Dee, Chiaki, and Mercedez look back on the 2020 Summer season!
Date Recorded: October 3rd, 2020
Host: Dee, Chiaki, Mercedez
0:01:28 Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out
0:05:34 Monster Girl Doctor
0:12:57 The Misfit of Demon King Academy
0:13:24 Millionaire Detective: Balance Unlimited
0:18:02 The God of High School
0:27:17 Mr Love: Queen’s Choice
0:28:28 Lapis Re:Lights
0:37:29 Diary of Our Days at Breakwater
0:41:42 Super HxEros
0:53:38 Healin’ Good Pretty Cure!
0:55:50 Fruits Basket Season 2
0:59:24 My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Climax!
1:02:28 Re:ZERO Season 2
DEE: Hello and welcome to Chatty AF, the Anime Feminist podcast. I’m Dee, one of the managing editors at AniFem. You can find my writings on my blog, The Josei Next Door, and you can hang out with me on Twitter, @joseinextdoor.
And I am joined today by fellow AniFem staffers, Chiaki and Mercedez. If you would like to introduce yourselves?
CHIAKI: Hi! I’m Chiaki. I’m one of the editors at AniFem and you can find me on Twitter, @chiaki747, or @animatedempress. One’s my private main. The other’s my anime shitpost account. Have at it.
MERCEDEZ: [Laughs] Hi! My name is Mercedez. And you can find me on Twitter, @pixelatedlenses. I’m also an editor at AniFem and I also do writing about my professional life as a blerd on my blog, Backlit Pixels.
DEE: And today we are covering the Summer 2020 retrospective. It was a thin season.
DEE: But for completely understandable reasons. There just weren’t a lot of shows.
DEE: That having been said, between sequels and stuff that people watched, we still have a decent amount to talk about, so let’s go ahead and jump right into it and talk about what we loved.
We’re starting at the very bottom, because, Mercedez, you actually watched this one. Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out.
MERCEDEZ: Oh my god.
DEE: You have… ‘Cause we did the premiere review on [it], and with a lot of these shows that are further down on the list, we don’t necessarily dig too deep into them unless… Were there things outside of the first episode that surprised you? That the show went in a direction you didn’t think it would that would maybe suggest people should come back to it?
MERCEDEZ: [Laughs] Um. I don’t think anybody’s coming back to Uzaki-chan. I’m just gonna be honest.
MERCEDEZ: However, what surprised me is that I kinda liked it.
MERCEDEZ: I mean, here’s the thing. Beneath a lot of Everything in the anime, it’s actually… It has so much potential to be a very cute throwaway rom-com, but boy, they just put Uzaki in it, and that just kind of took away that chance to some degree.
When she’s not on… When she’s not incredibly annoying, or just the butt of a boob joke, she’s actually kind of just a 19-year-old who’s mildly annoying. But then the plot’s just like, “Nope, she can’t just be a real human being.” And it just swoops right on in. I did somehow finish it though.
DEE: I was gonna say, you got through the whole thing, so there must have been at least enough charm there to keep you around.
MERCEDEZ: I mean, I think it’s because, A) I like to torture myself; B) Because I really could see that this could be a good show. And I kind of… I’ll admit, I kind of do want to read the manga now because maybe that will give me the satisfaction I’m looking for. Because it’s borderline enjoyable, but then it just steps on itself, and I really hate that, because it’s a shame. I’m always down for a good rom-com, and it just… [Sighs] It never did what I knew it had the potential to do.
I saw you, Uzaki-chan. I saw that you could be good, and you didn’t do it. And I mean… Yeah, I was not shocked that I was the only person watching it. [Laughs]
CHIAKI: So you’re saying that the show would be great if not for the fact that the main character sucks.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah! Yeah. That… Literally, yeah. ‘Cause I… The boob jokes, whatever. [Groans] Whatever.
DEE: If there’s enough else there, it’s one of those things you can look past.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah. But it’s very skimmed on anything else. And I hate it because the main character just seems like he literally does not want this girl around. She doesn’t pick up on that. And that’s kind of the joke.
DEE: Yeah, that’s what Alex was saying in the first episode was like, it’s borderline stalker-harassment behavior because of how much he doesn’t want her there.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah. And, I mean, clearly it did good enough. It’s got a season two. So, I’ll probably watch that, because I’m just keeping faith alive that, one day, it’s gonna… Because I would like a college romance, ’cause Lord knows the other college romance I watched… [groans]. You know?
DEE: There’s not a lot of them out there now.
MERCEDEZ: There’s not a lot out there that just are like… just kids falling in love in college.
DEE: Mm-hm. Yeah.
MERCEDEZ: That’s not there.
DEE: That’s too bad.
MERCEDEZ: I mean, it’s… I’ll give it a C-. That’ll satisfy the anime fans.
CHIAKI: Barely hangin’ on there.
DEE: Yeah, well, people might not come at… [Faux alarm] No, they’ll come at us for it! “How dare you! C-?”
MERCEDEZ: I mean… Come into my DMs and talk about Uzaki-chan, please. Please.
DEE: Okay, I think that’s all we… We’ve got a lot. I think that’s enough on Uzaki-chan. Now onto what I believe was a problematic fave for both of you guys: Monster Girl Doctor.
MERCEDEZ: God, I love this show. God it’s so good.
CHIAKI: I enjoyed it a lot, too. It is definitely my sleeper hit of the season, for me. I… You know, I believe some of us on staff were saying that this is, you know… You just wish that there was a little bit more medical drama in there.
But I know what I’m coming into for this. I know this is supposed to be a harem anime. It’s supposed to be about fanservice. So, even having a little bit of medical drama? Honestly, perfect for me. This was the right mix of entertainment.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah, I’m with Chiaki. I actually think back when we recorded BNA, I commented and said, “Gosh, I just wish there was a little bit more medical biology.” And you know what? Something happened to me around episode 5 or 6, and I was just like, “I’m just here for it and I’m really enjoying it.” And it definitely… It’s good. It’s genuinely good. I just like it.
I mean, it’s not without its faults, but I liked all of the female characters. Saphentite, that’s my girl. Sapphie is my girl. I mean, Assassin Snake Nurse? Yes.
MERCEDEZ: It’s just all good. It’s all good.
CHIAKI: I do feel that, of course, this is a show that’s gonna have all the women characters… All the female characters are going to be fawning over Doctor Glenn for whatever reason.
MERCEDEZ: I cannot figure out why they like him.
DEE: It’s a harem anime.
CHIAKI: Yeah, it’s a harem anime. But at the same time, they do have enough character to themselves that they can stand on their own, even if he’s not in the picture.
DEE: They’ve got other stuff going on.
MERCEDEZ: And they’re all actually genuinely likable characters. There’s really not a recurring female character that I didn’t like. I liked them all. I have favorites, but they’re all really… Yeah, they can totally stand on their own. They’re very fleshed out.
