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Slow Loop
Episode 11

by Mercedez Clewis,

How would you rate episode 11 of
Slow Loop ?
Community score: 4.4

Episode 11, “Those Important To Me”, is a Koi-centric episode which like: thank you for the good food because Koi is absolutely one of the best characters in the series. That said, Slow Loop never focuses for too on one girl, so while this is a story about Koi, it's a story about Hiyori and Koharu as well and even that doesn't include the other girls and women in the fishing crew.

It's early autumn, and the world is awash in reds, golds, browns, and deep greens. Thankfully, we get to see the season's splendor at a new fishing location for the all-girl fishing, leaf-picking, and camping trip that we've all been waiting for. And at base, it's the foundation for a solid four star episode about the girls and their parents—specifically, their mothers—relaxing in nature and enjoying the plenty that the lake they're at has to offer.

It's all fun and games for the most part, save for one character: Koi, who struggles with feeling, like so many people do, too much. Too much of an adult, too much of a child, too much of someone who cares. It's a wholly relatable feeling that haunts all of us from time to time: an inability to perceive ourselves as being just right as we are.

This comes to a head when, in the back half of episode 11, Hiyori heads out to fish at down. Naturally, Koi notices, and like a good friend, fixes up a thermos of overly sweet coffee to go and sit with her friend. Before this, Koi had been haunted by memories: specifically, the memory of accidentally spoiling Hiyori's mother's second marriage ahead of Hiyori's mother telling her. It is, like so many mistakes and missteps in childhood, a complete accident: it's so, so clear that Koi didn't mean harm by it, but her past self's mistake still sits in the back of her brain.

And this is where I swing back to the fact that this is overtly a Koi-centric episode, down to the description: it's an episode about reminiscing while in the moment. It's something I can understand intimately, as a person who often finds it hard to lock memories into the present, and even hard to exist in the present moment. And when the combines with difficult feelings, it can be even hard to not dredge them up, to not replay our worst moments over and over again.

Koi is… a somewhat hard girl: she's adultish in nature, dutiful as a daughter and the eldest child, and almost painfully responsible. She's the kind of kid adults love to love: and yet she's also the kind of kid who hurts underneath all that responsibility. And naturally, it comes to a head when she's forced to quietly confront it, though the vehicle to that is genuinely engaging, especially since it gives us a bit more insight into Hiyori as well.

Thankfully, Slow Loop is a world (rather realistically) where pain isn't forever: it's a moment, parallel and swaddled by kindness and understanding. Time never stands still: if anything, Slow Loop leans into the fact that time continues by creating pockets of intimacy for the characters to sink into before the next day comes. Such a pocket is created in the final minutes of this episode, serving as a reminder that life really is full of good and happy things. I think for a show with an all-female cast, that's particularly beautiful: it's nice to envision a life and world where girls get to get the happy ending of themselves each and every time.

If episode 11 had a motto, it'd probably be “You deserve mercy” because at the core, this episode is about Koi being kinder to herself. True, the fishing and the trip are enjoyable too, but really, this an episode in Koi's own grief, and how she comes to terms with the grief of feeling like a bad friend. It's an episode in forgiveness, and an optimistic look at the finale next week. Ultimately, episode 11 is good for a lot of reasons: it's a trip episode, it's got lots of food, but best of all, it has the intimacy of Koi and Hiyori's friendship. Like the delicious dish (ukha, a russian fish soup) eaten this episode, these elements come together in a delightful thirty minute stretch that gave me the energy and strength to reach out to my friends today. Perhaps that's the real magic of slice of life series like this: they imbue us with the power to love and laugh and be kind.


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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