Ah. That’s better.
This episode more or less continues the show’s very “interesting” relationship with reality. Specifically in how it picks and chooses when it feels like participating in it. This is definitely one of those situations where it blissfully declines. The episode sees the club dealing with newfound popularity after several of the sports clubs catch on to the performance boost of the Track & Field club after receiving the Anime Club’s advice. What follows is a period of the club being asked for countless recommendations for shows to watch by all the various clubs around campus. And I do mean all.
Meanwhile, Minoa is in a bind. Being the “only sane one” in this scenario, Minoa can’t help but feel unsettled by all of this. Surely the methods seen in anime have no place in the real world. Some are too outlandish, some or dishonest, and some are just not possible. But it seems the entire school is soon swept up in anime fever. And Minoa’s clubmates are fully embracing and engaging in it.
This was an angle I actually kind of liked. Yes, it’s another Minoa episode, and yes, there’s not a terrible lot to her. But unlike in the previous attempts at making Minoa the focus, here they actually sort of did something with the single solitary hook of her character – being a newbie in this realm. She’s trying to figure out exactly to what extent anime should blend with the real world. Everyone else is getting so wholeheartedly swept up in it, but she’s just smiling and nodding as she observes in worry that this is ultimately going to do more harm than good.
The episode is once again crammed with references. Some are just name dropping. And it’s becoming very apparent to me that someone involved in this production really loves Gurren Lagann. Seeing how all of the clubs are implementing these bizarre anime-inspired antics into their activities is a lot of fun. Of course, this is the point where the show elects to just unhinge itself from any semblance of reality, as well.
Alas, this show still has that one persistent “plot” that Just. Won’t. Die. By the end of the episode, we learn that the club is – you guessed it – being shut down.
Yes, even the show is bored of this schtick by now. I’d have been annoyed, had they not finally acknowledged what they were doing. Still, a parody isn’t necessarily exempt from participating in the tropes it’s mocking. The club is once more in danger of being shut down. However, this time it’s a bit more serious. So their initial reaction, while cathartic and quite funny in-context, turns out to be for naught, causing them to change their tune.
The reveal also introduces a bit of a twist to the scenario, at least based on the context of what’s been going on in this particular show, thus far. I’m actually interested in seeing how they resolve the situation, now that the show’s getting ready for its end-game. And I’m looking forward to seeing exactly how far into parody things go.
One of the strengths of parody is that they generally understand what they’re mocking quite thoroughly. Thus they’re able to be funny, but also sneak a little insight into the mix to keep these engaging. They’re essentially Deconstructions + Humor. That’s typically what I look for in a parody – the mark of understanding what they’re riffing and analyzing, using humor as a storytelling mechanic. It’s just better than something that calls itself a parody but doesn’t actually analyze anything, instead just taking jabs at superficial aspects of the subject matter.
This episode was a nice step back on track after a lull in the last episode or two. They managed to get their laughs and also explore a pretty interesting idea. This is a show that understands how parody works. And this is an episode I can honestly Recommend because it highlights that strength very well. Arguably better than most of the show’s previous episodes (if not all of them). Is it as much fun as some of the earlier episodes? Probably not. But it does what it sets out to do, and I appreciate that. Of course, there are tons of other shows that have been doing a stellar job of staying on target, this season. Maybe check out our recaps on those to see if you’d want to give them a try.
And if this show’s still looking appealing to you despite its highs and lows, then Anime Gataris Simulcasts on Crunchyroll, Sundays at 10:00am EDT.