CHIAKI: I also will say that the show doesn’t take every opportunity to do fanservice. They even had a bath scene where they didn’t actually resort to… be like, “Ooh, they’re naked!”
They just straight-up have people in a bathtub, wearing towels. They talk a little bit. And then they moved on. I was surprised they did that. [Laughs]
DEE: Yeah, you’d think that would be a gimme, right? But somebody on staff was like, “No, no, no. Too easy. Too easy. We’re above that here at Monster Girl Doctor.”
MERCEDEZ: I have to be honest. The longer I watched, the more I was like, “I don’t know who’s watching this for the fanservice, because that is one… maybe five percent of an episode.” And, really, that feels very generous. It got plotty. And it got really interesting. It did avoid a lot of fanservice traps it could have fallen into. It was just good.
CHIAKI: I do feel that this was somebody’s attempt at cramming in their fursonas over and over again in the background.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah. Yeah.
CHIAKI: That’s what the show was about.
MERCEDEZ: ‘Cause I know the creator of the light novel was heavily inspired by Monster Musume.
DEE: I was gonna ask how this compared to… ‘Cause that, to me… That was another fanservice-y harem monster show that people were like, “Look, it’s upfront about what it is and if you’re okay with that, it’s actually pretty pleasant. The characters are likable and you sort of get why they’re hanging around.” And was this kind of along those lines—if you enjoyed Monster Musume, then Monster Girl Doctor might be your thing?
MERCEDEZ: Although I think Monster Girl Doctor is better. I’m gonna stick to that. I think Monster Girl Doctor is better than Monster Musume.
DEE: For… Do you think ’cause of the character arcs, or the plot stuff that happens, or… ?
MERCEDEZ: The plot. I also really like the world. The world was just really interesting. Lindworm is a pretty cool city. I just think it’s… I think it has… I don’t know if it’ll ever get a season two, but I do think it’s just a little bit more interesting in terms of the fantasy, and I like the monsters. It’s just… Yeah.
DEE: So, just to kind of let folks at home know if they are interested in this, obviously there’s the fanservice. There’s the harem aspect. So if you don’t like that, don’t watch the show.
What about… Chiaki, I think at the midseason, you mentioned there’s a little bit of issues with non-consensual stuff? I know you said it wasn’t bad, but how did that shake out going all the way through? What’s stuff that folks might need to be aware of going into this?
CHIAKI: Definitely as far as consent goes, the show does a pretty good job, I think. You know, even when it leans into BDSM, it did a very accurate portrayal, to the point of actually doing aftercare. Which is huge.
DEE: Yeah, that’s great.
CHIAKI: Yeah. The one issue that I did have—and I said this very loudly when I was watching it… Final episode… It went all the way to the final episode without introducing a character that was basically “UwU Onii-chan! Onii-chan!” I’m like, “Oh boy… “
DEE: [Groans] Yeah, that sucks. ‘Cause up to that point, I assume everyone were adults?
CHIAKI: Fairly adult. Fairly mature. The character that became this little girl character all this time had been sick, so she had been very quiet and stoic, professional about everything. But, you know, new lease on life! “The doctor has given me a new lease on life and I absolutely need to celebrate, so I am gonna be the littlest girl possible!”
I’m like, “Oh, DANG IT!”
DEE: Yeahhh… That’s obnoxious.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah, It definitely… Said character was actually one of my favorites until that point. And I was like, [quietly] “Oh, well, okay.”
DEE: Well maybe it’s for the best, then, if there isn’t a season two then. So you can enjoy it up to that point and nothing else happens.
MERCEDEZ: I mean, I can just pick up the light novels, which I have, and enjoy it from there.
CHIAKI: Yeah. It’s kinda like, as I always say, How Not to Summon a Demon Lord: It’s only 8 episodes long.
CHIAKI: So, Monster Girl Doctor: only 11 episodes long.
DEE: Sure, sure. Totally fair. Okay, yeah. I mean, definitely the show has some caveats, but, folks at home, maybe something worth checking out if fanservice-harem-y type stuff is your bag.
Okay, Chiaki. I would say, fairly quickly on this one… You did finish Misfit King of Demon Academy. Thoughts?
CHIAKI: If you watch the midseason podcast or listened to me talk about it, same thing. Not that complicated, by-the-numbers fantasy, I think. Parents are the best characters, and that’s about it.
DEE: Okay. Cool! We’re through that one fast. Now, put on your angry hat, because I know you were mad about Millionaire Detective.
DEE: [crosstalk] Tell me about Millionaire Detective!
CHIAKI: [crosstalk] Millionaire Detective, let me tell you…!
DEE: Yes, tell me, tell me!
CHIAKI: This show has a conflict of identity, which is… It started out with Kambe being kind of an asshole rich guy who’s a robot, and it was okay. And then in the midway point of the season, he started tracking down his mother’s killer, and so there’s this huge super-serious hard-boiled cop-drama that’s happening, and there’s that element of, “Well, he’s also rich, so he can do whatever he wants.”
But several side characters kind of get involved, and they’re not as rich, so the story kind of takes this very detective-noir story of “Everyone’s lying” moodiness that wasn’t present at the very beginning of the season.
And I personally enjoyed it. I personally enjoyed it, but also, I think Lizzie hated it.
DEE: Lizzie did hate it! Lizzie was the one who hated it. Yeah, I thought you didn’t end up enjoying it as well, but I guess…
CHIAKI: No, no. The thing is: we hate the show for different reasons.
DEE: Ohh. Okay.
CHIAKI: Lizzie loved the show because of the rich-boy-antics that happened in the beginning that they got rid of partway through. I love hard-boiled cop-drama stuff.
DEE: Sure, sure. You were super into that.
CHIAKI: Yeah, I was into it, but then I was also looking back to all the rich-people stuff, and I’m like, “What’s the point of that? What was the whole point of the first half of the season? This could have been a great show if it was just a bunch of grizzly old men smoking cigarettes, trying to track down a cold case. ‘I’m three days from retirement. I’m gonna track down this woman’s killer!'” Like, that would have been great for me.
CHIAKI: But, no…
DEE: So, nobody was happy because, whether you wanted the shenanigans-y show that was the beginning—which, I remember watching that first episode and I didn’t love it, because I wanted to punch Kambe in the throat really hard—but it had style. It had a good tone. It had a pretty good sense of humor. It was clearly going for over-the-top, “what can’t a millionaire do?” kind of thing.
So if you wanted that show, you got mad because that show went away. And if you didn’t like that show, then it was like, “Why is this here in the first place?” So, yeah. I see what you mean about it being really disjointed and, tonally, nobody was happy. You and Lizzie were both unhappy for totally different reasons.
CHIAKI: And, finally, story-wise, just speaking from sort of a social-justice standpoint… It’s not very popular to be a cop right now.
DEE: Yeah. Or a millionaire.
CHIAKI: Or a millionaire. And this show had the brave stance of saying, “Cops should be able to shoot people.”
