Vrai, Caitlin, and Peter check-in on the Summer 2019 season!
Date Recorded: Sunday 18th August 2019
Hosts: Vrai, Caitlin, Peter
0:01:33 Cop Craft
0:02:05 How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift?
0:02:25 To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts
0:05:28 Isekai Cheat Magician
0:07:37 If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord
0:11:34 Fire Force
0:17:26 Dr. STONE
0:26:09 Do You Love Your Mother and her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?
0:30:52 Astra Lost in Space
0:35:14 O Maidens in Your Savage Season
0:44:22 Vinland Saga
0:55:56 Ensemble Stars
VRAI: Hello, listeners. Welcome to Chatty AF, the Anime Feminist podcast. It is time once again for our mid-season podcast. My name is—
VRAI: [chuckles] Hooray! Mid-seasons! What is time anymore? My name is Vrai. I’m an editor and contributor at Anime Feminist. You can find me and all the places I freelance on Twitter @WriterVrai, or you can find the other podcast I cohost @trashpod.
CAITLIN: Hi, I’m Caitlin. I am a writer and editor, as well as writing for The Daily Dot and running my own blog, Anime Feminist—er, not Anime Feminist, that’s not mine—heroineproblem.com, “heroine” with an E.
PETER: I’m Peter Fobian. I’m a producer at Crunchyroll and a contributor and editor at Anime Feminist.
VRAI: You might be able to tell, listeners, that it’s been A Week, so I don’t know how this mid-season is going to go. Once again, I am standing in for Dee, who normally oversees this mad dash through the season’s shows. Just as a reminder, we won’t be covering sequels and carryovers. We save all of that for the season-end podcast.
All right, with that said, let’s jump right into it. We start from the bottom of our premiere guide list and work our way up. Peter, you are the only one watching How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? and Cop Craft. Do you have anything to update us on with those since the three-episode?
PETER: I don’t really know if anything’s changed with Cop Craft. Just more of the same.
VRAI: It’s still an ‘80s cop movie in 2019 for some reason?
PETER: Yeah, basically. Really good OP, though.
VRAI: God, it’s such a good OP!
PETER: It’s a very good OP. Dumbbells, basically all the same complaints that I had originally just continue, probably ad infinitum. So, nothing new there.
VRAI: Noted. So, if folks have seen our written reviews and that doesn’t seem for them, it’s still not for them. God, Dumbbells makes me so mad.
CAITLIN: Yeah, it’s a bummer.
VRAI: None of us are watching Wasteful Days of High School Girls. And Peter, you are watching To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts?
VRAI: How’s that going?
PETER: They diverged from the manga.
VRAI: [crosstalk] So I heard.
PETER: I have knowledge up to like volume 8. Well, your mileage may vary. They added steampunk, so if you’re into steampunk, you’ve got that now in the anime.
CAITLIN: [chuckles] Is anyone into steampunk anymore?
PETER: We have a convention in San Jose. It’s some steampunk convention. What’s it called? I forgot. Anyway, it’s there.
VRAI: The people who are still into steampunk are really into steampunk.
PETER: Yeah. It’s an aesthetic. I don’t know if we really addressed much about it besides it being… I think Chiaki mainly discussed it being problematic from a “how we should treat our war veterans” perspective, with PTSD.
At this point, they’ve gotten to… I wouldn’t call it a timeskip, but I feel like Schaal is even less agent in the anime than she is in the manga, and they do some shitty stuff where she gets kidnapped and they rip off her clothes and put her in a ball dress while she’s hostage.
PETER: Yeah. And they’ve really been upping the fanservice moments with… Liza? Eliza? Liz? The blonde one.
VRAI: With the huge boobs?
PETER: Yeah. Basically the woman from the bounty hunting show in Cowboy Bebop, except she is in your face all the time.
VRAI: Honestly, that was what surprised me, because I thought the first episode was okay, but then people were like, “Yeah, the manga just starts off with this girl, and she’s the co-protagonist from the word go, and then this other grizzled muscle man is there.” And I’m like, “Wow, that sounds like it would be way more fun.”
CAITLIN: Yeah, no, that sounds more interesting to me.
PETER: I’m still reading the manga because it’s doing some cool plot stuff, especially now that it’s gotten into the backstory with Hank and Cain’s… the woman from episode one, how everything came to be that way, and it’s very horror-western now. So, I’m interested in where it’s going there, but I don’t know what the plan for Schaal is, besides just being a perspective character while Hank beats people up, basically. Yeah, without giving too much away. But where the series could possibly be going here could be problematic, but then again, I don’t know how long the series is going to be. If it’s going to be 12 episodes, it probably won’t even get there. So, I don’t know if there’s any plan for Schaal if it’s a 12-episode series.
VRAI: It doesn’t seem like too many people are watching it, so… I don’t know, you’re the numbers guy.
CAITLIN: There’s so many good shows this season. Why bother with something mediocre?
PETER: It’s popular.
VRAI: Speaking of which, none of us are watching The Ones Within, or Kochoki. Peter, you’re the only one watching Isekai Cheat Magician and If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord. I hate isekai titles so much. What’s going on with those?
CAITLIN: They really just roll off the tongue, don’t they?
VRAI: [chuckling] Yeah!
PETER: That’s how you know Ascendance of a Bookworm is going to be good: short, to the point.
Anyway, yeah, Isekai Cheat Magician. I was kind of enthusiastic about it for a little bit because it seemed to be separating the guy from the girl and the elf. So the guy would always have his own solo adventure and then the girl—I don’t even remember any of their names—the elf girl that they meet would team up and do other stuff, which was a cool dynamic. It seemed to be implying that the girl and the elf were an item. There’s a part where she has to rescue the elf girl and then Princess carries her out of a clock tower.
VRAI: Go on.
PETER: Yeah, I thought it was going to go that direction, but then in the very last episode, they get in this big war, the guy’s fighting people underground, and the girl and the elf are fighting people on land. And then it seems like each side’s going to win its own war, but there’s a surprise new enemy, girls can’t fight him, guy shows up and saves her last minute, and just before the guy shows up, she thinks she’s going to die and thinks, “Oh, I should have told him I loved him.” And I was like, “Oh, everything sucks.”
VRAI: [crosstalk] Sigh.
PETER: Yeah. I mean, she does do more than your average female character in an isekai show, and it seems like it’s paying attention to her, but it is definitely falling into the trope where she is definitely his romantic interest and he is definitely going to be beating all the bad guys while she is more of a support character. So, rest in pieces.
VRAI: That’s a bummer since she was nominally a co-protagonist at the start.
PETER: Yeah, she had a cool plan during the war thing, too, so it keeps teasing you that… Eh, she does cool stuff, so if your threshold is “her doing some cool stuff on her own,” it definitely exceeds that, but I don’t think there’s ever going to be a real decisive moment where she saves the day or anything like that and he is the one that needs help. So, not a lot of back and forth there, is what I’m trying to say.
