Fall Anime Season 2021, Week 8: Nonon’s Otaku Theater

Fall Anime Season 2021, Week 8: Nonon’s Otaku Theater

The winter weather is getting closer. That means that the fall season is that close to finishing and also that I have finally picked my Winter 2022 shows. Everyone’s attention is going to be on Attack on Titan though, which will be airing its very last season. I think a lot has changed from when I last saw it, which would be season 1. But attention will be on another more ridiculous show, World’s End Harem, which I had planned to watch for this season if it were not for the delay. I’ve had a couple of fairly ‘serious’ shows in this column, so I think it’s time for something really dumb to watch.

Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut Episode 9

This was yet another solid episode of Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut. With episodes going at this rate, I am really surprised that this hasn’t gotten the exposure that it so deserves. Have the other big shows (Demon Slayer, Mushoku Tensei, etc.) just eclipsed it or something?

Last week saw Lev take part in what we can clearly see is the final test, on the final three candidates for the cosmonaut program and he gets in too, along with Mikhail and Roza. Now Roza is someone who has sporadically appeared from time to time in the show, and when she does, it is usually to talk down to Lev or to treat Irina like a piece of dirt. This week sees her do a 180, when something goes wrong in parachute training, and Lev goes in to save the day…because he’s such a nice guy ‘n’ all.

Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut
Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut

After this week, will viewers think that Roza is trying to shoehorn in on Lev now that Irina’s ‘job’ is done? Maybe, or maybe not. This week we get some backstory on who she is – something that we haven’t had until now. The Air Force looked down on her for taking part in the cosmonaut program because she was a woman, and she has since fought everyone at every turn to get where she is now. So it has had to take an event like this for her to be more ‘human’ again. I personally don’t think she is trying to shoehorn in; I think she is definitely smarter than that, even if she has seen how attached Irina got to him.

But about the first vampire in space? Well she’s being as tsundere as tsundere can get. We can really feel the pain she is going through now that she is far away from Lev, and only has Anya for company. Well, an event of her own happens this week as well; won’t be spoiling that one, but I think it’ll definitely be something that’ll make a huge difference on whether the Union really want to dispose of Irina, or whether they want to keep her alive. But with all that happened in this week’s episode alone, Lev and Irina will definitely be getting much closer together, despite being in completely separate parts of the Laika-44 base. I think Anya is definitely playing a big part in letting that happen too.

Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut

Komi Can’t Communicate Episode 6

Komi Can’t Communicate has taken a while for me to get into, and now it’s gotten this far, I can safely say that I picked a good show for this Fall season. Episodes haven’t really deviated from the tried-and-tested kind that a lot of school comedies have, but I think it’s okay. All the characters are now people I can warm to…even Yamai, who seems to have really mellowed out in the space of just 2 episodes. Her episode will still be something to talk about once this show is over, though.

Komi Can't Communicate
Komi Can't Comunicate

We don’t get any new introductions of class misfits this week; instead episode 6 goes on a couple of everyday things that a girl Komi’s age would do: clothes shopping and hair styling. Both of these require some level of communication, and there’s also the fact that Komi hasn’t actually bought any clothes herself, with her mother buying them all. I thought this little contest they all held was very sweet, and why Tadano got roped into all of this is something else. Funny how everyone picked out outfits for Komi just so they could simp on her, while Tadano just wants to help her out by picking something that he thinks would actually suit her.

Later on, Komi heads on out to her usual hairstylist, who seems to be able to understand Komi very well. This is something I get totally. Not everyone who goes to the hairdressers wants to be chatty; I certainly don’t. Anyway, what made this section of this week’s episode stand out is that, once she returned to school, Tadano was the only one who noticed the change in hair style.

We really saw something happen at the end of last week, in the umbrella scene that Najimi oh so carefully choreographed. Seems like they can really see through everyone and how they are thinking, considering they are “everyone’s childhood friend”. Just like last week, they are arranging a summer meet-up which looks to be the show’s pool episode. I can only guess how much the community will erupt when they see Komi in a swimsuit…or will she be so timid that she won’t want to wear one?

(NB: I’ve seen a lot of reviews of the show go around when it comes to Najimi, and so I should point out that since their actual gender is never explicitly mentioned [in neither the manga or the show], the pronouns they/them would work better I think.)