DEE: Oh God. Such a bold statement.
CHIAKI: Because, you know, Kato’s whole thing is he can’t shoot somebody because he’s traumatized from accidentally shooting somebody during a bank robbery. It’s like… Okay. That’s great. But then, everyone’s like, “Congratulations, Kato! You can shoot people again!” I’m like, “No!”
DEE: Ow. My brain hurt.
DEE: And, I mean, obviously, the culture of guns in Japan is very, very different from the culture of guns in America, but they also have… Police brutality is also a thing there, so…
MERCEDEZ: They had a very infamous police brutality case this year.
DEE: Yeah. Yeah.
MERCEDEZ: So it’s a weird… It’s a weird stance to be like, “Maybe cops get a little bullet, as a treat?”
DEE: Oh, Lord. So, on that note… No, that was terrible, but it was good. Thank you.
MERCEDEZ: No problem.
DEE: On that note, Chiaki, anything else on Millionaire Detective, or should we move on?
CHIAKI: Yeah, they just become world cops. At the very end, they come back to hijinks, but…
DEE: Team Japan: World Police.
CHIAKI: Yeah, I hate Japan’s role for the police. Moving on! Go ahead.
DEE: Well, here’s another one that I get to be annoyed at: God of High School. So, I have this one marked as me finishing it. That’s not technically true. I didn’t watch the final episode because fuck this show.
DEE: I, uh… I came in to the midseason honestly pretty high on this. I’m not really into battle-style, tournament-arc anime, but the main trio were really endearing. I loved their relationship. I liked the way the show was kind of trying to give them each sort of a distinct arc, but also tying their stories together and building them as a group and as a team.
There were some introductions of some supernatural elements that were buck-wild. But I was here for it because it was still kind of happening around the edges, but was slowly moving into the story. So I was like, “Okay, cool. So everybody’s gonna get superpowers and then things are gonna go wild. This’ll be fun. We’ll ease into it.”
Apparently, from the people I know who have read the webtoon, they crammed… I don’t even wanna attempt the number because I’ll just get it completely wrong. They crammed a lot of chapters into the last five episodes.
CHIAKI: One bajillion.
DEE: Yeah, a ton of chapters. Because they wanted to get to this big, dramatic plot turn where the whole… Basically, they flipped the table on this whole world, right? But by trying to cram all of that story into three episodes, they basically lost track of the main characters entirely. They start shooting off in a billion different directions with all these supporting characters who, I assume in the original webtoon, there were lots of chapters where you got to know them and figure out their deal, and so then when stuff happens, you gave a damn.
Somebody died. This old dude was really upset. And I was like, “Who even are you two? I don’t know who these characters are.”
DEE: Apparently I’m supposed to care about this, and I don’t. And so there’s this big, apocalyptic event going on, and there’s portals and people are getting teleported and legs are getting bit off, and I was like, “I don’t know. I have no idea what’s happening anymore. This is incomprehensible.” So I just didn’t even bother watching the final episode because I was mad.
It sounds like if you enjoyed the first half of God of High School—which, again, I did—it sounds like maybe read the webtoon, and you might have a good time with it, because there was more time spent on these buck-wild events. There was time for things to escalate the way they did, so that it had impact and you didn’t lose track of… The heart of the show was the main trio of characters.
So, that’s my read on God of High School. It looked great. MAPPA did a great job with the animation. They just did a really bad job with the pacing and story-writing. I don’t know why they felt like they needed to get to that point in 13 episodes. So, disappointing. I was enjoying that one a lot, but the last two, three, really just lost me, so…
But. Good news. We can move on from God of High School to a show that Chiaki and I both really enjoy, Appare-Ranman.
MERCEDEZ: Ooh, I love it. Educate me on it. Tell me.
DEE: Okay, so I’m not going… At the risk of beating a dead horse, listeners, sorry. We talked before… We talked at length in the midseason about how the character designs were a mistake. They are… It is like, they are dramatically, stereotypically drawn. And it’s clearly an across-the-board attempt, but the folks who did it weren’t thinking about power dynamics and marginalized systems, so there’s a huge—
DEE: —difference between having a Japanese character dress like a stereotypical samurai when you’re Japanese creators writing a show, or even a British guy dressed like Little Lord Fauntleroy, right? There’s a big difference between that, and dressing your Indigenous character in a stereotypical Native American outfit, or your Black character with wild dreadlocks and a fucking noose around his neck. That was not a great idea!
MERCEDEZ: No, no, no, no. Pause. Pause. Wait, what?
DEE: Yeah, the character design… He did. And, I mean, if you wanna be charitable to the show, he was an outlaw who… Honestly, TJ was amazing. He was a great character, and we’ll get to that in a second.
MERCEDEZ: Come on, a noose?
DEE: Yeah, no. It was tasteless. And, again, clearly somebody on staff thought, “We’ll dress everybody like a stereotype and have it be this big cultural-mishmash adventure narrative from the early 1900s.” ‘Cause it’s set in 19… I think by the end they peg it in 1910, based on a newspaper article. Maybe earlier than that. Anyway, doesn’t matter.
So, the character designs… Somebody thought, “We’ll do it like this across the board for the whole cast,” and didn’t think about the actual power dynamics at play with the different characters. So, big mistake.
Once you get past that, the show is great. The writing is fantastic. Everybody is lovable. It clips along at a really fun, adventure-story pace. It’s a car race across America. I had a great time. I loved the characters.
I mean, I’m talking about the characters who look like stereotypes. I think there was an attempt with the writing to be like, “We’re going to make you think this is the type of character we’re writing, and then that’s not who they are at all. We’re gonna make you look past those character designs.” Doesn’t justify the designs, but the characters are great.
Chiaki, are you with me on this? I’m being really enthusiastic about this show. This was my favorite show of the season, by a wide margin. I adore it.
CHIAKI: I definitely think that this show really shined in terms of how the characters developed throughout the entire series. And, also, the writing was just very on-the-ball. It threw people for a loop. There were twists that, honestly, people who are jaded to this kind of storytelling will say, “Oh, geez, this is happening, I guess,” and I was pleasantly surprised by every step of the way, I guess.
DEE: Yeah, I liked it a little more each week. It absolutely won my heart when they had the downtime episode where they all just hung out at a hot springs in Denver, I think it was? Colorado.
And it was just… Yeah, the way they would twist it, the way they would make you think, “Oh, we’re building these characters up to be these big, scary dudes,” and then they’re actually really sweet or charming… I really enjoyed the way it wrote its cast to kind of force you to look past your expectations of the genre, and it was just nice.
It ended in a love story, which I was not expecting. Love story of the summer. Love story of the year, perhaps. So, I adored that.
CHIAKI: I’m so glad that everyone paired off with their respective partners. Xialian with her car.
DEE: [Laughs] Well, now, we don’t wanna spoil things for folks at home too much. But yeah.
CHIAKI: Yeah. I’m glad that it’s gay.