VRAI: Bummer. How about Isekai Bunny Drop?
PETER: That one I’ve been pleasantly surprised with. I think it was episode 4 that I was talking about that had the very sudden tonal shift where she was assaulted by her racist teacher and the guy got her excommunicated from her church. And it seemed to handle everything well, at least from my perspective.
I’ve been more curious about if it’s going to throw me any more curveballs since then. They’re going on a trip now, and she discovered that her race lives longer than humans and is coping with the fact that all her friends are probably going to die before she does and is unhappy with that, and they’re trying to discover more about her heritage and stuff. So, more calm and serene but still kind of surprisingly thoughtful content. And I’ve been told based on—
CAITLIN: He’s still going to marry her in the end, though.
PETER: Well, I’ve been told based on the pace of the anime, if it’s 12 episodes, it probably isn’t going to get into… it’s going to literally pull the Bunny Drop, where they just don’t reach the problematic content and they leave it off at that. So, assuming it’s 12 episodes, that’s probably what’s going to happen.
VRAI: Seems like the best-case scenario for what it could do, honestly. Just pretend that doesn’t exist.
PETER: So, it could be that the anime is actually pretty decent. Just don’t ever tell people that there’s a light novel.
CAITLIN: My issue is that she didn’t act even slightly remotely like a child.
PETER: Mm. Yeah, she’s like a perfect little doll.
CAITLIN: Mm-hm. [Speaks softly] Her voice actress, instead of trying to sound like a child, just talked into a soft, breathy voice, [Speaks normally] and that’s not what children do. Yeah, she was just very ideal and cute.
That always raises my hackles, first of all, because like I’ve said over and over, I spend a lot of time with real children, but also, when lolicons are like, “Oh, it’s not like pedophilia. Lolis aren’t like pedophilia,” and they talk about what they do like, that’s generally what they’re describing.
PETER: Just idealized. Yeah.
CAITLIN: Yeah, that idealized innocence of childhood. So, shows like the Demon Bunny Drop—because I can’t be arsed to remember the whole title—really raise my alarm bells for that.
PETER: Well, you’ll be happy to know that she’s not perfect and they establish that she’s a very awful singer. So, character development.
CAITLIN: Oh, great!
VRAI: She has one extremely charming quote-unquote “failing.”
PETER: Yeah. I do think—to be a little bit more serious about it—yeah, she’s pretty perfect. She is going through some character drama where she’s really grasping with what she is. Is that the right word? Struggling with? Grappling?
CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Grappling?
PETER: That was what I was trying to say. So, I don’t think her only purpose is to be cute, but yeah, definitely she’s hella good at magic now, and it definitely falls into that trope that you’re talking about, for sure.
CAITLIN: Yeah, which… I’m not saying if you like it, you’re a pedophile, but it’s… You know what I mean.
PETER: Yeah. I honestly think Dale is cuter.
VRAI: It is interesting, though, right, because I think there are a lot of cases where the family life is kind of idyllic, and that’s whatever, it serves this or that plot function. I can think of a couple manga like that, and it’s not really a big deal. But in this case, you can draw an actual line of “This is a dog whistle for grooming elements” because he does marry her later in the source material.
PETER: Yeah. That’s not good.
VRAI: So, it’s just interesting. Next on the list is something somebody besides Peter is watching. Caitlin, you are also watching Fire Force.
CAITLIN: Oh, yep. Peter’s tour through mediocrity has ended.
VRAI: Yay. Well done.
CAITLIN: I really like Fire Force. Okay, two things. I have no excuses for it.
CAITLIN: Two: I still really like it.
PETER: Okay. [chuckles]
VRAI: Fight, fight, fight!
PETER: Compelling argument.
CAITLIN: There’s not even a fight because every criticism that Peter’s going to make, I’m going to be like, “I know… but I still like it.”
PETER: Yeah, well, in the spirit of actual discussion, it has treated pretty much every single female character in the entire cast like shit or sexualized them and that’s all it does; has the older woman villain trope in there—
CAITLIN: Oh, boy! [chuckles] Yeah, the man-killer trope.
PETER: I can’t remember what—
CAITLIN: Cool eyes, though.
PETER: What’s the cat girl’s name?
PETER: Oh yeah, she’s introduced getting groped by the main character accidentally and then blames it on herself. Maki’s—
CAITLIN: His hands go like inside her clothes, too.
PETER: And her bikini top and in her pants somehow.
CAITLIN: That’s the part that gets me. It’s not just like “Oh no! I fell down and my hand has landed on her butt.” This is semi, kind of plausible because that has happened to me in real life—not guys doing it to me, but me doing it to guys. But he’s just like, “Doo-de-doo… Oh no! My hands are inside this girl’s pants! How did that happen?”
PETER: It was the Lucky Lecher Lure.
CAITLIN: It’s so gross.
PETER: Yep. On a personal note, I find the writing and directing to just be all over the place. You know how a moment will have a bunch of stuff that builds up excitement in it? It kind of seems like it’s always faltering either in writing or with these weird static pauses where the music stops and the characters stop talking or it cuts to a wide angle, and you’re like, “Why are they doing this?” I just feel it’s very dissonant.
CAITLIN: No, I agree. The direction is kinda hanky, especially during dialogue. It cuts to closeups of their faces and stuff. But the action, when it’s good, is so good. The fire effects are super cool, and Shinra breakdancing while fighting is really great.
PETER: I think the animation’s top notch, but the way it’s directed is really awkward. Like when he’s fighting the eyepatch guy, there will be this 20-second segment of this breakdancing fire sakuga and then they both pause for no reason. And maybe they’ll say something, maybe they won’t, and then the fight continues. And it happened like seven times, so I was like, “Are you guys actually fighting?”
You know how sometimes fights are supposed to mirror what they’re also discussing, so there’s a combined narrative going forward that whoever is in control of the scene… It wasn’t doing that either. I was just like, “Why do they keep pausing?” The fight just keeps stopping and then starting again.
But yeah, the animation itself is really cool. No argument there. It’s amazing animation.
CAITLIN: I really like Maki. I think Maki’s super fun. And super adorable, even if Arthur… Despite myself, I really like Arthur, even though he’s terrible. He’s just so stupid.
PETER: He’s a Sanji.
CAITLIN: Oh, my God. He’s such an idiot, in a really funny way. But I really enjoyed Maki. The sounds that she made when the lieutenant—whose name I can never remember—put out her little fire spirit were so sad and so adorable, and she’s got amazing arms.
And like I said, I have no excuses for this show. All of the parts that are done poorly, I totally agree. But I just have a lot of fun while I’m watching it. And the theme song is a banger. The opening…
CAITLIN: Total jam.
