Chatty AF 210: 2024 Spring Season Wrap-Up (WITH TRANSCRIPT)

By: Anime Feminist July 7, 20240 Comments

Alex, Toni, and Peter return to wrap up a season with multiple strong anime-original titles and stellar sequels!

Episode Information

Date Recorded: June 30th, 2024
Hosts: Alex, Toni, Peter

Episode Breakdown

0:00:00 Intros
Red Flags
0:01:50 Mysterious Disappearances
Neutral Zone
0:06:09 Train to the End of the World
0:09:54 Tonari no Yokai-san
0:10:28 Go Go! Loser Ranger
0:10:56 Kaiju No. 8
It’s Complicated
0:18:28 Tadaima, Okaeri
0:24:00 Spice and Wolf: MERCHANT MEETS THE WISE WOLF
0:25:39 Jellyfish Can’t Swim in the Night
Feminist Potential
0:36:11 YATAGARASU: The Raven Does Not Choose Its Master
0:39:35 Whisper Me a Love Song
0:43:00 A Condition Called Love
Sequels and Carryover
0:50:04 Black Butler
0:58:19 Delicious in Dungeon
1:06:17 Laid-Back Camp
1:07:48 Sound! Euphonium
1:08:31 Outro

Further Reading

2024 Spring Premiere Digest

2024 Spring Three-Episode Check-In

Chatty AF 207: 2024 Spring Mid-Season Check-In (WITH TRANSCRIPT)

ALEX: [Chuckles]

TONI: I feel like the joke about Chilchuck is that he’s just like, “Oh, my God, these fucking weirdos I’m surrounded by.”

ALEX: He’s the most normal guy imaginable. He’s a divorced middle-aged man. I don’t think he’s technically divorced but it’s funnier just describing it in that way.

PETER: He’s doing divorced activities.

ALEX: [crosstalk] He’s doing— He has divorced— He exhibits divorced behavior.


PETER: He’s divorce coded.

ALEX: Yes!

[Introductory musical theme]

ALEX: Hello and welcome to Chatty AF: The Anime Feminist Podcast. You are tuning in to one of our seasonal coverage episodes, and today we’re going to do our best to wrap up spring 2024. I’m Alex, one of your managing editors and behind-the-scenes wizards here at AniFem, and I’m joined today by Toni and Peter.

TONI: Hi, I’m Toni. I’m a contributing editor here at Anime Feminist. You can find me on socials @poetpedagogue.

PETER: I’m Peter Fobian. I’m an editor here at Anime Feminist and I’m @peterfobian at Bluesky.

ALEX: Wonderful. Thank you both for being here again. Let’s get amongst it. For the folks at home who may not know our usual repertoire, we are talking about just a handful of the many, many series that are coming out each season, a combination of ones we are just really interested in and want to comment on and ones that our Patreons have… (“our Patreons?”) our patrons at have picked and requested that we chat about. We are starting from the bottom of our Premiere Digest and working our way up. And then because this is a season wrap, we’re going to talk about some sequels and carryovers and one that kind of came in a bit out of schedule but is giving us a lot to talk about, so that is going to go there at the end nicely, as well.

But to start us off, Toni, I’m going to hand the mic to you. How are those Mysterious Disappearances?

TONI: Mysterious Disappearances has really changed as a show. It started off— I found the premiere to be very unrepresentative of the show as a whole. The fanservice is mostly gone. Sometimes… Some of the character designs, though, are a little bit weird. Like, I mean, there’s a mermaid character whose whole ass is out because, I don’t know why, her mermaid tail starts below her butt.

ALEX: Huh. I was not aware that mermaids had an ass. [Chuckles] So that’s fascinating already.

TONI: Right! Right, you learn something new every day. Just weird things like that still are present. But largely the fanservice is gone. And the show focuses, during its second half, really deeply on the relationships between the girls, especially between… There’s a really lovely kind of trio relationship between Sumireko, who is our protagonist, Oto, who is the sister of the male lead, and their teacher, who is just a very loving, caring person who made some mistakes in the first half but is trying to make up for them. And I found that kind of trio relationship really compelling. The explorations of queerness in Lesbian Gay Gay Gay School have gone away, basically, so the school is just kind of a cute setting for them to hang out with other girls and explore the dilemmas that those girls are experiencing, that are largely unrelated to queerness but more just typical teenage girl challenges like dealing with pressure from [a] parent, things like that.

I’ll say, in general, I find the relationship between the two leads not quite compelling. I think that Ren Adashiro is just a really underwritten character who’s quite boring. The fact that it seems like if the show goes on it’s going to focus a lot more on him rather than Oto, who I find to be much more likable and interesting of a character, is a bit disappointing. But that’s all speculation for if this ever continues, which I don’t necessarily foresee it continuing. The show has started to feel even more like a slideshow than like a fully animated thing, which is a little disappointing. But yeah, just in general, it’s fine, nothing to write home about. I’m probably not going to write a recommendation for it.

ALEX: But it’s been interesting.

TONI: It’s been interesting. It’s also doing— I should flag, also, that it’s doing some interesting things about disability. There’s a character who is chronically ill and disabled who… well, this is kind of a spoiler, but she uses a VTuber persona to kind of allow herself to achieve her dreams of being an idol and to give people hope, but then she herself is kind of beating herself into the ground to do that sort of idol work and going past her limits as a disabled person.

ALEX: Hm, that’s interesting.

TONI: And it seems like there’s a really interesting kind of thing that the show’s trying to say about the relationship between, say, the balance between pursuing your dreams and not burning yourself out while you’re having to live your life and have a day job and do your regular work, which I find really interesting. But the show also does kind of a magical disability cure thing that I just… Whenever that happens in media, I always find it a little bit like, “Ugh, did we have to?”

PETER: That sucks.

TONI: Can’t this character just be disabled and have that disability not be magically cured? It’s okay, they’re disabled! That’s it, you know? So, yeah, I don’t know. It’s fine. It occupied time and was cute.

ALEX: Yeah, I’m glad that it— Well, I’m glad that it improved from the sort of diabolical place it started in the premiere with some of that stuff. Yeah, it sounds like an interesting mixed bag of a series.

Next up along the way, we have Train to the End of the World, which both of you have watched, I believe. How’d that train journey go?

TONI: This is one that I will say, I like it a lot. I do feel a little bit like it peaked in Episodes 4 and 5. That’s not to say that the last few episodes aren’t fantastic. They’re still very good. But they don’t necessarily have the kind of combination of brilliant character writing and madcap action that the first few episodes had.

ALEX: Oh, I was just going to fill in and say, the real bizarro shit that felt very imaginative and fast-paced, does it lose that a bit along the way?

