A Centaur's Life
Episode 11

by Gabriella Ekens,

How would you rate episode 11 of
Centaur's Life ?

This week on A Centaur's Life, kindergarteners learn shapes! To be honest, I'm sure what to do with this episode. This one in particular makes me feel like I'm reviewing Caillou or some other form of entertainment that's obviously meant for five-year-olds. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it - the kids themselves as charming, and their slice-of-life antics are cute. It's just that I don't think there's much that warrants discussion. Anyway, I'll try my best, but forgive me if I don't end up having much to say about Literal Small Children Contemplating Blocks.

This week starts out with more of Manami and her siblings. Apparently Sue is so cute that other creatures keep trying to steal her. This includes a six-legged golden retriever, who out-adorables Sue-chan by far in my opinion. I'll give A Centaur's Life this – it found a way to make dogs even better. To me, all real dogs will now be mere pale shadows of what could have been, compared to this fictional universe where nature chose to give them a 150% increase in appendages. But I digress. As this group of babies runs off to play, we cut to Hime babysitting her little cousin Shiho. The two of them go on a walk, where Hime starts telling her the names of plants. A fascinated Shiho becomes aware of how information is passed down through the generations. Hime is imparting her with this knowledge, so she herself will someday share it with her own “little sister.” As it turns out, that day comes quite soon – Shiho immediately sets up her own playground botanical academy, where she recites Hime's teachings to other curious preschoolers. Her tutelage eventually branches into a few different avenues of knowledge, including those shapes I mentioned earlier. This is all cute and accurate to my experiences with how small children learn to reason things out.

We then turn our attention to the Chi-chans, who are themselves becoming aware of their existence in a larger world than the boundaries of their immediate friends and family. Influenced by something that they'd seen on television, they become obsessed with finding someone prettier than their elder sister. (The world is big enough that one has to exist, after all.) However, their search turns up nothing, and the triplets are forced to come to terms with their limited perspective on the world, as well as the futility of searching for absolute “mosts” within the narrow window of their own experiences. This is something that we all learn, but it's a big deal for children at this point in their lives. It's really simple, but it was fun seeing this play out as a gentle family story.

And that's it for this episode, save for a little worldbuilding discussion of how tail-holes are integrated into various types of clothing. Hopefully next week – the grand finale – will give me more to chew on. It looks like we'll be treated to that RPG-style adventure teased by the opening theme, so the show will likely go out on an exciting note. Honestly, I think I'll miss A Centaur's Life – it's been a weird atonal mess of a show, but the characters grew on me, and its quirky observations on life are often super-accurate. It turns out that I like my slice of life stories weird – although the whole thing could have stood to be drawn and animated better. You're trying, Chinese co-productions, but you're not quite there yet.

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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