PETER: Yeah, I think the characters are definitely Soul Eater stupid in that charming way, and I really like Maki in a vacuum, just not how the series treats her. So, I agree the characters all have good stuff going for them. It’s just the dynamic that they’re put in sucks.
VRAI: It is kind of a bummer for me to hear, as somebody who really enjoyed the Soul Eater anime once it got going, that this one did not change the sleazy elements that the mangaka is fond of, because I agree: dude does action well, and in a really entertaining and innovative way.
CAITLIN: He does action and atmosphere and worldbuilding really well. The worldbuilding is really interesting. I really want to know what’s going on in this universe.
PETER: I only watched some of the Soul Eater anime, which I heard departed from the manga, but I’ve heard that Ohkubo’s maybe the shounen writer out there when it comes to sprawling action series.
CAITLIN: Someone on my Twitter timeline was like, “Aw man, I just finished an anime series, and then when I went to read the manga, it was just teen girl panties everywhere.” I’m like, “Oh, you watched Soul Eater.”
PETER: Okay. So, the anime definitely did focus on the good parts of Ohkubo’s work.
VRAI: Anything else you guys wanted to add about Fire Force?
PETER: I’m good.
CAITLIN: [singing] Fire Force! Fire Force! I’m gonna watch some Fire Force!
VRAI: [chuckles] Good for you, Caitlin.
VRAI: But speaking of, let’s move on to the first Shonen JUMP adaptation I’ve watched, honestly, since Soul Eater: Dr. Stone, which we are all watching. [Editor’s note: Vrai misspoke; Soul Eater is not a JUMP title.]
PETER: Oh yeah.
VRAI: I think my bar has been lowered by the fact that I haven’t watched a JUMP anime in so long, but I’m having fun. I feel like a lot of what the show is trucking on right now… and people keep saying— I assume that what they’re talking about is what the show just started with the last episode, the village arc: “Look, if you don’t like it by this point, it’s just not going to be for you.”
And I’m hoping they’re right, because it’s been pleasant enough clipping through the last couple episodes, but I feel like it’s really gliding on its enthusiasm for science, which is very cute and charming and nice to see. But also, that’s not going to sustain the show forever.
PETER: Yeah. The next episode should be when it really starts taking off, because the village is when the big conflict is set up, and you start getting a technological development since there’s a static location that he’s working out of. Because you know how he built stuff and then he lost it because they ran away from Tsukasa.
So now it’s a consistent growth and you get to see the author’s… what they’re trying to convey in regards to how any sort of scientific development creates a bunch of cascades that can benefit everyone, that maybe aren’t even necessarily related to the main goal or the ideal of the project. So, how science lifts everybody up.
VRAI: Yeah, I am kind of… Eh, I don’t even know if “disappointed” is the right word, because I’m not invested enough to be disappointed, if I’m honest. But I feel like the show is pulling its punches in a way that I think it could have gone deeper, because Tsukasa is right in a lot of ways.
CAITLIN: [crosstalk] I have a lot of issues with Tsukasa. Yes! Tsukasa’s not wrong. At first.
VRAI: [crosstalk] In a lot of ways, he’s like, “Yes, communism good,” except that he’s also—
PETER: He’s not a communist.
VRAI: Yeah, no, he’s not. He’s a…
CAITLIN: It came across at first that he was.
PETER: [crosstalk] No, he just hates adults, and he’s afraid of them.
CAITLIN: Right. Well, it ended up being something so much less interesting. Tsukasa talking about how people who are in power, who own the property, are exploitative and corrupted, and it’s like, “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah! He’s not wrong. Capitalism sure does suck.”
VRAI: Yeah, I think it might have behooved the narrative to hold on to its cards of Tsukasa being blatantly militaristic and “Only the strong survive” a little bit longer, because it just throws that out so quickly. And it’s not like it needed to, because you have a smart enough character who could’ve figured that out while hiding it from the audience a little bit.
And on the other side… I really like that this is a series that’s encouraging kids to be excited about science. I think that’s amazing. I am wondering… It’s very convenient that it’s gone back to this stone world where science can just be cool and we don’t have to worry about things like ethics in science.
CAITLIN: Right. Because, yeah, here’s my issueL Senku wanting to go back to the status quo is really frustrating to me. And I know it’s like, “Oh, it’s not that deep. They didn’t think that much about it.” It’s like, well, they should have, because Senku being like “Yeah, I want to rebuild the world exactly how it was” is disappointing.
You have a chance to start fresh. Why not build something better? Why not try to build a more equitable society? Which is what it seemed like Tsukasa wanted, and then Tsukasa went off the rails and turned out to be a mass murderer who just hates all adults. So, I understand that the point is “Yay, science! Cool!” But I really wish that it would have interrogated the status quo more than it is.
PETER: Well, I don’t want to throw too many spoilers in. There is a discussion about… Because really, I don’t think Senku has actually mentioned capitalism at all. I don’t think he’s thought about it at all. When he was talking about bringing things back, he’s purely talking about “All the technological development that’s happened in the last two millennia, I’m going to achieve again.” And I think politics are something that he doesn’t care about. He’s apolitical; he just cares about science.
And while you should be concerned about who has control of all this kind of stuff, I think that does come up, actually, within the past 20 chapters of the manga, like super current, where those sorts of subjects are being reintroduced.
VRAI: Yeah, that was my question, because I buy that Senku hasn’t thought about these kinds of things; what I want to know is whether the story has thought about these kinds of things. Because there is the whole branch of scientists (it went real bad!) in the mid-20th century—I don’t know if you know—people who were like, “Science is a pure pursuit in its own right and should be free from ethical considerations.” And that got us a lot of really bad things.
CAITLIN: Senku’s a techbro. He doesn’t care about politics; he just cares about technology.
PETER: He’s definitely kind of a sociopath. The other thing about the village is it introduced this entire cast, who are very… they’re like the—what do you call it?—the moral compass, I guess, because all of them are basically cavemen, except for Chrome. And they are very focused on how science can help them or what’s good for the tribe or how to keep people safe, those sorts of subjects.
So, where Senku’s just like, “Okay, this need has come up, so I’m going to invent this sort of technology,” I think they’re the ones who are looking at it from a different perspective of “Is this really dangerous?” or “How does it help us?” That kind of thing.
VRAI: I was kind of charmed by the scene of Senku nerding out with Chrome, because I think the danger this show is constantly flirting with is turning Senku into Steven Moffat’s Sherlock, where he’s just this asshole that we’re told to be impressed by constantly, but he’s the worst.
PETER: Actually, Senku says he considers Chrome to be more of a scientist than he is because Senku’s basically just rebuilding everything with knowledge that he’s been given. He’s standing on the shoulders of giants or whatever, but Chrome has individually, of his own volition, thought about things, gathered resources, tried out different things, and come up with solutions. So, everything Chrome comes up with is from his own mind rather than from rote, memorized knowledge that Senku’s working with.