TONI: No, it doesn’t lose it. But if anything, it starts to feel towards the end a little bit like it’s doing those for the sake of doing those rather than doing those because it matches thematically what the show’s trying to say about despair and struggles with adolescence and stuff. So, I really appreciate the way that it wraps up Shizuru and Yoru’s [sic] arcs because it feels like it’s not requiring Yoru [sic] to magically forgive somebody for saying some of the most horrible things that you could possibly say to another person, immediately. Which, I think that the expectation that’s often placed on people to be forgiving can often be unreasonable and unaccountable and be more for the coddling of the person who did the hurtful thing rather than for the actual meaningful creation of accountability.

PETER: Mm-hm. Or just the community so that everybody doesn’t have to deal with it anymore, right.

TONI: Exactly. And so I appreciate the way that they handle the ending with that. It’s still— I really enjoyed it. I will say to people, if you don’t like it after Episodes 4 and 5, you’re not going to like it.

PETER: Well, that’s good. I was worried a little that it would just start kind of spinning its wheels in the second half and not arrive anywhere with a larger idea. Like, I was worried it was just gonna devolve into a series where they just had a bunch of fun ideas they wanted to throw at different points along, like the train was just the vehicle that was going to take them from idea one to idea two. So, I’m glad there’s a bit of a structure. The entire time, I was trying to fight doing just a “train on a track” allegory.

ALEX: Hey, you still had “vehicle.” That’s pretty good.


TONI: Yeah, I feel like there were a couple episodes where it started to feel that way, especially the spoof episodes like the Alice in Wonderland spoof and then the episode that followed, which is kind of the pastiche of different manga styles. But then I think towards the end it brought us back to the kind of deep character work and thoughtful ideas about despair and friendship that drew me to the series in the first place, even if it wasn’t quite as strong as I think Episodes like 4 and 5 are.

PETER: Nice. Well, I definitely will finish it eventually.

ALEX: Me too. Also, yeah, I got sort of midway through this and just have been— Just life has happened to me across this season, but my initial thought was “This is weird and I’m kind of in love with it.” So it’s good to know it carries that through and has a heart and soul in there.

All right, next up, I want to give a quick shoutout to Tonari no Yokai-san, which Dee and a couple, I think, people on staff are watching. The general consensus with this is that it is rolling along very nicely. It’s not, like, showstopping and amazing and, again, kind of maybe bumps up against some of its genre contemporaries. Like, you know, it’s no Natsume‘s Book of Friends, for example. But it is very sweet if you like that kind of genre. That’s sort of the vibe that we’ve gotten.

I will also take this opportunity to give a shoutout to Go Go! Loser Ranger, which we didn’t talk about last time. But… I hope they don’t mind me talking about this, but just casually in the chat the other day, I said, “Hey, how’s Yokai-san going?” and people said, “Ah, you know, it’s pretty— I’ve been distracted by Go Go! Loser Ranger actually. I’m watching that because it is compulsively watchable and a lot of fun and has some great character beats.” [Chuckles] So, not a formal review of that one, but know that it’s stealing hearts behind the scenes and know you may hear more about that from us further down the line. So look forward to that.

Next up along the way, we have Kaiju No. 8, again, our big shounen showstopper of the season. How is that one wrapping— Well, I mean, it’s a shounen showstopper, so it’s going to keep going forever and ever, but how has it wrapped up for now? [Chuckles]

TONI: I’ll be honest, I just kinda dropped it because I was sick of the shounen nonsense. So, Peter, it’s all you.

PETER: [Chuckles] Well, you probably just dropped it because it kind of reached its formula. I do want to say, I think it’s about to finish up, so as far as shounen go, it’s a pretty short one. I think there’s only like one or two more arcs, so I’m not sure if one or two more 12-episode cours might finish out the show in its entirety. Not much else meriting discussion really occurs. They do do some good stuff with some of the rare scenes between Mina and Kafka regarding their shared childhood and his, at the moment, pursuing his promise to stand beside her at some point, which I think were done well. 

But, yeah, it kind of just is big shounen punchy fights at the moment. I know I came down kind of hard on the manga last time. I do think it’s actually recently done some stuff that made me think it might end a little better than I thought it was going to, so that’s nice. But I don’t [Obscured by crosstalk].

TONI: [crosstalk] Great to know, 12 volumes in.

PETER: Yeah, yeah. Well, yeah, I mean, it’s kinda like… The destination is really important with this one, so… But yeah, I mean, it is going to be a lot of Kafka punching kaiju and other people fighting kaiju and… fighting kaiju.

ALEX: So, if you like people punching kaiju, was it a series to recommend or does it not have the kind of emotional stuff to prop it up underneath that?

PETER: [Remains silent for a few seconds] Oof.

ALEX: Or is that too big a question?

PETER: Like, just based on the 12 episodes that we’ve seen so far?

ALEX: [Chuckles] Yeah, let’s say that.

PETER: Um, I would say that, basically, if you get to the end of the season, then you kinda know what you’re in for at this point. So, if you’re just like, “Oh, I wasn’t too cool on that. I wonder if it’s going to do anything good in the future,” then I think you’ve got your answer: it’s not going to change that much. After this, yeah, it’s just kinda a lot of big fights. I don’t really think it’s a very— Your mileage may vary depending upon if you’re a fan of other kaiju movies, because I don’t really think it does a lot that other kaiju movies would do, or even tokusatsu in general. It is very shounen coded. So, it’s just monster bad guys that they’re punching and using special techniques on and whatnot.

ALEX: Along similar-ish lines, you wanted to talk about Wind Breaker, Peter. Tell us where that has ended up.

PETER: Yeah. I can’t remember if we brought it up our last cast.

ALEX: [crosstalk] We have not. We haven’t talked about it in the midseason. But has it done something new or noteworthy?

PETER: Yeah, I think I read over our episode-one on it, and I remember I had previously come down a little hard on it because I just sort of felt like the main character had this sort of interesting background where he was discriminated against based on [how] he’s got heterochromia and his hair color is also differently colored, so he got picked on a lot, which is why he got this chip on his shoulder and got really good at fighting, because he was always getting into brawls. And then he joins this school because everybody in it is supposed to be really good at fighting. So I was like, “Oh, that’s pretty interesting for a character.” But then it turns out everybody in the school is just the best people ever. So, his big angst is just instantly defeated by the perfectly wholesome and heartwarming environment of the school of delinquent guys—which, by the way, I think is just a building that houses guys during the day. There’s no teachers or anything. Schools are just places for male gangs to hang out. Well, maybe not gangs. Delinquent groups.

But I do think, the more I watched this, the more I was pretty positive the show was made for a female audience. It’s got a lot of guys who… you know, they’re all rough-and-tumble guys, but they all have really varied character designs and all of them have some sort of disarming quirk that makes them very charming in one way or another. And I think the main character’s initial angst was sort of a setup so that he would have very cute reactions to people being nice to him. He blushes every time somebody compliments them or say they want to be his friend or, you know, just do anything that a normal person would do to another normal person. So I think that bashfulness is supposed to be his kind of charm point, if you get what I’m saying. 

