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After writing itself into a thematic briar patch, Heroines Run the Show makes a dash towards a happy conclusion, but it can't help stumbling over the nettles.
I would even go so far as to say that this is probably my favorite episode of season two which is impressive because it's built on the foundation of two characters that we barely knew up until this point.
Well that was definitely a climax. It had characters, monologues, and a nice song play during the final battle. So how come I can't muster a single bit of emotion outside of relief and exasperation that the season is finally soon to be over?
I'm Quitting Heroing didn't exactly wow me at any point in visuals or anything, but the incredibly solid emotional core of the show was a genuine surprise from start to finish. Well done.
We've known for a while that this whole game of who confesses first was really just a pretense that revealed a vulnerability that you could argue these two still haven't fully confronted yet.
Here in the final episode of Skeleton Knight in Another World we get exactly what we've come to expect—i.e., Arc laughing with joy as he shows off just how overpowered he truly is.
This episode ends with Eve declaring her intent to kill someone. In golf. If that moment doesn't perfectly encapsulate the appeal of Birdie Wing, then I don't know what does.
If you were hoping for a solid conclusion to Deaimon, well, this isn't one. There are still a lot of threads dangling and questions left unanswered. But Itsuka, Nagomu, and Kanoko all seem to be in better places than they were.
How you feel about episode 1022 will likely depend on how invested you are in Hyogoro's character.
While it stumbled more than a few times with heavier drama, at its core Healer Girl has mostly succeeded in being the bubbly, musical, unerringly sweet show it set out to be.
Luou's dramatic performance is the highlight of this conclusion, but overall the emotions here are messy and the results are not exactly satisfying.
With episode 9, it turns out that there is such a thing as a great Shikimori episode that doesn’t feature Izumi at all.
A bulk of the runtime was spent with Nagi and Hiro, and despite date scenes in anime usually being a way of getting further insight into characters' personalities and offering much-needed intimacy, there was very little of that here.
While there is clearly much more story to tell, this is a good stopping point for the anime.
Being friends doesn't mean living in each other's pockets, and as Kokone comes to really understand that, she gets stronger as Cure Spicy as well.
This has to be one of the weirdest episodes of Love After World Domination thus far, and the first one that I didn't absolutely one-hundred-percent love.
That anxiety about what's to come thoroughly colors these two episodes, though they go about it in very different ways that inadvertently showcase both Nijigasaki's biggest strengths and weaknesses.
While the whole Stella thing is Loid thinking like Twilight, the rest of it is pure father-brain: he's thinking about how he can best raise his child to be a good person with valuable experiences.
So here we are with the final bit of build-up before we reach the finale of the culture festival arc, and a good chunk of this episode can best be summed up as “Kaguya being messed with by the writer”.
I never thought that one of the most interesting and relatable characters in this episode would be a tour guide. But I guess that's just a testament to the uncanny ability of Komi-san to find enjoyment in the most mundane of things.
Most of this episode is spent on establishing Kazayama's resolve as she tries to remain optimistic in the face of everyone else's cynicism.
Admittedly, a part of me was hoping the resolution to Schrodinger's Kiss would be either wackier or more dramatic, but thinking on it now, this is the resolution Aharen-san was always leading towards.
We have Shamiko desperately trying to think of a special move, which leads to the wonderful reveal that Ogura is almost certainly capable of making and distributing meth, should the needs arise
This finale does a great job of wrapping up the current storyline while still leaving room for lots more intrigue and tragedy down the road, which is basically everything you could ask for a season that may or may not ever get a follow up.
This was a heavy one folks. I honestly wish this flashback had happened before the ascent to the mountaintop because this completely recontextualizes Leo's desire for self-destruction.
If you had told me ten weeks ago that the penultimate episode of Heroines Run the Show would end in a bloody punchout, I'd have been mighty incredulous.
When it comes down to it, this episode is built around a single cliché that we've all seen a thousand times before: one of our heroes is mind controlled and is forced to fight the other.
Harmony is a key part of any good musical performance, after all. And Ya Boy Kongming has always been about the music.
If Nagomu can help Itsuka keep moving forward and learn that she doesn't have to own the bad things in order to exert some control over her own life, that would be one of the best possible endings to their story.
Jinguuji may as well be a tabby cat in the presence of lions. She's a passionate and hard worker, but she just can't measure up to the raw abilities and/or privilege that players like Eve and Aoi possess.
Go back and watch Kamiya's reaction to Shikimori tearing up the paper. It's stunning! And it all works to make for one of Shikimori's most emotionally gripping moments thus far.