DEE: [Laughs] It is a little bit, yes. I’m hesitant to refer to it as a “romance,” because I don’t want people coming into this thinking that it ends with an explicit confession and a smooch or anything like that. But it is… It is very emphatically a love story. The final scene, I think, caps that very nicely, and I really love that…
If I had critiques, the villain at the end is kinda boring. He’s really just there for the characters to interact… watching them interact is the important part. And then there is some damsel-ing, but it helps a lot—because Xialian is an absolute badass and does a decent chunk of the rescuing—so it helps balance out the fact that they damsel another female character for a bit.
MERCEDEZ: Honestly, that sounds pretty enjoyable and it’s kind of a shame I didn’t get around to watching that.
DEE: Well, it’s on Funimation. It might be on Hulu. I’m not sure.
Again, folks at home, if you can get past the character designs… And I get it if you can’t. If you just can’t, I get it. It builds on itself really well, and it’s just fun.
It is popcorn entertainment. It’s not particularly deep. Again, I think it’s doing some kind of neat stuff in terms of modernizing and playing with that turn-of-the-century adventure story, like, Jules Verne-style narrative.
But it’s pretty much just there for you to be endeared by the characters and have a good time, and I thought it succeeded extremely well on those fronts. And I hope we get a season two and Appare gets to fly an airplane across the ocean this time, ’cause he really wants to.
CHIAKI: Yeah. I hope it gets a third season, where they go to the moon.
DEE: And get married! They get married on the moon! It’ll be great. [Laughs]
Okay, sorry, I gushed about that one a lot. I was allowed. We should move on, because there’s still a lot of shows.
Chiaki, you somehow got through Mr Love: Queen’s Choice, even though you were not enjoying it. Do you want to give us a real quick recap of that one?
CHIAKI: Yeah, okay, real quick. Nothing really… Everything goes haywire. Main character girl never gets a name. I just call her “Princess Potato Chip.”
DEE: [Laughs] Uh-huh.
CHIAKI: Yeah, it’s a show. Nothing really that interesting… The CEO guy gets to be less of an asshole as things move on. Actually, I think he’s like Homura from Madoka.
MERCEDEZ: Hm. Okay.
CHIAKI: But anyway, that’s all you need to know. Yeah.
DEE: You would not recommend it. Is that fair to say?
CHIAKI: Eh, I mean, if you’re very starved for hot men doting over a woman…
DEE: I can find them some other shows, Chiaki. [Laughs]
CHIAKI: Yeah, well…
DEE: I mean, if that’s what you want, I got a list. You’re good.
DEE: Now, the next one, we didn’t actually talk about on the midseason, ’cause none of us were watching it. But, Mercedez, you watched Lapis Re:Lights.
MERCEDEZ: Yep. I sure did.
DEE: And I know you talked in the three-episode checkin about how there were parts of it you really liked, and then some things about it that were very concerning or disappointing for you. How did it kind of shake out?
MERCEDEZ: [Long sigh]
DEE: Uh-oh. That’s not a good sign.
MERCEDEZ: I mean, you know… Okay, so, episodes one to three: really enjoyable. Was super here for it. Was really into this world that had idols and magic, and ostensibly had a city named Bristol, like the place in England? I was really down for it. And then episode four happened, and I was just like, “Oh. Okay.”
So, episode four happened and there was a lot of very uncomfortable fanservice, and it kind of just went downhill from there.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah, it’s too bad.
DEE: You were hoping it was a flip, but…
MERCEDEZ: I was really hoping it was a flip, because a lot of… I really like idols and I really like idol anime. That’s my junk food. I really like it in spite of my criticism of the real-life idol industry, which is rotten to the core.
DEE: Sure, yeah.
MERCEDEZ: It’s still pretty whimsical. It’s 95% just okay harmless fun, and then 5% “ew, gross, stop, please, no, don’t.” [Laughs] And unfortunately, that 5% kind of grew at times.
MERCEDEZ: Honestly, the biggest crime of Lapis Re:Lights is it’s just kind of okay. It started off really interesting, and had this whole… There were these magical beasts, and the whole concept of a magic academy—
DEE: Yeah I remember reading and thinking the concept sounded really neat.
MERCEDEZ: It’s really cool, and I think it’s interesting having idols set in a fantasy world, and it’s… I mean, the music slaps. The music goes hard. It is good. But the show itself… It kind of… It’s good popcorn, but I’m not gonna ever rewatch this. Also, there’s so many girls that I cannot keep track of them. There’s too many girls.
DEE: [Laughs] One of those, yeah.
MERCEDEZ: There’s like 30-something girls, and they’re all in units, and one of them literally molests her sister and that’s the joke is she molests her sister constantly.
DEE: Oh, God.
CHIAKI: [Sarcastic] Funny.
MERCEDEZ: It’s not great anime. And it unfortunately… Outside of the music, and the costumes and the character design, it’s largely forgettable, and I hate that, because I know in my premiere writeup I was really enthused about it.
MERCEDEZ: The reality is this is probably gonna get swept under the rug with all the other idol anime that I brush under there every season.
DEE: Well, and it sounds like you’re not super upset about it getting swept under that rug either, so…
MERCEDEZ: No. No. Because when in doubt, I’ve always got Zombieland Saga to fall back on.
DEE: Heck yeah! Zombieland Saga!
By the way, it’s great to have you on staff now, because we don’t really have a fan of idol anime on staff, really, so it’s… We’ve made honest efforts. We’re just not… I’ve tried. I’m just not that into it. I did like Zombieland Saga ’cause it was doing other stuff in addition to being an idol show. It was very funny.
MERCEDEZ: Idol anime is absolutely my jam. I will watch every single one. I love them.
DEE: That is so great to have. No, I am really glad to have you ’cause you can definitely point us towards… This one, you’re like, “I like idol anime, so I watched it, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to other people.”
MERCEDEZ: It kind of reminded me a lot, actually, of… Was it Winter 2020? 22/7?
MERCEDEZ: The show had a really interesting concept, and it just… These idol anime never pay off, and I know that…
DEE: It’s still frustrating though, right? ‘Cause a few of them do.
MERCEDEZ: I know that. I know that. It’s… It’s like that meme of, “Here, honey, here’s your 4PM idol anime,” and I’m just like, “Okay, thank you for feeding me this meager food.”
MERCEDEZ: And I go through it every season. I’m like, “One day… One day I’m gonna get my Zombieland Saga.” One day I’m gonna get my AKB0048. I just have to wait. And I’m willing to do that.
CHIAKI: All I’ll say. All I’ll say. We just need a Hololive anime. Make it happen!
MERCEDEZ: God. God, give me Gwar Gura in anime!
DEE: [Laughs] Okay, guys, we can’t go too far off on an idol tangent.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk] Sorry, got a little excited there.
DEE: Honestly, if you would like to lead a podcast on idol anime at some point, you have my blessing. I think that would be… I know that’s something that we’ve had readers who are interested in, and we just haven’t had staff that have been into it. So…
MERCEDEZ: Don’t tempt me.
