…What the devil did I just watch?
I am incredibly confused, right now. Within the last half of the series, Anime Gataris just very suddenly pulled a hard left. The direction of the show’s first half is almost entirely different to where things have been for the past three or four episodes. This one just seems to epitomize that. Which isn’t to say it’s an inherently bad thing, but it’s very bizarre, to say the least.
Things pick up where they left off, and the Anime Club has been shut down. Minoa takes her worries home with her and learns the exact same lesson that literally anyone with a pulse and a functioning brain could easily pick up on their own. The Anime Club getting shut down doesn’t dissolve the friendship. This isn’t exactly helped by the fact that they discredited this exact idea in one of the earlier episodes when happened the first time.
The favoritism that the club earned after helping all of the other clubs, last time, still lingers. So, in response to the club getting shut down, the other students around the school have rallied to get things back to normal. In response, the principal shuts down the school… which I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t actually be able to do. But either way, he locks himself in his office. Once again I have to call out that whoever’s in charge here must really love Gurren Lagann. You’ll see what I mean.
Minoa winds up stumbling into the office where she gets to speak with the principal. And from there the episode just becomes sheer madness. He turns out to be a massive anime fanatic who’s become embittered because of his own experiences with it. But as they talk, Minoa’s greenness touches a nerve. Reality takes a rain check… literally, and now Minoa’s trapped in that room in a desperate situation. Meanwhile, the rest of the club works on coming up with various ways to figure out the password for the office so they can get in and save her.
The answer they reach is fairly obvious, but it does at least tie up one of the show’s several plot threads. That much I can appreciate. However, there’s still one significant plot thread left open, which is the supernatural stuff surrounding the club – Neko-senpai, the reality-defying events of this very episode, and something involving Aurora-senpai that I’m not going to get into.
With everything that I’ve described so far, do you understand why I’m confused? This is completely different from the way the show decided to begin. Heck, this has practically left the realm of parody and has become an outrageous romp in its own right. The charming little anime nerd conversations have long since fled and the series continues to get more surreal as time goes on. What I’m trying to say is… this series is a mess. And this episode is the one that confirms it most adamantly. But is it a good kind of mess? A mess that can still manage to be enjoyable? Possibly? Given the handle that the show had on things in the first few episodes, it’s not an unreasonable assumption that the show is devolving into sheer chaos, this way, entirely on purpose. It is a fairly meta show. But I can’t honestly tell at this point.
Is the episode funny? That’s up to your sense of humor. I personally find it to be so, simply because I enjoy laughing at the positively absurd as much as I like the more understated humor of the first half of the show. But in terms of fundamentally storytelling and structure, this show has gone from reasonably unconventional to simply being all over the place. As such, someone who might fall in love with the first half could very easily watch this far and feel like they’re watching something entirely different. Whether or not they still like it will simply depend on them. At this point, I’m not quite sure what to make of it. It’s certainly Junk Food in moments, but it really straddles the line between that and Guity Pleasure territory hard. If you don’t think you can make any sense of it, I’d probably say you’re better off watching something that’s pretty structurally sound. EvilBob’s recaps of Mahoutsukai no Yome may tide you over.
But if this is the perfect example of a beautiful mess to you, then watch on. Anime Gataris Simulcasts on Crunchyroll, Sundays at 10:00am EDT.