I don’t want to say this is around the time in shows where the filler episodes start to come out, but that often ends up the case, especially for what I choose to watch. Shows have passed their third episode point and have either shined or vanished. Thankfully the ones I picked are all doing extremely well and I’m having fun watching them. But I know I should also be cautious, as even the greatest shows can fall victim to mediocre filler episodes.
Wow I sounds pretty pessimistic this week, don’t I? These are fun shows I’m watching. I want to know about Mitsumi’s and Shima’s social circle, whether Nasa and Tsukasa will get closer or not, whether Kana will make Aqua see sense or if Ruby will become the idol she wants to be, and so on. It’s like I have two little people sitting on my shoulder; one is praising the shows I watch, and the other is putting them down. And it’s like I never know which one is right.
Skip and Loafer Episode 5
After finishing this episode of Skip and Loafer, I wasn’t sure how to write about it. It felt like a filler episode, but it also showed us how the friendships between characters have developed in the last 2 months of school, thus giving it more substance than a filler episode. Mitsumi has been feeling a lot like the odd one out because she is the one moving into the big city from the countryside, and yet she has been able to strike up a close friendship with who has quickly become one of the most popular guys in school already. It’s easy to feel a little envious, and that’s what we’ve seen a lot in Egashira. But instead of just labelling her as that, this week’s episode made sure to dive into her character more.
The viewers have been quick to pick up on the animosity she harbors towards some of the others in the same social circle, in particular Mitsumi. But it’s good that we see that there is reasoning behind all of this; it’s because she’s been held back so much in her past school days. She was the chubby girl in the class and was relegated to class duties that no-one else could be bothered to do. She was the one who had to work hard to lose weight and stand up for herself just so others could recognize and notice her. And yet in the first two months, she sees people around her just get along so quickly and effortlessly; to her, it almost looks like that hard work of hers was all for nothing. So in that respect, I understand her bitterness and envy too.
So her animosity isn’t centered squarely on Mitsumi, but instead towards all the people she sees at school who seem to have it so easy in life. These people are unapologetically themselves. Sometimes their emotions can get the better of them, but they have no persona to hide behind. One point that stood out for me is when some third-years invade the school gym when it’s allocated for the first-years. We see that Egashira is quick to remember names of people that have annoyed her, while Mitsumi remembers the people who have been kind. And that’s the difference we see between the two of them. I would not call this some wake-up call for Egashira though, as I’ve really grown to like her character design when I didn’t before. It’s good for a show like this to have morally grey characters, and not for everyone to be so black and white.
Speaking of wake-up calls, Mitsumi seems to have had another one, as it’s dawned on her that the one person who has been quick to befriend her is more popular than she realized. The entire school seems to fawn over him, as if he radiates sunshine and happiness. It’s a character trait that I don’t normally like in school shows, as I find out in past guys who are ‘too good to be true’ that they are pretty empty inside. Throughout the episodes I’ve seen, Shima has just tagged along with any activity and I questioned him last week on whether there is anything in life that he enjoys for himself.
I still haven’t seen that, but we get some kind of idea on why he is so quick to be a tag-along. We’ve all thought Mitsumi to be the odd-one-out, but has it been Shima all along? He has wanted to escape his child actor past, and as that has likely been all he has known in his childhood, perhaps he wants to savor these high-school years as much as he can. We’ve had some development episodes for the others in the circle, but barely anything for him, and that’s what is frustrating me the most right now.
Tonikawa: Over The Moon For You Season 2 Episode 5
This week’s episode of Tonikawa on the other hand felt very muted in comparison. This is the one where we are finally introduced to Toriko, Chitose’s even wealthier grandmother, but I somehow felt a little disappointed by the time the episode ended. And it wasn’t because it seemed to add cheesy fan service for absolutely no reason.
Kaname’s divorced mom returns home from overseas and is already lamenting over how hee husband ran off to some younger girl, but she did win some tickets to a big onsen resort, and since she and her daughters can’t go, she gives them to Nasa and Tsukasa instead. A little weird having them go to an onsen resort despite living in the backyard of a bathhouse, but I suppose it is a good joke, and it also gives the two of them a chance to get closer like they tried to last week.
