Don’t ask me where I was last week because I… uh, don’t know either. ‘Twas a long story which I’ll tell you a bit about later, but for now let’s get back to business, boys.
Net-juu no Susume – Episodes 7 & 8
This is it. It is what we’ve been waiting for. Everything is building up to this point, and I couldn’t be any happier for the two of them.
I was eating breakfast while watching this episode, and out of excitement I almost threw the plate to the other side of the room after the first instance Sakurai tried to reveal that he is Lily. I’m not exactly a fan of coincidences and whatnot but thank god Lady Luck is on our side as they later meet in person and he finally got the words out of his mouth. Seriously — and this is one reason why I don’t really mind how contrived the plot has become — but if you’re shipping a couple so hard, you’d move heaven and earth just for the sake of the two of them getting together. In any case, I’m loving it, and Sakurai proved that he really has a backbone with those smooth talking. Heck, even MoriMori’s blushing and fidgeting so much you’d think she’s drunk.
Amidst its charming romantic fairy tale, however, is a tender layer of nostalgia. A backdrop with just Lily and Hayashi would’ve been great as it is, but the introduction that the two of them have already met before is easily the icing on the cake. I was apprehensive that Harth was some other guy reserved for the purpose of making it a love triangle, but it looks like all the stars in the cosmos aligned for once to make our ship’s voyage successful.
It was a diabetic lovey-dovey episode and more because after years and years of quitting gaming, it was only during this time that I was able to give a moment to stop and reminisce about those days I had with my MMORPG friends. I had a few who were very close to me, and rather embarrassing to admit, they probably know more about myself than my real life friends. Sakurai couldn’t have said it any better as he delivers one of the most resounding quotes from this season.
I feel more at ease when I’m alone. But being alone is lonely. And for me, MMOs were a place where you can be alone, but not lonely. You could be together even with someone who’s far away.
This isn’t really that fundamentally different from the anime blogging community. I personally don’t know the people behind the blogs that much, but in a way, I’m able to communicate with them within my milliue. Chatting about anime, discussions on what the best OPs/EDs are, arguing about who the best grill is etc., these are activities that aren’t readily available to me in real life, and so I turn my attention online where I can be who I want to be and do what I want to do. Of course, my own story isn’t as whimsical as Net-juu‘s, but hey, maybe if we live long enough we might be able to enjoy a nice, cold beer while going through our anime and blogging days together, right?
Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryouko – Episodes 7 & 8
I don’t know where this anime is set in, or how many hundreds of years it has been, but if anything it still does feel ‘Japanese’ (or to a broader extent Asian).
It’s just me, but there are hints and pieces of present-day Japanese traditions and philosophy — bar Zen in general — here and there that helped retain that ‘iyashikei’ feel even amidst the vagueness of the setting. But I guess that could only be an argument that these philosophies and traditions aren’t only exclusive to Japan and can also be adopted in other cultures.
One of which that came to mind is Mottainai — a concept of feeling regret when throwing away an item, or even when performing an action (e.g. sleeping all day instead of being productive). Its brief inclusion can be read further from this week’s episode, but its underpinnings are essentially present when Yuri and Chi figured out the meaning behind the objects in the drawers. Rather than throwing away something, there became a deeply personal significance in leaving it behind as a means to be remembered, and that’s pretty much, as a whole, equivalent to having a sensitivity to regret from wasting a valuable item. Even a piece of ragged cloth can be considered valuable with such a perspective in mind.
On the other hand, the tradition I was referring to earlier is Tsukimi which literally translates to moon-viewing. This is pretty much self-explanatory, and more often than not the moon is used as a backdrop for moments like this especially in an iyashikei anime.
Philosophies aside, isn’t it kinda weird that their version of a graveyard is just a bunch of drawers stacked on one another? That’s fine and all, but it’s even weirder that they aren’t finding any remains nor ashes in all of that or even from the previous episodes. It’s probably not exactly a graveyard for the dead. Perhaps it’s more like a compilation of those who have left the city — maybe they relocated to another place like a neighboring continent or, even more incredulous, to the moon/another planet. It feels more like the residents just packed everything together in a hurry, or maybe they really are dead and a group of people already took whatever was left before the two got to it.
3-gatsu no Lion Season 2 – Episodes 6 & 7
It’s as if this arc isn’t content in stabbing you with a dull knife, 3-gatsu slowly twists it for good measure. And it does so with a feeling of deliberate contempt, with these past two episodes showing us that it can also be a wolf in a sheep’s clothing.
As someone who followed and blogged about its first season all throughout, I’ve been used to seeing a rhythmic pattern to 3-gatsu. It was a volatile ebb and flow of melancholia and tenderness, tenderness and melancholia, that I couldn’t have considered the possibility of this cycle even changing. Of course, we’ve been in some moments of utter dejection before too — Rei’s tragic past, Shimada’s lost — that I weathered with
teary eyes and snot-filled nose clenched fists and gritted teeth, but these moments also came with the thought of resignation and acceptance. The thought that “it is what it is”, and the only way for us is to accept the outcome, move forward, and come back stronger than ever.
