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Slow Loop
Episode 10

by Mercedez Clewis,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Slow Loop ?
Community score: 4.2

I'll say it up front: I go feral for a good school festival episode, especially when it's my personal favorite, the cultural festival. As a former senior high school teacher who annually attended the school's festival for four years straight (including daibunkasai, which opened the school and the festival to family, friends, and outsiders in general), I absolutely groove on seeing a bunch of good kids having lots of fun, which is exactly what happens in episode 10, “I'll Do My Best, Too.”

At base, school festival episodes have a few staples: the class decides on what kind of presentation/activity they're going to do⁠—usually a maid cafe, a cafe of sorts, or maybe a play⁠—which is followed by the main character somehow getting roped into some kind of cute outfit. This goes double if the main character is particularly cute, which I'd easily say every member of the central cast is. That said, episode 10 breaks the mold by shifting away from the events until near the end.

Instead, this episode leans into Koharu being genuinely upset that everyone knows what fly fishing is when that's like, her (and Hiyori's) thing. Maybe Koi's thing, but only by proxy of being the daughter of a fishing fanatic. Still! It's Koharu's thing, and she's so adorably mad that it's easy to side with her, especially when we get introduced to tenkara, a Japanese style of simple rod fly fishing that takes center stage this episode, weaving its line around and about the overarching plot of culture festival prep. But even that's just a vehicle to focus on Hiyori, who takes center stage in the backhalf as she does her own prep for the school festival using the best skill she has: fishing.

Most notable is a moment between Hiyori and Futaba, who have this sweet pseudo-sister friendship that comes into full bloom when teacher becomes student and Futaba teaches Hiyori how to fish with a reel versus fly fishing, which relies on a suite of different tools that I feel like I know, but might need Slow Loop to reinforce. Regardless, the tools aren't the thing after a while: once Hiyori gets the hang of things with Futaba, their series of scenes evolves into a cooler full of mackerel that boomerang back into the plot for the cultural festival. It's a touching scene, and while Hiyori may not realize it's full impact⁠—that is, giving Futaba a wellspring of courage to give a speech that we unfortunately never hear⁠—the viewer is left with a truly lovely scene between two girls who just really love fishing. It's one of those tender moments that Slow Loop really excels at, and ends up providing tidbits of comedy skillfully mixed with a heck of a lot of heart and a desire to just… see more. And that's really what episode 10 left me with: a desire to see more, and a bit of sadness that someone hasn't picked up Slow Loop.

Yet: I always hold out hope for slice of life series as good as this, niche though cute girls fishing series may be.

Slow Loop casts the line and always reels in a big one: episode 10 is no exception, especially since it leans into Koharu's serious side by indulging both her and the viewers with a fantastically fishy subplot that just slaps. With a combination of fly fishing lingo, a sweet series of scenes with Hiyori and Futaba, and just so much charm, it's an easy episode to sink into, and a wonderful way to spend a half hour of your day, drifting away on the waves and thinking fond thoughts of all the delicious creatures drifting in the sea. With only two weeks left, I feel a bit of sadness, but honestly, the slice of genre is all about living in the moment: I'm going to allow myself to enjoy being here with Hiyori, Koharu, and all the lovely people who make up their ever-growing world.

Slow Loop is currently streaming on Funimation.

Mercedez is a JP-EN translation and localization light novel editor & proofreader/QA, pop culture critic, and a journalist who, when not writing for ANN, writes for Anime Feminist, where they're a staff editor. They're also a frequent cohost on the Anime Feminist Podcast, Chatty AF. This season, they're reflecting on their youth with Akebi's Sailor Uniform. When they're not writing and reviewing, you can find them on their Twitter or on their Instagram where she's always up to something.

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