VRAI: Yeah, no, like I said, I liked it. I thought it was nice.
Shounen’s still doing shounen about the female characters, huh?
PETER: The designs are very Boichi. I think that the female cast is very good, though.
CAITLIN: [crosstalk] The designs are better than the manga, but there’s only so much you can do without just completely redesigning them.
VRAI: And again, because it’s been a while, so I’m no longer inured to these things, I just had a big old eye-roll when Kohaku came on and is immediately put out by being called a lioness, which isn’t even an insult. She’s just strong. But the fact that people are impugning her femininity when she’s wearing a minidress and has femme hair… I don’t… I’m tired. I like her, and I like Yuzuriha, honestly. I think she’s charming.
CAITLIN: Yeah, she’s cute. She’s sweet.
VRAI: Yeah, this sure is a shounen. I’m not sure how long it’ll take me until I get bored of it and can’t keep up anymore if it goes on for 100 episodes, but I’m having fun so far.
PETER: I definitely agree that this arc is the decider as to whether you’re going to stick with the series or not.
VRAI: All right. Look forward to that, then, at the season retrospective. We can all fight about it and care a whole bunch.
None of us are watching Arifureta. Is anybody still watching Arifureta?
PETER: Nope. Didn’t even start.
VRAI: Yeah. Or Re:Stage? So, let’s spare a moment for Mom Isekai.
VRAI: A.K.A. Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?
PETER: That’s it. You got it.
CAITLIN: Yeah, Peter, do you love your mom and her two-hit multi-target attacks?
PETER: My mom or the anime?
CAITLIN: Your mom.
PETER: Oh, my mom’s great, and her attacks are very strong.
CAITLIN: [chuckles] Strong.
VRAI: [crosstalk] Glad that we’ve established that.
PETER: The anime’s… It’s just a downward spiral of problematic content.
PETER: I think it’s episode 2 where you think, “Wait, is this series actually really clever?” And in the second half of the same episode, you realize, “No, no, it’s not clever.” It’s not satire on the thing, because it’s actively participating in it. So, it’s doing that thing where it’s saying, “Hey, we’re genre aware, but we’re still going to do all the same things, so it really is irrelevant that we’re genre aware, because we’re just also the genre.”
Also, it just has some really shitty subplots now. They introduce Wise, who is basically a direct reference to… Oh, my God, what is that Slayers character? Short one, blows things up. I can’t believe I forgot her name.
VRAI: [crosstalk] Lina?
PETER: Yeah, Lina Inverse. And they introduce her mom later on, who… Let’s see if I can get everything right. So, she was addicted to going to host clubs, had Wise… It’s kind of implied that she might not even be her dad’s daughter. She might just be the daughter of some host club guy. Her mom named her after that host club guy. Her name is a male name, which is why she wants to go by Wise, because she hates her name.
Then her mom thought having a kid was a lot of trouble, so she abandoned her and her father, then randomly comes back into her life at 14 and says they should be a good mother/daughter combo and throws her into this isekai. And then they get in lots of fights. Her mom gets bored, realizes there’s lots of men with abs in this isekai world and just becomes a dominatrix who moves around on a throne of muscley men.
The narrative of this plot is that, even past all that, she’s still your biological mother, and therefore there’s no one that can replace her. So, Wise had explicitly said… she’s like, “I like Mamako. I wish you were my mom.” But the message there is “I can’t possibly be your mom, because I didn’t give birth to you.” So, there’s no found family; there’s only your biological family. And she has to make up with her own mom, which sucks, sucks a lot.
VRAI: [crosstalk] Woof!
PETER: So, even outside all of it being a pure incestuous fanservice anime, even its subplots around motherhood itself are just really shitty. I was more upset by that, personally. Your mileage may vary, but I was like, “This fanservice sucks. Oh, this plot really, really sucks. I feel so bad for Wise.”
CAITLIN: Yeah, fuckin’ yikes, man.
PETER: That’s a real twofer, too, because you have to love your—
CAITLIN: It’s a real two-hit!
PETER: Yeah. [chuckles]
VRAI: It’s like, “You must embrace your biological family, and severing ties and finding found family is impossible.” But you also have “We need to shame this adult woman for being sexually active.”
PETER: She’s a real caricature, yeah. I did think it was funny, though, that the plot resolves with them making up and realizing that they are in fact family and nothing can replace that, and then her mom decides to log off and let Wise continue playing the game for a while with her friends.
So, her mom logs off, and then the same day, a new episode of Fire Force comes out where another woman walking around on a throne made of men’s abs appears, so my headcanon is that it’s same universe.
VRAI: Headcanon accepted.
PETER: Shinra’s brother and mother are actually Mamako and whatever the hell her son’s name… I don’t even know what his name is. They left to go to the isekai, and Shinra has to stay behind and fight fires.
VRAI: All right. It’s a shame, because people were so jazzed about that first episode.
CAITLIN: Yeah, the first episode was so wholesome and so cute, and then the second episode came out and I didn’t watch it right away and, word of mouth, just heard it was like “Nope!”
PETER: Yeah, the first half, though, you’re just like, “Wow, wait, this is smart. What’s it doing?” And then it throws it right in your face. So, maybe watch the first half of the second episode to, I don’t know, get your hopes up about nothing. But the first half of the second episode was good.
VRAI: [crosstalk; chuckles] Just really crush your spirit.
PETER: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s a good sell, right?
VRAI: Oh yeah. All right, so none of us are watching Demon Lord, Retry. Demon Girl Next Door is kind of… It sounds like it continues to be lowkey cute, but I haven’t had time, so unfortunately that fell by the wayside. BEM, I don’t even know what’s going on with that.
VRAI: Astra Lost in Space. Go.
CAITLIN: I’m behind.
VRAI: [chuckling] Peter, go!
PETER: I really loved the manga Astra Lost in Space. I think the anime adaptation is okay. I don’t think they’re doing anything particularly cool with it animation-wise. The pacing feels a little slow, so I would understand if people just dropped off on it. But the story itself is really interesting and has a great payoff. Is there any really problematic stuff? There are some female and male role-type things, like the main guy is usually the one rescuing a girl.
CAITLIN: Mm-hm. I love that dangerous boy, though.
PETER: Oh, [chuckles] he’s got a gun, yeah. “What have you got there?” “A gun!” Yeah, he’s a funny chuuni goth kid. But I do think every single one of the kids, male and female, have a pretty interesting backstory and relationship dynamics that they build with one another, and there’s a collective payoff at the end that is really good.
VRAI: So, you’re saying I should just wait and read the manga.