But in the face of opposition this time around, keeping your wits intact and having an optimistic temperament feels like a futile attempt, and the notion of punching someone square in the face is starting to sound more like a reasonable option (and yeah, maybe we can consider Akari’s visualization of unleashing Godzilla an option too). I came into this arc thinking that it would follow the same rhythmic pattern I was used to seeing — you know, some salt here and there and some sugar starring Momo and the cats afterwards — but I guess I underestimated how contagious the emotions in 3-gatsu can be, and now it’s thanks to that that my stomach is boiling with loathing as well. That’s only understandable considering how inept that m*therf**king teacher is. I was sure that she realized her mistake last episode, only to show up again this week like “Nope, I’d rather watch the world burn than do something about it,”.
I can only imagine the mix of emotions they are feeling right now, and it isn’t helping that their school, being the second place on Earth we’d call home, is starting to look like nothing but a joke. A place of learning, a place for making friends, a place where we make memories, a place where we grow up from arguably the most sensitive time of our lives — these are all thrown out of the window, and 3-gatsu‘s directional style last episode also reflected that. There were moments where it was trying to be funny — likely a way to put us in the perspective of Hina who was presumably doing her best not to crack from the heavy atmosphere — but the unusually quick, hard cuts, stark color composition, and the ominous sound direction were all ubiquitous, similar to how relentless the pressure she is feeling within the confines of the school.
We just can’t get a break, and even then, the suffocating atmosphere got carried over to this week’s episode, and I wouldn’t be wrong to say that there’s some sort of a killing intent emanating from Rei like he’s about to murder someone. They claimed he poked a bee’s nest after he took down that annoying dude, but it looks like that isn’t exactly the case. Because if anything, it was Rei’s switch that got triggered. He’s certainly stressed out from figuring out ways to help Hina, and that very stress is giving us a deeper look inside his ego. It’s only a matter of time until the pressure snaps like a whiplash, and up until then, when the worst is finally over, I’m hoping that we’ll be treated to some fluffy, comfy, fun moment
with Akari and her big peaches like what we’ve used to seeing from 3-gatsu.
Houseki no Kuni – Episodes 7 & 8
It is not recommended to watch Houseki no Kuni right after 3-gatsu unless you deliberately want to be under the weather. I’m really liking Antarcticite and Phos’ duo that it’s such a hard blow to see this outcome even when we were with them for just two episodes. Oh, well. In any case, Houseki no Kuni is still holding strong as being the most beautiful anime to look at this season, so I guess that’s one thing to be happy about on top of Phos’ funny-as-usual gestures.
Addendum: Relative content right here.
Just Because! – Episode 7
There it is. The much-needed backstory between Izumi and Natsume. It wasn’t really much, but it’s essential in contextualizing their history together. I did nothing but roll my eyes every time the focus is on them, but this episode was enough in giving me a tiny bit of an idea of how their relationship came to be. He really is, by nature, grumpy, and I guess that grumpiness can be overlooked as indecisiveness back when they were still in middle school. I think it’s more akin to someone who hasn’t sorted out or developed their feelings yet, and as a defensive measure, they’re trying to keep a personal space so as not to overstep their boundary (but is it? a closer inspection tells me that it was Natsume who had a crush first, and Izumi was only being grumpy because she’s being to annoying). You can’t just be together with someone and out of nowhere call her your soulmate — after all, relationships, like characters, need development and consideration.
While he still is like that even when they’re now in high-school, Natsume having a crush on his best friend-slash-baseball buddy may have caused him to push her farther away towards Haruto at first. Or… perhaps he really wasn’t that passive to begin with, because thinking about it the other way he may have been pushing Haruto away from Natsume by encouraging him to confess to Hazuki, and, again, maybe it was probably Natsume who was the first to develop a crush on Izumi. I think Natsume having a crush on him makes more sense, in that her feelings dissipated when the latter transferred schools and now she found herself in a limbo between Izumi, Haruto, and, well, moving on from a failed crush/love in the form of distracting herself through studying. Whatever. It’s only confusing because of how little of their backstory we know of. Anyways, as thankful as I am for this episode I’m still rooting for Camera-chan to win.
Blend S – Episodes 7 & 8
Sheesh. I thought this new character was just a straight-up idol figure but they sure got me with that twist. What a SURPRISE, indeed. As cute (yes, cute) and hilarious as he is, I’m really, really getting conflicted every time he’s shown with his butt naked or when he’s showing a lot of skin. It isn’t exactly unwholesome, but rather his presence brings a comedic awkwardness to the mix, a playful character gap that is expected from Blend S. I wouldn’t exactly call Hideri gay either, but more like he’s overcompensating so hard to be a girl idol that it ends up absolutely hilarious.
Mahoutsukai no Yome – Episodes 7 & 8
Damn, that was dark and gruesome, and that image is the exact opposite of what I thought Mahoutsukai is going to be. Regardless, there were instances that hit the right notes for me like last episode’s perfect pacing, but more often than not it falls on the disappointing end of the spectrum like this week’s not-so-magical scene with Chise and Ruth signing a pact backed with so-so vocals. Nope, wasn’t moved at all by that part which is surprising because I had the opposite reaction to Ruth’s flashback. Maybe I’m just not used to their chemistry yet? I don’t know, but whatever the case is Elias and Chise’s relationship, on the other hand, is starting to feel a lot warmer and genuinely (love that part when Elias prodded Chise’s cheek with his snout).
Ah, yes. The last thing I remember before waking up from my bed was that I was drinking miles away from home with my colleagues. How did I manage to get home drunk? I honestly don’t know, and I honestly will never drink alcohol again ever.