Now into the second half of the season, and have I picked my Winter shows yet? No, I haven’t. Unusual for me, since I usually jump at the chance to confirm the next seasons’ shows-to-watch, but studios are still making announcements for 2022 as I speak, with some being scheduled for the Winter, some for Spring, and some even further. One piece of good news is that there will be a season 3 of Kaguya-sama: Love is War, coming in the Spring. This means I can pick up from where the outstanding second season left off from last year. Another Spring sequel show I’ll probably pick up is The Demon Girl Next Door. I very much enjoyed season 1, and am keenly interested in how much more Shamiko and Momo get along. Outside of that though is still pretty much up in the air.
The Aquatope on White Sand Episode 20
This week’s episode of The Aquatope on White Sand was a really good one. As this second cour progresses, we realize that this is meant to be a coming-of-age show more than anything else. Thus the focus is solely on Kukuru.
In past posts, I’ve mentioned how much of a work horse the assistant director (whose name I have actually forgotten now; he is just Señor Douchebag to me) is being to her. I had initially thought that this final arc was to be about Kukuru’s plan to promote the new area the aquarium is building, but as we see this week, it has developed into something far more than just that. Plans for a wedding have now been added onto all of this, meaning she has to work overtime pretty much every day. Even as something that would normally have her jumping for joy (like the injured dolphin we see this week) becomes unimportant.
I remember one post where I had the idea that Kukuru’s plan would be a massive success, yet the assistant director would end up taking all the credit, but I think it’s something else now. As we see the two of them present their proposal to a wedding director, who goes on to reject it, it really feels like he saw all this coming from a mile away. Like he wants her to fail miserably so he has an excuse to have her fired.
It also doesn’t help that Gama Gama has been scheduled for demolition now. Whether this will be something she will battle through is unknown, but we’re seeing the life getting sucked out of her at the moment. Her grandfather and Tingaara’s CEO both think that the marketing department is the best place for her to grow, but is it?
Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut Episode 8
After the awesome episode we had last week, things have quieted down at the base. Everyone has accepted the fact that the Nosferatu Project was a resounding success, and that their test subject Irina came back from space alive. Unfortunately, that’s as far as they have gone. There is no real party or celebration held for her, and it’s as if everything has gone back to normal. With Lev back on the cosmonaut programme, he’s due to take his big aptitude test, along with the 11 others. It appears that the rest of the show will revolve around his turn into space…that’s providing he’ll ever make it up there, of course.
Lev is reunited with his former colleagues from the cosmonaut programme, who are all more annoyed at the fact that a ‘space dog’ beat all of them. I suppose with Irina’s part in the project complete, they will likely see the last of her now. With the Union making their final plans to send a human in space, Irina is being sent to undergo more health checks; understandable, I guess, considering no one has had any idea on what actually being in space does to the body. As well as this, Anya has been placed in charge, effectively replacing Lev. And with 1961 ringing in now in the show (the same year Yuri Gagarin went to space), it looks like things will heat up. Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut has been very close to real Soviet space race history, with name changes everywhere of course. I don’t expect this first manned launch (which actually took place in April of that year) to be any different.
I had sort of anticipated a more muted episode this week; last week was amazing. I didn’t expect Irina up in space so soon. Now we have the remaining episodes centered around Lev’s hopes and dreams of going into space, it should be interesting to see how things between the two of them go, especially now that he has been moved back to the main dormitory, and she remains in her confinement cell…waiting for ‘disposal’.
Komi Can’t Communicate Episode 5
I’ll be carrying on coverage of the final episodes of Komi Can’t Communicate in my Winter 2022 posts, due to Netflix’s delay in releasing the debut episode. The show’s final episodes should air at the beginning of January.
