Last week I let out more than a few frustrations over this final season of 2021. True enough, there have been some really exceptional shows this year, but I’m worried that those good ones have been almost entirely eclipsed by all the terrible show. I’ll talk plenty more about all of this in the yearly review post towards the end of December; there you will be reminded how much of a mess I thought season 2 of The Promised Neverland was, how awesome I thought EX-ARM was, and how I will maybe finally get around to watching Tropical-Rouge! Precure, as Crunchyroll still do not have it available here in the UK. Am I really the only Brit who wants to see more Precure here?
The Aquatope on White Sand Episode 19
The epilogue of last week’s The Aquatope on White Sand revealed that Kukuru was to be put in charge of arranging the marketing of a new aquarium area. This has got to be the final arc of the show for sure. There’s no way that the douchebag assistant director would give her this kind of big responsibility if he knew she would mess this up. He clearly knows that being an attendant is the only thing she has ever known, and the switch to marketing has affected her, meaning a certain someone has to carry on going ‘there there’ in every episode, either on the phone or on the beach at night. Instead of Kukuru and her new project, this week’s focus is on Fuuka…or more accurately, she and her kohai Ruka, who was in the same idol agency as her.
Ruka is in town as part of a film crew making a documentary about life working at an aquarium. This all coincides with the newly-hatched penguin making their first steps into water. You can tell straightaway that the theme of this week is all about facing your fears and taking steps forwards, even if they are scary. Ruka is currently in this position. Even after 3 or so years at the idol agency, she seems to be stuck. Not so much in work, but more of a purpose in life. It seems that she wants to remain being an idol, but she still looks up to her senpai and see that she has been able to take those scary steps that she is still unable to do after 3 years. Added to this is the revelation that she has been receiving online harassment, with fans believing she is being favored more by production companies.
Despite the theme, this week’s The Aquatope on White Sand is a bit of a filler episode. As mentioned already, we are in the final arc, where Kukuru in charge of a new project. It was funny how we learned that despite her being the leader, the douchebag assistant director will be the one taking responsibility. I don’t know about you, but it really does feel like, if this project is a resounding success, he will be the one to steal the credit. Something to think about, as I think that from this moment on, we’ll get to see what this project and new aquarium area actually is.
Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut Episode 7
To be honest, I had actually thought that the finale of this show would be Irina heading off to space on her mission, but we’ve actually skipped forward a few steps, as this week’s Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut sees the actual mission itself. Which means that the story is so much more than just the mission, Lev and Irina’s little romance, and the occasional nods to the original Soviet-US space race.
In case you missed last week, there was a bit of an incident in Irina’s centrifuge training where one of the engineers tampered with the pod. For this episode, we get some Soviet espionage just as Lev is cleared and released; that very same engineer has ‘disappeared’ and is no longer on the records.
The atmosphere we felt during the launch really was tense. The fact that we saw very little of the inside of Irina’s capsule added to that tension as we could not tell whether it was a success or not. Apparently she was ordered to read a borscht recipe up there not only to tell the team on Earth if she was conscious or not, but to prevent enemies from thinking that the Union actually sent someone into space. Let’s not forget that this was one big space race, and any genuine transmissions of statistics on the radio could give away their secret. I thought this was a very interesting addition to the masses of faux Soviet worldbuilding that has gone on in each and every episode so far.
This was a really great episode to watch. Unexpected to see Irina’s launch halfway into the show, and so it’s clear that we’re going to be treated with far much more. I mean Lev has been reinstated and is back on the cosmonaut project, and with the test subject launch a success, they can now proceed to training the human cosmonaut team further. The question now is whether Lev will make it up there too, or whether the Union will even go further and make it to the Moon…
…even if, in real life, the US got there first.
Komi Can’t Communicate Episode 4
From this moment on, I’m going to try and look at Komi Can’t Communicate from a different point-of-view. Perhaps the one thing that is stopping me from really enjoying the show is the fact that I am treating it too much like your average school comedies, when as we have seen in past episodes, it is clearly far from that as shown in this week’s episode.
The next person on the list is Ren Yamai. She’s appeared quite a few times already, but this is her real introduction, and to put it bluntly, she is the mandatory yandere, in every part. Komi becomes her idol, and she believes that only she can be the one who can be with her for all eternity. I think I understand now that all the characters are meant to be the exaggerated misfits in the class, and Tadano is the only normal one, making him stand out. We’ve had Najimi who is meant to be everyone’s childhood friend, and Agari who calls herself Komi’s lapdog. So with the introduction of Yamai, another misfitted and exaggerated character enters the fold. But what has made her stand out particularly?
Well it’s more of a ‘watch and see for yourself’, but I certainly don’t consider kidnapping and death threats very funny, especially for a show that’s trying to be cute and wholesome. Character traits like the shy library girl, or the glasses girl, or the tsundere who hits the MC, are fine enough in such school comedies because they are more jovial and things we can chuckle at, but I think this just went too far. I don’t mind if people call me super-sensitive about this plot point, but I do think it’s something that needs to be addressed when it comes to talking about the show as a whole. I was already unsure what to think when Najimi was introduced, and how I thought the show might potentially make their gender fluidity a gimmick…and now we have this?
…so yeah, this is a very polarizing episode. To the people like me who were going in and expecting an average school comedy, there will be a lot of things here to get triggered over. From the research into the source manga I did, this plot point was not very popular and well-received either. The sudden switch from cutesy school comedy to something very creepy and chilling will definitely rub people the wrong way. Now as I’m trying to look at the show from another point-of-view, what we saw this week I’m going to let slide for now, but I won’t be forgetting it, and it will definitely end up swaying my opinion of the show as a whole when it finishes in late-December to early-January.
Super Cub Episode 6
I can always go back to my out-of-season show though, which again had a great episode. Episode 6 of Super Cub is Koguma’s first real test: can she ride long distances on her own?
The summer vacation is over, and Reiko resigns herself to the fact that her crashes during her summer job means her postal Cub has had its day. The class’s school trip comes too, meaning the both of them get some time away from their Cubs. But when Koguma develops a fever on the day of going, she has to sit out…only for the fever to suddenly disappear later on in the afternoon. Determined to taste that delicious food and sit in those gorgeous baths, she decides to push her Cub further than she expected, and follows the route of the school coach.
In Yuru Camp, we got to see Rin ride around on her moped and going to winter camping sites, but Koguma’s trip felt much different because this was all brand new to her. 6 months ago, she would never even dream of leaving her own town, let alone ride a Cub across hundreds of kilometers of road. So in these 6 episodes that have passed by, Koguma has taken several steps of her own. It’s like she has been bitten by the Cub’s bug. And with 6 more episodes to come, it’ll be curious to see what else will happen, and where else she will go.
Oh, and once again, just the one piece of classical music featuring in this episode:
- Je te veux, by Erik Satie
This week’s Komi Can’t Communicate really did rub me the wrong way this week, and I do so hope that any future misfitted and exaggerated characters that feature in the show aren’t as crazy and extreme as Yamai are. Well, we’ve reached the halfway point now, which means I’m already putting together what to cover for Winter 2022. And World’s End Harem, which was originally meant to air in this season, will absolutely be on that list…