Anime roundup 4/4/2019: The End Times

kemurikusa. finale – It is time for a showdown with the red tree, and Rin prepares to hit it with everything she’s got. Which is quite a lot more than she thought she had, thanks to the memory leaf and the green tree.

I’d managed to forget about the slowly dwindling green root that was left wrapped around Wakaba after it vanished a few episodes ago, but the writer sure didn’t. That and every other unresolved subplot are paid off beautifully in this episode. And after everything is tied off in a nice bow, there’s no reset— Rin is prepared to accept that she and Wakaba are not the First Person and the original Wakaba, and they are free to follow their own hearts.

What a gem this show has turned out to be. “From the first director of Kemono Friends” is not something that seemed to promise beautifully planned hard sf, but wow. I don’t think anything has so thoroughly upended my expectations since School-Live! almost four years ago. I’m sorry it’s trapped in Amazon Video, with no free option and no hope of a physical release, because it’s easily going on my quick list of reasons why more sf fans should be checking out anime.


Mob Psycho 100 II finale – Once they’re safely away from any bystanders, Shigeo is free to go after Suzuki at full power. It takes a whole lot of stylish punching, zapping, and general exploding before he can finally get the point across to Suzuki that he doesn’t want to defeat him— he just wants to make him see the error of his ways. And somehow, Shigeo’s determination finally wins him over, the menace of Claw is gone forever, and Seasoning City is back to its old self. Well, aside from the lingering devastation, the rogue psychics hanging around everywhere, and the giant broccoli floret now looming over the town…

Shigeo’s little speech about bonds between people is this story reduced to its essentials. He started off feeling isolated, but his renewed connections with his brother, his new club, his relationship with Reigen, have all helped to steer him off the path that leads to Suzuki. And he adds one more at the end, a kōhai— that’s the converse of sempai. The sempai/kōhai relationship isn’t just about rank, it also implies responsibility for helping Serizawa reintegrate into society and keeping Reigen from taking too much advantage of him.

This show has done a terrific job of telling that story week after week, both with writing and its endlessly inventive animation. And there’s clearly more to go. Could we not have to wait another three years for Mob Psycho 100 III?

(CrunchyrollbilibiliHami VideoLiTV)

The Promised Neverland finale – Emma finally makes it over the wall with her family, despite last-minute delays from nerves, a confrontation with Isabella, and some very long flashbacks. Isabella’s backstory provides explanations for her incessant humming and her connection with Ray. On the other hand, we still haven’t found out what’s up with that pen…

There have been some glorious emotional moments in this show, but it has felt like such a slog lately to reach them. Even given a setup with such potential for drama and suspense, it felt like the storytelling was trying far too hard. The parade of unsurprising “twists” shouldn’t have been necessary.

And then there’s the treatment of Krone. I can’t see myself endorsing anything about this show without feeling compelled to provide a warning about her depiction. (It felt like we got a parting reminder of it in this episode, too. Jemima? Seriously?) And that means I can’t see myself endorsing it at all. There’s always something else I can recommend that doesn’t need any warnings.

(Crunchyroll — Funimation — HIDIVE — AnimeLabHuluWakanimVVVVIDAniplus Asiabilibili)

Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka finale – No more battles for now, as the story goes for a quiet pause of an ending, and the last traces of its noble intentions vanish into the morass of fanservice and torture porn. What started as a well-considered and deeply humane balance between fluffy magical-girl tropes and more realistic war stories has given into the worst impulses of both anime and action.

This really was a great show when it was carefully examining the aftereffects of violence on Asuka and her friends. But now, after all the magical torture, the unrelenting sexualization, and the umpteen deranged lesbians, it has lived all the way down to the warnings that were circulating about the tone of the manga before the premiere. Sometimes the buzz really is right.

(CrunchyrollAnimeLabWakanimHami VideoLiTV)

There’s no new episode of Dororo this week (or, Amazon screwed up), so that’s it for the season! We’ll catch up with Dororo again in a little while, after we get through the spring premieres.

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