This week’s shows really brought the heat. It was all about EMOTIONS, this time, around. And that’s not a bad thing at all.
This week’s competitors brought the drama out. And while I fully expect that this isn’t even close to the furthest extent we’ll be reaching, things still got pretty heavy. So, let’s review.
Ah, there it is. I’ve gotta say, I really enjoyed the conclusion to this arc. It was a high note, really. I certainly expected something along these lines. Plots like these usually do end up going this way. But this bittersweet feeling was handled well, without all of the angsty confliction usually expected of this type of situation in a story like this. I like Sakuta’s absolute devotion to whatever he’s going for. And, really, it’s going to be a good test, considering the reveal at the end of the episode. The bittersweet resolution to the arc, on Tomoe’s part, was also handled in a way that I think was a good exercise in subtlety. Her connection to the time loop really worked wonders in getting across the desperation she felt. It was a really Super Effective episode that I think tied up the arc rather nicely.
Ah. There’s the tragic backstory that I saw coming, a mile away. To be fair, I didn’t put together everything, piece-for-piece. But I figured, based on Episode 3, that she had some sort of role-model that either abandoned her or died, so she’s been trying to emulate them this entire time. That much is fairly obvious from the instant you learn that she’s not really as stable as she seems. What I didn’t really see coming, though I probably should’ve, is the motivation behind her wanting to do the Student Council show. I hadn’t considered that the two things were so intrinsically linked. Either way, what happened in the episode isn’t quite as important as how it was handled. And I think it did the job rather well.
I’m definitely still leery of Sayaka. Don’t get me wrong. I get where she’s coming from. It’s just that her attitude is a bit… irksome. But, that aside, she was a good catalyst for the events of things, moving forward. And having her confront Yuu was a rather tense moment. I legitimately had no idea what she was going to say or do. But handled even better was Yuu’s confronting Touko by the bridge. A dialogue that came down to a very tense moment that was not only visually beautiful, with the backdrop of the sky and the great (if simple) expressions from the characters.
But it was also really good with the visual storytelling, showing a very literal representation of the two characters coming dangerously close to growing apart. Right down to Yuu’s little stumble before she makes up her mind on how she wants to handle the situation after being proven utterly wrong, the first time. But, at the end of the day, they’re both lonely and need one another. It’s just a really well put together scene in an altogether Super Effective episode for the show. Also, the thing I’m perhaps most interested in is the bit of internal monologue at the end. When they’re both walking together. Yuu internally expressing a desire to change – to fall in love with Touko. Meanwhile, the post credit scene reveals Touko’s exact reasoning, which is to say she wants the opposite. For Yuu to never fall in love with her. And that conflict of interest is something I think will make for an interesting second half.
And then there was this. While Yagate Kimi ni Naru might be really good at pulling out all the stops, using visuals to represents key elements of the story, this show is all about the visuals being a part of the story. It’s beautiful, across the board, yes, but the imagery is actually pivotal to the narrative, itself. As such, the visuals are far less subtle but no less effective. And certainly no less gorgeous.
The entire scene “inside Yuito’s drawing” was visually stunning. And it said a lot about his character, which comes into focus later with quite a bit of drama, now that we know a bit more about him. The issue gets resolved rather quickly after a senpai of his talks some sense into him, and I’d also like to point out that I really like the score of this show. It’s really calming and pretty, in places. The resolution, itself, was a wonderfully beautiful scene as well, which also seemingly brought Hitomi’s colors back, which was unexpected.
I expect she’ll briefly lose them again, at some point, before the show truly concludes. The development of the relationship between Hitomi and Yuito continues to be a subject of interest as well. I only hope these guys don’t wind up betraying one another over the weird love diamond that’s forming. But this episode was, overall, Super Effective and has me interested in what happens next.
All right, so a quick primer. I’m not going to break down the entire half-season in one go, because that’d be impossible to do in any reasonable space of time. Far too much happens for that to be realistic. What we’ve got so far is one episode of Touma and Index, back to business as usual, just to get everyone back into the show. Then there are two episodes that introduce the magic side’s main players in the upcoming arc, then three episodes that focus on the secondary and tertiary protagonists – Accelerator and Hamazura. In all, I’d say that the first episode back was pure Junk Food. It was just a serving to reintroduce us to the world.
