Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen
Obviously, it’s Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen taking the goddamn elite spot again this week. This season is great and all, but the drop in the visual quality may be a tad too noticeable this time. However, the production staff knows where to put the beauty where the show needs it most, and bam! This week might just be one of the most visually arresting episodes this season. Hell, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu might lack Kyoto Animation’s attention to detail but Studio Deen has a knack for great cinematography. Konatsu’s conversation with Yakumo this week, along with the outstanding background artwork signifying autumn, demonstrated that. The final performances of Sukeroku and Yakumo were shown in black and white – all for us to believe the footage was taken in the 1960s.
The plot, on the other hand, is just so richly layered that we got the ultimate reveal this time. I know most of you were quite skeptical of Yakumo’s version on how Sukeroku died in season one because it was too romantic, and it defies the laws of physics. Turns out, Yakumo is an unreliable narrator after all. While it’s true Sukeroku and Miyokichi fell to their deaths in that inn, Konatsu actually killed both of her parents. I guess that’s much of a shock for a little girl so she has a blurry memory over it. For Yakumo, he takes all the blame and pretends he killed the two so Konatsu will live a normal life. Whether she’ll know this in the adaptation remains unknown but damn, this is a such a twist that even those who already knew were taken by surprise. Hence, is Yakumo a Shouwa Era Batman after all? Probably.
For some more interesting notes, I love how this episode finally explained how on earth Higuchi-sensei became a part of this show. Unlike those jarring flashbacks, his story was told in a way it fitted right in the plot without hindering its progression. So he has a massive crush on Miyokichi and his curiosity about the man who made her in love was his motive, huh? Not bad, I guess.
As for Yakumo, this episode further enriched his character now that he cannot do rakugo anymore. His voice lost its pristine quality due to his heart attack and he has been too fatalistic for a while. Yotaro, on the other hand, is the character that keeps the show away from its dreary predecessor. The end of this episode exuded warmth, and I am really okay with that.
Little Witch Academia
I guess ACCA should follow Little Witch Academia’s way of world-building. Of course, the show is up for an episodic flair again but it added another layer that makes witchcraft a not-so-cool profession. So this time, the show brings in a question about whether witchcraft can go ahead with sciences and modernity. Turns out, either the administration of Luna Nova is incompetent or witchcraft has no place in their world. I prefer to think it’s the former, granted how stupid their actions are last episode.
Now to the center of this week, we were introduced to the callous Andrew who deserved Dianna’s cold treatment and Akko’s penchant for bringing mess. I do not know if the latter’s infectious optimism affected his stance, but it seems like he enjoyed the menace he has been through in his visit. Perhaps the highlight of this episode is Akko’s thinning determination which makes sense, given she cannot even perform a basic magic spell. I love how she broke down towards the end without quitting, and I hope she begins to properly perform magic from now on.
Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2
This KonoSuba episode was a success if you are really keen with Megumin. Other than that, you get your typical jokes coming from your lovable (scum) characters. This time, Kazuma regains the center spot of comedic gags and I can say they have recovered from the ill-humored Darkness episode.
I have nothing more to say about this episode more than it is a competent KonoSuba flair, and fans will fully enjoy it.
Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen
So we had this ‘Our shounen lead went emo this week and was saved by his friends’ episode. As if Rin’s inability to unsheathe the Koma Sword does not indicate this, Mephisto finally appeared in this episode to troll our leads by saying Rin is sentenced to death by the Vatican. Mamushi confessed to her sin, and the temple has finally made their move to prevent the Impure King from destroying Kyoto.
Hence, you think it was an action-packed, blood-pumping episode? Nope.
The pacing remains too slow, and the atmosphere is too somber that it even borders to dry. It even has a supposedly moving scene which fell flat all thanks to that. Another aspect that bothered me: why the hell did Rin see his friends when they have the invisibility cloak? Was that a plot hole, or does it not affect demons? Either way, it does not make sense but is of little importance so… let’s hope for a full-fledged action episode next week.
ACCA 13-ku Kansatsu-ka
ACCA also gave us some good stuff this week, albeit it is still underwhelming with its hobby of prioritizing world building at the expense of character development and plot progression. We got a powerful first half because Jean is finally given some background information and we realized what made the upper dogs suspicious about his role in the coup d’état.
The train accident that happened thirteen years ago and the Prince’s observation that royalties cannot leave Dowa are some of its interesting tidbits. All others? I guess nothing noteworthy. I just pray it will at least pull a Rokka no Yuusha if ever there’s a dramatic shift from its lackey slice of life affair to full chaos later on.
Wait – the series finally gave us some convincing conflict and damn! Look how boringly that was handled. It was honestly the best Fuuka episode to date, but damn, the show forgot to do something that would make us root for the doomed childhood friend or for the milquetoast harem lead. The band is up for their first public performance and… they just kind of got good because reasons. Blah.
In theory, this week’s Fuuka is loaded with tasteful drama now that our lead is dragged in the messy life of an idol. However – the show sucked the life out of this. And I ended up looking somewhere else fifty percent of the time.
To this episode’s credit, it managed to evoke some mildly disturbing emotions because of the mob fans who are threatening Yu’s safety. I am a sucker for social media in anime and I think Fuuka used the right medium by presenting the conflict in Twitter.
Seriously, if you are still sticking with Fuuka at this point, please do yourself a favor and watch Kuzu no Honkai instead. That’s one of the better high school series in years all thanks to its ballsy attempts at showing how low humans can get.