DEE: That’s excellent. Yeah, no, I’m tempting you.
MERCEDEZ: I absolutely would.
Okay, but we do need to move on. So, the next one on the list… frickin’… Chiaki, you and I sat through this whoooole trashfire. Gibiate.
CHIAKI: What do you mean, “trashfire?”
DEE: I mean, listen. It was inspired trash, at many, many points. At many points, the flames were beautiful that came off of this trash pile.
CHIAKI: This is the pinnacle of 2020 entertainment.
DEE: [Laughs] Would you like to talk about your love of Gibiate? Because I was… I think by the end I was a little bit more annoyed about sitting through the whole thing than I was happy about it, despite some truly glorious moments of terrible animation and nonsense plotting.
Episode 11 was art.
MERCEDEZ: Can I just say that I’m so glad to hear somebody pronounce the name out loud? Because I have been wondering for weeks and I just was too embarrassed to ask.
DEE: It’s possible I’m saying it wrong, but I think I’m right. The monsters are Gibia [pronounced “Jih-bee-uh”], so… Yeah.
MERCEDEZ: Okay. Okay.
CHIAKI: I mean, yeah, the show really becomes a slog midway through. It’s not great. It is honestly a terrible show. Honestly… The only reason why we kept coming back to it was the spidermanders. It was the great CG work that the crew put in. All their heart. And then you get to the final twist, and you feel like it was all worth it all along.
DEE: Right. Right. That was… I can’t even tell listeners… Because, on the off-chance… I’m not sure I can recommend this to people in good conscience, but on the off-chance people are like, “Okay, I guess I’ll watch this show, ’cause I like bad things—”
DEE: Well, see, it’s bad without being infuriating. I’m kind of annoyed at the fact that Kathleen became completely useless and kinda just stood there for most of the show, but other than that, it’s fine. There’s not a whole lot in here that I think would really piss off a feminist-minded viewer. So, it’s bad, but not infuriatingly bad.
But I don’t wanna tell you what happens in episode 11 because it’s just… You have to experience it for yourself. It is truly some nonsense, and I appreciate it for that.
And then it has the gall to use the last episode to set itself up for a potential sequel season, which I cannot imagine happening, since I think about eight people watched this show.
Chiaki, were you pleased with the finale? ‘Cause I was a little bit annoyed with the final episode.
CHIAKI: No, the finale was just a flop.
CHIAKI: It really just kind of said, “Alright, well, anyway, that was it! Have fun! Hope you guys liked it! Byee!”
CHIAKI: And I’m like, “No! No. That was… “
DEE: It needed to be way more over-the-top. They needed to end it as wildly as they had throughout the show. And so, yeah. The ending was a bit of a disappointment. But the penultimate episode—mwah! Chef’s kiss! Truly, truly something to behold.
DEE: Inspired. I really… It was super-nice of that producer to let their 13-year-old nephew write the show.
MERCEDEZ: [Crosstalk] Oh my god, that’s so funny.
DEE: Really, really nice of them to do that.
MERCEDEZ: [Crosstalk] That’s so funny.
CHIAKI: Axe Cop, eat your heart out.
DEE: [Laughs] Okay. Yeah, that was Gibiate. Do you have anything else to add? We watched it for monsters, and we had fun. Overall, I had more fun than not, probably.
Okay, we’re gonna… Next one… None of us are keeping up with Digimon Adventure. I assume Vrai will be on again next season and can maybe let us know how that’s going.
And then, Mercedez, this is another one we didn’t talk about in the midseason: Diary of Our Days at Breakwater. You ended up enjoying this one quite a bit, didn’t you?
MERCEDEZ: I really liked it. I was surprised by how much I liked it, because, fun fact about Mercedez,I don’t like fish when they’re alive.
DEE: Oh. Okay.
MERCEDEZ: Because I don’t… Rather, I don’t like fishing, because when you take the fish out of the water, it’s sad.
DEE: I agree. I’m not really a fan of fishing either.
MERCEDEZ: Because it can’t breathe.
DEE: [Laughing] Yes.
MERCEDEZ: However. This anime that is ostensibly all about fishing—yup! Just really did it for me.
I don’t… A part of me… At first, I was like, “Do I like this because 2020 is what it is?”
DEE: And you just wanted something nice and soothing? Yeah.
MERCEDEZ: And then I realized, no, it’s because I like any anime that falls under that “healing” genre of anime.
DEE: Sure. Yeah.
MERCEDEZ: Was really into Yuru Camp. And this is just… it’s a good anime about a girl named Hina, just getting used to being a part of the fishing club. And it’s really, really good. At times, it’s very beautiful, actually. A lot of times when it’s just the ocean or just a look at the sea, it’s quite pretty. It’s set in a really rural town, which I groove, in rural Japan. That’s my passion.
And it’s just pleasant. I don’t… In terms of rewatch value, there’s really not a lot, which I feel bad for saying that about a lot of the things I’ve watched, but… There just isn’t. But it feels good. It’s very cozy. It’s kind of the equivalent of a warm cup of cocoa. It’s just really pleasant. It’s very atmospheric. It’s pretty happy.
I mean… Actually, the high school kids feel like high school kids.They feel like… You know, they’re that one kid that’s really into their hobby. And their hobby just happens to be fishing.
DEE: Sure. Mm-hm.
MERCEDEZ: But it’s really good. They catch, they cook. Rinse, wash, repeat. It’s just pleasant.
CHIAKI: Alright. Question for you then. As far as the kids go, how’s the inter-character dynamics? Pretty good?
MERCEDEZ: I mean, they’re pretty good. They all pretty much become friends. I think… So the point-of-view, of course, it’s always the main character, Hina. And Hina’s really apprehensive about the club, but warms up and ultimately is like, “Well, I really like being part of the club. These are my friends.”
It’s very… Don’t come to Breakwater expecting a huge dynamic friendship.It’s pretty okay. It’s pretty good.
MERCEDEZ: They’re just all good friends, and they enjoy fishing together, and they help one another, and… It’s quite cute honestly. They have a very cute friendship.
DEE: No, that sounds nice. So, folks at home, if you’re looking for something just kinda relaxing to watch, sounds like Diary of Our Days at Breakwater would be a nice show to pick up.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah. And I will say, one part of the friendship that I like between all the girls, ’cause there’s… I’m gonna say four girls. I do feel like I just forgot a girl, but I’m pretty sure there’s just four. There’s Hina, Natsumi, Yuki, and Makoto. And they all… They all encourage Hina. They’re quite sweet with her. They’re, like, “You know, hey, just give it a try.” If she messes up, it’s all good-natured teasing, if there’s teasing. They’re quite supportive. It’s just cute.
MERCEDEZ: I felt like it was just quite cute. And there’s lots of seafood, so if seafood is your jam…
DEE: I feel like watching this would make me very hungry, ’cause I do love seafood.