Komi Can't Communicate

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the chemistry between Komi and Tadano is really developing into…something. The both of them feel incredibly awkward for two different reasons, and so maybe it’s this shared ‘awkwardness’ that will be what will bring them closer together. Since I haven’t read the manga, all I can do is make some guesses on what will go down.

The Aquatope on White Sand Episode 21

The last time I came to this show, we saw Kukuru being…well…less like Kukuru. There hasn’t been a single episode where she hasn’t complained that she was sent to marketing, and not to be an attendant. But I think this episode of her skipping work, disappearing into the countryside and feeling sorry for herself was a little too much of a cop-out and even unnecessary.

The Aquatope on White Sand
The Aquatope on White Sand

Out in the country, Kukuru just so happens to bump into Umi-yan’s wife, who is in the marine life business herself, except she’s far more focused on turtles. To me, this week’s episode felt more like her just trying to regaining the love she originally had for sea creature; this love she thinks disappeared when she began her job in marketing. I don’t want to think that it’s the department she’s in now that is the problem; as we also see this week, even Karin is starting to regret injecting a work ethic into her. This big project that she is meant to be heading, and all of the headaches that it will give her, won’t just go away because she’s being depressed and burnt out. Let’s hope that, when the show ends, she can use the love she originally had and use it constructively…at least to keep her boss content.

Now we can bitch and complain about Suwa all we want; I know I have, but I finally got the chance to stop and think more rationally about it this week. This guy works in marketing, behind a desk and not on front of house meeting the visitors, and he takes his job very seriously. Marine life isn’t a priority to him like it is to someone like Kukuru because it doesn’t have to be. True enough, he is harsh to his co-workers, but more recent episodes have shown us that he is also fair. What Kukuru has gone and done is very childish and immature; something that we have seen in pretty much every single episode of the entire show. I think back to the Kukuru we saw in episode 1, where she would be behind on her school work because all her constant talk about marine life and would drive teachers and classmates insane. 21 episodes later, and the immaturity hasn’t really gone away. I hope a couple more sudden incidents (eg. the hurricane that hit Gama Gama in the first cour) will be wake-up calls for her to finally be a responsible person.

The Aquatope on White Sand

If I have to have one word for my personal experience of The Aquatope on White Sand having watched all these episodes so far, it would be ‘disappointing’. The Okinawan landscape is absolutely gorgeous, and the way they have portrayed the marine life is just as commendable. I have just been unable to connect to any of the characters, both main and secondary. They either irritate the heck out of me, or just fade away into the background like they were never there. I’ll have plenty more to say about this when the review post comes at the end of December though, you can count on it.

Super Cub Episode 8

Super Cub

The last episode’s little muffin, Shii, has her proper introduction in episode 8, when she tells the others that her parents want to thank her for their help in the cultural festival by treating them at the café they run. Super Cub has had some episodes that involve some kind of activity (whether it be something like a summer job, or chasing after the school trip bus), but episode 8 was a refreshing change to that.

While most of the episode revolves around Shii being cute in front of Koguma and Reiko at her cafe, there was also something more subtle that I never really noticed until now. When this originally aired, some followers were quick to call this a yuri show. I didn’t really agree, and still don’t. It has only taken until two-thirds of the way through when I’ve noticed a subtle sea change in the relationship between Koguma and Reiko. As she becomes more and more of a Cub nerd like Reiko, it feels like Koguma is shedding her skin. The color tone of the entire show slowly shifts to something far brighter and more colorful.

Super Cub

Shii gets by on her rusty bicycle at the moment; Reiko was very quick to pick out the name and unique bike parts, showing how much of a bike nerd she really is. The adorable little muffin clearly wants to get more involved in this strange new hobby that her two new buddies have gotten into, and so she just needs to take the next step. Saying that though, she’s very much devoted to the café her family own, especially when it comes to making coffee, so we might not see her nerd over Cub engines and attachments like Reiko does.

And just the one piece right at the end of episode 8:

  • Piano Sonata No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 13 – “Pathetique”: Adagio cantabile, by Ludvig van Beethoven

I’m warming up to shows finally; even the ones I didn’t think I would. I just find it a shame that The Aquatope on White Sand will be something that, in the end, just did not get to me. As for what I said at the beginning of the post…yes I will definitely be watching World’s End Harem in the Winter, since I never got to this season. I will probably regret it one episode in, but after some serious shows, I just feel like covering something ridiculous.

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