What starts out as a typically lackadaisical field trip slowly grows into a more contemplative and confrontational episode than Healer Girl has ever had before.
This episode in particular continues the setup of Robin's battle with Black Maria, and while we only really get to see one major blow being traded hot dang is it a good one.
I appreciate Main's long, drawn-out "What?!" early on in this season finale for Bookworm, since that was pretty much my exact reaction to the central revelation of this episode.
Fate is a major theme that runs across these two episodes, which are best taken together as a miniature arc of sorts.
Livia's newfound confidence allows her to be far more emotionally vulnerable than Leon's allowed himself to be. She has truly grown beyond the character created for a C-tier game into an individual in her own right.
This week's episode is a great showcase of Desumi and Fudo's very relatable, youthful understanding of love.
Meanwhile poor Takumi (which almost feels like his name at this point: Poor Takumi) is still struggling with his overwhelming embarrassment. You can just feel him cringe when he tells the Cures that his magical boy name is Black Pepper.
"Pandæmonium” has a couple of rough spots, but that doesn't prevent it from holding up as an excellent example of how to do this kind of wackadoo anime escalation right.
Damian may have friends and servants (or at least toadies and servants), but he's basically still stuck in the sort of life Anya had before Loid walked into that orphanage.
Komi's default was to assume that people hated her even if that might not have been the case, and I really like how the show refrained from clarifying how her classmates actually saw her just to really get us wrapped up in her mind.
Props to Kaguya-sama for actually progressing the relationship between Ishigami and his senpai; other shows would have used the misunderstanding with the heart-shaped gift to stretch out the romantic tension.
Raphtalia has always come across as more of a companion/moral compass to Naofumi than a realized character on her own, so I'm glad to see this episode making significant strides towards fixing that.
The first half of "Pitch-Black Feelings!! Darkness Peach Returns!!" is “high stakes” insofar as a DGND story goes, but don't go thinking that the order of the day still isn't for supremely ridiculous shenanigans.
In this episode, Ariane's forced to acknowledge the simple fact that most humans never really think about elves at all—be that positively or negatively.
Heroines has always been down-to-earth, so it makes sense for it to address these unsavory sides of the entertainment industry in a matter-of-fact, if uncontroversial way. I just wanted a bit more from it.
This episode focuses mostly on flashback while the emotional developments for the main trio are incredibly frustrating.
Both Eiko and Nanami awake on the verge of the 'Climactic Final Battle' in this episode of Ya Boy Kongming!
It it is hard to mesh my understanding of Leo in this heel turn with the Leo of prior episodes.
Birdie Wing blazes new frontiers as Eve braves her most daunting challenge yet: minigolf.
While it doesn't veer too far out of the schmaltzy feel-good norm for Christmas-themed stories, it still plays with that enough to make it Deaimon's own take on the staple, and that absolutely works in its favor.
Jumpei is going to have to make a choice about which ballet school to pursue, but matters of the heart won't make it easy.
It's fair to say that, among our main girls, Hibiki's kind of been the weak link. While episode 10 here doesn't entirely fix that problem, it does make some solid strides in giving her more texture.
This entry of Bookworm isn't 'bad' per se, just that its storytelling doesn't feel as methodical as all the setup that went into it, resulting in a comparative sloppiness.
The war that serves as the game's climax has begun. There's just one problem: it's two years too early.
It's interesting because Shirogane isn't just admitting defeat here; he's admitting that he lost the game before it even started by virtue of being the president of the student council, which is a sign of his love for Kaguya.
Sanji crying out to Robin for help represents both a major moment of character growth for him and a full-circle moment for Robin
Food and memory – that's a very smart connection for the show to use, because most of us can relate to the idea of a taste-memory link, making Narcistoru a more dangerous threat on a personal level.
This week we get a Desumi-focused episode but not quite in the way we have previously, with the focus being more on her family – particularly her father and her sister – and how they react to the changes in her life.
Once things have gone well and truly cuckoo-bananas in “Pandæmonium", the titular villainess announces, “What you are about to witness is a B-movie screening!", and you know what? She is absolutely right.
Yor's fear that she's not living up to Loid's expectations of what a good mid-twentieth century wife should be is a vestige of her fears that she wouldn't be enough for Yuri.
Since the natural mating ritual of School Idols is wacky comedy bits, it's only natural that the club welcome Lanzhu, Shioriko, and Mia into the fold with a weekend of goofing off.
Do any of you remember the devious cruelty of Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun's closing episode? I bring that up because what Aharen-san pulls this episode might actually be crueler than even that.
