto the Hikari of the past. The Hikari she met for the first time five years ago when she developed her crush on him. The world has changed, and yet Miuna refuses to let go.
I talked about Chisaki in last week’s column, and now I moved onto Miuna for this week., but at the end of this episode, the second cour heads towards its next part: Kaname waking up from hibernation and arriving on the surface. This means the next episode (or two episodes) will put him on center stage. Hikari has already had to make sudden adjustments after being asleep for five years, so what will the typical calm and collected Kaname think? He has feelings for Chisaki, but she is an adult now. So who will he turn to?
What’s going on in SSSS.Dynazenon at the moment is making me very curious, while I’m slowly losing patience with both Pretty Boy Detective Club and To Your Eternity, both for different reasons. I intend to keep Otaku Theater as a distraction to what’s really going on in my real life, and so maybe in future anime picks, I should just find the most ridiculous shows instead. Hmm, I don’t know. Do you guys think that I should have picked something sillier and more light-hearted this season, instead of a show like To Your Eternity which requires my full attention?