Lots of things came to their conclusion, this week. Meanwhile, other shows just began new threads.
I have three slots in the semifinals, coming up. So let’s see if I can cling to two of them and lock EvilBob out of the finals, shall we?
Nodoka’s arc is already over, it seems. And from there we get to move on to what will probably be the last arc of the season, this time revolving around Kaede. But that’s a discussion for next week. I’m not surprised that they let this arc end here. Given the situation, dragging it out despite the fairly obvious resolution at hand (just getting the girls to make up) would’ve been a bit suspect. Of course, the matter ultimately was more about how they’d make up, and what sort of conclusions would be drawn about their relationship – an aspect I think the series handled incredibly well.
To piggyback off of my previous Redux’s title, no, it isn’t fair being compared to perfection. Because perfection is subjective. It’s an impossible standard, by all definitions. But Nodoka’s concept of it is her older sister. What do we do when admiration turns into resentment? We look up to others so much and they make the things we struggle to accomplish seem easy. I think one of the more interesting things this series sort of stumble into unintentionally (or maybe entirely on purpose) is how complex human emotions are.
The thing I think this arc, in particular, captures particularly well is the idea that people can have a range of different, often conflicting emotions centered around an individual subject. So here we have Nodoka who adores, respects, and resents Mai, all at once, while simultaneously disvaluing herself, immensely. And it led to this entire issue. I like that. The resolution, itself, was also a highlight of the series in showing exactly how these emotional contradictions can affect a person.
But, again, I doubt that was actually the point of what was going on, here. The point was much more specific. Nodoka was envious of Mai because Mai made everything look so easy and her mother was constantly comparing her because of how superior Mai always seemed. When the reality of the matter was that she wasn’t giving her all because she wasn’t pursuing the things she wanted and that made her mother push her, perhaps a bit too hard. On that note, this episode, in particular, is also very big on the parental stuff, which leads to a nice scene with Sakuta’s dad. Overall, I’d say this episode was definitely World’s Finest material. Straightforward, but excellent in execution.
No, really. This show is so unfairly good. The evolution of Yuu and Touko’s relationship – particularly on Yuu’s part – is just handled so well and it’s amazingly sweet. This week things moved from the much more physical aspect of intimacy showcased last time, instead focusing on something a bit different – the eagerness to be with one another. Yuu’s obviously never been the one to initiate her and Touko’s little “interactions.” But the reasons for that have changed. On top of it just being difficult, now that she wants to be close to Touko, she’s avoiding her because she knows that might end up actually putting more distance between the two of them. So what does she do? She very impatiently waits for Touko to initiate something and distracts herself with an old friend while defiantly telling herself she doesn’t need Touko to enjoy her summer vacation. But even then, it’s clear that Touko is always on her mind. It’s honestly adorable.
Meanwhile, Touko’s worried about making Yuu uncomfortable after the last episode. Amusingly, it’s mostly because of Yuu’s avoiding her for the aforementioned reasons that she starts getting concerned about this. And it doesn’t help when Yuu actively teases her over her clinginess. So she does her best to show some restraint. She goes almost the entire summer vacation (before their study camp, anyway) without contacting Yuu at all. But Yuu is Touko’s stress-reliever and confidant. Whenever she begins feeling this way, Yuu is the first person to pop into her mind. And it eventually culminates in the final scene (before the credits) where Touko finally caves and the two chat, making for a scene that’s honestly just too sweet.
Amusingly, that only makes up about two-thirds of the episode. The rest of it really focuses in on the advancement of the actual plot and the Student Council Stage Show. The parallels that Kano accidentally wrote into the script were basically perfect, but that’s all the really obvious stuff, not really worth analyzing. It was, however, cleverly set up. And the more of Kano we get, the more I like her. Overall, I’d say this is another episode of World’s Finest quality. And further proof that this show is really something else.
This episode wasn’t quite a filler, but it’s definitely just a lot of setup for the arc to come. Things continue to build as Touma and Index are summoned to England and a terrorist attacks aboard their plane. That aside, though, there’s not a terrible lot to dissect. It has a few pretty good moments, but it’s clear that they’re just getting ready for the final mini-arc of the season. Overall, a solid episode of Junk Food that honestly could be written off as filler, were it not for the fact that it is related to an upcoming sequence of actually relevant events. Actually, it was a pretty rare episode of “downtime,” as this series goes. Sure, very tense and had action in it, but it wasn’t some amazing magic clash or esper battle.
Hitomi continues to show major character growth as this series progresses. After what happened between her and Asagi, last week, she takes it upon herself to resolve the issue. And, in doing so, they fix it in – I kid you not – minutes. That was record time, and I’m glad it was fixed. But that still leaves a lot of episode. So what happens after that? Well, she practices her magic in preparation for something Kohaku decided to set up. And thus we get a sequence she the two witches manage to allow the entire magic photography club to visit one of Yuito’s drawings. And, as expected, it’s visually excellent. Even if it’s there for the sake of the visuals and not visual storytelling, it’s just really pretty and a highlight of the show, by far.
