A generally good midweek edition – even Koi to Uso I didn’t feel like bashing this time around! That said, there’s still the usual outlier Netsouzou TRap, and Gamers! disappointed me enormously; and this may just be enough for me to head into the weekend with mixed feelings. Anyway, let’s have a look at all these episodes!
It’s no secret that I’ve been enjoying Gamers! so far. This is perhaps the reason why I was so disappointed with this episode. Not only does it provide no follow-up on the “cliffhanger” that concluded last week’s episode, but it’s entirely focused on Karen’s character for some reason. It feels like a bonus chapter that got put in there for a lack of space.
But the more bothersome aspect, to me at least, was Karen’s character itself. The whole episode is hardly dedicated to developing her or making her interesting; we learn little about her except for mundane details such as her morning routing. No, this episode is dedicated solely to showing how in love she is with Keita. When shown under this angle so extensively, it feels like she’s barely her own character: she only exists in relation to Keita, and her only purpose in this show is to love him. When she was introduced as a game lover, this provided an interesting contrast to her appearance, and nerding out about games has been one of the show’s better aspects so far – see Keita and Chiaki’s heated debates in episode three –, but here she’s only shown playing to further underline that her obsession with Keita is making her worse at games! Sure, she blushes a lot and is pretty cute; but how am I supposed to get attached to a character who doesn’t even feel like her own person? Whose greatest passion is reduced to her romance with a guy (who, it should be underlined, always gets to keep his emotional independence, having friends besides Karen and not having his gaming reduced to loving her)? It’s all genuinely bothersome. Girls are their own characters, they’re not just here to be cute and in love with guys!
And it only gets worse at the end, when Keita reveals that he too is competitive and is merely scared to put himself on the line! Now this is understandable as most people do want to win at games; but the way he puts it makes it seem like he was merely giving a twist on Karen’s own philosophy, which is excessively reductive and makes him lose all his originality as a character. I can imagine someone who wants to win at games but, for instance, prefers cooperation and isn’t overly obsessed with personal scores and the such – but Keita doesn’t bring it out under such a light. He merely reveals his inner competitor, without a hint of subtlety or nuance. Of course, this satisfies Karen; but is it really fulfilling story-wise? I, for one, am fairly disappointed by this development.
After three good episodes of Gamers!, this fourth entry came as a huge downer. It’s reductive in so many ways – of its characters, of its philosophy – that I wouldn’t be surprised to see people willing to drop the show on the spot after this disappointment of an episode.
Isekai Shokudou is back on track after a disappointing episode. The first part was focused on Lionel and his love of katsudon. Compare how his story was told with that of reptilians from the past week: here we get a few fights, and mostly hear the backstory from the participants themselves. The battles aren’t brilliant, being short and suffering from average animation: Lionel rushing to the coliseum is a typical example of how poor this show can look when asked to do a little more than simply showing people bringing food to their mouths. However, it was much better to see the story unfold in a simple way, without much talking, than to bear with the endless narration we had to go through last week: this formula simply feels more faithful to the show’s simplicity. In a sense, Lionel’s way of eating the katsudon is very telling of his personality: he’s a fighter, someone who needs to eat his fill in order to go out and fight. While this isn’t the most inventive personality trait, it’s a pleasantly simple way to convey something about a character’s personality.
I especially noticed this detail thanks to the second part, which focuses on Victoria. Being a very noble woman with a royal background, she’s seen eating in a very elegant way: she picks very small parts, taking her time to enjoy each, and saving the dessert’s core for last. This reinforces our idea of her. That said, the narration does fall back into the trap of prolixity, albeit thankfully not the extent the last episode did. On a more positive note, I liked how the second part started by showing a little of Aletta’s earnestness as she recites the menu; furthermore, her questions about the menu’s writing provide a nice link to the later revelation that Victoria actually helped write the menu. Although this kind of scene with Aletta makes me wish the show had more of her; if each little story could dedicate a minute or two to subtle characterization, she would’ve certainly gained in interest. Fortunately, the preview for the next episode has quite a bit of her along with already introduced characters; perhaps the sixth entry will mark the beginning of a shift in Isekai Shokudou, one which digs deeper into already introduced characters and environments instead of just telling short unrelated stories.
