Oregairu Zoku 12
Even great shows can have Valentine’s day episodes. And though this particular Valentine’s day served a purpose to the characters, it did not stop them from falling into cliches. Watching Yumiko and Iroha fret over giving chocolate to Hayato was boring too watch and only repeated a message. The audience already understands that Yumiko and Iroha want a more genuine relationship with Hayato, and are willing to change themselves for it. As for Saki, I’m not sure why she was included in this episode at all. She appears to be a relic from the light novel. Other than her argument with Yumiko, and her cute little sister, Saki doesn’t seem to have any influence on this episode. The idea to have a chocolate making workshop could have been proposed without her request.
Once the cooking class started the episode improved significantly. There were still some valentine’s day shenanigans, but at least it wasn’t echoing the ideas of the last episode in a worse format. The drama picked up when Haruno started preying on the insecurities of the characters there. Let it be known that I think Haruno is a bitch. She was brought to help teach the kids how to prepare chocolate, but all she does is rip at their vulnerabilities for enjoyment. Perhaps she has a greater purpose for questioning Yukinon, Yui, and Hachiman’s identities, but I can’t imagine how it would be productive enough to counteract the cracks in the relationship Haruno makes. The Service club worries if how they’re acting now is truly genuine. The people around them comment on how their actions, “oh, that sounds like you”, but they wonder if that’s how they should act. The inner conflict of how they view their own identity and comparing it to how others view them. I would argue that each identity is genuine. Even if people view them differently, it is because of how you act that they view you that way, despite any misconceptions they may have. A lesson that Hiratsuka-sensei is trying to teach them in a roundabout way.
Hiratsuka has always been the character that represents the author or audience that would guide these adolescents, and it never has been more apparent than this episode. She provides the answer to their identity worries saying “if you continue to spend time and grow with someone, you’ll gradually understand them”. One may not fully understand each other, but the more time spent together the more one will understand. That doesn’t just apply to other people, but oneself as well. Then Hiratsuka proceeds to take the words out of my mouth, “I’m glad to have been able to see this up close and in person, because I can’t watch over you guys forever”. With only one episode left, I hope they can wrap everything up, or at least, announce another season.
Nisekoi’s second season has always been obnoxious, but this week took it to a new level. The episode showcased Onodera’s devotion to Raku. Sounds great, but the perspective Shaft portrayed it from is showing that all of Onodera’s decisions are based on Raku. In the first half we are shown that Onodera needs Raku’s approval so much, she would starve herself to be “prettier” in his eyes. Obviously unhealthy, and Nisekoi makes sure to point that out. But the show doesn’t refute Onodera’s need to meet the male expectations.
The second half of the episode was a little bit sweeter, but it still presents the same issue. Onodera’s life revolves around Raku. She doesn’t have anything else in her life other than him. Normally, I would mention that Nisekoi isn’t a very serious show, so the audience shouldn’t take its views seriously. But the show was too offensive for me to ignore. I would usually drop shows like these, but it’s almost finished anyways. I don’t know what I expected from Nisekoi, I have already read the manga and am familiar with its aimless nature.
Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works 24
After a little bit of repetition in the first couple of minutes, it got amusing. The non-stop action that brought energy to the first season finally returns to give a satisfying ending to Holy Grail War. Still have one more episode for the epilogue, but I’m not too excited for it. Either way, Unlimited Blade Works boasts some of the most varied content, ranging from slice of life, to dynamic skirmishes and philosophical ideals. The content may be hit or miss depending on Ufotable’s execution, but I enjoyed my time with Unlimited Blade Works.
Sound! Euphonium 12
Heat and Passion. Two words to sum up this episode.
I don’t know how far south Kyoto is, but I know the summers are warm just from watching this episode. Kyoto Animation focused on the lighting and framing to express the Kyoto summers. The many close ups on Kumiko’s sweat plastered face. The glare of the sun contrasting with the shade of the school. Light and heat are associated with new ideas. Kumiko used to shy away from the sun. But now with the sun shining on Kumiko, her new ideals are being shaped. Kumiko is still split by the sunlight, representing the fact she hasn’t fully committed herself to music yet.
Kumiko has been slowly changing over these past eleven episodes, becoming bolder, and more driven. These changes flourished as she recognized them within herself, yelling “I want to improve”. I couldn’t imagine Kumiko saying these words in episode one, or screaming anything at all. The silent resistance of Kumiko’s sister shifted to active rebellion. Running forward, nothing would stop her. Because she has the only thing she needs to push her, love for music. And it all started because she wanted to understand Reina. I wonder who Kumiko will inspire.