Whereas Tokyo Revengers kind of accidentally became a series that was predominantly followed by women, I think this one was very intentionally directed that way. So, I think people might want to keep that in mind if they are considering checking out the show. There’s a lot of good boys that are hanging out and trying to help each other out. And whenever somebody gets into a bad situation, everybody sort of just comes together and tries to pull them out of it.

And also, in the last two episodes, they introduced… They haven’t gotten to speak yet, but they have announced a Season 2 for this series, so I don’t know when they will really become a major character, but there’s the Four Kings of the school, like the four baddest fighters or whatever. One of them appears to be a nonbinary femme. And from what I can tell, it’s an all-boys school. And I did look up the character. They are currently referred to as “they” by the fandom, although I think the Kodansha translation has been inconsistent about whether to use “they” or “he.” And I understand the character becomes a more major character later on in future arcs. So, I figured that I should bring that up since they were brought in just before the end of the show.

ALEX: Okay. Interesting, interesting. So, a bit more wholesome, romanticized, and maybe even a bit more queer than initially seemed. Okay!

PETER: Yeah, a lot of very strong relationships between boys where, you know, they’re making sacrifices for each other and they’d do anything for each other, that kind of thing, you know.

TONI: Talking very wholeheartedly about how much they care about each other.

PETER: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. One even becomes a villain just so that his friend doesn’t need to, but then he’s freed by getting in a very passionate round of fisticuffs with the main fighter from the good guy school.

TONI: Oh, my God.

ALEX: [Chuckles]

TONI: Just let them kiss.

PETER: Well, they sure did headbutt a lot. One of them bit the other one, too, so…

TONI: Oh, wow.

PETER: I think he just, yeah, went right past that, basically.

ALEX: [Chuckles]

TONI: Kinky.

PETER: [Chuckles]

ALEX: Okay! Well, cool! Thank you. Always interesting to come back and hear about things that pivot away from their initial first impressions, as stories can do. That’s great. So, thank you, thank you, Peter. We will try not to giggle too much about the name of the show, because we’re very mature around here.

PETER: Yeah, very unfortunate, [obscured by laughter], yeah.

ALEX: So, next we have Tadaima Okaeri, which is the show that prompted me to say I wanted to kick a baby, which is a high point—


ALEX: High point in my career as a pop culture analyst. I don’t want to spend too much time with this one. There’s some things I want to add, but we did spend a fair amount of time with it in the midseason, and the grievances I had with it then in terms of its plotting and pacing, its character construction, its mixed metaphors… it doesn’t really repair or add much nuance to any of those. The complaints that I had basically all still apply at the end of the series. But I did want to just— It does a thing at the end that I feel is worth mentioning, in that it… well, I mean, it finally got an emotional reaction out of me, which is good, except that that emotional reaction was being a bit pissed off with it quite earnestly rather than just being baffled and bored.

So, what happens is they introduce this other Omega character who’s a single dad and a widower, he’s moved in nearby, and his kid makes friends with the main character’s kid and it’s all super-duper adorable. But there’s some actual genuine character drama because the single dad Omega finds out that protagonist Omega is married to an Alpha, and he has this very negative, very panicky reaction to it and goes on a spiel about how Alphas can’t be trusted because of their instincts. And so, it turns out single dad Omega has, I want to say, in the context of the universe, a hormonal condition where he has extra strong Omega pheromones that Alphas quote-unquote “react to more than usual.” And it doesn’t say this outright, but I think given his reactions and the way they set everything up, there’s room to read this as, this person has trauma around Alphas because he’s been sexually assaulted before, because he’s biologically afflicted with the chemicals that make Alphas uncontrollably horny. 

That’s a part of the… You know, one of the things that we will sort of talk about and take issue with with Omegaverse—which even I was aware of, having been a rookie in the genre—is, yeah, you have this thing of, like, “Oh, the Omegas give off pheromones. The Alphas can’t control themselves,” which, you know, brings some consent questions into play. So it kind of brings this up here. And that’s terrible, of course, for this character. But storywise, it’s actually kind of interesting and the first concrete example we have of why life is supposedly so hard for Omegas in this world and why they’re discriminated against. And it’s getting into the emotional effects of this fantasy element and this social setup and maybe even trying to say something about the way certain groups end up victimized for things they can’t control about their bodies, or, at least, it’s trying to engage with a sympathetic character who has those experiences. 

And then it’s all resolved in about 15 minutes because the happy family gives a beautiful speech about how we can all get along, and the kids are like, “I don’t understand why you don’t get along. We should all be friends. It’s fine.” It’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s basically the gist of it. Like with a lot of things in this show, it is resolved by the kids being adorable and precocious and much more rational and emotionally aware than they probably would be at three years old.

And then it cuts to a scene, like, a finale of all of the characters in the show together celebrating Christmas, and everything is fine. And then it ends with a joke where a pair of characters who we know are Alphas, they meet the single dad Omega, who has implied sexual trauma stemming from Alphas, and they do this big, over-the-top “Awooga! That guy’s super hot! Damn, is he single? Hey, kid, we’re gonna marry your dad!” while the Omega looks really awkward about it. And that seemed in pretty poor taste considering we just had this whole plotline about how this guy is scared of Alphas because they can’t control their urges around him. We were treating this seriously five minutes ago, and now there’s a punchline about he’s so gorgeous that Alphas want to swarm him and hit on him while he looks uncomfortable. Like, huh?! You know, the whole show is just a little silly but that felt actually a bit careless and harmful. And that’s the final scene, is that fun little Christmas party montage. So that left a bad taste in my mouth, too, you know?

TONI: You never want to go out on an “awooga.”

ALEX: No. I mean, I’m sure… [Chuckles] I’m sure that there are some places where it would be appropriate, but it felt like just a tonal shift I was not comfortable with, given the things it seemed to be trying to do earlier with that character. So, look, I wasn’t going to recommend this one anyway. Like I said earlier, I don’t think it’s particularly strongly written or well put together as a romance or a slice-of-life show, even. And then, you know, it just did that at the end. I was like, “Okay, so we’re just not engaging with the ideas you’re trying to play with. Okay, that’s fine, that’s fine.” All going to plan, I will have forgotten about this show by the time we finish recording.


ALEX: So, do you want to talk to me about Spice & Wolf instead? [Chuckles]

PETER: I’m not sure. I don’t know if I have anything to add that I didn’t say in the first one.

ALEX: Alright. Because this is—

PETER: It is going into a second cour.

ALEX: Yeah, I was gonna say this is heading on into next season, so it’s basically staying the course and heading along down that road.

PETER: Yeah. I can say, I do have a small answer to Toni’s question from last cast. Some religion did work its way into the story where Lawrence is… he needs a loan really fast; otherwise, he’s gonna be sent to a labor camp or something because of some business shenanigans. And he finds somebody who would be willing to actually give him the money, but the person is religious and sees that he’s been sharing an inn room with a woman who is not his wife and says, “I would have given you the money, but to see that you’re living in such a horrid lifestyle… that’s not very godly of you,” and rejects him. So, that has been the single instance in which any sort of religiosity has worked its way into the plot so far. But I can keep tabs on that to see if it comes into conflict with anything else that comes up.