PETER: I mean, you can, I think, read all of the manga right now on the Shonen Jump app for $1.99 a month. In fact, I think it was free on Viz’s website. It was free digitally the whole time. Like, I started reading it for free on Viz’s website.
CAITLIN: Note we are not paid by Viz.
VRAI: We are not.
PETER: Which, I think LossThief was tweeting about it, and I checked it out and I’m like, “Oh, wait, this is like 80 chapters and they’re all available and free.” So, I read them all. And then the Shonen Jump app came out, and I thought, “Oh, I’ll catch up. It’s been a couple months,” and it turned out there was only like ten more chapters because it’s a 90-chapter series and then it just ends. There’s a full story.
VRAI: [crosstalk] That’s a good length for me.
CAITLIN: It’s brutal out there for JUMP series.
CAITLIN: It is hard to make it, especially if you’re doing something different.
PETER: Mm-hm. I’m not the person to have a great perspective on this, but they do have an intersex character.
VRAI: Yeah, I really wanted to try and catch up on this one for today just because I heard a lot about Luca before the show even started. But I didn’t make it. I’m sorry, listeners.
CAITLIN: Yeah, I haven’t seen any actual intersex perspectives on Luca. The consensus seems to be “Not my lane but seems good.”
PETER: Yeah, I’ve heard some good things and bad things, but again, I am not the person to maybe be discussing it. From what I saw myself, the character is very forward with their status and being unashamed about it, and then the rest of the cast is very accepting, but they do describe a lot of things as coming from a male or female perspective within them. So, “This is the male half of my brain or the female half of my brain” or something like that, which kind of sucks.
CAITLIN: Boo. So, mixed bag.
PETER: From what I’ve heard, that is sort of a Japanese cultural thing, though.
VRAI: Yeah, there is kind of a thing in Japan’s trans community where they do use language of “I used to be a boy,” “I used to be a girl” for someone if they’ve transitioned, so that is kind of where the community language is. But I also don’t know how much that’s just manga’s problem with gender essentialism, which is its own distinct thing that shows up a lot more in shoujo. God, woof, shoujo.
PETER: Yeah. So, again, reinforcing… not an expert, not my lane, but I’ve heard encouraging things from people who do know more about the subject, and also a few problematic aspects.
VRAI: It sounds like it’s leagues better than what shounen usually has; shounen in particular.
PETER: Yeah, probably better than most shounen. But we can maybe touch back on it at the end of the season.
VRAI: [crosstalk] It sounds better than Crona, which was my last bar.
PETER: Yeah. Probably beating Crona.
VRAI: It’s fine. They might be related. They’re both tiny, small children with lavender hair that, let’s face it, I’ll probably adopt.
PETER: Eager to hear your thoughts on it, though, Vrai.
VRAI: Yeah, yeah, definitely. At least I want to read the manga. It’s been on my list forever.
[Sighs] I think this is going to make for some meaty discussion, so let’s get into it. O Maidens in Your Savage Season, Mari Okada.
CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Oh boy!
VRAI: Oh my God!
CAITLIN: I am actually loving this series so much.
VRAI: Okay, you go first, Caitlin.
CAITLIN: It is hilarious. It is awkward. Momo is just the gayest thing.
VRAI: [gently] Momoko is so good!
VRAI: My baby.
CAITLIN: Do you want me to talk about what’s going on with it and…?
VRAI: Yeah, yeah, just go ahead and—
CAITLIN: Yeah, yeah! I’m rusty on these podcasts. So, all of these girls have been stumbling around trying to figure out their own relationships to sex. Kazusa likes Izumi. Niina was groomed by a pedophile as a child. Hongo is having a very bad thing going on with her teacher, where he is—
VRAI: The worst. And should be fired.
CAITLIN: [crosstalk] It’s confusing. Yes, yes. If anyone finds out, he is definitely dead meat. She is turned on by the sneaking around and stuff, but he talks about how much he hates high school girls. And it goes back and forth between feeling like he is uncomfortable with it but she’s kind of forcing the issue because she’s threatening to blackmail him, and sometimes it feels like he is genuinely preying on her. So, it’s hard to be sure where that’s shaking out.
VRAI: Because it’s Mari Okada and her stuff is messy.
CAITLIN: Yeah, which is fine. I’m fine with this series being messy. It’s super messy because it is a messy period. A narrative like this should be messy. And right now, for anything, saying, “Oh, well, it’s doing this thing wrong,” feels like I’m asking for it to be more of a morality play, which is not what you go to Mari Okada for.
But I haven’t covered Sonezaki, who has a boyfriend now. And it’s very cute and definitely the most normal high school relationship sort of stuff, but she’s also feeling very awkward about spending time with him. But at the same time, it’s very cute.
VRAI: Yeah, I feel like Sonezaki and Momoko—
CAITLIN: Oh, yes, and Momoko is extremely gay.
VRAI: She’s so gay and in love with Niina. And specifically, Sonezaki and Momoko are so true to a friend of mine’s and my high school experiences. I definitely had a Sonezaki friend who was very studious and focused and then was the first one to get a boyfriend, who she later married.
CAITLIN: Aw, are they happy together?
VRAI: They are.
CAITLIN: That’s good!
VRAI: They are still together.
VRAI: Yeah, Okada stuff is tough for me because I feel like I don’t need her stuff to be a morality play, necessarily, but she has this tendency—you talked about it, I don’t know if on the site or just in the Slack, with HisoMaso, where she put all this convincing workplace sexism on display and then just didn’t do anything with it.
She has a tendency to replicate things in a way that is very true but that can then be very upsetting, because fiction is a place to have a catharsis about these things that are upsetting in real life.
CAITLIN: Right, she doesn’t interrogate it.
VRAI: Yeah. So much of Hongo’s plot and… I think Niina’s plot knows what’s up more, but especially with Hongo’s plot, I don’t know where it’s going, and that can make the viewing experience sort of upsetting sometimes.
Because I feel like in the last few years there’s been this spate of stories in anime and manga that’s like “Did y’all just discover Woody Allen films or what?” because DeDeDe Dededede, or Dead Demon Destruction, also has this thing of a high school girl who is quote-unquote “throwing herself” at a high school teacher who’s a total creep. And then you had After the Rain as well.
PETER: Yeah. It’s like, so long as they act resistant to the idea, then they’re doing their—
VRAI: [protesting] “Officer, she came on to me!”
PETER: Yeah. You never just see any of them say no, especially in a way that’s not just like, “Oh, you’re just a high school girl.” Maybe you could tell her why it’s a problem instead of demeaning her. [sarcastically] That’s a great strategy.
CAITLIN: To go way back, I really like Maison Ikkoku handled that exact plot, 30 years ago—more than 30 years ago… oh, about 30 years ago—where Godai did some student teaching at a high school and one of the girls decided she was going to throw herself at him, and his principal was like, “This is an all-girls school. They don’t spend a lot of time around men. They get really worked up by student-teachers. You are the adult here. Be the adult.”