I’m somehow not surprised that someone like Toriko would choose to follow them to the resort and want to see what kind of man Tsukasa decided to marry. But aside from the cheeky meddling grandmother jokes, the episode then decides to get a little deeper. We are reminded of the moon rock at Chitose’s house we saw in season 1, and how it is kept in a special container so it doesn’t oxidize. I have long thought that Tsukasa has been presented like some Princess Kaguya coming down from the moon and falling in love, but it somehow seems all the more believable now we’re given all these hints. The moon rock, the endless moon shots throughout the show, Tsukasa’s own reluctance to talk about her past…
This was an episode that I probably need a second look at. The totally unnecessary fan service moment of Kaname goading Aya to clean the bathhouse with Chitose (who shows up too, for some reason) was a real put off, and soured the mood of the rest of the episode. This could have been a better opportunity to introduce Toriko and to get Nasa and Tsukasa to enjoy what it potentially their honeymoon, and yet we had to have some silliness with it. I just wasn’t sold.
Oshi no Ko Episode 4
I remember last week I began to think about what lengths Aqua was willing to go to find his father and get whatever answers he thought he needs. Well we found out this week that the producer he found on Ai’s secret phone had no biological relation to him, which was a relief. But it’s possible that we won’t see the end of him, especially considering how he was able to salvage the final episode of Kana’s bad web show with his short performance of a crazy stalker. The producer has already asked him to be a part of a future endeavor.
I do think that Kana will eventually be someone that will melt his ice cold heart, and perhaps make him realize that even if he does find this person he thinks was behind Ai’s murder, it’ll mean little if it doesn’t bring her back. But this week’s episode wasn’t so focused on his crazy mission, and instead focused on making the best out of the web series we saw Kana be a part of last week. The final episode ended up getting rave reviews and impressed the mangaka, which was what everyone wanted. Now time has moved forward, and Aqua and Ruby are in high school; Ruby in the performing arts section, and Aqua in general education.
A lot of focus has been put on Aqua and Kana right now, and so I really want to see more of Ruby, who is already suffering from some social anxiety on the first day. Even though she was able to secure that seat in the classroom by the window, the class is full of pretty girls and hot guys, most of whom are models or actors or in an idol agency. Her new friend is a pin-up model with a put-on Kansai accent, and it isn’t long before she realizes another classmate is a big-name actor in a prime-time TV show. Ruby has her work cut out considering she has only just joined an agency her adoptive mother owns, and has next to no experience in anything.
I’ll say one thing I’m really enjoying in Oshi no Ko is how they are not sugarcoating the entertainment industry. People don’t drop out of nowhere to become school idols, and aren’t gifted with amazing luck either. Everyone in Ruby’s class has to work their butts off to become someone producers will notice, and even though they may be amicable to each other on the first day of class, it’ll become very cutthroat very quickly. Ruby may well be committed and devoted to be just like her mother, but I don’t think she quite understands what she is about to get herself into yet. That’s one thing I’m hoping this adaptation will get into. Ruby will face rejection, pushing around and backstabbing, but it’s up to her to pick herself back up and try again.
Oh yeah, and I didn’t know that Kana is actually Aqua’s senpai in school either…
Lycoris Recoil Episode 5
Episode 5 of Lycoris Recoil has given me a lot to think about. The previous episode introduces Majima properly, as a terrorist who wants to watch the world burn and has some keen interest in Lycoris agents in particular. The deeper and darker parts of the show’s story start to come out in this episode too. Chisato and Takina are given a job by a terminally-ill businessman who had to go into hiding after assassins killed his family, and asks them to give him a tour of Tokyo before he dies. But a lot of information comes out from this; a hecking lot, in fact.
We knew that Chisato was an ‘Alan child’ too, but in this episode we find out that she has an artificial heart. This secretive philanthropic organization intrigues me a lot, as they make out to be peacekeeping, but perhaps have a world mission of their own…and need Alan children like Chisato to accomplish it. It would be kind of cool if the story went down some Manchurian Candidate road, where Chisato has some trigger words or something. Considering I know nothing about the ending, that might actually happen.
But the artificial heart reveal is good because it leaves me hungry for more. How did she get it? And if the Alan Institute has given her some kind of ‘mission’ like it is implied here, what is it? Whoever this person was behind the terminally-ill businessman clearly wants to know what secrets the Alan Institute have. It’s revealed at the end that the businessman doesn’t exist, and that they were wheeling around a dead person the whole time, which is kind of grim in itself.
Even though it’s a key part of the show, I’m putting the two girls’ increasing closeness on the backseat for now, but only because I’m finding this super secret stuff fascinating to watch and find out about. Something is bound to come up in a later episode that’ll make me stop and realize how much these two are pining for each other, but not right now.
This week’s episodes dropped some plot devices that I’m hungry to know more about. How will Ruby survive the performing arts section of high school? Will Shima ever reveal more about himself, and will Tsukasa for that matter? Will we find out more about the Alan Institute? So many questions, and I’m actually looking forward to their answers.