MERCEDEZ: I mean, I will say… I consider this a trigger… There is the killing of the animals.
DEE: Yeah. Yeah, we discussed that before as well, that it was a show about fishing, and cooking, so…
MERCEDEZ: Yeah. So, I mean, you’re getting a lot… But yeah, I’d say it’s a pretty pleasant watch. It’s… I quite enjoyed it. It was my surprise favorite this season.
DEE: That’s good. I’m glad. I’m glad you had a good time with it. Absolutely.
Okay, okay. None of us got through… Oh, boy!
CHIAKI: Actually—Actually, can I—
DEE: Yes, Chiaki?
CHIAKI: Can I just mention one quick thing about Super HxEros?
CHIAKI: Uh, I dropped it for the specific reason that, around episode 7, they go straight in to loli territory. The whole show is about sex.
DEE: [Disappointed] Oh…
CHIAKI: I was like, “Mm. No.”
DEE: Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.
CHIAKI: Okay, move on.
DEE: Okay. No, thank you, Chiaki. Sorry, I saw “dropped” and I didn’t notice that the episode count was further along than the midseason, so I was just gonna skip it. So, I’m glad you said that, because, boy howdy, that’s a big red flag, innit?
DEE: Yeah. Okay. Good to know.
Okay, next up: Rent-a-Girlfriend. Chiaki, you could not make it through this whole show, but Mercedez, you did? I have heard people who were very upset at the end of Rent-a-Girlfriend.
MERCEDEZ: [Monotone] Oh, boy.
DEE: Basically because it promised a lot of things it never delivered on.
MERCEDEZ: [Dead inside] Boy, I did make it through this whole show, didn’t I?
MERCEDEZ: Mm. So, I said before… I said before in this episode that I really like a good romcom. And, you know, at first, Rent-a-Girlfriend really felt like, “Okay, I’m gonna get my young adult romcom set in Japan that has this interesting plot element of rental girlfriends.”
And, you know, look. I looked past a lot. I looked past Kazuya jerkin’ it every episode.
DEE: [Spluttering laughter]
MERCEDEZ: And that was A Lot. I looked past a lot of sexual harassments. I looked past a lot of bad characterization. You know, I’ve spent the past few weeks with this anime, and I can’t get that time back.
MERCEDEZ: I’ll never get that time back.
DEE: Mercedez, I’m gonna tell you something I wish somebody had told me a few years ago: It’s okay to just drop shows. It’s okay.
MERCEDEZ: I think at some point, Vrai was like, “You don’t have to do this to yourself.” And I was like, “But I do.”
MERCEDEZ: “But I do.”
CHIAKI: Mercedez, just so you know, Vrai has said that to me too, and I always continue to watch these shows.
CHIAKI: Except this show, because, honestly, this show was beyond saving, and I had to admit it, even to myself, that: no.
MERCEDEZ: I wanted so desperately… And I think I still have it as a problematic fave that I just haven’t gotten the courage to say, “No, it’s not anybody’s fave.”
I… At times, this show leans so close to being really, really good, mature, honest romantic comedy development. Even Mami, who does feel comically evil for a human being—
MERCEDEZ: —still has points that I’m like, “You know what. This person probably actually does exist.” But I just… Kazuya, sweet child. Jesus.
DEE: You’re like, “I have nothing else to say.”
MERCEDEZ: I don’t. I don’t. And I hate it, because, you know, I can normally put up with a relentlessly horny male character in anime. I mean, I think we all can. It just was so unenjoyable as it went on that I was like, “Why am I sitting myself in front of VRV, with a premium account, to watch this?”
It’s just not… And it’s a shame. Maybe the manga is different. I haven’t read it. I know it’s out in English. I don’t wanna spend my money on it, though.
DEE: No, I don’t blame you. It sounds like it wasn’t a fun time.
MERCEDEZ: No, it’s just exhausting, and the characters weren’t bad, separate from the story. I liked Chizuru a lot—separate from the story.
DEE: Chizuru is great, yeah.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah, but then when she dropped in the story, I was like, “Sweet baby, I can’t toss you a lifesaver to take you out of this. You’re just stuck. This is the plot.”
DEE: Yeah. Yeah, I definitely… I dropped it in three, because episode three was the beach one, and I was just definitely getting the vibe that it was one of those shows that was gonna cram the characters into these cringey, rom-com, stereotypical situations for the sake of conflict and plot. And I was like, “I don’t wanna see that happen to Chizuru. She deserves better.”
CHIAKI: She does.
MERCEDEZ: Chizuru deserves better, and I deserve better. [Laughs]
DEE: True that.
MERCEDEZ: But I made myself watch. It’s just… And that’s really the shame of it is that it had potential. Kind of like Uzaki. It had potential, and I felt it completely wasted it. I realize that this show is for somebody, and it hope it finds its audience. I’m never going to be that audience. And that’s just what it is.
DEE: That is totally fair. Yeah, I know a lot of people who were upset by the end, ’cause they were like, “I really thought this was gonna go places, and it just never did. Ever.”
MERCEDEZ: I thought Kazuya was gonna mature. Never got that. And I mean, these are 24-minute episodes. That’s a lot of hours of my life I cannot get back! [Laughs] Give it back, Rent-a-Girlfriend! I’m over you.
CHIAKI: I think what’s even worse is that he teases that he can be a better human being.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah! He absolutely can!
CHIAKI: He’s aware. He’s aware that he’s a piece of shit.
MERCEDEZ: Yeah, and I think… ‘Cause I… For the first few episodes, I was like… He’s bad and difficult in that way that a lot of college male students are when they’re first kind of finding their adult personality. But then I was like, “Kazuya all but looked at the camera and said, ‘I know what I’m doing.’” And I was like, “Um, I don’t like this boy anymore. I don’t like him. He’s a bad boy. I don’t like you, Kazuya.” Except he’s the main male character, so you’re kinda stuck with him.
DEE: You’re stuck with a… Yeah, a big ball of trash. So… Another show that could have been good if the main character had been different. That is… I think that is a frequent issue with anime, so…
DEE: So, yeah. That’s a shame on that front.
Moving on to our final new show of this batch. Chiaki, you finished Deca-Dence as well. What were your thoughts on this one?
CHIAKI: I thought it was pretty fun. It was a wild ride, and definitely second to Appare-Ranman in terms of season favorite.
DEE: Yeah. Yeah.
CHIAKI: It’s… It was… I feel like all the characters kind of came together at the very end. The story came together. Finished strong. I know some people who are a little bit miffed about the ending, how it kind of discredits everything that happens up to the last moment, but… I feel like it ended okay.
DEE: [Sighs] Yeah. I’m trying not to be too hard on Deca-Dence, because I think part of the problem was I just got my hopes raised really high on this one. In the midseason, I said, “I’m trying not to over-hype it but I feel like this could be really, really special.” And I think it got right up to that line, and then backed away from it.