VRAI: It’s not that students don’t get crushes on teachers at the time. I certainly did. But it’s the framing of it as though the teenager has agency, when really that’s—
CAITLIN: Or has all the power in it.
VRAI: Yeah. When, like you said, it’s super unclear at this point whether he’s just uncomfortable and when he’s just very evidently grooming her with these suggestions in an upsetting way. And he even says outright, “I know this is stuff that will keep me out of trouble with the police,” because he’s just telling her to do stuff; he’s not touching her.
PETER: These stories are so pervasive, too. Part of it was, going into this anime, I just felt like this same plot was running in two or three different things that I’m following and I’m just exhausted. I don’t want to see another one, much less two subplots like that in the same anime. It’s not really O Maidens’ fault that two other things coming out concurrently are like that, but it’s just like why is this everywhere?
VRAI: [crosstalk] All My Darling Daughters did it, too.
PETER: Oh, it did. Shit.
CAITLIN: Yeah, that was the one weak story in that.
VRAI: So, I even get the idea of wanting a place to play out that fantasy of falling for somebody older, and “Ah, but secretly the agency is with me all along,” but I don’t think this kind of story that’s so raw and grounded in so many ways is a good place for it. I think this is a story that needs to interrogate that kind of thing. I don’t need it to be moralistic, necessarily, but I need it to understand that this is wrong, even if not everybody goes to jail and faces punishment.
Like the scene in episode 6 where what’s-his-face, the pedo who’s been grooming Niina, basically pushes her into confessing to Izumi by being the worst. That scene is upsetting, and I feel like it’s on purpose.
CAITLIN: Yeah. That one’s definitely supposed to be upsetting. It’s really funny. The first stuff with Yamagishi-sensei—Milo-sensei—when it was not becoming clear, I was discussing with Jared about what exactly we thought he was doing. Jared was like, “No, no, no. He’s doing exactly the right thing. He sees her and he turns around and he gets the fuck out of here.”
VRAI: [chuckles] Yeah!
CAITLIN: And he was saying that when he started talking about “I hate high school girls,” he’s like, “Well, I think he’s trying to push her away.” But we haven’t watched the episodes since he started doing the really creepy stuff together, so it’ll be interesting to see how he reacts. Hopefully, he’s not listening in the other room. I don’t think he’s listening.
VRAI: Well, we gotta move on to our last four shows, but I think there’s definitely going to be some meat to talk about on this one in particular in the season retrospective.
CAITLIN: [crosstalk] Lotta meat on that bone!
CAITLIN: On that series about boning. [chuckles mischievously]
VRAI: Honestly, there’s enough in this for an entire retrospective if people want it.
CAITLIN: We should— [exclaims vaguely] We should do it.
VRAI: [invitingly] Heh? Heh?
CAITLIN: Yeah? Yeah? Yeah?
VRAI: In the meantime, how ‘bout them Vikings, though? You are both watching Vinland Saga.
VRAI: How it’s going?
CAITLIN: [crosstalk] It’s very good.
VRAI: [chuckling] Good.
PETER: Yeah, pretty good.
CAITLIN: It’s going well. It’s really sad right now. Thorfinn stowed away on Thors’s ship. Thors got killed. Thorfinn followed around the Vikings that killed Thors for a long time and barely survived, and now he’s fighting with them. And he’s 13 and he’s angry and he’s a child soldier and it’s sad.
PETER: He’s like Gun Kid from Astra Lost in Space, except he gets a whole series about him and he’s got knives. He’s got a knife.
CAITLIN: He’s got a knife. [chuckles] What do you have there, buddy?
PETER: Yeah. Thorfinn. I—
CAITLIN: A knife! Hell yeah!
PETER: I think it’s pretty good. I really love the soundtrack, and some of the environmental art has been really amazing. I am really put off by the fact that they skipped the cold open in the manga, though, because I feel like that really gets you into the action of the series.
CAITLIN: What’s the cold open in the manga like?
PETER: You have no context, right? They show the Viking group being hired by I-don’t-know-who to take out this fortress that’s in a lake, and there’s a land bridge to the fortress. It’s a locked lake, so there’s no boats in the lake, so nobody can attack them from sea, so they only have to guard against this land bridge. And they hire these Vikings to take it out.
And the way the Vikings do it is they carry their boat over a mountain, drop it into the lake, and then attack them at sea while the other army’s coming at them from land. And then Thorfinn kills the general and gets to duel the leader. And the leader beats him again, and Thorfinn seems really upset, and then it jumps to the backgrounds where you get all this context of who these guys are and why this kid wants to kill his leader so much. And it’s some cool Viking action and a really cool idea for a set piece fight, which I felt would have done more to pull people into the story.
Sacred Beasts actually did the same thing, actually, where it jumped right into the backstory rather than doing the cold open, where literally the first scene is Hank’s eating dinner at an inn and then Schaal busts in, kicks down the door, and shoots him five times in the chest. And you’re like, “Oh shit! What’s going on?” But instead they—
VRAI: Sounds way better!
PETER: Yeah, yeah, yeah! The first thing is her just ganking this guy. But, yeah, both anime, I feel, to their own detriment, drop these cold opens and instead just went into these extended backstories. I think Vinland Saga released three episodes all at once, though.
CAITLIN: Yeah. They did.
PETER: But even if you can do it all in one stretch, I still feel like that’s a really long amount of time to try to get into this anime without the most exciting entrance or introduction. This is just my personal quibble, though. I think other than that, it’s been very true to the manga. It’s not really deviating much. It’s just a very solid production. And again, really amazing music.
VRAI: Still doing that whole toxic masculinity thing?
PETER: Actually, Vinland Saga, I think, really tries to address it. Right from the beginning it’s framed as the main character’s struggle because his father— And it also is like “war and slavery are bad.” The main character, he wants to be a Viking warrior, and his dad’s basically like “No. All that sucks. That idea sucks.” And he’s like, “Why do you need a weapon?” and he’s like, “To kill my enemies.” What’s that thing Chuck Palahniuk said?
CAITLIN: “You don’t have any enemies…”
PETER: The rhyme or whatever is… Yeah, “No one in the world is your enemy” is the repeated line over the course of the series, and I think the series is about him coming to understand his father’s words eventually, after doing a bunch of awful shit and seeking revenge for his father’s death. It seems like the idea, kind of like Vagabond, is letting go of that kind of stuff and living your best life.
CAITLIN: Yeah. There’s not a ton of that right now, but they did a really good job with the setup in the first few episodes. Instead of being like “Ah, this kid is killing all these people in cool ways,” it doesn’t feel like a “Wow, cool robot” sort of situation.
