The Final Fantasy 14 servers have turned into jello, with queue times of over 8,000 for some players. Favored me since I avoided evening play when the servers are busiest though. The sad thing is that truth be told, all of this has given me far less time to catch up on the shows I’m watching. I suppose now that the servers are much quieter, I can finally do some catching up. And I have a lot to catch up on, especially as there are only a couple of weeks before 2022 starts.
Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut Episode 11
The Fall shows are approaching their finales now, with Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut being amongst them. This show started off a little rocky, but has since become something very enjoyable for me. If there is one outside thing I can praise here, it’s how much research Reddit threads do when it comes to all the events in the show compared to what really happened in the US-Soviet space race of the 1950s and 1960s. As each episode is covered there, tiny things that crop up in the show are analyzed and compared to real life history. That’s some real dedication there.
Irina has played her part in being the ‘test subject’ for the Nosferatu project, and Lev is now the hero of the Motherland, being the first man in space. I go back to Reddit going out of their way comparing accurate history, as the show has Lev say Yuri Gagarin’s famous line, “Let’s go!”, or “Poyekhali!” as Gagarin actually said back then. What we also see is that, instead of using his own words, Lev describes space through Irina’s eyes, and repeats the words she told him when she landed way back when. Especially as these words will be memorialized in history, the fact that Lev used Irina’s words instead of his own means a lot too.
Of course this being the penultimate episode, something goes wrong – something that leads us to the cliffhanger ending of that episode. And we get some little teases of that when Secretary Harlova arrives to help Lev with his big speech to the people of the Motherland, and as Anya is reassigned to another department, upset at the fact that Irina has still not had the opportunity to tell Lev how she really feels. Given Anya’s final expression right at the end of the episode, I have a sneaking suspicion on what she is planning to do…and it doesn’t look good.
I am really really looking forward to the show’s finale. Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut has been a real treat and something that deserves more attention than it has gotten this fall season. This was a last-minute decision too, as World’s End Harem ended up getting delayed to next year. At least I have one show set in stone for the Winter season.
Komi Can’t Communicate Episode 8
This was the summer festival/obon episode of Komi Can’t Communicate. These last couple of episodes have covered summer events quite a bit, things that would bring Komi closer to the others. And thankfully it has, as we see in this week’s outing. Even with all that, this week was still a bit of a filler…to round up everything that happened in the summer so these crazy kids can get back to school and just wait for Christmas to come, so they can do fun activities like these all over again.
Personally, I’ve never really been one for festival/obon episodes in shows, as they don’t really add that much to any ongoing stories. They often become fillers rather than anything else substantial. But all of these summer episodes been beneficial to Komi. The summer season as portrayed in anime shows is often a time when school buddies get closer together, and I think this has definitely worked here in Komi Can’t Communicate.
What about the remaining episodes? Since I haven’t read the original source manga, I don’t know what goes on when they come back to school. More people in the class have realized that it is Komi’s social anxiety that is stopping her from speaking. They’re also being more lax towards Tadano, who has the honor (in their eyes…) of sitting next to her in class. Maybe a seating change will come, and Komi ends up panicking because she’ll be next to someone she doesn’t know. Heh, who am I kidding? This is a school comedy show, not a drama; this means Tadano will stay exactly where he is.
As I said earlier, these crazy kids will be back to doing fun activities like this when Christmas comes around. And I think the show will end with a Christmas episode. Komi will naturally be showered with gifts from all her worshippers, Najimi will make more goofy jokes like they have always done in every episode so far, and Komi will probably muster enough strength to actually talk to all these new people she has met along the way.
The Aquatope on White Sand Episode 23
Here was me thinking that Kukuru growing as a person was the one thing that would be the climax to The Aquatope on White Sand. Turns out I was wrong, and it had to take us into the penultimate episode to see it.