If season one was all about Komi working up the courage to actually speak with people and form connections with them, then this season seems to be about her learning to be open and honest with herself.
There are a lot of interesting nuggets being dropped in this episode, which really does make me wish that season two started with this arc instead of the one with the turtle.
The dang narrator of this show is far too enthusiastic at this stage, talking over several pivotal situational scenes that wind up as effective History Channel montages as opposed to actual dramatizations of these plans.
While this episode may be lacking compared the cosmic family drama of a Titan chowing down on one of his offspring, “Scandal” follows through on its title and delivers an intense set of developments for Hiyori and her two idol wards.
There was nothing particularly wrong with this episode, but it certainly was a bit dull for the most part.
All in all, it's some solid political drama. But what's really great about it is how Arc and Ariana have absolutely no idea about what's actually going on—or how their actions have shaped the current crisis.
Now that Shamiko and Momo have conquered the perils of summer homework, our heroine must face the even greater peril of making the perfect bento lunch for her upcoming zoo date—er, I mean, “group outing.”
It's been kind of a long road so far following ya boys and girls of Kongming, and with this episode it's finally time to taste that sweet musical fruit borne of all their efforts.
This episode is, by necessity, a recalibration of the series' golf antics, because we now have to transition into a completely different setting with new characters and new ambitions.
You'd never think gastrointestinal surgery could be as cinematic as The Sound of Music, but that's the bizarre little niche this series exists to fill, and here it does a damn good job of it.
Despite the title, however, the festival really isn't the highlight of this episode, but the fact that we got to know how these two got together in the first place.
With these two episodes, A Couple of Cuckoos is starting to find this really nice balance between humor and tension that makes for a really delightful romcom romp.
It's impressive how these lighter, simpler elements keep us on our toes before the episode's shocking ending, and makes for an impressive demonstration of how a show as low-key as Bookworm can still regularly end on agonizing cliffhangers.
In this episode, Leon does what many have done when they realize they have majorly messed up: overcorrect.
As much as I love its thematic importance and grandiosity, the sheer enormity of Wano does begin to wear on me as time goes on.
It is interesting to learn that the vast majority of what has gone down in Libelle has never occurred in Akari's previous jaunts through time, which makes her a lot more vulnerable now, even at full strength.
Anna presents an interesting foil to their relationship. She has an unusual aggressiveness when compared with other characters in the show, and at various times Fudo and Desumi are both threatened by her.
The Cures' belief in Amane's good side snaps the control the Bundoru Gang has over her, but it's Amane's own understanding that she's doing the wrong thing and asking for help to stop it that really shows her own inner power.
At its heart, Mia's struggle is the same as any artist, and trying to find the right place between making something that has meaning to you and something that matters to other people can be truly paralyzing.
The “jealous sibling meets sibling's purported lover” storyline is a bit tired, but between Yor somehow cramming three dozen roses into a tiny vase and Anya learning fractions by applying theory to her spy cartoon, it's still pretty great
I'm Quitting Heroing manages to surprise me again, this time with a more poignant episode reflecting on the nature of purpose.
With this episode, we finally start to sink into some honest-to-goodness ship-teasing with our central duo, and it's not even spurred on by the unexpected return of Sexy Raido.
Even at its most simple and mundane, Komi Can't Communicate still manages to have just enough depth to keep you emotionally invested.
I'm just gonna say this now: if this season cops out of a big emotional confession from both of these stubborn teenagers I'm gonna be very, VERY mad.
Kyo had always been a petty bastard, but I like the narrative direction of Naofumi having all of his emotional support pillars stripped away from him in unknown territory.
The first half of "A Short Break!! The Demonic Summer Festival" is one of the most, er, “experimental” bits that the show has indulged in yet.
This is the first week when Heroines felt less like its own show and more like a part of the HoneyWorks extended cinematic universe.
What's truly interesting about Chiyome is what she teaches us about this fantasy world: Arc is not the first person from our world to have crossed over.
The Rosen Ritter come in swinging this week as they set their sights (and axes) on Imperial forces.
This is where Ya Boy Kongming! proves it has firmly cashed the check that its first episode wrote, and become a genuinely remarkable music anime entirely on its own terms.
Birdie Wing just delivered all of the dramatic sea changes of a nail-biting season finale, yet it still has at least a month's worth of golf hijinks left for us. Have we only finished the prologue?
Maybe I'm missing something or just being an unreasonable pain-in-the-ass about this, but I'm having trouble seeing how Nagomu and Kanoko broke up over a “misunderstanding.”
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