PETER: It’s like “Listen to your fucking father” situation. [chuckles]
CAITLIN: Yeah, it is. this child has been caught up in this situation, and it’s incredibly sad that he is in this position and that he is basically being forced to fight this way to survive. And now he doesn’t really know how to live any other way, because he’s been doing it for most of his life at this point.
PETER: Yeah. I’m also interested in his sister. I haven’t read much of the manga yet, although I got the 15-omnibus Humble Bundle deal, so I want to dig into that. But his sister’s… I think it will continue to follow her as well, back home. Might take a bad direction.
CAITLIN: [crosstalk] She seems cool.
PETER: Yeah, she’s really cool. So, hopefully it’ll go back to the ranch every now and again, too. She’s also superhumanly strong like their dad is, so I don’t know if that’s going to become relevant.
CAITLIN: That part was really heartbreaking.
PETER: Oh yeah, yeah. Her working all day.
CAITLIN: Yeah, her working to keep herself from feeling. That just broke my goddamn heart. I started crying when she finally had to stop and she started to cry.
PETER: She’s really cool. So, if it follows both kids, that’ll be a really awesome turn of events as well.
VRAI: Rock on. Yeah, it sounds like a good series. Just another one for the list. Sounds like a nice one if you’re looking for a big sweeping, epic action series, which is good.
PETER: It’s Studio Wit, too, right? So, I think this is where they’re throwing a lot of their resources now that Attack on Titan’s on hiatus again. So, Studio Wit.
VRAI: They do a good. All right, let’s move into our top three. Granbelm, the “Magical Girls in Giant Robots” series!
CAITLIN: I want to watch it, but I haven’t. I’m sorry.
PETER: [crosstalk] The kind of Star Driver, kind of Madoka, kind of Fate anime with chibi mechs. You said that it had been kind of disappointing you lately, though, Vrai. I’m curious why.
VRAI: It’s not that I don’t like it. I’m still enjoying the series, but everybody’s been completely shaken by the stuff with Anna’s recent subplot. I don’t know. It’s just not world-shaking for me, because it feels like a lot of what it wants me to feel is held back by the fact that her voice actor has just been instructed to scream exponentially more in each subsequent appearance and that counts as emotion.
I think the flashback sequences with her and Shingetsu are nice, and I feel like when the show quiets down like that, those are its best moments. Its fight sequences are a lot more interesting than they’ve been, but I also think it traded a lot of the potential emotive feeling, the payoff emotionally, by just having her yell more and harder.
She’s a caricature, so much so that I can’t really connect with it in the way that the story clearly wants me to. Which is kind of bumming me out, because I like the germ of where Anna’s character is coming from. She kind of reminds me of Nanami a little bit.
PETER: Yeah, same. It’s like she’s absolutely being unreasonable, but her pain is very sympathetic.
VRAI: Right, until you get into, like, episode 7 and it’s just “Okay, this is just lurid yandere screaming now. This is nothing. This is not a believable character escalation. This is just ‘She needs to not stop because the pace of the fight needs her to not stop and for it to be a little bit more brutal each time she doesn’t.’” And it left me cold.
PETER: Yeah. I think I expected more stuff to happen with her, but they were very clearly ending her arc so they can get into—what’s her name?—Suishou’s stuff with the hearing girl.
VRAI: Spooky blue-haired girl.
PETER: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, I think she’s definitely the real villain and Anna was like her pawn… was the whole idea, and she was manipulating her into this, at least partially. So, I guess there’s still possibly some conclusions that could be met with Anna. I noticed they distinctly had her mother be alive in a hospital bed. So…
VRAI: Yeah, this show really doesn’t want to kill anybody, which honestly I approve of. I said in the three-episode writeup that this feels like a dark magical girl show.
PETER: [crosstalk] That was my fear, yeah.
VRAI: But it actually feels like it wants teenage girls to watch it, as opposed to jaded otaku in their 30s.
PETER: Yeah, I think I literally tweeted “If this turns into MGRP, I’m dropping it.” But so far, it seems pretty good.
CAITLIN: It’s a popular one in the Discord.
VRAI: Uh-huh. It’s fun! It is a fun show, and I think my favorite moments of it are the quieter character moments. So, when Anna’s conclusion went full bombast shounen rival spat, it felt way outside the wheelhouse of what the show has been successful at so far.
PETER: What about the scene with her sister, right before she goes to Granbelm?
VRAI: I liked that one. I thought that that was one of the better moments. I think it’s one of those subplots that trades a lot on the surprise value and it’s not going to hold up as well when you know it’s coming.
PETER: Yeah. It’s very well-directed, too. The environments are crazy good. And I remember during that scene where she’s talking to her sister, when she said, “It’s the only thing that can give me a sense of happiness,” and it shows the front shot and you see the blood moon taking up the entire screen, rising behind her, I was like, “Damn, this is really good.”
VRAI: Yeah, it’s a pretty visually stunning series. So, I’m having a good time watching it. Even when I was kind of emotionally out of it, I was never in danger of dropping it.
PETER: I’m definitely curious to see where they’re going with all this now that the first half with Anna’s finished.
VRAI: Yeah… Yeah. But that’s kinda all I have to say about that one. [chuckles] I like it.
VRAI: Let’s do robots.
PETER: A lot.
VRAI: I actually want to switch the last two around, because I want to end on a happy note.
VRAI: So, let’s do Ensemble Stars first. I got five episodes in and ended up tentatively dropping it because episode 4 is the end of the first arc, and I was just getting bored.
When I was watching the second episode, I was like, “Oh man, this show might secretly be kind of smart. It’s doing this thing where the scrappy upstarts who are being passed over by this grueling machine are being drawn in traditional animation, 2D, whereas the soulless, corporatized StuCo unit is using the CG-modeled dance units that a lot of idol anime need to use because it’s a budget-saver.” And I thought, “Wow, that’s really interesting. This might be smart.” And then it hit episode 4, and during the big, triumphant Trickstar number, it also puts them on idol rigs. I’m like, “Oh… This show isn’t actually that smart.”
I think it has a lot of good ideas, but it doesn’t have either the capability or just the forethought to follow through on them, and that made me kind of sad. And it was getting to this point of “All right, we’re supposed to be settling into plots with other characters, but I’m just not invested. You haven’t invested me enough in the drama, and the comedic moments have kind of sunk by the wayside.”
So, I got to episode 5 and I just wasn’t feeling it, so I dropped it. That’s a bummer. It kind of reminds me of what I was feeling with Sanrio Boys, which also had all these really interesting ideas in its first couple episodes and then just cruised on into being a Cute Boys Do Things show in the middle.
PETER: Yeah, for the first three episodes, everybody was talking like “People, you need to watch this,” and then just nothing, absolute silence after that.