ALEX: That’s not even like— God forbid they find out it’s a pagan goddess, as well, that he’s sharing a room with, if just the fact that they’re not married is horrifying enough!

PETER: [crosstalk] Yeah, they don’t even know Holo’s a wolf goddess.


ALEX: My gosh!

TONI: My gosh.

ALEX: Okay. Well, that’s cool. Yeah, because that one… it seemed very just content to pace itself out quite slowly and just move along towards its goal, so I’m not super surprised there’s not been anything super drastic at the midpoint. But hey, we’ll come back and wrap that one up when it’s done at the end of next season.

Next up, Jellyfish Can’t Swim in the Night, which I am watching but I’m a couple episodes behind on, so, Toni, I will have to make you do a real workout and help carry this one for me. What do you think? Has it stuck the landing, do you reckon?

TONI: This show just… I do like it. I’m not sure yet if I’m going to give it a recommendation. The show sure does love to have characters very passionately talking about their feelings explicitly and in great detail in these extravagant speeches that… I personally prefer “show, don’t tell” in general in my storytelling. I love it when characters say things that seem kind of cryptic or inexplicable unless you know them a little bit better and then you realize what they mean by that and all the implications of that and you’re like, “Whoa!” This is not that show. This is the show where characters very loudly say their feelings, with big music in the background. 

And I think that that works for some things. Right? It works really well for Kiui’s arc because… This show has a canonically nonbinary character who has, I think, probably the best arc in the show, although it is definitely soured by one last-minute decision that they made that I have no idea why they made that choice! But, you know, overall, they have a kind of breakthrough where they confront their bullies and they’re like, “Yeah! Y’all made fun of me, but I created this VTuber persona so that I could express this part of myself that I’ve kept hidden away and find love for myself. So, y’all—” You know, and it’s very moving. It reminded me a little bit of Wonder Egg’s moment where the character declares their gender against all the people who doubt her. But this feels a lot… without any of the trauma-porn baggage that came with that, which I appreciate.

ALEX: Yes, the trans episode of Wonder Egg is a very… I could spend hours and hours unpacking that. [Chuckles] Jellyfish also has the benefit of being pretty grounded in reality and not having all of the surreal dream logic layers and layers to go upon that. But that makes sense, they’re sort of in… Yeah, you could see them in conversation with each other, for sure.

TONI: Wait, did you watch that episode and you have a take on it?

ALEX: No, I did not! I haven’t gotten up to that one. [Chuckles] My segue was gonna be that, flowing on from that, I think I agree with you that the best part of the show is the little character arcs that kind of happen throughout and that relationship that it draws out between expression of the self and art, especially Mahiru obviously being the closest thing we have to a protagonist-protagonist in this and her tension she has between art as something you do for fun versus art as expression of yourself versus art as career prospects, versus, again, art as something you do with your friends, because that obviously comes into conflict as we get more into the industry side of things. 

Yeah, that’s been super interesting. I also agree with you that it does a lot of big, swelling music, big feelings, you know, the “romance of youth” kind of stuff going on, but it does also have a lot of these really great, grounded, very human moments that… you know, they make the melodrama work. And yeah, so, Jellyfish is like… it’s a beautiful, nuanced coming-of-age story occasionally interrupted by wildly inappropriate fanservice jokes. Does that sound like an accurate [Chuckles] assessment?

TONI: Yes. I mean, I think that… To build on what you’re saying about art, I think that is definitely where it’s most interesting. I’ve seen people who have either expressed… I know Nicholas Dupree at Anime News Network has expressed a little bit of exasperation at Yoru’s choice to work with Yukinepi. And I think people have also expressed frustration with the episode where Yoru gets a lot of… (Is it Yoru or Mahiru?) Mahiru gets a lot of hate online.

ALEX: [crosstalk] Yoru…

TONI: Those are the same person.

ALEX: Yeah, Yoru is like her artist handle, I believe.

TONI: Yes, where Yoru gets a lot of hate online and then decides she needs to take it in stride and start taking art classes. I think a lot of that confusion can be… Those are things that might be less legible to somebody who hasn’t attempted to make a career in the arts. As someone who has, myself, attempted to make a career in the arts, it’s really hard to find that balance between finding ways to make the art true to you, being responsive to your audience while not beholden to them, and recognizing when you genuinely just need to work on your craft a little bit more. And I think that the show does a pretty decent job of actually navigating all of the complexities around that.

ALEX: I have a question for you, as someone who has finished the last couple episodes of the show. The thing that I’ve been noticing is that, like… Kiui’s arc, fantastic. Mahiru really feels like a very strong and relatable character. Kano, as well. How is Mei doing? Because it kind of struck me that she’s in this odd spot where she’s very useful to the show because she does… She’s useful to the show because she’s a big fangirl of Kano’s past and knows all the idol lore and can do exposition. She’s very useful to the band because she does the music. But I’m kind of waiting for something a bit more from her in terms of that really strong, nice character writing that the other three main characters have gotten. Does she come good with that towards the end?

TONI: A little bit, yeah, I would say so. She has this one really dramatic moment that is, I think, an example of the show finally getting the “show, don’t tell” thing. I’m not going to spoil it because you really just have to see it. It’s quite brilliant. But I think it really uses a lot of interesting voice acting, I will say, and interesting writing to show how she’s grown and changed, and I really like that. She doesn’t necessarily, though, I think, have as much of the kind of thematic depth as Mahiru or Kiui’s arc, I think.

ALEX: Which is a shame, but… I mean, the weakness of her character stands out because I think the other three are so strong. When you have real good bits, the bits that are not so good, hence why we were [Chuckles] ranting and raving so much about the insertion of gross fanservice gags last time, because, you know…

TONI: Oh, that character does come back, unfortunately. I’m sorry.

ALEX: [crosstalk] Okay. Does she show everyone her boobs again? Or is it a bit more civilized?

TONI: No, but it is implied that she’s still involved in the characters’ lives and might become more involved, which I just want her to go away.

ALEX: Does she, like… Is that important to the story? Or is she just… Like, what do you think the purpose of her character is, storytelling-wise?

TONI: I have no idea.

ALEX: Okay. [Chuckles]

TONI: I think, possibly… I can’t decide if this is a charitable or uncharitable reading, would be that Kiui feels a fascination with her because Kiui might want to get gender-affirming surgery in the future, so she kind of represents this possible avenue that Kiui could take for coming to love her body in a different way, and a mentor figure. But again, I can’t decide if that is a charitable or very uncharitable reading because I can’t decide if that’s a mess or… I mean it is mess, honestly. Big mess. That is mess.