But this show wouldn’t be… well… this show without some aspect of drama. So now we get a peek into Hitomi’s subconscious, and more on her past, helping us learn why she disliked magic for so long. We already got the impression that she’s more accepting of it now because she can use it to make people happy. As it did for Yuito. But now we see the flip side of that, and it’s actually a nice touch. She didn’t think her magic could make anyone happy because just having it was once the cause of someone else’s pain. Not in a direct sense. But someone jealous of her talents disappeared from her life because of it. Someone dear to her. It results in this being perhaps the more emotional episode, so far.
It still doesn’t quite explain her inability to see color. But it’s a nice look into Hitomi’s past that really helps define her a bit more. It’s a Super Effective episode with some really nice character work, especially for Hitomi, Asagi, and Yuito.
Oh. Well, that ended quickly. I mean, I’m quite certain this isn’t actually completely over. But dealing with Fana in the very same episode that she reunites with Mars was something I didn’t quite expect. I suppose that just goes with this show’s blazingly fast pace. As to the execution, it was… honestly kind of dull? I’m not saying the action needed to be amazing, or anything. But most of this was just characters yelling really loud and slowly walking forward. Or, in Fana’s case, yelling really loud and just kinda… floating there. The rest was more of the same flashback stuff we already got with Mars in his introductory arc and more of the stuff with the elves that we also already saw.
The smiling lunatic from the last episode was dealt with in amusing fashion, thanks to Fanzell pulling off a team combo with Asta (with special Guest Star Fana, making it possible, completely by accident), but he’s only temporarily down, or so it seems. And no one else was really allowed to do anything. Noelle is given the shaft yet again as she can’t use her attack spell or she risks triggering Fana’s self destruct (because that’s how water works…), Finral can’t use his spatial magic because… reasons, and Vanessa… actually, she has a somewhat better excuse. I do like that they took them out of the equation so the fight scene could actually be different from the one in the last arc. But they hardly did anything with it. There’s still a bit more to the season before things officially wrap, however. So maybe we’ll get something more interesting in the next episode.
Asta did get a pretty good moment to play off of Mars, admittedly, drawing the parallels between the two of them. It was actually rather nice, in that respect. But the rest of the episode was basically just Harmless.
And now comes the final stretch. Aside from doing a lot more world-building, and giving us some pretty decent action, this episode starts an arc very much centered around Hiyori. Except now she’s become the target of a plot by Nora, who’s less than thrilled with the part she played in fixing Yukine. Nora notices that same thing that Yato did – that Hiyori saved them. And that goes against her plans. Overall, I like how this episode furthered the relationship between the main three members of the cast, easing them ever-so-slightly into a new status quo. Overall, a really nice episode to transition us into the worthy conclusion that is this final arc.
Overall Episode Medalists
This week it was unbelievably difficult, deciding the winner between two of the shows. But I think the ultimate winner of the Gold Medal, here, if only by a hair, is Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai.
There’s a lot to unpack, but I just think this show’s ability to create incredibly fluid, believable, and fleshed-out characters has been basically unmatched, this season (at least of the things we’ve been covering, around here). This, of course, leaves Yagate Kimi ni Naru with the Silver Medal. Toaru Majutsu no Index takes home the Bronze, this time.
Oddly, in an arc where Mai plays a significant part, Sakuta hasn’t gotten to interact with her much, at all. But because of that, he’s had to stand on his own a lot more. It can be easy to forget just how good a character he is, as well. At the same time, it’s incredibly difficult not to appreciate the man’s pure honesty. The man is as done with all of this as anyone could be expected to be. But he still gets through it and it’s only by his own doing that this situation resolved itself. It helps that none of the competition, this week, really held down a focus on any one character to carry the show on their own. Though Yuu did get close to walking away with this one again. She’s also a really good character, in case you needed reminding.
Unique Achievement: Gut Punches Delivered
This was a tough one, really. Seeing young Hitomi constantly shoving Yuito’s drawings aside was incredibly sad. But there’s also something uniquely heartbreaking about the post-credits scene with Touko, where she wakes up in a cold sweat and resigns herself to absolutely becoming her sister. It’s unbelievably sad, but also sets up well for the drama that’s no doubt coming in the next three episodes.
Unique Achievement: Cluelessness Points Accumulated
Mates… Shou is a dumbass. So much so that I exactly mimicked Kurumi and Kohaku’s reactions to him when they came up…
Unique Achievement: High Preciousness Percentage Bonus
Okay. Let’s be real. Young Nodoka is adorable. But Yuu on the phone with Touko is also pretty darn cute.
And that’s a wrap, ev’rybody. The semifinals of the Fall Season’s Anime TKO are right around the corner. Now to just stick around and see who’s heading to the finals. I’ve been keeping up with the competition and, I gotta say, that last episode of SSSS.Gridman was… definitely a thing that happened. But the heck with my thoughts on it. Be sure to check out EvilBob’s. And don’t forget to let me know what you thought of this week’s episodes, down below. Thanks for reading, as always. Keep up the Awesome and Take Care.