Just as Fuuka had an opportunity to accept a major role at the end of the first cour, here she is considering the chance to go to Hawaii for 2 years as part of a research program run by Tingaara. For pretty much the entire of the second cour, Fuuka has been the one to go ‘there there’ to Kukuru whenever she screws up at her job. But now with this research program just arriving in the story out of nowhere, it feels like she has been thrust back into the spotlight without any real buildup. Do I think she should accept the offer? Yes I do. But we all know who is making her reconsider…
It works both ways though, as we see that as a result of the Aquatope Project (finally we realize why the show was called what it was), attendant vacancies will be open. This has been something Kukuru has been desperate to get back in, ever since she found out she would be shifted to marketing. But with more projects that she was a part of getting approvals, should she go back to the girl she used to be? We see presentations from the final five (Kaoru and Higa included) to Tingaara seniors, and notice that Fuuka puts together something more interactive with local children, compared to the others who did theirs in the aquarium itself. The main topic for all of them is how the project studies marine life so that it will still be around for future generations to come.
One thing that has stood out as this show ends is how Ban-chan the bottlenose dolphin has been used as a metaphor of sorts, to represent both Kukuru and Fuuka. The dolphin has been in these waters by the shore for a while now, and seems unable to swim back into the open sea. There will come a time when Ban-chan will have the strength to do so, just as both Kukuru and Fuuka will have the strength to move on to do the thing they really want to do in the future, instead of doing something they feel obligated to do.
They don’t hate the work they’re doing now, but a part of them still wants to move on and do something they really want, or have a great interest in. One conflict I have here, I think, is that I don’t like either of them anymore. In these two cours, their character designs have not done anything for me, despite being the two lead girls in the show. In P.A Works’ past shows, I’d really be rooting for the lead. Shirobako‘s Aoi Miyamori is a huge example; I cheered her on and wanted all of her hard work wanting to be a part of the animation industry to pay off. Here I just have not gotten any of that in either Kukuru or Fuuka.
When the finale comes next week, I will have likely lost all care for these two. Kukuru can go on to be an attendant again or continue on in marketing, and Fuuka will fly out to Hawaii to be a part of the Aquatope Project – their decisions will very likely do nothing for me. The theme of the show (marine life and the environment) really won me over, and it’s a shame that the characters themselves did not.
Super Cub Episode 11 & 12
The end of episode 10 saw Shii have a bike accident on an off-road path. She’s okay though, so we don’t have to fret over that adorable little muffin. Like last week, I decided to cover 2 episodes of Super Cub, so I can do the last posts of 2021 without having to worry about my out-of-season show. Once January comes, I can get stuck into The Helpful Fox Senko-san. But anyway…
In episode 11, Koguma comes to Shii’s rescue, with Reiko later getting the destroyed bike out of the ditch. This was a very different episode compared to the others. While in past episodes, we’ve usually just had Koguma go that much further with her Cub, and so Shii’s accident has really been the one event of the show that has stood out from the others. With this, the atmosphere at Koguma’s apartment (where Shii spends the night) was something else; you really could cut the tension with a knife. Shii feels terrible about having the accident and having to be rescued, but Koguma also feels somewhat responsible when it occurs to her that it was her influence that got Shii to take bike riding more seriously.
This traumatic event sets the scene for episode 12, the final one, where Shii musters the strength to join Koguma and Reiko on a little trip. Well, a long trip in fact. The episode previous had Shii begging Koguma to get rid of the cold and unforgiving winter. And so this trip was more for Shii than anything. A trip to take their Cubs as far as they could to see the earliest of cherry blossoms. With stops along the way, they ended up going as far as Cape Sata (the southernmost point in of mainland Japan).
The iyashikei subgenre of slice-of-life has been something I’ve really been enjoying a lot recently; characters sitting back watching the world go by. Super Cub gave me this, with some added shots of Japanese landscapes. The final episode alone gave us plenty to see; Sakurajima (an active volcano in Kagoshima) and the Tottori Sand Dunes being among them. The addition of known classical music pieces in the soundtrack really adds a touch to the show too; bombarding the score with chirpy pop tracks would make the mood of the show very different. The source already has its own moody theme, and so changing it dramatically would just ruin it completely.
It’s sad that I missed out on Super Cub when it first came out; I had already picked other shows then, and the show wasn’t really that noticeable on the radar as opening episodes came in. However, I’m very glad I have gotten around to watching it in its entirety before the year is out.
Coming up next will be my Fall review post, and I also have a post planned for my favorite shows for 2022. And you all know that our favorite CGI show EX-ARM will feature in it. Oh, and the absolute mess that was season 2 of The Promised Neverland. What other terrible shows were there in 2021?