Previously on Otaku Theater…
“I hear that Black Rock Shooter: Dawnfall is pretty much sci-fi apocalypse anime meets Mad Max, and that it’s very silly too. And that its viewers are questioning why Disney would want such a show in the first place. I have to find a way to watch it…I must.“
Well I did find a means to watch it, and it is as ridiculous as I thought it would be, and more. Machines have taken over the Earth, leaving the human race fighting each other for scrap metal and supplies in what is now a toxic environment. Then the artificial human Empress wakes up with amnesia, and is told she is the savior of humanity, and trying to reconcile with her fellow artificial humans Dead Master and Strength. I had to think back to when the previous anime shows were released (the OVA in 2010, and the other TV show in 2012), and this is a very different take on the others, focusing far more on science fiction than what its predecessors did.
But the question still remains: why the heck would Disney want this show? With another bloodsucking corporation in on the anime streaming game, what kind of shows will they want licenses for in the future?
Meanwhile back to my other shows, The Demon Girl Next Door is taking a break this week, so we’re going to skip straight into…
Komi Can’t Communicate Season 2 Episode 4
The Christmas episode of the show, and it is everything you expected it to be.
Here this week, we are reminded how much of a misfit everyone in the high school really is. Although we all wish that we’d get to see less of Ren Yamai, all the others come out to play, and even though we know all their characteristics, it’s actually good to see them all pooled together for this one Christmas party at Komi’s house that Najimi has just decided to plan spontaneously. I see they haven’t changed there, but I’m still convinced that their voice is different than what we’ve seen in past episodes. It’s the same voice actor, so I wonder if they were told to make Najimi’s voice different. Curious.
The episode is solely about the party, and while a good portion is devoted to the King’s game they have (which is something I had never really heard of before until now), another good portion is the others thinking about what to get Komi as a gift. The original plan is to find something she’d want with a budget of 2,000 yen. The end result is something very sweet and wholesome though, and it’s no surprise whatsoever that the idea comes from Tadano. Once again the misfit friends remain being misfits, and yet Tadano stands out the most purely because of his ‘normalness’. The others may see him as pretty dull and unexciting, but out of all of them, he is definitely the most selfless. And with his idea of a giant cat pillow, she puts Komi’s thoughts first.
On Netflix, episodes haven’t really been listed as a ‘second season’ like it is on the Japanese TV broadcast (on TV Tokyo, three weeks before Netflix). Instead what they have done is put them together with the episodes we had before, when the show began in the Fall season of last year. Even with people bouncing the term ‘Netflix jail’ around, I do think that they’ve done an okay job when it comes to bringing new anime on their streaming platform. Some people might not remember, but they did the same when Violet Evergarden came out (licensing issues meant people in the US and Australia had to wait until it ended though). I really enjoyed Blue Period as well, and as we all see Komi Can’t Communicate has become more noticeable and popular than we all thought. No doubt Netflix have their eyes on some summer anime shows, and I thinking that this model they are doing will be something they will keep on doing.
But anyway, back to Komi Can’t Communicate, from what I understand, future episodes will have the winter break carry on, and thus we’ll be getting the inevitable New Year episode too. All the others are already looking forward to seeing Komi in a kimono, I’m sure. But that’s going to be the sideshow of course. It’s still very enjoyable seeing Komi and Tadano struggle with what to say to each other and admit how they feel. I personally don’t think it will come to a conclusion in the New Year episode, but it’ll definitely have a big stepping stone.
Kaguya-sama: Love is War Season 3 Episode 7
Last week we discovered that Miyuki is going to Stanford, and has not yet told the others. I’m more than certain that that will be left until the very end – something that will bring out the most in both Miyuki and Kaguya. As for right now, we seem to be getting the buildup to the cultural festival itself, which unusually takes place in December.
Ishigami is refusing to give up on Tsubame meanwhile, as both he and Miko are asked to attend the Cultural Festival committee to go through what will go on there. Interesting how we go back to the one thing Miko is afraid of the most: speaking in public. This was something that held her back in season 2 in the election episode, and here in this part of the episode, she campaigns for a bonfire, only for the idea to be shot down. I do like how she learns to overcome this fear and pledge to speak to the neighborhood for support, which she eventually does.
Meanwhile, we go back to something that came up last week; Miyuki self-reflecting. He has been able to get impressive grades, earn the respect of so many at school and become student council president, and yet the things that he is terrible at (singing, playing music, and in this case something as simple as blowing up balloons) are things that he notices the most, resulting in him seeing himself as a failure.
