Nonon’s Otaku Theater: Fall Anime 2021, Week 5

Nonon’s Otaku Theater: Fall Anime 2021, Week 5


I suppose you could call this the halfway point of the season, and it feels like it’s flown by so quickly. Either that, or it’s the fact that I’m still in two minds when it comes to the shows I picked. I’ve seen a couple of others that came out this season that made me wish that I had picked them instead. Of course I could have chosen World’s End Harem, but that ended up being pushed to Winter 2022. Heck, there’s even a full CGI show that’s come out that is apparently EX-ARM-level bad; should have picked that one instead maybe, just to roast it.

Or maybe it’s just that I want 2021 to end already. This hasn’t been the greatest year for me, real life. I know that last November I wished that this year’s shows would be cool, but ehh. I don’t know what else to say other than I just want shows to end already…

The Aquatope on White Sand Episode 18

…even the 2-cour show that I had been looking forward to watching when it first started in July – I just wish these two main characters would hurry up and get the happy ending that P.A Works wants them to have. Well I thought last week that Akari would end up becoming an invisible character in the show, here this week she gets her very own episode dedicated entirely to her.

The Aquatope on White Sand

This week we learn that she is actually a college student, and a part timer at the aquarium. She isn’t as devoted to marine life as Kukuru is; in fact, she doesn’t really care that much at all. The money for her job goes towards living as a student after all. And as I would have guessed, Kukuru decides to interfere, and try to make her like marine life. It’s a wholesome episode though, since we knew next to nothing about her since now. Akari has had no real dream job, but learns from Kaoru and Udon that although dream jobs have their perks, they have their disadvantages as well. I fear that this could be the most we hear about Akari, since we have a lot more episodes to go, and a lot more characters to focus on. Heck, even Karin hasn’t had her own one, and she’s been with the gang since the very start.

I know it’s become a weekly routine now, for me to find something about Kukuru to complain about. A couple of weeks back, she tried to ease Chiyu’s workload only to realize that Chiyu is doing the job for the sake of her son, and now here it felt like she wanted to force Akari to be a marine life devotee, when her focus is actually more on college work. Now Fuuka is enjoying her job as an attendant but is aware that her buddy wants the whole world to appreciate marine life as much as she does, and so she ends up mollycoddling her. So there are times where I really wish Fuuka would just put her foot down and tell Kukuru some hard truths that she doesn’t want to hear, instead of going ‘there there’ all the time.

The Aquatope on White Sand

I genuinely thought that the second cour of The Aquatope on White Sand would take the show’s characters and make them more relatable and someone we really want to cheer on. Even with the additional of new secondary characters (Tingaara employees), it’s like very little has changed. Kukuru’s still as naive and stubborn as she always was, and her interactions with Fuuka aren’t really as close as some might have expected them to be. I would say that I’d want the show to get better, but as the epilogue of this episode shows, we’ll be getting the final arc where Kukuru is to be put in charge of a new aquarium area. I hate feeling this way about shows I had been looking forward to, and the same applies when it comes to Komi Can’t Communicate.

Komi Can’t Communicate Episode 3

I was really on the fence last week when Najimi was introduced, but I’ve had some time to reflect. I said last week that their gender fluidity felt like more of a gimmick, but considering this is to be a wholesome school comedy show, I don’t really want to delve too deeply into what is a very sensitive topic.

Episode 3 introduced Himiko Agari, the library girl of the class, who finds happiness more in books and solitude than be the center of attention. Knowing this, Najimi elects her to be the next person on Komi’s list, and the reaction is every bit as you’d expect. As both of them struggle with communicating, it seems these two find some kind of kinship, however Himiko decides to elect herself as Komi’s lapdog.

Komi Can't Communicate
Komi Can't Communicate

I’m really worried that I’m going to be alone in my opinion of Komi Can’t Communicate so far. One reason for this is perhaps because this adaptation has been something manga readers have waited so long for, and I may simply be called out for having not read it before. We were all surprised at Netflix getting the rights for it, and I worry that they have not executed the translation as well as some people may have thought. Narration and text dominate the screen, and considering they don’t want their shows filled with translated text, Netflix are in a bit of a bother on what to do.

Also, the second half of the episode focuses on a children’s clapping game. I have never heard of this kind of game before, and it’s likely that Netflix viewers haven’t either, and so they’ll be left thinking ‘what on earth is going on?’. I really do hate to pour such criticism on the show, but after these three episodes, I’m struggling to find something I can really enjoy. New characters will be introduced as time goes on, and research tells me that these new characters will be misfits of their own too. So maybe I’ll get to laugh some more. I mean, a school comedy show would be pretty boring if every schoolkid were all the same, right?