After last week’s very divisive and polarizing episode, I had hoped that things would level out a bit, and thankfully it did, and some more. Some other characters from the Itan Private High School of Misfits & Weirdos are brought in, and we see them genuinely fleshed out too. The summer uniforms come out in this week’s episode, and along with it are school fitness tests; enter Makeru Yadano. Just like Ren Yamai, Makeru was someone who had appeared in past episodes, but she is introduced properly this week. Just like in nearly every other high school show, there is someone who sees themselves as a ‘rival’. This is all pretty one-sided though and not malicious in any way, as this still gives Komi someone to talk to…I guess?
Along with this, new character Omoharu Nakanaka arrives: the chuunibyou of the class. Going by the name Marsault Les Primavera, or Lord Malt Trie Vessner of the Dark Dragon (depending on the time of day), we get a little glimpse of how chuunibyous in high school shows are cast out and feel alienated. Comparing this to something like Yoshiko Tsushima (real name Yohane) in Love Live! Sunshine, where she was seen as the joke character, here in Komi Can’t Communicate, it felt more real. This will likely be the only time something like this will crop up in the show, but even still I thought it was rather touching to see Komi extend a hand when the class need to pair up to do stretches in PE.
Something else to poke at this week was Himiko’s extensive and scary knowledge of ramen, in the part where the four go out to a well-known ramen shop. To some anime-only viewers, this might be something that sticks out like a sore thumb, but having done some research, there is apparently a real reason why she has such extensive knowledge: in secret, she is a very famous online food blogger. Maybe without looking this up, I would have felt this plot point stuck out a little too, but now that a good few episodes have passed, it feels like I’m seeing a lot more.
When before I was worried/bothered at how the show was divided into named chapters (instead of whole episodes), it has since become something I’ve become used to. And looking back from my first impressions of the show a month ago, I can say that I probably overreacted a little. Perhaps I was just looking for stuff to criticize and hate in the show, and glossing over what is actually funny to watch.
It has been so so long, but I am finally warming to this show, now that more characters have been established, and the others in class are beginning to realize that there’s far more to Komi than just some impossibly-beautiful ice maiden.
Something also of note is that the veteran voice actress Kikuko Inoue (Ranma ½, Ah! My Goddess) makes an appearance this week, as Komi’s mother…who is, by her word, forever seventeen.
Super Cub Episode 7
Meanwhile over in Super Cub, autumn weather has arrived, meaning it’s that much colder out on the roads, with both Koguma and Reiko feeling it. After breaking out her old Cub in her summer job on the trails of Mount Fuji, Reiko has got herself a new one, a Honda CT110, which she is currently breaking into. This is also the Cultural Festival episode of the show, however the focus isn’t solely on that; instead it’s on a task that both Koguma and Reiko agree to do to help: moving goods from one school to another with their Cubs and some attachments. All of this attracts the attention of the third and final character of the show: Shii.
She’s in charge of the cultural festival, and needed some equipment to be moved as one of the teachers had to pull out of the job at the last minute. The fact that a small job like this stands out far more in what is supposed to be the obligatory Cultural Festival episode is something that makes this show what it is. What’s also worth noting in episode 7 is how much of a sea change we see in Koguma. Ever since she got her Cub, she’s been giving herself many challenges to break out of the mold of ‘the girl with nothing’. These challenges may be tiny things like driving to the convenience store all by herself, to what we saw in the previous episode where she followed the school bus on their trip. And hearing of this job, she sees this as a challenge too. I suppose you could count befriending Reiko as one too; the chemistry between the two of them has become so different than when the two met for the first time.
We’ll definitely be seeing more of Shii in the future, as we see that these Cubs that Koguma and Reiko ride have peaked her interest a lot. And for episode 7, we have just the one piece, right at the very start:
- Gymnopédie No. 1, by Erik Satie
It’s wonderful that Komi Can’t Communicate has finally grown on me; it’s only taken 4 episodes to do it. As more studios announce their 2022 shows, the more my list of ‘potential shows’ grows. I will finalize my list by the time the Winter season actually comes. I promise.