I discovered that Netflix have made some very questionable decisions concerning their programming, which sucks. Sadly, it’s the only way I can get to watch Komi Can’t Communicate!, which finally starts next week. Also, now I look back, I think it really was for the best that World’s End Harem was delayed until January. I think I would either have ripped it to shreds, or feel incredibly uncomfortable watching it, or both. So my ‘backup’ show became Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut, but did I choose good shows for this Fall season and what do I think about them now?
Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut Episode 2
I look back on what I thought about this show’s debut episode, and I remember saying that I didn’t really like the execution so far. The mirror of the space race in the 1960s is something that has really interested me, unlike the characters. Right now, none of the main ones are making me really look forward to the next episode. By that, I mean there is nothing about Lev or Irina that really stands out, aside from the fact that he is a by-the-book cosmonaut reserve (or was, rather), and she is a traditional vampire who doesn’t suck blood.
Episode 2 introduces Anya Simonyan properly. She is a researcher who seems to also be a part of Operation Nosferatu, and is particularly enthusiastic about there being a vampire on the base. Why though we don’t really know, and something tells me we won’t even get to know; I really get the feeling that she has been added to the cast as a filler character. I don’t often like to use the term ‘filler character’, but she really does feel like one. Hey, for all I know, she could have a much bigger role in later on, but right now there’s nothing that jumps out in her either.
Irina’s training begins this episode though. They include a variety of things from track running to centrifuge training, from swimming to testing space food. I don’t know if the higher-ups want to speed up the launch or not, because it looks like they are cramming in as much training as possible for her. But the fact that she is making no complaints about all of this rigorous training is something that might or might not be important for the story.
Aside from the not-so-great execution, one thing that has arrived in episode 2 that annoys me a little: they are starting to combine serious plot points (Operation Nosferatu) with some more moe and tsundere moments that can be seen in any rom com show. It’s frustrating to watch, as I think I would have preferred Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut to go firmly down a more serious road, and not have tsundere Irina crop up every now and then. My opinion on this might change though, as more episodes go by, and we get to see Irina and Lev some more.
The Aquatope on White Sand Episode 15
The second cour of The Aquatope on White Sand has begun in earnest now, and has introduced a whole new bunch of people for me to either really enjoy watching or really loathe with a passion. In the latter category is Kukuru’s boss Suwa, who seems to be in a fantasy world of his own. I don’t doubt that he has been in marketing for a long time, and as he said before, it’s his plan to make Tingaara the hottest aquarium not just in Okinawa but the whole of Japan. So I think this grand plan of his has ended up becoming something that isn’t just bothering Kukuru, who carries on acting like a spoilt kid this week, but other teams in the aquarium too.
The sea slug exhibit that Kukuru submits is approved, but Suwa decides to put his priorities in marketing only, and not give a damn about how the attendant team will approach this, or even if they will be able to cope. I want him to stop being such a thick-skulled so-and-so too, but considering this is how the corporate environment operates, I doubt we’ll ever see that coming, and we’ll see a lot more office bullying in the future.
Outside of the marketing department though, I think it’s cool to see that attendant supervisor Kaoru is beginning to warm up now, as she explains why she chose to pursue a career in marine life. It’s not an offbeat answer, but I still think it’s very sweet, and I hope it’ll be something that will bring her and Kukuru together.
No seriously; Suwa has very quickly become the person I want to slap the most in an anime this year, and considering he’s only been in 3 episodes so far, that’s quite an accomplishment.
So now considering that The Aquatope on White Sand appears to be going down a more work-based route, I really don’t think we’ll ever get any of the fantasy stuff we were all expecting. A bad thing? I honestly don’t think so, as since we’ve all gotten to warm to all the characters both in Gama Gama and here in Tingaara, adding some weird fantasy sub-plot would just look out of place, and maybe even make the show worse.
Super Cub Episode 2
After the debut episode, Super Cub had to give us Koguma’s next step in being the most popular kid in class. We get a little taste of that before the OP, but thankfully it was something that was just her imagination; the real Koguma wouldn’t dare do anything like that.
Episode 2 introduces the second main character in the show though; Reiko. I’m guessing that she will be the ‘enthusiast’ of the 3 main cast. After overhearing that the invisible girl in class now rides a Cub to school, she wastes no time in showing off the Cub she owns: a restored MD90 Cub that was originally designed for postal workers. She tells Koguma that she has had some new parts added to it, like brakes, suspension and the engine. Oh, we can all definitely see that she is going to be the nerd of the show, but I think that’s something that Koguma will appreciate talking to.
You see, Koguma only really got her Cub to get from A to B – from home to school to back home again. Going beyond that hasn’t been something that has crossed her mind until Reiko brings it up in this episode. With this new vehicle of hers, she can go anywhere she wants. It’s not like Koguma wants to head over to see Mount Fuji straight away though. She only knows the very small area surrounding her home and her school, so discovering a new supermarket and finding cheap curry sauces becomes an accomplishment for her. I think it’s very sweet, and it’s this extremely relaxed take on slice-of-life is something I crave for in a show.
Just one classical music piece in episode 2, though:
- La Fille Aux Cheveux De Lin, by Claude Debussy
I think we’ll end up with a lot from Debussy in Super Cub; it’s definitely the kind of show that would feature a lot of impressionist classical music. But I’m definitely going to keep a count of the pieces heard in the show.
Someone I know pointed out a couple of things in this episode that made me stop and think. The first was the fact that Koguma’s classroom actually has a microwave in it. Now I know if I was back in high school, this would definitely be something schoolkids would be itching to destroy, by putting tin foil in there or something; I’m glad that Japanese schoolkids have some sense of responsibility here. The second was how Koguma likes to keep the lights off in her apartment. I initially thought that this was something that reflected her overall mood and outlook on life, but there’s also one other thing here; saving money. By keeping only necessary things on, she is saving money she is getting from her survivor’s pension. Very sensible.
I think I’ll wait until I get to see Komi Can’t Communicate! before I make a decision on whether this Fall season will end up being a good one for me. As I have said often, 2021 has been a topsy-turvy one for me. At this point, I don’t really care about this last season of the year going out with some kind of bang. I mean, I do have a long list of other 2021 shows to catch up on, so I get to make a balanced opinion on what will go in the top 5 list post in December.