Tuesday is here and it’s once again time for me to talk about the stuff I’ve watched this week! This week’s been a good one for anime and a couple shows have really given me a lot to talk about (although it is just the usual stand-outs). On that note, I haven’t been super happy with the content of this weekly impressions thing so starting with this post, I’ll be changing up a few things. For a majority of the shows I’m watching there really isn’t much to talk about and otherwise it’s usually negative criticism. So this week I’ll spotlight the shows of which I have something substantial to talk about and leave the others towards the end or just leave them out.
So without further ado, let’s talk anime.
Miss Kobayashi’s Maid Dragon – Episode 5
Last week’s episode of Maid Dragon wasn’t quite my cup of tea so I was a little weary going into this one. Fortunately for me, this week’s episode featured many of the things that I enjoy the most in Maid Dragon and in the genre as a whole. The episode was once again split up into distinct segments, this week with three. In the first part, Touru decided to follow Kobayashi to work to see what her work life is like. This part of the show included a bunch of silly bits and jokes, but also told us a little bit more about Touru and her perspective on the human routine of work, as well as giving us some insight on Kobayashi’s public face. I liked this bit a lot as it built up the characters of Touru and Kobayashi as well as developing their relationship a little more. The romance between the two previously felt like nothing more than a joke, but this episode made this idea feel a little more real and consequently a lot more engaging.
The second part of the episode included one of my favorite side characters, the ever-cranky Fafnir. In this part of the episode, we learn that Fafnir has also decided to stay in the human world – the problem being that he has no place to stay. Fafnir’s solution to this was to inhabit the nearest mountain and after scaring off more than a couple of the locals and making the news, Touru decided to help him properly find a place to live. The actual happenings in this part of the show and the conclusion to his homelessness while funny, wasn’t nearly as interesting to me as the conversation between the two that occurred halfway through the episode.
The conversation starts off with Touru and Fafnir on a crosswalk waiting for the light to change. Fafnir notes to Touru that she resembles humans a lot now and questions her closeness to these humans and her ability to kill them with her inevitable return to their world. This conversation naturally fit Fafnir’s no-nonsense characterization thus far and brought up an issue that is very real to their kind. Touru tells him that this is where she belongs now and that she doesn’t plan on going back – there’s something here that she cares a lot for and she’s not willing to give it up. Fafnir’s reply was something that, in hindsight was obvious, but for a show like this – was something that was largely unimaginable. He tells her that she’ll outlive Kobayashi by far, implying that her conviction now may not last much longer than Kobayashi’s lifetime. To this she replies, “I’m fine. The more I treasure these moments and being here right now, the sadder I’ll be when that time comes, I’m sure. But I don’t want to call those feelings regret.” The closeness that she’s grown with Kobayashi and with people as a whole has brought her a lot of happiness and that’s something she does not and will not regret. The way she’s changed thanks to her relationship with Kobayashi, although detrimental to her return, is something that she’s proud of – even if this means she can’t go back.
If you couldn’t tell, I really loved this scene. Touru’s “no regrets, keep moving forward” attitude, in contrast to Fafnir’s realistic perspective was awesome to see. I love these kinds of characters and their existence shows off the author and the show’s inherently positive outlook on people and the world. Ideological favoritism aside, this showed off a lot of why I love KyoAni as a studio. This scene feature two minor details that made the sequence much more meaningful. The first addition showed up right as Fafnir questioned Touru about her ability to kill. We were shown a close up to the humans on the other side of the street with a small shake to the camera and some minor blur. This irregular cinematography was used a lot in Sound! Euphonium, framing specific scenes to display the transience of high school. In the case of Maid Dragon, this effect reminded us of the transience of human life, foreshadowing Fafnir’s next line.
The second thing happened right as their conversation ended, but was constructed from the start. Touru and Fafnir started their conversation as they waited on one side of the street with no one else around. As noted before, there were a couple of people waiting on the other side of the street for that light to change. Right as their conversation came to an end, their crossed paths and mixed in with the crowd. This was a literal depiction of the two dragons intermingling with humans almost reassuring us of things to come. These minor additions add a lot to the show and make Maid Dragon so much more enjoyable to watch.
The final third of the episode was filled with mostly silly dragon antics, but was punctuated with Touru’s desire to understand people. Touru isn’t quite there yet with all the intricacies of human life (and honestly, who is?), but she’s not giving up. There may be some unbridgeable gaps between dragons-and-humans (and humans-and-humans for that matter), but not for lack of trying.
