by Christopher Farris,
How would you rate episode 9 of
Mitsuboshi Colors ?
I've referenced Mitsuboshi Colors's sentai similarities a few times before, but at this point the series could stand to take a cue from how those long-running series shake up their formula occasionally: a new character, some kind of new dynamic, something to make its breezy antics feel marginally fresher moving forward. Don't get me wrong, the show is polished enough at what it does that it's still amusing even when it's not really trying. But it stands out more when it goes into autopilot as we get deeper into the season and more familiar with its limits.
What I'm trying to say is that Mitsuboshi Colors was decidedly more relaxed than necessary this week. Much of the episode was taken up by the time-honored structure of the girls just wandering from place to place with only nominal motivation. While the backgrounds depicting those locales continue to be attractive in all their photo-referenced glory, the actual art and animation looked a bit cheaper for this outing. So it falls to the character interactions to carry the rest of the show, and while the comic timing between the girls is as solid as ever, it's still easier to mentally check out during this episode's weaker material.
Honestly, the first segment is probably the high-water mark for this week, even if its central conceit of kids trying to buy firearms is more unfortunately-timed than the Japanese staff could have predicted. Of course Kotoha knows about the airsoft store, and then it just devolves into the girls interacting with the employee there in the same way they have with others. They aren't there for long before they approach Pops to get their equipment fix instead, and the walkie-talkies he supplies them with are a good fit for the team. Seeing the girls using the walkie-talkies is cute as heck anyway, and the oblique gag of them with the cell phone might actually be the cleverest the show has ever gotten.
Despite that sharper-than-usual comedic writing (possibly trying to cover for the artistic shortcomings this episode), the rest of this outing falls into the problems of meandering that characterizes this series' low-points. The whole second segment of just following Colonel Monochrome around nets us a nice tour of the show's attractive backdrops, but aside from some decent humor in the dialogue, there just isn't enough to the bit. The final portion with the girls putting together a time capsule is similarly structured as another wandering section, despite the fact that the premise has a lot of potential. They even pointedly avoid an encounter with Saito, as if the show were going out of its way to be more low-key than it needed to be.
It's not like these unavoidably average bits are devoid of entertainment. There are still some amusing moments scattered throughout. Tracking Colonel Monochrome has good gags about our heroes wishing for an evil overlord so they'll still have something to do, and Sat-Chan yelling loudly in her effort to be sneaky. The time capsule portion gets in a great reaction shot from Kotoha when Yui roasts her over the perceived difficulty of her handheld game, and there's also the funny way the girls react to Nonoka's childhood photo of herself. But the space between these successful bursts of humor only calls attention to how protracted this episode feels. Yes, these are all decently funny and cute bits, but they aren't building the world or subtly expanding the girls' friendship the way better episodes have.
The furthest this episode tries to reach comes at the end of the time capsule sketch, as there's a mildly interesting idea at play with the girls thinking about their future. Nonoka and Pops' involvement plays on intergenerational perceptions of how time passes, but it still comes off as more distant than it could have been. With so much down-time this episode, more sentimentality could have been welcome. Unambitious doesn't have to equate to underachieving, but this was the first episode of Mitsuboshi Colors to feel downright disposable.
Mitsuboshi Colors is currently streaming on HIDIVE.
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