And I… So, my final feelings about this were more… I was a little underwhelmed. I think it… I think… The final couple episodes, I just didn’t love the direction they took the story… And it’s hard to talk about without spoiling stuff for folks. So maybe people should just turn the podcast off.
DEE: So we can talk. Or maybe we’ll do an episode about it. Because I think my opinion on it is… I’ve seen some people who are really, really high on it, and so I think having a conversation about the show and kind of what it’s doing in terms of talking about dystopias and systems and the concept of bugs—which is, you know, people who don’t fit into that exact, perfect… quote-unquote “perfect” system. I think that’s all really interesting.
I think it had a co-protagonist thing going for the first six episodes but it sort of dropped to make Kaburagi the main male lead, kind of the hero-protag, in some ways that… Parts of it I enjoyed, and parts of it I thought sort of shafted Natsume, and it got weirdly paternalistic at the end.
I think there’s a way to tell a story about the older generation realizing things are messed up and doing what they can to make things better for the younger generation, without it coming across as quite as gendered as it did here. I just wish they’d done more with Natsume. I wish she’d had more to do at the end.
And I… There’s a moment at the end where Kaburagi is basically trying to completely change the system, because there’s this big, outside force, and it’s kind of forcing everybody to either be destroyed or come together. Which is a little bit of an easy ending, but I guess you could say it’s also a dramatic representation of climate change or something. You know, you could say that, right?
But there’s that moment where he gets into the Deca-Dence, which is a big robot. Well, the floating fortress. And he comes face-to-face with the system that has been running all of this and overseeing it and controlling it. And it’s a weird interaction, because he basically gives the system permission to change the system.
And I thought that was a very strange way for a show that was so anti-authoritarian and big on free will and stuff, to be like, “Well, yeah, but if you just ask passionately enough, surely the folks in charge will let things be changed!” And I’m like [skeptical], “Mmm. Maybe I’m cynical, but… “
I found the ending kind of pat. I thought they were doing a really good job of making it a really complicated depiction of power structures within that world, and then I felt like the ending went for kind of an easy route to get to a feel-good finale. Which… I felt good in the moment, and then the more I thought about it, the more it kind of irked me.
So, I would still recommend it. It’s still gonna make my recommendation list for the year. I just… I feel like it was that one half-step from being phenomenal, and that was kind of a shame.
MERCEDEZ: That’s understandable.
CHIAKI: I’ll agree there.
DEE: Anyway, I yammered on for a while. Sorry, Chiaki. Any other thoughts on Deca-Dence? And you are welcome to disagree with me on that.
CHIAKI: Yeah, I mean… I can’t really disagree with you on that. I just felt like, “Eh, I’m just here for a fun time,” and I got it. So it was nice. I do feel some of the avatar stuff, as far as Kaburagi being a cyborg and everything, I wish there was a little less with interfacing and more with just physically doing.
DEE: Yeah. Mm-hm.
CHIAKI: But, you know, whatever.
DEE: [Laughs] You enjoyed it. That was what you were there for. And that’s totally 100% acceptable. I’m glad you had a good time with it.
Okay, we are kind of coming up close on the hour. We always say we’re gonna talk Netflix shows on these, and we never have time. So maybe at the end of this year we’ll just do a big Netflix retrospective for the year, ’cause they’ve gotten quite a few shows this time around that might be worth touching on. Maybe not for a full episode but, you know, for ten, fifteen minutes or something.
But, I do wanna spend a little bit of time on sequels, which—oh, God, it’s just gonna be me monologuing.
DEE: Well, no, okay. Chiaki, you can talk about Re:Zero, so it won’t just be me. And I’ll keep this short.
I will real quick mention, just ’cause we did do a premiere review on it, I am caught up on Healin’ Good Pretty Cure. One of the nice things about having a thin season is you can catch up on backlog stuff.
This is my first Pretty Cure. Based on what I know from fans of the franchise, I’m guessing it’s not the most ambitious Precure. It feels… It’s kind of a safe story, I think. It’s about these three girls, and there’s an evil force that’s trying to make the earth bereft of all life, because that’s their ideal climate, I guess? So the healing concept is tied pretty closely to environmentalism and healing the earth.
It’s a nice show. It does a little bit with… Nodoka used to have some sort of unspecified illness. I’ve been lowkey reading it as maybe some kind of a cancer, but I know other people have read it differently. And that’s valid as well. But, she’s better now. She’s doing great. And so there is kind of that element of her sort of missing out on some sort of typical kid experiences because she was in the hospital for a few years, and so getting those experiences with her friends, and wanting to help out other people the way the doctors and her parents helped her out…
There’s a few nice little… It’s not heavy on gender commentary or anything, but her mom’s a truck driver and I thought that was cool, ’cause I just don’t think I’ve ever seen that before? And so I thought that was a nice touch.
And it’s a nice show. I’m having a nice time with it. I’ll stick with it. It is one that… You could easily throw it at a five-year-old and I think they would have a good time with it. There’s nothing super scary or mature about it. It’s definitely a show for a younger audience.
So I think if you’re looking for something that’s really complicated, this wouldn’t be it. But it’s pleasant. And sometimes it’s nice to have… Like Breakwater, like you were saying, Mercedez. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a pleasant show on your list.
DEE: Where you know the good guys are gonna win, and everyone’s basically nice and things are gonna work out.
MERCEDEZ: Right. Exactly.
DEE: Yeah, so I liked that. Next up, real quick. Fruits Basket, season two. Chiaki, you were behind on this one, but you’ve read the manga, right?
CHIAKI: Yeah. Yeah, I’ve read the manga, but it’s been a while. Definitely go ahead and start monologuing because I’ve only actually started the first episode of season two.
DEE: Oh, dang. Okay.
DEE: No, it’s okay.
MERCEDEZ: I totally forgot Fruits Basket had a new anime.
DEE: Yeah! It’s… So about halfway through this I got a little tipsy and kind of went off in the AniFem Slack about how disappointed I was in the Fruits Basket adaptation, because I was like, “Maybe I’ve just grown out of it. Maybe ’cause it’s a different time. It’s just such a flat adaptation. I’m just not feeling anything from it. It’s fine. It’s fine. It’s fine.”
MERCEDEZ: Is it much more of a one-to-one in terms…
DEE: With the manga? Yes.
MERCEDEZ: ‘Cause I remember the manga really vividly. And I remember when they first announced it, being a little worried that they were gonna do too close to the manga.
DEE: I think it is a… And I know that a lot of this is people who have wanted a faithful adaptation of Fruits Basket for 10, 15 years are getting that faithful adaptation. Which is great, but it’s been 10 to 15 years, and stuff that was, like, a problem but not necessarily something you thought about in 2006, uh, you notice a lot more in 2020.
DEE: So it is… It dates itself in some ways. I think that was the moment when I had my grumble-grumble in the same chat, which… I’m sure Caitlin hated it. I feel bad for it, because I did not mean… She was having a good time with the show. But that was during… God, some of the age-gap relationships that I had sort of forgotten about, like the ones in the margins.