Komi Can't Communicate

Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut Episode 5 & 6

Treated with coverage of two episodes of Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut, because of the fact that I didn’t realize episodes come out on Sundays on Funi (I draft posts before then, you see).

Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut
Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut

Irina’s training continues, with her staying in that soundproof chamber. I tell you something, Reddit have done an incredible job when it comes to research into the Soviet space program and the US-Soviet space race as a whole. I only knew some of the basics, like Laika, Sputnik-1 and the Vostok program which featured the first human in space, Yuri Gagarin. The writers have really done their homework when it came to this, and rewording countries, project names and such. It seems like we come for the cute tsundere vampire, but end up staying for the cool history facts (with different names).

But episode 5 definitely showed how the relationship between Lev and Irina is progressing. Irina seems to put a lot more faith in him now, and he continues to be a really nice guy. He’s no longer a reserve due to one candidate failing one test, but despite this promotion, he still takes the time to think about the guy who failed. Does this mean that he wants to keep on being a reserve?

Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut

However it’s this week’s episode where things start to turn. The end of episode 5 saw a test launch become a failure and crash into the ground, which has affected Irina hard. This has made her training that much harder as she is unable to maintain focus like she used to. Anya puts out the idea that drinking blood will help, something Irina refuses. But what if it was…? Yeah, you guessed it. It all becomes a bizarre moment with some tinges of eroticism, euphoric metaphors and very glowy red eyes. Considering episode 5 brought Lev and Irina that much closer together, a lot of red flags have now gone up thanks to all of this and they start immediately this week.

Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut

An incident in Irina’s centrifuge training means that the two of them have to be separated. Won’t spoil what it is exactly, but it made me think what the Nosferatu program really have in store for Irina. Is it really just as a humanoid test subject, or is it something more than that? And will all of this mean Lev has to be reassigned? I mean, he’s no longer a reserve and back into the main cosmonaut program. I’m suddenly interested now.

With all my complaints about this Fall season, I think my pick of Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut has been like a saving grace. Remember this pick was originally going to be World’s End Harem, if it hadn’t have been pushed forward to 2022. I’ve heard a lot of good things about one other show, takt op.Destiny, which is meant to be some mixture of musical sci-fi action. On announcement, I thought it looked silly, but it has gotten some decent reviews so far. People thought Symphogear was silly on its first announcement, and look how loyal and devoted that fanbase ended up becoming…

Super Cub Episode 5

Super Cub

I had initially thought that Super Cub would focus solely on Koguma, so it was very refreshing to see Reiko be the center of attention instead. In episode 5, she tells Koguma what she did on her summer break: working at a resupply base on the trail of Mount Fuji. A key part of the job meant she had to scout ahead on the trail, but as we see, her real motivation for doing the job was to see if she could climb Mount Fuji on her Cub…something only 2 people have done so far. Her inexperience, altitude sickness and the rough terrain gets her every time however, along with the fact that she rides on a used Cub that was originally built for postal workers.

Super Cub

She falls and picks herself up again, but ultimately fails after seriously damaging the Cub’s engine. What I liked here was that this episode didn’t have this cliched “I did it and won because I made a promise” ending that we see way too many times in shows. As her time at the job ends, she resigns herself to the fact that it is something that simply cannot be done in the kind of Cub she has.

I can’t really say that episode 5 stood out for me, because Super Cub has had one amazing episode after the other, so they all stand out for me so far. We’ve have Koguma emerge from the shadow of being ‘the girl with nothing’, to seeing Reiko attempt the impossible. I don’t know when the third character of the show will come (there are only three main characters in Super Cub), but I’m extremely eager to find out what kind of person they are. I’m also kind of relieved to hear that Koguma’s “Cursed Cub” wasn’t really cursed at all, and that its previous owners abandoned it for completely different reasons.

Oh yeah, and two separate pieces of music featured in episode 5:

  • Rêverie, L. 68, by Claude Debussy
  • Kinderszenen Op. 15: VII. Träumerei, by Robert Schumann
Super Cub

As I said at the beginning, this Fall season just has not felt like my season. I mean, the shows I’ve done for Otaku Theater this year have not felt that…outstanding, with the exception of a few. It’ll be these few that’ll end up in my top 5 at the end of the year. Not to mention that I still have my eye on all the shows that people tell me about and I missed out on. Ugh, I suck as an anime follower.



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