Winter 2017 – Week 10 Impressions

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Considering how tragic and emotionally ingrained several of last week’s episodes were, week 10 took a turn for the uplifting. For some shows like 3-gatsu and Rakugo Shinjuu, it was the calm following a storm and the resolution of some of the show’s climactic moments. For other shows like ACCA, this week felt like the breath before the plunge. A transparent moment of sincerity before the climax of the show consumes the focus of the final episodes. For Kobayashi-san, it was business as usual with a slightly more pronounced sentimental touch than usual though the episode featured some great comedic moments as well.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen

I had to frantically tab over to MAL this week after the conclusion of Rakugo Shinjuu to see if my memory had betrayed me and this had been the final episode of the show. Luckily this was not the case and two episodes yet lie ahead however the sheer depth of catharsis and forward-facing developments of Rakugo’s 10th episode could have easily fooled anyone into thinking it was the capstone of the entire series. It was a magnificent episode, full of some of the most emotionally charged and heartfelt scenes in the entire show, which is saying something considering that Rakugo Shinjuu has spent much of the season doubling and redoubling its quality in this regard. Though its proceedings served to tie together many relationships and thematic elements of the series, episode 10 presented a ton to look forward to as well. A more forthright relationship between Konatsu and Yakumo, a prospective child for our two protagonists, and likely one or two more rakugo performances from Konatsu. The only thing that brings me more joy than the contents of the episode itself is that we may yet see much of what it talks about in the remaining episodes to come.

3-gatsu no Lion (March comes in like a lion)

Though this episode did eventually arrive at the scene between Rei and the Kawamoto sisters I had imagined it might, it had far more Shimada than I was expecting but I can’t say I’m not thankful. I’m glad we could give the character proper closure after last week’s somber conclusion. Seeing him confront his failed ambitions within the context of his hometown and the people he loves was a great way to optimistically tie everything together. Though he may have failed in his attempt to become a master and rejuvenate his town, the insight into how he has used Shogi to bring the aging community together goes to show that, in some regards, he has succeeded in breathing life into his town all the same. There still isn’t anything emblematic of the show’s sole remaining episode however I have no doubt that 3-gatsu will conclude in a comprehensive and heartfelt way.

ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka (ACCA: 13th Territory Inspection Department)

Given the more shallow district explorations of the previous episodes which mostly served to progress the overarching coup d’etat narrative, I had almost forgotten of how stirring our insight into these places could be. Our visit to Pranetta distinct was perhaps the most sincere and endearing to date, focusing on the district’s harsh environment and the citizen’s strong sense of community. Though the people are impoverished, they were characterized as one of the most content districts. It’s insight into charming districts like Pranetta which will likely factor most heavily into Jean’s decisions regarding the coup. The worsening health of the King signals the approaching conclusion of the show and it will be interesting to see how ACCA tonally handles its climactic episodes. Will it maintain its cool composure all throughout or will it break form in order to better impart the severity of its plot?

Little Witch Academia

Generally speaking, I don’t like the use of ‘love potions’ or in this case, a magic bee, as a means to provide character insight. It allows the show to investigate its characters in a unique and straightforward way however the inexorable ambiguity regarding whether or not the characters ever held any of the divulged sentiments to be true somewhat hinders the characterization. It can often feel more like wish fulfillment and fanservice for the sake of the audience rather than any kind of authentic examination of the affected characters. Little Witch Academia didn’t handle it well enough but the style of characterization has always bothered me. The classic shoujo designs were a wonderfully comedic way to distinguish the romantic affects of the bee’s magic.

Though Andrew may not express himself as directly as he did when under the affects of the bee, it does seem quite apparent that he both has some interest in Akko and that her intense fascination with magic has reminded him of his own passion and individuality as characterized by the piano. As it stands, the two don’t have the most chemistry together but it’s easy to see why Andrew might take interest in Akko. He’s a rich prodigy burdened by legacy and expectations whereas Akko is lively and untroubled, free to pursue her passion as a witch. All in all, it was a pretty fun episode and sported some pretty energetic and dynamic character animation.

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