Koi to Uso
After the early introduction of Igarashi, the show is back to being the most literal adaptation ever. To its credit, the past few episodes have been finely paced; plot progression is always there, but nothing feels too rushed as all the essential elements are kept along with much of the humor and whatnot, reproducing the source’s admittedly decent pacing quite faithfully.
The trip, in and of itself, is a fairly amusing affair (the gag on Nisaka’s cooking being an example as it plays on the boy’s appearance well), however it was far from perfect. Yukari carrying Ririna was emphasized in an overly suggestive way (it’s hard to believe Ririna is so sensitive that she would breath heavily just from Yukari holding her thigh), and Misaki’s bra getting revealed as she falls down the cliff with Yukari was obviously unneeded, in that keeping her shirt in place wouldn’t have kept the scene from getting intimate. Furthermore, Yukari’s clichéd belief that Nisaka likes Misaki, just because they’re both good-looking and he can’t interpret Nisaka’s actions otherwise, is typical of a generic protagonist and annoying. The scene where they admire fireflies is supposed to be touching, but regardless of the aesthetic value of the scenery, it’s hard to understand where Misaki’s mention of “love” comes from, honestly; it feels like the author failed at forcing an “emotional” moment.
Back to Nisaka, he does give Ririna an interesting lesson by explaining that refusing the state notification would harm Yukari’s career prospects; as it turns out, her good intentions may result in more pain for everyone. This raises the story’s stakes as we start to grasp the true implications of Ririna’s actions. Another positive aspect is Yukari’s passion for kofun; while it doesn’t quite redeem his otherwise boring personalioty, his impassioned speech about his fascination for the graves is among his most genuine moments so far, and the attraction for mystery and fantasy that he associates with kofun feels universal enough for the viewer not to be put off by his nerdiness.
Overall this was a decent episode; while it’s flawed as Koi to Uso usually is, there was enough fun and story development for me to enjoy what I saw.
I don’t know if I want to keep following this one. Yuma got dumped by poor Takeda who, while unaware of his ex-girlfriend’s cheating on him with Hotaru, still noticed her hesitance to truly give herself to him. And so now Yuma is another prey to Fujiwara’s indecency; the episode ends on him asking his girlfriend and her “best friend” to have a threesome.
Once again, I’m not judging this development on principle – even something as horrible as this could be handled well by a superior author. But in this case, everything feels so lowly; the only goal is to evoke sensuality, or at least it’s hard not to get that feeling when looking at how the show’s been so far. Then again, we’ll have to see how that threesome goes: maybe it’ll turn out to be an important turning point. But, who’s genuinely so hopeful when a show is as lowly sexual as Netsuzou Trap has been up until now?
Watching this episode, I learned that confessing by text could be a real sport in and of itself. Even though the process was adorable, the incredibly awkward ending retained my attention. Takase unwittingly told Kanda that she was the worst… I wonder how the next day (when he was supposed to confess) went? Maybe we’ll get to see it? I hope so! This was an adorable and hilarious segment, mostly for the exaggerated faces and movements of the characters.
The second segment, which is expanded upon during the ending sequence, is amusing mostly thanks to Nanase’s initial insincerity which then transforms into a bold proof of love; but these funny antics hide the difficult reality of the situation. She loves Kaga, but he is obsessed with Sasahara; the way the childhood friends reflect on their kiss lays bare the difference in their feelings. Still, I’m rooting for Nanase, as Kaga’s upperclassman will surely not get over the boy who brought her to the astronomy club so easily.
The last part was just… a huge ball of cute. The fact that Gouda was just embarrassed about acting all boyfriend-like made me sigh of relief for Kamine, and her huge tears when she believed Gouda wanted to break up were really emotional, even though we know he didn’t mean to split. You can tell, even as they struggle to say anything, how much they love one another, and seeing them end happy was extremely gratifying.
All in all, I’m still loving Tsurezure Children; it’s a fantastically adorable short with a superbly colorful cast that simply never lets me down with its silly romantic antics.
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