ALEX: [crosstalk] There are certainly… [Chuckles] There are certainly neater, more nuanced and, I would say, more appropriate ways they could have explored a trans or trans-adjacent mentor character. But… golly.

TONI: Yeah, I mean, I’ve seen people… One of my friends made a joke that Kiui and Koharu are a female-to-nonbinary ⨉ female-to-female T4T couple—

ALEX: Female to female! [Laughs]

TONI: —and I died. [Chuckles] Which is just a very funny joke. We should probably move on, though. I don’t want to spend all of the pod talking about this.

ALEX: I mean, I think what this has nicely demonstrated is that this is one of those shows that has some really strong, lovely elements and also has some elements that are a bit more messy and much more fraught. And I think there’s a lot to unpack and talk about there, but in terms of recommending it with a capital R, it may be down to the individual audience member to see where the balance sits for you. Like, do the gross bits outweigh the bits that are really nice, and vice versa. You know, that’s going to be an interesting thing for each person to unpack. So I hope we’ve given you, dear listener, a little insight into the glorious mess of Jellyfish. It’s good to have a show like that every now and again, isn’t it? A show where you’re like, “Oh, Jesus. What the… Oh, my God, there’s so much to unpack here.” You know, that can— It’s enrichment for our enclosure as reviewers. [Chuckles]

TONI: Oh, yeah. That’s why we’re here.

ALEX: That’s why we’re here. That’s what we do. Okay, Yatagarasu: The Raven Does Not Choose Its Master. I don’t know why I said it like that and emphasized it like that. This is also continuing into a second cour, and so it won’t be wrapping up until next season. But an update: it’s a lot of fun. You know, I don’t watch or read a lot of these political fantasy series, so I can’t stack it up against its genre contemporaries. Nor can I say— the things that I find really interesting about it might just be completely tropey, overdone things of the genre and I just don’t know.

In any case, for our purposes here, I think the most interesting thing that it’s doing, at least to me, is this thread about various characters dealing with the kind of disjunctured feeling between them as individuals and them as part of a lineage and part of a legacy. You have that with your main male character, the young son who’s gone off to work for the crown prince. You also have that with some of the female characters, one of which has a classic… you know, she falls in love with someone that she can’t have because she’s been raised to marry the prince. And so, she has this great line where she’s like, “My heart can’t belong to you. It doesn’t even belong to me.” Like, “I am not really a person this moment. I am like…” She takes all this in stride, but she’s like, “I’m not really a person. I am a tool for my family’s securing our future and our power” and all of that stuff.

And she has… you know, maybe the execution of it is a bit over top with her quote-unquote “snapping” a bit, but she does have quite an emotionally meaningful little arc where that split between her wanting to be a normal young woman and have this romance with a guy versus her really strict, ice-cold dedication to her duty… that gets too much, and things turn tragic for her and she kinda can’t cope with it. There’s another great lady who’s like, “Well, I’m not actually here to get married. My family sent me here to be an assassin. And I agreed to it because that’s a way for me to get a little bit of power back when I had been stripped of it.” And then she’s like, “Ladies, you can fight for your happiness,” and then turns into a bird and peaces out. [Chuckles]

TONI: Love it.

PETER: What a flex.

ALEX: She rules. I was very interested in her from the beginning, and I’m so glad to see that that paid off and there’s something more going on with her. I hope we see her again and she’s not just gone from the story forever.

PETER: This is literally Innocent Rouge, except not the French Revolution.

ALEX: [Chuckles] Well, yeah. I don’t know enough about Japanese feudal history to know if it’s referencing and playing into any sort of real historical period or historical tumult with all of this, but… again, I’m coming to this as a complete rookie, as well, but it’s fun. It’s giving the ladies some stuff to do. It’s got that very interesting thematic thread, I think, which is… you know, it’s giving it a bit more juice for me, because I hate to sound anti-intellectual but I can switch off a bit when it’s people talking about politics and court intrigue. But it’s got the strong characters to pull it through, I think, so I’m gonna be very interested to keep following this and see where it lands. So, that’s our update on that one.

I will also give you an update on Whisper Me a Love Song. Now, because of the weird, kind of stretchy scheduling for this season, most shows are finished and this one isn’t. It’s only at ten episodes at time of recording. So, consider this a partial review, as well, and if anything changes drastically or anything noteworthy happens, we will let you know through other channels. But in a nutshell, this show is cute. It’s fine. I like the first half better than the second because it pivots away from all the stuff I was enjoying about the development of the main romance and really focused on band drama in the back half, which is fine, but I don’t find that it’s as interesting [Chuckles] and I found it was done in a way I found a bit frustrating.

Like, basically, given that the first half of the story has such a focus on the magic of communication and how talking through your feelings and being open about them is good, [it] does make a lot of sense that the closest thing we’re going to have a villain is a person who does not talk about her feelings and refuses to be emotionally open and honest. I totally get what they’re going for but, bless her heart, I do find this character extremely annoying. [Chuckles] You know, it starts to feel a bit repetitive and stilted. You get that classic thing where you just want to reach into the screen and be like, “Girl, just talk, actually. Just explain yourself and answer the perfectly reasonable questions that your classmates and former bandmates have about your motivations and why you do the things you do. It’s starting to feel like you’re holding up the plot for what feels like no reason.” So, look, it has that going on, which is less my bag than the really sweet, very sincere, yuri romance, communication stuff from the first bit.

I don’t not recommend it. Certainly, there are other yuri series I would recommend first for being more competent character dramas and cuter romances, but… and, you know, I recommend the first half [Chuckles] over the second. But it’s cute. You know? It’s fine. It’s nice to have more yuri to add to the range. And the beautiful thing about the expanding well of representation is that not all of it needs to be amazing. You can have one that’s just okay and has just elements that are just fine, and it doesn’t have to stand as the sole… you know, the one yuri series in the entire world. So, that’s kind of what’s going on with that one, you know?

TONI: Although, I will say that this is definitely following a lot of tropes that feel very common. Not to be the, like, “There is just one yuri series,” but sometimes it does feel a little bit like, “Let’s be a little more imaginative! Gosh, y’all.”

ALEX: [Chuckles] I mean, I wonder, too, if that has— I don’t know, maybe there’s a bigger conversation to have there about what series are being chosen to be adapted for anime and [whether] whoever those decision makers [are] have a certain taste or a certain… I don’t know. I mean, hey, we’ll see. You know, queer representation, yuri, BL, or otherwise, is always expanding in the anime world, so it’s really cool to see each new thing that comes out. For example, occasionally, we get a Tadaima Okaeri, and that’s a whole new conversation we get to have, for good or ill.


TONI: Now that’s definitely engaging in a whole different set of tropes.

ALEX: Hey, it’s different! Variety is the spice of life. [Chuckles]

TONI: Yeah. That is true. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.