VRAI: Yeah, same deal. It’s a bummer. But you know what’s not is given, the BL anime adaptation that hasn’t disappointed me yet.
CAITLIN: Yay, given! I caught up with given just for this.
VRAI: Yay! Me too. [chuckles]
VRAI: It’s the only episode that I’m watching with my wife, so…
CAITLIN: It’s just very sweet.
VRAI: Mm-hm. I really like what a slow burn it is. BL so often follows the convention of romance novels—which isn’t a bad thing except for the ways that it tends to use assault as a shortcut to get to those moments—but where you have the couple get together physically really early on, so the audience has that in their minds and they get—
CAITLIN: [crosstalk] But then they have to have the emotional part later.
VRAI: Right. Yeah. But this is completely different from that.
CAITLIN: I’m glad they gave Mafuyu a scene talking to some of his old friends, because it made him feel a little bit less like a lost puppy and more like a person who’s just very, very sad and very depressed. I really like how there’s not… well, maybe Ritsuka. We don’t know yet. But mostly the characters know that they are attracted to guys. There’s no big gay panic moments, except, like I said, maybe Ritsuka in this latest episode.
VRAI: He’s finally realized he has a jealousy.
CAITLIN: Haru: gay disaster. Mafuyu: gay disaster. Sad gay disaster. Akihiko: functional bi.
VRAI: Akihiko is a trash man. I’m prepared to make this statement.
PETER: He’s trash man?
VRAI: Yes. All I’m saying is he knows exactly what he is doing by going over to Haruki’s house. That “Oh, I happen to be drunk, and I brought my bike, again. I’m just gonna fall asleep on your bed, and also I’m already dating somebody, but I…” You’re a trash man, sir.
CAITLIN: He’s a slut.
VRAI: Trash! Trash, leading somebody on when you’re already taken.
CAITLIN: Is he dating someone?
VRAI: Yeah, he went home and there’s a dude in his bed.
PETER: [skeptical] Eh.
VRAI: The dark-haired guy who’s the violinist.
PETER: I’m not sure if I know something that’s not been established yet. It’s not that bad. If it were me, I’d still be upset, but it’s more ambiguous, less outright bad.
CAITLIN: The part where Haru, though, is just like “Here, just hold on a second” and he just has to sort of— [Chuckles]
VRAI: [amused] Scream.
CAITLIN: —sit down on the floor for a moment.
PETER: Yeah. That guy’s got a face. I can’t handle his face.
VRAI: I have to look up the screenwriter name now, so I can give her proper credit. Yuniko Ayana. She was so good on the first half of Flip Flappers. I was just really excited to see what she would do with this, and it has that same kind of, what I think might be a talent of others, which is just that really quiet, emotionally charged character-driven writing. And it’s so good!
And we don’t know how it’s going to shake out. It’s an ongoing manga, and BL as a genre has problems that are worth being cautious of, but I don’t think Bloom Into You is an unfair comparison, if we’re talking about recent grounded queer anime. It’s different in that that series was about societal expectations, and this seems to exist in a universe where, mostly, struggling with your sexuality isn’t a thing—although I wish that they didn’t have to include the jealous girl character. I hate that in BL.
But mostly, I think it’s really good stuff, and if you’ve been holding back because you’ve been burned before, I think it’s safe enough to say that it’s probably not going to get further in their relationship at this pace than a confession. It’s going very slowly.
PETER: Well, I think that should be preferable, right, because I’ve heard certain things about recent chapters which fall into…
VRAI: But the impression I get is that that’s with Haru and Akihiko, not with the main boys.
PETER: You mean, between them happens?
PETER: Oh. I mean, that’s still not great, though.
VRAI: Oh, no, it’s still not great, but that’s things heard secondhand; grain of salt. But still. Yeah, there has been word that a more recent chapter of the manga kind of gets into dubious consent issues that are not amazing. But it seems like it’s leaning into this pure, grounded romance for the main relationship, which is nice.
PETER: We’ll want another one where we see just how far the story goes, then, at the end of season.
VRAI: I mean, it’s definitely got that feeling that you see a lot in romance manga, where you have the two different couples that are meant to play to two different audience expectations; where you’ve got this very sweet puppy love relationship and then you’ve got the older, spicier adult relationship.
PETER: The trashy soap opera one.
CAITLIN: Where they fuck.
VRAI: Where they fuck. And also, just on a technical level, it’s maybe one of the series I’m most impressed with this season. It’s really beautiful in its use of light and color, and I’m not usually a huge music anime person, but it really sells the emotional aspect of that for this show. Yeah, it’s good and I like it. Any final thoughts, Caitlin or…?
CAITLIN: Um… About given?
VRAI: Yeah, or just in general, because I think we need to start wrapping up here.
CAITLIN: It’s a good season. But my favorite anime of the season is Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
PETER: Oh yeah. There’s your trashy romance.
VRAI: So, in keeping.
CAITLIN: But no, I am probably watching more anime this season than I have… ever?
PETER: Yeah, I actually think this is a really strong season.
CAITLIN: It’s a crazy strong season.
PETER: Yeah. Even though Fire Force is pretty typically shounen, there’s two major shounen now: one about science and one written by a woman. Fruits Basket is ongoing. Fate probably has its second-best adaptation ever. And we’ve got Granbelm, given… Yeah, there’s just a lot for everybody.
VRAI: An Okada anime, for pain.
PETER: Yeah, if you want to just break down how many audiences are being served, I feel like…
CAITLIN: There’s really something for everyone.
PETER: Yeah, like two or three things for everybody. It’s pretty good.
CAITLIN: It’s nice. It’s a nice change from last season, which was lacking.
VRAI: Bad. You can say bad. There was Sarazanmai. [chuckles]
CAITLIN: You know what? I’m glad that it was a bad season because I did not have a lot of time to watch a lot of anime that season.
PETER: We did that just for you.
CAITLIN: Thank you.
PETER: No problem.
CAITLIN: Thank you. Thank you, Peter Crunchyroll.
PETER: No problem.
VRAI: [chuckles] Well done, Mr. Roll.
CAITLIN: That was your wedding gift.
PETER: Sure, yeah, sure. I wanted it to be a surprise, so I just canceled all the anime until this season, pushed them back.
VRAI: All right, that about wraps things up for us. If you liked what you heard, you can find more of our podcast on Soundcloud by looking for Chatty AF, or you can find more of our stuff in print by going to animefeminist.com.
If you really liked what you heard, why not toss us a dollar on Patreon? It helps us fund the website and make content happen, both on the page and in your earbuds. That’s on patreon.com/animefeminist.
You can also look us up on social media. We’re on Facebook at AnimeFem, we’re on Tumblr at AnimeFeminist, and we are on Twitter @AnimeFeminist. And until next time, remember that you definitely should be watching given.
PETER: That’s a given.