Episodes 2 and 3 were great for their part. They didn’t quite involve the usual buildup one would expect, but the villain was much more of a stock evil dude whose sole purpose was to show Touma what he was up against. The real fight has yet to begin. As such, both of those episodes qualify as Junk Food (2) and Super Effective (3), respectively. Episodes 4 and 5 are likely to be polarizing to some because Touma and Index aren’t even really in them. They’re all about setting up the various organizations on the science side of the upcoming arc. Some of it will probably mean more to you if you watch A Certain Scientific Railgun, as that series expands on some of the roles of characters you’ll be seeing. This arc deals with a lot of espionage, which has the potential to be incredibly confusing. And, to be fair, it probably is. I know what’s going on because I have some foreknowledge. But, as I said in the recent retrospective, this is a series that’s never heard the word “pause.” With that in mind, you might need to watch these episodes more than once to really catch everything. But overall, they’re good Junk Food.
Then there’s this week’s showing, Episode 6. Essentially the climax of this little arc, pitting Hamazura against Mugino and Accelerator against Kakine. The battle between Hamazura and Mugino was almost something ripped right out of a horror movie as she slowly chases him throughout the city after an attack on ITEM from Kakine’s group. She basically goes completely and totally bonkers, murders one of her own people in grizzly fashion (which, I will admit, annoyed me even when I read about it) and tried to kill him. Seeing him beat her was certainly satisfying, and a nice step forward for his character, highlighted by what Touma told him at the end of the second season.
The more interesting of these battles was between Kakine and Accelerator. Primarily because of just how much fun their fight was. It showed off the kinds of powers these super espers could unleash, had some really epic shots, and culminated in a final clash that shows how far Accelerator’s come from being the seemingly irredeemable monster he’d been introduced as. All-in-all, this was a Super Effective episode for this show. But I’ll be glad to get back to Touma and Index, next week.
An episode that finally brings us back to the present, full-time, as Noelle and company decide to head to the witches’ forest. This is actually the last arc of the manga I’m familiar with in any great amount of detail. So I know what happens from this point. And the anime’s adaptation of it is… well… fine. The episode’s almost entirely there to set up for the clash with the Eye of the Midnight Sun, next time. I do like Noelle taking this initiative to help Asta and all, but I do think some of the episode’s antics were a bit eye-roll inducing.
Finral is a surprisingly good character, but stopping to chat up every girl on the way while they’re on the run is… an issue. Sure, he hasn’t entirely sorted through his issues yet. But that persona is something of a facade. So I feel like he should definitely have the ability to know when is definitely not a time for him to be doing that. Also, Fanzell’s whole joke of losing his clothing inconveniently is a bit irksome. I’m usually not a fan of jokes and running gags invading the actual events of an episode’s plot. At the end of the day, the episode’s Harmless, and nothing more or less, really.
As Yato’s condition worsens and Yukine’s mental state declines, a challenger approaches – Bishamon. Up until this point in the series, there wasn’t actually a terrible lot of conflict. With the exception of fixing Hiyori’s condition (an objective that Yato continually shirks, but will come up later), there wasn’t a real narrative. With the exception of the previous episode setting up for what would come soon. But we’ll get to that bit when it comes. I liked seeing Yukine’s slow descent into darkness and Hiyori’s trying to drag him out of that place, to the best of her ability. The action brought about by the Bishamon situation was also good stuff. Not much for spectacle, but it was all really smooth and was actually used to get more about Yato’s background. Another really solid episode that does a really great job of setting up what’s to come in an engaging way.
Because this is late, I’ll pass on the bonus achievements, this time, and focus on the primary ones for the competitors. So…
Overall Episode Medalists
Contrary to what I’m sure you might think, Toaru Majutsu no Index isn’t walking away with the Gold Medal, this time. No, this one is going to this season’s dark horse, yet again. That’s right. It’s Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai.
Yet another really strong episode that brought a conclusion to an arc that definitely could’ve been… problematic, to say the least. That leaves Toaru Majutsu no Index to walk away with the Silver Medal. And what takes away the Bronze? Well, that one’s actually quite difficult to call, this time. But I think the character work in Yagate Kimi ni Naru is stronger, so we’ll go with that one.
This was a tight one. It really just came down to my mood. Seeing Sakuta’s utter devotion to Mai and his handling of the Tomoe situation was great. But it’s always great when characters take steps further in their development, especially if it gets them closer to what they want. And, in Yuu’s case, that’s definitely what happens. She’s finally able to identify what she’s been feeling and takes action, based on this… twice, in fact. The first time she’s completely wrong, but the second time she makes up her mind to stop being indecisive (to a point) and just leap. It was a great moment for her.
And there you have it. I wanted to keep it short, but that just seems impossible at this point. C’est la vie, I guess. What about you? What do you think were this week’s strongest episodes? Let me know, down below. And maybe check out the latest episodes of Bulletoon Weekly, while you’re with us. That’s all for me. Thanks for reading, as always. Keep up the Awesome. Take Care.