I’d say this episode is the most Shafted episode I’ve seen for this series.
I don’t how to put it, but it feels like it’s 3-gatsu and isn’t 3-gatsu at the same time. I guess it just feels weird because all of the other episodes had this balance between fluffy and depressing, whilst episode 13 is pure unadulterated shogi. That’s not to say that I didn’t liked it, however, and I’m more comfortable to say that I’m loving this change in tone 3-gatsu did in dedicating an episode to shogi.
Still, the overall presentation for this episode kinda rubbed me the good and the wrong way. The wrong way because it feels different; the good way because I just love this moody tone and atmosphere. I remembered Shion no Ou — a thriller shogi anime — and this episode does kinda feel the same in terms of its narrative style in depicting a shogi. Though I don’t exactly remember much of how the matches in Shion no Ou went — and I always have zero to no clue with how shogi works — but it’s still good enough for me to remember how bad-ass and exciting this sport can be. The same can be said for this episode, wherein we get to be inside Smith-san and Rei’s head as they dive into full shogi-tards, and that snap of a shogi piece into the board is nothing short of zen-like and captivating. I also love those intense sound effects punctuating every crucial move, and I swear that I’ve heard those before in Madoka Magica.
One of my favorite part this episode is arguably that weird long-shot of Smith-san taking his breakfast. It’s… outlandish, and something I wasn’t expecting given that it was thrown right after the OP. The animation looks cheap, it doesn’t make a goddamn sense if you put that scene alone side by side with the rest of the series but I. just love it. No, not because of the soundtrack, but I think what they’re going for here is to show the contrast between Smith-san and Rei’s perspective on how they both approach shogi. Smith-san is chill, no fuss, and thinks of nothing but shogi even though he’s munching on a raw tomato first thing in the morning — to him, it’s just another day of being a professional; Rei’s the same, but you’d more or less see him reading a sheet of paper with shogi written all over it as he contemplate the matches as something akin to a fight for life and death.
Probably the only trace of the old 3-gatsu this episode is that scene of Smith-san doing a russian roulette with a can and a trash bin. I love this scene because it kinda reminded me of myself who, at times of indecision, will rather leave the choice to a coin toss. No joke. I left my previous job because the coin landed on heads, and heads means I need to hightail the fuck out of that company. This habit is stupid, yeah I know, but at the end of the day there really won’t be any right or wrong choice — it’s how you deal with the choice that matters.
- Shogi is awesome.
- What’s with the previews? Shaft saving budget/resources? Guess that might explain the weird presentation.
- Those sound effects, really. My favorite one is from Rei’s wherein he realized something’s wrong, and that woooooosh of the wind was just right on cue. Pretty dramatic and effective, if you ask me.
- Shimada-san’s Nikaidou’s bro? I guess that explains the regal and rich air from the two.
- Apparently, Smith is just a nickname. And no, I’m pretty sure he’s not an American…
- Tons of cool aspect montage and pillow shots this episode. Sweet.
- OP was sung by YUKI, that girl from Sakamichi no Apollon‘s OP. No wonder she sounds familiar.
Episode ended on a cliffhanger. Just what I needed. Oh wells. I’ll see you folks next week~