ALEX: [Chuckles] Now, the final stop on our new seasonal shows is A Condition Called Love, which has been very interesting to watch because my heart and my brain are kind of having two different reactions to it. What did you think of this one, Peter? Are you up on it?

PETER: A couple episodes behind, still. This has been my, like, worst season ever, to be honest.

ALEX: [Chuckles]

PETER: But it didn’t do the thing I was afraid of, at least so far, where Hananoi freaks out on Hinase’s coworker, the other boy.

ALEX: Mm-hm. Nor does he do that.

PETER: And instead, I do think—

ALEX: Yeah, nor does he do that in the final few episodes. There’s not a confl— Uh, they kinda have an awkward little… It’s not an argument. They have a discussion, but there’s not any freaking out involved, I would say.

PETER: They’ve had a couple of those. And I do think Hananoi’s gonna become a more interesting character since they sort of introduced his backstory where you find out that his parents are basically absent because they’re, I don’t know, traveling doctors in third-world countries or something like that and they’re always sending him pictures back of them with some kids that they saved. And he has just grown up to resent every child in all those photos because it seems like his parents care more about all these stranger kids than they do about him, which kind of reminded me of the central angst in Hanebado, as well, which was a series that I very much enjoyed. So, that put me more on his side. 

And he has done less obviously crazy things since then, so it’s had more time to focus on Hinase’s weird diplomatic view of approaching a relationship where she’s been so walled off from even the concept of having a boyfriend for so long that she’s very unsure of what to do, so she ends up having a lot of student-government–esque meetings where she sets an agenda to talk about what each of them is expecting out of the relationship, how they should treat one another and if either of them have any boundaries or anything like that they’d like to establish early on. Honestly, seems like kind of a great thing to do once you… and maybe something that more people should be doing, but just the way she is approaching it is very accidentally mature instead of just your usual “swept away by hormones” sort of teenage romance kind of situation, which I think is very endearing.

ALEX: [Chuckles] Yeah, I really… I like them both as characters and find them both very interesting as characters. I don’t know that I can quite— Like, it doesn’t get my heart going dokidoki as a romance. [Chuckles] I really appreciate the show, and I really like a lot of the meta aspects that it’s going with, especially in terms of, you know, obviously, all the things we’re talking about with Hananoi, with taking these tropes and traits that are often portrayed as universally romantic in male leads, like “Oh, he’s a bit possessive” and “Oh, he hates everybody but likes you!” and he does all these grand gestures. It kind of just looks at those a bit and is like, “Hey, what if… Hm. What if that was not universally romantic and lovely? What if that was the behavior of a guy who is a bit isolated and lonely and doesn’t quite know how relationships work? What if that was a bit fucked up?” And it does that in a way without being mean about it, without being like, “Pft! Shoujo romance tropes are dumb and you are wrong for liking them. You know, what if a guy was fucked up?” Do you know what I mean? It is obviously—

PETER: Yeah. He was just desperate, right?

ALEX: Yeah, it’s obviously taking kind of a savvy lens to the genre it exists in without just tearing it down, which is nice. It strikes that balance really well, I think, and it gets a really compelling character drama out of navigating that. I do still just, like… I think the problem I’m having, as well, is that I relate a lot to Hotaru, the female lead, and the way she sort of goes about things. I see a lot of my teenage self in her, specifically, especially this awkward dedication she has to putting everyone’s feelings before hers and that diplomacy she tries to bring. And so, when I see her in these situations that are still a bit uncomfortable and she’s doing a lot of work to balance out and to heal this guy who’s been very overbearing and possessive and giving her a lot of emotional load to carry, I know what the story is doing with it but I do have a little siren going off in my brain. It was just like an overprotective voice being like, “Girl, get out of there.” [Chuckles] So… but, you know.

PETER: Yeah, I think it’s interesting because I don’t think she even realizes that anything is unusual about it, so she’s just kind of trying to be a good girlfriend. And nobody else who is more savvy to relationships knows the degree to which Hananoi has been acting weird so that they can tell her that something is wrong here, which I think is kinda what it comes down to.

ALEX: Yeah, yeah. Like, we’re all reading this as grown-ups looking at these teenagers who are isolated in their situation and being like, “Oh, my God!” But that’s us coming in from outside the story. Again, it’s the heart–brain disassociation I mentioned where intellectually I’m like, “Ah, yeah, this is really interesting and really great,” and my emotional response is like, “No! Get out of there!”

PETER: Yeah, I do agree for what you were saying, how I think they both are very interesting in isolation but I just don’t really feel anything about their relationship, so it’s hard for me to really be like, “Oh, I hope they manage to make this all work out because they’re so good together” kind of thing. It’s like, oh, I just mostly hope they turn out okay.

ALEX: Yes! I think that’s a good way of putting it, yeah. I’m very invested in this as a character drama and not so much as a romance, which is unfortunate because a romance is what it’s going for. But I don’t think that’s the show’s fault. I really don’t want to be like— Again, enrichment in our enclosure as reviewers. This show’s been a lot to chew on. And it’s about finding that balance of the knee-jerk reaction of being like “Bleh” while also acknowledging it’s got a lot of clever stuff going on. I really don’t want to just be like, “This made me feel yucky. Therefore, it is a bad show,” because I think there’s a lot of value to it. And I think many people could find it romantic. I just obviously have [Chuckles] something going on that’s causing a blockage. So, I don’t not recommend it. I just think different people may find that it speaks to them in very different ways.

Alright, fantastic. So that is the end of our seasonals for the moment. It’s now time for carryovers and sequels, going alphabetically and starting with Black Butler: Public School Arc, adapting a particular arc of the manga and reigniting my some-15-year-long love-hate relationship with this franchise. God, that’s a long time. That’s a long… Oh, my God, yeah. I mean, I’ve made the joke before in various parts of this podcast, like, “Oh, yeah, Fate is my problematic fave from my teens.” No. You go even further back, you get Black Butler. That’s the deep lore. [Chuckles]

PETER: God, is Fate younger than Black Butler? Certified retro anime.

ALEX: I got into it a bit later. Black Butler’s like some ninth-grade shit. Fate, I found in like grade 11, 12 along the way and onwards. Man. Yeah, we got Black Butler, we got Spice & Wolf, it is the year 2009, and we are blossoming!

So, we kind of can’t get— Because this is such a direct continuation of the last bit they adapted of the manga, it’s not newbie friendly at all and we kind of can’t get into unpacking this without unpacking the whole series, which is going to take more than a few minutes to do. We could have a whole podcast dedicated to it one day, but I think that may even not be quite enough space.

So the short version is, when it’s about a traumatized boy and the demon he made a Faustian contract with being little shits together and solving paranormal mysteries, it’s honestly a lot of fun. I have less fun with it when it’s doing stuff like shipteasey fanservice between the demon and underage boys and, like, “Ah, this character who’s canonically a sex trafficker, he’s back here as a joke cameo because he’s a favorite. We love him. That’s great.” Stuff like that endears me to it less. But I think the iffy aspects of it are kind of less prominent the further along it goes, but I would have to reread/rewatch the series to make that statement definitively.

