A Centaur's Life
Episode 10

by Gabriella Ekens,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Centaur's Life ?

Following last week's serious foray into world affairs, A Centaur's Life returns to its basic mode: the schoolyard antics of horny monster girls. Sassassul ramps up her cultural studies by going on a date, Hime and friends try to tag along incognito, and they all run into Manami, who's on a romantic outing of her own. Of course, this all takes place alongside extended musings on the nature of art, a government surveillance subplot, and more railing against Manami's deadbeat dad. It's not a sudden Nazi flashback, but hey, it'll do.

So we start out with Sassasul's date. She and her beau (a sweet catboy) go to a contemporary art museum, where they get into a discussion over the purpose of art. Sassasul doesn't know much because she comes from a beep boop logic culture, but she's eager to learn. This leads into a fairly accurate two-minute summary of the history of art, at least as it leads up to contemporary stuff. The dude is really nice, intelligent, and humble. I wish them well, although I don't know whether Sassy possesses the capacity for romantic affection. There's a bit where it looks like they're going into a love hotel, and all of the folks tailing them (which include several government agencies) start freaking out. Fortunately for them, the couple passes the building to enter a nearby bookshop. Not that that keeps Hime's mind out of the gutter (as indicated in the screenshot above).

The second half of the episode shows us what happened to Manami on her date. For as complicated as Manami's life can be, it's nice to see that she can still find the time to have fun sometimes. Her date is charming - she seems to really care about Manami and gives her some good advice about her dad. Basically, she tells Manami to loosen up a bit. It isn't her responsibility to babysit her own father, and as an adult, he should be able to make autonomous decisions regarding his own life. This seems to calm Manami down, and the two proceed to have their own artistic discussion. This one refers specifically to Manami's dad and what he could want from his artistic ambitions.

For the sake of this conversation, there's an important distinction between “art” and “illustration.” In this context, “illustration” seems to consist of aesthetic works intended for consumption as practical or sentimental objects. “Art,” on the other hand, are works that enter into the specific high-stakes economy known as the “art world.” The works validated by this system are assumed to possess deeper meaning, such as social commentary. They fetch high prices in accordance with their status in an elaborate game of contextual one-upmanship. This is where the money is in art, so it's a problem that Manami's dad isn't too interested in this world. He just wants to paint pretty pictures of his daughters. Ultimately, A Centaur's Life is sympathetic to his perspective, finding value in his “simple” endeavor. Judging by the depth of this conversation, the original author Kei Muayama is very familiar with the art world. I wonder if he went to art school or something?

And that's it for this episode. It was pretty simple, especially when compared to last week's. I like how these dates both culminate in the couples talking about how they don't understand the works that they're looking at, since that's true to my experiences looking at modern art with other people. It was especially nice to see Manami happy for once. Her home life is so burdensome that it's reassuring to see her take the time out to act like a normal teenager. I also liked Kyoko throughout the episode. She's honestly underused as the intelligent deadpan friend. It's strange to think that this show is almost over. It's so slice-of-life-y that I kind of forgot that it's supposed to end for a while. I wonder if there's something planned for the big finale two weeks from now?

Grade: B

A Centaur's Life is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Gabriella Ekens studies film and literature at a US university. Follow her on twitter.

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