Anime roundup 9/29/2016: The Ends of All Things

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mob-psycho-12 Mob Psycho 100 finale

Mob Psycho 100 was billed as a comedy similar to the same author’s One-Punch Man, only with a more slice-of-life focus. By the halfway point, it was abundantly clear that whatever this really was, it wasn’t a comedy. As a whole, it’s a satire about a world full of people trying to put one over on each other, and one earnest kid who can remain that way because he’s got the best scammer of them all protecting him.

Reigen is able to save the day not because he’s a hero, but because he can do a terrific impression of one when he thinks it will advance his interests. Those interests happen to include keeping Mob sane so that he can continue to perform exorcisms to help Reigen’s business, and of course saving his own skin once it turns out Claw isn’t kidding around. (And, having gotten the upper hand, there’s probably also a certain intrinsic satisfaction in putting the people who nearly killed him in their place.) But Reigen isn’t ennobled by the experience; right afterward, he’s using a monster hunt as an excuse to poach a bunch of expensive gourmet mushrooms.

As a satire, this has been excellent. It has sunk some fine barbs into elitism and New Age woo-woo. Its characters have been foolish but not unlikeable. The animation has kept up its unique style and quality. I can’t think of a reason this isn’t one of the best shows of this year.

(Crunchyroll)

cute-12 Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! LOVE! finale 

Revived and ready to fight, the Battle Lovers take their turn in the pop idol contest and sing with rather more heart than skill, but it’s enough to garner lots of likes. This may be a snide comment about uncritical audiences, a reflection on the nature of the idol industry, or, given that it’s Cute High, probably both of those and more.

But Zundar, Dadacha, and VEPPer strike back and manage an accomplishment unprecedented in the history of the cosmos: they upset Yumoto. Just like the protagonist of Mob Psycho 100, when Yumoto’s cheerful personality in finally punctured, there is a power few mortals can reckon with underneath it. (If only this show had come a couple seasons later, that scene would probably have been seen as a deliberate parody of Mob Psycho 100.)

Luckily, the rest of the club is able to snap Yumoto out of it, and he’s back on the side of the angels (literally) in time to deliver the moral to the Beppu brothers. It’s a message to the whole idol industry which amounts to, “Get over yourselves already.”

It doesn’t strike quite as true as the final message in the first season, and this episode felt like a bunch of little random things were thrown in to pad it out. Still, the overall quality of this season has been even higher than its predecessor, so I can forgive a little wobbling at the end. Definitely recommended.

(CrunchyrollFUNimationFunimationNowAnime on Demand)

orange-13 Orange finale

As the fatal day approaches, everyone redoubles their efforts to make Kakeru feel loved and needed. Naho finds the backbone to keep trying to talk to him until he gives in. Kakeru manages to actually ask for something he wants. And when the moment comes, he can’t kill himself because the ties of love and friendship hold him back.

Nah, that’s bunk. What saves him is Hagita wrecking his bike. That transforms Kakeru’s decision from one where he has to make an effort to not die to one where he has to make an effort to die. What will continue to save Kakeru is Suwa tirelessly coaching him and Naho on how to have a relationship.

Future Hagita in the original timeline has an important point, too, that no matter what happens with the letters, the people who send them will never escape their regrets. At which point it would have been great to hear somebody express something about moving forward with the universe they have.

This has been such a frustrating show to watch over the last few episodes. It’s okay on the basic tearjerker romance parts, but a substantial number of viewers will leave feeling the heroine has hooked up with the wrong guy, and the animation has been going badly downhill, and it presents a false narrative of how depression works — un-depressing someone isn’t a matter of fixing every single thing in their life for them. I won’t be recommending this one in the future.

(Crunchyroll)

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