But suffice to say, with this, look, if you are already embedded in the series, you know what you’re getting into and you’re probably going to have a really good time, or you’re already going to have those caveats in the back of your mind. And if you don’t know what you’re getting into, don’t start here because it doesn’t explain shit to you. [Chuckles] Go back to… You know, I mean, read the manga, if you like. It’s heading towards a conclusion after so many years, which is bananas to think about because, again, I was reading this in high school. But time goes on. So, yeah, hey, that’s Black Butler and all of the magics that it contains.

Toni, it is now time for your favorite, which I refuse to pronounce [Chuckles] without going like, “It’s time to duh-duh duh-duh-duh-duh-duel!” [Chuckles] That is, Duh-Duh-Duh-Duh-Duh-Duh Demon’s Dead Destruction. Shit. Toni, how’s this one going?

TONI: I love this anime so much. It’s only five episodes in and I feel like it’s gonna be my anime of the year, maybe anime of the decade.

ALEX: Ooh!

TONI: Yeah, I know, hot take. But I love everything about it, the animation, the absolutely— Every episode is so dense with all these different layers of social commentary and layers of ideas about how people navigate unimaginably weird situations, what it means to be “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you,” you know? But then you don’t really have much you can do about that, right? There’s some things that happen in these episodes that I don’t want to spoil. But I think the portrayal of girlhood is so compelling in terms of just how these girls are coping with things like death and their own desires that are very messy and not necessarily a good idea, with navigating relationships and trying to care for people even as they’re descending into conspiracy theory. I think this is just a triumph.

Really, I think one of my favorite episodes is the episode that gets into the relationship between Kiho and her boyfriend. That couple is kind of— From the beginning of the story, that couple is foregrounded, and there’s a lot where they’re kind of put against Ouran. Whereas Ouran is the one who doesn’t have a boyfriend and is kind of grossed out by the normies who are having these relationships, Kiho is wanting to have kind of a normal high school life, and her boyfriend is simultaneously trying to kind of open the eyes of the people around him to the fact that there’s something really strange going on with these aliens but also with the government’s response to them. The conversation that they have about what do you do when you know that there’s something really fucked up going on but there’s absolutely no way that you can control it, I thought was something that I’ve seen happen so often. 

It’s kind of a key question of not necessarily nihilism but acceptance versus resistance. Like, when you know you don’t have control over something, do you just kind of accept it and just try to live with that new normal even if it’s kind of horrible? Or do you kind of beat your head against the wall of not having control over it? Especially when it’s a matter of political disenfranchisement and your rights are being taken away, as they are by the American government and the Japanese government in this story, which the show is extremely critical of the military–industrial complex. It has very accurate ideas and very thoughtful ideas about how things as innocuous as toy manufacturers can become brought into the MIC fold.

I mean, just a very subtle and nuanced example, just a very subtle blink-and-you-miss-it moment is when, as they’re shooting down an alien ship, they use an Xbox controller or maybe PlayStation controller to control the weapon that’s shooting down the ship, which that is literally something that is often used in military devices. It’s quite famously used in military devices, is Xbox and PlayStation controllers, right? So the series is showing that it is based on actual thought and research into the topics that it is exploring. This is not just throwing spaghetti at a wall, doing big fantasy metaphor that is messy and not one to one. No, this is actually… Even as it’s doing this big sci-fi fantasy metaphor about oppression, it is also engaging with the realities of the military–industrial complex in a very granular way.

ALEX: Cool. Were you thinking of doing, maybe, potentially, a retrospective episode on this series and its source material and everything it’s got going on?

TONI: Yes! I would. I am absolutely going to do that. I absolutely am going to call for that. I might write my own article about it. I cannot talk enough about just how much I adore this show. And any opportunity that y’all give me to talk about it, I will take up because oh, my goodness.

ALEX: [crosstalk] Excellent. Well, listeners, look forward to that. Look forward to many, multimodal [Chuckles] retrospectives on the show from Toni. Fantastic.

Alright, I have a question for you both. Would you like to live deliciously? In dungeon. [Chuckles]

PETER: Mm, I see.

TONI: I would love to eat some of that dungeon meshi, yes.

ALEX: Oh, well, I think we can pretty unilaterally recommend it. It’s a lot of fun. Delicious in Dungeon is a lot of fun and, I think, is getting into— I mean, I was gonna say it’s getting to some darker stuff. The thing I admire about this show is that it balances its more serious elements and its really earnest goofy bits very nicely so that it doesn’t feel like a big “Oh, they’ve tugged the rug out from under you. You thought this was a silly little cooking show. Nope! There’s serious fantasy stuff in here!” It all feels very cohesive, even though the mood… You know, the tone is able to shift while it feels very much still like itself. Do you vibe with that, Toni?

TONI: Yeah, I mean, when I heard that there’s kind of a twist towards the end of the first season and then it gets much darker, I was expecting… I was kind of wondering, “Is this gonna pull, like, a Madoka Magica–style thing?” And it doesn’t. It’s much more, I think, gradual and slowly lowering you into the kind of darker themes that it has than something like Madoka or something like Utena or something like that, I don’t know. It’s much more interested in slowly beginning to explore these ideas organically, especially with… Laios is very obviously autistic. I mean that’s borderline canon. There’s not really a word for autism in this world, which makes sense because in medieval times I don’t think they had the word autism, certainly, no, not as a psychological diagnosis. It would be pretty weird for a character that’s based in a medieval era to just come out and say, “I’m autistic!”

ALEX: “I did a quiz online!” And they’re like, “Where?” [Chuckles]

TONI: [Chuckles] Right! So I think that even— My kind of mindset around this sort of rep is that sometimes coding is fine, and this almost feels beyond coding, because, I mean, it’s— What I’ve really appreciated is that so often with that kind of coding, it kind of explores, like, this character is kind of cute and quirky and fun, especially if they’re a female character, right? And then they seem kind of autistic to us. But with Laios, it’s— Laios is much more interested in the actual social construction of autism and autistic people’s experiences—well, not necessarily of autism but the Other, the neurodivergent Other, right? The construction of a neurodivergent Other and how Laios experiences all these different forms of suffering and frustration because of that construction of the neurodivergent Other. I mean, he has a hard time holding down jobs. Other people lack empathy for him and just kind of find him weird. I mean, at one point, it’s revealed how Chilchuck sees him, and literally it’s like walleyed. You know?

ALEX: It’s interesting, too, you mentioned that usually characters that can be read autistic coded are more cute and quirky and maybe more feminine coded, which is interesting because Falin, as well, she has some similar character traits going on, but obviously, Shuro fell for her and thought she was really, really cute and very beautiful and very lovely but finds a lot of those similar traits very unappealing in Laios, who he is obviously not romantically attracted to. And I wonder— I don’t know. I wonder if there’s that’s maybe saying there’s something to unpack, or at the very least, that’s an interesting character detail that feels pretty intentionally in there, that they’re perceived very different ways because she’s a cute sort of wafty ghost maiden mage girl and he’s… you know, there are different expectations of him because he’s the manly knight. He’s supposed to behave a certain way.