MERCEDEZ: Oh, yeah.
DEE: That was when that stuff was happening, and so I think I was just very exhausted and—you didn’t have to keep this in the anime. You could have cut this. You had to know that this wasn’t cool.
DEE: So, stuff like that…
MERCEDEZ: It’s very of its time, in a lot of ways.
DEE: Oh yeah. Yeah. And so that was frustrating, but the last… This is gonna be one of my problematic faves of the season. This is one of my picks for the season.
Because despite what I just said, the back half of this season starts to get into the part of the manga where they really start kind of exploring the characters… Sort of their past traumas, and moving past them, and they really start to dig into these survivors of child abuse, basically. And the show is… I think the show is much better when it’s talking about compassion and healing and these… this sort of found-family community that the characters have built among themselves.
So, the back half of the season I thought was much stronger, partly ’cause we’re getting into stronger material. I still don’t think it is a tremendous adaptation, but it’s serviceable, and when the source material is strong, then the adaptation is strong as well.
So, yeah. I’m excited for season three at this point, and I’m glad that folks who have never experienced the show before are getting a chance to low-key cry every episode, ’cause we’re definitely heading into that stretch.
MERCEDEZ: [crosstalk with laughter] Ah, yeah, that’s [unintelligible] territory, isn’t it?
DEE: Yeah. It is.
CHIAKI: My friends also assume that I’m still watching this show and are constantly messaging me, like, “Aw, did you see the latest Fruits Basket? It’s so—”
It’s like, [Flatly] “Yeah, mm-hm. I know.”
DEE: “I believe you.”
DEE: “I’ve read it. I know. Mm-hm.” Get your tissues ready, for sure.
Okay, I’m tired of talking, so I’m sorry, My Teenage Romantic Comedy SNAFU, season three… Ugh, see, just saying that, now I’m even more tired. Too-long title. So, yeah. SNAFU season three. I was kind of lukewarm on it.
I really like season two. I think the show was at its best when it was about… when it was more of a story about young adults coming together as a group. When it was really kind of picking apart the main characters… It kind of had this teenage cynicism—”Oh, look at all these fakes. Everybody’s so fake. I’m so above it all.” And the show spent a lot of time taking that character and picking at that, and having him sort of realize that it was a front to avoid building relationships with people. And when the show was that, I think it was really on-point.
The last season is 100%… I shouldn’t say “100%.” It’s pretty much the sort of unresolved romantic love triangle at the core of the story, and I feel like it was about twice as long as it needed to be. It really stretched it out to a conclusion that was pretty well-foregone. I was lowkey, “Maybe they’ll go for the polyamorous ending,” but I didn’t expect them to, and they didn’t. So it was… It ended exactly where I thought.
MERCEDEZ: Man, if they did…
DEE: Sorry, what? Oh, yeah.
MERCEDEZ: You know if the anime did—
Well, in those ones especially… It almost felt like they were going to lead up to that and they… I mean, obviously they didn’t. And silly me for thinking they might.
I mean, it is well-done as far as teen romcom/young-adult coming-of-age dramas go. I mean, I think it’s up there. It gets bogged down in some trope-y bullshit from time to time, but for the most part, I think it is a good show.
And, again, I like that core concept of taking that shitty teen boy protag and actually examining him and having a solid character arc where he grows and learns as a person. And the supporting characters had some good arcs as well, so…
I found the third season underwhelming, but overall, I’d say, you know, if that genre of story is something you’re interested in… If you like Toradora, I think SNAFU is in that same vein. I don’t think it’s as good or as charming, but it’s a similar style of story that I think does some kind of interesting things in examining tropes and things like that, so… SNAFU, yeah.
Again, sorry for the folks at home, who I know were really high on this show, ’cause I get it. It’s just, yeah, I found the third season kind of exhausting.
MERCEDEZ: I think that’s the case for a lot of shows. There’s a show for everyone, but not everyone suits every show, right?
DEE: Yeah. No, for sure. For sure. That’s fair.
Chiaki. Re:Zero. How was the most recent season of that?
CHIAKI: Uh, it’s kind of fun. It’s been one long arc. If you enjoyed the first season, it’s a little bit different. A little bit more drama and personal character development for Subaru. If you hated Subaru in the first season, but loved everyone that supported him, you might have a little bit of a hard time getting through this season because, you know, Subaru’s a very difficult character to like half the time.
DEE: Mm-hm. Well, you said he… The show had development for him. Does he become more likable? Or no?
CHIAKI: So, I think people told me that he went through some of this growth in the first season, and he is going through it again this season. But I feel like it’s stronger this season? At least, I’m noticing that he’s becoming a better person, or trying to be a better person.
CHIAKI: Primarily in the sense that he wants… I think the biggest takeaway here is that he needs to get over himself.
CHIAKI: And that was definitely a thing in the first season, but this season especially, I think they’re trying to make him sit down and realize that his actions have consequences that even he doesn’t realize. Even if he can die and come back as many times as he wants, there are still consequences to constantly dying.
DEE: Mm. Sure, sure.
CHIAKI: Overall, I mean, a little bit of grotesque gore here and there, because it’s Re:Zero. Characters are all nice. You get introduced to a bunch of cute witches. They’re all really funny and passionate. And yeah. I mean, it was enjoyable.
CHIAKI: Very, very frenetic, but enjoyable.
DEE: Okay, good. So, yeah if you liked the first season, it sounds like keeping up with it would still be having a good time. I’m glad to know that Subaru is slowly but surely becoming a better person.
I hope that continues, ’cause I know that there was a lot of talk in the first season about how the show is kind of examining the isekai protag, and then there was some frustration with the fact that it felt like they would push right up to the edge of him having a realization and then not do anything with it. So, hopefully it can kinda keep pushing on those barriers a little bit too.
CHIAKI: Yeah, I think they definitely did something this time.
DEE: Okay, cool! Good, good, good. Alright, that’s good to know.
Yeah, that’s the end of the list. The only other thing I have on here was Pokemon Journeys and I am sadly behind. I’ve been savoring it, so I just haven’t gotten to the new batch of episodes on Netflix yet. But maybe someday I’ll talk about it.
And, like I said, we’ll do Netflix shows at some point. Maybe we’ll just have an entire podcast on it, ’cause we’re at the hour now, and I don’t want this to go ridiculously long, and I feel like it would if we started getting into [that] stuff, so…
Yeah, I think that’s about it. Everybody okay with me playing us out?
DEE: Okay, cool. We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of Chatty AF. If you liked what you heard, tell your friends about us—and if you really liked what you heard, head on over to www.patreon.com/animefeminist, and become a patron for as little as one dollar a month. Your support really does go a long way towards making Anime Feminist happen, both in print and in your earbuds.
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And that’s the show! Let us know what you thought about this season in the comments, AniFam, and we will catch you next time!