Maid Dragon has impressed me time and time again and I’m sure it’ll continue to.
Scum’s Wish – Episode 5
The theme of this week’s Scum’s Wish seemed to be destructive impulse. Following the events of last episode, Hanabi’s night with Ecchan left her feeling pretty bad about her indecision and weakness. She even started to see a little bit of Akane in herself. This led her to have doubts about her relationship with Mugi – the person she went to for comfort and consequently left her without a place to turn to. The last scene of the episode with Mugi reaffirmed to her that there’s nothing more that he can give her and the final scene with Akane was just another punch to the gut. Hanabi wasn’t really in the spotlight this episode but that fact and the events that occurred around her made her downward spiral feel even more horrible.
I just want things to be okay!
On Mugi’s end, we learn that he is (thankfully) not as ignorant as he seemed. Turns out that he’s known about Akane’s real personality for a while now, thanks to his old ‘girlfriend’. Not that this knowledge changed his feelings in the slightest. That fact and the things he did this episode really put me off. It’s not hard to connect the dots with Akane’s true intentions with Narumi. Hanabi chose not to tell Mugi about Akane’s personality so that Mugi wouldn’t be hurt and you could probably assume the same for Mugi, but he really doesn’t seem that concerned. Even more than this though, what bothered me the most about Mugi this episode was his flagrant disregard of the feelings of Mei, his old senpai. In my episode three impressions post, I talked about Mei’s little story and her departure from Mugi for his sake. She wanted to be loved but didn’t want to take anything more away from him. She would’ve been happy to never see him again. But this episode, apparently he was feeling horny so he called her up.
Going into that scene I thought that maybe I was wrong about Mei and maybe she didn’t care much for him. Maybe she just left him behind on a whim; she didn’t think much about him, let alone feel any pain for leaving. But then she cried. She cried silently while being used by someone she probably loved. Nice job Mugi.
This show rings true to its name time and time again and honestly, it’s hard to get through sometimes. Scum’s Wish maintains a perspective on people that is highly pessimistic and negative – something that’s far from my ideals, but it makes the show that much more engaging. And so I’ll keep watching and hoping for a happy ending.
Interviews with Monster Girls – Episode 6
This week’s Demi-chan put a focus on the Takanashi twins, Hikari and Himari. With Takahashi-sensei visiting their house, we got to see the twins go at it for the better part of 23 minutes. The events of which were not particularly important. I distinctly remember reading the manga version of the second half of the episode and I definitely found a lot more enjoyment out of the manga than the anime. The art-style, pacing, and the timing of the anime doesn’t quite fit the sometimes-serious, sometimes-funny atmosphere of the show and takes away from my engagement with the show by a lot.
However, I did like that the parents of the demis were introduced this episode and their presence made their situations a little more sympathetic. Hikari’s dad needed to completely change his career path to for Hikari (something that isn’t unheard of for new parents), and this idea easily extended to the parents of the other demis. The show certainly has the capabilities to talk about interesting ideas and presenting them in a touching way, but so far there’s been very little of that. Every week I hope that the show gets better, but we’re halfway through now and there’s been few signs of improvement. Maybe next week will be better.
KonoSuba 2 (5) and Gabriel Drop-out (6) both had mediocre episodes this week. KonoSuba continued its regular antics with a new villain and some Kazuma-Darkness shipping. This kind of slapstick comedy is fun sometimes but KonoSuba’s maintained a kind of same-y-ness over the last two episodes and it’s getting a little tiring – especially with the number of comedy shows I’m watching this season.
Gabriel Drop-out didn’t quite have the same problem, but this episode was much like the beach episode, highly uninteresting and largely unfunny. Last episode turned out more interesting because of the new character but she was completely absent this time around and that meant that the new character chemistry was non-existent. The show fell back onto the repetitive character chemistry of the main cast and that was pretty boring. Gabriel Drop-out fills a similar space as Maid Dragon and is strictly worse, which is probably part of the reason why I’ve lost so much interest in the show.
And that’s all! I’ll probably leave out KonoSuba and GDO next week if there’s really nothing to talk about. So that’ll be a little less on my plate! That being said, I am only watching five shows, so I might just pick up another one that’s a little more interesting and drop these ones. Anyways, thanks for reading!