TONI: Yeah, yeah. He’s supposed to behave more like Kabru, right?

ALEX: Mm-hm. Poor Kabru. That man’s suffering so much and he’s trying so hard! [Chuckles]

TONI: He is such a mess. Oh, my fucking God. Just what a mess of a character. Yeah, and I think this series shows why characters like Kabru do what they do and masking. He kind of reminds me a little bit of Hime from Yuri Is My Job.

ALEX: Mm-hm, mm-hm! [Chuckles]

TONI: And then, Laios really reminds me of…

ALEX: The love interest from Yuri Is My Job? Or a different—

TONI: Ayano. Yes, yes. Although, it’s a very different kind of autism. Whereas Ayanokouji is a lot more like just very direct and strong sense of justice and frustrated with inconsistency, I think Laios is more just like hyperfixation, “must talk about it, no matter how uncomfortable it’s making the people around me.”

ALEX: But hey, that’s what’s going to save the day. His hyperfixation on eating monsters is what’s going to save the world. You know? It’s what’s gonna defeat the bad guy and save the world. Presumably. It’s certainly what’s gotten us this far. So… [Chuckles]

TONI: I also love that he’s able to find the perfect person to explore this hyperfixation with in Senshi. It’s a very sweet kind of autistic-for-autistic friendship, because I don’t think Senshi is necessarily coded as neurotypical either.

ALEX: [Chuckles] Yeah, I think there’s a great, fun thing going on with… Replicating D&D parties in real life, everyone in this adventuring party who’s fallen together is a bit odd and a bit other in some way, and they obviously extra emphasize that with the introduction of Izutsumi, who is not a catgirl but a cat girl with all of the annoying, vicious bits you would actually have in a real cat, which I think is fantastic! She’s just a little shit. [Chuckles]

TONI: Oh, yeah, she’s lovely. I love every member of the party in the show.

ALEX: Ah! We could talk about this for ages. It’s really fun. The amount of female characters increasing, is one of the things I want to point out because it’s something I mentioned a couple podcasts ago. You know, Marcille is… she’s not the only girl anymore, which means it’s less… it’s more comfortable when she’s not just the only butt of the joke, as well. Other characters are also frequently the butt of the joke [Chuckles], and she gets her time to shine as well.

TONI: She stopped being the butt of the joke, I feel like, around Episode 4. After Episode 4, she’s just one of the gang, you know?

ALEX: It finds a nice balance with her and with the others.

PETER: That’s encouraging, because I remember… I was reading the manga. I had started reading it like two years ago or something, and I bounced off pretty quick because it just felt like Marcille was, like, the normal one but also the punching bag in the group. And I don’t know, it started to feel bad, in addition to some other stuff, but that was one of my big gripes, I guess.

ALEX: Yeah, that’s totally fair. I had the same initial reaction, yeah, but persevered. [Chuckles]

TONI: I feel like the normal one as the series goes on is Chilchuck.

ALEX: Yes. [Chuckles]

TONI: I feel like the joke about Chilchuck is that he’s just like, “Oh, my God, these fucking weirdos I’m surrounded by.”

ALEX: He’s the most normal guy imaginable. He’s a divorced middle-aged man. I don’t think he’s technically divorced but it’s funnier just describing it in that way.

PETER: He’s doing divorced activities.

ALEX: [crosstalk] He’s doing— He has divorced— He exhibits divorced behavior.


PETER: He’s divorce coded.

ALEX: Yes! [Laughs] Which is also important representation. [Chuckles]

TONI: Yeah, no, I love Ch— I love all the characters in this show. It is so wonderful.

ALEX: It’s really good. And it ends on a nice, big “To be continued,” so we will be talking about it again further down the track—not immediately, but some distant day in the beautiful future.

Quick stop off with Laid-Back Camp Season 3. Laid-Back Camp is still really cozy and nice and really good. Longtime readers/listeners will not be at all surprised to hear that I really enjoyed this. It’s back, I’m happy, it is a warm blanket of a show, and I’ll definitely be recommending that. I mean, more than that it’s cozy escapism, it’s also like… It’s just got good female characters, you know? It is just a very good example of just really quality slice-of-life. They have all good, strong personalities. They’re obviously meant to be cute and kind of comforting to be around, but they’re not just what you might call moe blobs. You know, they’re not so archetypal that they’re just kind of there. And then there’s no fanservice, really, which is… You know, they visit so many hot springs in these beautiful mountain locales, and the camera’s never gross about it. [Chuckles] Which is a low bar to clear.

PETER: So smart from a tourism perspective.

ALEX: So, low bar to clear, but I do have to mention that. If you haven’t heard or picked up the series before, have a look at it.

TONI: How’s the studio change affected it?

ALEX: The art style’s a little different, which was a little bit to get used to, but it’s got the same personality, it’s got the same atmosphere. It basically just continues on where the last one left off. So, yeah, no big…

PETER: I think if you didn’t know about it, you wouldn’t notice.

ALEX: Mm-hm, mm-hm. Yeah, no big divergences there, which is good. I was a little worried about that, but it’s all come good.

None of us watched Sound! Euphonium Season 3, for which I feel like we’re gonna get laughed at in the street. But it’s just not something that’s been a priority for anyone on the team individually. However, if you are interested in that kind of content and want us to follow through, we have various channels you can ask us about. Maybe we could do a full series retrospective at some point. Not sure. It’s in discussion. We’ve not forgotten about it. [Chuckles] It’s just not been on anyone’s radar.

PETER: Season 3 is the end, so it might be a good time to do a retrospective on it.

ALEX: Mm-hm. But not today. So, sorry! If anyone was looking forward to that, my sincere apologies. But we will come back to— There’s been different band girls to talk about this time.

Oh, my gosh! And that brings us to the end of our proceedings. Thank you so much for listening. This has been an episode of Chatty AF: The Anime Feminist Podcast. I’ve been Alex and my guests—cohosts—have been Toni and Peter.

If you have somehow come to this episode without finding our website first, we have excellent news for you. Our website is We have other podcasts and transcripts. We have feature articles of all kinds and all topics. If you go there right now, you will find us in the middle of our premiere reviews, where we go through our first impressions of the summer 2024 season, which is always an exciting time.

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Folks, I normally end on a silly bit or a pun, but I’m going to be sincere this time. It’s a bit of a weird and scary world out there at the moment and always, so we hope that this has brought you a little bit of a nice break. We hope we’ve pointed you in the direction of something you might want to watch to also give yourself a nice break. Take care of yourselves and take care of each other out there, and we’ll see you again for the next one.

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