The end of this season is likely to be the cultural festival itself, and I’m beginning to think that these thoughts Miyuki are having are going to weigh on him a lot more. He has felt unable to do much to help putting the festival together despite being student council president. He can’t sing and play musical instruments like the others. He doesn’t really have anything in the way of hobbies and interests either. Last week he asked Chika and Miko if they really saw him as a man or not, and the fact that it took them both so long to answer says it all. He is going to Stanford and he only has one shot to confess to Kaguya, and if he can’t consider himself to be ‘man enough’ to do that, then how will his story really end?
But this is all what is keeping me coming back to this show, and this franchise; beneath the great comedy sketches is a genuine school romance story. Kaguya seems to be fine with her beloved kaichou the way he is, and is only too happy to learn more about him. He doesn’t need to prove himself to her; he just needs to realize that, that’s all.
If there is anything I want to say about this season of Kaguya-sama, it’s that I am finding the changes in art style very strange. We’re halfway through the show and I still haven’t gotten used to them. Facial expressions are emphasized a lot more, different filters are used for more dramatic moments, and there are even some moments that aren’t even animated. All things that I never really picked up on in previous seasons, and so seeing them now just seems a little odd. Were they always there and I just didn’t notice them before? Scratching my head on that one.
Iroduku: The World in Colors Episode 7
Do any of these kids actually get any school work done? Well I guess that isn’t what Iroduku is about so it doesn’t really matter. Instead our journey, Hitomi’s journey, is shown; all these club activities are just extra. Scenes are still happening out of context here, with things not being wholly explained. Sure it’s great to see these kids go out on their adventures and club activities, but their planning is something we don’t really see. Reaching episode 7 of the show now, I definitely think Hitomi is that much closer to discovering why her grandmother sent her back in time. Her colorblindness is still a big issue and what seems to be more of a plot point now. Just as her color vision reappeared at the end of episode 6, she goes back to monochrome just as quickly for episode 7. Frustrating maybe? I still think that there’s more to this though. But this was also Kurumi’s episode.
Her high school life is ending soon, and yet she has no career goal. She looks up to her pastry chef older sister a lot, leaving her thinking she is nothing. Despite being vice-president of the club, she still sees it as a hobby. The club’s annual summer camping trip (explained with some actual context for a change), and while they are all there, Kurumi can’t help but watch her colleagues already have plans for the future (university, work, etc.), and she just has nothing. Just enough to pass exams barely, but beyond that she can’t think of a single thing she wants to be as an adult. Her sister tells her that it’s alright to do what she thinks is the right path, but that still comes as hollow advice.
This lack of determination for the future is also reflected onto Hitomi, who is still unable to believe in herself and for what her future will bring. She can’t explain why her colorblindness reappeared as soon as it left, and the fortune that Kohaku gives her this episode is too vague for her to understand. Even with all this time she has spent here, Hitomi is still feeling incredibly incompetent, with her colorblindness being a big symptom among many. Saying this though, the Hitomi of episode 1 would not run wildly into the street to chase her new friends like the Hitomi of episode 7 did. These changes of hers are coming slowly but surely.
This was a very strong episode, and very different from some of the past ones which have really only been about Hitomi’s slow crawl to discovering why she was sent to this timeline. Here she finally musters the courage to tell the others about her colorblindness and is opening up more to the others. As for the romantic interactions going on in the show, it still feels very murky. The romance in Iroduku though isn’t something I’m following closely, with Hitomi’s journey taking more of a priority for me. With 6 more episodes to go, I still have no idea on how it will end. But instead of being something frustrating, it’s something that’s become exciting to me. Iroduku is not without some faults, but this has been a really good out-of-season show for me right now.
I will not be continuing Black Rock Shooter: Dawnfall despite me praising its ridiculousness. Disney+’s other Spring show, Summer Time Rendering, is something I probably won’t be in a hurry to watch either. They are already both available to watch on the Southeast Asia version of Disney+, so the rest of us will just have to play the waiting game for now. I go back to the new model Netflix are doing for new shows, and I honestly don’t think it will be something Disney will end up doing. I mean as the titan of all titans when it comes to animated shows and movies, they will likely take their time and think about how to approach bringing the shows they have licensed to the West, even if it means frustrating the heck out of the fans.