by Rebecca Silverman,
Celestial Method might be moving in a slightly more interesting direction if this had been episode three instead of seven. Not that there hasn't been a point to the stories of Yuzuki's (annoying) behavior or Shione's (even worse) attitude, but they have made things progress at a snail's pace while serving mostly to irritate me at the bullheadedness of the characters and their lack of understanding or empathy. This episode, however, takes us to the heart of the matter at last: the death of Nonoka's mother. We now learn that Nonoka didn't know precisely why her family was moving at the time and that her mother's death was so traumatic that she tried to block out all memories of her earlier childhood. This explains why she was so in the dark about her former friends when she returned, and possibly why they never kept in touch. We also finally find out that Nonoka's mother was a special person to Shione as well, along with the fact that Shione lost someone important to her at some point in the past, possibly before Nonoka's mother died. This helps to explain her bitterness towards Nonoka and the world in general, and could also point to reasons why she finds Noel easy to get along with – Noel recaptures the lost innocence of seven years ago. (Plus she's Noel. Who wouldn't get along with her?) It's moving and has a sad charm to it that helps to soothe the sting of the previous few episodes, which, while doubtless important, really were starting to drag.
Meanwhile, Noel breaks the standee in front of Koharu's store and thinks she's killed it. She and Souta repair and repaint it. It's adorable.
Unfortunately there is a sort of odd feeling that we're missing something between last week's episode and this one. Last I knew, Nonoka wanted to invite her friends over, not take them to visit her mother's grave, and she was asking her father for a favor. Clearly that favor was a lift to the train station so that they didn't have to take the bus, but when did Yuzuki and Koharu ask to go to the grave? Perhaps I simply misinterpreted something they said about visiting her house, but it felt like an abrupt start to the episode. No one seems quite perturbed enough about Noel not wanting to go with them either, but that could be explained away for Koharu and Yuzuki by her apparent age, although Souta does get her to tell him that she's worried about not being able to see the saucer. I have to start to question whether or not Nonoka believes Noel about being the saucer, though, since she doesn't seem to have told anyone or even brought it up again. Is Souta going to start to figure it out? This is actually a good episode for our token boy, who finally gets to do something beside skulk about in the background. He's got a personality in there, and when he teases Noel by voicing the standee, it's a pretty great moment. He also really takes care of her this episode, showing a sensitivity along with his previously unseen sense of humor so that he finally becomes more of a real character. On a side note, isn't it interesting that he's not the harem lead of this piece? In almost any other show, he'd be the central figure amongst the girls, but this time he's relegated to the background.
We don't get the spectacularly animated ending theme this time, although the replacement song is very pretty, and while there are some moments of excellent animation, such as Yuzuki goofing around on the train, there are also some really clunky places, such as Nonoka running in the end. It still looks really good, just not as good as it has in the past. Hopefully that's just a one episode bungle and we'll go back to the much smoother animation next week...and stick with this new and more plot-heavy style of storytelling. If it does, Celestial Method could go back to the promise it once showed.
Celestial Method is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Rebecca Silverman teaches writing (creative and expository) and literature in addition to writing manga reviews for ANN.
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