Anime roundup 8/11/2016: Turn That Frown Upside Down

Orange-6 Orange #6

The heart of Orange is not just Naho grappling with the mistakes that her original future self regrets, it’s a conversation between the past and the future. It started with letters from Naho and her friends to the future, and Naho must have referred to her old diaries when writing the letter to her past self. And now it’s also the message from 16- or 17-year old Kakeru to everyone else in the future, trying to explain why he did what he did.

And it’s not just Naho talking to her past self. Suwa turns out to be the world’s best wingman not just because he’s awesome but because he too has a letter warning himself about the future. The fact that Naho didn’t know means that either her letter mentions the fact at the very end, or that future Naho doesn’t know that future Suwa decided to write a letter too. Now I wonder if Hagita, Azusa, and Takako wrote letters to their past selves as well. I could see them getting together with Suwa to send their letters together and hiding the fact from Naho.

One important detail that emerges about Kakeru’s death is that it happened on February 15. On Valentine’s Day in Japan, women give chocolates to men. (Men reciprocate on March 15.) In the last message Naho got from Kakeru, one of the things he asked was “Who did you give chocolates to on Valentine’s Day?” So it wasn’t him, and it was one of the things he was despondent about.

Understanding that it was a suicide, and that Kakeru is struggling with depression, present-day Naho starts to realize how big a task she’s been set. As she says, if it was just a simple accident, she’d just need to know when and where it happened to avert it. But if Kakeru still wants to die, he can find another opportunity. She has to pull him out of that frame of mind somehow.


Mob-Psycho-5 Mob Psycho 100 #5

Arataka Reigen may be an absolute fraud with no personal moral compass, but you’ve got to admit that he’s doing pretty well as a mentor to Mob. Even though Mob can probably kick Teruki’s butt from here to the moon if he wants, it’s thanks to Reigen’s guidance that he refuses to be baited into it.

Unfortunately, it turns out that when Mob is rendered unconscious, something else manifests, and whatever the hell it is doesn’t care about morals and ethics. It’s capable of absorbing psychic powers, which might explain both how Mob is so strong and how Ritsu hasn’t manifested any.

So Mob has to deal with that in addition to the occasional explosions of his repressed emotions. And this is the point where it really isn’t a comedy any more, despite Teruki winding up nude and with a silly haircut. It’s not fun to be Mob.


Cute-High-5 Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! LOVE! #5

It’s time to skewer sports anime! Sports-themed shows have never managed to catch on with Western anime fans, but it’s a genre which plays very well in Japan, especially with the same demographic Cute High is aiming for. There is even one, actually titled Haikyu!!, specifically about a high school volleyball club. Some of these series have run for a very long time in anime terms, which is probably where a joke about the guy having been trying to win a tournament for 11 years comes from.

This week’s monster is a dense tangle of sociolinguistics and grade-school humor. Yes, the character 排 does appear in a word meaning “excrement”, and also in a number of other words more suitable for polite conversation about emitting or ejecting things. I’m guessing the person who coined 排球 for volleyball was thinking about the deflecting-the-ball-back aspect. (Haikyu!!, incidentally, simply spells out the word phonetically.)

After a connection is established between volleyball and poop, the volleyball-monster goes on and on about how he needs to be polished in order to shine. Fans of Mythbusters will have flashed back to a segment when the Mythbusters learned the Japanese art of dorodango in order to demonstrate that one can, in fact, polish a turd. Dorodango is usually performed on mud, but I think the viewer’s mind is supposed to go there.

(CrunchyrollFUNimationFunimationNowAnime on Demand)

Re-Zero-19 Re: ZERO -Starting Life In Another World #19

For all that Subaru can be a useless coward, one area where he has been massively capable throughout this story has been learning from his mistakes. Of course he was paying attention when everyone was explaining to him in detail why he is a terrible person. Now that Rem has pulled him back to his feet and he’s thinking clearly again, he puts it all together in one glorious run of competence.

Mostly this episode is about giving the viewer a chance to catch their breath before the next run of action, but there are lots of memorable moments along the way. Subaru locating just the right ground dragon. The veterans assembling. The story of Theresia von Astrea.

Also one has to mention: adorable kitten-people riding huskies. If they can’t kill the White Whale with swords and sorcery, it could die of cute instead.


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